SWASAN OS – AN UNEXPECTED FLIGHT
This is going to be AMAZING. My biggest adventure.
I am so ready for this.
Oh, who am I kidding, I’m terrified!
And I look it, I saw myself in the mirror this morning, I was so pale, I waslike a ghost. What were my parents thinking? Allowing me to talk them into sending me across the ocean to the US to study abroad! I mean they didn’t have to say yes, they could have been sweet, and said no.
But, no…they thought it would a wonderful experience.
So here I am, sitting in the airport, with a cup of cold coffee in my hand; freaking out.
This will be my first plane flight. In my 21 years of life, I’ve never gotten on a plane, and here I was about to make a 12 hour flight across a freaking OCEAN! Breathe, breathe.
This will fun. It will help me grow as a person…as long as I don’t die. About 10 planes crash yearly in India alone, I know, I looked it up last night…this could be one of those flights.
I ran a hand though my loose hair, and shuddered at the thought before taking a sip from my cold coffee.
Trying to calm myself down, I surveyed the room, looking at the people who I might die with, my I’m being so positive. I’m sure my mother Sharmishta would feel like smacking me right now for being so pessimisstic. But I couldn’t help it.
A man with a scowl on his face caught my attention, and for a moment took me out of my funk. He was young, older than me, mid twenties, and he was tip-tapping on the latest HP Laptop that had been released.
Grumbling to himself, he shut it, then opened it again only to pound on the keys like he was playing the piano, I let out a small chuckle.
He looked like he hadn’t shaved for days. He lifted his head and she could just barely look at his eyes. They were quiet, confident, slightly troubled hazel eyes.
Why do men get the nicest eyes?
He looked down again at his laptop. I crossed and re crossed my legs, as I continued to openly stare at him; I really had no shame sometimes. His face was nicely defined, a bit angular and sharp, but his eyes soften his look, along with his casual half modern style of clothing, A white T shirt, A black jacket on top of that and jeans. He was, in an offbeat way, very handsome.
Glaring at the laptop as he shut it, he seemed to grumble again, then lifted his eyes up…he looked around for a moment before our eyes met, I gave him one of my best smiles and I got a head nod before he pulled a book from his bag.
I think he’s nervous about the flight as well.
He seemed a bit rigid, very tense; nice to know that I wasn’t the only one freaking out about flying.
A women’s voice came from above, like god, “Good evening passengers. This is the pre-boarding announcement for flight 54B to New York. We are now inviting those passengers with small children, and any passengers requiring special assistance, to begin boarding at this time. Please have your boarding pass and identification ready. Regular boarding will begin in approximately ten minutes time. Thank you.”
My heart sped up, the time was coming closers. My palms actually began to sweat, this flight was going to be the death of me, I just wanted to hug my bear, childish I know, but still. Looking around at the other people waiting, no one seemed to pay me much attention; no one noticed that I was on the verge of having a panic attack. Unzipping a bit of my carry one I pulled out my bear…breathe, breathe, breathe, hug the bear, breathe, I will survive.
God, how much longer do I have to wait? Why can’t I control my bouncing foot?
Big scary plane, big big plane, it doesn’t make sense for an object that heavy to be able to fly, it should fall from the sky.
There was the shuffling of people getting up, and it brought me back to where I was, sitting in the airport. Running a hand through my hair I pushed myself up, grabbed my bag and carry on, and made my way to the massive crowd of people, this was going to be fun.
Looking down at my boarding pass, I went to stand in my assigned seat and row lane, letting out a big sigh, I rocked on my feet and glanced to my right.
What the hell!
The guy who I had been staring at was standing next to me; he seemed to avoid making eye contact…awkward.
I decided to break the ice.
” Hello! Is this your first flight? ” My voice came out a little weak due to my anxiety about the flight.
His voice was brusque and drool worthy. “No.”
“It’s my first time, I’m really nervous; I have issues with the whole concept of us being of high in the sky in a very heavy plane. It’s also a super long flight and I’m nervous, any words of wisdom to a first time flyer?” I looked up at him, giving him a small smile, and waited as he starred down at me this unreadable expression on his face.
