The girl sitting at the table next to me seems lost in her book. Hair tied in a bun, a swirling star tattoo peeking from under the pullover sleeve near the wrist, she bites her pink painted nails unconsciously. A glass of untouched ice tea, a bottle of water, half opened pack of cigarettes and an ashtray sit next to book. She waves to someone outside and a few minutes later is joined by her friend who gives a curious glance at her book.
“I really liked the book, I just had to pick it up,” she says. I catch a glimpse of the title – Moral, Immoral and Amoral by Osho – as she flashes the cover of the book to her friend.
“I went to Crosswords to pick up a James Parrison but saw this book near the cash counter and instead picked this up,” she continues. “This is me you know… the scales. My scales are always tipping; wondering what is right and what is wrong.”
“Is anyone here?” they are interrupted by someone asking about the next table.
“I think they just left,” replies the friend.
“A repressed human is not happy,” she reads a line from the book. “That is what I was doing, I had completely shut myself out.”
“I am glad you finally realize it. At least you are able to see things clearly now,” answers her friend.
“You will not believe how many nervous breakdowns I had. I was angry all the time. I am not that person you know. Look at me now, I am so calm,” she says wistfully.
“I will give you a book; you should read that,” interrupts her friend.
She pores back into her book and reads another sentence aloud, “Morality that comes with effort, is immoral.”
“That’s so true,” her friend comments lighting a cigarette and taking a sip of tea.
“Oh! I love this book; it’s so like me. I always knew this, but I always suppressed my instincts because I hoped that one day he will see my side of things,” she rues.
“But see, what you were doing was setting his expectations a certain way. What makes you think he would have ever seen your perspective?” remarks her friend.
“Yeah, so my idea of it was wrong. But I loved him so much that I was willing to suppress my individuality.”
“And where did that bring you?” her friend raises a question.
She is silent for some time, staring at the book. Then suddenly looks up and chirps, “I want a nice picture of the book,” trying to angle her mobile phone.
“Here, give, let me try that,” offers her friend. A mild click of the camera and then passes the phone back to her.
She looks at the picture on the screen and then joyfully quips like a child “I love the book! I love the book! I love the book!” and breaks out into a flashing smile.
My cheque arrives and while leaving, I smile and nod at them. I am greeted back with that lovely smile and another glimpse of the book’s red cover.
## Note: This was part of the assignment for the Travel Writing Course at MatadorU