A Lazy Confusing Summer Afternoon


In the city, on a hot summer afternoon, busy streets, heavy traffic, blaring horns, and dust from the exhaust pipes were really adding to the sultry weather.

The Sun, beaming from the high skies and relentlessly making people profusely sweat, unhappy with the climate, the people were carrying forward their daily chores. The offices and the buildings, with the heavy AC ducts and ventilators were panting out of breath.

Suddenly, from nowhere came a whiff of cold air and with it dark clouds in huge bundles and covered the sky with its coolness and heavy droplets of water. The clouds gathered at a faster pace and people looked towards the sky to watch the sun being engulfed by the clouds and they were pointing their finger towards it grumbling, to say, “You deserve it.”

The rain played its mercy on the people for some time and it started moving away to another thirsty land, which required the same treatment.

Shyamala, was ignorant of all these and was working on her computer on the 5th floor of her office building in the glass cabin of hers. She could have had a wonderful view of all these beautiful weather change but, today she had pulled down all the window blinds and was immersed in her work.

She was not doing her work; she was trying to figure out in her mind the reason for a certain happening in her life today and wanted a remedy for it. She was restless and was lost in her thoughts scampering for a resolution.

She isn’t like this, she loves nature and the sight from her cabin, which opens onto the city roads, below from her glass windows or rather walls for her. She could see the busy road down, the concrete jungle spread across the city, the clouds in the sky, the sun in the corners of the window during sunset, spreading a wide range of color display than any of the top brand color televisions in the market be it either SONY Bravia or LG LCD model.

She just loves her cabin and has also decorated it fabulously; she has all types of antiques, such as the voodoo idols of South Africa, the tribal artifacts, the Aladdin Lamp, and a few others adoring the walls and desk of her cabin. She is the Sr. Marketing Manager in a company that has spread it wings across the globe and has offices in any city that you can name.

She is smart, sensitive, and an adequate leader in her field and has fought this position from a group of successful men, in her company and is known for her quick and accurate decisions that she makes. She is focused and enjoys a perfect work-life balance and has a supporting family. On her right on the desk is a family photo of hers, along with a picture of her husband. She has this picture with her whenever she goes, even on her endless trips sometimes.

When she is tried or when she is restless, she has a long relaxing look outside of her window and it teaches her many a things. The look outside her window has been inspirational, worrisome, adventurous, and fabulous, breathe taking and at times sober too. But, she enjoyed this window of her. Today, she has not taken a look outside or not leaned on the rims of the window for a consolation, but have mercilessly pulled the window blinds and kept the sun and rain, hide and seek away from her. Why is so restless with herself? Why is she ignorant of her surroundings? What has come upon her?

She gives up, can’t calm her mind and wants a break from her ranting mind. She decides to a take a walk on the streets below, lets her secretary know and leaves the cabin to take the lift, to the streets below.

Around the corner of the street is a coffee shop, which is quite empty during the afternoons. She might take a dip there or may not as she isn’t her usual self. The closed doors of the white lift indicator showing the ‘0’ as recognized and the lift opens on the ground floor.

She starts taking quick strides on the street with a worried face, relaxing a bit with the whiff of the cool air. She is mindless of the wet street with little pools of water and the mud strains getting added to the sole of her high heeled sandals. She walks past several shops and buildings, she watches the vivid colors of display on the windows of these shops, the passersby, the calling for taxi, the people running by, and the animated conversation between people, slowly her mind is absorbing things that she had closed her mind from morning… She is opening up.

The end of the road, the coffee shop, so inviting, somebody opened the doors of the shop to get out, the smell of coffee gets mixed with the air. She turns her head slowly, looks at the shop, blinks, the wordings on the glass door says, “A lot can happen over coffee.” smiling to herself, she enters the shop.

At the further end of the shop, there is a guy who is immersed in a book he is reading, in two chairs away from him there is a boy and girl lost in their world, apart from them the shop is empty. A cafe attendant in the shop walks up to her and asks her, “Maam, would you like to sit here [pointing to a small table with couches in one corner hid by the pillar structure]?”

She looks at her and nods her head, takes her seat along with the menu card. The attendant leaves her alone and walks away, she gives a sigh of relief, as the girl did not bother to stand there and pester her for an order. Settling down on the couch, she wonders why she turned up there. She had no intention of drinking coffee, looking at the menu card, reluctantly opens the card to look in, and the menu card items dance in front of her eyes and they try to tell her something of that she has almost forgotten in years.

She is just looking at them and she is being transported to the days of her life, when she was carefree and just a college girl surrounded by her friends and she used to spend some time during weekends with her friends in such a coffee shop, though in her times it wasn’t such a big posh looking shop, but a small bakery extended with a few chairs and tables spread on the pavement and it used to be heaven.

“Maam ….Maam, are you ready to order?”

“Maam…” Her thoughts are disturbed by this third call of the attendant who is standing beside her to take her order. Coming back she orders for a black coffee or espresso these days, and a glass of water.

