Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The budding love at Chang's (884 words)

The Chinese restaurant Chang’s in the mall in Orlando was not crowded. The owner Wu Chang was getting ready for the evening rush. He was directing the workers on different assignments. Two young Indians, one lean and of medium height and the other tall and well-built were sitting in one corner slowly eating Mapo Tofu while awaiting Lo Mein and Jasmine Tea. They were conversing rather loudly in their native language. One young Chinese girl was seated at a table a little away eating Fresh Cooked Broccoli. The Indians must be in their twenties and working here. A few Chinese were seen sipping tea and an American was drinking coke.

” Sundar, just turn your head casually to your right and look at the beauty sitting near the entrance. Don’t make it obvious”, said the tall guy.

Sundar stood up as if he was taking out his handkerchief from his pants and turned to see the girl. “What a charming and beautiful girl she is. I have never seen one so attractive, Mano, said Sundar.”

“Then come to this chair and sit. You can have an eyeful from this vantage position,” said Mano.

“I think she must be from China. I would like to befriend her. I have no idea whether she is an immigrant on visa working here like us or a citizen. How do I approach her?” asked Sundar

“I don’t know. Let us come daily and see if she also comes. If she does, maybe she has a fancy for you. I have seen her seeing you with sideways glances frequently. One day you can break the ice with a smile and a small talk” said Mano

“Don’t talk loudly. I see the proprietor frequently looking at us uncomfortably” warned Sundar

“Foolish fellow, how can this Chinese fellow follow us speaking in Tamil? Be bold. Come on, throw a smile at her as you leave,” said Mano

Almost daily these two Tamilian guys visited the restaurant at the same time. The girl was also seen there in her seat.

Sundar told Mano” I tried to catch her attention by smiling at her, dropping my car chain and lingering to take it She saw the owner staring at her and ignored my question as she left with a faint smile.”

“Let us change our tables from tomorrow and sit adjacent to her and see whether you can make any headway” advised Mano.’

This went on for a week with no advancement in their efforts to make friends with her. Mano asked him” Look here Sundar, this is a fruitless chase unless you take the bull by the horns. You are shy.. Are you serious about her? Is your yearning for her just for fun or for a long-term relationship? She is from the Far East and you are a Tamil. Marriage may not be on your mind. Just stop brooding over her. Let us not come here anymore.”

“No, I would even marry her if I know more about her, her mind, and her credentials. But how can I make an acquaintance when she seems disinterested? Let us come here for a week more before I give up, Mano,” pleaded Sundar..                                                                                             

The owner was looking at them with a poker face.

The girl surprisingly walked towards their table while waiting for their food the next day and said to Sundar with a twinkle in her small eyes, “I am Lijuan and work in an electronic company. I see you both almost daily and gather that you want to meet me. What can I do for you? “

Unable to get over the great surprise, Sundar in an incoherent voice asked her “How come you knew that I wanted to meet you? I haven’t told anyone except my buddy here.”

She giggled and said “Never mind that. You haven’t yet introduced yourselves.”

“I am Sundar S… u…n…d…a…r and he is Mano. We work in reputed IT companies. Pray tell me how you came to know about my interest in you,” said a happy Sundar.

“That can wait till you reveal what you wish to tell me.” she asked.

Sundar looked embarrassed when Mano told her with a smile, " My friend Sundar wishes to be your friend. He is a single and I suspect he has fallen for you.”

She turned her head towards Wu Chang and spoke something in Mandarin. He came near them and said with a large smile, “I have been listening to your rather loud conversations in Tamil in the last few weeks. I was in Chennai for 15 years running a shop in China Bazaar. She is my daughter and had her schooling there. She said the lean guy was interested in befriending her but lacked the guts to approach her directly and talk to her. She felt both of you were visiting only for her sake. I told her, if she likes him,  she can make the first move.”

“My god, does she know Tamil?” asked an aghast Sundar.

“She was topper in her class and took part regularly in Tamil debates,”he said and laughed roaringly.

As Lijuan extended her hand to Sundar, Mano discreetly left with the owner towards the cash counter leaving his friend to strike a friendship and make his romantic interest known to her.


  1. Very nice. Thanks. Ramakrishnan.a.

  2. You have gone international. Awesome!!

  3. Now, why did I guess this? I think you are becoming obvious nowadays!😎

    Thank you for sharing.

    Best wishes and warm regards
    Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy

  4. That's a good one. Hilarious too. Appreciate your twisting abilities. Keep.them coming.

  5. A Chinese fluent in tamil! Whatever next? I bet Sundar will soon become fluent in Chinese!

  6. Guessed the restaurant owner understood Tamil. Though the surprise element was lost, still a fun read!

  7. It proves marriages are made in heaven. Nice story. A V S Rao

  8. Nice and simple story, with no twists and turns. Happy ending...

  9. Romancing, crossing the borders. Nice story. 👍


  10. Love blossoming between a Tamil boy and a Chinese girl makes it an interesting prospect for the reader, even if it had happened in Chennai. But the background of a restaurant in an Orlando mall made the story all the more colourful!

  11. Nice story. Could be a scene in a Dhanush movie.

  12. A well planned trap !

  13. Haha not two states but two countries...love on the orient express:) Zhao ziang to Kalaimagal? see a lot of real life characters here..Sundar Pichai, Jaishankar....or is it just my imagination!

  14. A nice happy ending - prospect for new beginnings. Regards - Mahesh

  15. Good, simple, clean story... No twists and turns... Still nice.... Sandhya

  16. A sweet story. Love knows no boundary! Atin Biswas

  17. Love at first lasting sight!

  18. This is too coincidental to be coincidence!!