Exactly 2 miles away from my office in James street, lane-7, I found this beautiful coffee store 3 years ago. THE VARANDA they named it. Now it has become a routine for me to take a sip every evening while heading back to my shelter. This signal at James road junction doubles my frustration every day, I feel like that computerized signal light hates me well and switches to red as soon as I enters the road. But I wait so patiently telling myself ‘in few minutes all your fumes leak out with that cup of coffee’. With that church bell ringing in the corner of the James street I entered into the coffee store.

THE VARANDA is a beautiful place where a typical 2 BHK was turned into a lovely coffee store, most attractive part of this store is they designed the whole store with full lot of books and the unique idea they have is they offers 5% discount on your bill when you leave a review for every book that you complete reading there. Books may not a good combo to have with coffee for some people but people like me who loves reading were making this place busy all the time. A hot cup of coffee with a good novel takes off all the stress that you packed for that whole day. So, for this reason I was addicted to this specific coffee store. How bad my day may be I just rushes into one of the bedrooms of the store and garbs a book with some hot coffee.

Like every day I entered into the store and grabbed a book titled THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks, took my seat at the corner and started reading it. It is quite a good romantic novel, I am staring at those romantic lines with some serious interest and also with some hiding smile then comes Ms. Sana the waitress of THE VARANDA whom I know from quite a long time and interrupts me saying ‘sorry to interrupt you Sir! What would you like to have’? Smiling at her I asked her to get me a mocha. Running through the pages of that novel for some time I realized that I bottom supped my mocha. As a habit I turned the book back and started writing few lines of review for parts I read, stating ‘Even the coffee tastes love now’

The very next day I have one of my worst days at office and with hell lot of frustration I rushed to VARANDA, started turning the pages of the novel from where I left the last day  after ordering a mocha. Then surprisingly I saw a review written below my lines saying ‘sip it slow, let those love vapors brush my face’. Now I am confused judging those lines, did someone just replied me or they just wrote their review. Whatever the reason may be those lines made me blush. All the bad mood load I am carrying today suddenly left my back, there is no big reason but those two lines somehow made me feel high. Few minutes from there again comes Ms. Sana interrupting my silent smile saying ‘sir! Bill’.  Before leaving my heart want to just write something in that review again just to conform weather someone really replied me or it is just my assumption. Soon I wrote ‘this is driving me in perfect love route’ and left the place.

As soon as the clock ticked 5:30 I ran out of my office and started riding towards the coffee store. That James signal again made me wait for some extra minutes to reach but today I am not frustrated but excited. I noticed that the church bell rang after my entry to the lane rather being a Corus to my entry like every day. Took my seat in the same corner again holding the book, unlike everyday today my instances directly turned the book back to read the review list first. Now it is confirmed that someone is replying me intentionally. Today she wrote ‘come out of the corner to start your journey’ damn man! She knows where I take my seat that says she already saw me reading this book. Some raise in my heartbeat now, don’t know why but I am sure my face is glowing with some happy smile inside.

As it is confirmed that some is watching me, now I am so curious to know who she is? For that I rolled my eyes from end to end corners of that coffee store but I found no one giving attention to me. She might not be present in the store now or she may be playing a smart game without being caught to my sight. There are few people who smiled back when I gave a wage smile to them but I am sure there are definitely not the people who wrote those replies because none of them were holding books. Not only that but I can also feel no spark in their eyes which was supposed to be present in a girl who writes such an engaging line’s. After trying for many minutes to find her I learnt that it is really tough to find her out so I made a plot to come early tomorrow and figure out who is writing those review with that idea I left the store.

On the fourth day of this new game I left my office early and planned to reach Varanda a hour early than every day, today I was not stopped by that James signal, the church in the corner of the lane is not yet opened for evening prayers. I stepped into the store and choose a table which is next to bill counter to avoid someone recognizing me at that corner seat, moreover this seat beside bill counter has a great view of whole store. I then asked Sana to get me some water not coffee today. I saw the novel is still in the book shelf untouched where I placed it last night, with lot of excitement I am waiting for someone to grab that book and reply to my review.   

