Oct 7, 2008

Episode 1NE

If you are new to this story, you may want to start with the Index and Introduction page.

"Kingfisher Airlines announces the departure of flight IT 203 to Mumbai..."

Deepesh hugged his mom, and then dad and finally his little sis. Everyone's eyes were moist, including his. He bit his lip, waved at them, and walked towards security-check. A few minutes later, he put all home-sick thoughts away and began thinking about his new job, the exciting life he was gonna have in Mumbai, all he could do with the tons of money he was gonna earn very soon. He was rapidly alternating between a sad, 'leaving home' feeling, and excited anticipation of everything that lay ahead...

He proceeded straight to the boarding gate. His eye, by now well-trained at Engineering college and B-School, quickly scanned the queue for people of possible interest - batchmates/friends, other acquaintances, and most importantly - all young women. There were only two that appeared close to his age. One was a typical page-3 type, wearing a hot, black-brown-n-gold salwar suit with umm... glittering-black (?!) 6-inch heels and loads of make-up. 'Too pseud, n probably as intelligent as a tomato', he concluded. The other was a pretty girl, who looked more his 'type'. She was wearing blue denim capris, a pale pink tee, and sneakers. She had long, straight brown hair, brown eyes, rimless glasses and was reading some novel. 'Really pretty', he evaluated, 'but nothing exciting', and waited his turn to board.

As usual, he'd taken a window seat. Being a bit of a geek, he enjoyed observing the activity at airports. An old uncle came and sat next to him. Couple of minutes later, pretty-gal-in-pink-top came, verified the seat number and was about to settle in the aisle seat. 'Not bad at all', he thought.

Old-uncle: Excuse me, beta
Pretty-gal: Yes...
Old-uncle: I came late and got the middle seat. I may need to go to the toilet a few times. Could I take your seat, please?
Pretty-gal: Sure, uncle (and smiled)

The smile struck Deepesh hard. She was even prettier up close. 'Awesome! Even better!' She settled in the seat next to him, and gave him a minimal smile.  However, Deepesh, a little awkward, gave a sorta-smile back, and turned his gaze to the IFE screen. 

'Kya karoon? Should I talk to her? What do I say? Hi, I'm Deepesh... hmm, nah! .... so what? despo lagega. Come on Warney, show some class'

Deepesh had been known as Warney on both his campuses. (Thats' coz he looked, bowled and batted a lot like Shane Warne. Especially the leg-spin bowling.) Over 6 years, he felt more Warney than Deepesh Bhatia (kya bore naam hai! Deepesh. D-uhh!)

But Warney wasn't sure how to proceed. He didn't want to end up hit-wicket. He was trying to figure out how to hit a six with pretty-gal. But he wasn't getting any fail-proof idea. If he initiated conversation, he'd have to sound casual and have something interesting to say. And it should lead to further conversation. Otherwise, it'd be a waste of effort and he'd feel silly.

Dr Vijay Mallya: 'Hi, welcome aboard Kingfisher Airlines...'

Warney: I love this airline! (not quite to her, but in her general direction, and loud enough)
Pretty-gal: Really?
Warney: (Bingo!) Yep. It has an atmosphere. The only airline you enjoy traveling on!
Pretty-gal: First time for me.
(Silence. 'Abbe yaar! Aage sochna tha na')

Warney looked out the window as they started moving. But he kept checking himself. 'She shouldn't think I'm a kid - excited by planes and all'. Once air-borne, he started browsing through the menu, in-flight magazine etc. About 10 min. later, he stole a glance at her. 'Damn! They should ban these bloody iPods for the entire flight. And everywhere that a babe is within talking distance. Sheesh!'

He noticed she was reading Prizes by Erich Segal. He'd read it, and in fact nearly all books by Segal. He liked that she was reading Segal, and started thinking how he could bring it into conversation, if and when her attention diverted and the damn iPod was shut off. 'But it shouldn't be for the sake of saying something. She'd think "saala despo! i love this airline, aur ab bas fight maarne mein laga hai". How do I smartly engage her in conversation?'


'Veg. or Non-veg, ma'am?'
'Non-veg., please'
('Great! She respects her position at the top of the food chain. I love this babe!')
'For you, sir?'
'Non-veg., please'
(iPod already plugged back in. 'Abbe yaar! Yeh iPod se kya pyaar ho jata hai logon ko? Khana to tameez se khao! Aur Warnie-boy ko mauqa to do!')


'Ladies and gentlemen, we are now beginning our descent into Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport...'

They landed and everyone began getting ready to de-plane. Warney kept stealing glances at her, without letting it become apparent. Or, so he thought. Girls know better and see through the charade all the time, but Deepesh Bhatia didn't know that. Anyway, he didn't make it painfully obvious, and she didn't react at all. Since he was at the window seat, he joined the queue right behind her. And he stayed behind her till the baggage conveyors, and then went off to find a trolley and a good position. 'Damn these iPods! Bye bhi nahi bolne diya. Shayad kuchh baat ho jaati, aur number/email mil jata. Damn! Damn! Damn!'

He kept looking out for her, and sighted her a couple of times. However, her bags arrived early, and she left. Deepesh collected his baggage later, and took a taxi to his friends' place at Prabhadevi, where he was going to stay in one room. The weather in Mumbai was much warmer than Delhi, and bloody humid. He cursed, but the excitement of a new life started returning...


Deepesh got off the bus outside ICICI Bank. He was a litte awe-struck by the sheer size of the building, and to be honest, it was magnificent by Indian standards. As he entered the building for the first time, he felt as though he was entering a new world. The interiors, the technology on display, and the sea of professional-looking-people around him were quite impressive. He walked towards reception.

'Hi, I'm Deepesh Bhatia, joining the Salary Accounts Marketing Team today'
'Which group?'
'RCLG - Retail Channels an..'
'South tower, sir, to your left. 4th floor. Just ask anyone there'
'Thank you'

Suddenly, Deepesh felt very sure of himself and confident. Warney's here! He found his way to RCLG, and to Subham Dutta's office. He knocked, and the smart, middle-aged, slightly-graying-haired man at the desk nodded for him to enter.

'Mr. Subham Dutta?'
'Shubham Dutto, son. You're Deepesh?'
'Yes, sir.'
'Don't call me sir. Everyone has to use first names here. So, how are you feeling?'

Some polite introductory converstion followed. Warney was impressed by Shubham Dutto's energy levels. His new boss then gave him directions to the cubicle where he was supposed to work, and said his two seniors there would help him out with setting things up and all.

'Hi, I'm Deepesh'
'Hi, I'm Jatin'
'Hi, I'm Vidya. Welcome to our team'
(smiles and hand-shakes)
'You're from PGP-22, right? I'm also from L - PGP-19.', said Jatin, and Warney's comfort level doubled in an instant!
'Another girl's supposed to join today... Preeti, I think IIM Bangalore', said Vidya.

Right on cue, a girl walked in. Warney froze. It was pretty-gal from the flight on Saturday. She was wearing a black business suit, a smart white shirt, the same rimless glasses, and black heels, about 2 inches. She looked stunning.

'Hi, I'm Preeti. Where can I find Mr. Shubham Dutta?'
'Shubham Dutt-o', offered Warney with a big smile. She looked at him, and smiled...

(Continues here)

No comments:

Post a Comment