A Sip of Caffeine and Lull in Daricheh Café

Samaneh Mohammadzadeh – Tehran isn’t all about a crowded city, winter air pollution, Iranian political and economical capital and hectic days. Like any other mega capitals in the world, Tehran has a tender and soft heart behind his face. There are hundreds of cozy places to take shelter after the busy days of work or school, to refresh your soul and mind alone or with the company of a close friend. To name some, Shemiran’s alley gardens, restaurants with live music, Shahr-e Ketab book stores can be wise options.

But there are times we become more complicated than what we think, wanting calm and chaos at the same time. We don’t feel like to disconnect ourselves from the world around us and we are in need of moments to see people’s smile or hearing a polite Hello. It’s like being in a place with others, yet having a quiet space as big as that place. No one can deny the fact that strangers can enrich our lives without us even knowing it. So if this sophisticated and mysterious feeling emerges, then going for a cup of caffeine in a popular cafe might bring forth the answer!

Residing near Tehran University at Enqelab street, Daricheh (means window) cafe is one of those popular, cozy cafes for university students which is known for its traditional herbal drinks and cafe lattés. As I sit in the cafe i look around and see the decorative stuffs, charity posters and art works on the dark wooden walls and the small paper memos in forms of poem or prose under the glass of wooden tables which might be from happy lovers or loyal customers of the cafe.

Meanwhile I’m busy watching the new art works on the walls, a young girl, smiling, brings the menu and welcome-drink that smells as mint, saffron or something. I ask for the recipe, she just names the stuffs i guessed myself and then “Our herbal drink recipes are secret!” she says. I enjoyed whatever this secret bitter-sweet drink had.

Till my friend arrival, I order tea only. Of course tea of Persian style, which is served in curvy little glass with sugar cubes or Nabat (sugar crystal). The coffee-girl offered me to take a look at their public book shelve or play a game till my friend comes. I prefer to stay curious at my seat and discover more about the cafe, I ask her if I can take some pictures and she answers it depends on management permission. As I’m waiting for the permission, I look around again. This time I turn my head to two tables away, an elderly man moves the chair for his wife, who is at his age, to seat with an smile. It’s lovely scene, since often cafes in Iran were for young people, or at least middle aged people and now seeing two old love birds came to the cafe to tweet together and drink something brings me an especial joy mixed with optimism. That’s the epiphany I talked about at first.

Coffee-girl brings the tea, again with a smile. It’s not those fake smiles people have for their customers but she seems kind of really kind. After her, a fifty something year old man walks to my table, he says Hello and after he introduces himself I get to know he is Mr Yavari, the owner of Daricheh cafe. Before he sits, he politely asks as if he can join me and I accept eagerly.

Giving the permission to photograph, Yavari talks about his wish about opening this cafe long time ago when he had a full time job in a governmental section. When he became retired, he took some courses and then opened the cafe. He says his wish was to have a cafe for everyone’s tastes, old and young and even for smokers and non smokers. He then points to the upstairs where customers could smoke without the smell of cigarette irritating others. It was interesting to know how the air conditioning worked there, since I couldn’t smell the smoke from where I was sitting. He also tells me about the visit Italian tourists had to his cafe the other week and how the cafe latte he had made, caused a nostalgia for the Italians. Talking with him was the second good feeling which I had in the cafe. This was perhaps another opportunity to prove cafe was a wise option.

My friend finally arrives. Since we both know we have a lot to share, I prefer to order things first. Through Yavari’s talk I was tempted to order that especial cafe lattes which could take Italians to Rome! Cheese cake and chocolate cake is our other choice. Life couldn’t be better than what we had at that moment. It was perhaps in Daricheh where I came to realize sometimes strangers the same as friends can be the windows to the peace we look for.

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