Then comes a beautiful lady in white dress, my sixth sense says she is the one, crossing me she went to the book shelf and took the same book. I was hiding my face with newspaper to not get recognized by her, she then rolled her eyes all over the store and started turning the pages of that book. I don’t know what she was reading but I can surely say she was silently smiling like I did earlier. Now the probability is raising high I am almost sure that she was the one who replied to me. I guess she was reading my reviews and thinking to write some reviews, I am silently watching all this trough gaps of my fingers. She looks beautiful, oh god! I can’t believe this; her smile is sounding like some kind of music. I was almost stunned and looking at her eyes with no blink then she suddenly rolled her eyes over me. I don’t know how to manage I did some stupid acts to divert her, I just don’t want her to recognize me. Despite of all my failed acts he really didn’t cared about me. I guess she is making a smart move again in order to not get caught by me. While all this cinematic scene is happening a man entered into the store and walked directly to that same girl whom I am staring. She then stood up with full excitement and started hugging him. God! Don’t do this, I am pleading inside but then soon I accepted the fact that She was not the one. All my excitement got crashed down the hill in a blink of second. That’s all for today, I am very much disappointed and left the store with no much hopes.

For next few days the chat game on the review pages kept going, I tried to figure out the lady but I couldn’t , slowly the things became normal and soon later I stopped reading that book. All the good vibe and the excitement saturated with time and that James signal started frustrating me again. Those dull and moody days are back into my life again. Months passed as a routine I am coming to varanda daily but the thought of finding that girl vanished from my mind. In fact, I stopped reading love domain novels. One bad day I was so badly fired by my boss in office but surprisingly I was not feeling any frustration because I started accepting those and offering no resistance. There is no feeling expect some kind of slow depression in my life right now. I worked till late night to complete the task given and to satisfy my boss as a result I am totally exhausted.

At this late night I wanted to have a coffee and started riding to Varanda, there is no one on the streets, James signal gave me direct green as soon as I reached and crossing the church I heard the bell sound again but this time it is not because of any prayers but because of heavy breezes. I entered Varanda and found it very empty and there is no waiter even to serve me. Leaving my back pack in my corner seat I am just walking all around the store and waiting for someone to come out and take my order. Few minutes passed and there is no one coming out and then I decided to enter into the kitchen room to check whether is there anyone who can help me with my order. I opened the kitchen door and saw Ms. Sana the waitress whom I know very well sitting with coffee in her hand and reading some book. I asked her to get me a cup of coffee, she responded yes and then I turned back.

Within few second my brain processed something and gave me some images, is Ms. Sana holding the Same book in her hands and then suddenly I turned back to confirm. I don’t want to see anything else but just want to focus on the book that she held. Yes, it is the same book I can see that clearly in fact, I am able to see only that else everything in the background got blurred. After confirming the book, I just panned my eyes to her face. She was in shock; I guess she is not expecting me in the store at this odd time. I can see her lips shivering and hands holding the book tight with some tense. I moved a step back to look her as a whole, now everything is running in slow motion around my eyes. In those breezes from window her curls are brushing her face, she looks exhausted but look at her eyes there is a spark in it. She was in not any white gown now in fact, she wore the old bib apron with full of coffee marks on it though she looks like an angle for my eyes. In past 3 years I never felt this watching her any day but now I feel some magic in the air, there might be an invisible film formed by those lines she wrote earlier which is showing her more beautiful to my eyes. No need to confirm about the writings her eyes are already taking to me saying yes! I wrote them. The S she scribbled below those lines is making some sense now. The church bell sounds are playing chorus to our heavy heart beats now, those coffee fumes are warming up the atmosphere. The room is so silent; trust me I can hear her inner voice. She was tensed but want to express something, I can feel the fight that she is having with her inside.

In sync with the sound of seconds handle of the wall clock in that room I started walking towards her. She is not even blinking. our eye line was going as parallel as the railway tracks. I held her hand, she is breathing heavy now, that hot air hitting me directly in my heart. Then I said ‘sip to slow, let those love vapors brush my face’. She then gave a smile which was as smooth as the thick viscous honey drop drips from the honey comb. Nothing was pre decided but now we are just an inch away to each other and with sudden heavy breeze and loud church bell we kissed each other.

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One thought on “THE VARANDA

  1. · July 23, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Your insightful writing and vivid narration is a pleasure to read …
    My coffee got that aroma of love after I read this !!!