A calm, placid and jobless day – I was whiling time away at the State Central Library (Public Library) in our city, whose reading rooms have been my abode for a while. A bibliophile, I used to spend a large chunk of my free time at the British Library when it existed, but now that its once-revered premises have been modified into a makeshift auditorium for YMCA activities, the literati (read: jobless guys like me!) have fewer choices to hang out.
That day, I ventured out of the reading room (having exhausted almost all the newspapers and magazines out there, at least the ones that interested me!) and came down to the “English Fiction” section. I couldn’t take a new book, since I had already exhausted my four book limit – so I was just glancing through random titles. I was skimming through an Alistair Maclean when this guy who was passing by stopped abruptly and turned to say Hi. It was a junior at school and I chatted him up, having met him after quite a hiatus. He had three books clutched in his hand – including two titles in Malayalam. Which was when I was reminded about the existence of a Malayalam section in the library! 🙂
Now, I’m a bigtime connoisseur of Malayalam literature. 😀 A long time ago, I used to loathe novels/works in English and read tonnes of malayalam books. But with time, I got rewired and reprogrammed to English. 😉 It’s been a while since I read a decent Malayalam book/novel, the last one being VKN‘s “Payyan Diary’. So as to get some fodder to add on to my (untouched) Malayalam Blog, I thought I’d take a dip into the Malayalam Section and read some quality books. After all, I had time till the evening, all of which I had to spend at the forsaken, mismanaged and dusty library (perpetually bankrupt that I am, I had no money even to take a movie ticket!). Bidding the guy goodbye, I moved on to the yet-to-visit Malayalam section that lay adjacent to the English one. It wasn’t much different from English section as regards to the amount of dust accumulated! 😛 I went over to shelves, dusted books open, only to close them as quickly as I opened! All of them were crap – not a single recognizable name anywhere!!
Then, I found a section devoted to the recently-deceased author Kamala ‘Suraiyya’ Das. I thought I’d check out some of her books, and went over, scourging for good books of hers I was yet to read. As I was sifting through the dust, this girl made her grandiose entry into the enviorns of the scarcely populated Malayalam Section.
Her face sparkled like the girl in the ‘Fair ‘n’ Lovely’ ad. The jet-black eyelids were piercing and sharp, emanating a radiant aura. Her straightened hair was let loose on her shoulders, fastened by a hair bun. Her red top and dark jeans added sheen to the perfect curves – she was gorgeous by all standards and I had to pinch myself and deliberately close my opened mouth.She reminded me of a favourite fictional character: “The woman in red” from ‘The Matrix’!
She asked the librarian with a smile:
“Ente Katha ethiyo?” (Has the book ‘Ente Katha’ arrived?)
The girl was refering to the autobiographical novel by Kamala Suraiyya and on hearing a negative answer, turned over to the area where I stood – the shelf where Kamala Das’s books were kept. She must’ve noticed me staring at her, but I turned in reflex! God, I was in heaven. It was Deja Vu for me! I got reminded of my first crush. My mind churned: “This is the girl I’ve been looking for!”
My heart leapt as a whiff of fragrant perfume approached me – it was a fresh rose flavour – too enthralling! My cerebrum began processing information on overdrive mode at about 25 gigs clock speed, going through all pick-up lines and dating tips I’ve ever seen/heard. Will Smith’s words from ‘Hitch’ resonated in my mind: “No matter, what, when or how! ANY man can sweep ANY woman off her feet!” Unable to resist looking away from her I moved forward in her direction and walked over, pretending to go to the adjacent bookshelf – and there, she was walking in my direction and stopped exactly in front of me. I was blocking her way! Quite involuntarily, I had stopped on my tracks, enamoured with her breathtaking beauty! She looked at my face, our eyes connected. Before she could ‘excuse-me’ her way out, I said it, managing a sly smile and menacing expression:
“Hi, You look a lot my next girlfriend, and there’s certainly a vacancy! Mind applying?”
Yes, I said that out, loud, in English, in front of half-a-dozen people in a library!!! 😐 A dozen eyes were suddenly on me, and the sombre atmosphere made me realize what a huge blunder I’d made! I almost rapped myself in the head and had barely raised my left hand to cover my cheek from an ear-splitting slap which, I was sure, would soon ensue! Grimacing, but still trying my best to look unperturbed, I looked straight in her bewildered eyes, which almost bulging out with surprise, now. I tried the last trick in my book – trying to make her fall for my supposedly-best body-feature – the hazel eyes!
I noticed her right hand twitch, I saw her raise her right palm, which went high up in the air: YES, the slap was now inevitable! I squirmed and reflexively forced my eyes shut, as my mind raced to avoid all means of getting slapped in public….
…Only to open them wide witnessing her laughing her ass off, with her right hand clutched firmly on her mouth in a bid to suppress a very infectious laughter!! Soon, the librarian and the others, who were now gathered around us, joined in the jamboree and the whole Malayalam Section now echoed with racuous amusement ! Even the walls were laughing out loud, it seemed. Embarrassed beyond mention, I closed my eyes and bent down, with a sheepish smile on my face…
“Clear out! This is not the place to do such stuff, go and rest your ass in the park bench, if this is what you wanna do!”
I opened my eyes and looked to see the librarian standing beside me, I was suddenly sitting int he English Fiction section, with the Alistar Maclain wide open, pages swivelling under the fan above.
I slept off while reading, and had one of the most-memorable dreams I’ve EVER had!
A lot of people have expressed doubts about the veracity of this post, but trust me – it actually happened. Check out this tweet I made the day this incident happened! 😀 And I was even more ‘sasii’d than you guys, that day! 😐