“This is the part where you say something, preferably something comforting.” Letting out a small laugh, I looked around nervously, tears pricked at my eyes. He wasn’t saying anything, and I needed someone to comfort me, to just talk to me to calm me down; pushing back the tears I bit my lip and focused my attention on the person in front of me.
“Chew gum as we are taking off, so your ears won’t pop.” He didn’t look at me, I know because I turned to look at him, as soon as he started to talk. He didn’t even glance my way.
“Thank you, I don’t think I packed any gum, so does that mean I’m destined for popping ears? I don’t know if I can handle that.” My voice may have waivered just slightly, but I gave him my friendliest smile and in return I received a small tight lip smile.
Better than nothing, I guess.
The call came for us to board. My feet turned to cement.
He finally spoke. “Excuse me! Could you move forward?”
” I wish I could. But…. ” I pointed to my feet which seemed like they were stuck there.
I was seriously on the verge of tears; the guy let out a sigh and grabbed my hand. With a tug, he got my feet to react.
It was like I was walking in the ocean, were the sand and the water makes each step more difficult than a normal one.
“I’m acting like a baby. I know it, I’m just nervous, scared…terrified, actually.” I was met with a grunt, but he still pulled me along, “Oh, dear, that’s the plane, oh dear, I’m going on a plane.” I was chanting, while he pushed me inside the plane.
We walked in silence till we reached our row; he picked up my carry on and put it in the over head compartment. He never spoke a word.
I carefully saw my seat number and sat down.
“Sit in the next seat, Please.” His voice was clipped and took me by surprise.
“But this is my alloted seat.”
I showed him my ticket but he ignored it. ” You won’t like the aisle seat. So move over. I’ll sit in yours.”
I smiled. “A gentleman, I see. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.”
” Well, Maybe not in Mumbai!”
He gave me a small smirk, I couldn’t help but give him a small smile as I spoke.
“So, I guess you’re not from Mumbai! Well, I am Swara, Swara Gadodia! But my family calls me Shona! And what about you? Do you have a name? ”
“Well, do you mind sharing it with the lovely lady who will be sitting next to you?” I forced out a smile through my terror, and was met with a look, “Sanskaar, just Sanskaar. My family calls me Sanskaar too.”
“Sanskaar, that’s a nice name, it’s nice to meet you. Do you know how to get this seatbelt buckled? I can’t seem to figure it out; my hands can’t seem to stop shaking.”
“Are you always this nervous?” Reaching over, he buckled me in, I felt like a child.
“Not usually, But first flight, A new country, away from what you’ve known all your life… It’s nerve racking. (I smiled again) Although, To tell the truth, The new places and the new people don’t bother me as much as this plane ride. I’m majoring in Information Technology….”
Suddenly there was some movement in the plane and I flinched.
“How long will we be here?”
My feet were shaking badly by this time. Sanskaar looked at me.
“Swara, Try to relax! We’ll be off before you know it. So you need to stop shaking your leg, or you will drive me mental.”
“Sorry, sorry…nerves. So…do we have to wait here long?”
“Like half an hour.”
Silence fell for a moment, as I surveyed the cabin, each row had three seats, not all of the seats were occupied however, right now no one was sitting on the seat to my left, where the window was.
A voice came over the system, “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Sia James and I’m your chief flight attendant. On behalf of Captain Ajay and the entire crew, welcome aboard United Airlines flight 54B, non-stop service from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Our flight time will be of 15 hours and 30 minutes. At this time, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Also make sure your seat belt is correctly fastened. Also, we advise you that as of this moment, any electronic equipment must be turned off. Thank you.”
I clutched on the armrest, and turned to Sanskaar, “Do you fly often?”
“When the occasion calls for it.”
He smiled, which was very unfair. He looked so very handsome and I got butterflies in my stomach.
“Fine fine, be all secretive and evasive.”
“I had come from New York to India for my cousin’s wedding. I used to be in Kolkata but now I live in New York.”
