The Game in The Restaurant
Sarika sipped her red wine as she scrolled through her whatsapp unmindfully. Sumit, her husband had been on the phone since the last 10 minutes. He said to someone before ending his call “Yes that is already on the agenda for Monday.”
As he switched off the phone he turned to Sarika “Order my favourite Shitake Mushrooms” and went back to his phone.
Sarika had often mentioned that she did not like them but he insisted she should develop a taste for them. She, adjusting her specs, opened the menu and knew exactly on which page did the starter was listed. Sumit wasn’t one to experiment and kept returning to this place often.
She would have liked to order her favourite dim sums but Sumit wouldn’t allow her to as he did not fancy them. She settled to order the Kungpao Potato.
Before she could close the menu, Sumit had already dialled someone “I just checked my mail. You haven’t still forwarded me the reports .... I know we need them day after but I would like to check them asap”
Sumit had suggested that they step out for dinner. Sarika knew these dinners were more about him than them. She had suggested they go with their daughter but he was reluctant. He wanted to have a drink and would have preferred to not having their daughter around.
Sarika was already bored and now a little irritated. He had come half an hour late, was unapologetic as always and had been on the phone while they had been together. She worked from home thrice a week and had to run through her office work and household errands to make it in time for this dinner.
She had quickly got ready. Though she was a mother of an 8 year old kid, she had maintained herself well and looked more than 10 years lesser then her age of 37. She wore her tight maroon shirt over a fitted black skirt that ended just above her knees. Her nails coloured off white and would be difficult to miss especially when she ran them through her burgundy streaked long wavy hair. She wore a pair of white oversized spectacles. She found them convenient and carried them well. They made her look studious yet sexy. Her tight shirt held firmly on her well formed breasts. She had nice full lips that looked even more welcoming in the matte lip colour that matched her top.
While she had conquered her fears with her bold approach to work, she sometimes felt low on confidence. Partly, because Sumit always manipulated her to make her believe that she was always the one at fault in their relationship. During her childhood, while in school, she wore big ugly specs for which she was often made fun off. She wanted to look good and feel wanted. Over the years she had overcome her hurdles and shined in her office. She had been offered to a promotion to their Singapore branch which she had refused due to her familial commitments. The medals she received at the annual office gatherings kept her charged and going. Some of her colleagues had often subtly proposed to her. While often tempted to enjoy the digression, she had always ignored them.
As she mulled over this wasted evening, she could see that most men at the pub were giving her more than a second glance. It was a Tuesday and the place wasn’t really full. Most of the people on the tables were men who had stepped out from work. Sumit was possessive and hated the idea of anyone looking at his wife. Sarika was always worried when Sumit would pick up a fight. She felt suffocated with Sumit and often wanted to take off on some trip alone. If not something as big as a trip, then go to some new restaurant alone, meet some new people, just escape the monotony.
As the starters arrived, Sumit dipped his fork into them immediately. The first bite of the mushroom changed his expression. He hissed “These ain’t good today!”
Sarika who had no liking for that dish “Well I have never liked them so I wouldn’t know better”
Sumit shit back angrily “You wouldn’t care! I am the one who is hungry. Just call the waiter.”
Sarika signalled the steward. As he arrived she spoke “The mushroom don’t taste right”
The steward showed disappointment on his face “Oh, our apologies. I’ll send another plate”
Sumit shot back “what is the guarantee the replaced dish will be good. You are taking your customers for granted”
The steward calmly replied “This is a one off, let me sort this and give you a dish complimentary”
Sumit replied with an air of power “You think we can’t afford to pay for the dish”
Sarika intervened diplomatically trying to break the exchange “Please replace the dish, the food is getting cold”
Sumit still angry “Who asked you to interfere, they have messed up, they better listen!”
Sarika chose to keep quiet. Discussions with Sumit were a no win game. He said what he wanted and saw no reasoning from the other side
The steward apologised and went away with the plate
Sumit “You don’t know how to handle things. Why do you always butt in?”
Sarika finally spoke up “Do we want to have dinner here or want to move somewhere else?”
