HAND IN HAND
The Reunion Of A Story
About Five and a Half Years Ago…
“…Could you please let me know the status of my flight to San Francisco?” he held his phone to his ear and checked the time on the watch on his right wrist, as he sat in the lounge of The Broadway Hotel, downtown of New York City, waiting for his cab to arrive.
“Yes, Mr. Singhania…Sir, your flight is on schedule and will take off at 2030 hours from John F Kennedy International Airport. The boarding procedure will start from 1930 hours. Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Singhania?” replied the courteous attendant of the airport.
“That would be it, thank you.”
After Karan hung up, he decided to Skype back home before leaving. The hotel wi-fi was brilliant. He could tell that from the way the video streamed without the slightest disruption from the Singhania Mansion, back in Bangalore. “Good morning, ma! I was just about to leave for the airport. The car isn’t here yet. How are you?” his eyes gleamed at the sight of his two favorite women, Shalini and Neha. “We’re both fine. How is your health? You haven’t been working too much, have you? Was the hotel accommodation good? Have they…”After all, Shalini was a mother, and for a mother, no matter how much the child grows up, she is always concerned for him.
“Yes, ma. I’m fine. You really shouldn’t worry about me. I’ll be back by next week. Neha, how are you doing? I’m so sorry I had to leave during your boards. You have an exam tomorrow, is it? All the best, Pumpkin!” Karan said, smiling.
“Yes, bhaiyya (brother)”, she blushed, and it was evident from her cheeks that turned red, “Mathematics, tomorrow morning. I still have a day left, but I am almost done. You please don’t worry about me. Your pumpkin is going to top her class this time!” Neha blew a kiss to her brother while laying her head on her mother’s shoulder. He returned the favor to Neha, “That I am sure of. Anyways, ma is Prasad helping you handle the clients there without any issues… (To someone in the hotel) Has it arrived? Please get the luggage into the car. I’ll be there in a moment… My car’s here, ma! I’ll give you a call once I reach San Francisco. Both of you please take care. Let me know if you need anything.” As he stood, Shalini said, “He seems to be doing really fine. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be fine, too.” “Happy journey” the mother and sister echoed.
Sliding the phone down his pocket, he moved to the receptionist for the formalities. Tall, handsome, well-built, the fresh face, strong look and the attitude made Karan nothing less than a model. Yet, he was a self-made business giant, a prodigy in coding, all at a young age of twenty six. At twenty two, when most graduates move out of college as employees into firms that can pay them enough, he started Pegasus, his dream firm. And soon enough, dedication, struggle, determination, and hard work with intelligence and talent transformed a young dreamer from humble beginnings to an industry mogul. The clean shaven face, the well-groomed hair, the navy blue suit, the Rolex on his wrist, the simple Windsor knot tie, the light blue shirt – oh yes, it was his favorite color – added to the class that he rightfully owned. He was hardworking, organized, talented, honest, professional, charming, educated, and brilliant; yet, remained rooted to his culture, traditions and religion. He was indeed Mr. Perfect.
He sat in the car, as it brushed past through the incessant evening traffic. The trip to the airport was quite uneventful, with the chauffeur under the pressure to drive safely and Karan going through his itinerary for the following day. By around thirty minutes past five, he was at the airport and the baggage had been checked in. He finished the check-in procedure and sat in the lounge, waiting for the announcements, reading the daily.
When they announced that the boarding procedure would start, he picked his bag up and went to one of the café to grab a to-go cup of steaming black coffee, very less sugar. He was very conscious of his health. He started walking briskly, focused completely on the terminal he was supposed to go. And all of a sudden, it happened. Someone had collided with his trolley bag and lost balance. Thanks to his quick reflexes, he held her before she could fall, and in the process, losing his coffee. He helped the stranger out to steady up. In a sudden burst of anger, she shouted at him, “Are you insane mister? This is an airport, not a running track. Look at all the mess you’ve made.”
Nothing angered Karan more than someone blaming him for a wrong he did not do. Be it school, college, or work, he’d see to the end of anyone who did that. “Excuse me, miss. You do realize that I just saved you from falling. You were the one walking backwards. So, if you’re looking for an apology, you are not going to get one. And thanks to you, the coffee’s all over the floor.”
“You won’t be forgiven even if you apologize. And, seriously, why do you drink black coffee? No wonder you’re so bitter.”
“It is none of your business, ma’am.” He called in one of the staff on duty to get the mess cleared. She murmured as she moved past him, “How rude!” He returned the favor, “Incredibly childish!” He took another cup of coffee and was careful enough to finish it at the counter itself. He disposed the empty cup into the trash can and left for the terminal.
Despite being well-off, Karan never really cared for luxury. But all he ever did was for his family. He could have had a chartered flight; instead he chose to travel in the Premium Economy class. As he entered the plane, the air hostess wished him. He smiled courteously. As he walked past the seats, he helped an elderly woman to stuff her bag into the compartment above. Having found his seat, he settled down comfortably. Karan was mostly an introvert, he did very little talk. The plane took off right on time. After a seemingly long quiet time, the passenger by his side turned to him and said, “Hey, you must be Mr. Karan Singhania, founder and CEO of Pegasus Incorporation, and one of the chief speakers of the Global Java Conference being held tomorrow onward at Santa Clara, right?”
“Yes, I am and you are.. Oh dear God, not you again” his face fell as soon as he saw her. She was quick to respond, “Listen, I know it was wrong of me to shout at you like that, but you have to agree, it was unintentional. I kind of freaked out that I was about to fall. Are we even?”
“So, now you realize that you were wrong, after you caused so much trouble back there?”He fought back at that innocent face she made. “Sort of,” she sighed, “Nevertheless, I am a big fan of yours. I had experimented on your microprocessor system software and it is phenomenal, but it has this glitch when you make an attempt to over clock the processor. You should probably build on it.”
“So, first, you cause all this trouble at the airport, and now you’re finding faults in my work. Unbelievable!” he was furious. “Will you please calm down? I said I was sorry about your pitch black coffee. And the software, I’m telling it for your own good. You can’t take in criticism, can you? Anyway, let’s put this all behind us. Let’s start over from the beginning.” She had her way with words.
He murmured, “Whatever” and turned back to his newspaper. Gesturing for a handshake, she took the lead, “Hello, Mr. Singhania, I am Surbhi Kapoor, student of Computer Science and Programming at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, final year, graduating in a few weeks. It has not been that great to meet you so far, but I hope our trip to San Francisco will be better than expected.”
To be continued…