For the longest time I was totally adamantly against the idea of going out alone to spend an evening by myself. I just found it so morose. It always made me feel like I would start feeling even more lonely and sorry for myself.
Its not that I don’t do things alone. I do. And I quite enjoy myself too. Like shopping alone, brisk walking up-n-down Bandstand, browsing a bookstore alone – taking my own sweet time, walking down a busy market street at my own pace, with headphones and my favourite music to keep me company and window shopping with the occasional halt for a mug of fresh juice. Or some street shopping for kolhapuris, rubber chappals, tee-shirts to sleep in, etc….. Actually, most of the time I prefer being a loner and doing things exactly how i want to.
But the one time that I can’t bear to be alone is when I have to have a meal all by myself.
I hate eating alone in a public place. And I hate being watched while I do it.
And it is a stupid thing, because in a city like Mumbai, one finds so many people who are doing the exact same thing. But I still feel so conscious and exposed. Like everyone is watching me and thinking, “oh poor thing, she doesn’t have any friends”. But I do have friends and they do happen to like me a lot and I don’t know why I have this strong urge to make that clear to anybody who is staring at me and thinking that.
It might sound like I am so insecure about my friends. But that’s not it, I guess that I’m just not ok with people making their own impression without really knowing the background.
The background. Ah well, the background is that now I am in between jobs and so I have a lot of time to kill while I look for one. So when I’m sick of being holed up in the house all day, I step out in the evening.
So well, today I stepped out with a book in hand thinking where could I go and read it in peace without getting too conscious of people watching me. Well, there isn’t much choice when its 7 pm in the evening and the sun has set for the day. The obvious option is a coffee shop.
So I walked down from home and came across one. I peeked to asses how crowded it was and to my relief it was quite empty. So I walked in and found the farthest and corner most seat in the place. Promptly placed an order for a large ‘iced cappuccino’ so that there was no more getting up and moving about and finally settled in my corner satisfied.
I spent a good hour and a half there. Reading a book of short stories. Bits of stray conversation falling on my ears. And what do you know, I had a good time. It was so normal. People came and left, some sat around. I don’t think anyone really cared I was there. And if anyone did, I was too engrossed in my book to notice. I finally got up because my book had come to an end 🙂
When I walked out, I felt so light and happy. I told myself I was so ridiculous for having those silly issues of not being in a coffee shop or restaurant alone. It has a charm of its own. And I’m so looking forward to doing it some more. Starting a new book in the excitement. 🙂
Maybe I’ll take a friend’s strongly recommended suggestion of catching a movie by myself too. Plus I get to have the popcorn all to myself . Caramel it is then ! 🙂 Couldn’t get better than that.