|Photo taken from https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-shopping-bags-5956/ under CC0 licence|
Shankar was suffering from an anxiety so advanced that he was worried that he was going to have a heart attack.
Well, that statement was not completely true. He was only slightly anxious.
He was more.... feeling very homicidal. Which was an understatement.
He was in half a mind to scream his heart out at all the men around him and lead them to some... sort of revolution... Rebelling against the very tenets of society... or some equally nice sounding crap. Because the situation demanded it. Absolutely demanded it.
"Do you think this peach T-Shirt is better or the beige one is better?" Shreya asked picking out what seemed like two T-Shirts which looked exactly the same to Shankar.
Shankar was really afraid to open his mouth. Really, really afraid.
Past experience had taught him that no matter which T-Shirt he chose, he was sunk. Like really, really sunk.
If he chose the one on the left, Shreya would pout at him because he did not say that the T-Shirt on the right was nice. If he chose the one on the right...
Shankar panicked. Give him any problem at the office. He could handle it.
But going out for shopping with Shreya.....
As he was staring at the two dresses in Shreya's hands, a part of Shankar was acknowledging the fact that Shreya was getting annoyed at his silence, but the working part of Shankar's brain for one incongruous second wondered what would happen if he said that both shirts were bad.
As usual he realised that he was thinking absolutely useless things and tried to focus. Not that it was any help. Shreya still remained in front of him with the T-Shirt and she was still looking very expectantly at him.
Shankar did not understand it. By this time, Shreya should have known or at least she could be kind enough to pretend to know that colours were not Shankar's forte. Far from it...
For a brief second, he even cursed the fact that he just had received a bonus.
Shankar honestly did not know what madness came over him. He suddenly found that he was again having more money than he knew what to do with, which was why in a spur of madness he had agreed to take Shreya out for shopping.
Looking at the shopping mall, Shankar was dispirited because all he could see was bored men who looked close to dislocating their jaws by the number of times they were yawning and they all looked like they were all dragged here by their women who looked like they were having the time of their lives.
And all this still did not solve Shankar's problem. Shreya was still looking at him like the world was going to end and he still had not found the guts to answer her question.
Shankar finally decided that no superhero was going to come and save him and this was completely his own problem – which was why bravely he pointed at the dress on her left hand and carefully looked at her expression waiting for something to go wrong... "I... think... that colour goes better with your handbag..." He said finally and he was working at not gagging. Because he really did not think that the shirt anyway matched Shreya's handbag at all. More importantly, Shankar honestly did not know whether it was even supposed to match...
Shankar was shocked.
Because for a huge second, Shreya looked at her own handbag and then at the dress on her left hand. She stared at the two things and then looked at Shankar with something close to wonder. Real wonder - there was no sarcasm on this one.
"Oh my God, you are so sweet." She said giving Shankar a dazzling smile as she looked at the handbag and the shirt again. "I didn't even think of that."
Even before Shankar could bask under the glory of getting something about colours and dresses right, Shreya walked away back into the trial room. More importantly Shankar was struggling to record this memory with mathematical precision. He had said something right today and saved himself from a great pouting session at home. And he had no idea how he did that. He just hoped he could remember this event and learn something about how to repeat this occasion.
Not that Shreya knew his problems.
Shankar saw a man on his right who was looking at Shankar with a really shocked expression. Shankar was more than sure that if the other man was not so bogged down with the dresses in his hands, the other man would have clapped his hands at Shankar.
Shankar did manage to look proudly and nod as both men understood the unspoken conversation and the compliment perfectly well.