or free coffee or lemon tea?

No really...I never thought the day would come when cost cutting would affect the office pantry to this extent!!

I still remember my first day at work at the *free* pantry. I was your typical halli guggu (country bumpkin) who mixed milk with lemon tea, much to the disdain of my posh colleagues. It's an incident that is naratted during family functions and other social gatherings.

We were promised 'fresh and honest' coffee, and a few months later masala chai - a perfect cure for those with chronic colds. (Note: We were getting all this for free, the same masala chai cost Rs. 25 at the airport.) There was the haunted vending machine in one pantry that would start steaming and puffing for no rhyme or reason, and only the ones who were too sleep deprived to be spooked by ghosts would dare to go there.

Then HR decided to revamp things and introduce milk powder machines that were..well...not much to blog about! There were fiery email exchanges about cockroaches and other forms of non-veg coffee found in the new vending machines. After some initial irritation, we got used to the paysam like milk-powder coffee and tea, that was relatively roach free.

Then, a few years later, they decided to re-introduce 'fresh and honest' coffee, lemon tea, and masala chai - much to our delight! Finally - a pantry that (re)served good stuff!

And despite coming full circle regarding beverage decisions, HR is once again going on a new orbit - our pantries will soon function with a smart card (really? is this a way of working smarter??) Essentially, we will now PAY for our tanin and caffeine shots. What fun is it to PAY to stay awake, to chill out, to catch up on some gossip or crib about an annoying boss or client?Paying for it makes it as boring as indulging in superficial conversations - the types all the Coffee Days and Barista's are so full of!

Well I suppose one cannot crib too much - I heard many offices function this way. Moreover this might encourage us to switch to healthier lifestyles that is not so dependant on caffeine. Wonder if they will introduce green tea...hmmm.

Yet, this is a move that has left us feeling a bit upset as the atmosphere in the pantry is going to be very different. But I suppose change management is something we are all too used to, and paying for coffee will just be another activity in this office.