Storm in the restaurant (Restaurant-e Jhar)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This is a summer afternoon in Kolkata. At this time of the day at 2 PM the temperature has reached its maximum, almost forty degree Celsius. This has beaten the record of last thirteen years or so. There is no rain for at least five months at a stretch. Like other parts of the city sector V is also burning in this heat wave from Jharkhand. The heat is really unbearable for those who are strolling outside of their offices either for having food or for some unavoidable reasons. Even looking out from a safe corner in an air-conditioned room is giving a burning sensation to the viewers eye. The food, fruits and drink sellers as usual are out on this heat and relentless, as they are habituated to this heat wave for the last fifteen days.

Parthib and Manisha were walking towards "Finger Tips" a reknowned restaurant at this place, to have their lunch. The heat is so terrific that the fair face of Manisha looked reddish which added extra beauty to her look. Parthib could not move his eyes away from her. Manisha generally comes here wearing the normal business suit uniform of the business school they read in. But today being the last session before the final semester, she is going to attend ,she has worn a light blue sari on her. Her hair is pony tailed and she is looking gorgeous in the stone studded black blouse she is wearing. She is an attractive girl of twenty two. Just graduated from one of the famous colleges of Kolkata and looking for an opportunity in the corporate world as a professional like Parthib. Parthib has been working as a trainee at one of the software firms here in sector V.

"Right now, if required, I can die for Manisha", Parthib thought himself. He has proposed Manisha twice in these eight months, once indirectly, a few months back and once directly just three days before. She never said yes, but she never said "no" either and that is the last hope for him. He knows well that this is his last chance. She offered Manisha to have lunch with him today and headed for a nearby restaurant.

Srija was looking out through the glasses of her office. The boy is holding the umbrella on behalf of the girl, while the girl is having her fruit juice. "So funny", she thought . Riddhi has never done such an idiotic move while they are together. He works as a technical consultant for a software company at sector V itself. But, that is a bit away from her office. Sometimes they have planned to go out to eat during office lunch hours, but most of the time, they cannot meet at lunch. Even if they could lunch on the roadside stall a day, Riddhi will never do this. And about the umbrella? He is the last person to carry Srija's umbrella she thought. Is that really a foolish act? Doesn't that so the real love, care and loyalty to a girl?

"Hey, like to go to fingertips for lunch?" Komolina asked.
"Yeah let's go." Srija and Komolina headed for the restaurant.

"Whatever you say, Buchanan should be kicked out of Kolkata Knight Riders. Him, and for him only, we are standing nowhere". Saumitra almost shouted.
"No it is McCullum, with his wrong judgements all the way." Arunava argued. "You move dada (Sourav Ganguly) and you are lost. It is that simple."
Pallab was silent, as usual. He doesn't like cricket much. For this reason or maybe some other reasons, the other two are always making laugh at him, for the last few days. Pallab has started disliking this and brought to their notice, but situation has not improved. He just sipped the glass of cold drinks and asked, "Do you know there may be a thunder shower today?"
"What? Are you telling about the news paper weather forecast? Are they ever true?" Saumitra crossed. "Remember Mr. Goldar? Who was renamed as Mr. Gooldar - the rumour-monger, because of his wrong predictions."
"Google never lies." Thought Pallab himself. There is a continuous forecast from google about this thunder shower, though he never checked the satellite imagery. The gang of three were continuing their talk while sipping their cold drinks. They come here together regularly as they work for the same software company.

The restaurant is almost packed up now. Employees from the nearby offices regularly have lunch here. So, very few chairs have been left vacant for Srija and Komolina. They sat just beside the gang of three and Srija was facing the TV screen.

"Do you know where are we planning to go this weekend?" asked Komolina.
"How can I have the faintest idea of your appointments. I am not interested either." Srija thought. "Nope." she answered.
"Hee Hee, water world. That will be pretty exiting I guess." Komolina seemed exited.
"But, Komolina, Sandip is a married man. Do you think that he will continue with you and leave his family?"
"Of course, he will. Do you know how much he loves to stay with me than the old witch. That witch was once came to me and even dared to threaten me." Komolina sighed. "But I love Sandip and will carry on our relationship, whatever it takes."
"And they must have children?"
"No. They don't have. They cannot have any more. Sandip's wife had a surgery on her uterus."

