Getting into the window seat, Sonia snapped the seat belt around her. A seven hour flight to London.
“I hope the person who sits beside me is fun,” she mused. Looking out of the window, the craziness of the last few days tumbled before her eyes- dad rushing to get the certificates attested, the immigration clearance on the passport, the confusion with the flight tickets, mom looking absolutely distraught that she was leaving and Chutki, her younger sister as she lovingly called her, super-excited at getting the room, that they shared until now, to herself. Sonia was nervous. It was her first time away from home and that too, travelling this far to the other side of the ocean. She had to make it work.
The London School of Economics had been a distant dream. In fact, that’s what it had been: a dream. Dad had given birth to it, nurtured it and handed it over to her only when she had said she was ready. Mom had supported her and had worked very hard towards making it happen, believing in her even when every exam result proved otherwise. Mum had been her biggest critic, most grudging enemy and a friend who she had unconsciously depended on, during the last years at college. It hadn’t been easy.
Now, when she was on her way to make that dream come true, for which everybody had worked so hard, Mum had found it hard to let go. Biting back her tears, she had packed her bags, constantly repeating the do’s and the don’ts during her stay abroad. “Do not trust anybody, boys or girls alike,” she said for what sounded like the millionth time at the airport. Sonia thought of her family and smiled. It had been a more than difficult journey, if not seemingly impossible but they had taken it together… up until now. Now, however, the remaining distance would be hers to traverse on her own.
The flight was ready for take-off. Pushing back her seat, she closed her ears with her index fingers, resting her head against the seat and shut her eyes. Take-off and landing had always been painful for her, from the time she could remember. No matter how often she traveled, her body refused to adapt itself to the changes in pressure.
Half an hour later, the seat-belt sign was switched off. The passenger occupying the seat beside her had dozed off, as soon as he had entered without as much as an acknowledgment, crushing all hopes of a conversation.
“No chance of entertainment from that quarter,” Sonia dug her hand into the back pocket of the seat in front. “I might as well watch a movie.” She pulled out the entertainment book and all the other books, magazines and leaflets, which were stowed in a packet inside the seat-pocket.
The leaflet showing what needed to be done in case of emergency landing- – how many times had she seen that and had always wondered if it had ever served any purpose since the invention of the air-plane. All the flight- crashes simply happened, killing all on board, without anybody having the time to do what the leaf-let said. Next came the in-flight shopping magazine. This she decided to check out later. It was fun looking at the perfumes, jewelry and other high-end items in the magazine. “After-all looking is free and it’s always better to be informed than being unaware…” A magazine on things to do in London during the month, was set aside too, to be read later. Finally, came the entertainment booklet, the one she was looking for. In it was another book, “Notes to Myself” by Hugh Prather. “Funny, I had no idea flights gave books for entertainment. It’s certainly a good idea.”
Putting the other magazines back into the seat pocket, she opened the book with the white cover.
“Dear Sis”, dated July 2013 was scrolled in blue ink, across the second page. It wasn’t the Airlines. Someone had forgotten their book on the flight! As Sonia placed the book back into the plastic pouch, she noticed a page jutting out.
In between the pages of the book was a neatly folded hand-written letter…
My first attempt. Do let me know what you think. Your comments are highly valued. To be continued based on the feedback… Have a lovely day!
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