The Conference Called.
I was living my life in a decently boring way until this conference came to me. I thought of it as one of my normal official activity of which I was a part. People were invited for this conference from all over India. The conference was scheduled for 7 days in Bangalore, and I was directed to fly 2 days prior to the start of the conference.
I took out my suite case, packed my formals, 2 pair of pajamas, a party dress (in case I need), and zipped my toiletries in a pouch; charged my laptop and arranged it in a separate hand bag, rechecked my boarding pass along with the id proofs, and left for the airport (after informing my family).
My flight was delayed by 2 hours. To pass the time, I grabbed a costa coffee, placed my phone on the nearest charging point and checked the recent messages that I have received. There weren’t much of them, except the messages from my mother and my two best friends- inquiring about my latest activity on the airport. Who else do you except to receive messages without an active dating life. As I sipped my coffee, I put a selfie with a check-in on Instagram as a mark of my existence on this earth, quoting, “lets gear up to fly!” for anyone waiting out there for me. Can’t really help it, I tell you.
I passed my waiting hours by checking out the guys on the airport and answering the DMs on Instagram that I had received after uploading my latest selfie. In next half an hour, my flight was announced.
I settled on the window seat with a neighboring passenger who was not handsome enough to grab my attention. I passed a smile to him as a kind gesture, plugged in my headphones, took out my novel and was all set to spend the 3 hours in the flight till I reach Bangalore.
As soon as I landed, it was already 10 pm. I rushed for my luggage and simultaneously booked a cab to reach my hotel which was already pre booked by the company. When I stepped out of the airport, the city felt alive. It didn’t feel like a 10 pm. “Welcome to Bangalore”, I said to myself as I sniffed the fresh air of the city, I have never been before. Surprisingly my driver arrived without causing much hassle for the directions. I explained to him my hotel address, in English as he was not acquainted with Hindi.
It took me another hour to reach my destination and by that time I was totally exhausted. I checked in to my hotel room and called my office manager that I have safely landed here. I ordered my dinner and ate like I had been hungry for ages. I slipped into my panda pajamas and jumped into bed.
As I was lying in the bed I traversed the list of participants who were about to join the conference in next 2 days. Something in the list got my attention and I took out my laptop to investigate further.
1 month prior to this conference a web portal was launched by its chairman where all the delegates were asked to learn new courses on daily basis and the completion of them were marked in the corresponding points against the profile of every individual and this guy had the highest of all.
The same portal had a questionnaire section where all the delegates had the authority to ask questions related to the conference. This guy has answered almost every post for everyone and this caught my attention. Intrigued by his presence all over, I got curious to meet him in person but before that I did my homework. I had to know what this guy is all about so I stalked his profile on Facebook.
Veer Sinha, my fingers quickly typed his name and my eyes waited patiently to absorb more about him. I only knew the name not the how about of his looks and personality. His face was completely in my imagination. Not really sure what he actually looks like in real. I re checked my papers and stalked his professional profile. It helped me finding him. Bingo! Believe me or not, I am a smart engineer.
Destiny was in my favor as it reflected me a couple of mutual friends we have, that could act as my yardstick to start a conversation with him if required. There you go Mr. Sinha! Veer Sinha, engineer at Oracle, Hyderabad. He was elder to me by one year. Had been worked with Cognizant for 1 year. He was not a new bee in the industry. A guy with dusky complexion, heavy build, with a pair of geeky glasses set on his sharp nose, sharper than mine. He looked like a nomad, certainly not a homey vibe. I took out a notepad and made a checklist list of whatever I could infer from his profile. He felt like an assignment to me on which I was working without any reason and payback option.I studied his profile for a good 15 mins and then dozed off.
The next morning, I woke up to the notifications which were constantly flashing on my phone. My half-opened eyes went wide awake when I acknowledged it was none other than he who had been posting questions about the conference in the group of the participants. It was 9 am in the morning and nobody had replied to his post. I thought of it as a good opportunity and replied to his question. Just after some fraction of seconds he replied quoting,” Thank you Miss Sharma “. His impromptu reply made me jump from my bed. Did he just call me Miss Sharma in the very first go? I am Impressed. After half an hour he posted yet another query in the group asking about the location of the Conference. I was tempted by the post so I replied before anyone else could. I gave briefings about the address which may help him and others as well. Other people in the group liked my post by conveying their gratitude towards me.
While he, on the other side posted separately to me. This time doing a one to one conversation; more like a one to one mail. “You seem to know pretty much Miss Sharma. It would be a delight to meet you at the conference.”
He texted me separately and is keen to meet me. I said this to myself and register this thought inside my head. Why is he not using my first name? Does he like my last name or Is he just trying to be professional? No one has ever addressed me like this in long time.
His presence in the group made me keep a tab on my phone more frequently. I spent the rest of my days in making the arrangements for the conference and completing some pre requisites for the all the delegates who were invited. I was chosen to be the representative who volunteered to management the delegates of the group. Thanks to my communication skills.
I prepped up in a grey pencil skirt and satin black blouse with a matching pair of black heels that as my go to dress for the conference. I then perfumed my neck, wrist and collar bone with my favorite scent. I picked up my mandatory belongings and was ready to slay.
I reached 15 mins late, thanks to the traffic of the Bangalore. I hurried my steps towards the hall and looked for my seat sneakily. I tip toed towards my seat when the speaker turned his back to show the presentation.
“huff”, I gasped with a sign of relief. I exchanged a humble smiled with the people who were sitting adjacent to me. While I was fumbling with my laptop to get ready with, someone whispered in my ears in a playful tone; “You are late Miss Sharma.”
"Oh I am sorry. Feels like entire Bangalore needs to go out at same time. Did I miss anything?"
He looked at me with the eyes full of admiration and absent mindlessly the words slipped out of his mouth, "It was worth it, all good things come in time and you sure are the one. we could have waited more if we knew this is what we are waiting for."
I blushed as I settled down. But the next moment I froze when I heard the words which knocked my ears hard, “Miss Sharma”. To my sheer
surprise he was sitting right adjacent to me. It took me a complete minute to
turn my neck and look at him. I gazed at him with a surprise and he smiled
He noticed my perplexed reaction and whispered again, “You smell nice by the way.” This wasn’t the kind of introduction I was thinking of.
Shit!! My first impression on him was of a confused, non-punctual women who wobbled her way to the conference. What a nice start, I thought to myself. How come I not recognize him. He looked completely different from his photographs. He was way more glutton and dark; darker than his photographs but his smile was same. He smiled through his small eyes, flashing his super white big teeth. I confirmed the info to my senses.
“Veer Sinha? Is it?” I inquired softly.
“Yes madam”, he assured like a gentleman.
I chuckled and compressed my lips in my obvious reaction. He was charming, not by his looks but with his ability to flirt and express wittily. How come he recognized me so quickly? Did he stalk my profile too? Or my official photograph on the portal was enough for him to recognize me? We didn’t exchange any talks after that but my mind was weaving a huge net of questions. My eyes did a quick check in the hall for all the people from various companies and places but I was well aware of his presence around me. He noticed my every small movement. I could sense his eyes on me.
The conference went well and before I could say something, someone called me from the back, “Zoya, can you please come here?” I left without saying a word and met with the presenter and other folks regarding the subject. In no minute he was out of sight. After completing everything, I thought I will explore the city by myself but my feet were soar in heels so I took a cab towards my hotel.
I asked the receptionist if she could call the room service for me. I threw my heels in one corner as soon as I entered my room. The carpet felt nice on my bare feet. I stretched my toes and threw myself in the bed without changing my clothes and started thinking of what really happened today.