The couple entered right now catched the eyes of both the gang of three and of the girls we were talking about. The girl in blue sari is really looking beautiful but the guy with him is also very handsome. They looked like a perfect match, as if made for each other. The type of couple who pass like a cool breeze in your face on a hot day like this. The couple headed forward to the corner where there is the last four seater still vacant.

Pallab said, "look there is another forecast coming on the TV."
"Forget the TV see the real cool breeze once. It is more of an eye candy." Arunava said.
"Absolutely right", commented Saumitra.
"Let's move now. Will leave early today." said Pallab.
"Wait man, why are you hurrying. Your Project Manager is away and today is Friday. Relax", said Arunava.
"No, if the storm starts just now, we cannot get back to the office so easily", said Pallab.
The other two continued the leg pulling as they are doing for the last few days. He is getting the message from his two coleuges today. They are no more the gang of three, three has become a crowd it is no more a company.

"See the couple, they really look great aren't they?" asked Komolina.
"Yes. Let's start our lunch". Srija said.
"Right. Please pass me a paper napkin".

Their lunch has been served and Komolina started eating really hungrily.
Srija looked at the TV screen reluctantly. The weather forecast is showing that there may be a very powerful storm over Kolkata in the afternoon. "They always forcast. Then the storms come and by the god's grace, Kolkata is always saved. The storms go to Bangladesh", Srija thought.

With extreme astonishment Parthib noticed that Manisha is waving to a man who have just entered. A man of around thirty years of age. The man was in a T-shirt and Jeans and looked pretty stout. The man walked towards them and without taking anyone's permission joined the table. He has a concerned look in his face.

Someone entered and the few seconds the door was open, cool wind entered into the restaurant. Nobody really noticed that for the ACs their. Nobody even looked out to see what is going on outside. Most of them have not noticed that it is almost dark outside, for a dense rain cloud is covering the whole Kolkata.

The gang of three were about to leave.Suddenly there is a cracking sound of thunder and the storm started. Nobody could get the real touch of the cool breeze as the resturent is air-conditioned. But, again there is a craking sound of thunder. Saumitra and Arunava headed for the door but were stopped by Pallab. "See the storm has started. Let's have some more cold drinks." Saumitra was going to call from his cell, Pallab stopped him. "Don't use the cell when it is thundering", he said. Arunava was totally confused, "how come this could have started, even before half an hour there was no sign of clouds," he murmured.

"Meet my would be husband, Nabin", Manisha broke the ice. Nabin said hello, but Parthib could not here. As if the sound of thunder made him deaf and the sudden impact of the situation made him dumb as well. "I have never said about Nabin to you, as you know, we were pretty busy. He works in IBM, Kolkata". Manisha continued and then Nabin intervened, asked something to Manisha. Parthib was not listening to anything, he is terribly hurt. The sudden strike of the thunder storm as if has hit the core of his mind. He gaped around to get away from this situation, this particular moment. "Why me?" he thought to himself and recalled that Manab, one of his friends had given him the warning. "Don't mix with this kind of a girl. She is not of your type. Your relationship will turn to nowhere." Manab warned once.

Neither the three, nor Parthib can move out now as heavy rain has also started almost immidiately. The sound of the TV and the buzz of the people around has been stopped suddenly as there was another cracking sound of thunder and the restaurant lost power.

Srija felt helpless. She always fear from the dark. She also felt suffocated. Srija tried to look at Komolina and she felt a bit of hetred towards Komolina. "This is one of the girls who demolishes the love made home, the family, the real heaven." Suddenly a question struck in her mind, "has Riddhi really gone to Bangalore to represent his company in the Sun Java Conference or he has gone somewhere else? Does Riddhi also have someone like Komolina, in his eyes? Is this the reason he is reluctant about having a baby? " Srija thought." She picked up the cell, tried to ring Riddhi, there was no reply. The automated voice response said "The mobile you dialed is switched off, please dial after some time." But according to Riddhi, the conference is scheduled from 9AM to 1 PM. So, Riddhi must be free now. She tried again and again but no reply. Srija felt a tremendous frustration and breathing problem started. She is about to loose consciousness.

All of a sudden a cool breeze of air entered into the restaurant. It is around 3 PM now. Out there is absolute darkness at noon. After a long five minutes, the generator has been started and the lights came back. Manisha and Nabin could not find Parthib. He is gone.
"The idiot will not disturb me any more," Manisha thought and a quick malicious smile came in her face. "The fool. Moving a few days with a guy doesn't mean that I am bound to be emotionally attached to him." she thought.

