Time of the Writer: Straight from the Fruit (Part 1) - by Lyngksiar N. Khongwir

Lily, a student of fashion design, had no clue that she would get so attached to the place when she first stepped into ‘Straight from the Fruit’, a start-up venture of shakes and smoothies.

Lily, a loner by nature, love taking walks down the beach or just around Panjim city. She stays up the hill in Altinho. Altinho with its many stepped streets, overlooks Panjim city. One would just climb those steps just to get scenic views of Panjim, the Bishop’s Palace and all elegant structures that speak of Panjim’s colonial past.

While she was returning back from one of her walks from the beach one evening. She decided to go back home, passing through the iconic Kala Academy designed by the legendary architect Charles Correa himself, then through St. Inez and then back up to Altinho.

She was basically down the slope near the business hotel Taj Vivanta when she craved for chocolate. She had taken that route after a long time and was not aware of the changes that had taken place in and around that area. Her eyes were wandering for the small tiny shop that she knew it existed once upon a time. In that very same spot where once laid that shop, she then noticed an enclosure with a glass façade and a big board on top which says, ‘Straight from the Fruit- Shakes & Smoothies’.

She stared at it for a while and wondered if this place was newly opened. She could not make up her mind whether to enter the place or not and felt a strange sense of nervousness. But she was anyway craving for chocolate and thought they would have a chocolate shake, so she finally decided to check out the new place.

With great confidence, she tried pushing the door in, only to realise the door was a ‘pull’ and not a ‘push’, opposite of what is usually the case. She felt a little embarrassed at that because the glass façade made her noticeable. Nevertheless, she walked in and noticed the place empty. It was a small space, yet looked seemingly cozy, a space that one would easily be fond of. She stood there and noticed three people- two males and one female.

One of the guys was formally dressed in a black shirt- a good looking young fellow with his hair well done. In her head, she thought that he might be the manager of the place. Her thoughts were interrupted with, “Yes Ma’am, what would you like to have?” She glanced up at the menu, thrilled to see chocolate shake and asked for one immediately. “Would you like to have here or take away Ma’am?” he asked.

She thought, noticing her alone there made him asked so. She anyway asked for a take away. She sat down facing her back to them as she was waiting for her shake. When it was done, he called out to her. She found the price very reasonable, not expensive as she thought it would be. She paid and somehow she didn’t leave immediately.

She was not at all a sociable person by nature, but she felt a strange sense of comfort in their hospitality that forced her to interact. “Are you guys newly opened?” she asked. “Three months ago Ma’am,” replied the man in black, “one of our specials is the creamy delights. Ma’am you should try it.” She only went on happily smiling, contented with the chocolate shake in her hand, she said, “I shall come again.” She then walked out of there, strangely pleased with their hospitality.

As she walked back up to Altinho, she sipped the chocolate shake held in her hand. Soft and alluring, filled with the essence of love for chocolate, so dense from the outside, moulded and crushed, so delicious it was, she savoured the taste of chocolate in her mouth.

Her days went on the way it usually was, from home to college, and then back home again. It was about five weeks from that day, when she decided to go out with her best friend Jude. He had come to pick her up and when they reached just down the slope, he stopped his bike. He had to meet his friend Landon first.

Surprisingly, Jude parked his bike very close to ‘Straight from the Fruit’. She was just about to mention about the place to him, when Landon arrived there. Lily met Landon the first time that day. Jude and Landon met after so long and from their conversation, accordingly to Lily, seemed like they were trying to contact a common friend.

Landon was then on the phone and said, “Why is this Aaron not picking up?” At the same time, Landon told Jude, “this is his shop,” pointing to ‘Straight from the Fruit’. Lily then couldn’t help but interrupt. “Who is Aaron? Are you guys talking about the person who owns this place?” “Yes, do you know him?” enquired Landon. Lily said, “I do not know him but I had been here once and I told the staff there I would come again. But I just could not make time for it anymore. The shake I had was very good though.”

In the middle of all that conversation, that young man in black, who Lily met five weeks ago, walked out. Jude greeted him, “Hi Aaron, How are you doing?” Lily had no idea that Jude knew him. Lily got to know Aaron’s name the first time that day. She stared at Aaron in disbelief that, that young fellow, probably a year older than her, owns that place. He started up his own business at such a young age and that amazed her.

Jude introduced them. “Aaron, this is Lily.” “Hi Lily,” Aaron shakes her hand. “Hi, do you still remember me? I had come here once and I asked if you guys were newly opened,” Lily replied.

“Wait, you came here alone right, and you had a chocolate shake. Yes, I remember you!” Lily was surprised he remembered.

The four of them got engrossed in their conservation of life and career. Jude was giving Aaron advertising strategies for his start-up and advised Lily to get her friends there too. Eventually, Jude and Lily head off and Landon stayed for a while there to hang out with Aaron.  That was in fact the second time Lily met Aaron.

Days and weeks passed. Lily carried on with college and spent her time mostly with her college friend. They would usually go and try out newly opened eateries almost every day after college. One day, she was accompanied by two of her friends, Daphne and Sybil.

They were heading down the slope to the city from their college which was situated in Altinho. They wanted to go have tea at this one corner place in the city- a place that Lily had never been to. When they reached down the slope, Lily remembered Jude’s advice and so she mentioned about it to her friends.

Daphne, thrilled with Lily’s description of the chocolate shake she once had from there, urged them to try it out right away. So somehow, it became a unanimous decision to replace their day for tea with their day for shakes and smoothies. The three of them entered and Lily noticed Aaron sitting down with one fellow facing his back to her sight.  Aaron stood up on seeing them and greeted them Lily smiled and said, “I told you, I shall come again and here I am.” Aaron smiled back and asked them what they would like to have.

Daphne and Sybil both chose Avocado shake. Lily on the other hand, had taken Aaron’s suggestion, that if she liked chocolate, she should definitely try out chocolate with peanut butter. Lily turned around to take her seat when she realised that, that fellow she first noticed was in fact Landon. She was happily surprised on seeing him and they mingled right away while Aaron was busy making shakes. Daphne and Sybil got their shakes first.

They had even finished theirs when Lily’s shake arrived. Before Lily could take a sip, she gave her friends a sip to taste. Daphne’s face lighted up immediately after she took that first sip and yearned for more. She looked so happy. Lily eventually had her shake and relished every bit of it. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter and all the ingredients combined gel very well together. After they were all done, they decided to leave. That was the third time Lily met Aaron.

Only Time will tell us more of what the story holds. If you enjoyed this Part 1 of the story, remember to visit the page next Wednesday for Part 2 of ‘Straight from the Fruit’  

By Lyngksiar N. Khongwir

lyngksiar@yahoo.com

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You can also submit your poems to editor@thenortheasttoday.com and winterjapang@gmail.com

(Featured Image Source: Internet/ Representational)

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