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Rome was not built in a day, Be patient

It was a day as usual in the office, with mails floating around asking “Why is this like that?”, “Can I please get this?”, “I really appreciate your help!” etc. with me replying back with long set of explanations about those “is anything wrong?” queries, most of them containing a bunch of “attached data” that the users at the client side relish seeing in their mailboxes. After regretting having come a bit early to the office just to see myself getting into the mundane tasks of explanations, I decided to find a break in a my much awaited lunch (or is that brunch?!)

My friend, the JETTA MAN, who has off-late “derived” pleasure in taking me for a ride (not literally!), came to my desk. Being great “cooks” (!!!) ourselves, we, as usual, gazed at each other with the same old Microsoft question (“WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY?”). On our way to JETTA, we continued arguing about the onus of deciding the restaurant fell on the other. Finally, we decided our friend (read our JETTA) would make his way out! We drove out, not sure whether to take a left or right at the intersection. Having got used to the regular scenes before making a way into any restaurant, JETTA decided to go LEFT. After about 3 miles of drive, he stopped in front of KANG’s CAFÉ of BELTLINE at WALNUT Hill. We alighted and made our way in.

We have always relished the CRACKERS (I am not sure if this is what they call it there?!) & the SOUP that comes with the LUNCH SPECIALS. The choice for my LUNCH has almost always been the same – (claimed to be “spicy”) GARLIC SHRIMP. Ofcourse, it doesn’t go without COKE anymore! Seeing, the REGULAR faces, the person who was about to take our order rather impishly asked, “2 Cokes and Garlic shrimp and …”? For a change, I decided to try LEMON CHICKEN, this time.

Our “RADAR” eyes scanned across the tables to see if we do have any good-looking faces around. As usual, the RADAR failed (may be the DOPPLER EFFECT has some problem these days, eh?). Our dishes arrived in a short while, we were into our next (something that has more or less become a) task of “quieting” the “noisy stomachs”. Failing to see the “HOT SAUCE” my eyes puzzled back at the server. He read my eyes and immediately responded, “… and I will get you the HOT SAUCE”.

We started cracking our crackers and sipped our soups in between. I have always had confidence in my friend’s sharp VISION. He observed some movement at the entrance and promptly alerted me of “something in the making”. It was a group of 3 Indian girls who made their presence at the entrance. Having seated facing AWAY from the entrance, I had no other choice but to wait patiently.

Fortune had its turn cast to me. The new entrants got seated at a comfortably viewable angle, 2 tables away! The very first sight of one of them struck and stuck into my heart. Our sights met with each other, somewhere near the tables that happened to be between us. Somewhat similar to how it appears in some romantic tales of yesteryears, I began whispering to myself – Was it for this lady that I had been waiting for this long? My system, as usual take up the spilt thoughts - thoughts that get widely debated between the LOGICAL brain and the EMOTIONAL heart. Finally, my heart pulls out some old and timely quotes from KAMBHA RAMAYANAM – something like “Annalum Paaarthal Avalum Paarthal” (not sure about the exact verses). Those verses narrate Rama & Sita’s love at first sight – “He glimpsed and so did she”. Well, the brain remarked, “Is there a level playing ground here”? My heart retorted, “May be I am not as ideal as Rama, but there is always a benefit of doubt for her (that she could be Sita)”! Nevertheless, the brain accepted that the primary HANDSHAKE (or rather “EYE-SHAKE”) was established!

There was a big team sitting at the table that was between ours. I could still manage a gap between 2 occupants of that table. As a person who has always felt uncomfortable at ambiguity, I hoped that this big team would make room for an uninterrupted full-duplex (dual communication) sooner! Things looked quite favorable on that day, I could find that the team had already packed up. The view was perfect. I alerted my friend too. Surprisingly, when I have always found him directly competing with me on almost all previous occasions, he withdrew to let us traverse the path of eye-to-eye communication in our own world! I guessed, perhaps it was his day to sing “Dho Dhil Mil Rahe Hein, Magar Chupke Chupke”! (Pardes).