Srija gained back her consciousness. She found her head resting in the lap of Komolina. Komolina is treating her as a baby and nursing her with a wait handkerchief.
"We will have to see a doctor after this storm gets over." Komolina said.
Srija could not reply, she only beckoned to her parse where she had her inhaler. Komolina took the inhaler out and stick that in Srija's mouth. Srija closed her eyes.
"It is the man, who is to be blamed in these illicit relationships", she thought to herself.

The storm gone as suddenly as it came. There is a huge tree broken down on the road. The electrical wires, telephone wires are all lying around here and there. A heavy stream of rain water is flowing over the road as well. The cars and buses are moving very slowly as one side of the road has been blocked by the tree. The rain has not stopped totally but everybody is trying to get to their destinations. Some are seeking for taxi. Some are running for bus.

Komolina, with the help of some other guys around and the employees of Finger Tips, got a cab, helped Srija in and started for the nearest doctor she knew. Srija kept her eyes closed again and though a bit embarassed, felt the contentment of being cared.

Manisha was still having chat with her boyfried at the restaurant. They are not in hurry and planning to go for a movie show at the "Big Cinema".

Arunava, Saumitra and Pallab came near the exit. Arunava and Saumitra looked to each other and together they said to Pallab, "Sorry, we have mistaken and make a fool of you about the storm. We have troubled you for quite some time about your ideas and lifestyle. Please don't mind. Those were just for fun. We are friends indeed. " Pallab felt that their gang of three has become a company again.

Parthib was sitting inside the nearby bus stop. He felt the rain. And felt the tears are rolling from his eyes after such a long period of time. He is not feeling the urge to get back home. He is submerged in deep sense of frustration and suddenly feeling lonely. He suddenly realized that he cannot die for anyone. Not even Manisha. As storms get over, and people comes back to normalcy and brings back everything to their shape, however hurt he has been, he will have to bring back normalcy, for him, for the people around him. He wiped the tears from his eyes and started trying to a get a bus to get back.


me_amitava May 12, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

Life for all is never a smooth journey. But storms like these are very necessary to disturb the on going boredom and bring back a new lease of life. Similarly, this story is indeed a refreshing one and made me sit back and give a deep thought about life.

Anonymous May 13, 2009 at 12:43 AM  

guru gor gor kore gorie cholechhe!!!!!!!!!!!! ato sabolil english vaba jay na!!!!!!! kintu boss guldar akhono ki ar gul day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shankha May 13, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

Thanks Amitava for your inspiring comment. A story is written for the readers, so that at least they will think about it for some time.

Shankha May 13, 2009 at 8:45 AM  

Thanks Samareh. No, Mr. Goldar has been retired nearly six years back. I have just mentioned the old days... :)

Shyamashis May 13, 2009 at 11:58 PM  

Very good effort. Tomar ei gun achhe jantam na to. Keet it up. Aro bhalo bhalo galpa lekho.

Shankha May 14, 2009 at 8:45 AM  

Thanks Shyamashis. Will try to write more. :)

HANNAH May 19, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

you are such a gifted author....

Shankha May 22, 2009 at 1:41 AM  


JYOTISHMAN DEBNATH June 7, 2009 at 9:53 PM  

Shankha, like I told you before, you have the quality to write stories in the simplest way and yet, you keep the readers interested. I read two, this and the Prarthna, both depicting the life of people, here and there, in the urban towns, in your case Kolkatta. But the stories do echo all such people scattered everywhere around the cities in the country. Their life, relationships, jobs, etc. The interesting thing I find is that, you are keenly writing about such masses who are common but, make the most percentage of so-called "affected" generation. Keep it up and there is always scope to achieve perfection!

agnitrisha July 22, 2009 at 11:38 PM  

dear shankha,
its too beautiful, you can seriously think about story writing.
best of luck!

Sasanka Sekhar Banerjee December 3, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sasanka Sekhar Banerjee December 3, 2009 at 11:30 AM  

Nicely written. Well composed and touching.

Shankha December 3, 2009 at 6:37 PM  

Thanks Sashankada,Trisha I am really serious about writing. Will try to write more for all of you to enjoy.

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