I walked into one of those beautiful French restaurants in Puducherry. It was around 8 P.M. I had no company the staff at such places generally expected. They were surprised to see me alone. But that did not affect their hospitality the least. They gave me the best table in spite of me being single. Very few tables were empty. I just hoped that I didn’t look like the odd one out amidst those couples who generally frequent the place.
I surfed through the menu card. The place was known for its sea food, especially their garlic squid. But I was not particularly fond of squid. They are rubbery beings and you got to keep chewing on them. So I preferred to order some fish, sauce, rice and some Bourgogne Chardonnay to wash the food down. Although the ambience was French and the place was decidedly open-air and alluring, these restaurants had been diluted over time. Most of them served Indian food too. That must be to cater to local tastes. However, the authenticity and claims of being a French cuisine were lost. Now, I couldn’t actually visit France to experience it can I? Hence, I consoled myself to what was at hand. Ahhh. Wine with food. They are going to be my company tonight! I visualized them in their entire splendor with my eyes closed and felt the gentle breeze. All of a sudden, my nose started twitching as the breeze was polluted with a beautiful scent. I could not help but ditch my visuals. I opened my eyes and looked around for its source.
There it was! A most beautiful creature in a red dress being invited by the staff. I was filled with awe. She had the most beautiful smile. And the most beautiful eyes. She picked her frilled gown up as she got down the stairs looking for a table to suit herself. I looked around to see if anybody was paying any attention to her. None, except for me. She chose a table right across mine and seated herself. She was offered the menu card and she started going through it. I picked up mine and started peeking over it at her. Wow! She is so beautiful and the RED accentuates her skin tone so well! She had red lipstick and red earrings on to match her gown. Is she single too? Or is she waiting for someone? Did she arrive too early? Such questions started bombarding my mind. Side-effects of being single for too long!
She asked for the waiter and placed her order. What a sweet voice. It was so young. It was childish but at the same time carried a level of maturity that spoke of her experience. I was so mesmerized that I did not realize that my food had arrived. I picked the wine bottle up and acted like I was examining it while I was glancing at her watery image through it. She looked like a wavy dream. She looked like she was out of a fairy tale. I started going at my food and stole a glance at her. She smiled. I smiled back. Eh? She smiled and I smiled back? My heart was laughing. I gulped a glass of the wine and thought what to do next when I heard a voice.
“I am sorry hun. I am late.”
In a second, my thoughts shattered and I looked at the person. A dark, tall and handsome guy was walking towards her. She said it was ok. He kissed her on the cheek and hugged her. They got back to the food and started talking. Now I could not hear anything. Their voices were numbed out.
I hugged my bottle. I called for the waiter and ordered some squid. Time to chew! Even though I hated it, I chewed. Finishing everything I ordered for, including the wine, I cleared the check and walked towards the promenade. Sitting on the stones, I watched the waves crash and retreat with loud roars.
In fact I heard the sea laughing at me and saying this:
So much of it was said,
She went to your head,
Now that your stupid thought is dead,
It’s time to go to bed…..