food for thought, Musings from the coffee shop

“What is wrong with your choice?”

I step into the coffee shop for maybe the twenty seventh time (Actually, one hundred and twenty seventh time) and I find my usual spot in the corner; a small table adorned with two yellow chairs which lies next to the turquoise wall and to the right of another similar set of table and chairs which often act as a latent source of entertainment for me when I eavesdrop into the conversations of the people occupying it. Yes, writers are shameless that way. The waiter arrives shortly with a bottle of water (How I wish I could write wine or a pint of beer here) and smiles at me in acknowledgement. I smile back and take out the same book from the adjacent book shelf that I was reading the last time I was here.  The waiter gives me the menu. But he knows it’s of no use to me. After serving other people, when he returns, he throws a dazzling smile and asks, “Latte?” Noticed the adjective dazzling? No, I am not exaggerating. Screw lungs, in that moment, my heart must have pumped all the blood in my body to my cheeks. I try to show every tooth in my mouth in the best way I can. Too busy managing my red cheeks, I obviously can’t find voice in my voice box so I simply nod yes. My brain retorts angrily, “Stop blushing, you idiot!”

I might try to be and sound all mature and wise like most of the time. But say one word nicely and I will transform into this idiot before I know it. I stop blushing on my brain’s order and go back to my book – Go set a watchman. A wonderful line catches my attention.  Jean Louise, who is now all grown up (or maybe not) says this to her lover, “Once you get past all the boa feathers, every woman born in this world wants a strong man who knows her like a book, who’s not only her lover but he who keepeth Israel. Stupid, isn’t?”

I am jostled into a similar track of thought, “Stupid indeed. But true at the same time – A man who knows her like a book!  A man who not only loves her but he who keepeth Israel. But do all women really want the same thing? I am not really sure. I am sure that I am no different but I am also sure that there must be people out there who are. Not all of us can be the same. We have different genes after all! –

I am pushed out of my thought realm when the waiter returns with a cup of latte and throws that smile again. Stop it with that? Will you? I blush again and scold myself for being such an obvious teenager. I return to my book hoping that I would find some shelter away from my stupidity there.

All women want the same thing. All women act the same way. You think you are different but you are not. You think you are special but you are not. If that’s true then the concept of one true love shouldn’t exist at all.

God, you are overthinking.

The pages turn to chapters, chapters turn to parts. All that is left in my cup is the ghost of a steaming hot coffee; the leftover foam on the edges. All that is left in my head are the Negroes in Maycomb County. On the saucer plate lays two small packets of sugar that sit as if troubled, in fact, horrified by my refusal to consume them. Keeping them company is a destitute piece of crumpled tissue paper that is too hopeless to even complain. I guess the only happy members at my table are the book and the empty glass of water. I realize that it’s been two hours and I decide to leave. I make my way to the counter. I find the same waiter there. How lovely.  He smiles (Oh god that smile) and asks my name. I tell him and before I could even realize what just happened, he has thrown in other questions. I don’t hesitate to reply them all but at the same time my brain makes an ironic enquiry, “What is wrong with your choice?”

This question isn’t asked by the part which often admonishes me over how my priorities are not arranged right in life. And if they are, how I always seem to follow the ascending order rather than the descending one. The question isn’t asked by the fundamentalist part of me who absolutely refuses to acknowledge my mild attack of pervert-ness. The question is not asked by the classist, who I think, lives in the fantasy world where I have royal blood flowing through my arteries. This question isn’t asked by the part who often tells me, in a rather hurtful tone, that I am a young woman with ambitions so I mustn’t  invest my attention, efforts and time on the things that don’t really matter – like opposite gender. I am in search of satisfaction, meaning, happiness, not a groom or even a boring company for a night. For what you know, he says, loneliness comes and goes. (But does it?) This question isn’t asked by the motivational speaker in my head who doesn’t ironically speak much but when he does he makes sure that I am aware of the fact that I deserve absolute best and nothing a decimal point less.

