Monday, 9 February 2015

When they met in Paris!

Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris is considered to be one of the top five busiest airports in the world. It handles more than 6 million passengers in a year, which makes a whooping 17000 passenger movements every day. On one such busy afternoon, a beautiful Indian lady was making her way to the airport lounge. She had just landed on the Terminal 2 by the Air France flight and looked visibly tired. This was not her first visit to Paris. But this was surely the visit she so much wanted to avoid. She had been working with one of the top Indian IT companies in India. 5 years into the job now, she was their one of the trusted employees. She had successfully handled multiple projects at a very young experience and age. Now married, it was difficult to tell looking at her petite frame that she was a mother of a two year old kid… a reason why she wanted to avoid this trip.

So there she was, in Paris at the Charles De Gaulle and headed towards Lille, where her client’s office was located. There is no direct flight to Lille. So she now had to take the TGV to reach the destination, which was 5 hours from now. Add to that, she was sick of the troublesome flight and the food they fed her on the way. She just hoped she could find good food at the lounge. The lounge was well decorated and at least the menu suggested they had great variety of food. She had picked up French in some of her last few visits. So she decided to try a sentence. “Excusez-moi, je voudrais avoir…”

“Avni… hey!” A not-so-familiar voice interrupted her French connection. She was stunned to see who stood behind her. It was Yuvraj!

Yuvraj was a young, charismatic, handsome and unmarried  man. He and Avni were classmates during their engineering days. Although lot of people had notions about they being a couple, they were best friends. Or that is what they thought. Both were practical, in fact so much that it came in their way of being a couple. The three years they spent together in Engineering, and the next three years when they were still in touch were full of long (loooooooooooooooong) talks on the phone, messages, of the cold coffees, insurmountable telephone bills, long walks in the alleys of Avni’s hostel and so many other things that would make you believe they were a couple. But they weren’t, they so damn weren’t!

Some times they say, when togetherness cannot spark love, the distance does the trick. Avni got placed in a big IT firm and was posted in Chennai for the first year. Yuvraj too, after dabbling with father’s interior designing business  for a while, decided to go for a management degree and shifted to Pune. That was when they felt what they meant to each other. As they grew apart, they missed each other more than any thing else. They were together, in the sense through emails and then through occasional telephone calls. But they were still apart, unsure of each other. Yuvraj knew he loved her. At least he knew he couldn’t live without her. But he didn’t realise even Avni felt the same. They had been together for time long enough to know each other in and out. And yet the time was really short for them to tell each other what meant so much to them. Finally luck did them in and Avni’s marriage was fixed by her parents, amidst loud protests by her.

Yuvraj was shattered when he knew about it. He was returning from the training during initial days of is management career. So much he had dreaded that conversation every time they jokingly discussed marriage. But they avoided the conversation with much disdain. But then this had to happen one day. And he had paid the price for not being sure about the best person he knew in his life. He had no idea how much pain he was going to endure for the rest of his life. And some how he knew it.

3 and a half years had passed since it happened. And 4 years had passed since he last met Avni. He always wanted to meet Avni. So much he wanted to tell her what he felt about her. But he never did. And he knew since that day, it was no use either. He thought if Avni knew him so well, she would have spotted his love and accepted or rejected it. And he thought Avni didn’t. Avni kept in touch with him for the next 6 months, till she got married. She wanted to convince herself that she hadn’t made a right choice. She wanted Yuvraj to plead his love for her and force her to run away with him. She hoped Yuvraj will say that once. But as they say, fortune favors the brave. Yuvraj wasn’t brave.

Yuvraj had completed his masters and joined an export oriented unit that required him to travel away from India frequently. He enjoyed that. He was now in Paris on a business trip and was on his way to London. As usual, he had arrived late for his departure and missed his flight by a whisker. After a good cup of cappuccino with french whipped cream, he went to the news paper vendor behind the lounge to by a copy of Time Out Paris and Le Monde. He was leaning on the stand to read the fine printing on the ‘Investir’ latest stocks. When he leaned back normal, he was stunned to see the beautiful Indian lady standing in the lounge. He just couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Avni. Gosh… a million moments spent together danced their way on to him mind. “Avni… hey!” his excitement was out of control

-to be continued

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