I kept wondering for a long time, who would the first character be. Not that I was lost for characters, it was just a 'blonde moment' where I was thinking, "who is that one character, who gets to do the opening act on My blog' :D:D:D" But when I actually couldnt make up my mind as to who to favour, I have finally decided on this fella, I havent met for a long long time, but sure was fun to be around....
Like every other evening, the Café was buzzing with people coming and leaving. People in all shapes, sizes, colours and quirks. I was waiting for my turn to get a machine to surf. This dates back to those old days when we surfed from a ‘Cyber Café’. Yeah, this Café isn’t Barista; firstly coz they were non-existent that time, and secondly even if they existed, we were students living on the mercy of our parents. So, I had actually found this ‘Café’ which charged about 10 bucks an hour instead of the usual 20 which others charged. But more than the economics, it was the place that attracted me. That place is closed down now, but even now, every time I pass that road, I still peep in. It was an open place, where if you were bitchy enough, you could see an internet romance blooming, or someone typing, “I can’t live with him anymore, what do you think I should do now?” Or someone sitting next to you would peep into your machine and start messaging, actually taking a chance that you are so dumb not to understand…. even after mentioning the colour of your T-shirt. Ofcourse there were females, who would shriek in disbelief, “oh my god! I think this guy is following me, he even knows what T-shirt am I wearing at the moment”. All this in full volume mode, so that every fella in the café would know, she is being stalked. Crazy that place was. And I would take my stool and observe, keeping my smile within me, waiting till my turn came.
Before I met him, my friend had already told me, “you know there is this fella, who likes your eyes”. (Of course, it felt good…) :) :) . But that day, he came with a BIG Baby’s milk bottle, complete with the nipple, and would coolly go to everyone and say, “can you put a Rupee in my piggy bank?” Now of course, why would you think twice, before putting in a dime. He had indeed collected a handsome amount. When he came to me, I was just gonna say something, when my friend screamed, “hey he is the one who likes your eyes…” One of the most winsome smiles, I have ever seen, lit that face.
I never interacted with him a lot, but he was someone, who was always talked about. Somewhere I lost track of him. But I kept bumping into him as Pune is a very small place.
Then probably after about 2-3 years, I was at ‘Scream’ and someone comes and pats my back. I turned around and saw him. The café had closed down, and life was kicking us to grow up, studies had got serious, and then to see him after such a long time was such a good feeling inside. And not to mention, that ‘winsome’ smile was still very much there. We came aside and spoke. It was the first time I spoke to him about his life.
He is an Arab, one out of 7-8 siblings. He has decided to stay in India. The last I heard of him, he wasn’t fending for himself, so his dad I believe was funding him. He had even picked up some marathi. Of course I couldn’t understand his English let alone marathi. But some how, the watchmans and the pan-walas could. He would watch all crazy Bollywood movies. Maybe he had turned more Indian than any other pure blooded Indian.
He was in love with this Indian girl. Crazy about her. But both knew it wasn’t headed any where. It was too much for a Marathi Brahmin to accept a Muslim son-in-law, and that too not an India. It was a lost battle even before it could have started. He tried too many ways to get out of it. He put his winsome smile to use, and won a lot of dates and one night stands, and all the jazz, but of no use. I particularly remember this woman who SMSed him, “you are the Lord Krishna of my life”. Poor guy.
And the girl, she was one hell of a temperamental woman. She wasn’t moving on, and wasn’t letting him move on too. Her folks fixed her up with someone, and she agreed. But still wouldn’t let him go.
Finally, he went for her wedding, saw her marrying someone else. And in his own words, “Deepa, I danced the most that night. I saw her married off. You win some, you lose some. And I have moved on.” That smile again.
It was something that shook me up. Coz I had known their story since the café days, and I had heard they indeed were a pair. After such a long relationship, I am sure it wasn’t easy for him. Till that day, he was just a strange and funny character I knew, but after I met him this time, I had immense respect for the way he went about it and gracefully accepted the reality. It takes some courage to attend the wedding of someone you really love like that, and usher her into a new life, with someone else. Every time I thought of him after that, all I could remember was his line, “I danced the most at her wedding”.
After that, I lost him in time again. A year later, I found him in Barista sitting with some cool babe. Believe me I was so happy that he was with someone. Ofcourse he was a charmer and he couldn’t have stayed single for long anyways. I walked up to him. He was sporting that killing smile of his. “So, is she your girlfriend?” I asked.
“Hey you have never met her right? She is Aarti. Her bloody husband is not in town, so I am officiating…” And that winsome smile again!