211 creations. 211 stories. A common source of Happiness

Happiness has no defined code. The more one tries to structure it in a template, the further it moves. In a goal driven society, happiness unfortunately always indexes. It indexes to the next higher task, activity, possession or attachment. However, there is one pure source of happiness which is ubiquitous to everyone and there is nothing cipher about it- the joy of creation. Conceptualizing and creating something new provides an emotional uplift in our quotidian life. That’s what I witnessed in the eyes of Sana- a barista at Starbucks, Turner Road store in Mumbai, India, as her name was inked behind with the name of the drink she had created.

It is part of the Barista Pride Program at Starbucks, where every year in the month of January, one barista in every store creates her or his own drink and the same gets featured for the customers. The fact that it is personally signed by the barista and marketed in an earnest way clearly demonstrates the power of creation. The pride and curiosity is evident when you speak to those baristas, as they chuckle in awe of their own creation. For me, that’s the ultimate source of happiness.

“I thought about my set of customers. Typically, they prefer a drink which has blend of chocolate and espresso. Strong element of coffee is a must for them. And I decided to give it a twist by making it richer through a half and half milk. It gives a perfect velvety texture and hence the name “Velvet Latte”, says Sana. Her eyes squeeze as she speaks behind the mask. I am sure there is a wide smile hidden behind. It’s noteworthy how such moments provide ginormous proportion of confidence to individuals. Here is Sana who is braving her way out in a pandemic and shouldering the responsibility of her family as she is the single earner. As I sipped Velvet Latte, Sana spoke about her experience with aplomb and verve. “I have shared the picture of my drink with my parents and also made them taste it. There were tears in my dad’s eyes”.

In the morbid environment of masks and sanitizers, it was once again an epiphany of sorts. The magic happens when the craft of creation blends with the power of opportunity. It is the 3rd year, when ‘Barista Pride’ program is running at Starbucks. 211 unique drinks in every 211 stores in India! And in every café, you will find 211 different inspirational story. And it is special this year. To see happiness and joy spread as we step into 2021 was fascinating. It is not easy to create. Definitely not. Much easier to talk about though than to really deep dive in. In a World where judgement is passed every second, it takes a little bit of courage to express and express purely. As I gulped the last layer of Velvet Latte, Sana bid me goodbye with a thumbs-up. I stepped out of the café, with the after taste of hope and with a reminder that happiness is contagious and much simpler than we make it to be.

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Adrit Mishra

When statistics & management insights transcends into philosophical, introspective & poetic ones