“Look at you being all open. Such progress, I think this has to be the most you’ve talked to me this entire time here.” Giving him my award winning smile, we fell back into silence.
This wasn’t so bad. I mean I was sitting next to a very attractive guy, but didn’t feel claustrophobic because, well, I wasn’t sandwiched in-between two people; I don’t know what I was freaking out about. Seriously, I build it up in my mind, psych myself out and then it ends up being nothing!
Story of my life.
Shit! The plane is moving, why are we moving!
“Don’t worry. They are just moving us out of the way, they’ll go over where the exits and life jackets are and then we’ll wait for a while longer, than take off.” He must have noticed my slight moment of panic, he was nice to try to calm me down, at least I think that’s what he’s doing. Or maybe he’s just telling me so that I’m well informed, but I can’t see why he would do that unless he wanted to keep me from freaking out. Who would really want to sit with a person who is hyperventilating though, he could just be doing this with his best interest in mind (I’m putting my money on that one).
“Okay, okay, I’m all right; I’m going to be just fine.” My voice was fooling no one, I was clutching on to the arm rest as if my life depended on it, I could only imagine what I looked like…
I heard his voice, teasing and soft.
“Then why on Earth do you look like Casper?”
“You mean the friendly ghost?”
“Right now, your skin tone does remind me of him, even your freckles have lost their color…” He gave me a small smile, yes he was trying to keep my mind off of the plane, it was sweet, even if he was doing it with his own self interest at heart.
“Thank you, that’s what every girl wants to hear, that she looks like a ghost.”
“You’re welcome,” then it seemed that he was done talking to me; leaning back into his seat, he closed his eyes, and let out a sigh.
We needed to work on his people skills, and his art of conversation, because…my, did he lack the art of conversation. Still, he was pretty, and when I say pretty, I mean he was handsome, and gorgeous, and had to work on his conversation skills; how where we going to bond on the flight if he wasn’t going to talk.
I’m sounding a little bit crazy, but I think it would be wise to befriend a local before landing in a new country, and it would be a very large bonus if it was Sanskaar.
Nerves are starting to get to me, I’m thinking like a mad person. I needed to collect myself, this is fine, I’m all good.
“Now listen, It doesn’t seem like someone’s going to sit in the window seat, So why don’t you take it? Plus I’d rather not sit in the aisle.”
I looked at him surprised. He didn’t have the common decency to even look at me, no, he just reached forward and grabbed a magazine.
“Why don’t you just take the window seat?” I let some on the annoyance show in my voice, to which he sighed like his life was so difficult.
“Are you really going to be difficult? I gave you my seat, now I’d like it back, but that would require you to move over one blo*dy seat.”
“I’ve seen movies ok! The one who sits near the window looks out and suddenly they see that the wing is on fire and they freak out and all that.”
Well, At this, he finally gave me his full attention.
“Are you really this nutty? Please tell me that you took a pill or something, because if I have to sit by a mad lady for a 15 hour flight, so help me. Just scoot over; we’re not even sitting by the wing.”
“I’m not ‘nutty’, Mind you! I’m nervous! And, I don’t see why you can’t take the window seat.”
Sanskaar and I stared, well glared, at each other for a long moment, he opened and closed his mouth then let out a sigh, “I’m afraid of heights, alright. Now scoot over.”
“What’s the magic word? Scoot over…what?”
Is it wrong that I was enjoying practically seeing steam coming out of his ears? I placed an innocent look on my face, and waited for his gritted out response.
“Please,” the word seemed strained, but he continued, “scoot over please; Annoying female”
I stayed still for a moment, ”I guess that was all I could ask for”, before I fumbled with my seat belt and moved over.
“Now, Sanskaar was that really all that difficult?” All I got was a grunt in response.
“You would have been a hit with the girls, with those manners of yours.” I said sarcastically.
“Can’t you just stop talking; no one ever talks to people on planes, trust me I’ve been on enough to know.”
“No.” He snapped his head to look at me, a befuddled look on his face, “No?” I don’t know why he sounded confused.
