Location: HIGH IN THE SKY
Date: JANUARY 2, 2012
Aboard Flight Number 233 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi) , I had happily placed myself in the window seat of the second last row of the plane anticipating a great week ahead in Kerala.
This would be the third time I am going to South India and I just can’t get enough of it. I love the place, the weather, the vegetation, the people, their simplicity, their culture, their music, their food, I love black coffee and well, I like dark men. Oops! I said it, didn’t I?
I was looking at the stewards, who were waving their hands meaningfully, with slightly unfocused eyes. Bored with the same monotonous tone, I fastened my seatbelt and looked outside.
I remembered how I got here. I had hopped on the Kathgodam Express on a very chilly night. I had slept a little bit (courtesy: my wonderful friends who had thrown a blanket over me) and laughed away the remaining night with my batch-mates. As soon as I got off the train and bid my friends farewell, a feeling grasped me.
I don’t know why, at that point of time, I desired nothing more than to get away from everything of or relating to Pantnagar. I guess it had to do something with those 20 days of frustration that had built up inside me. I hardly let it out. So, it generally turns inwards.
So here I was, staring blankly at the window, waiting for the plane to take-off as I heard a flirtatious “Hi” in the row behind me. Needless to say, it caught my interest as I raised my eyebrows.
Eavesdropping on someone is not such a good habit. Is it? But they were having a very loud conversation and I just couldn’t ignore it. “What the heck?”, I thought. Entertainment was right in front of me (no, behind me, literally). How could I let it go? Sure, I was reading ‘The Pale Horse’ by Agatha Christie, but in the moment, this prospect seemed much more interesting.
I don’t know how I always end up around (mind you, ‘around’, never ‘in’) the most romantically-favorable places, be it the corner-most room on the top-most floor of my hostel (read the previous blog filed under this category) or the window seat in the second last row.
The row behind me was a perfect setting. A boy, his best friend and a pretty girl were cornered. What was more? They were flirting heavily. “A very romantic escape”, I thought. Suddenly I remembered that I was sitting with my father and grand-father and I forced myself out of the mood. “Don’t wander in that territory”, I warned myself. “This isn’t such a good time”.
“Hi, I am Akash. I am a businessman in Hyderabad. Where are you from?”
“Oh! I am from Hyderabad too. I live in the ‘wahwahwah’ residence.”
“Really? You know that posh place near that colony? My Dad owns it, and that 5-star hotel nearby too.”
The girl was grasped with awe. “Wow!” was all she could spill out.
The job was done. The boy had impressed the girl and the flirting began.
“Your hair is pretty.”
“Oh really? You are the first guy in many months to say that. It feels great.”
“What a pathetic reply”, I thought. She could have answered much more impressively.
“What are your hobbies?” and it went on…
If you want to show-off, it has to be done in English; this is one, very subtle and absolutely basic rule followed with huge dedication in almost all Indian metropolis, and you will fall prey to it sooner or later.
The day was foggy and half of our route had cloud pockets. On a particularly big one, the plane jerked threateningly and I heard an animated “Ouch!”, followed by definite clutching. “Good”, I thought, as I smiled wickedly.”Exploiting the situation. Smart girl.”
One thing led to another and the girl asked the boy’s age. “I just turned 19″, he said and I could hear a conspicuous dip in her voice as she confessed ” Oh. I feel much older now”, and she was ashamed. She immediately began to ooze her oomph from every place possible and then started to rant her profile to win the guy back as the age factor had definitely shoved him off a bit. “I am a final year student in the ‘Oohlala’ Law School in Delhi. I am not interested in litigation but in corporate law. I am not looking for a placement right now. Blah Blah Blah”.
“Cool”, I thought. “Nice save”. Everybody knows that guys fall easy prey to smart, independent girls.
Unfortunately, that’s the point where I dozed off. My sandwich and black coffee had rendered me sleepy, not to mention the fact that I had slept for only an hour the previous night.
By the time I got up, we were about to land in Hyderabad and the girl was throwing unnecessary tantrums. “Darn. They are going to take us in those ugly buses and all.” “OMG! The plane is so huge. I never noticed.”
“Yuck”, was all I could think of.
And so, it’s parting time. As soon as we touched down and were allowed to use our cell-phones, ‘Facebook’ came to the rescue as they became ‘friends’ online. “The two souls must be blessing Mark Zuckerberg right now”, I thought as I giggled.
That’s how I reached Hyderabad, feasting on overpriced sandwich, coffee and a spicy amount of entertainment. The guy got up in a gentlemanly fashion to see the lady off. He peeped into my diary kept on the eating table in which I was jotting down their chit-chat, apparently suspicious. I immediately hid the title. It was reflex.
Oh Boy! The girl has left and the tonal range of the guy’s vocal chord has changed drastically. He is not that soft-spoken chocolate boy anymore. I am not shocked very much. Speaking softly with a girl is a basic biological response. Isn’t it?
Had the girl not been older, I am pretty sure that they wouldn’t have satisfied themselves with a mere ‘Facebook Friendship’ but would have exchanged mobile numbers too.
“Bad Luck” is all I can say.
Whether the chit-chat was just a time-pass or would turn into something fruitful, I would never find out.
I sighed, fastened my seat-belt and looked outside the window. It was a marvelous evening. I forced my eyes in front of me. The stewards were demonstrating the safety rules again. The flight started moving. This time, without one of my protagonists. “It’s just a 55 minute flight to Coimbatore. I won’t miss my entertainment factor that much”, I thought as I opened my novel once again…