Friday, January 9, 2009

Nikhil Narayanan

I noticed the little blotch when I sat down at the black marble table at Dolphin bar. It was the size of a one-rupee coin. At first sight, it looked to me like the remains of torn-off sticker. Further exploration with what was left of my fingernails suggested otherwise. It just wouldn’t come off. I left it alone and placed my order of rum, coke and a pack of cigarettes. The blotch was forgotten; for the time being at least.

The blotch recaptured my attention after the first drink. There were tiny droplets all over it; beads of perspiration. The blotch was alive. My curious eyes examined it closely. There were no water sources in the vicinity. How on earth? I checked my elbow, for it was rested on the blotch a few moments earlier. Dry and hence cleared. Could it be a spring of some sort, I wondered aloud. My drinking partner, who by now had my attention, agreed. I was amused as much as I was perplexed. These things never went down too easily with me. I picked up a piece of paper and wiped the water off. The blotch regained its innocence.

Three drinks down and the blotch was at it again. Damp. Damn. I wiped off the water on numerous occasions. It was almost becoming a ritual. I was the priest and the blotch was stigmata. And religiously, I kept on wiping the blood, err, water off. I was six drinks down by now and it wasn’t funny or amusing anymore. I looked up, my eyes closed in prayer. But all I had to do was open my eyes.

(On a restaurant (preferably one with a liquor license) table)

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