“No I won’t stop talking; I can’t help it, just like you can’t seem to help to be rude. You go from this nice guy trying to calm me down to this, well, ass, for lack of a better term.”
I scowled, I wasn’t nervous anymore.
“Shocked at me, Are you?”
He was looking at me in a way that no one had ever looked at me, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a good look; I’m fearing that he might attempt to pull out his hair, his hand that had been running through his hair and stopped and looked like it had clenched up a bit.
“Mental! That’s what you are. A mental duck!”
I was really surprised. I think that’s honestly the first time anyone has called me a duck, and it seemed like he didn’t know what to do with his hands.
“Wouldn’t a parrot suit me better? No one’s ever referred to me as a bird before, though.”
He groaned and gave up. I pushed a loose strand of hair away, as he slapped a hand to his forehead, leaned back in his seat, and grumbled to himself. I looked out the window, the sun was setting, and fading into night, it was beautiful and I was going to be flying through it, in only a short while.
Letting out a sigh I didn’t know I was holding, I turned my head, and looked over at Sanskaar, “What’s New York like? Like I’ve read books on it, and seen pictures, but tell me, honestly, what’s it like?”
I could tell he was debating with himself whether or not he should answer my question, he did think I had a screw loose after all, but in the end he turned his head and gave me a smirk, “Well, it’s going to be gloomy, wet, and freezing when you get there; but its magical, energetic, and I love it. Even in the gloom of the winter, it still seems to shine and have this vibrancy about it. Still, you have no clue what you are in for.” He gave out a light chuckle, and I had to smile, and then for a moment, neither of us talked, and it hit me how close the seat where, and how close he was to me.
I felt the blush rise up in my cheeks. “Why do you think that?” My voice had come out softer then I had intended, but he didn’t seem to notice.
Rubbing his neck with his hand, he gave me a smirk, and gave me a once over.
“A Mumbai girl right? Ever felt cold in your life? Actually, Answer this! Do you have any real winter clothes?”
Indignant, I replied.
“I have winter clothes. I just bought some new ones, You see.Yes, I may have never seen snow, or really dealt with the cold…”
“And you think that simple sweaters will work well with New York’s January weather.”
Chuckling he rolled his eyes, and was about to continue when a voice came floating above again, and I knew that it a short while we’d be in the sky; I had a bit of a queasy feeling.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to direct your attention to the television monitors. We will be showing our safety demonstration and would like the next few minutes of your complete attention.”
I watched that video like my life depended on it, I wanted to make sure I knew what to do when the worse would come. My nerves where back, and it didn’t help when the announcement was made that we were second in line, and should be taking off within the next five minutes, I can’t believe I’m doing this! I grabbed on to my armrest and began to do some yogic breathing, hoping that it would help, “Gum?”
Shifting my eyes, I could see Sanskaar holding out a piece of gum for me to take, but I couldn’t move, he sighed. I must just make his life so difficult. He unwrapped it and held it in front of my lips, I grabbed it with my teeth; to think we had just met and he was already feeding me.
“Cabin crew, please take your seats and prepare for take-off.”
I almost choked on my gum, “Keep chewing, nothing’s going to happen.” We were moving, I felt like my eyes where bugging out of my head, my stomach in my throat, and I had lost all feeling in my toes…oh, and I forgot how to breathe.
“Keep chewing, Swara! Don’t worry. I’m here.”
Sanskaar grabbed my hand, and stroked the back of it with his thumb, as I squeezed it in a near bone breaking sort of way.
“The first time I flew, I was eight, and we went to Singapore to go visit my mom’s friend. I was so nervous that I very nearly pulled the emergency brake, not that there was one. I did, however, scream like a blo*dy school girl when we took off.”
He was trying to calm me down, he kept stroking the back of my hand, and I felt my grip lessen, the plane began to level out, and I felt my breathing come back to normal.
“Thank you,” mumbled out of my lips, as I looked over at him, and he gave me a smirk, “Now, do you mind doing me a huge favor, Swara?”
“Sure, Tell me.”
“Could you please bring down the window covering, seeing that we’re above the clouds, doesn’t sit well with me.”
