Monday, March 05, 2007

Life is Beautiful

The Chicago O’Hare Airport was crowded. But then it always remained crowded. Ashok ran along the airport corridor with his mom who was sprinting hard enough to suggest any possible participation in the next year's Olympics dash. For the past one hour she had been asking him just one question "Where is dad?"

Wish he could answer. His father had gone to meet his uncle in the nearby town. Mom didn’t join him because of family feud which occurred long before between the ladies of the household. Such a small world and still people hold grudges thought Ashok. But then he was not perfect either. He had fought with their neighbor’s kid Anthony when he was 8 years old and they both had not talked since for almost 15 years. Small world eh?

With the announcement of a hailstorm and rough weather mom was worried and Ashok was not sure how he could answer her worries. He had tried calling them to their house and their cell phone, but both seemed disrupted. After a month of vacation and roaming around, it was time to bid adieu to U.S and Ashok didn’t want it to end on a soar note. Ashok tried to relax himself by looking around the airport. It had never failed to mesmerize him. It was a very huge airport and was one of the busiest airport in the world. One could see people of all races, colors and sizes in the airport.

He remembered the Globe skeleton and flags of various countries in terminal 3. What surprised him was the presence of a dinosaur replica in that that terminal. Why would one have a dinosaur in an airport, he wondered? He was thrilled to walk on the running walk and almost tripped at the end of it. He wanted to walk/run on it again, but curbed his enthusiasm. In the checking section he was strip checked and cleared. He felt funny when he saw a 5 year old kid raising his arms like a vitruvian man and being checked for bombs. Welcome to the land of national security son.

The first time when Ashok landed in Chicago he was hungry and wanted to eat something. He exchanged the 500 Rs he had and they repaid him with a measly amount of 11 dollars odd. For another 500 Rs he could have a Sarkaari Babu make him prepare a ration card stating Amitabh as his dad, Hemamalini as his mom and Vidhya Balan as his wife. Perhaps that was the only time when he hated the exchange rate. He was hungry and looking for something to eat. That damn pizza slice alone cost about 6 dollars which was almost 180 Rs. Bloody middle class conscience won’t let him have it initially. But the war between stomach and logic has always been won hands down by stomach. Now he drinks coffee daily twice in Dunkin Donuts, buys Stafford shirt worth 40$, watches movies in IMAX for 13$ and has a watch of 120$(original price concealed from his mom).

"Ashok, Do something" yelled his mom.
Ashok tried calling his uncle's mobile and it was still busy. The blizzard had added to her anxiety and fear. His mother was close to tears and it was for the first time Ashok had seen his mom in such a predicament. 10 minutes later he found his father with a bandage on his head and limping with his uncle near him. As soon as his mom saw him, she ran and hugged him and cried in front of thousands of people. His uncle told him that his father had slipped on stairs and was hurt mildly. Ashok heaved a sigh of relief and walked towards his parents with their boarding tickets.

It was then that he remembered something and stopped midway through. For the first time in 28 years of his life, he was seeing his parents embrace each other in front of his very eyes. He smiled and as an ad buff he tried to picture something like this
Chocolates and Sweets - 149$
Cab fare - 48$
Tickets to India - 1800$
Witnessing a kodak moment......priceless

36 comments:

Padma said...

me d firstu:)
very nice story.. well narated:)

Nivi said...

"But the war between stomach and logic has always been won hands down by stomach."
Nothing makes more sense...
loved the way u had written it...
The end was awesome...its these moments tht makes life the joy tht it is :-) way to go!!!!

G3 said...

//Witnessing a kodak moment......priceless//
Motha story-yaiyum indha oru line muzhuingiduchu :D

Story was too good and your finishing touch is top :D

Aditi said...

I dont remember if there is a dino replica at the airport but if there is .. its because of SUE, the most complete dino fossil to be found till date housed at the field museum of chicago... =)
such a sweet story though.. well written

Couch Potato said...

yo!thats a classic kodak moment alright ! i wish our generation atleast changes all that taboo over public display of affection!

Sonata said...

"small world & still ppl hold grudges" I feel like screaming this to everyone on earth.. the world is small so they can hear it right??:-P

Btw those priceless moments r still considered "intruding into privacy" here.. if it had been a local airport in india do u think tht would've happened??:-)

ambi said...

//For another 500 Rs he could have a Sarkaari Babu make him prepare a ration card stating Amitabh as his dad, Hemamalini as his mom//

ellam ok, accepted.

//and Vidhya Balan as his wife.//

aiii, asai, dosai aplam vadai! :p

last line as usual punching...

Heidi Kris said...

as usual the Harish touch :-) wonderful!

priya said...

Ahh that was a good touch indeed and as said priceless.

