Sunday, July 24, 2011

Murphy – Part I

“Hi. I am Murphy.”

I turned around at the voice. You must be kidding, I thought, even as I took in his appearance. He could have passed off as a successful executive at his casual best in blue jeans and white shirt. Or he could have been a bohemian writer or an artist. Difficult to peg him.

In return, he just waited with polite patience.

“Sorry?” I managed.

“I said, I am Murphy”, he repeated, courteous and bland. “I believe you wanted to meet me.”

“Huh?” I surely wasn’t doing a good job of seeming articulate.

“I said, I believe...” he started to repeat but I came out of my stupor and cut him off.

“I know what you said. I don’t quite know what to make of it. And I am not sure I want to know any further. So, if you will excuse me, I am waiting for a friend.” I began to walk off towards the entrance of the restaurant in the swanky city mall.

“This is not a trick, you know.” Damn. He was still by my side.

“I don’t know what you are talking about”, I insisted. But what if it was. Nah. Such things don’t really happen to mundane people like me. I lengthened my stride. Well, as much as, I could, which wasn’t much.

And it was an exercise in vain. Because he still refused to go away.

“Look”, I turned and tried to give him one of my frosty glares (I am quite good at it, you know). “You could be Murphy, Brian or Murtaza. I don’t know why you are following me. Why you think that I ever wanted to meet you. Hell, I don’t know any man named Murphy.”

“Are you sure?”

When I just stared at him mulishly, he smiled and leaned back against the rails of the aisle in which we stood. “You are early”, he said pleasantly. “But your friend is likely to be late. Very late because of the traffic. And look you have not even brought a book to pass the time.”

“You can’t possibly know that.” I was adamant. It was true that I was early but I had not called my friend yet. I had been about to when he – I refused to consider him as Murphy – had appeared.

“I do.” His assurance was maddening. “Call and check.” With those words he simply sauntered off.

And guess what, he was right. Only, that entire episode seemed like some alternate reality. But I knew, even as a chill passed through me, that it was not.

He was Murphy.

The question was, would he meet me again?

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