It has been two hours that I have been sitting in a coffee shop thinking for a plot and sipping cups of coffee. But the ideas simply are not coming out. It is tough being an author.
Since I have decided to be an author to test my writing skills and gain fame and money it has been an uphill struggle. Finding a plot is a herculean task. An original plot is so difficult to find, I thought. I have been trying to find a plot for my debut novel but in spite of 3 months of brainstorming I am yet to come up with an original plot.
Suddenly my cell rings. I see the caller is my dear wife.
“Where are you?’’ she asks.
“I am sitting in Barista in Bandra. I shall take me some time.”
“Do not take much time. Please be in time for lunch at 1 p.m.” she hungs up.
I work as an investment banker in Mumbai. Since the bug of becoming an author has entered my head I have been looking to find the perfect plot. The coffee shop is half empty. It is 11 a.m. on a lazy Sunday morning . I glance around at the people while sipping my coffee. A young couple is sitting in a corner table, lost in love and making future plans. An elderly person in his sixties is reading a newspaper alone in a table. A family of three is sitting in a centre table. The child is crying. His mother is trying to stop the boy crying while her husband looks perturbed.
Half an hour passes by. The café is almost full now. Suddenly a young woman enters the café. She is wearing grey trousers and black top with a blue scarf wrapped around her head. She looks around for any vacant table. There is none. She looks at my table. The opposite chair in my table is empty. She comes straight towards my table.
“May I join you?’’ she asks.
I am perplexed, I realize that this is the only table that is half vacant. I nod in affirmation.
I notice she has a black bag with her that she is carrying on her shoulders. She keeps the bag besides her.
She looks at me then says “Thanks for the seat. I hope I am not disturbing you.”
“No it is okay. I am sitting alone; it is nice to have company.” I reply.
She orders for a cappuccino. Then she gets busy looking at her messages in her mobile.
I am thinking of starting a conversation with the lady. She is very charming.
“This place is good. I frequently visit this café.” I start a dialogue with her.
She does not reply.
“I am an investment banker”. I want to continue the conversation.
“What about you?” I continue.
“My name is Smita Phillips. I work for an event management company. “she replies. She looks disturbed.
“You look troubled, everything okay?” the good Samaritan in me enquires.
She remains quite for a minute then she answers ” Yes I am a bit disturbed. But I do not want to trouble you. You are a stranger.”
“You can confide in me, trust me” I try to be charming.
“Well I have a friend who wants to kill her husband. She wants me to be a part of her plan.” She replies.
I am amused.
“Nice joke.” I reply.
“It is not a joke. “ She replies.
I may get some interesting plot for my story from this situation I think. Something in me tells me to stay back. I want to know her story.
“You can share with me if you want.”
“My friend that I mentioned is my best friend, we studied in the same school in Kolkata. Her husband is abusive and has multiple affairs, she wants to get rid of him and has plans to kill him. I have tried to stop her but she is not willing to listen to anyone.”
“Why cannot your friend leave her husband and run away. “ I asked.
“She has tried a few times but he chases her and finds her always and brings her home. This time she wants to get rid of him altogether so that he cannot find her again.”
I feel both amused and perplexed. How can I help her in this situation? But a plot line is coming to my mind. So I am interested. What happens after? How does her friend attempt to kill her husband? Does she succeed?
Something in me wants to hear the full story. My phone is ringing again. My wife has called. I will have to leave.
“I am afraid I cannot help you in the matter. But do let me know what happens next if ever we meet again.” I get up from the table.
“Oh I forgot to ask you your name.” she asks.” I do not know why I shared my thoughts with you.”
I should not state my original name to her, I think, I do not want to get into any trouble “Well my name is…forget it, does that really matters. I will have to leave. Bye”
I ask for the bill, pay the same and hop into my car. Driving home to Andheri from Bandra I am thinking what if the lady is speaking the truth. What happens next? Anyways it is too late now. I will have to reach home now. I have promised to take my wife out for dinner tonight. It has been long time that we had gone out together.
But anyways I have got the plot of my novel, I think. I have got a storyline, my story will depict of how a woman kills her loving husband. The suspense and the drama will make it a huge success, I think. A smile comes on my face.
I reach home within half an hour. I drive my car in the garage in my apartment in Lokhandwala complex. Reaching my flat I ring the bell. My sweet loving wife opens the door.
“You are late.” She complains. “I have cooked your favourite dish for lunch today.”
It is fried rice and chicken curry for lunch, I think with sweet curd for desert. That is my favourite dish and my wife cooks them really well.
“Thanks sweetheart, I will just be ready.” I say.
After freshening up I hug my wife, “You know I am so lucky to have you as my wife.”
“So have you got your plot?” she asks.
“Well, I have got an idea, it will be a thriller. I will let you know once I give it a concrete shape.” I refrain from sharing the encounter with the lady in the coffee shop.
After half an hour I am seating on the dining table. She brings the chicken and fried rice out on the table. There is only one plate for me. Normally my wife has lunch with me.
“Where is your plate?” I ask.
“First taste some chicken and fried rice to check whether the salt is adequate and let me know how it is. Then I will join you”. She replies.
I take some fried rice and 2 pieces of chicken legs and tastes them. “Awesome.” I reply.
After two spoonful of fried rice I continue my lunch.
“Today after you finish your lunch, I will start my lunch. “ My wife says.
I continue my lunch. I am thinking whether it is karva chauth today. No, then why she is not having her lunch with me, I try to think.
When I have almost finished my lunch suddenly I start feeling dizziness in my head. My head is spinning, I want to vomit, as if something is stuck in my throat. I drink a glass of water, but I start feeling more dizzy.
“Neha, I am not feeling okay, my head is spinning, I am having nausea, I think I will pass out.” I think may be I have a heart attack.
“Please call the doctor, Neha.”
My wife is standing still without any movements. Suddenly a smile comes on her face. I try to reach for my cell phone but cannot find it.
“Neha, call a doctor pls. where is my cell phone?” I ask.
“Is the lunch tasty? Have you enjoyed your lunch“ She asks still smiling.
I try to gather my thoughts. What was in lunch today I try to think. Was the lunch had something to do with my sudden condition?
“Neha what was about the lunch today? Why have you hidden my cell phone?” I ask her again.
“Because my dear you had poison in your lunch today in your chicken gravy. That is the only way to get rid of you”. She replies.
I am petrified. Neha has poisoned me. Suddenly I remember the lady in the café. The friend she was referring is my wife Neha. Neha is also from Kolkata. It is Neha who wants to kill me. I wish that I should have heard details from her. May be I could have got some clues.
“So have you found your perfect plot, dear hubby? I am sure you can write a story on this.” Neha chuckles.
The whole story comes in front of my eyes. That Neha had shared her intentions with her best friend. Her friend had accidentally met me in the coffee shop. I had got a chance to get to know the plan. But I did not hear. I am dying, if only I would have heard her whole story. My eyes begin to close; it is getting very difficult for me to keep my eyes open. I collapse and faint while my wife keeps looking. Slowly my breathing is stopping and I am getting unconscious. I realize I am dying.
While passing out flashbacks comes to my mind. I was looking for a plot, a perfect plot, a master piece that would make me a renowned author. I got the plot but I did not realize that the dying character of my story will be myself, that I will live the life of the character of my story.