Friday, March 18

The Cafeteria

Like an assault of one's senses, a sea of human beings greets you with open arms upon entering the cafeteria. People mill around, mostly aimlessly. Loud chattering and excited gasps fill the air. An occasional laughter pierces the roar of commotion. Sitting in little pockets of groups and oblivious to others, the scene could be quite chaotic. Someone lets out an elated scream and hugs her partnet. A couple greet each other with a peck on the cheek. Several boiterous youths give out loud hoots of appreciation at a pretty girl walking past. The kissing of pool balls could be heard in the far corner. Rustling of chairs and paper keep many people busy - some are attempting to get to their seats while others have their heads buried in books.

A loud thumping beat bathes the cafeteria with sound. Background music it is, as no one dances to it. The sunlight filters through large glass blocks and windows, giving the cafeteria a cheery look. Like pods and peas, the brightly coloured neon signboards that scream "Look at me!" complement the sunlight to a fault.

Scratch beneath the hive of activities and you will find a cafeteria that leads a double life. A young woman sits in a corner, tears streaming down her cheeks, looking very distressed. The aroma of fresh coffee gets too annoying for a man, who moves away from the coffee joint while cursing beneath his breath. The sight of fresh warm pizza hastens a man to shell out several dollars for it. A youth lets out an unflattering burp, sending his girlfriend diving for cover.

The human traffic moves with an invisible leader. Working with clockwork efficiency, droves of people march out to class as a lecture looms while others arrive to replace them.

Spend an afternoon at the cafeteria and you might just discover life's quirkier side.

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