“If a woman must make a fool of herself, the least a man can do is to let her be one in her own way.” ~When Ladies Meet
Normally I would have written a peppy foreword to this incident, more of a pretext protecting myself and my actions in the story but I chose not to. To be honest, I did write approximately 70 fantastico words earlier but deleted all of them in a go and chose to begin like this. So this one was pretty recent, it wasn’t on Chocolate Day but it was a couple of days after that. People call it Promise day.
We had two exams on the day and I was just returning from the evening one, having done away with the latter. Satisfied with what I had done and looking forward to the three days holiday ahead of me, my mind had already made plans as to how I was going to spend them. Most of them consisted of staying up all night and doing everything I loved doing, with as little of sleep as possible. Also, no plans of me enjoying anything are ever complete without some scrumptious food to go on with. And hence, the program was fixed- visits to some old friends’ rooms, a movie marathon, a blogging marathon and Maggi- Soup- Rusk- Tea spree for four nights.
It was 5:45 pm and as soon as I came out of the exam hall, I rushed to the back gate of my college. My friends followed me behind, wondering where I was going. I told them I needed to buy some things from the ‘Reliance-Fresh’ store near the gate and I would catch up with them later in the evening. They still came with me, the good things they are but stopped at the gate only. “You go on to the store and rush back fast. We’ll be waiting here with some tea”.
So I left them there and proceeded on my way to the store alone. Once there, I was greeted to a huge display of chocolates and hampers kept just after the entrance. To match the Valentine week’s feel, they were also playing some Bollywood romantic music, almost tempting you to buy some of their stuff. Marketing teams are plain awesome these days 🙂
I chose not to drift from my way and simply followed my accustomed way to the basement for what I needed to buy. I picked up a pack of Maggi noodles, the big one that is ,because you get to save 5 rupees on it, and two packets of soup. I mentally calculated the not so intricate total and throwing in the one or two rupee discount, I figured it would be 85. “Maybe I really will buy a 5 rupee Five Star if they have it”. With a hopeful heart, I proceeded up the stairs to check out. Just as I reached there, I saw a girl, probably 26, buying some chocolates from that big display. She seemed one from the affluent high society from her clothes and her purse ( I am not judging here. You just know when a person next to you is that rich). The very moment I stood in the queue behind an elderly gentleman who was the only one there buying some fruits for the week, she herself proceeded to the same checkout point. This time, I got to really look at her, holding all those chocolates in her hand and holding two 500 rupee notes between her fingers. I saw those notes and put a tick in my mind to her being that rich.
But as she came closer and closer and finally to the point, she seemed to stand out of the queue to get her things done before me. Now I have had a history of not letting this happen unless the person is too elderly and carrying too much stuff. So I kind of moved more behind the gentleman so as to mark a definite queue, in effect telling her she should get behind me as I came first. She seemed to understand the gesture. But the first movement she made was not to get behind me in the queue but to put her two notes back into her purse. She then proceeded to put back those 5 or six chocolates she was going to buy and made her way out. In a sunshot moment, I figured that she had not come to buy anything else, she would have gotten here just to buy those chocolates and seeing their number and the occasion, I figured it was for some important purpose. And yet, she was returning without buying any. Had I done something wrong?
“NO”, I told myself and although my calculations were correct, I did not get a 5 rupee Five Star there at checkout. I stepped out of the store, seeing the girl driving away as I stood on the stairs.