The tale of the jalebi

The air was coated with a layer of dust, adding to my intrigue.

There you stood waiting by a stall, and I hung in time as my eyes settled on you.

There was a serpentine queue of bearded men and saree-draped women, little girls in ponytails and bent old uncles, all waiting patiently. But your eyes were fixed on the prize. Just like mine were on you.

Had you noticed me staring, our love story would have ended right there. Shy as I am, I would have looked away. I noticed the way your finger ran through your curls, cascading down your shoulders. I noticed the way you smiled nervously as a puppy passed you by. You were scared yet ready to pet it. Well, love was such. Intimidating… yet intriguing.

But, no don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t love. There was no such thing as love at first sight. I felt trust. Yes, it was that. I noticed the way you let the old bent man take your place in line. Allowing him to get to the prize before you. I knew how much you wanted it. It was in your eyes. But I saw how much you cared. Now I’m thinking — Could this be love at first sight? Nah. Of course not. Embarrassed to think that I could fall for this, I denied. It’s not. It’s trust. Some intrigue. Lust? It’s anything but love.

Finally it was your turn and your long wait had come to an end. A paper plate of steaming hot jalebis landed on the palm of your hand. Unafraid of the burning hot spirals stinging your tongue, you picked it up and bit into it. I heard a crunch. At that moment I melted. Your face… it relaxed immediately. Eyes shut. Your arched brows lazed. The glaze from the jalebis smothered your lips. And you just stood there, giving into your cravings.

I got off the bus stop and began walking towards you. Excited to introduce myself. Your back was facing me. I tapped you on the shoulder. And that’s when your spell broke. You felt a current through your spine and turned back with a scare. The plate of jalebis went tumbling down and onto the floor. You looked at me with suspicion. The look slowly turned to pure fury.

One thing was certain—there was a thing like love at first sight. And I watched it stomp its foot and walk away.

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