Of filter kaappi and maakkolams, of pookalams and kaineettams, of madisar and settumundu, of mangaacurry and mysorepak, of books and words, of pens and colours, of steps and rhythm...
To the good at heart, I offer a feast ;
Mess with me, and I'll be a beast :-D
The aquarium was deserted; the usual on working days. The
air was silent, except for the occasional murmurs that arose from the few
visitors who posed for photographs, or the kids who ran about the corridors .
The small fish , the eels , the turtles, and the fiery sharks
were a delight , behind the huge glass enclosures. They swam around in happy
abandon, and didn’t seem to be bothered by the visitors.
As she stood there, watching the life under water, she felt
a strange sense of peace descend on her.
Peace. She hadn’t known peace for a long time now.
“Chalo, let’s go and have an ice cream now. Then we’ll head
home. Or else it’ll be too late and we’ll
be caught in the traffic ,” Roshni said.
She nodded and walked towards the exit
sign that glowed green a little ahead.
Just outside the exit door was a small cafeteria. There were
a few chairs, and a door on the other side of that corridor opened to the
terrace with more tables and chairs.
“ I’ll get the icecream. Chocolate, right, Shreya ?”, Roshni
asked and moved to the counter, without waiting for an answer.
She smiled faintly as she walked to the door and out into
the terrace . Her quirky friend always left
out the ‘si’ at the end of her name.
A cool wind was blowing, and
she wrapped the shawl tight around her body, scanning the terrace with a
quick glance around.
Most of the chairs were empty, as there were less customers.
One of the tables was occupied by four people, who seemed to be family. The men
were clad in Kandura, and the women ,in Aba`ya , the monotony of the black
colour broken by the golden designs interwoven on the fabric. The men were busy
on their phones, and one of the women was applying lipstick, the other fiddling
with her handbag.
On a single chair at the other end, a man sat, reading a book.
He held the book up with his right hand, his face hidden behind, with his left
hand on the ankle of his right leg which rested on his left knee.
She smiled to herself and turned to look at the sky. The sun,
getting ready to bid goodbye to the day , was slowly painting the horizon in a
delightful shade of orange.
Down below on the ground was a small pond, with five fountains,
arranged like a star. One of the main attractions was the Musical Fountain,
which would begin once it was dark enough for the lights to glow.
She’d been in the UAE for one month now. With help from Roshni, her best friend from
college , she had found a job with Watsons’
Healthcare Group, as a physiotherapist. Dr Mathew, her superior, a nice, kind
man in his late forties, was the best boss anyone could ask for. She’d begun to
love the job, for the comfort and peace she got when she helped people with
their sessions. And on Dr Mathew’s insistence, she also worked as a trainer and
counselor at the kids’ home, another venture of the Group. This was her day off. It
was Roshni, who was also her room mate, who suggested the aquarium to hang out.
“Oye, what’re you thinking ? Don’t think too much. The
icecream will melt before you say ‘go’”, Roshni said, bringing her the ice
cream in a cone.
They sat down to have the icecream. That was when Roshni’s
“ Amma, how are you?" she spoke, as she got up from her
seat and walked away to one corner of the terrace, gesturing something to Shreyasi
about the connectivity.
Shreyasi continued to have the ice cream in silence. She
wanted to go home soon. She had to read something for tomorrow’s session with
A loud noise made her turn.
The man who’d been reading was up on his feet, trying to
pick his book up from ground.
He straightened, dusted the book and opened his
bag to put it in.
And she saw his face clearly this time.
A chill ran through her spine, and she turned her face,
fiddling with her dupatta to hide it.
She kept still, waiting for the sound of his receding
footsteps. She looked at the corner where Roshni stood, still speaking into the
phone while signaling with her fingers on her watch and pointing at the stairs that went
Carefully, she got up and walked to her and together they
took the stairs down.
As they hailed a cab home, she couldn’t decide whether she was happy or
She was sure she’d made no mistake in identifying him. She
could never go wrong ; not with him.
The man she’d sought to avoid, yet, the one she had wanted
so badly to meet, was here.
At a surprising proximity.
She smiled, as she composed a poem in her mind, like she
All these days, life’s been tough,
Just when I think, ‘I’ve had enough’,
Ah, my fate, you’re
You bring me the man I sought to find
As this day gives way to the dark,
I find happiness in as much a spark….
And even if I have to put up a fight,
I’ll surely win the armoured knight !
She smiled again.
Her mission had begun to see light.
To be contd....