I complied with his wish.
“And again, thank you Sanskaar, I know you must think I’m a little off, I’m normally much more stable…”
“It’s better to try to help you, than have you be a nutter.” Heat rose in my cheeks, this was not how I wanted him to think of me.
“I’ve failed the first impression, didn’t I?” I pouted slightly, and turned on my side to face him.
“It wasn’t the best one you could have given me; also, you can stop chewing now.” I tried to hide my embarrassment, and quickly stopped, he was making me feel like I was back in high school.
“So, Sanskaar, you still want the no talking for the entire flight? Because, I’m going to let you know right now, that’s just not going to happen. I’m sorry, I’m a talker.” Letting out a sigh, Sanskaar gave me a neutral look.
“You’re use to people liking you right away, aren’t you?”
“You could say that, but look at me, how can people not like me…I’m bubbly.” Sanskaar let out a low laugh that warmed the butterflies in my stomach.
“The fact that you’re fit doesn’t hurt you any as well,” Sanskaar leaned back into chair, and reclined it slightly; he just pretty much said that he found me attractive like it was no big deal. Well, I mean, I guess I’ve had that happen before, but to hear it from Sanskaar was off putting.
It actually shut me up…. For a full ten minutes, that is.
“So someone thinks I’m a pretty Indian girl, do they?”
He replied back.
“No, I think you’re fit because you no longer remind me of Casper.”
I chuckled. ” I guess I am feeling better now.”
“Can I offer either of you something to drink?” A soft voice asked, there was a lady with a cart smiling at us. Sanskaar looked over at me, “Ladies first?”
“I would like a sprite, please.”
I was handed a can and a napkin, and heard Sanskaar get a cup of water, as I popped my can open.
Taking a swig from the can, I felt a pair of eyes watching me, I turned to look at Sanskaar with the can still at my lips.
” Sprite? How old are you? ”
I was affronted. A 21 year old girl couldn’t have sprite. What was that all about?
“At least I’m not a stuffy old man like you. Having plain old water.”
“Swara, you are one odd bird.”
“Twice within the span of an hour you’ve called me a bird.” He had such lovely eyes, where this light hazel which seemed to make my breath hitch, “Aren’t you so happy I made you talk to me.”
“I’m super thrilled,” his sarcasm fell short, and my smile grew, running his tongue along his bottom lip he shook his head.
“Flying’s not as bad as I had thought it was going to be, I freaked myself out for nothing.” Sanskaar let out a snort rolling his eyes, and I gave him a slight shove, “It was my first flight, I didn’t know what to expect. I might have over reacted, just a tiny bit.”
“Yeah, just a tiny bit.”
“You wear sarcasm well Sanskaar, and it’s such a lovely shade.” I leaned into the seat, trying to stifle a yawn, looking around people had flicked off their lights in hopes of getting some sleep, others had headphones on and seemed to be watching the little TV’s.
“You should try to sleep, jet lag is a b*t*h.”
“It’s a female dog, really, I did not know that.” I could feel him smile as I closed my eyes. I was tired, I hadn’t slept the night before because of nerves, and my high emotions seemed to have drained all the energy from me. My seat reclined slightly, and I smiled, “Thank you,” I said in a whisper, and I let the day catch up with me.
Flying wasn’t bad at all, and it was actually nice when a nice, comforting man was your seat neighbor; I knew I was somewhere in limbo, that place right before you fully wake up, stirring slightly I nuzzled my head deeper into my seat, which had a very nice warm spicy smell. Allowing my eyes to crack open, I closed them quickly.
No idea what time it was, or how long I had slept for. Bringing a hand I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and quickly realized that I had somehow at some point , managed to, um, I don’t know, but my head is resting on Sanskaar’s shoulder, and I have a hand who decided it wanted to be placed on his thigh.
I really, really, hope he is sleeping. Moving very slowly and carefully, I removed myself from using him as my pillow.
“Good morning sleepyhead. You’ve been out for about 7 hours now.”
“I was tired.” How lame did that sound, I mean it sounded lame to me, “Did you enjoy using me as your own personal pillow?”
