It happens in life that we need face critical situations. Situations wherein, the choice we make assumes importance beyond measure. And being full of life as I am, such situations indeed have graced me often. While each one remains significant in its own accord, one particular incident stands apart, as it saw me verge on a nervous breakdown. And even today, as I look back upon, my heart shudders with primeval fright within. It was… ‘the dilemma at the Café Coffee Day’!
It was a day the Sun did not show up! Its not that there was a very long Solar Eclipse, just that clouds were strewn up in the sky blanketing the rays of the mighty sun from lighting the day. I should have taken clue but I did not believe in omens then. Not that I believe now either! Anyway, I was finished attending the class at college and was riding back home. And it was on Mount Road, close to LIC that I spotter her. Sheefali!
Sheefali was the most enticing and alluring of undergraduates to have ever walked in our college campus. And even in Open category, in mean, considering other such creatures in the City, she was a respectable force to beckon! And needless to say, I had an XXL size crush upon her. Believe me, I would have even let Tyson box me for three rounds to be blessed with an opportunity to have coffee with this beautiful wonderful piece of divine creation!
I braked my vehicle close by and called her out, “Hey! You are Sheefali ryt. Wat’s up?” And well, you know what happened next? The impossible happened! She looked back. She looked back at me!! And adding to that, she opened her mouth and spoke. Just so unbelievable! She said, “I went in to the Higginbothams and well when I came back my car had flat tyres. Have sent my driver to have it repaired! What about you?” She asked again, “Hey dude, what’s up? I asked what about you?”. And she actually had to shake me so as to rouse me from my dream! That small conversation attained the proportions of a nice sweet duet in my dreamy wonderland!!
I said, “Nothing. Going back home. Can I drop you somewhere?”. And when she said, “Sure!”, well I really swooned for a moment. She hopped on and I enquired where that should be. She said, “Anna Nagar”. I had a heartfelt intention to take the longest possible route to there, which being right round the earth! But I was still awaiting my passport, so I settled for the more conventional route. The traffic was quite dense and the noise kept me from conversing with that divine creation on the back seat! Pity that in bike the rear-view mirror doesn’t show the pillion-rider’s face as does in car!!
After about 30 minutes when we were coursing through Anna Nagar, at a red signal opposite the Café Coffee Day I looked at her and asked, with the most genuine of prayers I could have ever conjured in my heart, “How about a cup of coffee?”. And she just smiled and said, “Sure!”. “Wow!”, I took a double take. “God’s definitely showing-off!”.
I took a U-turn, parked and we two stepped into the posh cool lounge of the Café, with a whiff of coffee making my heart happier still, if at all it were possible! We spotted a comfortable pair of sofa and had self seated. My o my! I was still not believing all this. “I am sitting with the most beautiful girl in the history of my college, and she has just me along to entertain her!”. I was sincerely in bliss. She ordered a cold-coffee with cream and vanilla toppings while I called for my usual, cream with chocolate chips.
She spoke! She spoke to me! And she spoke tender, with such a sweet poise! Does she like me! Well for someone for whom it was unbelievable to even behold this lady looking back to his call, this would be just a revolting thought, but it did seem true. She had that smile, the kind of smile that is usually pasted on the lips of a lady when she likes a guy and wants to convey that she likes his company. And the lady this time was Sheefali and the guy was me! “How many guys would have had been at my place till date”, I thought!
Well actually Sheefali was notorious at snubbing any and every guy who approached her! She was uniquely notorious for that. And this I feel was something that further adder to her fan-fare. The more difficult the deal is, the more you get to value it! And above all was her enigmatic silence about self. People knew very little about her. In fact, I must be among the few guys to know where her house was. And today, this lady, an incidental company was opening self to me, giving me that charming smile and making me feel great of her company!
I was quite puzzled! But then there is a saying that never think when you can actually have fun with what you are doing! So I kept my side of the train running on rail. And it was a whole hour-and-a-half later when with the sky dimming outside we felt we need moving! My mom would be concerned about what happened to her innocent he-knows-nothing-about-the-world lad! So we had the waiter get us the bill.
And it was then it stroke me that my purse was empty! Well not completely empty, it still had 6 rupees and 50 paise in it! But that was falling short of the bill at the Café!! But then, I can’t have my first date, I mean, first date with this wonderful lady(!!) end on such a drab note. I needed to do something, and do that fast!
I gave her a smile and picked up my phone, feigning to have got a call. I got up and mocking bad-connection-inside frustration, walked about to buy self time. I went up the door and walked out, thinking what to do! I just needed to pay the bill, and drop the lady home, sealing this lovely lively and wonderful evening with a promise of many more such!! But the money! I just needed a couple of paper notes with Mr. Gandhi on! I was sweating!! God, show me a way! Give me a pass!
And it was during this moment of what-to-do what-not-to that I saw Betty walking across! I felt a bolt strike me!! She was so so so beautiful! She was my high-school cursh, and definitely the most beautiful wonderful divine creation to walk the grounds of my school! I waved to her and she took a moment to recognise but when she did, she ran to me and we embraced!
I asked were she was going and she said to PVR. Her car was parked down the lane. And she said, “What will you take to come along mate!”. It would have taken nothing even without the wink that she beamed along, but it did make my ear flush red!!
I let the whole world behind! Past is past! Let bygone be bygone! And I messaged Sheefali, “Emergency case at ward! Need to go. See you tomorrow dear! Hope you understand!!”. Praise the Lord!!