Nov 16, 2010


By Sarah Fariduddin

Like an eel slipping through the sparkling ripples of the sea, the breeze sweeps through the flapping white blinds that loosely cover the large windows between the terrace and the cafe. Clinging to the fresh wave that swings across the narrow open kitchen, whiffs of buttery pancake and sweet cinnamon burst over the wooden tables. The crisp ends of the neatly laid magazines flap and overturn restlessly under the hit.
Compactly protecting its contents, the newly polished bookshelf is supported by the central pillar that divides the room. On one of the white-washed walls, monochromatic images of a peaceful harbour or a stolid Lennon beside his Yoko, gaze out at the occupants of the spacious chairs. In one corner, the nifty carem board leans casually against the red-bricked wall. Planking the terrace door, the two-tiered tables carry board games like ludo and a faded, torn blue box of Monopoly.
The buzz of the customers hovers in the air. Supporting his chin with one hand while circling the fingers of the other over a slick, gleaming notebook, a French bearded, young man ruminates, listening the argument of the woman across. A giggling young bunch huddles only few tables away, munching and gossiping. Their whispers are overlapped by the grave discussion of the formally dressed gentlemen settled in the center. Gracefully rising from her seat, a shabbily dressed woman approaches the bookshelf. The musty smell of the yellowing pages of tattered books escapes as she browses through the limited collection of Urdu poetry.
The heavy wooden door is hurled open by a tall, casually dressed teenage boy. The head of one of the two servers pops out to take his order as he eyes the colorfully chalked-out menu with little enthusiasm.
"A plate of peanut butter cookies," he quips and walks across to the mahogony guitar leaning in a corver, beside colorfully beaded cushions. Within a moment, the chatty buzz is accompanied by a soft, almost soothing tune of the acoustic. Seated comfortably in one corner, his fingers strum over the delicate strings, emitting a lyrical romanticism in the air. The pleasant round lights fitted in the ceiling enliven the sole animated wall. Lurid shades of orange, blue and green startle the beholder with its dreamy images, that finishes with the touch of a graffiti. The famous 'eject' symbol, a scarlet, emboldened arrow, concocted by the late Asim Butt is tacked onto a pistachio coloured soft-board where light does not share equally. Scattered unevenly, colourful pamphlets reading of revolutionary adages or pictures of the 1947 Women's Movement evoke the thinker.
The mixed soft sounds make the ticking clock inaudible but the hand sluggishly moves to point at nine. Outside, the starry, twinkling sky hangs peacefully above, contrasting against the tavern-like, red-bricked entrance, escaping the honk and screech of a bustling metropolis. 


Lynette said...

nice! I can actually smell n see evrything thats happening :)

Misal Shujjat said...

Wonderfully described, I've fallen in love with the place just by your description. :)

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