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A Mile-high Threesome

...as we settled in with our respective reading material, a beautiful young lady murmured an “excuse me” — damn, one of those times when you wish ....


I made my way to my usual aisle seat. The plane was packed, and the cabin was peopled primarily by corporate executives and a surprisingly large number of tattooed backpackers. A smartly dressed individual sat next to me, and I returned his smile with the condescending look reserved for center-seat occupants. I don’t have much empathy for duffers who are not industrious enough to get a window or an aisle seat, on a Boeing 737 at that.

As we settled in with our respective reading material, a beautiful young lady murmured an “excuse me” — damn, one of those times when you wish you were seated in the center — and we both promptly stepped aside to let her pass. As we sunk back into our seats, I could have sworn that his smile was broader than it had ever been.

And was he smooth? Even before the flight had taken off, he had broken the ice, and I couldn’t help but hear snippets of their scintillating conversation.

He: So what do you do?

She: I’m with (a leading media house). Heading sales.

He: Wow, that’s quite something. You handle sales for the entire country.

She: Yes, the whole of India. One business vertical.

The conversation moved to education, and he had just the appropriate words of admiration for her yadda yadda tale about being the first graduate in her family.

He: I’m passionate about education as well. In fact, I want to start a venture fund that invests in education.

She: That is so noble. You totally should.

He: I will take ideas from you.

She: Absolutely! Anytime!

They spoke about holidays, flights, upbringings, movies, past jobs and so on, the conversation getting increasingly animated as it progressed. I’m no expert, but she was displaying textbook body language indicating feminine interest. Legs crossed towards him, shoe dangling, constant eye contact and a finger perpetually twirling her hair like a chopstick through ramen. He was reciprocating. Brushing his hand through his hair frequently, chest puffed out…it was quite fascinating to watch actually.

He: So, do you speak Hindi?

She: Well I can.

He: So say a few words.

She (blushing): Well I can’t really speak shudh Hindi.

And they both laughed heartily, like long-lost pals reunited after a handful of Kumbhs.

As the food trolley rolled in around 30 minutes into the flight, he introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Suresh.” “I am Priya.” I started visualizing ‘Priya weds Suresh’ wedding cards and a marriage procession led by a white horse and me. I was paying close attention to them by now — this being far more interesting than the Costa Book of the Year that I was plodding through.

“Sir, will you have the dhokla or the chicken sandwich?” said the hostess, interrupting our auditory threesome. He chose the dhokla, as did I. “Do you have fruits,” she asked. “I’m sorry, ma’am.” “Just give me a few sachets of milk powder then.” “Umm… sure.” And the hostess handed out a few. “I will be back with tea and coffee later.” “No thanks, just the milk powder is fine.”

We were intrigued — the eavesdropping me obviously couldn’t display any reaction, but he had no such constraints. “Why do you want these sachets?” he asked with a flirting incredulity. “Oh, my five-year-old daughter loves them. My husband and I love to see the faces she makes as she struggles with the powder gluing her mouth.”

Moist as it was, even more so soaked in chutney, I silently choked on my dhokla. He probably did too. Because the conversation ended. Quite as abruptly as this column.


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