It has always been my favourite place since Drona introduced me to it. I liked it more than other watering holes of the city because of its decor which had lot of oak wood furniture. Another thing about it is its quietness, a gentle quietness, oft accentuated by the sombre gravity it carried because of its patrons who were mostly middle aged working professionals.
During winter and monsoon it becomes a bit crowded, still it never failed to keep me charmed. I would always find a sofa beside the glass window overlooking the street, the Middleton Row, and while taking leisurely sips of wine I would always look outside, ruminating about people of the city, its colonial past, its cultural conservatism.
That evening had not been any different. I was sitting by the window. The wine with which I got settled that evening was slowly kicking in.
Then I heard a feminine voice. ‘Excuse me…’
A woman, in black saree, sleeveless blouse, high heels, carrying a silver colored purse in her hand appeared before me, almost from nowhere.
‘Can I sit here?’ She asked.
‘Sure…’ I said, feeling surprised and at the same time pleased to have company.
It was drizzling outside. Little droplets of water had accumulated on the window glass. The light from the street was making curious designs on those droplets and the glass window. A soft rock song was being played in the bar.
‘So how are you, Susmit?’ She asked.
I was startled hearing my name. Then I looked at her. ‘O myGod! Megha! What are you doing here?’ I almost shouted in excitement recognising her, my college-mate.
‘I am doing exactly what you are doing…enjoying the beauty of the evening and a bit of intoxication…’ Megha smiled.
Megha had grown more roundish and womanly. In saree she was looking ravishing. I laughed.
Megha spoke about her life, boyfriend, marriage and divorce. I about my bachelorhood and writings.
‘Tell me, why writers prefer to remain unmarried?’ She asked.
‘Probably because they foresee life and think of marriage as a necessary unnecessary thing.’ I joked. Megha laughed. Her lips were red and moist, her perfume tantalising.
Perhaps she noticed my eager eyes. ‘So… do you still think of me?’
‘Sometimes…’ I replied.
‘After we broke up, you know Susmit, I was really depressed for some months. Then plunged into multiple affairs. Got serious about one. Got married. Got divorced soon. Went abroad. Came back. Took a job in the western side of the country. Only last year, came back to the city. Had to…’ Megha talked a lot at one go and then sighed.
‘Why? Why you had to come back?’
‘Well… got a dreaded disease… my days are numbered Susmit… only last week I learnt from your facebook post that you visit this bar on Saturdays… so came here…to meet you… last time before ….you know…’ Megha stopped.
‘You follow me on fb?’ I asked, dumbfounded and absolutely stupefied.
‘Yes dear’ Megha said, looking at me.
I looked at her eyes. They carried oceans, blue and deep.
I was feeling dizzy.
Was it because of the wine?
I did not know…