Monday, September 17, 2007

The Pact

He saw his watch for the 10th time in 2 minutes. It was funny that he was patient through the 22 hour flight in air, but impatient with these few minutes of hovering of the flight on the ground.

On any normal day he might have got useless doubts on how a pilot would possibly get a license by circling an "8" with an aircraft. But today was not the day for such stupid and mundane questions. He had released his seat belt long ago and was waiting for the announcement. He had already secured his hand luggage and was ready to run just on the word 'Go'. Pity that he was seated at the rear end of the craft and had to wait till all the passengers moved out of the metal bird at snail's pace. He curbed himself from running with his hand trolley as he did not want to be caught on suspicion or worse be chased by sniffer dogs and be smothered to pieces looking like some street beggar.

Ah....the immigration check! Damn! He had forgotten to fill the immigration form. He searched his hand trolley for a pen and he seemed to find everything including his old forgotten worn out toothbrush but a pen. The old man standing next to him understood his predicament and lent him an old Reynolds pen. Damn you Parker, Cross and Mont Blanc. As he looked at his filled form, he realized that it looked like some cryptographic manuscript of the Da Vinci Code than an immigration form. Even he was unable to understand some of his answers.

The middle aged lady looked at his passport and at him for 2 long minutes. She could not understand how the bespectacled, cat-mustached and innocent looking young man in the passport could now transform into a dark, tense and stupid looking fellow in a span of few years. be it and she asked him to leave. Heaving a heavy sigh of relief, he rushed to the baggage counter. Hail Murphy's law!! In all these days of his travel encounter, he used to collect his baggage in just 2 minutes, but today when it mattered the most, he could not spot them for almost 10 minutes. Every other bag looked like his but had a different name. Finally his 2 American Travelers bags arrived and he pushed them grudgingly on the hand trolley.

And then he looked at her waiting outside the lounge. She was wearing a short cream colored kurti and blue jeans. He had worn the black T-Shirt and blue jeans as they had promised each other. He pushed his trolley outside with his heart beat racing at the speed of light as he looked at her. Instinctively he forgot how he should react. Should it be a "Hi" or "Hey honey" or a kiss?

Her small peas like eyes were moist and every tear spoke of her affection for him. Her small pink lips didn't speak. She was blushing and had turned pink. Before he could decide on his move, she snatched his hand and hugged him. He was completely thrown off his feet by surprise. She wet his shirt with her sweet tears of love.

He wished that the hour hand would never meet the minute hand and hence it would never give birth to the second hand. He wished that time could stay frozen forever in this moment. They seemed oblivious to the fact that they were in a crowded place and were surrounded by scores of people. She never asked him "Why it had taken so long to meet her" and he didn't answer "It had taken all his efforts to make this happen". It was as if they had made a pact - a pact of silence.

As she pushed the trolley with her child like hands, he put his hands around her shoulders. She smiled. They didn't speak. They needn't.

P.S: At last managed a happy ending love story :-)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mr. Yogi and the candy bar

Mr Yogi's 2 month uncut hair breezed along. It was not as if he was trying to give some serious competition to John Abraham or Hritik Roshan. It was just that he was lazy enough to get a haircut and also because it cost him 16 dollars in US against the usual Rs 30 in his country. Once a middle class perhaps always remains a middle class.

Looking at his year old worn out MotoRazr phone, he was reminded of his conversation with his cousin in the morning. It began with the usual round of "how-are-you-and-your-parents-in-india" talks to "when-are-you-getting-imprisoned(marraige)" stuff. It then shifted gears when his cousin asked him to change his L1B visa to a H1B. Hearing this idea Mr Yogi laughed as if he had just seen Shahrukh speak without stuttering.

His cousin still not sure what was so funny in it told him that it was logical indeed. When you have all the facilities in this country and you get overpaid for a job for which you were paid peanuts in India, what was wrong with staying here?

Th basic idea of most of the average joes who land in US as software experts is to come here for almost an year odd, get married, bring his wife, stay for another 2 years till his visa expires, go home on a vacation and renew it, come back, have kids, wait till they grow to 3-4 years and then run away to motherland. does sound like a plan...until someone interferes.

That is when your dear friend tells you from India that the salary here is meagre compared to US. Your wife who has lived long enough as an independent bird without any knitpick (read inlaws) will shell out reasons of comfortable life here and welfare of kids. Your kids who have now started to speak with an english accent look like the brown version of

Leonardo De Caprio or Drew Barrymore and you wonder how will they adapt to the Indian living conditions of 12 months of sunshine, frequent powercuts and water diseases. You yourself wonder if you can cope up with the long queue for water, constant traffic jams, never-ending bribery etc etc. Why bother to take the path full of thorns when you have a cement road laid ahead?

And that is how an year becomes 2, 2 becomes 5, 5 becomes 10 and then you wonder what happened to your initial plan of staying for an year and settling at your place. As his cousin asks Mr Yogi "Come on Yogi. Dont you think that you can earn enough money to remain happy for long?" They all say that...dont they? Money is an aphrodisiac and it is hard for most of the human beings on earth to be content with their earthly possesions. Why?

You go to a shop to buy candy bars. You happen to see a 5.1 surround home theatre DTS surround and decide to buy it. After the speakers arrive you realize that your 25 inch TV isnt the perfect match for it. So you buy a 40 inch plasma HD TV. Then you realize your old sofa is not the one to sit and enjoy your TV. So you buy a plush leather seating black sofa to enrich the movie experience. Then you realize that the whole hall looks small for your plans and you need a big (read grand) hall to maintain your status. So you end up buying a bigger palatial house or a flat. Now next you need a car to match ths status of this house.......

Whoa think that this is exaggerated? Ask the ones who have gone through this whole material cycle. all starts with the hunger for a bar of chocolates. Then Mr. Yogi saw an Oreo biscuit and felt like eating it. And then he realized....

....that there was a greater joy in eating milk bikis dipping it in the filter coffee prepared by his his own home.

P.S: Good bye US and hello India
P.S1: Freaked out colleagues...friends...and parents by arriving unannounced :-)