I could not sleep well as I turned and tossed in my bed. The thought of flying to
the next day set my mind adrift. It would be my first trip abroad and that too
in the land of green dollars, The Statue of Liberty and The Empire State
building, beckoning me, with arms wide open. The next day, I arrived at the airport and saw a huge crowd near the check in counter. I suddenly caught sight of a divine
beauty, surrounded with many people. New York
She had well chiseled sharp features, very fair complexion, and smile on her soft red lips, almond eyes, and a curl of hair descended on her forehead. I stood mesmerized by her beauty. She was newly wed, draped in a red silk sari and laden with gold, befitting a princess. The flurry of passengers and the din at the airport could not divert my attention, till I found someone charging towards me.
‘Rahul, what are you doing here?’ asked Girwalkar, a ship mate of mine, as he gazed at me. 'I am off to
for training ', I replied, as I recovered from
the sudden unexpected encounter. ‘Let me introduce you to Sonali, my cousin,
she is also leaving for NY to join her husband ' he said, as he took me along
to meet the girl in red sari!! New
Sonali was a charming girl and after a brief introduction, her parents insisted that I assist her in flight and ensured that we got seats next to each other. After bidding goodbye to her relatives, Sonali accompanied me and soon we settled on our seats, after boarding the flight. I was still a bachelor and was at a loss to find a right subject for conversation with her. A little later the flight took off and headed in the westerly direction. I could see the receding landmarks of Mumbai till everything merged into the blue horizon. The seat belt sign was switched off and the air hostess got busy with in flight service. A constant jingle of the gold bangles and fragrance of Calvin Klein perfume kept intruding my senses.
I asked Sonali ’Do you hail from Mumbai?
She replied in a silken voice, with widening kohl lined eyes ‘I am from Pune, and my parents reside there’.
Soon she took over the conversation as the ice was broken. In place of a coy and shy girl I was now talking to a bubbly girl full of all kinds of queries and opinions. It was a maiden voyage for both of us. I gathered that she had been adjudged 'Miss Pune' in the previous year's beauty pageant and was married only two months earlier. Her fiancée was working as a Chemical Engineer with a company in
. New Jersey
She kept chatting along and the stewardess mistook us to be the newly weds and kept devoting extra attention to make our journey a comfortable one. We were served with lunch and our conversation continued. The flight landed at
Heathrow airport. It was cold, as we stepped out of the aircraft into the
lounge. The crew changed and after a halt of about two hours the flight took
off once again. Sonali, fell asleep after a while. It was still a long haul to London as I tried to
catch some sleep. I looked out of the window to find only the black waters of the
New York Atlantic. A few hours passed when the
loudspeakers cracked to life and announcement was made by the pilot that we
would soon be entering the
and were required to fill the Immigration Forms. I helped Sonali in filling her
form. The flight slowly started the descent as the glittering lights of the
skyscrapers loomed large and I could recognize the US
building. It resembled a fairyland. The tiredness which I was experiencing a
short while ago vanished all of a sudden. The aircraft landed smoothly on the
JFK International airport. We picked up our hand baggage and after clearing the
immigration walked past the customs. The duty official checked the passports
and asked us if there was anything to declare. He winked and tapping my shoulder said' Enjoy
your honeymoon'!! Both I and Sonali went red, on hearing this. Sonali's husband
was waiting for her and after a brief introduction we exchanged a few pleasantries
and parted our ways. Empire State
My first trip abroad could not have been more exciting and incredible to have been mistaken for a newly wed, whilst still a bachelor, and enjoying the frills and pampering in flight! How time flew and I reached the other end of the world, is still fresh in my memory!
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