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The Lady and the Rose

The red rose was at its charming best when I picked it from the flower shop on my way to work. Inside my office cabin, it sat next to a box of fancy chocolates. No one told the rose that it had none of the vanity of the pretty roses. Maybe because it had the enchanting humility of wisdom. There was this poetic moment when it was dripping its sweat on the mahogany desk while casting a furtive glance at the uptight box.

Or so I thought. It was the longing for my evening date that made me hopelessly romantic.

I checked my e-mail inbox to break the seductive spell of the rose. It worked. Robotic communication from real humans automatically made me reach my coffee mug. "It gives us immense pleasure..."; "I look forward to..."; and so on. Then there were job applications with resumes full of half lies. The spam folder, I discovered, had quite a few interesting messages. I managed to resist the temptations and worked my mind to yield results. By the time it was evening, I stomached few liters of black coffee to navigate through the realities of people and numbers.

When realities and coffee loosened their grip, immodest thoughts of my date with whom I had been discussing about everything from Charles Dickens to Tandoori Chicken, and from Nihilism to BDSM -- over miles of lines on a tiny chat window -- tempted me to validate the mirror. I couldn't do much about my thin hairline but thought of buying a chewing gum to neutralize the feeling of a massive factory brewing coffee tirelessly inside me.

In a gentlemanly gait and a curious mood, I left the office for a nearby shop to buy a gum. I was ready for my life to unconditionally sink into the realms of another mind.

"Mere baal theek hain (Is my hair fine)?": I asked the lady at the tiny shop while paying a one-rupee coin for the gum. Her twinkling eyes beautifully complemented her toothy smile and her bright, red saree. The yellowish light hanging lazily from a fragile wire turned the saree into an haute couture finery. Illusions are real.

"Shundor lagchhe (Looking handsome).": She spoke gracefully in a melodious voice.

I melted at the way her half-closed, gentle eyes met the rose. I impulsively gifted it to her.

The old lady blushed happily. She covered her wrinkly lips with the pleats of her saree.

I left.

The rose got lucky.

Magic happens.