Yesterday, the Man I Married came back home after a five-days-four-nights trip to Bombay. He's been away quite a bit. The weekend before, he was in Puri and then too, it was for five-and-four. So that means, we only really got him last week for two whole days, Wednesday and Thursday. Actually, cancel that. His office got him for two whole days, while the rest of us for a few hours pre and post snooze time.
The MIM doesn't travel much. In fact, he doesn't travel at all. Maybe a day-trip every now and then where he's back by nightfall, but believe me, even those are few and far between. There are times I actually wish the MIM had business trips taking him away for a couple of days a month!
Anyway, after ages, and I literally mean ages, like three years or thereabouts, I had the opportunity to go alone to the airport to pick-up my man. And it was wonderful! The hour-long drive to the airport at night was lovely. I have always had this thing for night-drives...goes way back to my childhood. I love watching the twinkling lights of a big city. I may suddenly focus on a single light coming from an apartment somewhere and I am suddenly filled with this curious desire to know about the family that lives there; how many people there are, who does what for a living, their names, their joys, their sorrows... I know I'm strange at times, but I do wonder! How great it must be to be a God or Goddess and just know. To know everything and everyone. They have the Third Eye, probably a super-powerful, high-magnifying, ultra-modern, ultra-everything telescope, Infinite Wisdom and I'm pretty sure that They don't need Google Earth.
So as I was saying, the journey to the airport was one of the best kinds possible...relaxing and full of whimsy. Stray thoughts sauntered into my head and stayed for a while, before flying out through an eardrum and making way for others to whirl about.
I got to the airport with 25 minutes to spare, so I bought myself a ticket to go and sit in the arrivals lounge. With a steaming, hot, wonderfully aromatic elaichi chai from the Nescafe booth in one hand and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan's "You Are Here" in the other, I made myself comfortable and looked forward to delving into the whines and epiphanies of 25 year-old Arshi. Except I found that I couldn't concentrate on the book. After reading the same three words for the fiftieth time, I decided to shut the book and let my gaze and attention wander instead. I looked at the faces of those waiting for their loved ones, their expressions and I wondered about the thoughts lurking about in their heads. I looked at this adorable brother-sister duo munching away on their chips and my heart flew to my EO and YO, so I made a quick call to Ma-Janoni to find out if the EO was asleep yet and whether the YO had had his dinner yet. After two affirmatives, I went back to my idle sport of people-watching. A striking-looking mother and her attractive late-teens-early-twenties daughter came and sat down right next to me. The daughter bit into a crusty, warm patty and the aroma seemed to invade my nostrils and trickle down to the pit of my stomach. Probably not the yummiest thing in the world and very frankly, not my favourite thing to eat either, but at that point in time, it smelled down-right delicious. I can happily say that I did not cave into temptation and get myself one. Oooh I am proud of my will-power!
I then saw the announcement board flash the green lights next to MIM's flight number and the letters quickly swiched from 'EXPECTED' to 'ARRIVED'. I waited for five minutes, got up and walked over to the steel 'fence' separating the passengers from their families. A not-very-young-but-definitely-not-old woman walked up to her husband?/boyfriend?/lover? who fondly told her that he couldn't recognise her because she looked like a teenager. I glanced over at her face and it was a joy to behold! I then turned my attention towards the stream of passengers heading my way, searching for one special person in particular. And then I saw him at exactly the same moment his eyes spotted me. He our gaze met, held and we smiled. I actually forgot to breathe for some time, because he was looking so handsome. Then he came closer and I say that he was also looking very, very tired.
But his smile said it all. Not that he was glad to be back in his beloved Calcutta. Not that he had missed his babies more than words could express. Not that he was looking forward to meeting his parents and brother after his trip. All that went without saying. But right then, at that moment, his smile was for me and me alone and it said that he was happy to see me there, waiting for him with a similar smile on my face.