I enter Starbucks and look at the people while waiting for the order to be served. I look at the corner where the walls are brilliantly decorated with the coffee theme and contemporary coffee art with the interior blue teal lights placed exquisitely. My eyes look at the wall and I photograph the wall along with the wooden furniture of the cafe with my Camera.
My eyes travel down to capture a wider frame and I see a girl sitting with her big black-framed glasses looking into her MacBook, typing probably to create a Guinness world record to be the fastest typer in the world.
I see her engrossed in typing, her eyebrows flinched and her face serious like she is avenging her boss who doesn’t appreciate her work no matter how hardworking she is and I capture her as well. The staff calls out my name for coffee, and I collect my order to go.
A few days later
I am again in the same coffee shop and as usual, I am in the queue waiting for my turn. I again spot Ms. Nerdy, typing incessantly on the MacBook. It’s my turn and I place my order.
As I wait, I see her typing and lost in her own world, with a coffee cup near her which has almost full coffee and not a sip has been taken.
I leave with my coffee and forget about her.
A few months later
I happen to visit the coffee shop again and I am surprised to see the crowd here. Holidays are fast approaching and people have been shopping and eating out very often.
It’s crowded and I wait for the queue to shift along to place my order. I look around and find you again, sitting at your favorite table keyboarding in your MacBook. I decide to talk to you. I collect my order and ensure that there is no place for me to sit except in front of you. All the seats are occupied except the one in front of you.
I take my coffee and come near you, your hair is medium length, black and they cover your ear and there are fringes on your forehead, your AirPods are in your ear and you don’t see or hear me coming towards you.
I stand in front of you and you look up, you see me and I ask can I sit here with coffee in my hand, gesturing at you and speaking nothing. You nod your head sideways approving me sitting here.
I put my bag on the table, and I turn on my iPad and camera to transfer pictures from the camera to my Ipad. I sip my coffee while the photos transfer. I look up and you take the first sip of your coffee. I look at your fingers and you are not typing with the ultra-fast speed with which you usually type, you are instead staring at your screen, moving fingers on your touchpad. I look at the side of your laptop and I see the coffee bill and a credit card placed on the bill.
Your coffee cup reads Megha. Your card reads Megha Dixit. I search Megha Dixit on my Ipad and I come across some web links and one is of your website. You apparently are a writer and you love writing stories. I go through your website and it is full of stories.
I pick up my things, say thanks to you, you don’t smile but flatten both your lips and your dimple shows, you greet me formally and I leave.
I keep reading on my iPad, your stories are good. I read them, one, two three and I keep reading them. I board the metro and reading continues, standing, sitting, and swiping my card. I have read more words than I have spoken in the entire month.
I am lost in your world of words you weaved with your fantasies. I read them immersed trying to read in between the lines, indulged. You appear hurt and it seems magic is missing in your life, you have loved, lost, and loved again and you feel confined by your emotions and you find no way out. I wonder why would be anyone their own curator in the emotional freedom of expression, you fear being trusted, you are afraid of being different than the rest and you are not as complicated as you think of yourself to be. You just want something more and you give back most of it.
I spend the entire night stalking you, everywhere possible. I collect every small and big detail about you. I realize you always have been ending up wrong and you want all the right things from the wrong people who leave you disappointed and so you live in the world of your own imagination. Even when the things are exactly like your fantasies, you seem to not enjoy them, your heart wants something else, you cannot keep your mind on one thing at a time and you get bored easily.
I see incomplete stories, and some leftover thoughts that never came to fruition, some of your ventures lacking consistency, but reeks of wonderful ideas. I wonder why won’t you pursue them? Some more digging and I find out all about your ex’s, your previous, your current life and I stalk them everywhere to know about the loneliness in you and that you don’t like to be disturbed while you write and you are the most antisocial person ever.
I wake up the next day and buy some white gerberas and carnations. I get them rolled in the transparent sheet with some aesthetic leaves to visit the coffee shop in the early opening hours and I wait for you to arrive. It’s almost 2 hours I have been waiting and I see you entering through the door. You make your way to the order counter and as you place the order, I carefully plant the flower bouquet with your name on it on your favourite table.
I take out my camera and you walk towards your table and your expression changes, you read the small note addressed to you.
Big Fan, Megha! Keep Writing.
As you read the note, you smile a little and I capture your fresh face in the morning. You look around and I immediately turn my back towards you and enact a faux pas. There is glass pane in front of me and I see you picking up the bouquet. I again turn towards you and I see you soaking in the fragrance of the white flowers. You look splendid as I capture another picture of you. You keep aside the bouquet and today you type without putting on your favourite stressed writer face. You look pretty and I leave the place.
3 Hours Later
I get a notification on my email. You just posted another story. Story is titled as Stranger.
“I see a guy entering the coffee shop. He often comes here and keeps taking pictures of the people around the street. He loves to click people. He looks good and he orders the usual Common Cold Coffee to go.
He sometimes click wonderful pictures of me as well without me knowing.
Just before Christmas, he came to my table with his coffee cup named Akash your backpack had an airport tag of the flight you last boarded named Mehra Akash. I instantly search you and find your micro-blogging photo website where you put all the candid pictures of people. You really love to click people. But going through your clicked pictures, I realized you are more in love with the emotions, you capture the emotions, little details, moments, feelings that are left unsaid, unheard.
While stalking, I get a notification for the latest subscriber on my website. Guess who? It’s you, Akash Mehra, you don’t change your name, thinking, I don’t know, but I know. My view stats start growing and I see new views for all the stories that I write. I know it’s you, it has to be you.
It’s my holiday and I don’t come to the coffee house regularly, but I know you would be waiting for me. So I come anyway. I am outside the cafe and I see you holding my favorite flowers and waiting for me. I enter inside and I order your favorite coffee. I see you sitting across and you capturing the emotions. I put on the emotions, you like to capture. I give you your moment and I see you happier than me walking outside. I cant wait to see the caption and emotions you will post tonight on your AMP microblog, Mr. Mehra.”
I am awestruck and dumbfounded. I am speechless and I am unable to move. My heart is astounded and I can’t feel anything. I cannot think and my heart tells me to run. I run and I rush back to the coffee shop, I am restless and I enter the shop and find you sitting along with the flowers, your Mac, and the coffee cup that reads Akash.
I hear the song white lights playing in the café.
♪ ♫ Take me Down
You are looking at me. No wonder everyone you meet is a sheer disappointment including me.
♬ ♭ I have been bad but never this bad before.
I walk towards you trying to introduce myself but you already know me more than I stalked you! Putting forward my hand towards you, as I open my lips and before I can say anything you say
“Big Fan Akash! Keep Capturing Moments”
And I pull yourself towards me, your notorious eyes behind the glasses look at me and I hold your face in my hands and kiss your lips.