Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A night at POP - I (short Story)

The tray could accomodate only 4 large beer glasses. But shankar somehow managed to place six of them. He was accustomed to this. It was weekend and "port of pavilion" was overcrowded. It always was on weekends. He did not want to waste the time in comming back for 2 beer glasses since the crowd was very impatient and rude. "Fools with money to burn!" Thats was his opinion of the clients he served every night. He was dressed in black half jacket on plain white shirt and formal black trousers, and finally choking him was red bow tie.

He carefully lifted the tray and hurried towards the main hall where all the action was. The moment he opened the door, he was greeted with dense clouds of smoke. Shankar was a non smoker and non drinker but he knew if ever he faced breathing problems, it would be thanks to his passive smoking. He hated the smoke. He hated the "fools with money". He hated to those girls. He hated the job. But he had no choice. If only he had not commited that small mistake.

He made his way through the dancing girls, careful not to step on the 10 Rupee notes scattered on the floor. He regarded money as Godess Laxmi and respected. He frowned when accidentaly he stepped on one of the notes. It was no time to stand there and pay his usual obedience to the Godess Laxmi. The clients , a small group of young men ( who he thought were those highly paid software engineers ), were getting restless. He rushed to their table and placed tray and dutifully served beer glass to each one of them personally. One of the young men, retreived his cigarett from and placed between his lips. Shankar elegantly took out the lighter from his pocket and helped him light his cigarett. He was rewarded with a 10 Rupee note. It was his first tip for the day. He returned a smile and started towards the door.

As he was helping himself among the dancing girls he heard someone call him by his name. He turned back. Sitting far across room on a small sofa was a man whom shankar recognized instantly. He reached the table and wished the man. "Good evening sir..." and smiled. This time the smile was genuine. "Good evening shankar... how was ur day?" Akash enquired. Akash was in his mid twenties, well built and always had that charismatic smile. He was always pleasant with everyone. Infact every other server competed with each other to provided service to him. And his generous tips were not the only reason.

"As usual sir. Shall i get you the regular?" Shankar asked. "That will be fine. And dont forget the kalmi." Akash smiled again. "How can i?" Shankar responded and turned back. Shankar failed to understand how can a guy spend so much in the band and still be far away from drinks. Akash's regular was lemon soda with salt. Shankar had never understood the reason. It was not that Akash was some kind of hard with money. His generous tips proved he had enough money to burn. And again the way he spoke and behaved with the grils there. He would not allow any girl near him. He just enjoyed their dance and would shower them with money. But never throw the money like other fools did. Lot of girls had tried to get him on to the dancing floor but failed. He knew the girls liked him. It was hard to see such a well behaved person among the rich pricks and creeps.

Akash was checking his cell phone when shankar arrived with his regular. Since shankar felt akash was busy with some message or something he did not offer any comment. He did not want to disturb his precious client. He placed the soda on the table and went and stood near the music system from where all the songs were controlled. Akash finished his message, tasted the lime soda, and nodded in shankars direction with approval. Shankar miled back said something to the person handling music system. It was Usman. Usman glanced at akash, gave a smile and pressed few button. And the speakers began to belt out "Dil de diya hai... jaan tumhe denge...."