Saturday, June 17, 2006

A new pair

At a quarter past five, ten minutes past the appointed time, Deepa walked into the trendy Cafe Coffee Day (or CCD, as some would say) store on M.G.Road, which was considered by most young people in Bangalore to be the coolest place north of Antarctica. Atleast it was more "happening" than Antarctica!

"I'm so utterly sorry I am late", she blurted instantly with a sheepish smile on her face as she spotted him at the table to her right. She knew she would have been quite cross with him for being late on the first date, but then she knew he would not, after all it was the first date.

"That's fine, I haven't been here long", he lied. He was there a good half an hour before the appointed time, and had seen her get off an auto and walk into the mall across the road. He had not seen her walking down the steps of the mall with a spring in her stride, quite literally. She had just bought a brand new pair of shoes, a pair of love heels, as they were called, a bit like small stilettos. Infact, she had worn it right away, neatly tucking away her old shoes in the box that came along with the new pair.

"So, Deepa...",he broke the silence and felt quite good calling her name before continuing, "... what would you like to have?"

"A mocha, perhaps", she replied with the casual confidence of a CCD veteran.

"Well, goes with me too".

And then they talked at length on all these things that a girl of 17 and a boy of 21 talk in Bangalore. When it was time for her to go home,he dropped her off on his bike at her house, which he had known since the first day he took tuitions for class XII, about three years ago. He had seen her watering the plants quietly on the balcony of an apartment on the second floor, as he walked into the tutor's apartment on the ground floor. From that day on, no motivation was necessary to take tuitions.

As she turned to go, he said dreamily, "You know, on days when you did not come out to the balcony to water the plants, I used to be so distraught and disoriented that one day I wore my left slippers on the right, and vice versa, and walked all the way home, and realised it only when my mom pointed it to me."

She laughed sweetly, then smiled radiantly, then blushed adorably. "You know", she said," I bought these shoes specially for today? I love them, and you know what they are called - love heels!"

"Quite appropriately, don't you think....they look just perfect on you!"

"Thanks, I've got to be going now, see you soon".

"Okay, see you so soon, good night."

They met often afterwards, once a few days, then once a day, then a few times a day. Soon, it was January, and when she told her parents about him, they advised her to be friends with him for now, and that things can be taken forward at a suitable time. He went off on work to Bombay every once a while, and would bring her something pretty each time.

She felt an incredible joy in seeing him so completely lost in her, but it also meant she missed him terribly those few days he was away on work. It was like the sun shining magnificently through a long,warm summer interspersed with spurts of showers from passing clouds.

And then came the winter.

She nearly fainted when she heard of his accident. He was driving back home after dropping her off on an ill-fated November evening, and had been injured severely. They had gone out to a pub and he probably had one drink too many. She was inconsolable in the waiting room of the hospital, even as his parents prayed while the doctors operated on him. Eventually, he was saved, but his right leg had to be amputated.

She could not recover from the shock. She broke down everytime she had to help him walk with crutches. Soon her parents realised this could not go on. They decided to move out of Bangalore, for their daughter. She resisted, shouted, cried, but yielded.

And when the packers arrived to help them move, a small pair of love heels stared at Deepa from the shoe rack. And she looked at them, with moist eyes as her mother grasped her hands.Then the mother calmly said what Deepa did not have the heart to say, "Leave those shoes behind, they don't fit anymore. We will get a new pair."


Blogger apu said...

Hmmm somehow, I didnt quite 'get' this story. Although the writing is clear enough

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Srihari said...

Apu, if the reference is to the choice of 'get' in the last line of the post, then I do confess I was uncomfortable with it, but could not find a more suitable word then.

If your comment wasn't specific to that line, but more generic about the story itself, I will take that as very useful feedback.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger apu said...

Sadly enough, it was about the story itself.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:52:00 PM  
Blogger Anand said...

Excellent plot of 'fairy tale' love aptly intercepted by harsh reality

Friday, July 14, 2006 5:10:00 AM  

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