Sunaina Luthra ON  July 08, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, THE COFFEE GETS COLD BY TOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI-FICTION

Rating: 5/5

Here are a series of thought provoking questions that may inspire deep reflection on ‘Past’ by our readers.

What if you are given an opportunity to fly back to your ‘past’ or ‘future’? Whom would you like to meet? And, if you are the one who has no inhibition to pour out the flustering nuances, you bet a reason adds to bring on a vivid clarity.

  • Remember the heebie jeebies you felt to disclose the true love felt for your wife or husband; given a chance will you meet the person to make the show a glistening apology, unfiltered?
  • Maybe your parents for whom you never got the opportunity to express the enormity of your adoration and gratitude?
  • The undervalued lover, I guess! The one left for greener pastures and you sat counting the pebbles at the shore. May be its time to stop curling your hands around the grieved stones.

All this looks heavenly! Isn’t it? What if there exists a queer place that can conjure your past?

Will you seize this opportunity?

If yes, let’s cut off the long grass to reach the ‘Time- Travelling café, a small back alley in Tokyo. The café in the light of an urban legend claims it can take people back to the past. But it is possible only by occupying the chair in the cafe where a placid ghost is comfortably ensconced and by following certain unceremonious rules; all this leaves you in a state of stupefaction. It can also impede you from your decision to turn back the hands of time.

The first rule, for god sake alters the entire dimension of consanguinity; you can meet people in the past who have visited the café. There is no sink where you can wash your hands from the present so don’t dare to change the present while swimming in the drainage pipe of the past.

This is definitely a precarious task.

I am sure your disappointment after reading these uncanny rules cannot be bridled and surely deter you to take this eerie task head on. The perplexity did refrain many visitors at the café but four courageous beings embarked on the paradoxical journey—Fumiko, Hirai, Kohtake and Kei; each hoping to relive a moment from the pastthat is ephemeral and lasting only for a brief moment though.

‘Before the coffee gets cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi brings forth the fragility and brevity of human life. It is brim full of wisdom. The delightful juxtaposition of threading the reasons for the characters going back in time has been well presented; to confront the lover who left or receive a letter from a husband suffering from Alzheimer, one last meeting with the dead sister and serendipity of meeting the daughter by the mother—a communion left incomplete. Each fleeting and then soon to fade away bringsa transformative shift in their lives trajectory. There present does not change but the experience provides them the strength to overcome difficulties that lie ahead.

TAKEAWAY

Our goals and aspirations have consumed our heart and mind. In the midst of this humdrum, we forget about the people we leave behind. The present speaks volumes of how we walk past them oblivious to their emotions. We don’t realize that there may never be a second chance, leaving us to struggle with a life riddled with repentance.

So, ‘Turn the steering of your life’, if required.

Say ‘I love you’ to your loved ones in heaps and bounds.

‘I am there for you’—express to show solidarity.

‘Make up’ with your sibling.

Remember: ITS NOW OR NEVER

As we may not be the fortunate ones to sit on that chair …….

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