Sparkling Spectacles

a short story by Paramjit Sharma sharmapjit@rediffmail.com Mobile 09730284489

Sparkling Spectacles
Mohit was visiting Pune after six years to finalize a deal for sale of heavy machinery to a production industry. He wished to visit some of his old friends from Pune who studied with him in the business school at Delhi. But the negotiations and meetings kept him occupied throughout the day. As he was getting ready to dash to the Airport after the deal, the receptionist informed him about the change in the flight schedule due aircraft problem and his flight would be leaving at eleven pm in the evening. He had two choices to select from. Either to relax till dinner or to visit Barucha’s lens which was located just fifty meters from his hotel at Camp. He decided to visit Barucha Lens. On visiting the shop, he got quite amazed to see the changes in the exteriors and interiors of Barucha Lens. The shop has been named as Barucha’s Boutique. He went inside and tried to locate Jahangir Barucha, the owner of the Boutique. Mr. Jahangir recognized him and took him inside his cabin. He was happy to note that Mohit was working on a senior position in a MNC. When Mohit asked him about the changes in the business and décor, he shot him a reply, ‘ Mohit ……You taught me to sell frames through cosmetics’ both of them laughed at his comments.
‘Mr

Barucha, do you remember I gave you a frame which I requested you to hand over to a girl’ Mohit inquisitively asked

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‘Oh yes…..yes …what was the name of that Girl’ Barucha said while scratching his head. ‘Miss Meenakshi” he helped Jahangir to remember the name. Yes..yes…she came for changing her frame to my shop, I think last year…..probably last to last year before I diversified’ Barucha said though not being sure about the timings. ‘When I told her about your present’ Barucha stopped for a moment and changed his facial expressions. ‘She was furious initially.” ‘But when I asked her to at least try once and also gave your note along with the frame, she tried in the mirror and placed orders for new lenses to fit into the frame.’ ‘Later when she came to collect her spectacles, she asked me to thank you for understanding her requirements’ ‘But, since you have not left any contact number, I could not inform you.’ Barucha noticed some annoyance on the face of Mohit. All these talks made Mohit nostalgic about his two years stay at Pune, particularly his summer project with Barucha’s. Mohit finished his coffee, thanked Jahangir and decided to visit Meenakshi, who was living at Koregaon Park. He proceeded towards ‘Aanadan Apartments’ the place where he used to spend hours during his MBA’s Project…’Marketing Marvels---selling through Inducement’ He took that project with Barucha’s Lens and decided to experiment selling frames through personal inducement.

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He spent fifteen days in collecting data from Barucha’s and to his amazement concentration of customers was more at Koregaon Park. Out of seven hundred customers who purchased specs from Barucha Lens during last year, over hundred customers were women. He concentrated on this target group. He took full profile of them from the record available with the Baruchas. Out of 105 women customers, atleast 20 customers were living in Anandan Society in Koregaon Park. His modus operandi was to act as a sales man and sell cosmetic items from door to door to the customers. Once becoming friendly, he used to suggest them to change their frames as the frame they were wearing was not suiting their personalities. A change in frame could all together would make discernible difference in their appearance. It worked well till he got obsessed towards a girl staying next door to Mrs Kulkarni’s flat. When her mother used to buy some cosmetics, she would often come and ask to bring nail polish of colours which he was not having in his stock. From once in a week to Anandan Society, he increased the periodicity to twice and some time three to four times also. He still remembers the day when it was raining heavily and she was alone at home as Mrs Kulkarni had gone to Kolhapur to attend some marriage. He hesitatingly pressed the call bell of Menakshi’s flat. She responded but did not open the door rather called from inside to inform that her mother was not at home.
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Mohit kept on sitting at the stairs and got wet due to rain splashes which ware hitting the walls of the stairs due to wind. His t-shirt was not protecting him from the cold winds which were hitting him with the rain. After half an hour Menakshi opened the door and called him inside. She offered him coffee but did not close the main door. Once or twice the door got closed due to wind, and she kept a stool in front of the door. Mohit thanked her and showed to her the blue and green coloured nail polish he specially brought for her. When he noticed her getting comfortable while talking to him, he suggested her to change her spectacles as the frame was not suiting her round face. He further suggested that the frame she was wearing was dominating and in the process people may not notice innocence on her face She just laughed at the suggestion and said ‘Mr…do you know the price of this frame? ‘ I know it may be quite expensive, but it is not suiting your face’ Mohit said with assertiveness and also fearing annoyance of her. ‘Ok, I will try to consider your suggestion’ She told him to shorten the discussions. For next two months, he visited that society every alternate day. Visiting Meenakshi house was must for her and each time he would not forget to suggest her changing the frame and she would always promise to do that.

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Mohit would always bring nail polish of different colours…blue, pink, black, grey, purple and always wait for her to suggest new colours. At the end of three months, he left Pune after submitting a report to Baruchas. Before leaving for Delhi, he handed over a pair of spectacles to Barucha to hand over to Mini, in case she visits his shop. Now on his revisit to Pune, he was happy to learn that Mini had visited the shop and changed her frame as advised by him. He was dying to see Mini wearing a new frame….and how would she look like. It was 8 o’clock in the evening. He still had two and half hours before checking in at the airport. He left the hotel and went straight to Anandan Society to meet Mini. He kept his luggage in the company car and went straight to Mini’s flat. His heartbeat was quite fast as he summed courage to press the call bell. He started imaging and weaving sentences to be spoken when she open the door. But instead of Mini, her mother opened the door. He introduced himself when she could not recognize him. She was quite happy to see him again. She asked him many questions, but Mohit’s eyes were looking to have a sight of Mini. After tea, Mohit lost his patience and enquired about Mini from her mother. ‘Oh, my God, she said I have just got lost in talking to you’

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‘Just excuse me’ she went inside and brought out a small gift pack. ‘ I have forgotten to give you a news that Mini got married last year and now settled with her husband at California. Before leaving she has left a present for you’ Her mother handed over the gift pack to Mohit who was shell shocked to hear that news. He decided to leave as he was worried that her mother may notice dejection on his face. Ok, I stay at Delhi…..whenever you come to Delhi, Please visit me. It would be my pleasure’ Mohit handed over his visiting card and jumped to take the lift which stopped at that floor. On reaching the ground floor, he jumped back into the car and anxiously opened the gift pack, mini has left for him. He was surprised to see the same pair of spectacles which Mini used to wear and beneath that there was a small message. ‘Hi sir, I must thank you for caring and advising me. My life changed after I changed the frame of my spectacles. I was rejected by many boys while wearing the frame you were suggesting me to change. I was proposed by my….now husband when I supported the spectacles frame presented by you…..ever grateful….Mini’ Mohit never imagined that his own suggestion would lead him to such fatal dejection. While in the plane, he took out that packet again and started feeling the spectacles frame left by mini for him. He started rolling the frame on his fingers. While twisting the frame, he noticed the name of the manufacturer of frame. It was ‘Cannon and Moore’ who manufacture one of the costliest frames in the world in 22 carat gold---one of the most expensive spectacles.

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He was not in the position to decide whether to feel happy for getting such an expensive thanks gift or to feel dejected at loosing Mini.

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