The Logan International airport was buzzing with activity. I had checked in and was waiting for security clearance. I had two hours before me. I saw an Indian young woman in her early twenties sitting across me. She was sobbing gently wiping the tears frequently. From a slip pasted on her box, I could see she was also bound for Chennai. Her slightly dusky appearance and the features indicated she was from my state. She was charming with a well chiseled face. From the shining gold bangles and chain she was wearing, I deduced she must have been newly married. Something was obviously amiss. I felt I should help her in case she needed any.
I went near her and said “I am Gopal bound for Chennai. I work here. I see that something is bothering you and that you are alone. I get a feeling you are new to this country. If there is anything you need, please ask me freely. Do you speak Tamil?”
“Thanks. I am Sindhu. Yes I am somewhat new. I came here three months back and am returning to my place after some unfortunate developments. Yes I am a Tamilian”she replied
Showing the coffee shop opposite to our seats, I said “Let us go and have some French fries and coffee. I am hungry”
While we were having coffee, I said “I am not inquisitive but you were crying a while ago. I hope there is no serious problem. You do not have to answer if it is personal. I work for Fidelity since two years after my post graduation here. I am going for a fortnight to see my parents. Do you live in Chennai? My parents live in Besant Nagar.”
She kept quiet for some time. I did not prompt her waiting for her to open up.
She asked “What is your seat number. Mine is 16A”
“Wow! What a happy coincidence. Mine is 16B. It is a two seat arrangement normally reserved for women with small kids as they have a bassinet facility” I replied with obvious happiness.
She smiled and said “Wow. We would be seated side by side. It is a long story. I will tell you in the plane. Let us go as we are due for security check already”
That was the first time I was sitting so close to a young woman. The gentle perfume was subdued but still I could feel the fragrance. I don’t know why but I was elated to be by her side. As the plane settled on its long journey to London Heathrow, she asked “Are you in a mood to listen to a depressing story?”
When I said I am all ears, she started telling how she was deceived by a rake who had already married two American women who left him soon and now living in with a big Cuban woman five years older to him.” We got his reference from a matrimonial column. The relative to whom a request was made to enquire did not check thoroughly. While I am a BTech from IIT, he is not even a postgraduate and doing odd jobs living off on that Cuban woman. He gave false information about him. His intention was to ditch the Cuban woman and attach himself to me as I am in a good job having been transferred by my company to US. He is a cruel and coarse guy given to violent temper and lying. When I sized up the situation I moved to a separate apartment with the help of colleagues but he started pestering me. I threatened police action to keep him at bay, sought a transfer back to India and plan to file papers for divorce. That is the gist of my American experience.”
“I have heard of such instances of even well educated men doing such things. It happens despite the best care for no one can find all details about the individuals’ character. Where do you live in Chennai?” I asked
“Adyar. Do you live with your wife here in US?” she asked
“No, I am not yet married. My parents want me to see a few young ladies they have selected. Personally I would like to put off my wedding for a year. I hope to persuade my parents to agree. They do not mind even my choosing my own partner provided she is from India preferably a Tamilian” I said with a smile.
“Do you have anyone in view?”she asked
“Not till I reached the airport this evening” I said with a mischievous smile.
Bewildered she looked at me and said “I don’t get it. What is it you are telling?” she asked
“Even I didn’t know till recently. Let us eat the dinner and resume our conversation” I said with a smile.
When I took the dinner plate from the air hostess and gave it to Sindhu, my hands brushed against hers. She pulled back immediately not before making an eye contact with me .After dinner we did not pursue the same subject. She dozed off in a while. When she woke up with a start when there was turbulence in the air, she found herself resting her head on my shoulders and that I had covered her with a blanket. Embarrassed she shrank back; when I said “It is ok. Sleep for some more time”
“No, the sleep has gone. Tell me more about the change in your mind after reaching airport. Did you meet any friend of yours?” she said
“I met none except you” I said with a loud guffaw as heads turned towards me. I continued saying “I have found one and am willing to wait till her problem is sorted out.”
In utter disbelief and shyness she lowered her head. I said “I wish to introduce you to my parents soonest and hope to spend the fortnight happily in the company of my new find and friend” and held her fingers in mine throughout the flight.