Joined: 16 October 2011
Joined: 30 August 2011
Joined: 17 June 2011
Joined: 13 June 2012
Two weeks later:
The aroma of strong black coffee wafted its way into his brain mixed in with the mouth watering sent of hot Potato rolls , that he had come to love served as a trigger for him to open his eyes and greet the day . he felt the soft hands on his shoulders shaking him gently followed by a very chirpy "Good Morning , Vickram!"
Very slowly he opened his eyes, blinking a few times to chase away the last remnants of sleep. He straightened his frame from the table where he fell asleep
"Good morning" he said yawning.
"Breakfast is ready" She said placing a tray in front of him.
"Thanks" He smiled..."Be right back he said getting up and making his way to the back to freshen up. It had become somewhat of a routine for them now. Where she would wake him with breakfast and he would freshen up and join her, they would enjoy breakfast and discuss plans for the day.
The past two weeks had been the most interesting he could say, after hearing her story all the plans he made about leaving this little speck of a town that said day went out the window, especially knowing that she was right and he did indeed put her in more problems than she was already in. His conscience would not allow him to leave her like that. He was still amazed that despite it all she was still such an optimistic person, making the best of what she had, he knew a lot of people who would crumble under this type of pressure, but some how she seems to strive.
He may have been seeking death, but he made sure to make certain arrangements so that should his wish be granted, Sugni would not have to suffer the consequences of his actions. Bhushan, his brother was surprised to hear from him so soon after their last conversation. His brother was the only one he maintained any contact with, the last 10 months and was probably the only one he had any sort of trust in. Bhushan was even more shocked to hear Vickram's request but knew that asking for an explanation would be futile, so he just did as requested no questions asked.
As he took his usual seat opposite her glancing at the clock he saw that it was 5 Am. The town was still asleep, quite. From this position he could see the sun rise every morning reminding him yet again that he was still alive.
"Any problems last night?" Sugni asked as she sipped on her coffee.
"No...nothing..." He sighed
"You say that like it is a bad thing!" She laughed
He just shook his head.
"What?" He asked after realising she was staring at him
"hmm...nothing just wondering when are you going to tell me why are you so sad."
"Who says I am sad"
"Your eyes...your eyes says you're sad." She said. Giving him a pitiful look, that lasted for a few seconds then she smiled.
"You know my mom used to say, if we share our problems the universe helps us solve it. But if we keep it bottled up inside it just says and festers and since the universe can't help you stay stuck and can't move on. So see it will be much easier if you share it." She smiled.
"I guess that is why you talk so much!" He answered. Sugni, he was beginning to discover had a sense of logic that no one else he knew had, it amused him sometimes the way her brain worked.
"YES! And see it all worked out!, mother is never wrong, look at this!" She said gesturing to the diner that both of them.
Now he was confused .
"How exactly did it work out?"
"Well see, I told you what was my problem and the universe listened, for the past two weeks, my business has gotten back to normal, my staff, is back to work, I made enough money for the last two installments, and I herd that curly sue will be bed ridden in the hospital with that broken leg you gave him for the next 3 weeks!" She laughed that tinkling sound that sounded like music to his ears.
"Well I warned him after that day when he came back to stay away, it was not my fault he can't understand simple English. I don't understand why these people are so afraid of them any ways!" He brooded.
'It is because almost every one here owes Jwala Singh something. He takes advantage of it. He knows how to hit where it hurts, by threatening the ones you care about. I am telling you, if you were not here,I never would have taken back Champa , Twinkle and Rattu to work. I could never live with myself if they got hurt because of me."
After the goons went to Champa's house and threaten her to leave her job at the diner together with her husband, Rattu, insisted that they quit . Champa was scared for her daughter who was at school as they knew very well Digvijay would have no problems hurting a child. For the welfare of her "staff" as she called them ,she took the hard decision and requesting, pleading with them to leave, when they refused she threaten that she would close the diner if it would get them to agree, unable to convince her tat they would stay with her no matter what, they left unwillingly. Leaving Sugni to take over the duties of manager, waitress, cook and cashier, not an easy task , but by that time even people in the community were afraid to dine there.
Two days after Vickram started his duties as Guard, A beautiful couple about Sugni's age walked in insisting on going back to work, saying if strangers can help her friend, then family should not abandon their own in their times of need. Against Sugni's protest they took over the Kitchen. They were soon followed by another young lady , Twinkle, who said she was bored and her life back at the diner or she would die. Vickram began to wonder which planet was he on , because in his world people like Sugni , Champa and Rattu, did not exists. People who cared about others above themselves.
On that same day Curly Sue and company did pay a visit, but with the help of Rattu, Vickram publicly dealt with them, which resulted in Digvijai being hospitalized for a broken leg and other injuries and his partner in crime was to scared to try anything by himself.
As first only a few brave souls would come into the diner, but since the food was the best in town, and seeing that they were relatively safe hey returned bringing more customers with them. By the end of the week business was booming again.
Sugni was happy, and Vickram was glad for her, but it seems like fate again played a cruel trick on him as this time she not only snatched his solitude, but death was no where in sight. And now he promised to stay here until her loan was repayed so leaving was not an option.