Sumit “I wanted to go somewhere else. Now we are stuck here because you suggested it”
Sarika with quiet anger “So now I am suggesting we go somewhere else. Let’s get going”
Sumit wanting to throw the blame on her, spoke with anger “You always want to waste food. Who will eat all this. Let’s eat here.”
Sarika was annoyed. She gulped down her drink and looked away towards the steward to repeat her drink. Sumit had no feeling of remorse and was already back to calling someone.
On the next table sat a young man. He had his eyes on Sarika and was observing all the drama. He was working on his laptop but was distracted by her sensuality. Women always sense if they are being observed. Sarika too realised that someone was looking at her. Their tables were across. She reflexively adjusted her shiny hair and looked at him inconspicuously. Their eyes briefly explored and returned to their respective tables.
The stranger was in Mumbai for business. About the age of 30, he had finished his work earlier than expected leaving the evening free. He had chosen to celebrate his fruitful day with a drink.
Sumit was busy talking. He hardly cared that he had come with her. She tried to keep herself occupied with her phone but she was now distracted. The stranger looked smart. He seemed to know how to carry himself. He was clean shaven and had an appealing smile. He looked tall and strong subconsciously evoking a feeling that made woman feel secure. His casual clothing made him more approachable. She casually glanced at him and he matched her eyes again. He gave a half smile and blinked his eyes, reciprocating her interest.
Their hide and seek game was broken, when Sumit, punching some numbers on his phone, barked “Please check how long for my dish?”
Sarika was in no mood to comply, replied “I think they would rather listen to you. If you tell them they might be quicker on their toes” Sumit felt he was in control and signalled the steward. The steward wanting to avoid listening again signalled back showing 2 minutes.
The young man picked up his drink and did a cheers. Sarika too picked up her drink casually to return the signal. They both took a sip. The young man took another a large sip. So did Sarika. She wanted to enjoy her evening and had found her way to keep it interesting.
Sumit continued to be occupied with his phone while Sarika was busy deciding the reaction to the next signal.
The stranger got bolder each time. He smelled a hunt. He was enjoying the unexpected reaction of the prey. This time he picked up two forks on his table and interlocked them. Sarika over the years had chosen to be the good domesticated cat. Today she wanted to become the wild tigress. She playfully reciprocated the act though carefully. As place was hardly occupied and quiet, their exchange could have easily been noticed. Though she was in a playful mood she had to be careful. A scene was the last thing she wanted in the restaurant. Fortunately Sumit hardly cared what Sarika was doing.
The young man picked up the spoon and gave it a lick. Sarika too picked up her spoon, scooped in a morsel of food and slid it in her mouth. She gave it an erotic lick and pulled it out after awhile.
The game was getting better after each turn. Sarika had arrived as a spectator to a boring game and now suddenly she was the important player in the middle of an interesting match. They took a large sip after each gamer. The cocktail of anger and alcohol had channelled her sensuality. This distant date was turning out to be best thing she had done over the last few months. She was suddenly feeling wanted.
The young man was in a new world. What started as some fun was now getting exciting. He wanted to take the adventure further. He put his hand on cotton shirt and opened a button.
Sarika smartly scattered her hair ahead and flicked a button of her tight shirt open. The hair hid her action. She sipped her drink and smoothly pulled her hair back. A glimpse of her cleavage emerged. Her dark shirt complimented her fair skin perfectly.
The stranger couldn’t take his eyes off. The visual was mesmerising. The open button just exposed the right slope of her ample breasts. She had suddenly transformed from studious sweet girl to some sensual sexy woman.
She sipped her drink and let some drops slip into her top. They quietly converged at her cleavage. She did nothing, while the man on the opposite table took his finger, dipped it in his glass and slipped the finger in his mouth.
The man signalled with eyes if she would come to the rest room. Sarika was high and emboldened. She wanted to experience something beyond the toxicity of her husband. She signalled an affirmation.
The man casually got up and walked by Sarika. He smelled good. Sarika waited a few moments, then said to Sumit “I’ll be back shortly”