“You should have pushed me off,” I knew once again blush was rising in my cheeks, closed book I was not.
“Yeah, I tried, but someone was drawn to me like a magnet, so I gave up. You’re pleasant when you sleep,” I stuck my tongue out in a mature way.
“Sanskaar, I am sorry, I hope you were able to sleep a bit as well.”
“Yeah, don’t fret about me Swara.” Sanskaar patted the back of my hand, before he let his hand linger on top of mine for a moment longer than normal. He had nice hands, “Well, let me just tell you, that you are a fabulous pillow, and I’d sleep on you anytime,” the words were out of my mouth before I could stop them, and I had to laugh at the split second of surprise that crossed his face.
Absolutely sure that I was crimson by this point, I said, ” I didn’t mean it that way.”
my words were met by one of his lovely grunts; maybe there was a screw loose because, oh my, it made me bite my lip. The cabin was darker, then it had been before I had fallen asleep, it seemed that most of the other passengers had decided to sleep. This really wasn’t bad at all, I couldn’t believe I had psyched myself out for no reason; even Sanskaar seemed less tense then when we had first met.
“Sanskaar, I’m really happy that you ended up being my neighbor and now that we have bonded…” turning to face me, he eyed me suspiciously.
“What do you want?” He sounded bored.
“I’m hurt that you think I’d want someth…” he arched his eyebrows up, “well, um, when we get to New York, do you think you can help me with my suitcases, I might have over packed a little.” Comprehension dawned on him.
“When you say a little…”
“I mean that I have three fully stuffed to the point I had to sit on them to get them to zip.”
“Women.” Shaking his head, I could see him roll his eyes, but there was a smile playing at his lips.
“Well, I did have to bring winter clothes, normal clothes, Ma’s pickles and other food items, Papa’s books, My sister Ragini’s…..”
“That’s alright! You can stop now. I get the drift.”
“Also, You people drive on the wrong side of the road.”
” Excuse me? What does that have to do with anything? And anyways, Now that you are going to live here, It’s the right way to drive.”
Men and driving, I couldn’t contain my eye roll. They could be so touchy.
“Pish-sha to that, but do you think it’ll be hard for me to transition or do you think I should take a course, cause I would like to get a cheapy car while I’m in town. I’m have class for like the next four months, but I’m hoping to get an internship and spend the summer over here as well, so that’s, what, like sevenish months.”
“Are you a good driver in Mumbai?”
“I deal with the traffic, I’m aggressive, and I’d like to think that I’m fabulous. I drive perfectly, you see how we drive…I’m better than all of the tourist and old people out on the roads. But I did almost hit a tree the first time my father took me out driving.”
“Uh huh,” I don’t think he believes me, “I’ll take you out driving, and we’ll figure out if its safe for you to get a car. You know, it’s not flat like you are use to, and you’ll have to learn how to deal with ice.” I so, had not thought of all of that, this is when I wish I could just have my own personal chauffer.
“But you’ll be a gentleman, and help out a pour damsel in distress.” Batting my eyes, I put my innocent look on, big eyes, small smile while semi pouting out my bottom lip, every girl knows the look. He laughed, and gave me a full smile.
“You may act like a damsel in distress, but I’m on to you.”
“You’ll help?” I couldn’t help but ask, he hadn’t really answered the question, he ran his hand through his hair any waited a beat before answering, “Yeah, blo*dy hell, so far you’ve got me getting your luggage, and giving you driving lessons.”
“And you thought you weren’t going to like me.” Still facing me, his face grew serious at my statement, “No, I knew I was going to like you, that’s why I tried to get you to not talk.”
Woo hoo, he liked me! Sanskaar likes me! I was doing a happy dance on the inside.
“That’s a very sensible plan, how’d that work out for you?” The sarcasm dripped from the words, and he turned back to a normal sitting position before answering with an eloquent, “Shut it.”
I don’t think he’s use to emotions. He’s tense and guarded, only let bits of him revealed; he was a like looking for a dinosaur bone, you have to pick away slowly and carefully to get to the grand finale, and even then you have to keep going to find the other pieces only to have to figure out how to put them together.
