Like any other day it was an early October evening; light winter shower had left the city a cooler and breezy. This shower is the sign start of winter. All are waiting for this rain in Delhi and nearby states in north India. It was being a weekend evening made it even more dramatic and sarcastically romantic. I went out on small stroll with my cigarette and my puzzled thoughts. Thoughts about the my recent past, present and near future, All looked little very gloomy like the weather and I felt extremely connected as everything fell together perfectly matched jigsaw puzzle.
Moving from one block to another I was observing just bathed houses as if relaxing after a long and ugly summer. People in the balcony enjoying evening tea and few snacks espy pakora as if welcoming winter with open doors. Winters are the best time in Delhi; it’s not only a sign for Winter but a sign of good food, sweets, holidays and most important series of festivals.
My observation with my mixed thought took me to our nearby market where suddenly I felt a buzz. I wondered what’s new as I saw cheerful faces of people who too welcoming this shower and beautiful upcoming 4-5 months of winter.
I walked though the market as it’s about 2 km long market with concealed area to walk and few hawkers selling books, flowers, some snacks and toys. Market has all kinds of shops from eateries to groceries to medical and music shops who are always playing the latest pop songs. The feel of the place today was very chearpy and playful and music was just adding to this moment.
Walk smoke and weather made me little hungry and coffee! Yes a nice south Indian filter coffee is what I need hence simple I walked into Q Café. Strangely it was full that too at this hour of the day! As it is it’s not so big but never before I have seen it so full. I smiled at the manger as I am regular at this café but he sheepishly ignored me to avoid any favor. After a brief wait I got my table and I order sambar vada and a nice strong filter coffee. I always wondered how come this place never changed it has the same furniture, same color walls and to top it all same staff who have no sense of emotions or expression rather it all too robotic.
As I was waiting on corner 2 cover table for my order I could miss a young Lady waiting for her table and we had eye contact but ignored the first ,second and few times. Finally my sambar vada came and like always sambar is piping hot and I living up to my reputation again burned my mouth. This time I we again had the eye contact but I was little embarrassed as was caught on the wrong foot.
Then something happened just asked in a sign language if the other seat it taken and I instinctively signed NO
She suggest if she can join on that table, I wanted to say no but said YES
As she approached me from 20 feet away I first time started to notice her. Looks like early mid twenties and attire more like Feminism, sharp, bunt and I don’t care types. I was trying had for my Sherlock Holmes skills but was failing big time as I was just getting a basic type cast but no real data.
Too late she was here and so was my coffee!
"Hi" she said.
I smiled and made space on the table. She order at the same time but ignored what she ordered as it would be rude. Now I was conscious but I was trying hard to have a strong front. She broke the ice
I am ********** and I smiled again I said I am UFO. Names are not important they add a lot of tags and cliché
In next few minutes I realized I am younger than her and she is not even remotely interested in me. This realization was a cool off for me now I was conformable and eating my vada and enjoying my tea ahah south Indian filter coffee. Just checking if you really there
Her order also served and surprisingly was exactly the same and with food we started to talk, talk got more interesting and talk turned into conversation. We were talking as if old friends catching up on old times reliving the memories but we are still strangers. She was smart and with a wit that was blunt but intelligent. We discussed movies, trends, fashion and most importantly carrier option these days.
I was just out of college and she seem to have few years of work experience so carrier was the obvious choice of subject for both. Her interest in media and mine in Travel were way apart but aspirations to make it big were the common ground. Now it was not about what but how !
I had finished my grab and was just enjoying the talk without any prejudice or pretence. She was a quick eater and I realized that she was also enjoying this conversation as we got deep into the topic. She had gestural way to talk and used a lot of hands which I liked about her but it was distracting at the same time.
As much as we were enjoying this time the waiter was not which I realized so I asked for another cup of coffee for myself , was little hesitant if she takes it otherwise if I ask offer so I played safe. She to without make it obvious asked for some more snack & a coffee on pretext that she is hungry & will skip her dinner.
Urge of smoke was getting stronger so I went out for quick smoke while we wait for our order to come.
I got back to the table & I realized that she was busy with her food & coffee was waiting for me. I slowly sipping & was watching her eat but now she was rather quicker than before as if wanted to finish food so she can catch up with me on coffee. I too was slow to facilitate her with speed & coffee.
The place was now getting even more filled & I could see quite a few people waiting as we were getting closer to dinner time. I felt guilty but was not ready to let go of this strange stranger experience so fast. Now we were sipping coffee with smiles & some wit. I felt something new with her but could figure out what.
Half way through coffee she said that she has 2 minute job with a tailor & she would be back before he packs up for the day. As our coffee was not through she asked to wait for her and I agreed.
I was again gazing through the café people & sipping coffee and was thinking of this experience. About 20 minutes later I felt funny only to realize another 15 minutes That she may not come. I asked for my bill & got up to the cashier to pay. Bill for my food & hers too. Yes hers.
Fortunately I had enough money that too being a student hence didn’t argue about her as it was both funny, conned & gullible. I got out the café with a timid smile on my face & embarrassment. I was blank for few minutes
I lit another cigarette & was just trying to recollect on the event that happened with me. I wanted to pinch myself to feel reality.
Its going to a long walk home! More thoughts & Even more confusion!
As I crossed through the market I was looking at the same place same shops same everything but now with amazement. My eyes were scanning through people for that face. I was still somewhere hopeful about seeing her rather I was too optimistic I think
Now it was a new struggle new confusion, I wanted to believe that she is a nice person and must have got stuck at the tailor or something. But at the same time my mind said its elementary she was a smart cookie & just had me fooled in broad daylight. This internal struggle had taken my mind off from the recent events in my life.
I met few people on the way back with whom I exchanged pleasantries but was totally engrossed with my coffee exchange.
As I was getting closer to home I felt the chill just to make realize winter’s presence. I smiled and said to myself that she will be One lady I will never forget in my life just like Lady Adler...