I heard the Radiohead song Karma Police playing…
In Nagpur, I found the best Eggs Benedict in the world. And some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. Perhaps it was the location. India was the last place that I’d expected to find a café serving such superb food and coffee. I had Googled the phrase “best coffee in Nagpur” and the search engine had returned Corridor Seven Coffee Roasters as the top result. From my hotel, it was a 2.4-kilometre walk. It was the middle of the day, and hot. But I needed a caffeine hit so I set off, guided by the gentle and confident voice of the Google Maps girl…my ever-faithful travel companion
The route lay through back lanes where sacred cows munched on piles of flowers and somnolent dogs lay in the dust, sleeping away the midday heat. I passed temples and townhouses, slums and flower stalls. Beneath a giant flyover, an old lady mixed cow-shit patties beside a mobile crane lifting a section of pre-stressed concrete into the sky. A hawker offered me a pair of sunglasses; another proffered an armful of dangling headphones; a woman with her hand patterned with henna offered flowers at an altar of burning incense.
On the wide concrete strip of Temple Bazaar, the sun beat down with almost tactile force on a scene of colourful chaos: beggars, cabbages, cows, clothes, oranges, leather belts, spitting men and chador-shrouded women. The ladies in the bank where I went to change money were eating lunch from stainless steel daba containers.
“Come back at three,” one of them said, her hand greasy with dhal.
Walking up the lane towards the café I smelt the aroma of roasting coffee. Sunlight fell on chairs and low tables in a tiny courtyard. A row of scooters stood in the shade of an ancient banyan tree. As I walked in the wooden door I heard the Radiohead song Karma Police playing. It was Valentine’s Day. And I was in heaven!