As I was skimming through the previous posts here, something glared back at me; they are all dull, boring, rants from my life and heck who’d care about my past and my God anyway. So I’ve tried a new venture here, spiced up my life and gone ahead and written a story. Yay!!
The usual rules stick, read till the end; if you see your concentration waning, pour that strong cup of coffee, wash it down and hang in there. All events in this story are purely fictional and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely intentional. Duh! It’s my story after all!
He rolled down the windows of the taxi briefly, careful not to let the downpour in. He waved in her direction, met her eye, they exchanged a brief smile and she walked towards him. She gingerly snapped her umbrella shut, sat in and the taxi drove on. They exchanged quick pleasantries.
…”True, The Mumbai monsoon was becoming unbearable”…
…”That new flick had some poor storyline to begin with”…
…”Isn’t it a shame Michael Schumacher is not going to be driving after all!”
It was just their second date, could he really call it that, and he had already begun to like her. Unlike the prospectives his friends usually hitched him up with, she was genial, homely, grounded to the earth, loved soaking in the rain, thought that our traditions had to be respected no matter what and believed that the saari was a snug outfit. The last two were definitely going to get her special-extra-brownie-points with ma.
Amma. If the past had taught him something, it is that amma was a different ballgame altogether. School days was spent cramming up the books, extra tuition ensured that there was no time for wasteful thinking, leave alone squandering. Mom made sure that he got his milk on time, had his homeworks top notch and he was up before sunrise, for an extra round of revision. How else did he plan on becoming an astronaut? College was no less complicated. Amma relocated to his town; Yeah, Pa could manage on his own for couple of years and No, hostels are for kids whose mothers dont care enough.
And so, four years had dragged by at snail’s pace. The first puff of smoke was taken elsewhere while he had been busy completing his engineering drawing, on time and crisp to the P. The first crush was turned into heartbreak for others, while he dozed on the bus, rattling back home for dinner. The kiss had been magical; ephemeral, yet legendary indeed. But it had not been him, for he was at the temple that day, praying for a successful semester.
A mental snap, and he was back to today. “Whhaa..?”
“I don’t know. I mentioned coffee and you said ‘If Only’. “
“It’s alright. We can get coffee sometime later.”
“NO!! No. Coffee is good. Coffee is great. Coffee it shall be”
He watched her, quietly, as she made herself comfortable in the small shack. Their patio table gave every part of her body room to live up and breath. He conceived that very moment, that he was capable of spending the rest of his life, staring at her luscious dark hair, duelling with the renegade breeze. The Indianness in everything about her, sent home a warm feeling within him. The waiter seemed to notice the artful manner in which she ordered our coffee, the nimbleness seemingly inborn. He sported a huge smile, scratched down our order and skipped his way back. Pumpkin what latte!? Pumpkin in a coffee? Really?
She sipped her drink, exuding a sense of peace to the world around her. By her green and yellow attire, everything seemed to pop out and spring into a dance, moving to the eternal song of love and life. Or at least he thought so. She sat there and took a sip of her coffee, undisturbed, while he continued.
He took a sip of the drink and spat it all out. He should not have listened to these guys after all. Amma was right from the beginning, this “was” a drink to hell. He forced another sip in, holding it in his mouth for a second, before gulping it down. As the caustic liquid oozed through his ducts, his inners came to life, burning their presence. When they finally settled, his mind settled too, on a cloud of dust around him. The guys were right, you could hear music with this drink in you. Hail Bro!!
Four hours and numerous drinks down, he walked home carelessly, mimicing a straight line in his gait. He laughed at how unsuccessful he was at it. The guys had helped him rehearse the story he was going to tell amma. He had gone over it a million times. Can you really count straight when you are drunk? There was not an odor or sound left on him to raise an ounce of doubt in her. He had to shoulder up and be a man! He could fool his way through without a doubt, and to think he presumed amma knew it all so far.
Amma knew it all. Period. She knew he was lying from ah-choo! There had been no study circle. There were no notes to copy. It was not just coffee indeed. He had disappointed her to the point of being ashamed. Dared he repeat it and she was going to take drastic steps. No, she did not want to listen to anything more. To the room please.
The soft tap on his hand bought his thoughts rushing back. He could never lie to amma again. But with the sensuous lady tapping his hands right now, he wouldn’t have to. She seemed to have fallen from heaven, or where ever they come from, with him in her mind all along. She pointed at her wrist watch, proclaimed that it was late and she needed to be home in time for the evening prayers.
“Oh!” Feeble protest. “Let’s get a taxi. I’ll ride you home”
Yes. Amma would definitely appreciate her and her impeccable demeanor. Prayers in the evening! There was no conceivable reason an out-going, modern, educated women of today would do that. She was going to be a complete success with Amma, and his dreams were coming to life indeed. He hailed the nearest black and yellow ride, shabbily whispered her address to the driver and settled in the back seat. She seemed to have been sitting there from ages eternal. The way she curled her legs together amused him, what wondrous poise in such cramped spaces. Beside him, she nudged closer and her sweet menthol fragrance gripped him.
He turned to face her, staring deep into her reciprocating eyes. Was this going to be the opportunity he had missed years back? What had the guys said? Don’t waste the moment thinking about it, go ahead and do it. Or wait! Was it, Thinking about it made sure you never missed it? She inched closer and his thoughts shattered, quite similar to the distance between them. Her brown eyes glared back, innocence and naievete in abundance. The inches between her voluptuous lips and his controlled fear seemed to be receding, slowly but surely.
Was he manning up to it and making the move? Finally? Was she being the infallable woman that she is, aware that he would want her to be? He sighed heavily, slumping in his seat.
A second away, and…
“Brother, Do you have a match?”
“Here’s a lighter, bhayya.” With experienced swiftness, she dug through her purse, reached past her menthol cigarettes and produced a gem-studded piece.
Boy! He’d never seen one such before, and he couldn’t take his eyes of it now.