The announcement lady in the speaker declared an hour of delay in the Bangalore flight to the inmates of the airport waiting room in an unapologetic manner. I could not help but draw a mental picture of the person with such an unexpressive and disciplined voice. The lack of rise and fall in her cadence made me picture her with an unsatified husband lying in a bed playing Solitaire Peg, or Brainvita – the brand name under which it is sold commercially in India. I tried to amuse myself for a while as to whether Brainvita was derived from Bournvita or did the Milk flavour rip off a board game’s title. The Ahmedabad airport was pretty much secluded barring a few corporate honchos dressed in suits and thronging the only television at the other end of the waiting area. Thankfully I was spared from the horrors of listening to their prolix and mundane discussion of which company to invest in and which not.
A young girl of my age sat a few feet ahead of us sprawling herself on the cushioned chair, stretching her feet as far as her bones would allow. I noticed that she was wearing a shirt similar to one that I had tried on a week back in a mall and not bought. I tried to think how feasible were the odds of that being the same shirt. For a while I felt myself in a strange kind of a limbo where I felt a connect or a bond with the stranger and yet a bond so latent that It did not allow us to share a smile at the least. I remembered the shirt so vividly because while I was in the changing room of the store, after I had taken off the shirt, I stood for a while admiring my body in one of the mirrors. I felt proud to see the results of my two months of rigorous gymming manifesting itself as ripples and cuts on my body. I was pulled out of my vanity trip because of a loud thud on the door. Apparently I was taking longer than expected and in a hurry I pulled the shirt hanging on the hooks and heard the cloth rip apart a bit. Though I had liked the shirt but I did not want to buy a torn one so I just got out of the changing room, kept the shirt in one of the shelves and fled the store. My thoughts followed the girl in the shirt in the same changing room, wearing the shirt with a torn collar and admiring her biceps or whatever girls do when they feel like having fun in a changing room. I felt a small crush developing somewhere inside me. I realized this about me when I was quite young. I tend to get juvenile bursts of love in me when I stare and think about a girl for longer than a minute. Initially I used to ascribe this behaviour to my puberty but after 8 years having passed since puberty hit me, came the realization that maybe I was just plain weird.
I felt my heart beats rise a bit which would have been alright otherwise, if not for my girlfriend who was taking a nap sitting next to me with her head reclining on my shoulders. She had a knack for discovering any alteration in my heart beats and she did sense it this time as well.
“Your heart is being all weird. What is it? Do you feel like kissing me?”
Making your girlfriend understand that the reason for your crazy heartbeats is a torn shirt worn by a unknown girl sitting ahead of you is a tricky task.
“No. Not really. I think this time its more because I am getting impatient from all the waiting.”
“Thats strange. How much more time before the flight arrives?”
I took a passing glance at the stranger girl as I looked up to a clock overhead and said, “Its somewhat now. I think you should go in for the security check.”
“Wait a minute. I feel like snuggling up to you for a while longer. Do you mind?”
“Off course not silly.”, I drew her closer to me as if hugging her sideways.
“I will miss you, you know”, I said.
“Yes, I know”, she said approving my gloomy tone.
“Loser!” , I taunted.
She smiled as she lay in my arms.
The clock above us kept ticking with the three of us playing mute witnesses to the three hands of time. The girl infront of us rose in a jerk as if suddenly waking up from a dream and started arranging her stuff to walk towards the security section. Seeing her alarmed, my girlfriend sat up straight and said, “I think its getting late. I will make a move too” , she started looking for her ticket in her purse. The other girl meanwhile had walked quite a bit and just as she took a turn near us she dropped her tickets and books on the floor. As she bent down to collect her stuff I grew curious to know whether her collar was torn or not. I kept looking at her from my peripheral vision but on not being able to discern the missing links of fiber, I turned my head towards her and kept looking for any signs of a hole. By then she had picked up her stuff. She got up and on seeing me hunched forward and looking concerned, smiled at me. I smiled back and she left for the security check.
“Dude, I am right here. Atleast wait for me to leave the town”, said my girlfriend teasing me.
“Did you notice? Her shirt was not torn!”, I said.
“Oh my God! You sick pervert! What were you looking at?”
“Nothing. I swear. I just meant that ‘soulmate’ is such a bullshit concept”
“What are you talking about”
“I mean that Serendipity was such a stupid movie.”
“Nothing Girlfriend! Just that I love you and I am happy to have you”, I said raising my voice out of enthusiasm.
“I have no idea what keeps going on in that head of yours.”, she said as she blushed
“Its ok. You dont have to find that out. Now go. You are getting late.”
And we three parted ways.