Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lovey-Dovey Foodie Date at Churchgate

FOODIE DATE AT CHURCHGATE
Short Fiction  A Love Story
by
VIKRAM KARVE

Here is one of my Lazy Mumbai Stories.

I wrote this story more than 15 years ago  in January 2002 – after an evening walk on Marine Drive.

FOODIE DATE AT CHURCHGATE

Mumbai
Circa 2002

She stands in front of the full-length mirror and looks at herself.

She does not like what she sees.

She cringes a bit
. 

The jeans make her look fat.  

And – the tight blue top – it’s all wrong...!!! 

So  she wears a loose dress – Churidar, Kurta and Dupatta – to hide her bulges. 

She looks at her new high-heels – should she wear them? 

They will make her look tall – and less fat.

No. 

Not today.  

Now  it’s got to be walking shoes.

A brisk invigorating walk from Chowpatty to Churchgate to rejuvenate her body breathing the fresh evening sea breeze on 
Marine Drive is what she needs to cheer her up. 

She stands on the weighing machine at Churchgate station – and  with a tremor of trepidation, puts in the coin.

Lights flash.

Out comes the cardboard ticket.

She looks at it.  

Same as yesterday.  

And the day before.  

And the day before. 

No change. 

She is doomed.  

There is never any change in her weight  or in her fortune – written on the weight card. 

Her face falls.

She is trying so much 
 exercising, dieting. 

But it is no use.

She looks longingly at the Softy Ice Cream counter.
 

There is a smart young handsome man with two Ice Cream Cones  one in each hand.

He looks at her.

She notices that he is looking at her for that moment longer than necessary.

She averts her eyes 
 but he walks up to her  and he says: “Hey...! How are you...?” 

She looks at him  confused.  

His face seems vaguely familiar. 

“You are Sheena’s roommate  aren’t you...?” he asks. 

She remembers him. 

He is Sheena’s boyfriend.

He works in HR. 

“Here...” he says, coming close  proffering an Ice Cream Cone towards her. 

She steps back awkwardly  perplexed  and taken aback  by the man’s audacity.  

“Take it fast. Otherwise, the Ice Cream will melt...” he says. 

She hesitates  confused. 

“Come on. Don’t be shy. I know you love Ice Cream. Sheena told me...” he says

She takes the Ice Cream Cone from his hands. 

“I’m Mohan. I work in HR...” he says.

She doesn’t say anything. 

“Let’s walk...” he says, “and hey  eat your ice cream quickly  before it melts”.

They start walking.

As they walk slowly out of Churchgate station towards 
Marine Drive  they slowly lick the creamy yummy softy ice cream off their cones. 

“You walked all the way from your hostel at Chowpatty...?” he asks. 

“Yes...” she says  speaking to him for the first time. 

“All alone...?” he asks.

“Yes.” 

“You come here every evening...?” 

“Yes. I jog every morning too.” 

“All alone...?” 

“No. On other days we come together.”

"We...?"

"Sheena and me." 

“And today...?” 

“Sheena has gone out.” 

“For the office party at the Discotheque...?” he asks.

“Maybe...” she says.

“And you...? Why didnt you go for the party...? You didnt want to go all alone  is it...? No date...? No partner for the party...?” he asks.

She is furious. 

But – she controls herself. 

She says nothing. 

There is no point getting on the wrong side of HR. 

He notices her silent anger  and he says: Hey  please dont get angry. Even I did not go the party...

She hastens her steps and says: “Okay. Bye. Time for me to go...!!! And thanks for the Ice Cream.”
 

“No. No. Wait. Let’s have a Pizza over there...” he says pointing to the Pizzeria on Marine Drive by the sea. 

“No. Please. I’ve got to go.” 

“Come on. Don’t count your calories too much. And don’t weigh yourself every day...” he says.

“What...?” she goes red with embarrassment!

This is too much.

So  this guy has been stalking her  watching her every day.

Outwardly she fumes. 

But inside  she secretly feels a flush of excitement. 

“Yes. Don’t get obsessed about your weight. Like Sheena...” he says.

“Sheena...?” she asks.

“She keeps nagging me about my weight...” he says.

“But you’re not fat...!!!” she says. 

“Then what would you say I am...?” he asks. 

“Let’s say you’re on the healthier side...?” she says.

“Ha Ha – healthier” side...? That’s great...!!! Then you too are on the “healthier” side  aren’t you...?” he says, amused.

“Oh yes. We both are on the healthier side...” she says – and she laughs.

He laughs. 

She laughs.

They both laugh together.

A healthy laughter...!!!

They sit in the sea breeze.

They relish and enjoy eating their pizzas.

He is easy to talk to 
 she has much to say  and the words come tumbling out. 

And so  they enjoy a healthy foodie date.

Together 
 they relish delicious Pizzas  and other lip smacking goodies  to their hearts’ content  and then  they top up the satiating snacking with heavenly Ice Creams at Rustom’s nearby. 

And after their spontaneous foodie date – they part ways – and – she walks in an ecstatic mood – enjoying the cool night breeze on Marine Drive  back to her hostel near Chowpatty.

EPILOGUE

“Where were you...?” Sheena asks her  when she returns to their room in the working women’s hostel late at night. 

“I had a date...” she says to Sheena.

“You...? Fatso...? A date...?”  Sheena says disbelievingly

“Yes. I had a date. A date at Churchgate...” she says.

“A date at Churchgate...? Wow...! Things are looking up for you yaar...!” Sheena says.

“Yes. Things are really looking up for me. And you Sheena...? How was your party...?”

“The whole evening was ruined. That creep Mohan. He stood me up. He didn’t turn up for the party and he kept his mobile off...” Sheena complains bitterly.

“Mohan...?” she asks Sheena – putting on a fake look of cluelessness.

“You have met him...” Sheena says.

“Mohan...? I don't think you have introduced me to any Mohan...” she says to Sheena.

“Of course I have introduced Mohan to you. He has come here to pick me up so many times. He comes over to meet me at our office too. He works in HR...” Sheena says.

“Oh...! That guy from HR...? The chap on the healthier side...!!! That is your darling Mohan  is it...?” she says to Sheena.

“Darling Mohan...? My foot...!!!” Sheena says angrily, Bloody ditcher  that’s what that horrible Mohan is. How dare he stand me up...? And that too  at the office party...? To hell with him...!!!” Sheena mutters in frustration  and she goes off to sleep.    

But  our heroine cannot sleep.

She eagerly waits for sunrise.

For at 6 AM in the morning 
 her newly found beau Mohan has promised to meet her on Marine Drive opposite the Aquarium  for a “healthy” jog on Marine Drive.

And 
 they – Mohan and She – they will be meeting in the evening too  for a lovey-dovey foodie date at Churchgate  for ice cream, pizza, and yummy goodies  yes – lovey-dovey foodie date

Overwhelmed with a joyful sense of anticipation  she feels happy. 

Life is looking up. 

Now – she has got something to look forward to. 

She feels really happy.

Happiness is when you have something to look forward to...

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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