Breaking Ice

Chapter XXXII
Breaking ice: The Lunch Box Journal

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Story so far: In one hot afternoon, the normal conversations at the lunch table turned serious and one of the member of the group was furious and even cursed out loud. An unusual curse, but the intensity with which it was said meant that the person was genuinely cursing. Who was so angry? What was it that had so horribly wrong? Read on…

“Fucking Assholes”, he shouted as he spit the food from his mouth on the plate in front of him. He had that shocked look on his face which emitted a red tinge signaling that he was angry and he was dead serious about being angry. He was angry for two reasons. One being that he was misguided. Even though they had joked about it being a Soya Bean curry when it was actually a Chicken curry. And even more angry because no one stopped him from eating it. In the group’s defense, they were way too much involved in the story that had happened a little while earlier that day and they were completely oblivious of what Akhil was doing, especially what he was actually eating. And to add to their defense, they had already told him about that soya bean being chicken and they assumed that he knew that they were joking about it being a soya bean. Because that’s what they had done earlier as well. While in Akhil’s defense they whole group conspired against him to make him unpure. He continued to the angry for a little while longer, for weeks altogether, until he had to travel home for a little while owing to his friend’s marriage.

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They met at a pub for the first time. She was a friend of Neil’s friend and it was perhaps a well-planned coincidence, the sort of coincidences that people usually say that is done from the matchmakers up above. They seemed to have connected right away by the way they felt comfortable talking to each other and the similarities that they had. But it was still their first meeting and they had hoped to meet again and talk this over another cup of coffee. If they find each other well enough they would have to take it to their parents and then there is a completely different process and checklist they would have to qualify for. Hence, they decided to keep is formal and baby steps.

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Akhil returned from his short trip from home. And he had promised Srestha that he would get her sweets back from his hometown, the promise which wasn’t made to the friends of his. Aryan and Neil were sitting in the canteen and we having their morning coffee while Sameer joined them for a late breakfast. A while later they were joined by Akhil and Likhita who were also having their morning fix of the coffee. Meanwhile, Akhil was in full-fledged chatting with his crush Srestha, while she reciprocated the same, but was keeping it to herself. So far, Akhil had just talked to her online and hasn’t met her yet. Well, that was the assumption that the whole group had. As they settled in their seats in the canteen, Akhil opened his box of sweets to share with the group before taking it inside the office, because then all the people in the floor would come and there might not anything remaining for his friends. As the people around the table were taking the sweets one after another, Srestha sat down at the other end of the canteen all alone. When the group had observed that she had come to the office, they had urged Akhil to go and approach her finally break the ice by offering her sweets. He hadn’t told his friends that he had promised to give her a box of sweets. After a little more persistence by the group and even Likhita joined in the motivating him to do the honors of breaking the ice, he finally found some courage and went to break the ice.

As Akhil was approaching Srestha, the color in Likhita’s face started coming out. She wasn’t at all happy with this development, but she was pretending that it was all right and it wasn’t affecting her at all. And he finally met Srestha for the first time and broke the ice while his friends were cheering from the other side of the canteen, except one person. This one person was acting too tough and Aryan decided to put it to a test. “Oh look, they are shaking their hands”. “Well, now they are holding them” after a few lookbacks towards Akhil’s direction and still acting unaffected by what Akhil was doing, Aryan decided to entice a bit more. Wait a second, are they looking into each other’s eyes intently”. “Oh, stop now please”, Likhita trying to mask her actual feelings with a smile. The clock on everyone’s watch turned 11:30 AM which meant that Akhil had a stand-up meeting with his manager. But he was still seen sitting there while the whole group was wondering whether he would ditch her for his meeting or skip the meeting. After all, he was the only one in the meeting besides his manager. Well, a minute later they took each other’s leave, both being happy and smiling all the way as they went back to the office, while on the other end of the canteen someone was biting their teeth way too hard. And amidst all the silent grunting, Aryan saw an unusual tattoo on Likhita’s wrist which seemed like it resembled someone’s name and wasted no time to decipher it later in the privy of his group.

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(To be Continued …)

What did he tattoo say? Why Aryan had to click a picture of it? How far along Neil and his new found friend? When was he deciding to break the news to his friends?
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The Lunch Box Journal

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