As I lay in the hotel bed, staring out through the green tinted glass window, I could feel loneliness sweeping over me. I dragged myself out of the bed and reached for the cup of coffee which was kept on the table. The hotel walls were painted white and the floor carpeted. My feet sank in the fluffy, soft carpet, the moment I stepped on it. I headed to the washroom for a hot bath, without much interest. As I immersed my body in the tub, the warmth of water slowly crept up, washing away all the chills. A feeling of belonging gradually slinked in.
I was there to reminisce it all. To relive what I had left 10 years ago. To be in one of the cities closest to my heart, one of those cities where I wanted to build my future but got swirled away in the whirlwind called ‘Life’.
I wore my ripped denims and paired it with a crisp white shirt, hair tucked lazily in a bun and put on a bit of make up without much effort. I reached over for my handbag which was chucked inside a drawer and marched out.
It was 6pm. The golden rays of evening sun had painted the whole city in a warm shade of yellow, making it all the more beautiful. I didn’t want to drive as I was there to relive my good old days. An auto rickshaw pulled in to the driveway of the hotel, making it very convenient for me. I hastily jumped in and told the driver to take me to the Brigade road.
Busy shops and hustling streets welcomed me with all their charm. Fast food shops and shopping malls stood tall. Colourful Salwar suits and Dupattas adorned the walls of some shops and shopfronts. Most shops were packed and people nudged each other to find their way. I walked past Rex which was way too crowded. Young girls and boys thronged the street. I couldn’t recollect the number of times I had been there with my friends, but it didn’t excite me at all this time. A small fancy shop on the street selling bangles and jhumkas caught my attention. I still have an outstanding collection of all those street jewellery which were picked up with profound adoration. My hands glided over those beautiful jhumkas bringing a smile back to my face.
But my heart didn’t stop there. I was still searching. Searching relentlessly for that lost affection . Ten years have made a huge difference. That city had everything , still, to me, it looked so hollow. My eyes wandered tirelessly and finally perched on something. The place where the reminiscences of the past were more likely to be present. The cafe coffee day!
Everyone thought I was being silly and idiotic whenever I tried to explain the relevance of this petty shop in my life. That is still a feeling which can never be put into words.
The strong smell of coffee ushered me to a cramped room with red painted walls. The cushions looked fresh and new. But the bamboo chairs and settee frames were old and repainted. The archaic furniture with red cushions tickled my heart. I thought I would revive my spirits there. I wanted to go with my usual order which was a tropical iceberg and a hot chocolate fantasy. It was hard to find them on the menu which had some fancy names and nothing rang a bell. A girl with black apron approached me and helped me with my order. She brought a cup of thick ice blended chocolatey coffee and my favourite chocolate fantasy with extra hot chocolate sauce. I tried hard to recollect how it tasted. I took a sip. Something was wrong. I took my second sip. And I concluded something was terribly wrong that time. The piece of chocolate fantasy didn’t satisfy my taste buds either. Familiarity slowly became strangeness which then led to annoyance. The transitions happened so quick that it took me less than a minute to get up and flee.
A decade seemed like a century. I realised I’d gotten over it. I no more had any feelings for this city. Instead, the crowd and loud music were making me sick. I wanted to throw up. I trotted along the busy streets straight to the hotel, without having any eye contact with anyone.
What am I doing here? Where are my boys ? The emptiness drained with just their thoughts. The bustling streets and coffee shops were taken away from my mind . My phone rang. I grabbed to answer the call and without even glancing at the screen, I yelled out, “R, I’m coming back. I need to see you!”