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Every grown person whose above the age of 18 believes that ‘people-watching’ is a favorite hobby of theirs. No matter who they are or what they do, when you ask them what their favorite pastime is, they will answer, “People watching.”

It’s no secret that everyone wants to be cool. I have been there myself and done those stupid things in the hope of being considered one of the cool ones. Fortunately for me, I did not have to try too hard. Surprisingly, a large number of my friends tried too hard and crashed and burned spectacularly. One of the things I’ve never tried to do, or claim to have done, is people-watching at a coffee shop.

“How could you not? You’re an author. Don’t you ‘observe’ people and use them for your characters? It’s almost second nature for an author to people-watch!” said a stricken friend of mine, who just could not believe her ears when I told her of my indifference to the sport. So, to soothe her, and more importantly, to see what the fuss was all about, I decided to try it out. I went to a coffee shop in town where I normally hang out, and sat in a corner by myself. I ordered up some fries and a soda and got down to people-watching.

I saw a couple in the other corner cuddling and whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears. The guy was ugly and the woman didn’t warrant a second glance. The owner of the cafe, a cool-guy-wannabe, sat at another table with a bunch of his friends and talked loudly about the traffic and the government’s indifference. The waiter was one of those North-eastern implants who didn’t know a word of either English, Hindi or Kannada. I used a complicated hand gesture and ordered a chicken sandwich.

An hour became two and two became three. There was just one guy who entered the coffee shop and he looked as malnourished as a piece of chalk. The lovelorn couple got tired of their foreplay and left in a hurry for some privacy, I’m sure. And then, nothing happened.

I lost a perfectly good evening of my life, trying to do something that was supposed to be interesting. I should stick to abusing people and slandering them on my blog. That’s what makes me cool.

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