Library and Caffeine
Sherlock Holmes walked into the library. He was told that it was a nice place to hangout. A friend of his recently referred it as a place for intellectuals. Sherlock wanted to check that.
‘Maybe a place, when there is no case?’. He thought. ‘Poetry, I should try’. He thought about how things rhymed, and how the letters contributed very less as he strolled into the café cum library.
The place looked tidy and well-kept. It was more than a library, he could see it right away, but not place a finger on why exactly. He adjusted the collar and tilted the hat to cover his entire eyes and most of his face. He walked in wanting not to get recognized. If someone had recognize him that moment, then it should have been without seeing the face and just with the silhouette. Had that happened, Sherlock would have got a quarter of his regular dosage of pride. But sometimes people are not good at spotting other people.
He memorized the path he had to take, to get to the section with the nice table. He could see the table from the entrance, visible, yet far from it. There was a woman, whom he will not mention to Watson. He purposely did not read what section it was. It had beautiful cushion on the sofa-like chairs by the table and the woman on one of the chairs. He walked blind with the tilted hat. He was well aware of the memorized path.
The section had books on feminism. The woman had no need to read. She can write a book again on feminism. Actually she could do that (again) for any -ism. She was intellectual, beautiful, and uptight when she sat. Had so much degrees of education, which she always chose not to use or write behind her name anywhere. Everyone knew she hated to introduce people about the education she had had, and the prestigious institutions she obtained them from. And no one ever wondered how they knew every detail about the education she had had, and the prestigious institutions she obtained them from. She always introduced herself as a woman and nothing more, but again people always knew who and what she was. That was how it was in India.
The blind, well-informed and aware Sherlock, switched off his blindness by removing his hat. He sat opposite to the feminist. She was actually a lot of -ists.
“This is a nice chair. Fabric from Mumbai, and through Chennai and then to London, I deduce from the-” He was interrupted in the middle of his ice breaker.
And she did it with the with the words “You deduce it from…” and she completed his deduction in her voice. Holmes was shook, but serene outside. He instantly knew who she was, he had not caught a proper sight until then. He had not looked at her for effect. And when he did, he knew. She was the woman from the TV talk shows. She made men commit guilt-suicides, and women do push-ups crying. The beautiful feminist who wore Sarees or the famous orange Kurta outside India, and leather jackets over suits inside her country TV shows.
‘What is she doing in this town? I am sure no one other than me streams Indian television. No one knows her here, let alone fans, he knew of no relatives or friends. And it was not the US where the media loved her.’ he thought.
Sherlock can act like he deduced everything, when he feeds her some of her own portfolio. Actually he could deduce, just by a look at her. And he chose to actually deduce. Only then he realized he did not need the knowledge first place. He broke down to the tiniest details just by a ten second observation.
And he finished his deductions “so that is you. And no I am not interested in the coffee you are going to offer.” And it seemed like he picked a random book from the rack behind. It was out-of-place. The positioning was a mistake by a reckless user. Sherlock chose not to think bad about the stranger. Because it read ‘The science of deduction’. It was his book and that is why he chose the place. Not the girl, not the chair. He had not read the section’s name, but noticed the book on the shelf.
He had told everything about her. Not by the knowledge but by deduction alone. She should react the way everyone had done when they are deduce-profiled. (Watson once came up with and acronym for it DeFiled for fun, Sherlock liked they word until the next thursday. But that day he had to access the vocabulary lobe of his brain for a case and realized how Watson made a fool of him).
“Wow! That is so cool. Do you know me? Are you a fan of my blog?” the big O in her happy mouth fixated. She was proud someone recognized her. And the someone was tall and looked strong and smart. She was happy. The someone was not even Indian. She was delighted. She did not know him. She was in pink clouds of heaven.
‘She does not know me’ he thought. Also he was wondering how ‘blog’ could end in an ‘O’. He placed the book in front of her and told that he was the author, Sherlock Holmes. She had not given much notice to the book, or his words, or his name. Anyway she did not know Sherlock Holmes. She was not from London. He deduced her ignorance, and chose to explain.
“I deduced all those things I told about you from…” He continued. Talking about the shoes, the direction she faced, the mobile phone she held, the mark on her nose, the way her lips are, the tissue she reused, the section she sat, her confidence, the stare, the voice, the eyes. Everything contributed in deducing things about her. He had even praised her a little on the course of his explanation. His mind changed, he would take the coffee she is going to offer when he finished with the Science of deduction on her. She was beautiful, and a person like Sherlock can see more than what other people could see, yet she remained beautiful.
It was a performance he realized. Which was usually more than enough for a human being to offer coffee. Personal science, statistics, and history suggested the same. Also he was in his best shirt that day. Long time since he had coffee with an intellectual like her. He smiled at her when he finished, her face changed from sweetness and surprise to…
“Judgmental bastard” she said. “Stupid snap judgments on women you don’t even know about.”
The great Sherlock had missed to notice the cup of cappuccino on the floor. He noticed the coffee only when it hit his face.
He wiped his face, did not look around and continued reading his own book. She had walked out. He drank the little coffee that was left in the cup. He began reading his own book. ‘It was not snap judgment but deduction, and not a bit was wrong.’ He had his own memory of the newspaper articles and interviews he had seen, to compare it with. Also he never mentioned about the allegations or controversies, her looks drove him to make his deduction-reasoning more of an award function introductory speech. But she choose to give him some cappuccino and disgrace him for the alleged judgment. The worst curse word of the century.
And if one reads a chapter, after wiping his face off thick frothy coffee, before getting up to leave, it is not seen as disgrace. He inscribed a quick rule to his mental palace’s handrails.
A chapter he read before he vanished from the library.
No one in London knew how he felt that day, or if it was one of the reasons he chose to make the fall, because this was just an urban legend. They just knew for sure that Sherlock stopped deducing random, intellectual, female strangers, since the visit to a library.