MY book store in the manic street of a crowded market with its old allure veins in elegance, with an immense timber door and a timber flanked glass peripheral wall at its facade. It smells of wood, vintage and fresh books – the gargantuan bookshelves abounding with books almost touches the ceiling of the store and mounds of books lay on the counter in front of these stows.
In the lethargic late afternoon of an overcast rainy day, I was ardently reading a novel – lying flat on my belly on the vacant space girded by the bookshelf and the counter. “Is someone here?” I heard an unexpected gallant voice; I instantaneously rose to kneel on the floor and observed through the gaps amid the heaped row of books.
He was attired in a drenched slicker, tall and lean with streaks of hair casing his eyebrows. My heartbeat raced, I immediately tied my wavy and short black hair into a messy plait. “Yes”, I fared to reply; as I stood up I bumped a stacked row of books which scattered near my feet. Trying to ignore the chaos, vertical at the doorway of the store, noticing me attentively he falteringly asked me, “Do you have the new novel from the writer Rohan Das?” I hesitated for a second before answering, “The consignment of his new novel will arrive tomorrow morning”. “I will be here tomorrow, thank you”, he replied with a silly grin and ambled into the vivacity of the heavy shower.
The next day, I impatiently stirred from one corner of the store to another – judiciously overhearing every tone of a male voice approaching from the outdoor. Finally, he arrived – the thump of his footsteps enhanced my heartbeats. “Hey, Good Afternoon, may I get the book”, he asked. I offered the book and attractively looked at him, today was a sun-drenched day and he appeared the sunniest. “Do you recognize me?” he shrewdly questioned me. I trembled at his query and reacted in astonishment, “No, you are new to this place, isn’t it?” “I am Henry”, he answered gazing intensely at me.
A quick flashback awakened me – he was my childhood infatuation. He, a timid thin boy would accompany his uncle to the store during the monsoons and I, a boisterous petite girl would try to terrify him by appearing outrageously from the space interior of the bookshelf and the counter – to spray red ink on him … and he would shriek pretentiously to hear my infectious laughter.
“Why don’t you join me for breakfast tomorrow morning at the tea estate?” he asked in a hesitant tone. My heart yelled in happiness at his request but I demurely responded, “Yes, I’ll try”. He waved me bye with a subtle smile.
The next morning, I sat anxiously on a couch opposite of a fire place in the bungalow at the tea estate. He arrived late … along with a woman. Astonished at the sight … I calmly thought, “She must be his cousin”. “Hi, She is Anu, my wife”, he cautiously confirmed. “Hi, I am his childhood friend, Rani”, I specified with an exaggerated smile to disguise a crumpled heart. “Excuse me, I need to hurry to the store, a consignment is to arrive”, I despondently reacted and raced out.
“Is someone here?” I heard a bold voice at my book store … I am in my twenties and in quest of a love alliance, here’s my next chance.