‘I wouldn’t suppose you’d talk to me if I told you that I’m quite sure you’re the girl I’m supposed to marry?’
That was how it had begun, in a dilapidated old café somewhere on the university campus. They were the only two people in the café, him and the girl who didn’t think it was strange to drink elaichi tea at one in the morning. She didn’t pay attention to him the first time Suresh said it. Probably because he was practicing it, under his breath. He supposed this happened. People met, randomly, in cafes, at odd times in the morning, and went on to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
He said it again, this time louder, and with a smile that hopefully said something like ‘I’m not a stalker; I’m just someone else who happens to be in this broken down excuse for a place to drink coffee.’
This time she looked up from the book she was reading, and gave him a look. It said ‘I can’t believe you just said that, so I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen.’
‘Ok, look, I’m being serious. This can only be fate. It’s just me and you, in the same time and place, at one in the morning. There is someone watching us, and he is trying to tell us something.’ Suddenly Suresh thought of five hundred things he could have said, none of which would have made him sound like a stalker. Top of the list was ‘Hi, I’m Suresh.’
But they had sat in silence for the last hour, and he was going to go mad if he didn’t say something. It looked like she was reading War and Peace, or at the very least a literal translation of the Mahabharata. There was no other book he could think of which could be so huge.
Then she spoke. And the voice that came out could only have dropped down from somewhere in the sky. The words, on the other hand, left much to be desired.
‘I don’t really know where you come from, but here on planet Earth, one doesn’t tell people they’re going to marry them before one gets to know them. In fact, most people marry people who they know really well, and have some sort of relationship prior to that kind of commitment.’ Her voice sang like some sort of unearthly music, but she was clearly not happy.
Still he stuck with it, resisting the temptation to point out that arranged marriages essentially consisted of people who'd never met each other before, and then continued to have perfectly normal and happy lives.
'Arranged marriages are for the desperate and the socially inept', she shot back.
Ah. So he had said it out loud, then. And hadn't impressed her with his traditionalism, either.
'I resent that allegation! Lots of perfectly nice people who are neither desperate nor socially retarded have had arranged marriages!'. Crap, he was getting into an argument about marriage with her. It was too early in their relationship to talk about such things!
The guy behind the counter, who could usually be counted on to be missing at this time of night, had decided today would be a good day to man the front desk and ensure no one was stealing napkins and straws. At that moment, Suresh could have killed him. Luckily, she did it for him, for it was at that moment that he burst out laughing.
'EXCUSE ME! Don't you know that eavesdropping on other people's conversations, however weird or creepy, is extremely rude? What kind of coffee shop is this? Don't you have any respect? I am never coming here again! Chi!'
Suresh's respect for her, already at Sachin Tendulkar levels, went up at least ten times. However, his hate for the coffee shop man also went up by that much, since in her disgust and anger, the girl stood up and stormed out of the shop. Before he knew it, she had gotten into an auto and sped away.
many thanks to the person i will only refer to as 'Coffee', perhaps because that will make the writing of this sound more exciting, for semi authoring and semi editing this bit of fiction i wrote about a year ago and found floating around on some part of the internet. will continue once exams are over, which should be in about a month. my first semi decent attempt at fiction since i started this blog. how exciting!