“As a matter of fact, there is something you might be able to do for
”, I managed to say, at which the object of my attention widened her doe like eyes even more. " I’m cold and wet, and I wouldn’t mind a coffee. And I certainly wouldn’t mind company ". Of an angel , I desperately wanted to add, but I was in partial control of my senses now(finally!). And as I watched her face, from an expression of initial surprise, it slowly gave way to a slightly embarrassed smile. me.
Oh, the smile! There are, according to Rahul Krishnan, many kinds of smiles- the simple childlike smile, the devious business class one that they use to cut your throat with,… But this was as yet an unclassified discovery, with a touchy mix of the childlike innocence, and a warmth that came straight from the heart, a warmth that can assuage the bleakness of cold, rainy Monday mornings, and at the same time give that little jump to your insides. Yes, to speak in the technical terms of my friend Bennet Gerald, a.k.a ,jojo, I was wholly,totally bowled over.
She agreed and off we went to the little cafe near the station. There was this cozy spot near the glass wall, with a cute view of the sidewalk. She was a bit hesitant at first but then again, I’ve got a knack for disarming people with my inherent stupidity and all, and to cut a long story short, I could see she was enjoying herself. Twice, I caught her looking at me, and twice I found myself lost to the world in her eyes. The air around me had a precious feel to it, a sweetness that I had felt only once before in life, before I messed everything and lost the people who mattered.
No, no sad thoughts, I told myself and it wasn’t quite hard if you had an angel sitting across you, reaching for your heart. And when the vulgar part of all such evenings, i.e. the bill arrived I reached for it slowly, with a timing that would have made Oliver Kahn proud, I managed to hold it, but the feel of soft fingers was unexpected. In a slow, graceful motion she slid her hand back, and I caught a glimpse of red on her cheeks as she looked down.
It was time to part and I tried to look composed, with not much of success,I should add. The rain had ceased, and the cool misty afternoon was turning out to be immensely pleasant, more so with the faint tugs of the strings in the heart. I could already hear the music inside, but a little voice in my mind was whispering , asking me not to get over excited. But its easy to ignore the little voices in one’s head when your senses are on a high, and no amount of negative vibes would be enough to ruin this day. Or so I thought. And then, finally we bid each other adieu , with a promise to meet on the same place the Friday evening.
As the auto rickshaw came to a noisy halt in front of my gate, my mind was aimlessly wandering in wanton dreams, dreams that tend to make you smile at odd occasions, such as when the driver ask for his fare.” Oye!! Are you short of money,man? Like I said, its 20 bucks”. I smiled apologetically, and took a crumpled rs.20 note from my pocket. Inside, I made myself a quick coffee, and while sipping in the warmth, I took the newspaper and started sifting through the pages. Sachin Tendulkar had copped another achievement to his not so small collection, and a certain ex chief minister had supposedly cheated 3000 crores in liquid cash. And then did a quaint little article catch my eye. “Pick Pockets Thrive in the City”. As fate would have it, I began to read through. A spate of recent incidents was causing many complications for the police force. A group was reportedly at work behind the scenes, and their modus operandi were very delicate. One of them would distract the intended victim with a well directed push, or by some other means distract him enough so that their leader has the time to pick the pocket, or bag of money as the case may be. And then the strangest of thoughts crossed my mind. Instinctively, I reached for my pocket. Where a purse laid with Rs 3,455 was, only a void remained. And as my brain registered this appalling discovery, I began to see what happened, and quickly the void spread, but to my heart. The glass slipped off and shattered, but I heard no noise ,nor did I feel the pain of a couple of the shards finding bloody solace on my body. There must have been 2 of them at work on me, I detachedly observed, the boy who ran into me first and that beautiful serpent. I am not a man of great internal strength, and is easily moved to tears. Even more so, when my ego is hurt, as it was in this case. I wept like a mere child for 25 minutes straight, and I got over it.
Footnote 1:The pickpocket
He was drinking the 6th peg, in under half an hour of entering the bar. But he was still in full control of his senses, at least to the extent humanly possible after consuming a not so little quantity of alcohol. "But what the hell, today was a day to celebrate, with the best loot I’ve had in a month’s time..",he thought. Rs 3,455. He liked paying attention to the details, and go over them with sweet scent of success. The Kurt Cobain in his T-shirt would have died a second time, with the mere scent of the volumes of intoxicating liquid he was taking in. He would soon be home, and since he’d started operating alone, life had become way easier for him. Ofcourse, he wasn’t missed by the former members of his gang, of that Ajit Tyagi knew. But then again he was a talent on the rise, a prodigy of sorts. He laughed to himself on his little semi joke and once again was lost to the world.
Footnote2: The beautiful serpent
She took her seat in the bus, and got lost to the world in seconds. Today had been extraordinarily good. The man she ran into, quite literally, was hard to keep off the mind .She did not know that the next Friday evening she would wait in vain for that man to arrive, or for that matter it would become a ritual for her to spend Friday evenings in that lonely table in the busy café. And the puppet master, the big man they say who watches everything would pull the strings that her table would remain that way, for a very long time.