Tuesday, July 07, 2009

............................

He pushed the door. It was dark inside, a bit darker than outside; just like he was.First gasp of air filled his nostrils with the smell of burning tobacco and alcoholic breaths. His head was already light.The band was playing Bob Dylan's "Rolling Stone" .

He had always liked the place, live music ,good food and a great view of the city.It was never crowded, but had some loyal patrons and he was one of them. He knew almost all the waiters and bar-tenders by their first names and they knew him as the nice guy who always tipped handsomely.

He looked at the tables, few couples were there, some foreigners and a group of three or four people.His regular table was vacant, which had the best view of the city's skyline. He had spent some wonderful evenings at that table ,some of which ended with he and his friends singing songs with strangers, and some having the last drink with the staff.Today it was different.

"It might end different too ", he thought.

All those evenings he used to look at the bar and wonder how some people spent the entire evening by themselves, sitting there, talking only to the bar-tender. Lokesh was attending the bar today. He saw an old man sitting at the corner of the bar.

He again looked at his favorite table and then walked to the bar."Why ruin the happy memories...table doesn't have to know I came alone tonight"

"Hi Lokesh"

"Hello Sir..how are you?"

"been better" He smiled wryly

"The usual please....make it double!"

"Sure Sir"

He took out the ring and put it on the bar. There was slight discoloration on his finger. He was looking at it, when Lokesh silently put the glass of whiskey beside the ring.

"What's her name?"

It was the old man.

"Nisha"

"Lovely name!!"

"Lovely wife! " He gave a half-hearted smile.

"Fight??"

"Big One" He said. "Yet again" He thought.

There was silence for couple of minutes, he sipped his whiskey.

"You know we were not like this, but things changed... we changed" he tried getting things off his chest.

"I don't know what happened, it feels like the connection is not there any more..somewhere we lost the love....we had.. "

" we had some beautiful evenings at this very place..at table..."

"Table 11??"

"Yes..it has.."

"the best view.." Old man was finishing the sentences.

Lights were dimmed for the next performance.The band started playing Eva Cassidy's "Time After Time"

"That's her favorite song.."

"Lokesh...repeat the drink"

He sat silently..listening to the song.

As the song ended, old man turned to him

"What now?"

"I do not know...I will stay here for a while"

"And she?"

The question annoyed him,but it was the answer that bothered him the most. He knew she would wait for him and then would go to sleep. He remained quiet, took a big sip and quipped

"What about you old man?"

He looked at his wrinkled hand, there was no ring.

"I am here for her" Old man raised his ring-less hand

He remained silent.

It was old man's turn.

"You know... its not about the ring...its about the mark which grows under it....different from everything else around it..protected from everything.."

"It takes time...but its all about the mark.."

"Its her mark on me.." Old man again raised his hand..this time he noticed the deep discoloration around the finger.

The band was preparing for the last song of the evening, as the lead singer announced
"We will try "Nothing else Matters" by Metallica" , his cell phone buzzed, it was a SMS

Sorry about everything..please come back...Luv Nisha

"Lokesh ..check please" He was still staring at the message.

He picked up the ring, wore it and looked around, old man was not there.

"Wise old man" he said to himself.

He looked the bill, it had "Table 11" written on it.

"Hey Lokesh, I didn't took Table 11 today" he smiled on bar-tender's mistake.

"...and please put old man's bill on me"

Lokesh was puzzled,

"Sir earlier you were sitting at table 11"

"I was??"

"Yes sir...you went out for smoke then you came to the bar"

"....and you came alone tonight...which old man are you talking about? "

He looked around, his head was spinning.

"Are you all right sir?"

"Shall I call a cab? "



4 comments:

Voice said...

good one.
long but you are making your mark in short stories also.

Prakhar said...

@Bhav

Thanks yaar....I am not able to shorten them :(

Do you think I should put them in two parts? I am not sure about it, it doesn't seem right to me...but they are getting really long for a single post...what to do?? :(

Voice said...

no. single post was more apt for it.

long hai to kya hua.. hum log padh lenge
achha likha hai na

commited to life said...

so.. finally u started writting stories.. heh!

nice one

one question that came to mind while readint it..

does law of marginal utility apply in relationship also..? ;)