A cold winter morning it was. Winters in Delhi are like “WINTERS”, I mean they are actually cold. The climate always succeeds in making me a lazy goose every time I visit Delhi for my vacation. This time was no exception. My daily routine would be get up by 10 am, have breakfast, watch TV, have lunch, continue watching TV, have coffee, again TV, then comes dinner and off to bed. I never move from that sofa. My mom keeps yelling at me trying to get me do some household work, but yea she never succeeds – she ends up doing everything all by herself – poor lady – I pity her for having to tolerate me.
But today was kind of different. I was actually so happy that I couldn’t sleep at all. I got out of bed by 7 am. I looked into the mirror and smiled to myself. I felt some kind of happiness, satisfaction and confidence in me. This was all because, the previous day I had finally succeeded in filling up the application form for a French university. Going to France has always been my dream and my ambition. Yea, I know I have not been granted admission yet, but I have taken the first step – I should be happy right? Yea, I should. I decided I would spend this day in my style. I wanted to make it a busy day. So I decided to take a long drive – thankfully I have my license. I left home as soon as my dad left for office. I roamed all around Delhi – actually the city is kind of fun. Busy men, stylish women, studious children (all aiming for IITs), totally cute tiny babies, traffic jam, men scolding each other in a language I never understand – huh, it was all fun to see. I was having complete fun. At around 10:30 am, my stomach called out and said “Hey idiot, I am hungry. You better give me food”. Luckily, I found a “Café coffee day” just on the opposite road. I decided to drive in.
Woo, the shop was so crowded – I guess most of Delhi’s population “lives” here. Whatever, I had to find a seat. I finally found a table for 2. I ordered a cappuccino and sat there thinking of how it would be like if I go to Paris – I have had this thought many times during exams – I fly to Paris, live in Paris for about 10 minutes and come back realizing I am still in PSG Tech writing a semester exam.
After about 10 min, a guy walked in and sat in the seat opposite to me. He was fair and yea, obviously a North Indian. I tried hard to control my laughter on seeing his hair style – you know the “spike” hairstyle the guys usually have, that makes me laugh to my stomach ache. He was wearing a track pant with a green T-Shirt. He was staring at the menu for about 15 minutes. The waiter had to shake him up with, “Sir, your order please”. He ordered a cold coffee. I thought – a cold coffee – in this cold winter – how weird? He gave me a sharp look, straight into my eyes – for a second I thought he read my mind – but no, he said “Manav”. Before I could even tell my name, he started off and spoke for about 3 minutes non-stop and I didn’t understand even a single word as he was speaking in hindi but I decided not to interrupt. He stopped all of a sudden and asked “Madrasi?” I said “Yes” He said “So, basically, you did not understand a word of what I spoke so far?” I just nodded my head. Our coffee was served and there was silence for about 5 minutes.
“Her name is Ankitha”, he said looking down at his coffee. “My girlfriend, her name is Ankitha. I love her so much. She loves drinking cold coffee during winters. She is such a beauty at heart. I have always been proud of her. She is my junior in college. She was that one girl who faced the raging scenario with immense courage. She is a package of surprise, happiness and love. She is a totally weird person and you know guys fall for such weird girls so easily. I almost instantly fell in love with her, yea, it was love at first sight. You know, she always wanted to go to Paris and climb the Eiffel tower. She wanted to sit on the highest point of Eiffel tower and drink cold coffee”. As he said this I thought of myself. I have the same wish but not cold coffee; I have wanted to eat a baguette. He continued without even looking up, still staring at his coffee “She got her big ticket to Paris. She was all excited when she boarded the flight. I was so happy for her. But now, I regret it. She is no more. She is no more”, as he said this tears rolled down his cheeks. I realized that he was in terrible pain but I dint know what I should do. All I could do was just sit there and listen to his story with patience. He looked straight into my eyes and said “Yea, she died in the terrorist attack that took place in France” My heart skipped a beat when I heard that. I almost had tears. He was literally crying and I was staring blankly at him. I could feel his pain. He said looking down at his coffee “I wish she never went to Paris. I wish she stayed with me. I wish she comes back”. He looked up, wiped off the tears and said “It’s impossible right? Yea, I know it is impossible. She will never come back” I was about to say something but he stopped me and said “I don’t really know who you are but thanks for listening to my story with so much patience. I feel much better”, saying so he just walked off without drinking even a drop of that cold coffee he had ordered. I turned around and looked back at him for one last time. I said to myself “Life at its best is bitter sweet” as I sipped the last drop of cappuccino from my cup.
Yea, Life at its best is bitter sweet. When you are at your happiest moment there is someone out there who is at their saddest. Even if you can’t do anything, you can certainly spread the smile. So spread the smile whenever and wherever possible – people might feel better just because of your presence.