My soups seemed to never last, more so because, I was deliberately taking less of it in my spoon, so as to pass on yet another sight as my face went through the “follow-up action” while taking the spoon to my mouth, every sip. I could see her doing the same at every sip of her coke. The innocence on her face really attracted me. I could feel the same speck of nervousness on her actions as I had in me. She appeared to impress the feeling of talking and actively listening to her friends who were sitting to her left and right. But I could also feel the frequent involuntary stops that the path of her sight took, when traversing from her friend at the right to her friend at the left. I could have conveyed those similar impressions too, as I talked to my friend. So, becoming extra cautious, my eyes scanned across other tables as if it had nothing specific about her table. But frankly, the scans at other tables were superficial, nothing at the other tables seemed to get past my eyelids. Did someone say love is blind?

As time passed by, fortune cookies were served at her table and at ours too. I could see her grabbing and cracking one open. I have never had any inclination for cookies, still decided to test one for the day. It read, “Rome was not built in a day, Be patient”. My friend burst out laughing. I wondered if someone was pulling the threads somewhere? Soon, I realized I would be unnecessarily stretching my friend’s time for my own reasons. Not with complete satisfaction, I murmured, “Shall we go”? We started pulling away from our chairs. We noticed that they were following suit.

I walked very slowly to my friend’s JETTA. I left it to my friend’s observation as to where they were heading. JETTA was parked a bit far off in the parking lot. As we sat inside the car, my eyes started watching keenly any car passing at that time. The only one that blazed through my sight was a RED HONDA heading towards Walnut Hill (that runs perpendicular to Belt Line at the intersection). We had to take Belt Line to get back to our office. But I convinced my friend to make a trip through Walnut Hill. As we were a bit slow to start, I guessed, we would have missed the RED HONDA miles away. To complicate further, another car in front of us was waiting to take a left to enter into Walnut Hill. My heart prayed, “Please make it fast”, but somehow the one in front seemed to find some vehicle or other onto his left or right for sometime. Finally, he made it and my friend accelerated to his right. It would have been atleast 2 minutes after the RED HONDA made it to Walnut Hill. But my mind seemed to hold firmly to the prayer of mine that the RED HONDA would get stuck at the next light at Story road. Again, fate had its destiny with me! As we neared Story road intersection, I spotted a RED HONDA in the middle lane. I yelled, “Get into Left Lane” to my friend. My poor friend accepted and made a quick change over to the left lane. That was probably the closest we had ever been; we were parked side by side at the RED light. I glimpsed and saw her sitting in the passenger seat. Her friend was driving the car. Though I had never the guts to peep across into the other car any more, I prayed that the light never turns green! It was probably the first time that I prayed so in my life while waiting at a light.

Well that was too much to ask for, the light turned green. A truck came in front of their car, they moved over to the right lane. My friend tried his best to keep us in SYNC. But the truck seemed to be too large for that. We guessed the RED HONDA would make its way into North Lake College, which is on the right on the way. But I observed that it didn’t turn. My friend and I gazed at each other when we noticed that the RED HONDA took a right into the next street (Brangus); it was the same street that we take to our apartment on our way back from the office everyday. As we were in the left lane, with a big truck in-between we consoled ourselves, “Oh she is probably in the same apartment community”! With little choice, we continued moving forward on the same lane.

I looked into my watches, made a careful note of the time, it was 1:45 in the afternoon. Somehow, my mind kept saying, if this has clicked, I would meet her again the same time next day. We made yet another trip the following day to the same restaurant. Being more confident of my driving skills than my friends, I decided to get myself into the driving seat with my COROLLA. At the parking lot, my eyes made a quick excursion to check for a RED HONDA. Failing to find any, my mind whispered, probably they too had a change that day and might have come in her car instead. We walked towards KANGS CAFÉ. At the entrance, I let my friend talk to the receptionist while my eyes made another quick excursion across the tables. Did anyone say, “Every dog has his bad day”? I couldn’t spot them! Being a die-hard optimist, I hoped they were only late!

They never came. We made our way back to the office with my friend pulling my legs about the RED HONDA. I smiled at having served yet another opportunity to my friends to pull me down, this time with a “RED HONDA” reference, much close to the “CONTESSA CAR” reference that a comedy actor repeatedly makes in a Malayalam movie “ChandraLekha”.

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Customer Reviews:

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603 of 1211 people found the following review helpful:

   , Aug 03 2005
Reviewer: Pradeep

It's pretty good! I first read the comments as you asked me to, and thought the article would be terrible. But didn't think so after reading it!!

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575 of 1177 people found the following review helpful:

   , May 23 2005
Reviewer: me

chekkkaaa.....onnu pondooooo

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