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     Volume 4 Issue 11 | September 3 , 2004 |

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Imran H. Khan

Life is full of surprises, be it pleasant or unpleasant. We are so caught up in the bad surprises that we seldom stop to think of all the little things that makes living so special. Last Wednesday, three of my friends decided to stay over at my place as it was our summer break and all exams were off. We were all comfortably dressed and one of my friends, taking comfort to the next level, decided to set off from home with a really old, 'lived-in' T-shirt that was totally torn in the front. We were on route to my way home when a pastry shop caught our attention and we all decided to treat our stomachs to some sweet delight.

Now this particular place had a tongue tingling cream éclair that was totally scrumptious, complete with a crispy layer at the bottom adding crunch to the cream layer in the centre and the chocolate topping on top adding the final touch. The chocolate layer is so creamy that it sticks to the top of the mouth after every bite, leaving memories long after the item has been devoured. Moving away from my favourite topic, we needed something sweet to satisfy our stomachs after dinner. We were, after all, going to stay up considerably late to play games on PlayStation 2 and for adda so we had to make sure that the stomach department was adequately satisfied.

It was not too hard to spot the éclairs on the shelf and we helped ourselves to them. We couldn't help notice right by the éclairs two large cheesecakes. They didn't look like any normal cheesecake, they were fluffier than the average cheesecake, and even through the plastic covering, they smelt really good. The crust was a hue of burnt sienna with the layers on the cake contrasting with the creamy bottom. It was a real beauty. My friend with the 'jazzy' T-shirt asked me if I would buy him the cake. I informed him that I was broke and that, somewhat, broke his heart. He went outside for a smoke, trying to fill that empty spot that craved for cheesecake.

Meanwhile, a guard came over and told him that a woman was calling him. He was a little surprised, and wondered if it was really him that the lady had specified. However, curiosity got the better of him and he made his way back to the front gate. She was in her twenties, dressed in sari, wearing a serious but caring look across her face. She asked my friend if he would like to try the cheesecake. Now any ordinary person faced with such a situation would politely decline and thank the person offering. My friend was no ordinary person. He smiled his best smile and gleefully agreed and went on a rampage all over the shop looking for a mini cheesecake. He looked here and there but to no avail. Pretty soon, his smile ran out of gas as he came face to face with reality: there was no 'slice' of this particular cake.

At this point, I noticed my friend back inside the shop, vigilantly searching for something that he had lost inside the pastry counters. We had already purchased our delightful cream éclair and I asked him what he was doing back as he was supposed to have gone outside to our cab. He then told me about the generous lady and how she wanted to treat him to a slice of cheesecake. I finally believed him when the lady came up to us and asked him if he found what he was looking for, only to notice that my friend's cheesy endeavour had come to an unsuccessful end. There were no miniature versions of the cheese-cake available anywhere. She then offered the whole cheese-cake, costing about Tk 300, for us four friends. We were awe struck. Why was a total stranger, whom we had never seen before, offering to buy us a cake that cost so much? She smiled and told us to go ahead and take the cake. My friend with the torn t-shirt was now beaming from ear to ear and as she went over to the counter to pay, he personally went over to thank her. He returned with a large packet in his hands and was uttering something that resembled "natural charm maaaan..."

We left the shop with our éclairs and the cheese-cake, my friend going into overdrive with laughter. Who could ever imagine that a total stranger would give away such a gift? What was amazing was that my friend looked neither starved, nor in dire need of anything. Well maybe it was the torn T-shirt, but who was I to say. It's funny how fate had presented us with the cheesy delight and we ended up meeting a person who, out of the generosity of her heart, had reached out and touched the hearts of four sweet craving 22-year-olds.


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