Whimsical Vowels

Sunday evenings are rife with the sweet pain of separation. The sought after ‘weekend’ buoyant and alive in your arms a moment ago grows listless and impatient as the day proceeds. You already feel the tug and in utter despair try finding ways to stretch whatever time you have with one another.

In our case, it leads to a frantic internet search for cafes, preferably somewhere we’ve never been to and can spend the evening there, reading, lounging, chatting, eating and drinking, and of course sketching till the staff puts away their aprons and chef hats and the ‘open’ sign on the front door has been flipped. In short, a place where we could save ourselves from moping till bedtime.


AEIOU Cafe sketch closeup

The success rate of finding such a place maybe abysmal – if the ambience works, the coffee disappoints; if coffee’s good, the chairs are stiff; if the chairs are comfy, the staff maybe unfriendly – but we do get lucky sometimes. Last week’s search yielded the names of few interesting places in the Jalan Besar area, out of which we picked ‘AEIOU’ because it’s been popping on my newsfeed a lot lately.


AEIOU Cafe sketch: Of all the items that were on my table and around me, I picked out some at random and designed an illustration that expresses the wonder I felt sitting among such outlandish and whimsical decor

If this cafe was a person, I’d imagine him wearing mismatched socks with self doodled converse shoes paired with black suit, pinstripe shirt and his grandfather’s beret.  He’d also have a ponytail, dyed purple and a satchel fashioned out of discarded denims or burlap sacks slapped across his shoulder. He’ll stand out in a crowd but is oh-so-sure of himself. And in the midst of gawking at this interesting bloke and trying to make sense of his persona, if you simply extend your hand, he’ll take it warmly and make you feel comfortable. That is how we felt for the rest of the evening.

AEIOU Cafe - close up

AEIOU Cafe sketch close up

“Look at our table – it’s made out of a grilled window!”, whispered my husband. The glass in which his drink appeared was a chopped off portion of Grey Goose Vodka bottle. About us were mismatched old fashioned chairs, battered drum working as a flower vase, robots made out of tin cans that used to hold salad oil, hanging lamps made of kettles and toolboxes, pipes and window frames, suspended hot air balloons that doubled as decorative plant holder, jaded 70s furniture with funky paint on them and so much more that even before we ordered, I started sketching this whimsical mess and became extremely unsociable until the ‘root vegetable fries’ arrived. My husband picked out the potatoes for himself and piled the yams and sweet potatoes on my side. This sneaky underhand tactic worked only because I loved the taste of my side of tubers.

AEIOU Cafe sketch closeup

AEIOU Cafe sketch closeup

In another two hours I finished sketching over several cups of green tea. Reluctant to leave just yet, we ordered dinner with enough apprehension. If the food was meh I would’ve let it slide because you can’t tick all the boxes plus we were already having a good time. My chicken burger with a light salad atop a dino shaped wooden platter was gourmet standard. So it scored a last minute place in the sketch before the calls of ‘last order’ came and with it all the signs and signals of closure.

Monday was inevitable and looming large. We were ready.



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