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“SO howz Uncle and Aunty doing Ravi”, Vijay asked. “They are fine, absolutely fine, couldn’t be much better” Ravi replied looking at Priya. “Lovely, what a lovely name”, Ravi asserted continuing his stare at Priya. “It’s a pleasure meeting you”, Priya replied. “Pleasure is MINE”, Ravi replied. Priya began staring at Ravi as he moved back to his seat. "So where does Ravi work?" Priya asked, "Don't know some s/w company is CHI KA GO" Vijay replied. "Which part of INDIA is he from?" she inquired. "He was a State level Cricketer, represented our state", "Now he plays for some league there". "That's really great na; working and playing in the US". "He was a deadly fast bowler; evident from his height and strong shoulders I guess", "I should definitely get in touch with him" Vijay replied. "Yes tall and strong MAN he is" Priya replied thinking of Ravi.
"You follow cricket right?" he asked positively. "Cricket chi, I hate that stupid game"; somebody keeps throwing the ball all day long, somebody keeps hitting them, no meaning to that junk game", she raised her voice. "As correctly described 22 idiots play and 22 million idiots watch it". "Wooh wooh back off young lady, back off; take back you words". "Don't you dare call it junk and stupid", Vijay got furious. "And that throwing and hitting all day long is called test cricket young lady" Vijay got defensive. "Do you even know how much patience, stamina and perseverance it takes to play for 5 days madam?" Vijay questioned in high tone.
“Well one has to have more patience, stamina and perseverance to watch it for 5 full days ha”, she replied sarcastically. “On top of that look at how much money those buggers make?”, “And the moment they become a bit famous they start dating with actresses”. “Hmm should I blame the cricketers or the actresses for that act? Vijay scratched his goti beard. “Could you please leave the cricketers and actresses alone for a while the bearded gentleman interrupted their fight. “Sorry” both replied together.
“Breakfast Sir” the airhostess placed a couple of well wrapped and sealed pouches on Vijay’s foldable table. “Oberoi’s !” he raised his voice when he saw the logo on his breakfast pouch. “Wow, it's in fact a 5 star catered airplane, how lucky we are?” Priya replied. Vijay was shocked when he opened his meal which contained, salt less pasty Upma, cold bread with butter, small can of orange juice and couple of slices of apple. Stuffed his mouth with Upma and lubricating it with orange juice, looking at Priya he asked "How is it?", "Not bad" she replied, "How about you" she asked, “Walls are well plastered, and these cold bread slices and butter will suffice for the RCC” Vijay replied. “Just look over the window, you might find some hot idly, vada and chetney vendors”, Priya pointed towards the window and began laughing. At this point Priya began to enjoy Vijay’s sense of humor. “I tell you, Lalu should be made the Airline Minister”, “atleast the food that is served will improve if nothing else”. Both had a big laugh, big enough to consume the whole cold bread.
“I guess you are a Foodie” Priya said. “Leave my CRICKET and my FOOD with me you will be good”, Vijay raised his right hand and pushed his hair back. “Priya was all silent suddenly”, probably the sense of humor went over board. “Excuse me” Priya stood up and walked towards the restroom. While walking back from the restroom she suddenly heard some familiar voice calling her, “Hey Priya” Ravi called her. “Hi Ravi, nice to see you again”, she replied. “I believe you would have made some arrangement for accommodation by now close to your campus”, Ravi asked casually. “Yes found it via the Indian Student Association”. “That’s good”, he replied. “So where do you live?” she asked, “Downtown close to office”, he replied. “So had good sleep and breakfast?” he asked. “So far so good” she replied. Both struck a good chord and began chatting as if they were old lost friends.
20 mins passed by and Priya wasn’t back at her seat, Vijay started walking towards the restroom where he found Ravi and Priya giggling. “Hi Guyz” Vijay interrupted. “Let’s walk towards the passage and talk”, they moved to the passage adjacent to the cafeteria. Ravi began sharing his student life experiences in US, he began boast about his cooking and his hospitality skills. Priya was all drawn into his sweet talks. Nodding her head, staring at his eyes and laughing at every sentence, she was a complete fan of Ravi by now, why wouldn’t she be. Vijay sensed that.
“So how is your fiancé Ravi, is the marriage date fixed?” Vijay asked and that broke their conversation. “She is good”, Marriage next Jan, during Sankranti he replied. Fiancé and Marriage these 2 words struck a lightning in Priya’s head. Suddenly she closed her eyes and was about to lose balance when Vijay held her hand. She suddenly felt the plane tilting, shaking; Out came an announcement “We are experiencing turbulent weather, so I request all passengers to please return to their seats and fasten your seat belts”. Both reached their seat and fastened their seat belts. Weather went really bad and the plane was tossing and turning. The lightning called Ravi that struck Priya was bigger than the turbulent bad weather. She closed her eyes in remorse while Vijay began chanting ‘Jai Kali Ma, Jai Kali Ma’.
To be continued …
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