To which, the girl looks up to the end of the shop which holds water dispensing unit, which is empty right now, and Shymala’s eyes follow this girls and she too is looking at the empty dispenser, at the same time, the pair of eyes from the book, catches a glance at them both. Her eyes meet the guys and it stays there for more than a half a minute then necessary.

Both of them turn away, and she replies, “Yes, maam will get you, but you got to wait a few seconds more, as you see our dispenser is empty and we are waiting for it to be changed. Will some plain water, do?”

“Oh, don’t bother get the water and coffee together.” Saying thus, she gets back to the menu on her hands. But, the pair of eyes tells her something else. I have seen these eyes before. “Oh yeah, you have lady, just now. You don’t remember [her mind speaks slowly]” “No, I have seen them from close quarters.” These are the same, eyes that belong to Sameer, the guy who secretly stole her heart and made had feel a soft corner for him whenever he looked at her fondly.

Ah, that is ages before, no it can’t be him. I haven’t seen him after the day of graduation. God, knows where he is right now?

“Excuse me…can I share a cup of coffee with you?”

“Sorry, I don’t entertain strangers. Leave me alone.”

“Yeah, I would. If you take a look at me [He stood there smiling, waiting for her to look at him]”

She lifts her head to find an average looking middle-aged man, with a well built and managed body, looking at her with the same slop sided smile, with the sharp dark brown eyes piercing her.

She instantly breaks into a cheer and extends her hand to greet, the man who got lost into this world and long forgotten in the warfare of life. She never remembered him for a second, till the day she sat in this very coffee shop looking at the menu card. And Lo! He is here standing and offering her a chance to share her coffee with him.

“Hey, man decades now, How come you here?” “My god, please do join. You don’t need invitation sent out, right.”

“Huh, I thought I almost needed one till you looked up at me.”

“What do you mean? What I am doing here? Do you own this city? No, I guess, you don’t. If you do, I would have come to know, coz, now I am a small Real Estate Investor and Constructor, in the city. My company is named; Eden Alliances and Constructions.”

“Wow, that’s a name. You into constructions, Hmm…It’s been a long time, Sam (this is how she used to address him, during college days), how did I remember that??!!”

They look at each other for quite a while letting the silence engulf them and the song, playing the background, “Tu hi re….Tu hi re, an ARR musical duet.”

His face has taken the effects of middle-age. His moustache has traces of grey hair, his sideburns have traces of grey hair, and hair is graying near the temples were adding beauty to his face. His clean shaven cheeks show marks of laugh lines, his eyes has taken a reading glass to it, aging inconveniences, his neatly ironed pale blue shirt, the neatly folded sleeves, the steel colored watch with his favorite black dial with roman numbers, his sleek artistic fingers, so on and on…Hmm, does the fingers still draw amazing portraits, landscapes, and beauties.

He wasn’t like this when in college, he was smart and quick witted, young vibrant. How is he, now? The same, where do I start, what do I ask him? If only, he had confessed his mind, that day?

Hello, madam, what lost in thoughts? I am still the same guy you know from college, only difference is now, I am entrepreneur and has responsibilities. I am married, have two kids, one is in 3rd standard and another is in 1st standard, in the same city. My wife’s, a darling, [pauses, he looks at her] then continues, she put up with me during my struggling years and saved me the disgrace of losing. She also contributes to my success.

Our college days were real fun, isn’t it. No worries, no constraints, no hassles, enjoyable period. What fun we had? But, you know, Shami [this is how he used to call her] life teaches you a lot of things. I struggled after finishing college for a job, started working as small time consultant and slowly built my own from scratch and during those days, got married, had kids, managed the home and the business and had been days, when I longed for a friend to share my feelings, to tell them what I went through, what trouble it is, to share a joke, to lighten a moment, to live life, and in all those moments, I thought of you.

She thinks, “Oh, my god, he thought of me, and I not even for an instant till this time, did not even think he existed. What, a smart mug I am.”

I thought of you, I thought you would bring me comfort by listening to me, I thought you would give me suggestions; I thought you would say, it will get over….Hmm…but you weren’t there? Isn’t it? Where had you been, Shami? Where were you all these days?

She was getting uncomfortable, in his gaze; she was feeling small, in front of him, she wanted to ask sorry, she wanted to tell him a lot of things, and she wanted to comfort him. But, then she thought, why all of sudden, why is he doing this now, when he should have expressed his feelings long back. Now, it is out of place and does not fit the bill.

She just controlled herself and said, “What do you mean by, where I had been. I am here, in the city for almost 10 years now, form finishing college, and been working in the Excel Marketing Corporation, as Sr. Marketing Manager.”

You see me here, in this coffee shop, today because I was disturbed and came to refresh my mind with a coffee. All of all, a surprise package, I see you here.

They are seen talking to each other in an animated conversation from the bill desk and the cafe attendant is thinking, this lady, I thought, she came alone. Huh, whatever you want happens in the city. Who cares, what, when and how….??!!! What’s in store for me? Let me take the bill out to her.

Image By: Jeeva ( An Artist Friend)

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    • mondayhaloween
    • April 19th, 2011

    Very interesting ! I wish you had continued…. 😦

    Like

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