I have always felt jealous of suave, good-looking and well-dressed men. The reason: they make heads turn wherever they go; no one gives me a second glance!
Well, I too had once caused heads to turn; just once. Today when I look back at that incident, my chest does not swell in pride; rather, I wish the incident had never occurred.
One fine day my office slapped me with transfer orders; I packed my bags and very soon found myself in unfamiliar surroundings.
There are two primary requirements which need to be sorted out when you are on unfamiliar ground: the first is to find yourself a house where you can come back at the end of the day, and the other is to find an eatery where you can have your meals without burning your pockets.
My office colleagues helped me in finding a place to live; the second requirement was yet to be met satisfactorily. I earned a modest salary, and discovered that dining in expensive restaurants was threatening to force me into undertaking a fast during the last few days of the month before I received my next salary.
Of course, the best option would have been to cook my own food. But, other than brew myself a cup of tea I had never entered the kitchen for any other purpose till then in my life. I cannot cook!
Eureka! After dining in expensive restaurants for a few days, I managed to find an eatery quite close to the place where I lived. It was a nondescript joint situated on the first floor of a commercial complex. It was homely joint, the food was alright and affordable, and the greatest advantage was that it was not popular; it attracted only a few customers. That suited me fine! I love to have my meals in a quiet place.
It was a small eatery and had only four or five tables; at any given time it was not unusual to see only two or three tables being occupied. I became a regular patron.
One evening when I reached the eatery, I saw a group of youngsters occupying all the tables excepting one. All the youngsters obviously belonged to the same group. Five or six of them were sitting at one table after pulling chairs from the adjacent table. A boy and a girl sat at another table because there was not enough space to join the bigger group. Another boy and girl stood leaning over the rails, looking down upon the world below and exchanging sweet nothings, or perhaps discussing the lessons learned in college.
I went and occupied the vacant table and sat facing the larger group. Shortly, I saw a girl from the larger group look up at me and whisper something to her friends. I was thrilled!
To tell you the truth, I had led a dull life till then and had always wished I had done something for which I would be remembered for eternity. I craved for recognition. At last, I was being recognised! I racked my brains to discover what good had I done to earn this recognition. Nothing suggested to me. Anyway, I had been in this place only for a few months - a very short period to make an impression. Even during this short period I must have done something great without being really aware of it, I thought.
Following the first girl's whispering, the second youngster looked up at me; then the third, then the fourth and the fifth. Five heads had turned towards me and five pairs of eyes were fixed on me. I was thrilled!
Meanwhile, the waiter came up and I placed my order. Then, the "rail-leaner boy" came up to me and said, "Mister, this table is occupied."
I was astonished. It was vacant when I came, and the waiter too had not said anything about it being occupied. I apologised, "I am sorry I was not aware this table was occupied. But I have already placed my order and you may sit on the opposite side. It will not take me long to finish."
The boy became quite belligerent and refused to see reason. The boy who was sitting at the second table appeared to be a reasonable person. He called out to his friend, "Yaar, why are you creating a ruckus. Come and sit over here (since that table was occupied by only the young couple, there was enough space to accommodate two more persons)."
That resolved the matter.
But I was crushed! I had been floating in the air thinking that the youngsters were looking at me in admiration. When the realisation dawned upon me that it was not in admiration but rather they had all the time been plotting against me, I came crashing down.
Well, that was the only time when I had caused heads to turn. I wish it remains that way because I have learned the dangers associated with being a head turner.