Then there was me, I was like a hurricane, what you saw was what you get, there was no real mystery; I was overly honest, overly dramatic, completely charming, open book. I run straight into situations before I actually have the time to think it through, going to The States for a semester, was something a professor had mentioned in passing, and within a week, I had sent in my paper work.
“Hello, this is Captain Ajay; it looks like we are now crossing a zone of turbulence. Please return your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you.”
That did not sound good. No, it sounded very bad. I could feel the tears begin to fill my eyes, and then there was a warm hand holding mine. “So, Swara, are you a rollercoaster kind of girl?” I turned to meet his gaze, his features softened when he saw the tears in my eyes, “I get teary when I get scared or when I freak out,” moving a hand to wipe away a stray tear, I realized I was too late, and that Sanskaar’s thumb had already swept it away, “‘I’m fine with rollercoaster’s. I mean I don’t enjoy them, but I don’t get sick.”
“Well that’s good, but if you feel sick, please do grab the bag; all that’s about to happen, is the plane might become a bit bouncy, that’s it. Okay?” I could feel my head nodding, but all I could focus on was Sanskaar’s face, and his eyes that set the butterflies in my stomach fluttering, and how the touch of his hand burnt my skin. The plane dipped, a loud squeak escaped my lips, my eyes closed involuntary, and I had what I’m sure was the beginning of a panic attack.
“Swara, you know I noticed you the moment you came and sat down back in the airport. I could tell how nervous you were, but at the same time, you had such a light and confidence. You are blo*dy beautiful…obviously you know it, but you have this inner beauty that seems to just flow out of you.”
The plane leveled then took a major dip, I let out a gasp, and opened my eyes to look at Sanskaar, my breathing was irregular, I was really too young to die.
“And then, to my surprise I found you watching me, while I was having a row with my computer, blo*dy hell, I must have looked like a crazy person, but of course you would end up being the person who I had to sit next too.”
The plane began to bump and rattle going up and down, I could hear Sanskaar’s words around me, but all I could focus on was breathing because it seemed that my brain had forgotten how.
“You were so nervous, and I had to help you, but you see, I knew, if I helped you, you’d, I don’t know how to explain it, but I knew if I got to know you, I’d want to get to know you more and that terrifies me. Next thing I know, I’m talking to you like I never do to anyone, I’m offerring to do stuff for you, and then you fell asleep on me, and after that I was doomed,” it felt like an elevator’s cord snapped and we dropped, I couldn’t make a sound, my eyes flew open, and I met Sanskaar’s gaze, his free hand was clutching his armrest, I could see his knuckles turning white.
But his eyes where relaxed, and his voice was calm and soft, he brought my hand to his lips and gave the back of it a light kiss, “It can’t get worse than that,” a few more bumps, and then we leveled out, he took that time to wipe away the tears that had spilled from my eyes, “Swara, everything is fine. I wouldn’t lie to you.” He held my face in his hands, and in that moment, his eyes were an open book and I believed every word he was telling me.
I don’t know why I did it. I’ve never done anything like it before, but I leaned forward, and captured his lips with mine. I had known the guy for a few hours, and I was kissing him. His hands moved from my face to my hair and the back of my neck, and he was kissing me back with equal intensity.
A voice coming from above is what made us both pull back breathing heavy, “Hey folks, well that was fun, wait for the seatbelt light to flip off and then you are free to move about the cabin.”
We sat there for a moment, one of his hands tangled in my hair, the other cupping the back of my neck, his thumbing rubbing right behind my ear; I was still clutching the front of his jacket. “That was brilliant,” Sanskaar smiled leaning in so our foreheads met, “Just brilliant, Swara.”
“I just kissed you.” I think I was still in shock, I felt a little weak, and I was fairly certain it was not because of my near death experience, “You made the butterflies in my stomach like explode.”
“I take it that’s a good thing?” His voice was laced with a hint of concern, “It’s a very good thing.” We sat there for a moment, caught up in our own bubble.
