Sam, who ran the coffee shop  called “ Coffee and More” at the Rainbow Mall looked at  the three ladies with interest. They were his regulars, coming almost every month or so. But he was surprised to see them sitting separately today. The youngest one was sitting alone at a table while the pretty one and the older lady were sitting together at another table. He wondered what the matter was.. Had they fought with each other ? No, that did  not seem to be the case. The young girl was signalling to the other two ladies and they were signalling back…! “Well, none of my business really” he thought shrugging his shoulders and getting back to supervising his waiters. He looked around the shop- there  seemed to be a lot of ladies- he could count atleast eight ( including his three regulars). “Well as long as it gets me business” he said to himself.

Tanya who was sitting alone at a table in the centre of the shop  was typing out a text message “ It is 6 o’clock now. Do you think he will show up?”

“ Have patience. He will. I know his kind” typed back Maya for whom the message was intended. She showed the message to Rehana who nodded.

Rehana looked around the shop- yes five of the ladies had come as they had promised. This was the grand finale of what Tanya called “Operation ROCKET”.

Tanya, Maya and Rehana had met up last week deciding to do something about ROCKET.  But they did not really know how to go about it.

“Why don’t we comment on his blog telling him what an awful character he is” asked Rehana. But Maya had ruled that out. “ You will be doing exactly what he wants you to do. You will be giving  him the attention that he is craving for”  They tried to  wrack their brains for some other ideas.

It was Tanya who had finally come up with the idea. Rocket , she had found out was from their town. She had offered to contact Rocket asking him to meet her at the coffee shop on Rainbow Mall . “And both of you Rehana Aunty and Maya didi can come and yell at him in person” she had said.

But Maya had said  that though the idea was a good one, in order to embarrass the man, they needed more women to be part of it. So, began the hunt for other women bloggers who had received the attentions of Rocket. They then sorted out the names by location  to see  who were from their town. Between the three of them they used up every network they had and reached out to eight of the ten women from their town who was on Rocket’s “blog hit list”. Of the eight, three had been nervous about the whole thing though they said that they were with the others “in spirit” ( “What is this  in spirit girls? Either they are in or not in it” Rehana had exclaimed in anger)

So, here they were waiting for Mr. Rocket to show up!

The clocked ticked on. It was 6.15 PM now.  Rehana had her eyes glued to the entrance of the shop.! Most of the ladies had a mental image of the man- an all brawn person with a six pack and an empty brain! Rehana’s hands were inside her purse fingering the rolling pin she had brought along.

It was 6.20 PM  when a person walked into the shop. A thin man with  balding hair wearing a a red T shirt and glasses. His eyes scanned the occupants of the shop. He took out his phone and made a call. Tanya’s phone rang. She looked up – so this was Mr. Rocket! A wimp of a guy with a hunch and a twitch in his left eye!

Seven pairs of eyes watched as Tanya waved at Mr. Rocket saying “Come here. I am Tanya”  Just to be sure she asked loudly “Rocket?” He nodded and sat down opposite her.

Sam suddenly felt that he was in the middle of a movie climax. Seven ladies from the two long tables in the corner were getting up and making their way to the young girl’s table.  He watched with interest. He was sure something interesting was about to happen.

“Are you Rocket? I think you wanted to kiss my hands. Here have a go” said Rehana extending her hand which had the rolling pin clasped on it.

“ You creep!  Look at me. I am Maya from “Rhythms and Rhymes”You think that just because I write love poems I am on the look out for a lover? And even if I were, you will be the last person I would consider for that” said Maya closing in on him.

Rocket was now perspiring…

“I am  Parvathi Srinivasan. Head of the department of English at the University. I have read some of your atrocious comments on my blog. Let me tell you, even my worst student writes better English. If you do not know how to write in English you should try blogging in the language that you are most comfortable with. But that I guess would deprive you of the opportunity to meet hep girls right?”

“ I am  Minoti a cosmetic surgeon. Though I have deleted your indecent comments from my blog, I have not forgotten what you had commented on my post on breast reconstruction and its harmful effects!” said another woman from the group.

“ I am Anjana Tripathi, I work for a NGO which deals with harassment faced by women. I am going to report you to police” she said almost pulling Rocket up by his collar.

“Rocket ? I am Dr. Rekha  Kamath an  astrophysicist. I design rockets. If I ever designed something like you I would break it with my foot!!” she said stamping her foot hard on the ground.

“And I am Mini Thomas a mother of two teenage boys. I don’t know what your mother has taught you but if any of my boys misbehaved like this with any woman I would finish him off!”she said bringing her face close to his.

Rocket was clearly shivering now. He looked at the women around him.. He had never expected to be ambushed  like this. He was particularly nervous about the lady with the rolling pin. He looked at Tanya. She raised an eyebrow and smiled at him.

He suddenly got up and pushed his way out of the circle of ladies around his table. Before they could react he had dashed out of the shop!

“ Shall I run and catch him?” asked Tanya. “No let him be.. he has had his lesson” said Rehana sitting down on a chair nearby. Sam went up to them clapping his hands.“Bravo ladies. Next round of coffee comes with my compliments”.

A week later,  there appeared a post entitled “Ladies Special” on eight blogs. Signed by Tanya Gonsalves, Rehana Habib, Maya Bhattacharya, Parvathi Srinivasan, Mini Thomas, Anjana Tripathi, Minoti Patnaik and Rekha  Kamath it dealt with the problems of harassment of women in the virtual world. Each of the blogs had over 500 hits per day and were flooded with comments from women across the world.

Needless to say, there were no comments from a person called Rocket. Tanya, found out later that the blog had been deleted.

If you ever go to the shop “Coffee and More” at the Rainbow Mall, you will find on the wall a picture of the owner Sam, with eight ladies- titled “The brave hearts of Blogosphere” . When you ask him who they are he will most probably smile and tell you “ this is the MORE in the name of my shop”


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anilkumar Kurup
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 16:57:15

    Ha , he vanished like a rocket into the stratosphere from the blogosphere!!


  2. Krishnapriya
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 22:17:38

    Lol.. that is a good finale.. and the end of the rocket! Good one!


  3. Deepa
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 14:11:32

    Super! I love the rolling pin. Nice touch that. Very entertaining. Even better than the goat saga. More please!!


  4. Bikram
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 15:30:09

    bravo ladies indeed …

    lovely story 🙂


  5. Hema
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 16:22:06

    That was excellent Meera.. I loved it.. All your stories are very entertaining.. Thanks for your comments on my blog.. I finally found sea of poppies by amitav gosh, the award winning story.. borrowed it for a couple of days.. the poetry was intense and no doubt that amitav has done his part of research and home work, but it was quite overwhelming for me.. will try to take it up once again when I can spend more time, given the fact it is not a light read.. but the few 100 pages that I had read still lingers in my memory


  6. Indian Homemaker
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 14:54:48

    I think meeting a stalker could be more dangerous than interacting on the internet. A joint post condemning his creepiness would have been equally effective.


    • Meera
      Dec 22, 2011 @ 15:16:44

      You are right Indian Homemaker-stalkers on the road are far more dangerous! But this was about the virtual world so I was restricted by the plot. Condemning his creepiness is a given – remember the joint post?


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