Dedicated to The Almighty Mom, Dad and my dear friends Guy de Maupassant and O Henry (For inspiring me with their short stories)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I thank Susan Deborah of Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) for helping me in editing the story. Also I thank my friend monish who have always been the first reader and critic of my stories. And last by not the least, my sincere thanks to all my Facebook friends and followers for constantly encouraging me to do something creative. Cover photo: William Murphy (Informatique)
An evening in Nehru Street
6.30 AM Some Tea shop in Chennai The morning was dull and the unusual chillness in the air made everyone forget that it was the summer season. In spite of knowing the fact that the sun is not going to show any mercy in the later part of the day, everyone in Mani tea stall were enjoying their tea. The aroma of the chilli bajjis were attracting many customers and the medhu vadais which were prepared earlier was trying to retain the warmth in order to make money for the shop owner. Kathivel was sitting on a wooden bench waiting for his friend. It has been months since he completed his engineering and the job market wasn’t nice to him as it wasn’t for lakhs of other engineers in the country. The tea shop was the usual meeting spot for him and his friend Sundar. Kathirvel was eagerly waiting for Sundar to narrate the happenings between him and the girl he’s been following for a long time. So far he did not experience anything like this. He thought of all the beautiful things he had ever seen and still stuck to the point that she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He was eager to share it with Sundar because he was his best friend right from his school days and he definitely couldn’t dare speak about this to his parents. Kathirvel was looking at the mist covered road for any traces of Sundar’s arrival . His stomach’s pH was getting lower due to the acid formation from anxiety and hunger. He looked at the vada and tea for a moment and again looked at the road. He saw a thin figure walking towards the teastall. It was Sundar. As he was nearing, Kathir got a clearer view of him. Sundar was wearing his faded Chennai Super Kings T-shirt and thick shorts which was made out of an worn-out jeans. His hair was dishevelled as if it was a victim of a hurricane and his eyes were still half-closed. For a moment Kathir thought whether Sundar was sleepwalking. “Good morning Kathir” “Tell your good morning later. Let’s get tea first. I’m starving” Both ordered tea. A couple of vadas were stuffed in last month’s newspaper to satiate the hunger of both the unemployed engineers. “I was waiting for you for a long time. What took you so long, man?” “Sorry Kathir, I slept very late yesterday. I was dead tired after coming back from the interview” “Oh! You were telling about that system analyst position in an IT company right. What happened?” “They made me wait till 11 pm in the night and told me to come the next day. I felt like screaming at them for making me wait for eight hours”
“Hmmm. This is the reason I am not attending any interviews these days” They both gave a chuckle looking at each other and tried to finish their tea. They both thought about the new tea master who definitely chose a wrong career path like they did. “Because of the f***ing interview I couldn’t see her yesterday Kathir. I felt really bad” “What! Couldn’t see who?” “I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a long time” started Sundar. “Machi! Love ah!....I’ve also been meaning to tell you about my love,” said Kathir. For a moment they both were in complete shock. “Woah man! We both are in love at the same time. Awesome! I think this is the only good news we hear about each other in a long time” said Sundar with his face beaming with happiness. “Ok tell me about her,” said Kathir with eagerness and excitement. “I made you wait for a long time. So you go first.” “She from our area only Sundar. I don’t know how I had missed her all these years” “But you found her finally right ? How does she look? “Before your arrival, I was thinking about all the beautiful things I have ever seen and she tops the list, man” “Wow! Man! You sound poetic and romantic. Did she accept your proposal? Did you even propose to her” questioned Sundar. “No da. She knows that I am interested in her. But I haven’t told her yet. What about you?” “Same situation.” “These days I feel that I am jobless for a reason. I can see her daily when she comes to the balcony.” “Wait. Wait. Wait! What did you just say?” “She is the most…” Sundar interrupted before Kathir could complete his sentence. “No, no, after that.” “I said I can see her daily from the balcony.” “Oh shit!” Sundar was tense and started nervously wiping the dripping sweat from his face. His eyes were fully open now. He came to his senses as if a bucket of water was thrown on him. “What happened da?” “Kathir! Listen to me. Answer this. Which street do you see her daily?”
