A man behind the counter had just released a customer. Samir turned beetroot red. It was even worse now that he had been singled out, that he was being asked directly. He babbled the first thing that came into his head- the name of some moisturiser that he had seen in Ekta’s bag. The salesman dug into the shelves, looking for the product asked, while Samir heaved a temporary sigh of relief.
Samir stood transfixed for a moment, not knowing how to respond. At one point, he decided to drop the idea. However, he had resolved to do it that day. He didn’t want to give up. Not at that point. At least not at that point of awkwardness, when the fellow at the counter was ogling confusedly at him and he had almost made a fool of himself. So, he mustered all his manliness and decided to take the plunge.
The sales guy was now definitely making fun of him. Samir’s face assumed a darker reddish hue, if there could ever be such a shade. He muttered through gritted teeth, “A pack of 5 please”.
Now he was just waiting impatiently to get it over with. His modesty had already been battered to pieces. He was now merely trying to salvage the vestiges of his virtue as all the buyers and sellers alike looked on, as if watching some freak comedy show.
Surprisingly, the door didn’t budge. He pushed it twice…thrice.
So much for manliness. He wondered if he was pushing the wrong end of the door. He remembered having seen something similar in an advertisment of glass wherein people failed to perceive the glass barrier and rushed into it, thus banging their heads. But he didn’t think that was the case here.
She faintly remembered putting that small black old phone away on her last birthday as she received a brand new phone with a 5-inch screen replete with Android OS and a cute Hello Kitty cover.
But he deliberately seemed to linger, longer than usual (obviously to her hyperactive imagination) around his new phone. But Providence was not so cruel. Dad called him for some work, which was likely to take some time. She stole over to his room, grabbed his phone and thumbed through the messages part. There was nothing except operator notifications and a few other random messages. Her little brother’s messages had not populated the inbox yet. However, the inbox was not her concern. She scrolled down to ‘Sent Items’ and ‘Drafts’ to ‘My Folders’, her heart almost jumping out of her chest.
And there it was ! That old folder of hers, that she had titled ‘NEW FOLDER’ to disguise it. That was where the clandestine conversations were stored. She clicked on it. Her heart sank to the level of the earth’s molten core as she saw those lovey-dovey exchanges between her boyfriend and herself.
Yuck ! To know that her brother must have read them! Those messages to write which she had had to combine all her poor creative faculties together and often take the assistance of mushy Internet lingo…those messages which seemed sweet only when you sent them but ridiculous and cloying sugary on reading them later…to think that those highly confidential and personal messages of hers had been perused by her brother!
She wanted the earth to swallow her and never burp her out again. She shuddered to think that he might have come across some saucy messages, that had been sent and received more recently than mushy ones because sensuality usually leads the way to sexuality in a relationship.
Unnecessarily long sleep stretches had entered my life after the main bout of exams got over. Mum must have diagnosed it early as three days later, she sent me to Shibangi di’s place to meet up with the two enthusiasts behind the ‘Rabindra Jayanti’ on 16 May- Shibangi di and Neena aunty.