It was 30 minutes past 2am - the 11th of January 2007 - I was returning to the U.S. after a most relaxing vacation in India. SAD - I was very very sad at the thought of departing my dear friends, parents and my beloved city. So hanging my head low - I was proceeding through the pre-flight formalities of an international airport .... little did I know that the night would be the most memorable night of my life.
As I was proceeding through the security checks - I observed a sudden commotion and a strange buzz amongst the airport officials. I did not pay any more attention to it and moved on. At the Mumbai international airport - there is a long white corridor from the security check area and the boarding gates, it has a plain wall on one side and a glass wall on the other from where you can see the external of the airport. Alongside the glass windows are seats for passengers to sit on and figure out their purpose in life. So, thats what I did. I was re-arranging all important travel documents in my passport case. As I looked up I saw someone - I didnt believe it - thought it was a joke - so I turned my attention back to the passport and glanced back up again - she was there again! My face assumed an involuntary expression of "Is it really you???" - She must have seen this expression on many faces - since she nodded as if to confirm an affirmative on the question I was fumbling to ask.
With the knowledge that it WAS really her, my heart beat tripled and the whole body started shaking. The conversation (or lack of it) that I had with her is sufficient evidence of how shocked I was ..
Me : "Hello, Ma'am!"
She: "Hello" (smiles - O Maan what a smile!)
(5 seconds pause) - I didnt know what to say
Me : "I am a huge fan of you - Ma'am!"
She : (smiles again, closing her eyes) "Thankyou so(ooo) much!"
Hearing it - I was so happy - I cannot describe. She was dressed just like a regular girl - black t-shirt (short sleeves), 3/4th blue jeans and black sandals. Her glowing fair complexion provided a most sensual contrast with her shirt - jeans - hair and O yes her round red teeka. Yup! They always perform an aarti and put a teeka - when one of these gems leave India.
Her face! Her face was all too familiar - but I saw for the first time in person - why is it that She was so adored. Her eyebrows were shapely and neat. Her face had a glow - like the light of a thousand moons emerging from inside. Her nose - her nose was straight - wonderfully delicate. Her lips - full and exquisite - like the color of a million roses caught in the prime of their youth. Her eyes! Yes! I had admired them since a kid - Green and Grey - deep - with intricate fibers of life - moist like a fresh morning dew - big yet not too much - with loooong eye lashes. The oval of her face perfectly encompassed in the canopy of smooth dark shining and flowing hair. Yes - She was perfection itself.
The most dominating feeling that one gets after seeing her is reverence. You don't go giddy and crazy - you get frightened with overflowing respect - respect for Nature - for God for creation - How could someone be made so perfect???
In presence of such beauty - stupid jokes and mundane questions hold no place.
Me: "Ok. Ma'am - I will go now"
She: (smiles - doesn't say anything)
I go past her - but hurriedly come back.
Me: "Ma'am - noone's gonna believe this."
She: (laughs! O Maaan - it was sincere fresh like a spring of clear water rushing over new stones, soil grass and leaf.)
Me: "Will you sign something for me?"
Me offers her my passport wallet. Obviously she can't sign my passport, neither my boarding pass. I look in despair for a piece of paper.
Luckily though my brains had stopped long back - hers hadn't.
She: "Here - Let me sign the inside of your Jet Airways jacket (boarding pass jacket) so that it will remain with you. What's your name?"
Me: "Sanket" (Thank God I got that right!)
She signs as her partner (Abshishek Bacchan) joins her. I relalize my time with her is over. I gratefully and gingerly collect the jacket. "Thankyou soo much Ma'am."
And off she went.....
320 minutes and 32,000 feet later I still had trouble controlling my heart beat and believing that such an incredible thing had really happened with me.
An Oceans strength cannot be described by saying that it can rip ships apart and can destroy entire cities. You need to swim in the ocean and feel its power to understand how truly magnificent and powerful nature is. Saying that Mount Everest is 30 thousand feet high - doesn't give you an idea of what the concept is - you need to stand at its base and see its peaks rising one above the other - higher and higher to understand a little of what it is. Saying that the Grand Canyon is truly grand and that its entire span cannot be captured in one sight doesn't give you an idea you need to actually try it and fail and try again and realize that no matter how hard you try you cannot fit it into one view.
In a similar way saying She is beautiful or incredible or heavenly or divine doesn't do her justice. What She looks like is beyond the skills of language to describe. Its a phenomenon - you get it when you see it.
Often times, since that incident I have thought - it was all a dream and that it never happened. But then I retrieve my Jet Airways jacket and sure enough I believe it happened. Cos inside my jacket written with my parker black ink pen - in her own hand are the words ....