HOW I BECAME A RESPECTABLE MAN
Ms. Shwetha Muthu
I watched her as
she rolled up her sleeves and got absorbed in her work. Amber was in my college.
She wasn’t those types always trying to impress anyone but always did her work
as well as she could. Very sincere , very honest and truthful I’d heard. She
wasn’t exactly drop-down-gorgeous but she was beautiful in her own way….maybe
very beautiful… I thought. Suddenly, probably sensing me, she looked up. In the
second that our eyes met, I could see a hint of shock. She quickly got back to
work and slightly shifted her position. I just looked away and into my work.
this happened quite few times until she asked me to meet her at a coffee shop
one day-said she wanted to talk to me. Unsure of what it might be about, I went.
She came a little
late and looked like she had hurried on her way there.
“ Sorry I’m a
little late.” she murmured apologetically as she sat down. I tried to smile
warmly to convey it way ok. After she had settled down, I offered to buy
something to drink. She politely agreed. After placing the orders, I turned to
her. She still looked a little lost as if not sure where to begin.
“Today I heard
that Mr.Rajshekar almost lost his head in class.” I said cheerfully.
“Yeah, you should
have seen him. He looked like a ripe tomato ready to burst!” we both laughed
more out of relief at this attempt to break the ice than the hilarity.
“Does he teach
well?” I asked her as I handed over her drink.
“Yeah, he’s quite
good…..” Her voice trailed away and she stared into her glass-lost again. Maybe
I should let her talk, I thought, and for a while, we quietly had our drinks.
Then I placed my
drink aside and tried again,” You wanted to talk to me?” I was immediately sorry
I had asked that because she almost began to squirm in her seat. Carefully
avoiding my eyes, she began,” I….” she shook her head as if she couldn’t bring
herself to say it.” I….”she looked up with eyes that were beginning to tear up.
What was it? My heart was starting to beat faster….. was she trying to say
that….. but she wasn’t those types…..
Just at that
moment, Manrul and Robin saw me from the entrance and called out my name.
Apparently, they hadn’t seen Amber. Turning around in shock, she stood up” I
can’t do this..” she said hurriedly as she left. When Manrul and Robin came and
asked what had happened, I had nothing to say….
I saw very little
of her in the next few days. But the third day, however, I received a mail.
sorry about the other day. I thought it would be easy but I just couldn’t tell
you then. You are really talented, polite and good looking. There have been
times I’ve been compelled to be attracted to you or look at you. I’ve felt bad
for that, you know. As a Christian, I’ve always believed in being transparent
and having a clear conscience before God. I’ve been praying for a change. My
request to you is that if you’ve had such feelings too, then do the same. I
would really like to be your friend but nothing else.
I was shocked. Was
she kidding or was she serious? Of course she’d
have to be serious. I just sat
there thinking about the day she’d try to tell me all this in person. Now I was
glad she hadn’t.
“Hey! you look
like the computer just spoke to you. Why such a face?” Manrul was at the door.
Coming back to life, I motioned him to take my seat at the computer desk. I knew
he’d eat my head if I didn’t tell him. After a few seconds, he turned-his face
was as shocked as mine had probably been.
“I can’t believe
this.” He shook his head in disbelief. “You have to respect this.” I would have
least expected him to say this. I thought he’d tease me or something. I just
nodded in silent agreement.
The next time we
met, nothing was said about the mail. As a matter of fact, it seemed that
nothing had changed-on the outside. But on the inside, we had a healthier
relationship-or she had described, clear and transparent. So it remained for the
next 3 years.
On the day of our
graduation, after the ceremony was over, we had a chance to talk.
“She said warmly as she shook my hand.
“Congrats to you
too!” I replied, smiling.
made it.” I didn’t think she’d meant anything other than the obvious until she
added” Thank you for respecting my mail. It was really decent of you.”
The mail- I had
never forgotten it.
“You are a very
respectable woman” I said and believe me, I meant what I said.
“Well, so are you.
A respectable man, though!” she laughed as she took my hands in hers again.
“It was really
great knowing you, I mean it.” I looked into her eyes and knew that she meant
it. It wasn’t hollow-it was solid-clear and transparent.
“You are an
amazing person” I heard myself say…. Or was I only thinking?
“Hope you do well
in life. God bless you.”
“You too…” was as
With that, she
walked out of my life-as beautifully as she had entered it- and left behind….. a