The lady with the red wine
Do you sometimes feel that you’re not a good storyteller? Or do you feel that you have run out of ideas for new stories? Think again. Stories are snippets taken from real life that are unfolding right in front of you every moment. And all you have to do is observe…and pick up the nuances and build your story from there.
Sharing with you an assignment submitted by our Writing Program student Dr. Shruti Bajaj, that will simply leave you awestruck. What makes her narrative unique is that she has written this piece sitting in a restaurant observing life go by for 10-15 minutes. Read on…
Text by Dr. Shruti Bajaj
I enter the famous food joint, Garden Court with the younger of my two kids and husband on a Saturday evening. I am guided through the clatter of the spoons and the soft din of non-descript laughter and murmurs, to find sofa seat.
The table next to mine on the right is occupied by a family of three, the youngest being a gawky teenager. They have just ordered a sizzling brownie. The sound of the chocolate sauce landing on the heated metal plate is accompanied by the smell of charred cocoa, both filling the room with their presence immediately. The family realises that they are being watched, heard and smelled; while they are summing up their dessert dish.
I can see the raindrops lashing on the window pane. The menu only displays the price and the spice. I place the order of some hot burnt garlic soup, butter chicken with plain phulkas.
It is going to take some time and so I wait.
The waiter rushes with a cake on the nearby table. The cake is a two-tiered black forest sponge, with a doll placed on the top. The speaker puts on the Happy Birthday tune, a soft whistling hum instead of the usual song.
I shift my gaze to the table to my left. A lady in her late 40s is sitting, poised and pretty. She has worn a jet-black kurti, complete with an ethnic dupatta having Warli print on it. Her silky hair can be seen falling on the left side of her face. Giving her company are three big shopping bags; one from Lifestyle, another from Zara and the third one from Shoppers Stop. She sips some red wine and bites into a starter.
My burnt garlic soup finally arrives. My toddler is back after a ride on her father’s shoulder. We sip the soup from a common bowl. My daughter sees the bowl of cheeselings on the table with the red wine. She throws a tantrum for the same. The waiter, whose badge reads Govind, is quick enough to serve her some snack.
We finish our meal. They serve us finger bowls. The lady in the black kurti has finished her red wine and orders for a refill. Her shopping bags fall down. She is unmoved. Govind picks them up and stations them back. As she flips her hair which was so far covering her left part of her face, I see a burnt scar running from the corner of her eye to her jawline.
As we are moving out, I make my 14-month-old walk through the restaurant aisle. She notices some colourful fruit pastries displayed near the main entrance. We find our way out of the wait-area to our wet umbrellas kept in a common bucket. It is raining heavily. We decide to walk back home.
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