So, who has asked this question? I am sure I heard it in my head! Well, it has been asked by that part, the most interesting part, my best friend who keeps me company all the time. “What is wrong with your choice?” Oh no, it is NOT talking about my choice here. It’s his – the guy talking to me at the counter.

***

 

 

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Musings from the coffee shop, Narratives

The hot guy at the coffee shop

(And how I would never ask him out)

She isn’t known for making confident entrances. She steps in as if she has never visited the place before, which is unintentionally a great display of acting on her part. Her face has this perpetual expression of being lost and confused pasted on it. The only hint that she finally gives about how she does know this place is when she  hesitantly throws her mild smile of acknowledgement at the guy on the counter. He, in return, does the same and asks their mutually consented standard question for her obligatory confirmation – “Latté?”  Affirmative. As usual. Then she goes to her favorite table and starts doing her favorite task of the day – Observing people. Regretting that she isn’t invisible and a bit annoyed at how she ought to be careful about not creeping out the people, she balances this act with reading a book or writing on her laptop. There’s rhythm to this – She enters the café, forcibly greets the guy who takes her order, goes to her table, spends two hours doing something that falls into the potential-topic-for-debate (Procrastination or productivity?) category and then she makes an abrupt exit. And she repeats this every day.

But that day – that day sun rose from the west. As she began to leave the café, she did something she had never done before! The guy, whose voice she had been listening to the entire time since he had entered the coffee  shop, was sitting with two of his other friends. He was doing that thing again – imitating the professor who taught him in the university he was studying in. The accent that he was trying to copy came out pathetically but that didn’t matter! No fake accent could possibly suppress the charm of his sexy voice. Coffee doesn’t get you high but pretending that it does, she went up to him and said, “Umm…I don’t know how to say this without being awkward. So, I am just going to get over with it. No perverseness is intended here, a compliment that’s all. I think your voice is great and you are really cute.” Did the girl with the confused face just say this? Did she just speak to a person she didn’t know? And, and, and that too not because she had to but because she wanted to? Bravo! And there, she turned and strode towards the gate. (Colloquially known as swag) She wanted to see his reaction of course, but if she had turned back that would have ruined the whole moment. Then the thing that she had dearly anticipated and yet not expected to happen happened. He hurriedly caught up to her and asked, “Hey! What’s your name?”

Of course, this is not an entirely true account of events that took place that day. When she went up to him and told him he was cute, he looked at her for a moment almost in disbelief and then burst out laughing. Her default expression of confusion took over her face again as his friends started laughing too. When the realization of what had just happened finally hit her, she turned and ran away as soon as she could. Her auditory senses received the stimulus of his voice, his disgustingly sexy voice, which was most probably addressed to her. Whether it was an apology or an extension to her insult she never got to know. She had voluntarily blocked her brain from deciphering the message. It took fourteen showers to wash away the embarrassment but yet the faint scent of it still lingered to annoy the fuck out of her at otherwise peaceful moments.

Of course, this is also not what really happened. She made a U turn before she could even think of a decent way to frame a compliment. She threw a short glance at the guy. The guy shot the glance back. And there it was! The moment! Their moment! She was looking at him and he was looking at her. Was that a sign? Could he be the one? Wait. What? Her eyes disconnected the contact immediately. She got out of the coffee shop and never saw him again.

Of course, this is also not what really happened. She looked at the guy. He was busy conversing with his friends. “He might be called cute.” She thought, trying to sound arrogant despite knowing there wasn’t anyone present in the vicinity who was capable of listening to her thoughts and praise her ‘ego-complimenting-desperate’ arrogance. Instead of turning to this hot guy she had been wanting to talk to this whole time, she turned to the guy at the counter and asked for the bill.  A few weeks later she found herself contemplating about various alternative endings for this trivial incident that ideally she should have forgotten about long ago.

