Saturday, April 16, 2011

Everything I do, I do it for You!!

The entire restaurant was full that day. All the tables were filled with the guests enjoying their Saturday evening, but not one sound came from any of them. Neither the usual chatter nor the clanging of the plates and spoons. Even the waiters were standing on the side with ready dishes in a tray, but not moving to serve them. The only sound emitted in the hall was that of David's and that of his piano. His fingers moving elegantly over the keys, his every motion producing a melody that totally enthralled each and every human being in the hall. No sooner than he finished his last track for the evening, the entire hall echoed with claps and cheers for a repeat performance.

Acknowledging the crowd, David bowed down before them and politely got off the dais. As he passed through the crowd, there were a flurry of compliments from the various guests, a few handshakes and some promises to give him a chance to perform at big concerts by some of the big-shots in the room. He accepted all of them with a smile. He knew that most of the people would not remember his name, let alone his face the next day. The manager greeted him with a smile and took him aside. 

"The boss wants you to play one more song tonight." he told David.

"If I am not mistaken, I get paid only to perform till 10 p.m.. Extra work would cost more than the meagre stipend you guys give me." David replied curtly. It was true. Those promises by the regular guests to give him the opportunities of a lifetime never took form, and he just about managed to live with his paltry earnings, what with the alimony he had to pay to his wife as a part of their divorce settlement.
"The boss knows it, David. He is offering you the same amount that you get for the 2 hour performance for just one extra song. Your earnings for today would be double the usual. He has left this note for you." saying this, the manager slipped a piece of paper in David's hand and went away. One song for twice the amount. Not bad, thought David.

At that very moment, David saw his boss enter the restaurant. Anil Mehta, young, smart and an aggressive businessman who had set up the restaurant chain and tasted success at a very early age entered his territory accompanied by a lady who looked to be in her late 20's. As they came closer, David could see both more clearly, and what he saw made his heart skip a beat. It had been 8 long years since he had last seen or met Shirley, and there she was, as beautiful as she had been then and even more graceful now. 

His mind wandered to the last time he had been alone with her at the lake. It was when he had told her that his family would be moving to Delhi from Kolkata. He was 23 then when his father made that decision. There was nothing left for them in Kolkata, their company had been bankrupt and all the property seized by the banks in lieu of mortgage. His maternal uncle had managed to find his father a job in Delhi, and so they were about to move in a week.

"I'll miss you terribly." he told her.

Shirley just looked down at the ripples her feet made on the surface of the water, silent, as if she was sitting all alone. A tear drop ran down her cheek and fell into the water.

"Don't give me this silent treatment. Please say something." he begged of her.

"Is there anything left to say?" she asked him back. "You won't stay back even if I want you to. You will go to Delhi, make some new friends and carry on with your life. I'll try and do the same with mine."

"Promise that you'll write to me. You have been my best friend all this time."

Shirley got up and started walking. David stood in her way.

"I'm sorry Shirley. But this isn't really in my hands now."

She looked up at him, her eyes red and filled with tears. Their gazes waited upon each other for several moments. At last she broke eye contact and gave him a quick hug before running away.

David was woken from his reverie when a waiter nudged him and pointed towards the table where Anil was sitting with Shirley. Anil winked at him and David signaled with a thumbs-up sign to show that he was ready with the song. Just then, Anil received a phone call and he left the table to attend to it, apparently from a guy he was doing business with. Shirley motioned David to come to the table.

"Long time eh?" she said softly. "I thought I would never get to see you again."

"Yeah, and look at you." he said. "You seem to have done really well for yourself."

"I guess so. What about you? Where have you been all these years? There is so much to catch up on."

"I'm just somehow managing to survive. This divorce has turned out to be pretty expensive for me."

"Oh. I'm sorry." 

"It's alright. I am getting used to it now."

"You never wrote back to me..........." 

"I couldn't. Life had gone all topsy turvy for me. There wasn't one good thing I could write to you about. And when the time came to get married, I could not break the news to you either."

"You too?" Both he hands were clasped on her mouth. "You could have said something that day at the lake."

"I was too scared. Just too scared of losing you. You didn't say anything either."

Both looked at each other, filled with thoughts of what might have been if.........if only!!!!!

Anil arrived back after finishing his call and arrived back at the table a mike in his hand. David was back on his piano playing a very familiar tune.
"Ladies and Gentlemen." Anil announced. "It's a very special day today for me. It has been exactly 3 years since I met this lovely lady sitting right in front of me for the first time, And haven't those 3 years been great. Right here, right now, I want to post a question to her, with all of you as witness. Dear Shirley, would you like to make the rest of my life as amazing as the last 3 years?" 

Anil was down on his knees. Shirley was thunderstruck with tears of joy rolling down her cheeks. Unable to speak she silently nodded yes and both of them hugged while the audience was thundering with applause.

David was quiet, he could just see his piano. He couldn't dare look at the centre of attention for fear of breaking down. He was just playing the song that had been requested by his boss to be played at that very moment, the words striking a chord with every human being present in the hall that night.

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth trying for

You can't tell me it's not worth dying for
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you 

Later that night, as he was having his 4th beer in his cramped apartment he received a message on his cell phone.
"David , I know that things haven't really worked out the way we wanted them to. But I would like to give it another try. What do you say? Do you feel we can give our marriage another chance? -- Love, Clara."

He laid back on the sofa, his eyes closed. Maybe life wasn't so bad either, he thought and gulped down what would be his last drink for that day.


You can view the original song sung by Brian Adams @

1 comment:

  1. Ashwin, now that u have a lot of followers it would be nice if u would pay more attn 2 d appearance ie. font size , spacing etc. Looks do matter, trust me :P