It’s a mail I sent to my friends and colleagues while in office::
The following is going in my blog tonight, do send comments for improvement, first time trying my hands on fiction, pretty conventional though,
All -send some suggestions for improvement.
Shekhar has always been a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri. Being a bengali and brought up in Old Calcutta, now living in Chennai, her writings seemed nostalgic to him. Although he is not living abroad, he loved the portrayal of daily lives and human emotions, put simply as it is, without any adulterations. Driving his 2 year old pulsar on OMR hating the sultry heat and heading towards the Oxford Book Store at Nungambakkam, in his three-fourths and a tee, he has decided to spend some time with himself and books and some coffee at Cha-bar. He loved the ambiance and aroma over there.
He entered Oxford with an intention of spending few hours with books, just randomly going through some new entrants, especially Indian writers; he felt connected to them. Whenever he used to go to one of these shops he used to complete a thin book reading in the shop and returned home buying it. He loved reading in the bookshops and the smell of new books.
‘Excuse me’, a husky voice came towards him from 135 degrees towards his left.
At first he thought it was a guy, but now it seems she is not. The fair, tall, lean girl was trying to grab a book from the ‘Indian’ shelf which was apparently blocked by Shekhar. Shekher sided his body sideways to make room for her and ‘Oh My God’; she picked up ‘Unaccustomed Earth’-one of his favourite.
He quickly analyzed her, head to toe, fair-enough, long legs-really long, brownish hair, specs (Shekahr hated specs).
After analyzing her with some momentary glimpse he was sure of two things-no wait-three things.
One-She loves/reads Jhumpa Lahiri. Two-She is definitely North Indian and three-She is way out of league. And moreover she has a husky voice.
‘So you like Indian writers’
Shekhar got confused-‘Was it a question or a statement’, so he gave the safest and precise response.
‘Me too, I always complete a whole book in the shop and buy another one on my way home’
Shekhar thought ‘that’s cheap’ and felt like saying ‘you should buy both’.
‘Hi my name is Lyla’
‘I am Shekhar
‘Like the famous director’
Shekahr smiled ‘not kapoor, I am Roy, Shekhar Roy’
‘Bond, James Bond, but your name sounds too oldie to me, and me is Lyla Shah, nothing to do with Shahenshah’ and she laughed out.
Shekhar thought ‘What a lame joke’ and her laugh seemed like a hyena
‘And your name sounds very modern’
Lyla retorted ‘Being sarcastic huh? By the way, are you from up there?’
‘Now that is definitely a question-but which one’
Shekahr played safe and answered with another question, ‘Up where?’
She laughed again and said ‘Like north’
Her laugh is not that bad, he thought and said, ‘not exactly. I am a bengali’
‘Whatever, at least you are NSI’
‘Non-South-Indian, it’s good to see someone from up there’
The ‘up-there’ thing sounded as if Shekhar was from heaven and the irony is, she looks like an angel except for her voice and she likes, okhay reads Indian writers, which is good.
Lyla has started to become more interesting to Shekhar every moment he spent with her.
‘Would you like to grab a cup of coffee with me?’
Although his plan of spending few hours in the store will be hampered if he said yes, he thought of saying ‘I would love to’. What can a guy do, when somebody as beautiful as Lyla asks him out for a coffee? Nobody cares about her voice. And at the end of the day she is a girl, so will always have an upper hand in these kind of situations.
So he said, ‘sure’.
Nice and simple
So they headed to Cha bar on his bike. Lyla is the only girl in Shekhar’s life who has been on his bike’s rear seat. He was confused who should be considered lucky in this case? Is it the road, the bike or Lyla, or is it Shekhar.
As soon as they entered the cha bar, the strong aroma of coffee made Shekhar swoon.
But he felt something strange as it seemed to him that the aroma was filled with the smell of some cooked food, and that is uncanny.
He tried to ignore that and concentrated on the lovely lady with her. She was talking incessantly but nothing was audible to Shekhar. He was looking at her face with a blank expression. He thought he is already in love with her husky voice.
‘Are you actually listening to me?’ she asked in her husky but sexy voice.
But he was unable to answer as he felt numb.
Numb in love.
‘Excuse me, are you listening’
‘You cannot sleep in the canteen’
‘Go to your cubicle’
Shekhar woke up and looked around him in dizzyness.
He realised that it was his office canteen and the owner of the dusky voice was the lady attendant in the canteen.
He hated the post-lunch period.
He wanted a nap.
Sorry for the abrupt ending-gotta do some work.