I felt some movement in the air and turned to my right and heard this:
“One Tropical Iceberg Please”
It was a crisp, properly paused, confident, accent-free female tone. You rarely get to listen to such tones these days, without any of those trying to be American accents. It sounded neither like an order nor like a request. As I turned, I found myself ogling with my eyes and mouth wide open. She took out an exact Rs. 65 and placed it there and did not care to ask the guy at the counter how much it was for.
“And make it fast”, she added, in the same tone.
This is the first time I have seen her and that too, at CCD. Being a regular here, I shamelessly admit that I can almost recognize everyone who comes here and in fact I am on a first name basis with the other regulars. She’s definitely new here.
With the phenomenal rise of the make-up industry, men world over are being fooled by their own eyes whenever they try to guess a girl’s age. I am not complaining, plainly stating a fact. That said it’s not right to add a few years to the guessed age in every case, where we assume that every girl is older than what she appears. Coming back to this girl, it was not her fully formal attire or the red scarf that gave away her “new girl” status but just that CCD here charges Rs. 53 for a Tropical Iceberg. Damn her over confidence.
Even I wanted a Tropical Iceberg (TI), but there was an imaginary throat block. Sorry, I want two TIs. For some godforsaken reason, every time a guy sees a pretty girl, his confidence gets a kick in the back side. Any guy, mark my words. So, this scene being no exception I, Alex, too succumbed to one of the very few flaws of Mankind. When you think of it, there actually is a quote that goes something like this:
“God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful for man to fall in love with her and foolish for her to love him”.
But trust me, this girl is no fool. Damn her again, and this time for being just pretty.
STOP. STOP. What nonsense am I thinking? Why are these utterly meaningless thoughts coming to my head when all I have is that little time before which that guy will get her, her TI, and as she had “ordered”, it will be fast. My head started talking telling me “Say Hi, say Hi, say Hi, Alex, say Hi. Don’t be a fool. This is your only chance”. It’s tough not to be a fool at moments like this.
Divya came from behind; she had waited long enough for me to place the order. So she came and stood right next to that new girl, and in a very disapproving tone said
“Two Tropical Icebergs” to the guy at the counter. That guy was a little disappointed, where’s the PLEASE? he must have thought. Least does he know that my girlfriend is at the moment showing her disapproval of me, at him. Sounds confusing right? Women. They are experts at these things. Divya then turned to me and said
“Alex, you want anything else?”
This new girl, let’s call her K, turned to see me. She was standing between me & my girlfriend and was surely the centre of attraction of the whole coffee shop. I felt good about the fact that she had at least heard my name.
“Alex”, Divya said again, now in a visibly irritated tone, eyes narrowed and the breathing, a little heavier. Now that, is an order, you know, one of those implicit ways of saying “Come back to your senses Mister”. I like her when she looks at me this way, looks far more mature than the girl she actually is. I replied with a sheepish
“Eh. Ah. Nothing” This is the guy lingo for “Where was I?” and very commonly mistaken as “Sorry” by the you know who. The confused look was still on.
K turned to me and smiled. I know fully that she did not smile because she saw a charming knight in the shining armor in me but smiled at my confused expression. But heck, that too is mine, certified trademark of Alex. Huh. I started smiling too, and she too kept on smiling.
At that moment, I forgot about my commitment. I was simply in awe of the power of the smile this girl unknowingly possessed. That moment, when you see someone so beautiful, you just can’t help but stare. I took all the liberty to appreciate that beauty and needless to say, Divya was furious, and rightfully so. Any girl would be furious if her boyfriend was shamelessly ogling and smiling at another girl and that too, right in front of her. But trust me folks, that needs some courage and a masterly way of apologizing.
That was when I took a glance at Divya, my girl. She’s short and cute. We have so much in common, like our taste in movies, books and food and also pretty trendy in her choice of clothes. Divya is not jaw dropping gorgeous and neither am I a Greek God. Good job Alex, I told myself, you do have a good girlfriend. While I was thinking about her, time had lapsed and she had walked away, least knowing that I was thinking about her. She looked better when she made those small eyes of hers even smaller and walked furiously to a chair, sit silently and stare back at me. It’s weird that when someone is angry, it gives happiness to us, even the ones we adore.
K’s Tropical Iceberg had arrived and so did mine. It is moments like this that make me believe in providence. If you are wondering what it could be, Divya went and sat at the last empty table in the whole of that CCD. With both the TIs in my hand, I dutifully started walking to my girl and out of nowhere I turned to K. Calvin once said that his lips move while he thinks and I guess he was talking of this moment. I was looking at K:
“Would you like to join us” my lips moved.
“Sure” came her reply.
Not bad, not bad at all, I said to myself and this time making sure that my lips remained sealed. We walked till the table silently and introduced the girls to each other.
“Meet Divya. Divya this is” and paused, expecting K to fill the pause. She got the cue.
“Hi Divya. I am Krithika and you are Alex right?” and she too paused, and turned to me.
“Yes” Divya said, without allowing me to say my full name out in my best voice but boy was I glad that I gave her a nickname of K for Krithika. Providence, again!
The following few minutes passed away with some formal questions as to where who is from and etc. I gathered that she’s from Mangalore and is NOT a fresher and did put across my point that I am from Kerala and that I am damn proud of it and so on. The usual boring talk of education, work and all continued till half my TI completed and suddenly Divya got a call from her manager who wanted her back to her desk as soon as possible.
Providence struck again and again and while I was lost in the “too good to be true” type of thoughts, Divya turned to K and said:
“Nice meeting you Krithika. You guys carry on, will catch up some other time.” “Sure Divya”, Krithika replied.
It was my turn to say bye and as I got up, she turned to me and said:
“Bye Sweetheart”, boldly and started walking away.
My face turned cold and a meek “Bye” escaped my lips. Krithika turned to me, the smile was replaced with an exclamation and asked:
“Naah, friends since college” I bluffed.
Barely had I completed my “naah”, when from a short distance came an angry “What?”.
All characters are purely fictional. Any resemblance to the living or dead is totally unintentional.