Cocktail by Vikram Karve

 He caught her eyes again, looking steadily and directly:  passionate admiration and yearning radiating from his eyes. She held his gaze in a kind of challenge, there was a lengthy pause and then she smiled. He felt relieved, and elated. The frank admiration in his eyes had won him a smile.  Her large youthful eyes were now fastened on his. There was a language in her eyes, which Sanjay could not fully fathom.  Happy and gay, her eyes conveyed a certain naïveté tinged with curiosity, possibly approval.  For Sanjay, it was a moment of supreme satisfaction. He felt renewed and refreshed.  Suddenly, contact was broken as somebody blocked his line of sight.

Everyone was walking towards the exit for the tea break.  Sanjay had now lost sight of her.  She had gone out for tea.  Sanjay kept sitting.  The auditorium was now empty.  He closed his eyes in introspection.  He felt calm and serene.  In his mind’s eye he could clearly visualize her exquisite face and magnetic eyes.  And her tantalizing smile – teasing, almost naughty.  Sanjay could not begin to describe the sensation.  She evoked in him.  Certainly it was pleasurable and had a soothing effect on his frayed nerves.  A much needed palliative.

When Sanjay opened his eyes he noticed that the woman had shifted her seat and was sitting alone, across the aisle, much closer than before and  affording a better view.  She was looking at him in a canny manner, and when he caught her eye, she quickly turned her gaze towards the podium.  Sanjay experienced an encouraging flush of self-confidence.  He got up from his seat, moved forward, and took up a stronger tactical position. He now had an unobstructed, clear view of her from the most favorable aspect.  He noticed that her eyes had been tracking him. He looked into her eyes and smiled.  There was a conspiratorial look in her expressive eyes, at once inviting, and taunting. She was teasing him with her eyes, as if her stimulus had evoked a response; or was it vice – versa.

Encouraged by her enthusiastic response, Sanjay indulged himself lavishly. He made love to her with his eyes.  She responded with unrestrained zeal, genuine exhilaration pouring out of her eyes. As their mutual visual interplay became intense, Sanjay was transported to an ecstatic state of supreme bliss.

Mesmerized in her enchanting eyes, Sanjay was in a delightful trance, oblivious of his surroundings, forgetting his grief.  This immensely enjoyable experience had, at least momentarily, liberated him from his inner oppression.
As he walked back to his hotel in the evening Sanjay was bubbling with joy.  He experienced a unique state of awareness and self–confidence.  Renewed and invigorated, he felt on top of the world.  His lecture was scheduled the next day.  His would work hard and make it a success.  He had to do it, at least for her.
She was his inspiration.  He felt confident.  He was going to give an impressive performance; make a lasting impression on her. Sanjay had bounced back into life again. 

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