And as most short romances start in the Coffee House of Calcutta, so did mine. In those sultry sweaty days of June, when a tourist like me falls in love with The City of Joy for perhaps the millionth time, considering it's almost been a second home ever since my childhood remembers.
But the city shows you different lights with every age that you cross and every age that you reach.
And then, I was at the most crisp and flirtatious years of lady hood... Recently legal-ed 18, fresh into first year college, exploring an old love, the city that played sweet games with my childhood and promised to watch me grow every year with every train I took to Calcutta.
So as virgin memory has it, I entered the old huge Coffee House with every wall smiling an Old School time when friends would meet over coffee and biscuits to talk in the simplest way about the simplest Calcuttan life... And the tables and chairs smiled to those very friends, now a little grey and wrinkled, still sitting on those tables, still sharing the same cups of coffee and biscuits, talking in the simplest and fondest way about the still simplest Calcuttan life... See, that was the beauty of this place. It took you back in time just enough for you to blink back to reality and cheer a cup of coffee to those immortal friendships you saw your very own grandfather talk merrily about... Sigh. The Coffee House was the heart of Calcutta where it would somehow entangle every story behind every face with every new face that walked in anxiously, to realize what they heard of this old building was not overrated, and will forever remain a legendary cult, for reasons as old as their great grand fathers… and my face was one of those, and my story was one of those, too that intertwined with him, who sat three tables away in a red Polo tee shirt with a friend stubbing a dead cigarette over and over again and shaking his head with laughter. However this boy... with the red tee shirt and a goatee that complimented the subtle typical boyish smile seemed to be peeking over at my table, concluded with a sudden withdrawal of his eyes when mine met his, accidentally. With the immediate rush of blood to both our cheeks, the blush laughed out loud, reminding me so much of those little flings and crushes we girls giggled over in our early teenage.. I ordered my usual choice, a cold coffee and subsided to looking down; with ridiculously pretentious fascination to the photographs I took during the whole day of acting touristy. My head was mocking me, telling me just how obvious my fake interest reflected my pursed lips that trembled, controlling a smile. If the smile escaped, my eyes would run and look up, to find my strange romance staring back at me... Or maybe it was wishful thinking, the girl in me swooned. I abandoned all the silly thoughts and concentrated on the menu, deciding what to order along with the Frappe.
My Frappe made its way with the Coffee House signature white, thin straw and as if unconscious to the guarded side of me, I looked up, to exchange yet another look that was complimented with shy smiles from both ends.
As I sipped to my cold coffee, letting go of the occasional smiles that slipped by every time the corner of my eye would catch him looking my way, openly ignoring his friend’s rant, I felt the magic of this ancient building take over me, too. And twenty minutes later, when I paid my cheque and rose to leave, I looked back one last time at the boy who nodded a smile at me, which I returned with a small wave that nobody noticed, but him. And I left. It was as simple as that. I left to discover my old love some more, to see what the initial Capital, Calcutta held and hid in it… and I smiled back at the old rickety board that bore its chest out with pride with The Indian Coffee House written in italics, which welcomed every stranger and every friend. I started walking ahead, smiling to the sweetness of this short romance that lasted a dozen of minutes but was sweeter than the complicated and elaborate definitions I’d seen back at home... This was the City of Joy, and this was my Calcuttan Romance.
Awaiting your feedbacks as always!