I am back to iland and hope you haven”t forgotten me….. I am really lucky to have such great friends out here who were constantly in touch with me and always wanted me to come back. I am back because of Manisha Sharma, Aditya (Sir) Menon Das, Shashi Tahiliani, Shabdika, Malini and Roy who keep on insiting me to come back…… So I am continuing from where I have left…….
"One black coffee. No sugar please" He told the Café Coffee Day employee.
day at 1:30 in the afternoon he ordered exactly the same configuration
as dessert after lunch ' sometimes after skipping lunch.
The girl standing next to him eyed him curiously. "Americanized!" she remarked with a smile on her face.
was jolted. It was a clear intrusion into his privacy. She had no
business accosting him like that. He wanted to tell her how annoying
her remark had been.
But he didn't ' mainly because the girl
in question was Monalisa Kumari. Twice she had been unanimously elected
the Crown Princess of SoftSol, the company both of them worked for.
was part Indian part Deutsch. She was fluent in Hindi, Spanish and
French apart from Deutsch. She was so beautiful that it was difficult
to describe her beauty in words.
He would accept any word spoken by this girl. Guys considered it a privilege to talk to her.
She was still looking at him. He realized he had to respond.
"Not exactly. I love black coffee."
She nodded, "So you are saying, you loved black coffee ever since you were a kid!"
He thought about it, "No, only in the last five years"
"That is ' after you visited the West"
He was surprised, "How do you know I'd been to the West?"
that's pretty easy!" she replied casually, "One: you said Black Coffee.
No Sugar and not Black Coffee without Sugar. Two: You said Please!
Three: You look quite old. Everyone in this firm of your age had
visited the West at least twice."
He laughed, "One and Two are quite
good. But I think it is Three which gave me away!"
"Right Dr. Watson. So you started your tryst with black coffee after an expedition to the West! Am I correct?"
"Yes" he responded.
"Quad Erat Demonstrandum" she smiled.
doesn't prove that I am Americanized" He retorted, "It only proves that
I was introduced to black coffee's virtues in America"
"Same difference, ain't it?" Monalisa gestured him towards a table nearby.
They walked to the table and occupied it.
sipped his piping hot black coffee and started talking, "You know! It
is not the same. Americanization means ' a paradigm shift in the way we
think and operate. Just liking your coffee black does not mean you are
Americanized. It just means that you are familiar with certain Western
practices. I don't see anything wrong with that."
She stared into his eyes.
it is. I still believe people drink Black Coffee just because it is the
in thing you know and not because they love the taste of it. Who would
love that bitter liquid anyways."
was offended. She might be the most beautiful girl of the campus. She
might be a swift driver of a Swift. She might be a 99 percentiler. But
she still had to respect the tastes of her colleagues.
knew at once there was something wrong. "Oh I am sorry Srini. I didn't
mean to hurt you. You know I really don't know why people like this
He composed himself and came up with the most daring proposition of his life so far.
"Why not give it a try?"
She was surprised, "Black coffee? Eeeks! Thank you very much. I am pretty much Ok with my Latte ' full of Sugar ' Soulful!"
He asked her, "Have you ever tried it?"
"No!" came the emphatic answer.
Let us play a little game. Tomorrow onwards, every afternoon at 1: 30,
we will meet here and have a cup of black coffee ' for five days. I
suggest you don't drink any other type of coffee in this period. If at
the end of the fifth day you still don't understand why people drink
black coffee, I will stop drinking it."
There was silence. Pin drop. She eyed him suspiciously. It was evident that he wanted to spend more time with her. She knew it.
"Tomorrow at 13:30. Same place." She said.
Monalisa examined carefully the contents of the cup.
"Do I really have to drink this?" she asked no one in particular. He didn't respond. He knew she cared a damn for his answer.
then she took the first sip. Her facial ex-pressions changed at the
speed of light. He waited. She eventually came back to this world.
He didn't say a thing.
She silently walked over to the trash can and threw the coffee cup into it.
"Let us get out of here. I want to
show you something." She gestured him to follow her.
Half an hour later ' they were seated in a dilapidated dhabha off NH45 twenty kilometers from the office.
He sipped the three rupee coffee sans sugar. It was delightful.
"What do you infer from this?" she asked him.
"That coffee in a NH45 dhabha twenty kilometers from the office tastes really good?"
She laughed, "You do have a sense of humor"
He smiled, "Maybe yes. What is the point?"
sighed. "One way of looking at it ' pay 3 rupees and have a lovely
coffee. Or pay ten rupees and drink the rubbish you've been drinking
He was stupefied, "you want me to drive twenty kilometers to this dhabha just because it offers me coffee at 3 rupees?"
"Think about that" she took her purse out.
Srini was curious. Monalisa sipped her black coffee and told him, "You know!
We don't have to do this. I am most certainly not going to like this liquid."
"We decided. We follow." Srini was adamant.
Monalisa winked, "All this just for black coffee?"
Srini thought for a moment, "I am enjoying these meetings"
"Friends?" she extended her hand.
"No" He was firm.
There was a stunned silence. She was swept off her feet. "What did why?"
"I don't think we can ever be friends. You are too beautiful to be a friend."
She stared at him, "When Harry Met Sally?"
"Partly yes" he responded.
"More than twice?" she asked.
"More than twenty times. I own the DVD."
you taking it a little too seriously? It is possible for a girl and a
boy to be just friends. Give me a break. We see so many such friends in
the food court everyday."
He shook his head, "I don't want to talk about others. Myself ' I am attracted to you. Wait! I am
not saying anything wrong here. All I am suggesting is that we can never be friends."
She finished the black coffee in three quick gulps, "Goodbye Harry!"
To Be Continued…….