After looking around for a while, I decided to sit in the couch placed nearby the entrance. I let my bag slide through my arms to the empty couch sitting next to me, and then I plunged in as well. I stretched to open the bag; a waiter came to me with a menu and a glass of water. When he disappeared, I could see the coffee menu hung up above the bar. I saw Caramel Macchiato; I thought I wanted to order it but then I thought better of it. I signaled for the same guy and he immediately attended to my order. I pulled a book from my bag, a collection of novels by Shakespeare. It occurred to me that this place houses a small rack of books; I also remembered, I left a book incomplete when I last visited this place. I rose from the couch and headed towards the left where the book rack was. I quickly scanned the rack and found the book. I was happy to see it lying there. I pulled it out and came to my table. I wasn’t sure of where I had left it last time. I flipped through the pages and stopped on page 51 and started reading the last page of that chapter and then suddenly I realized that was the last chapter. I started reading the book. Water melon juice was brought to my table and I smiled and thanked the guy. I went back to my reading. I could see people coming in and leaving the restaurant but I really didn’t look at them as the book had my undivided attention. I could make out the silhouettes of people.
The female character was talking about something missing from her life then I felt a flash of light hit my face. I knew it was coming from the right side of my table but I raised my head and looked straight ahead. I couldn’t bring myself to look in the right direction and then went back to reading. A few more flashes. I knew someone was clicking my pictures but I couldn’t do anything. What if that person was not clicking me but something else? I couldn’t take the risk and the embarrassment that would come along. And I felt somebody coming towards my table. I slowly, looked at him. He had a canon with the strap rolled around his palm, his posture slightly bent,
“Is it okay if I click your pictures,” he asked with a gentle smile.
I responded in a long, “yeaaa”.
He left, and I thought he would explain, but he left. I went back to reading. Another shot of flash. I stopped reading but did not move. Few more clicks, I was so nervous and embarrassed at the same time. All sorts of thoughts started flooding my head. All the people in the café must be looking at what was going around. All the staff in the bar section were looking in my direction, I didn’t look at them but I knew. My cheeks were burning in embarrassment and I was hoping it to end soon. I took a nervous sip of watermelon juice. He was clicking pictures in all sorts of crazy ways that cameramen do. Suddenly, a question popped in my head; why did he choose to click me when there were so many people in the restaurant. ‘Please go and click somebody as well, please save me from this embarrassment.’
The flashes stopped. ‘He must have been done. Thank God.’ He came to me again and showed me the pictures he had taken. I smiled. His face reflected how happy he was with his work. He left my table and then started clicking pictures of the café. To my own satisfaction, he also took pictures of a table in the left corner. I was content inwardly. Then I realized, I didn’t remember what I had been reading all that time. I laughed quietly and ordered for another round of juice. When the juice was done, I closed the book to page 81, and restored it in its place. I paid and left.
I would never know why he clicked my picture. Perhaps, some things are better that way.