“Rajaji Street. Why da?” “Ahhhhh!” Sundar felt relaxed. “What is the matter da?” “For a moment I thought we were in love with the same girl.” “What!” “Even I see my girl only when she comes to the balcony.” “Which street does she live in?” “Nehru street.” “Wow! The next street! Awesome man! Can I see her?” asked Kathir “Of course man. Actually I thought of taking you today. Come to Nehru street by 5 o’clock.” “Super da. After that I will show you my lover.” “Done” They both finally completed their tea and paid their bill. They both were eager and happy to meet each other’s girlfriends.
4.55 pm Nehru Street Sundar was standing opposite to a series of shops and was patiently waiting for Kathir’s arrival. Sundar was dressed up unusually grand for the evening. Kathir came in his bike and parked it near the place where Sundar was standing. He observed that Sundar’s face looked brighter than ever. He thought Sundar might have spent a long time bathing and rubbing himself with soap to bring this shine. Sundar welcomed Kathir upon seeing him. “Welcome Kathir. Right on time.” “Ya. Where is she?” “She is yet to come. She used to come from that balcony,” pointed Sundar. The balcony was on top of Daily Needs departmental store. The balcony was lined up with flowering plants and looked calm in spite of the busy activities going on in the street. “What time does she usually come?” asked Kathir. “By this time she will come out to attend calls or water the plants in the balcony.”
They both waited for few more minutes and the moment came. A beautiful girl in her early twenties was standing in the balcony. She had a beautiful face with nice features which is sufficient enough to beat any other girl living in the area. She had coloured her hair and the burgundy shade was shining in the evening sunlight. Sundar wrapped his hands around the shoulder of Kathir and gasped, “Kathir, she is the one I was talking about.” “Me too!” Kathir replied in a complete state of shock and disbelief. Sundar suddenly took his hand off Kathir and screamed in anger and shock, “What!” “Yes Sundar. We both are in love with the same girl.” “What! How! WTF!. You told me that she lives in Rajaji street.” “Yes she does.” “Then how did this mistake happen?” “There could be only one possible explanation.” “. . . and what is that?” “The house she lives in has two balconies.” They were still looking at the balcony and they could see the girl waving towards them with a broad smile. Seeing that, Kathir and Sundar came to know that the girl already knew that they both were in love with her. Without being able to control his anger Sundar screamed in the air, “Heyyyyyyy! How many balconies do you have in your home?” The girl showed two fingers and went inside. Both were completely disappointed and heartbroken. “Bitch!” screamed Sundar and stamped his foot on the ground. The people who passed by, looked at him in a weird way. “Sundar! Don’t lose your temper. Let’s take it that she was enjoying the attention she was getting from both of us.” “Whatever!” replied Sundar in a dull tone. They both roamed around the place till night and had dinner in Diamond fast food centre. They both didn’t speak a word to each other while thinking. They paid their bill and came out of the hotel. They both stood by Kathir’s bike for a while and Kathir started talking. “Sundar! What happened today is a coincidence. I never wanted to double cross you.”
“I know man. It’s not about that. We never saw this coming. Be happy that we came to know about this sooner.” “True. In future we should make sure that these kind of incidents doesn’t happen” “But how ?” “If we ever fall in love with a girl again, we should first go and ask her” stopped Kathir. “Ask her what?” “Ask her how many balconies does she have in her house!” replied Kathir with a smile. They both couldn’t control their laughter. They went home after a tiring day. 9.30 pm Nehru Street Then Neha and Reshma were talking in their room about the day’s incident. “Neha! What happened you look so dull ? Didn’t that guy come to meet you?” “He came Reshma, with his friend. I waved at him and he suddenly started screaming.” “Screaming! Why?” “I don’t know. He asked me how many balconies does our home have?” “What! Is he gone mad or what! I thought that he might ask something romantic.” “Hmmm. Maybe I should give it some time. How about you Reshma? Did your guy come to see you?” “No didi! I waited in the balcony for a long time. But he didn’t come.” “Hmmm. I guess we both had a rough day. Let’s go to sleep.” After discussing the day’s events, the twin sisters went to bed.
Published on Jul 3, 2013