I was taking a 2 week vacation to visit my sister and brother in law in Bangalore. With exams behind me, I felt like taking a break to go to another place and try to figure things out. Career, relationships, which direction was life moving in.
It was a 2 hour flight, and another two hours to reach the city from the village where Bangalore airport is situated. I checked in my baggage and asked for a window seat. I usually prefer aisle, but today I wanted to see the sunset and the clouds. One of those days when looking into distance helps in sorting things out in your mind.
The security check was a breeze. Not many people taking a flight out at this hour on a thursday. There was only one common line for hand baggage screening. After picking up the laptop from the tray, I walked over to the coffee day counter and picked up a coffee. Having skipped lunch, I was surviving only on a mug of milk since morning. Coffee wasn’t one of the best ideas, I guess.
Finally, boarded. I had my copy of Immortals of Meluha in my hand but I could not concentrate. Mind was way too preoccupied with other things. The uncertainty of chartered accountancy exams and the vicious cycle. It’s interesting how some people have their career all sorted out and planned. Even if I clear the exams this time, I have no clue what I want to do after that. When I see people around me with chalked out career paths, I feel stupid.
And then the relationships. How come it is always that the person you like ends up liking someone else? Why can’t the cupid strike the two of us together? Am I the only one with messed up relationships? But then, I have realised, over period of time, that those who appear all calm and composed are more messed up than us, who are actually messed up.
I did not realise when the two hours passed by and we touched down the Bangalore airport. Another two hour bus ride before I reach ‘home’. Ow, I was starving. Unpacked the stuff I got for sister from Ahmedabad. As my mother likes to call it, it was a Ram-Bharat milaap, where I am the faithful Bharat who cannot bear to hear anything negative for elder sister.
While sister and brother in law called it an early night, for having to go to work the next day, and I was not sleepy, and was watching tv, and turned on the laptop to check mails surf internet. I turned on the laptop and the login screen came up. I don’t have my laptop password protected. Strange. It said, username: vikjain. What new hell was this, I wondered. Who is this vikjain, and why is his name the username? Oh my god. The laptop got exchanged at the Ahmedabad airport. Where is this vikjain who has my laptop! how in the heaven’s name am I supposed to contact him! Panic attack.
I looked blankly at the login screen with no thoughts crossing my mind. Few minutes later, my phone rang. It was an unknown number. I picked up the phone, “Hello?”. “Hello? Am I talking to Shreya?” said the voice on the other end. “Yes”, I asked, “who’s this?” “Hi, Shreya, Vikram here, I think we exchanged our laptops at Ahmedabad airport” he said.
A thousand questions ran through my mind. “Oh, wow, how did you get my number? And where are you? I mean, I am in Bangalore, which city are you? How will we exchange our laptops back?” I fired without a pause. “Surprisingly, I am in Bangalore too”, he said. I could hear him stifle his laughter. “Let us meet tomorrow and exchange it back?” he asked. “Yes, let us meet first thing tomorrow”, I added. “Tomorrow morning I am a bit tied up, what about evening? Around 7ish?” he asked. “Okay, tomorrow at 7 pm, Kalmane coffee at Forum Mall?” I suggested. “It’s a date”, he said. I could almost hear him grin. What was so amusing? Does he lose his laptop so frequently not to get panicked by all this?
Next day, I reached there at 6:45 in anticipation. One of the few things I lack is patience. 7:00 and no sign of him. Fought my urge to call Vikram to ask his whereabouts. At around 7:10, a tall guy with a mop of dark black hair walked in. He looked familiar. Of course he looked familiar, we took the same flight the previous evening.
“Hi, Shreya”, he said, “here is your laptop”, he handed me my laptop from his bag. I returned him his laptop. “Coffee?”, he asked. “Umm. Sure”, I said. We ordered our coffees and sat down. “So how did you get my name and number?”, I asked. “Your laptop is not password protected, and your resume is on the desktop”, he grinned. ‘How dare you go through my files without my permission’, I thought. “I figured at least that would have some details about the rightful owner of the laptop”, he smiled, as if reading my mind.
Our talks over coffee lasted for over two hours, and would have probably continued further had my sister not called to ask my dinner plans. Since it was Friday night, we had planned a quick bite followed by the new men in black movie that was released that day. I had completely lost track of time.
We checked laptops one final time to ensure there are no goof ups this time. After an awkward handshake, we parted ways.
Five minutes later, I got a new message alert.
“Vikram: Coffee tomorrow?”