“What shall I get you sir?”, was the question which brought manjunath back from the depths of his memories to his present. Frank had been working as a waiter in this prestigious bank for the past 4 years and often knew that his boss, an eccentric Indian, was quite a random person(actually he always felt manjunath was an indecisive prick!) and can never decide what drink to order. Manjunath looked startled…as if woken up from a dream(read nightmare) and asked for a cup of tea. Manju thought having tea will refresh him and take him away from his nightmare and frank thought he was just trying to be “British”.
Manju was now suddenly aware of his environment. His luxurious office on the 43rd floor on canary wharf, London’s prime location. He saw outside the office and was able to see this big city, flooded with people, flooded with dreams. So many dreams came true everyday in this busy city and many more died of hunger. Manju had come a long way from a remote village in Eastern India to head of treasury in one of europe’s most respected bank. It was indeed a dream for him. He was a role model (of course for people who didn’t know him)
Suddenly, frank appeared with tea and Manju realised he was hungry. He inquired with utmost respect to frank if there was anything available at all? Frank, like a good butler, replied…”anything you want sir”.Had manju been philosophical, he would have pondered over the reply and discovered that frank indeed was not powerful enough to get him “anything“ he wants. But then hunger took over him and he ordered a sandwich.
Manju had a country home in Edinburgh not only because he was a huge Sean Connery fan but also because he had got this home very cheap from a seller in need. Suddenly, like a good urban high society professional banker, he felt the need to “unwind” himself and hence went over to the Scottish capital. A large penthouse with all amenities was really helpful in unwinding. Manju caught up on all the TV shows he had missed because of “work” and “professional commitments”.He also “revisited” his hobby of cooking by holding the utensil while his cook prepared a good Indian meal(oil free and roasted) for him. Thoroughly satisfied by the progress of his “unwinding” Saturday, he decided to retire for the day.
Manju for some reason was not able to sleep. He tried a lot but just wasn’t. He had almost decided to change the bed for its lack of comfort when he decided to take some fresh air.He went to the balcony and started staring at the stars and then the garden of his house. The street was completely empty and there was complete silence. Manju was almost able to head his heart beat. It was this moment, that he saw her. She was standing right in front of the main gate. No movement and standing still like a cadaver. It was pitch dark but he knew who it was Radhika. Manju was so frightened that he didn’t move. He was not able to think as his brain was asking him the question..how can I see someone who has died 5 years ago ?
Manjunath med radhika while studying Mumbai. Radhika was not a batchmate of Manju in IIT, she was infact the daughter of Manu Kaka, the tea stall owner, near the hostel of IIT Mumbai.
Manjunath, when first time went for the tea, he saw radhika and that was the moment, he had waited all his life. He felt as if the search has ended and he has found what he had always longed for. Manju had finally found the ‘masala tea’ he always wanted but never got outside his home.
He had decided he will come here everyday! When Manju first saw radhika, he completely ignored her. He took no notice of her and she took no notice of him.Manu kaka was running the tea stall for a while and now was planning to convert it into a snack bar. Radhika was helping her dad. She had completed HSC and was good with numbers.
Radhika was a fair girl, with long hairs. She had pitch dark black eyes and had a very cute dimple when she smiled. She always had the habit of keeping some strands of her hair to the front of her ears. She wasn’t tall and generally wore no makeup.
Manju woke up with a jerk. His happiness knew no bounds when he saw himself on the bed of his “country side” home. It was a nightmare! He wiped the sweat off his forehead and made himself some tea. He then thought of going fishing that day but later abandoned the idea.
He started for London late evening and his mind, post unwinding, was only focused on the meeting he had in Brussels next Tuesday.
The week was very busy as expected and Manju had to unexpectedly travel to Berlin from Brussels for an urgent review meeting. He came back on Friday late evening to his home. Tired and Hungry, Manju was miserable when his saviour Frank appeared. He had what it seemed like a very savoury kebab. Frank was a tall and lean guy, middle aged with very little hairs on his head. He was always smiling but in his head, he was always judging.
Manju was pretty fond of Frank but Frank detested Manju. For manju, Frank’s services as butler was the only homely feeling he had in this city of dreams. For frank, working for Manju was a compulsion and he hated his job as everyone in the world!
Manju knew about frank’s feelings towards him and he felt bad. He always wondered, “what have I done to make him hate me?”. Alas! the answer was with frank and was so so simple. Frank hated Manjunath because he smelt very bad!
At the moment though, Manjunath was only interested in the Kebabs and did not care how Frank felt about him. Frank served him the kebab and poured some wine for him. Manju thought, if god existed, he must be a butler!
The moment he took a sip of wine, manju spit it out in disgust! It was very very bitter and tasted like cow piss!
The room was painted with while. The lights were white and Manju’s dress was white. There was complete silence. The only failt sound was of some kind of motor whirring.
The person standing in front had a badge with name “Robert” written on it and was asking “Dr. Smith, why did you spit the cough syrup sir ?”