Part I : Prelude to a kiss
When Sharadha failed in 10th standard exams, her parents did not care much as it seemed to be normal in their colony. Sharadha comes from a lower middle class group. Her father, Kariappa was an auto driver and her mother Muniyamma a maid servant in neighborhood middle class families. Her brother had also failed in 10th standard. After few years of squandering his youthful years, he had settled down as a cab driver.
Neither her parents nor Sharadha knew what do next. Sharadha friends advised to reappear for a failed subject in October exams. She had failed in Mathematics, English and Science.
Since she had nothing to do at home, she was asked to help her mother in her daily chores at home and at her daily duty at neighborhood homes. Helping her mother at home was OK with Sharadha but working along with mother at neighborhood was embarrassing for her. Initially she tried few excuses but in vein as her mother was strict. Her mother was eying couple of more homes to work so that she can earn more. It is at this point Sharadha found study as an excuse. As she spent more time with books, she found them interesting than working along with her mother and washing some one else’s clothes or utensils.
In October she cleared Science and English subjects. In April she cleared mathematics with grace marks. In neighborhood few girls had already started working in garment factories, as sales girls in many shopping malls, which had come up like mushrooms in Bangalore. Thanks to boom in Indian economy almost everyone could get a job if they wanted to work!
After clearing her 10th standard in third attempt, she decided to work. Her success in 10th standard had earned some respect from her parents and neighbors as it was rare in their housing colony. She found working in garment or in shopping malls as a sales girl would be boring. She had heard many issues in work place from her friends.
As she was wondering what to do next, waitress job in a pizza restaurant came as an interesting proposition. She discussed that with her parents, they were also confused. Reasonably good salary offered, seemed to solve most of the confusions.
By nature she was reserved and seldom got a chance to express her opinion on anything. But life was changing and changing fast. Her salary had given her an opportunity to spend on good clothes and minor cosmetic items.
The day she had put a bright lipstick, she was self conscious personified. Nobody paid much attention at her work place, but it didn’t go unnoticed by her mother. Sharadha mumbled something to her mother to convince her that it was all necessary as she was working in posh pizza restaurant. Occasional glances of young men at her used to startle her, now and then. She was around eighteen, had a right to feel so.
After one year Sharadha had settled down nicely in her job. She had mastered some English and was able to take orders in English. She learnt basic computer commands to enter pizza orders and print bills.
She was thinking of a mobile phone, had received a lot advice on different mobile brands and features, GSM connection, CDMA etc. She was thinking of buying a basic mobile set with a color screen.
She had established some camaraderie with her colleagues. Few times they had gone to movies together. Mahesh, the young waiter in same restaurant, used to crack a joke at every one in the work place. He was a bully. Sometime she used to get irritated by his behavior, but his helping nature seemed to avoid any misunderstanding. There were Mathew, Suresh, Shamili, Mala and Hanif. They are around twenty year’s age. They use to gel well and have good time at work place
One day around 10:30 PM, it was almost closing hours of restaurant. One handsome man entered the restaurant. By walking one could judge he was drunk. He was well dressed and looked like rich brat. As he settled down in the corner table, Sharadha appeared in front him and professionally placed menu in front him. She was eager to take the last order as it was closing time. With out glancing at the menu, he ordered for a medium size new flavor chicken pizza with extra toppings, garlic bread and coke.
She tried to explain the combo offers and discount, he waived her off saying “Get it fast…I am hungry as wolf”. She rushed to kitchen and placed the order. At 10:30 PM people at restaurant work with extra energy as they will be eager to go home. In jiffy Sharadha served that handsome man with pizza, garlic bread and coke.
As he finished the pizza she enquired him for any other order, but he shook his head in negation. She presented the bill and collected the cash. When she returned with the paltry change, something unexpected happened. He kissed her passionately, before she could realize what was happening he bolted away.
She was petrified. When senses came back, she turned around to check anyone in the restaurant had noticed, everyone seemed to be busy in their work. There were no other customers in the restaurant. Shocked Sharadha sat in corner table to gather her thoughts and regain her composure.
Mahesh, who was clearing the trays and stacking them near the counter, had seen what had happened. Before he could react, that stranger had bolted from restaurant.
He came to Sharadha and was too confused to say anything. Mahesh tried to mumble some words but could only manage “Don’t worry, if he comes back again this place, we will beat him black and blue”
That day Mahesh offered her a lift, on the way he kept on consoling her that not to worry about the incident.
[To be continued.... Part II Anticipation of love]