Sunday, May 12, 2013

The KFC Girl

If Only I kept eyes open when it mattered most !!!

KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken the world’s second largest fast food restaurant chain in the world, the only place on earth I will eat food at without creating a fuss about the menu, I mean what fault can I find with a menu that has an option for a ‘bucket full’ of fried chicken in it?

I love everything about the KFC outlets in India, the staff are usually in high spirits greeting me with an enthusiastic- Hey, how you doing sir? (Completely ignoring the person who just placed their order), they look so trim and fit almost making me feel like the food I’m about to eat is completely healthy, their patrons are unpretentious, the music is always good and everyone is basically having a good time.

But perhaps the thing I like most about eating at KFC is that there is no pressure to stick to some elaborate eating etiquette with knives and forks and napkins, everyone just grabs their share of the chicken with their bare hands and bite into it like savages from another era.

In the picture above I’m standing in front of a KFC outlet where I had an unforgettable experience a couple of years ago.

It was a warm Sunday afternoon and I was out shopping with my parents, my brother had wandered off into a street beside the main road and tired of looking through curtain samples with my mother I decided to take a stroll.

The pleasant expression on Colonel Sanders face at the KFC outlet opposite where I stood reminded me that my brother had expressed an interest in trying out a new flavor of ‘Krushers’ that had been launched recently.

My Brother at another KFC outlet at Dubai! No Krushers here though!
I walked in to the restaurant; to my surprise the usual Sunday crowd was missing, apart from a couple of girls who stood at the counter the place was more or less empty.
One of them looked at me as I walked in and immediately turned her gaze towards the display board above, the girl next to her stood with her back turned toward me; she wore a white shirt and blue jeans. I couldn't see her face the two of them were trying hard to decide what they would like to have.

They made way for me to place my order.

“Hey there sir, what would you like to have”? The Guy across the counter said to me in the usual KFC enthusiastic tone.

Till that point of time I knew exactly what I was going to order, but standing next to the girl in the white shirt my mind went blank. I looked back at the sales staff, he repeated himself, again I wasn't able to open my mouth and say anything.

It was almost as if my heart had stopped beating for a while, like I had just been given a high voltage electric shock, from the corner of my eye I noticed that the girl had turned towards my side, I am damn sure she was looking straight at me but I was too scared to turn around and see who it was, my heart started beating again but this time it went into overdrive, palpitations and tiny tremors followed.

Meanwhile the salesman across the counter was losing his patience, the girl momentarily turned away and I relaxed a little, even though I still wasn’t able to talk, I pointed my index finger at the ‘Krusher’ my brother was interested in, with a little difficulty he understood what I wanted and he left the counter to get things ready.

The girl turned her gaze towards me once again, more electricity this time, I stood there motionless, if my eyelids weren’t moving people would’ve thought I was having a stroke or something, all I had to do was turn my neck a few degrees to the left and I would see who this girl was.

“Common Thomas do it, turn around”! One half of my brain said to me.
“Don’t be a sentimental idiot, take your order and get out”. The other half told me.
“She might be the one, just turn your neck and see who it is”. The better half of my mind said sympathetically.
“Nonsense, whoever it is she’ll eventually break your heart man”. The other half said.

I decided to go against ‘the other half’ of my brain and I slowly started straining my neck to look to my left, just then my order arrived.

“Damn it”! I thought to myself.

“Hey ma’am welcome to KFC”. The salesman yelled at the person behind, pleased that he was finally done with me.

I walked out of the restaurant trying my best not to look back.

Sitting in the car confused by the whole incident it occurred to me that both halves of my mind had finally arrived at a consensus, they both now felt that I had done the wrong thing by walking out on that girl the way I did, in fact the ‘other half’ now strongly believed that I should have asked her for her name and number too.

A few minutes passed, I started having second thoughts, I should’ve at least seen who it was, what if she was ‘the One’?

Too late, dad had already started the car and brother had gulped down half his drink.
The car started to move.

I knew I would regret this later but I barged out of the back seat and ran back to the restaurant.

The girl and her friend were gone.
No sign of them anywhere inside or outside.

They had left, the moment had passed, it was over.

I am probably never going to see that girl again, and even if I did I can never know for sure if she is the same girl whom I stood next to that day, unless of course if she remembers the whole encounter when we meet again-if we meet again.
But then what are the odds of such a thing happening? Very, very less I guess.

I’m sure that in your life too there have been such experiences but I also know that it’s not easy to just throw away our inhibitions and follow our heart every time something weird happens, but if we actually did do so, if we muster some courage and chase after these small subtle signs that life shows us from time to time, we may discover something wonderful.

The possibilities are unlimited.

Until next time,