Thursday, February 25, 2016


It is sometimes difficult to experience the feelings which crop up inside. You don’t even recognize what is curling within your heart. How can it be expressed then? It must nevertheless be said; if not to others, then to oneself.

It’s been going on for many years. They would meet occasionally over a cup of coffee or for a theatre show. They would look at each other and talk, exploring their own certainties about each other.

‘What do you plan to do then?’  He asked

‘I haven’t thought about it. Just that it’s not great. I am doing it as a stop gap arrangement to accomplish something tangible.’ She told about her new job which was about setting up the entire retail infrastructure of a fashion brand

‘You are nowhere satisfied. Earlier you had problem with your advisory job that it was all airy stuff discordant with reality. Now, you are in thick of the action and still you crib’.

It was disconcerting to hear that. He always did it. If she looked at him, he was probably doing worse than her. His credentials could nowhere match that of hers. But the way he presented it, his failures also sounded as if those were part of his bigger game plan.

Is she too straightforward and honest? Can everything be dubbed as success or failure by awarding marks between 1 and 100? Anything comes at a cost. You don’t get your perfect world anywhere. What’s wrong to feel bad about something which is not right for you? Isn’t it proper to aspire for the state where you are free to be fully creative?

‘I might try my hands at entrepreneurship. I am thinking strongly about it’ she uttered

They were sitting outside a small restaurant beside a highway. Let’s order something- she suggested and got up to place order.

What would you take?  


‘Are you sure? – she asked’

He half smiled, nodded in negative and watched her getting up.She went inside the restaurant to the counter and placed the order. 

He smiled wryly and tilting his head to left as if to gain a posture of higher expertise and asked  – ‘What exactly do you plan to do? Have you made a business plan?’

‘To be frank – No! Some potential ideas are there but each has its own risks, resource requirements and returns’. She went on describing couple of ideas, their merits, her vision and her apprehensions about being able to gather enough resources. He was still ensconced in that posture and was piercingly looking at her- probably to see her burst her own balloon of plans.

Why she used to do that? It always appeared as if she was explaining and defending herself. Was she too risk averse? Was she too self critical? Was she always trying to prove herself to him?

It was difficult to analyze these things howsoever self critical she tried to be. She nevertheless pondered over their meeting; what he said, how he said, how he reacted? She reflected on her short comings. She had gained weight. She needed to work on her wardrobe. She had to become more assertive; probably more flamboyant like those other girls. How those girls acted which made guys turn and give another look to them? Was it their physical beauty, inner glow or some psychological charm- trick they played?

He had a change of mind. He too wished to have a cup of coffee and ordered it. 

There was an awkward silence. She poured one sachet of brown sugar into her coffee and stirred it without looking at him. She was kind of alone even when sitting here with him. She felt the warmth of the cup by holding it from the sides and took one sip. It sent a fresh wave of energy to her presence.

‘Yes, it’s not easy’, she said self reflectively. She wanted to ask what had been going on in his life. He had started an e-commerce company with few friends. Did he have a long term plan or was he floating on the wave of herd behaviour.    

‘So how is it going with you? When are you launching it?

‘We are working on the supply chain and have recruited some developers for the website. In next 3 months we should go live.’ He said it in his usual confident manner but deep within- it lacked conviction. She could sense it in the air around them. However, his nonchalant way of expression shut her up.

In midst of all this conversation, she was scanning for that click, that comfort and the chemistry to strike. There was tension but it lacked the spark.

They had finished their coffee. She felt as if he had been gazing at her. She too looked him into the eye, to explore something intense.

She was intrigued. She wanted to be sure of them; him and her. Every meeting was supposed to somehow nudge them towards a destination. It however, turned out to be a random wandering.

How have you come? Shall I drop you? He asked

‘No, thanks! I have parked my car in the basement.’ She smiled at him. He flashed a smile too. They bid good bye to each other. It could’ve been warmer.

She started her car, paid the money to the parking guy and drove out. The radio was on. There was a song by lataji ‘agar mujhse mohabbat hai, mujhe sab apne gham de do ..’. She raised the volume. The traffic was orderly and smooth.

Suddenly there was intense build up of feelings and tears started rolling down her cheek. The moving car, the passing vehicles, the standing trees - everything was flowing with that music.

She said to herself – ‘Loneliness is just a feeling’.
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This work by Chaitanya Jee Srivastava is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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