Frustrated, I waited for things to get worse. It was one of those particularly bad Fridays when even the feeling of the next 2 favorite days does not give any solace. I raked the leftover of my brains, “what else”, “why else”, how” and “what not”. They had given up on me since the past 2 hours and gave the wide indication of redness on my forehead that if I pond on them longer than this then they will burst out.
I got up and dragged myself to the bay area thinking that a cup of coffee will help. For some reason the coffee was bitter and nauseating that day, it felt like it was made of raw black pepper and sweet corn pulp. Lifelessly I dumped the cup, and with a moronic speed thought of the next alternative. Not by intention but by chance absent mindfully I followed Mrs. X, who also works in my office, to the washroom area. Inside I realized I had no need at that time to be there, but having come and already thinking of where else to go, I sat on one of the many washroom sink slabs. Constant voice of flushes and taps were playing a rhythmic song and variety smells of deodorants and expensive perfumes were doing their regular work. Amidst all this, there were few ‘Hey’, ‘Hi’, ‘Long time’, ‘What else’ –s going on. The central mirror was the King of the jungle called washroom, everyone paid it the last visit before going out to the City a.k.a working area. Apart from few stacks of tissues and soaps there was only I, who was left behind within a few minutes of all the hustle bustle activity. Absentmindedly, I took a tissue and blew my nose; the sound that came out was one that anyone is habitual of tolerating alone but not in the presence of the civil society members. One of doors opened and a woman, whom I had seen before but was not familiar with, came out. I thought ‘Congratulations, this reminds you that you were wrong in thinking the worst was over when you decided to kick out some substance from your nose’. She was some years elder to me, and passed on a friendly washroom smile (we call it ‘washroom smile’ the term indicates ‘partner how are the things kicking you or the other way’), I returned the not so habitual one. This was not intentional, with things going so bad that day, the lips and gums had refused to leave each other, best friends in crime they were inseparable even by nano of the inches. Whether she sensed something wrong or her sisterly instincts were so strong is not what I know, but what happened next is what made me write this article.
‘For whom’, she said. ‘What’ is what I popped out. ‘For whom have you made your face look like that of a Penguin and are not even aware that the only pair of spectacles you may have now are lying in the sink amidst some not to mention colorful substances. I looked at the spectacles and then at her, ‘It’s not someone but its many things. One of the days when I can feel the earth is rotating and casting on me the curse of the black pearl. She smiled, looked at her watch and then sat on the sink beside me after shedding her sandals. ‘I do not want to ask what went wrong, just tell me do you like cola?’, ’Hain’, I couldn’t myself wondering about the absurdity of it all. She kept glaring at me, ‘yes, I love Coke’. What else you like ‘Which TV shows’ , I said ‘ HIMYM- Barney ‘ , ‘Lovely’, ‘Dosa or Pav Bhaji’ ‘I licked my tongue and let the familiar taste of my favorite Pav Bhaji wala Bhaiya- Sreenath Pav Bhaji, sink in. ‘Drink’, I smiled a little before saying Mango Shake, with a look at my tummy we both shared our first laugh. ‘Denim or Khadi?’, ‘Denims anyday and Khadi on Gandhi Ji’s Birthday’ (No laughs about that I do wear Khadi on special occasions, its cooler on skin). ‘Pani Puri on road or at restaurant’, ‘on road, with lots of Aloo, masalewala’. Another laugh. ‘Cosmetics?’,’MAC is what I desire rest is what I got’. And we started laughing like kids do when they learn their first Santa Banta joke.
I suddenly felt the moments were gone, the tensed, nerve racking, headache causing moments which had caused me a mini migraine some time back. All that remained was a light smile and heart to thank her. I looked at my new washroom pal, she was smiling the same smile, ‘happens’ is what she told before she went to her already late meeting, and I caught her hand to say ‘ You are simply awesome Tiger’. Tiger Balm is my favorite headache removal balm and Tiger is also my favorite animal, somehow she bought me relief with some words and actions ending the dark round. After this incident took place, we acknowledge whenever we meet but we talk and pour our hearts out only at one place. Washroom is not the place where only I found my solace that day but it’s an Endroit préféré (preferred place in French) for most women at work today.
I thank whosoever first thought of the idea of constructing this piece of architecture.