9 Am, Kings Circle Junction, Mumbai
“What’s wrong??? Tell me…
I can help… Don’t do it…”
He was speaking in a monotone.
“Who are you???” asked her friend
“Smitha do you know him??”
She said nothing.
“Come with me…”He said
She got up and walked along.
“Smitha, wait… wait… wait…” Her friend called out.
They kept walking.
“Arun, buddy whatsup? where are you going?” His friend screamed from the car.
The honking sound from behind was unbearable and Vivek reluctantly got into the driver’s seat and drove off…
Arun and Smitha were walking, oblivious to the world.
There was a rare silence amidst the urban cacophony
After about half an hour, Arun stopped.
“Are you hungry? Will you have something?”
Arun said, “This restaurant is famous for its south Indian spread.”
Still no word.
At the restaurant
He ordered for two cups of coffee and asked her, “What will you have?”
“Ok , tell me why do you want to die?”
Arun asked with a straight face.
Tears appeared in her eyes, the first two tears showed a rare symmetry, they came slowly bulged her eyes and flowed down together and then came a slow stream. It just kept flowing, as if a crack had appeared on a reservoir and the first stream of water found its way.
“Sahab aur kya loge? Ae chal do number pe idly bol, teen number pe masala dosa… Sahab bolo..” The waiter asked as if he was on auto mode.
“Do coffee..” He said.
They both kept looking into each other’s eyes, the stream had become a river and was gushing down, he didnot bother interrupting.
Then again the waiter came.
“Do cup coffee” he said..
This kept happening some 20 times. Three hours had passed.
This table was now receiving a fair share of attention. What was interesting was the no of fights that took place in the last three hours around the table. A couple had broke up in the next table. A family almost came to blows.
Even more intriguing was Gulshan sir’s behavior.The old professor was a regular to the joint and had his favourite seat.
As he sat on the table next to Arun and Smitha.He called out..”Arre aaj idhar itna heavy kyu lag raha hai??? Khidki khol, pankha chaalu kar, agarbatti jala”
It was absolutely unusual for him to say that. That feeling hung for someime and Gulshan sir got up and moved out. He said “Khaate me likh do, baad me aata hu”
“Saahab kuch aur loge?? ” The waiter queried, in a worried tone.
“Do plate dosa le aa” said Arun.
“But madam to kuch kha nahi rahi hain” said the waiter.
Arun started laughing… This dialogue had momentarily stopped the tears.
“Tu le aa…” said Arun
“Ok , My name is Arun, I know it is a very deep wound that you are nursing and death looks like a serious option now. But tell me, in the last three hours aren’t you feeling slightly better?
I once considered this option, planned for it, decided and then that day when I was about to, I stood there at the bus stop pondering. An interesting thing happened. An old woman kept asking me for alms, A destitute who possibly had no shelter and no food, she was a regular at that bus stop, but that day she just stood by me. It took me about an hour to notice that she was standing there. As I picked my wallet to hand her some change, she whispered in my ears,”Jaau de… Jaau de, Hou de je whaiche aahe te..”(Translated from Marathi) (Let it go, let it happen, whatever it is.)
I suddenly felt like a stone hung from my back had been lifted. There was a sudden lightness. I realised, All that I was trying to fight was getting stronger and breaking me. I took her advise and stopped fighting it. I let it happen. As my resistance fell, so did the problems, everything that was unsolvable just dissolved. God has been kind, here I am.”
She smiled… The glint in her eye was unmissable. As if the rays of the sun had shone after a long cloudy day, as the rays filtered through, everything that was hidden was sparkling in a new found luster.It was all so clear, the light on her face was like a halo. As if it was someone else.
The lips pouted hinting she was about to speak, She was about to say something and then for the first time today, She spoke “Well, I drink Tea.”
Both of them started laughing, the waiters listening in joined the laughter and the entire restaurant started laughing.
As the laughter died down, She asked, “How did you know?”
He paused and said,
“You tell me… It was you who called me”