The hours ticked as he sat by the pavement, watching a flock of pigeons looking at him questioningly. Even the birds seemed so unwelcoming in this god forsaken city. He jumped up in a sudden fit of rage, storming into an ice cream parlour. Emack and Bolio’s read the signage. Some ice cream would help, like it always did. He found his eyes moisten a little as he walked in. He didn’t know the language nor did he understand the roads.
He had celebrated his last day in Mumbai with a bottle of rum in one hand and a scoop of Bavarian chocolate in the other.
His mind was a big fat screensaver at the moment. Gathering himself, he chose one of the most scrumptious cones on the menu – coated with melt-in-the-mouth marshmallows and colourful cereal. Closing his eyes, he leaned in, almost like a kiss. Just then, he heard a loud voice, “Hey! You enjoy the ice cream alone la? No breakfast ma?”
Looking up, he found one of his colleagues giving him an annoyingly quizzical half smile. “Zau San” He spat out, greeting him in a rather unintentionally hostile manner. “You no talk la? Are you okay?”
“Of course I talk. I didn’t know you know English!”
“Ho crazy! Hong Kong people know English, but you are so quiet ar.”
“I’m so sorry. I just didn’t know how to break the ice. So…can I buy you an ice cream instead?”
“Break ice? What do you mean la? I don’t mind ice cream to eat together sin.”
He laughed heartily as he ordered a scoop of happiness. Who knew, it was him who was seemingly the rude one. But if anything, he was now sure there would always be ice cream to save the day.