As usual, Palash occupied the same table of the restaurant he would frequent with friends many years ago. Today, by accident, he ran into this eatery that’s on the street where he spent his college days and a chunk of his professional days, for years. Oxford book store on the Park Street, Alliance française, Waldorf, Moulin Rouge, Giggles and St.Xavier’s College; nothing has changed, of course there was a restaurant called ‘Eighteen’ that has disappeared, an unassuming cozy little eating joint for friends and colleagues that has been transformed into a showroom now. ‘But there is no one here! I am the only one! Why! It was so crowded during our times; maybe it’s not as popular now’, Palash thought, just when a waiter came unto him and asked:

– Excuse me sir, are you waiting for your friends?

– No.

– Then sir if you could shift into the other side.

– Where?

– Please come with me sir… we call it The singLeader wing… it’s for people who are not exactly waiting for anyone!

Singleader! It never existed in our times. But what a lovely name, Palash thought; it’s for people who are like leaders, most of the times single yet singing their story, but then are all leaders single… is it a euphemism, he wondered. Years ago, he recalled he’d also suggested to the owner of Oxford bookstore to rename it as Booxford… the owner appreciated the name but said he would stick to Oxford because the name sells! Understandable, he thought…it’s not so easy to change.

No! The popularity of his favourite restaurant has not changed at all, as Palash saw a whole lot of crowd in this part of the world; the world that was out of sight from the family dining table of the L-shaped hideaway he would occupy with friends years ago.

© supratik 2023
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