A friend bailed out on lunch today, which made me decide on doing that lunch solo. So here I am, listening to Green Day performing their concert through the speakers, in an oasis of wooden chairs, ornate metal mirrors and blue suede sofas, very glad to be able to write something.
Eating alone a much daunting experience at one time is now a pleasure I look forward to. For amusement, I have a pastiche of traffic performing just outside the window. From time to time, I see old women complete with gold and diamond florets in their ears and noses in shiny silk sarees peeking out from sunny auto rickshaws gaping at me. They see a woman at a café reading, writing and dreaming. I thought I was invisible just because I was on the other side of the glass. It’s when the lock their eyes with mine that I startle to realise that they are looking at me. The glass is not opaque one way. Which means that people in half a dozen or more cars, bicycles, jeeps, auto rickshaws can see me writing this, a tall glass of blue next to me. (Blue is the blue Curacao granita that I must coat my throat with no matter which cafe or restaurant I visit.)
It’s a languid Wednesday. Only aimless writers and lovers populate this café. Lovers in cafés behave like a tragic genre. They pick out a predictable place and seem to wear a mournful look as though their story is already a tragedy. Or do they feel guilty for being a island of hope in this ocean of indifference? I don’t know. I watch slyly as the red sofa space disappears between them. I have been here long enough to see one pair of lovers replace another on the red sofa. They even sit in the same order (the man on the right, the woman on the left). Is this a universal law exclusive to people in love that I am not aware of?
What I am aware of is that I am an oddity sitting in a café in the middle of a summer work day, trying to read a book, write a few sensible words, watch the blue froth collect at the bottom of a glass like something the Dead Sea would throw up and catch my dose of calm before I am ready to face the world again.