BENGALURU: VG Siddhartha’s brainchild Café Coffee Day (CCD) was not only about coffee and business, but has a great emotional connect with Bengalureans. In a city low on public spaces, CCDs became the meeting place of ideas and people. From dating to discussing startup ideas, from chatting with potential lifemates to clearing business proposals, from striking friendships to deciding divorces – CCDs outlets have seen them all. The most-discussed topic, both online and offline, by Bengaluru’s young people on Wednesday was: “A lot can happen over coffee” For many like Renuka and her husband Govind Krishna, love blossomed over countless cups of coffee. The couple’s 12-year relationship began in CCD — they had their first date there and even planned their marriage in 2016 at an outlet. Now settled in Japan, they said: “CCD introduced a space for youngsters in Bengaluru to simply chill, talk and even sit alone and read.” The joy of saving up to buy one coffee and snack to laze at a café resonated was shared by many. For others, CCD was the next stop after school and college canteens. First western cafeComfortable seating and airconditioned outlets where you could sit for hours without being asked to leave was the USP for youngsters. From Hot Chocolate, Devil’s Own, Tropical Iceberg to different varieties of coffee, it was at CCD that many Indian kids learnt the difference between a latte, cappuccino and espresso. “I had no clue Americano was just black coffee. The CCD menu explains what each coffee is about. Today, it’s common knowledge but back then, it took a CCD to tell me there was a lot more than filter coffee,” Ayesha, a techie said. For 27-year-old Kavya Baskar, now studying now in Netherlands, her first experience of a cosy, western café with free Wi-Fi was at a CCD on Brigade Road when she was only 15. “I was in awe of the place,” she says. For 24-year-old Antara Sharma, a treat from her sister at a CCD in 2011 on getting her first salary is still close to her heart. “I still remember I had a brownie with ice-cream and a latte,” Antara gushes. Shruthi S, a writer, remembers how CCD was where she had her first date. “It was raining outside, it was cold inside, and the coffee brought us warmth. Enough for us to leave the CCD and walk the rest of the date,” Shruthi said. But for Parsa, it was at a CCD that he had his heart broken. “It’s not a good memory. I still remember her tears. I can never go back to that CCD ever again,” he says. Parent-free zoneAastha Gupta, a former journalist now in Australia, summed up what CCDs meant to this generation. “That chain taught our generation what ‘cool’ or ‘chilling’ meant. It was this parentfree space for quite some time because no Indian parent in their right minds would have spent Rs 200 on coffee,” Aastha said. Matrimonial meetingsLately, parents have started visiting CCD outlets for ‘Rishta meetings’, as Ayesha P describes matrimonial meets. The 26-year-old techie’s family met a prospective groom’s family at an outlet in Koramangala last week. “The boy and I sat two tables away from our parents and chatted for a while and it was better than families meeting at homes. The casual setting helps everyone loosen up a little,” Ayesha said. They’ll visit each other’s homes if they want to take it forward.