I reached work with packed bags. It was heavy with my dreams and a few clothes, and difficult to carry in a Calcutta local train. I reached office in time and sat down to fulfil my responsibilities at work before I leave for my first self-financed vacation to Bangalore.
At around half past noon, I got ready with my bag and was on the way to the airport with my friend/boss. The ride was traffic less given the fact that it was a dreary afternoon, and no one was going anywhere except for me! I was flying to a new city which I had only seen in pictures on Facebook. Bangalore awaited me.
My tickets were booked months ago thus my seat number was 1B – in between a middle aged man who caught my attention as he was playing a word game on his smartphone and another middle aged suited businessman whose eyes were either shut from slumber or ogling at the indigo-clad stewardesses.
Thankfully, I was tired enough to have passed most of the journey sleeping and the flight soon descended to the city of Bangalore. The cold and wet air struck me in my bones the moment I stepped out. There were food kiosks with passengers swarming them and sitting idly. I met Syam (my friend Sushma’s boyfriend) in a while and we headed towards Indiranagar. I was going to arrive at Sushma’s place unannounced, to surprise her.
Bangalore was chilly. I put on my sweatshirt. It had already started to drizzle when we hit the road on his bike. At the speed of 100 (had I known it was 100, I would have screamed my lungs out) the air hit me hard and my face went numb. I pulled my shirt tight and buried my face in Syam’s shoulders and sat still fighting the breeze. But Bangalore was pretty hard to ignore and drive past.
Still in the airport compound, the air slowly grew misty. Unable to wipe the fog of my breath and Bangalore’s mist off my glasses, my first impression of the city was all in a haze. Tall palm trees and taller billboards stood towering on both sides of the road. I wondered how long will the palm trees last and until it’s just billboards.
As we entered the city and crawled through the traffic, huge buildings put the billboards to shame. We stood among Audis and BMWs while I surveyed the view and thinking how I would write about it. The sky looked apocalyptic with dark grey clouds. It seemed unusually high, maybe because of the skyscrapers. It looked like a fish eye view of the lens with the sky towering like a dome.
The weird thing about Bangalore was that there were a lot of crossings with very few traffic police. People were just driving across but thankfully weren’t bumping onto each other. Evading a crash ourselves, we made our way to Indiranagar. Because of the damp and cloudy weather, it seemed like we drove into a movie studio. It appeared as if the road and streets were make-belief.
We tip toed to Sushma’s apartment. I hid while Syam brought her out and started blabbering to keep her occupied. They walked across and stood in front of me facing each other. She turned. I don’t know what she saw but she turned away only to look back and gape at me. She let out a gasp. In a few steps I dropped my bags and we hugged tight. The excitement was such that she lifted me. You know the time when you are certain of the lovely people in your life. This was one of them. Still hugging, we went round in circles; her uncontainable excitement and my laughter mixed with dollops of shared fondness. An unforgettable moment and a thought: When you wish for some love, be ready to take that flight!