They say that you are supposed to look where you are going.
Obviously, he wasn’t around when they said that.
The collision was inevitable. She was engrossed in her thoughts, and he was trying to solve a differential calculus problem. The problem stayed where it was. He ended up as the denominator, and she, the numerator(1).
They soon regained their primate postures(2) and stood facing each other, uncomfortably. But one glance at the floor saved them from any uncomfortable exchanges.
The contents of her purse had spilled out, like in the movies and she hastily began to stuff them in.
It is indeed, a matter of awe to watch a woman put away her stuff back into her handbag.
First, the bundle of tissues (unused) went in. Then came the mini-make up kit, consisting of the compact foundation box, the corresponding brushes, a few mascara and kaajal sticks and a folding mirror (small). The face-wash tube and lip-stick tubes went in next. And finally, her wallet, which seemed to be bulging at the seams was stuffed inside.
The entire process would have been easier, had the hand bag been a little larger.
The said culprit of a hand-bag was slightly larger than her palm.
A matter of awe, indeed.
He resumed the differential calculus problem that had been so rudely interrupted and made his way to his regular table. He was pleased to find it empty and available. Smiling, he pulled a chair.
A steaming hot cup of lemon tea made way to his table.
“New phone?” piped the waiter.
“No, the same old one.” He replied on auto-pilot, his mind still on the calculus problem.
“Weird way to dress it up if you asked me… Heh heh!”
“Nope, I didn’t ask.”
“Well, enjoy your tea, then!” Saying thus, the waiter left him in peace.
A few moments later, it registered on him. He moved the cup of tea slightly to the left and there it was.
His first thought was that it was a headless doll. And then he realized that it wasn’t a Tarantino film. So he gingerly touched it. It didn’t move. He mustered up enough courage to pick it up.
And pick it up he did.
It was a sweatshirt all right; except, it was at least twenty sizes too small for anyone. For a brief moment he wondered if Tom Thumb and/or Thumbelina really existed. And the previous thought kicked him again. It wasn’t a Tarantino (or even a Kubrick, or a Greenaway) film.
The shiny zipper at the front demanded attention. And he tugged at it. At that moment he attained enlightenment(3).
The entire contraption was a holder for a cell phone. He was living in reality after all.
He sighed. What a disappointment. He made a mental note to watch less films.
No, strike that. Watch more films. At least, they are exciting, unlike reality and its representation in life.
While he was making notes to himself, the sweat-shirt began to shake as if possessed, and emanated weird sounds. The Tarantino-Kubrick-Greenaway connection had barely made its presence felt, when reality kicked in and brought him down crashing to terra-firma.
The phone was ringing. So much for imagination.
But now, he was in a dilemma.
If he were to answer the phone, he would be guilty of trespassing on someone’s private property. On the other hand, if he let it ring, it seemed likely that he would be verbally, even physically, abused in the next few minutes.
The spinal cord in cohorts with the medulla oblongata(2) does really weird things. From telling your heart when to beat, to snatching your hand away from a hot stove, it issues orders with the rapidity and precision of an army general.
It is still a matter of debate, whether it was the above medium or the brain that issued a command to hit the silent button, but the command was issued the same.
And then, the universe collapsed.
1. Readers will kindly excuse the author’s affinity towards mathematics, pathetic jokes and any combination of the two.
2. Readers will also kindly pardon the author’s complete lack of any knowledge of biology. It wasn’t one of my favorite subjects, anyway.
3. Too many Zen Koans…