By Shruti Vairagkar (L&T Howden)
It had been ages since they last met. Something or the other kept coming which made one or both put their plans on hold. It took them eight months to finally put everything aside and catch up with each other. Seated at a table by the window in a café, they sipped on coffee. While waiting for their food to arrive, he looked out of the window listlessly watching the passersby.
He propped his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his hands and faced his friend of a few years. “Tell me something, do you sometimes think life is just passing you by?” She looked at him and braced herself for a conversation on life and its meaning or something in between.
She raised an eyebrow. Explain.
“We’re in our early thirties, unattached, holding down these jobs which pay the bills and help save for the future. But do you think you’re missing out on stuff like buying a house or car, starting a family which most of the folks in our circle are doing or have done?”
The server laid the food on the table. She picked up her sandwich and proceeded to take a bite. Chewing, she thought about the question he had asked. She had never paused to take stock or tick off items in The Checklist of Life. Returning the sandwich to her plate, her eyes perused his earnest face. He looked a little sad. She gave him a little smile and shook her head.
“Why am I even asking you this? You’ve always been unconventional. You worshipped John Lennon. Wanting to be happy when you grow up was your life’s mantra. Anyone who looks at you would say you’ve achieved it. Is it that easy, to be just happy?” Barely giving the question a thought, she nodded. Yes.
They sat in silence for a couple of minutes. He looked around the café and returned to gaze outside the window. She took his silence as cue to eat more of her sandwich.
He sighed. “I’m overthinking it, aren’t I?” She nodded again. He let out a small laugh and pouted. “You didn’t even think about it! I’m hurt!” She chuckled.
“I always do that. Overthink, overanalyze, kill my own joys, and get myself in a funk. I really should take a leaf out of your book.” She smiled at him, her smile crinkling her eyes. He smiled back. “I am my worst own enemy.” She nodded.
“And you’re heartless.” They both laughed in agreement. Finishing their food, they signaled for the cheque. Exiting the café, they bade each other goodbye promising to meet much sooner.
She watched him walk towards the station. Looking up at the sun, she smiled. It was always interesting talking to him.