"Hey" Sugni Snapped her fingers in front his face bringing him back to the present. "Any ways, I'll listen if you want to talk" She said softly. He looked at her , her big brown eyes and easy smile. And for a moment he wanted to , he just wanted to let it all out. Even knowing that if she knew his story, she would have followed her first instinct and ask him to leave and never return. No he could not ...he could not burden her sunshiny smile with the heaviness of his heart and guilt. This was his cross to bear and he would. No matter the cost to him.
"What can I say, I am just a mysterious guy. Don't try to figure me out Sugni, you never will"
"That's not true! I think I have a good Idea"
'Really? Well I am sure you are dieing to tell me...let's hear it"
"OK...hmmm" She leaned back on the chair moving her head left to right as though trying to see the pieces of a puzzle. Her serious expression made him laugh. He raised his eyebrows waiting for her assessment, as he took another bite of his breakfast.
"You've been hurt deeply, by some one close or maybe you lost some one, I know when I lost my Mom I wanted to die with her." she began, Vickram almost choked on his coffee.
"You're trying to be tough and angry at every one, but you can't if you could you would not be here helping me, a perfect stranger. You have a good heart. You wander around , because if you stop you have to think, and your sadness will overwhelm you, so you keep moving, not concentraing on anything else but the present" He stared at her, his heart pounding, he could feel swet building upo in his palms. She could not know how close she was to the truth. He Closed his eyes breathing in deep.
"I'm sorry! It's ok I won't ask...I'm sorry" She said softly . He felt her small hands touching the bacl of his tightly clenched fist. "Vickram??"
Slowly he opend his eyes to look at her;
"I'm sorry I do talk to much some times, my mom always said naa the connection between my brain and mouth is missing...I just don't know when to shut up sometimes" He laughed. Shaking off the tension of the past few minutes.
" I have something for you" she said handing him a plastic bag .
"What is it?" he asked taking the bag from her hand.
Inside the bag was what looked like a couple of Kurta Suits, and he shuddered as he saw a bright orange . She sure loved bright colors.
"Sugni...this" He started to protest
"Hold on...look I never really told you thank you for what you are doing for me, and this is not a thank you, but I figured you cold use some new clothes. "
"What's wrong with my clothes? He asked
"Its the same color" she said
"People are starting to question if you own one suit"
"Excuse me?" He said. Was she implying,...
Taking a deep breath, Sugni cleared her throat, obviously she was nervous about what she was about to say.
"Look , Um, V-Vickram, n-no offense or anything but see am you kind of um"
"I kind of what...say it"
"You kind of look grubby , and see some customers are really uncomfortable with it, and say their kids get scared , Noo I know you stay in the back all day but still you know the ummm..." Her lightning fast speech trailed off watching the hard expression on his face
"Grubby..are you saying I don't bathe" he was offended , yet oddly amused watching her squirm
"Noo I know you do but maybe if you wore something else got a haircut and a shave and,..." She shut up
"NO hair cut, and I kinda like my beard, Fine I will use the blue one, what makes you think I would wear orange?'
"Orange is nice it's happy. " He rolled his eyes. Before he could retort to that the front door opened and Champa and Rattu walked in .
"Good Morning !" they greeted cheerfully. Sugni left to start preparations for the breakfast crowd that would start coming in soon. Another day began .
"Hey" Sugni came back, she handed him the keys to her house... and another package, this one with food. "Go home get some rest...See you later K!"
"Ohhh Vickram? "
"Orange is happy"... She laughed as she hurried into the kitchen.
Vickram left the diner making his way two blocks down to Sugni's small house. Like the diner this to was a reflection of herself all bright and warm colors. With colorful flowers all over the yard, in no particular order., that he could figure out.
After the first few days of their arrangements Vickram was happy staying in the diner, with nothing in his possession except the basic essentials, and an extra suit, he could camp under a tree and be happy.
However sighting that he would either start suffering from a twisted neck, or a hunch back from sleeping bent over a table all the time, Sugni insisted that he use her spare bedroom to get some proper rest and why struggle with ice cold water, when she had perfect plumbing he could use. Arguing with her was futile so he agreed that during the day as long as Rattu was around he would do as she said for a few hours at least. Coming back after lunch to resume his guard duties. She insisted he stay longer, or go out and explore the town. Lately with big hints that he visit the barber shop, hints that he ignored.
Spending to much time alone with his thoughts was taking a tole on him, and he rather sit at the back of the diner and observe the customers. Watching Sugni interact with them could prove very distracting and entertaining. Her warmth was not limited to her close friends , but extended to her customers and strangers, like him.
A few hours after , after Checking in with Bhushan, who was again surprised at the call after two weeks, some times it took him months before he would call . He jumped in the shower, deciding to make his life easier he opted for the blue suit she choose burying the orange Kurta at the bottom of his tote bag, where he had no intention of ever taking it out. . as he looked at his face in the mirror ...he recalled her conversation about his "Grubby" look.
Scare children, really? Naaa, just another ploy by her to get him to visit the barber. Nice try Sugni...he glanced at his face and was surprised there was nothing forced or unnatural about the smile on his face. A sensation that was totally alien to him was spreading through his chest, and for the first time in what felt like years, it did not hurt to breath.
Joined: 16 October 2011
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