Or maybe, this is also not what really happened. There was no such guy at the café.

~Musings from the coffee shop

P.S. You can find more posts on the musings from the coffee shop here .

Musings from the coffee shop, Narratives

The hot girl at the coffee shop

(And how I will never be as hot as she is – An unintentional rant on insecurity)

I sit here in awe as I watch you taking the seat next to my table. I am staring, ain’t I? But I can’t stop myself from doing this. For starters, I won’t deny that I am a bit irked by your hair and how the strands don’t strive to take weird spaces in the air, how they seem perfectly managed and cohered like they show in those advertisements. Then there is the length of your hair. Funny I seem to love long hair again because when my hair used to be that long, I used to look like a broomstick and I eventually grew to hate it. Well, not anymore I guess. Every curl of your hair, they seem to be a deliberate effort, not a mere accident but a perfect plan well executed. Ugh! How beautiful! And how very convenient. You get to be out on your good hair day. And there’s me – always trying to hide the hideousness of my hair in a bun!  Are my bad hair days ever getting over? And then there is your eyeliner. Boy, look at that symmetry! The smokey eye shadow surrounding it, did you notice that my burning heart? How glamorous is that! So, that is how you put it! I am talking to you my dear hand, that is how we are supposed to put it! And by the way, which shade is your lipstick colour? Which brand is it? I need to buy that immediately.

Stop it. What are you doing? What am I doing? Describing her, grandma brain! Don’t act so innocent! My eyes are glued on her because of your orders, not mine. So, don’t pretend to be shocked. You can expect me describing everything about her – Her grey crop top. Grey, notice that colour ; The colour of class. A wardrobe must have and yet we don’t have it. That’s because we are not meant to carry these beautiful things on our body. We are meant to make notes about others carrying it.  Her black shrug, her black jeans, her black sneakers and then there’s the stylish amazing contrast to everything – Her cream sling bag. Just look at that walking Zara showroom, man! How come everything that she is doing right now seem so perfect! This is weird!  I think that was the 100th selfie that she just snapped. Wow. Usually you would have found me rolling my eyes at her and her front camera but today this incessant act of capturing different positions of lips and eyebrows and hands miraculously makes perfect sense to me. Where is all my anti-selfieism spirit gone?

God, she is beautiful. Beautiful? Well, that’s a presumptuous word, isn’t it? I think we should settle for this other adjective – hot. So, she is hot! And also an unintentional salt on my wound. She is making me realize how I don’t know these things; taking care of my own self, putting efforts on myself and not just leaving things on fate and the hormones in my body. She makes me acutely aware of my carelessness, of my cracked lips, of my un-kept nails, of my uncombed hair, of my dark circles, of my acne. But that’s okay. I am not going to be jealous. We are not that kind! We are the kind who stand back and admire. You can imagine me leaning against a wall, taking a puff from my joint and just watching the people around.

Did you notice the guy at the other counter, by the way? Did you notice how he is engaged doing the same thing that we are doing? Yes. That’s why you need to get back. Go back to your book. You have a task to complete, turquoise ink! Don’t you remember? She is a pretty woman. We get it. But we need to get back to our work. And you are not even gay. (are you?) Shut up. Did you see that? How she looked at me again? I like the way we have exchanged glances during this whole time. The guy at the counter didn’t get the same treatment, FYI. But you know what, I do not wish to know her. I do not wish to talk to her and even know her name. As long as she does not object my series of not-so-stolen glances, I am happy just by looking at her. That’ s it. Thank you for letting me watch you, lady! Thank you for not minding my attention and even admiring it, if I may.

Ho gaya? Aur kuch? No. Nothing. You should be happy, you know. I think we just got a new bakri for our blog.

Yeah. The great cure for writer’s block. I think a glance at an attractive girl might be a possible solution for all our problems.  

~Musings from the coffee shop

P.S. You can find more posts on the musings from the coffee shop here .