Letting out a groan, I put my head on Sanskaar’s shoulder as if it was the most natural thing to do in the entire world, reaching up and pulling my hair loose from its tangles, and ran a hand through it, in hope of making it look like Sanskaar’s hand hadn’t mused it up. “Do you know any decent cafés where I could get a bagel? or a pretzel? It’ll be morning when we get there, right? Wait, no I want pancakes, with strawberries and whip cream, oh, and a large hot black cinnamon coffee.”
Sanskaar ran a his thumb over mine on the armrest we were sharing, “We should be getting in around or so, but we do have to get your luggage, but if you want we could just eat at one of the airport restaurants…why are you looking at me like that.”
“You’re making plans for us.” I was so pleased I almost couldn’t get the words out.
“Well,” he let out a cough, “Alright, I am.” Colour began to appear in his cheeks, and he quickly averted his eyes from mine, “Do your plans involve you showing me around the city?”
“I guess, if you really need me too.” Giving a nonchalant shrug, he grumbled out the words.
I laughed and said, “Good, cause you are now my personal tour guide.”
In a wry voice, He said, “Wow! How wonderful!”
Rolling my eyes at the lack of excitement, I gave his cheek a kiss, “You are wonderful,” a soft grunt was my response.
“So Swara, Does this morning breakfast think include as our first date?”
I was confused.
“Forget it! I was just…”
He broke off, mortified. I sat and thought…
Sanskaar wanted to go on a date with me.
He thought I was pretty.
He wiped away my tears when I was freaking out.
He thought I was a nutter and a duck.
He made me get butterflies, and smile uncontrollably.
He made me feel like myself.
“Sanskaar! I would love to go on a date with you. Not one or two… but many. ”
He gave me a true smile then and kissed me on the cheek.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we should be arriving in New York within 15 minutes.”
Sanskaar handed me a piece of gum, which I took and he smiled.
“My first flight is almost over, it’s kind of sad.”
“You are an odd duck, for the most part you’ve been a nutter about the entire flight, and now you’re sad that it’s over?”
“Yeah, it was a first, and now it’s almost over.” Sanskaar took my hand, and laced his fingers with his.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent to, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Right now it’s 9:23 am in New York, where it’s a nippy 4 degrees Celsius, that’s around 39 degrees Fahrenheit. We’ve been cleared to land, cabin crew, please take your seats for landing.”
My leg began to shake up and down, as I felt the plane slowly and get lower to the ground. Sanskaar, was pressed back into his seat, with his eyes close, trying to look relaxed, but the tension in his neck gave him away, I gave his hand a kiss, and he relaxed slightly, a small smile playing at his lips.
“Don’t worry Sanskaar! Soon, You won’t have to think of heights.”
There was a bump, and I jumped in my seat, “We’ve landed, it’s just the wheels hitting the runway.”
Even when he’s nervous, he’s trying to keep me at ease, the butterflies stirred in my stomach.” The bumps smoothed and I could feel the plane’s speed slow down as another announcement came over.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to New York. For your safety and comfort, we ask that you please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. This will indicate that we have come to a complete stop at the gate and it is safe for you to move about. Please check around your seat for any personal belongings you may have brought onboard with you and please use caution when opening the overhead bins, as heavy articles may have shifted around during the flight. If you require deplaning assistance, please remain in your seat until all other passengers have deplaned. One of our crew members will then be pleased to assist you. We remind you to please wait until inside the terminal to use any electronic devices. On behalf of United Airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice day.”
I was here. In a new country. In New York.
We stayed seated, not wanting to get pushed along in the shuffle, Sanskaar got up and grabbed our carry-on’s, and pulled out his coat. Throwing his bag over his shoulder, he held my bag with a hand and offer his free one to me.
“Welcome to New York Swara.” Smiling, I took his hand as he helped me up, for a moment we stood there, smiling at each other; he leaned in and gave me a soft kiss before leading me to the exit.
This is going to be my adventure.
I was in New York. I had found an amazing man who actually cared for me.
It’s going to be amazing.
Really excited…and I mean it this time.