Page 14 - Litterateur August 2020
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               The                                             I  first  met  him  at  the  Orbit  bar,  a  place  I  haunt
                                                         some  evenings  on  my  way  home  from  work.  I  was
                                                         usually  alone,  occasionally  there  would  be  a  friend,
               Last                                      but  I  preferred  being  alone  with  a  drink  and  my
                                                         thoughts. This was an alone evening.
                                                                 He was a fixture at one of the end tables, always
                                                         alone, sipping a whiskey-soda, watching TV. Then he
               Kaurava                                   would  disappear,  often  for  weeks  together,  before
                                                         suddenly reappearing again at his usual place.
                                                         We  got  to  know  each  other  over  the  years.  I  would
                                                         give him a nod and a smile when I left, and he would
                                                         nod  back,  the  loneliness  of  quiet  drinkers  creating  a
                                                         bond.  It  was  only  a  matter  of  time  before  we  got  to
                                                         talk and one day when the place was crowded and I
                                                         couldn’t find a seat I went over to his table.
                                                                  “Mind if I sit here?” I asked.
                                                                  He smiled and said, “Why not?”
                                                             We sat together, silently drinking. This arrangement
                                                         suited us both, so from that day whenever I was alone
                                                         I would join him and we would sit and watch TV till it
                                                         was  time  for  me  to  leave.  I  couldn’t  tell  how  old  he
               K Viswanathan                             was, sixty perhaps, but he looked very fit, like one of
                                                         those  triathlon  champions  whose  age  could  be
                                                         anything  between  thirty  and  eighty.  I  thought  he
                                                         wasn’t an Indian because he was too fair and too tall
                                                         and his features too sharp, almost like a Pathan, but
                                                         he  spoke  to  the  waiters  in   fluent Malayalam. There

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