Arunkumar said...

gr8 one again harish.. keep writing :-)

Syam said...

//he was seeing his parents embrace each other in front of his very eyes//

you are rite this is not a common thing among our families....naanum enga veetla indha kodak moments paarthathu illa :-)

SKM said...

//Witnessing a kodak moment......priceless//
The experience ,the joy ,the sensitive feelings that your stories are giving to me, ..is priceless.Thanks.

KK said...

Machan....something was telling me that this story was going for a priceless moment thing only... especially when I was reading that dunkin donuts, stafford shirt and all... Very nicely written... :D
BTW is there really a dino in terminal3??? I dont remember seeing one...

brute said...

priceless story bro! :)

Nithya said...

aaha...Nice post :)
Beautifully presented..
As somebody else mentioned "priceless" indeed :P
(wrt all ur posts thst is :) )

Ponnarasi Kothandaraman said...

That was awesome.. The way u handled the characters were too good. And usage of limited characters have made the readers to focus on the message u wanted to convey :) And thats the greatest victory for a writer :)

But not every time one can create occasions like this to capture priceless pics ;)

Ganesh Ranganathan said...

you write wonderfully...

Dreamzz said...

cool story!

the ad ending was well... colorfull thinking !

Dreamzz said...

nalla story sollareenga!

Harish said...

@padma
Thanks yaar :-)

@Nivi
Life is nothing but a summation of all these small joyous moments :-)

@G3
Great knowing that you loved the story. In any story the ending has to be good :-)

Harish said...

@Aditi
I didnt know the reason for the Dino, But I wondered the same way as this protagonist "why a dino in an airport" :-)

@CP
Exactly my same sentiments when i witnessed the scene :-)

@Brindha
"the world is small so they can hear it right". Sorry dear. They turn deaf. And yes...if this happens in India, even the flights would stop midway :-)

Harish said...

@Ambi
Enna thalai. Ippadi kadaila vara kadhanaayakanukaavudu Vidhya Balana katti vechcha daan undu :-)

@Heidi
Harish Toucha? Idellam konjam jaasti :-)

@Priya
Exactly. Very much priceless...

Harish said...

@Arun
Thanks Nanba. Will write atleast once a week :-)

@Syam
naatamai. Where do u think i got this inspiration from :-)

@SKM
"The experience ,the joy ,the sensitive feelings that your stories are giving to me, ..is priceless."
U made my day :-)

Harish said...

@KK
yes Boss. ada paathutu daane onda bit potten :-) I guess it was terminal 3.

@Brute
Thanks a lot mate :-)

@Nithya
Glad u loved it :-)

Harish said...

@Ponnarasi
"But not every time one can create occasions like this to capture priceless pics ;)"
Truthfully speaking such moments happen like magic and preserved in memory till last :-)

@Ganesh
I try my best yaar :-)

@Dreamzz
How do u think I earned my graduation :D

Aparna said...

Lovely ending! Your stories are getting better by the day!

Tohou Lidia said...

Oh wow! All my inner girlishness was just melting! I loved the ending and it was really well written!

ON another note...that mastercard ad must be one of the most successful campaigns in history. It's now a part of pop culture!
-Amy

Drama Div@ said...

ohhhh... so sweet.. a wonderfully written story.. good job!

Bhargavi sekhar said...

hey soober story! :)

by the way,there was a line in the story which went like ' i dont want to end it in a soar note.' are u sure its soar note and not sore note??

Ms.Congeniality said...

//ad buff he tried to picture something like this
Chocolates and Sweets - 149$
Cab fare - 48$
Tickets to India - 1800$
Witnessing a kodak moment......priceless //

Wonderful ending..nice narration :-)

Kavitha said...

Nice story, wonderful narration.

Awesome ending..

Cheers

ramya said...

// Vidhya Balan as his wife.//
idha paruda...kadhai ellam jora solreengapa...

harish touch appadingaradhukku korachal illama irukku...gud one really..again an cool finish...

prithz said...

Come the punch! :D

Am waiting to witness one such kodak moment :)

Harish said...

@Aparna
Thanks yaar. Think I am getting better like old wine :D

@Amy
That ad is one amazing one. Wonder who came up with the concept.

@DramaDiva
Thanks a ton yaar :D

Harish said...

@Bhargavi
Moral of the story: Never write a post when u r hungry :D

@Ms C
Thanks yaar. I wish I could give ana amazing ending as this for every story of mine :D

@Kavitha
Thanks a ton yaar :-)

Harish said...

@Ramya
Harish touch ellam over.:D
Edho...namalaala mudinjadu :-)

@Prithz
Kavala paadade..India vanda udane airport la un He-who-must-not-be-named kaatindu irupaan :D