The Circle Of Joy
The Circle Of Joy
Amonita worked in the same office as her husband. They fell in love and decided to marry. A normal love story.. so far so good. Human nature is never content...one always wants more.... So it was with Amonita, Aali was not in agreement with her this time. He felt he would not be fair to his old parents. They had many conversations, arguments and now it had come down to bitter fights! These days they got into bitter verbal exchanges, for the smallest reasons..
It was a rainy morning in July, when Amonita's world fell apart. It was an accident ! She wished a hundred times that she had not had that argument with Aali... wished she had stopped him from leaving their home in a fit of anger. She blamed her self for the accident on his way to work. She could not forgive herself for the harsh words she said..and wished she could erase them; she wished for an undo button in the program called life. A couple of months later, she lost her only connect with Aali and his family, their baby... She was a living corpse, till one fine morning..
Amonita decided to take charge of her life. When she could not bear the thought of being in the same city, where she had spent the happiest span of her life, she just walked up to an immigration office, and they helped the young lady emigrate to the land of dreams - USA! Life is so simple..
Cut to present...
It was a normal day at work about 9.30 am, just the normal buzz, people on calls, in impromptu meets, informal conversations, the floor was alive. It was a Thursday morning. It was a special day for Amonita. She was planning a surprise visit home! Amonita had dusky complexion, high cheekbones, lively eyes, full lips! She wore her long hair in a tied up high, in a bun! She was dressed in black slacks and a purple tee. She had not been home in five years, it was neither Easter, nor Thanksgiving, not even Christmas, it was just another day in the middle of May! Amonita had come to the corporate office to collect her pay check and complete other formalities. She would be leaving Denver for the next three months, to take a flight back home! Home... brought back bittersweet thoughts to her mind..
It was on a cold winter morning, just after the Christmas and New Year’s, when a sudden wave of homesickness washed over Amonita. She spoke almost every other day to her parents on Skype! Thanks to her baby sister - Peerana who was now all of 19, who taught her parents how to log on to the calls. Peerana kept her parents on their toes with her teenage tantrums! She was a normal teenager with loads of friends, they were as bad as teenagers can be; they had a passion - dance! When they were not in college studying, Peerana and her friends would be practicing for some reality show or the other!
Amonita had been able to save quite a bit of her pay, by cutting corners! She wanted to be with her parents and take care of them for a few days! Her mom had been complaining of aches and pains which come with age, dad had looked very old, all of a sudden. The twinkle in his eyes was missing that morning early January! Something was amiss, but their smiles and kind words assured her, everything was OK. Nevertheless, she wanted to be home to check on them! Fares were very steep, that part of the year, so Amonita decided she would dip into her savings and even tighten her belt a bit, for her trip back home.
It was days of meticulous planning, scanning the travel sites for the cheapest flights, smallest lay overs, and the fastest route back home! Finally!! She found the flight, which would fit her budget and also get her home in the shortest possible time. One can imagine the kind of 'heimweh' one feels, when one has been away from home so long!
Amonita works in a fashionable upmarket boutique run by a fashion house. She is the most sincere and hardworking member of the staff. Most of the store's rich clientele would come up and request to be assisted by Amonita, they said - 'she would know what I need!' Her employers were not too happy with her sudden request for leave, but if an employee has not taken a single day off in five years, she surely is entitled to a few months off! Her request was approved! Amonita was happy!
The next task was to go pick a few presents for her family. Since she would be meeting her friends after such a long time, she would take along small presents for them too! After careful selection for each person she would be meeting, she also decided to throw in some knick knacks for 'sudden visits from long lost relatives'!
She reached the airport and breezed into the check-in counter. The ground staff, a smartly dressed girl in her uniform, smiled and scanned her ticket. Soon the smile from her lips disappeared and she was frowning! Ma'am, excuse me, but your flight has already left this morning! I am sorry! Why don't you try buying another ticket to Bombay from our current reservations, you are just in time for a flight leaving in a couple of hours! Next please! The attendant dismissed Amonita!
Amonita was devastated! Her excitement was palpable on the video call last night, when her mom asked repeatedly, what is it, why you are so excited?! Amonita almost spilled the beans, but contained herself just in time! What if, she had told her mom? How much of pain would she have caused her dear ones! Thank god, not a word escaped her lips last night!
What will happen to all those presents, what happens to the long leave she was granted after a lot of persuasion at work? She longed to back home in her room, and eat her favorite egg curry, which her mom made so well! Tears rolling down her cheeks, she wheeled her luggage over to the current booking counter.
She gathered herself and requested information on the current booking to the flight to Mumbai in the next two hours. When the person at the counter quoted the rates for current bookings, her head was reeling! It was way too costly!
She sat down dejectedly, on the luggage trolley with tears streaming down her cheeks! The security guard - Mr. Jones, looked on with pity! He walked up to her with a bottle of water, which he offered her. He had a kindly face, and a soft gentle voice. He had witnessed the exchange between Amonita and the staff at the current booking counter.
Amonita slowly, in between sobs explained the situation. She had read the 5.30 am flight as 5.30 pm! Mr. Jones sadly nodded his head and said, you youngsters don't have time for anyone, not even for yourselves! Give me your boarding pass and your ticket,let me see what I can do for you. Amonita's eyes filled with fresh tears, as she might still have a chance to live all the moments of home-coming she had imagined so far!
Mr.Jones walked up to the manager of the airline and requested her to help. Luckily for Amonita, Mr. Smithsonian, one of the directors of the airline was to travel to India on the very flight Amonita was trying to request a ticket! He was supposed to travel with his wife. A sudden attack of viral fever prevented Mrs Smithsonian from travelling, so Mr. Smithsonian was requesting a change in dates for his family.
The manager was about to dismiss Mr. Jones, saying we cannot fill in for someone's negligence, when the ticket fell from Mr.Jones' hand and landed in front of Mr. Smithsonian. He read the name - Amonita Khan, and frowned, did he know Amonita? He searched his memory, and soon recalled, Amonita was his wife's favorite attendant at the boutique, where she had shopped just last week! Mr. Smithsonian remembered, his wife, spoke of Amonita very highly and had mentioned, how Amonita was going back home to India on a long leave. He asked the manager, what was the matter with the passenger? He also added, he knew Amonita personally, and could help if there was a problem. The manager explained that the lady had missed her flight due to her own negligence.
Oh don't worry! Why don't you give that child one of our tickets? Mr. Smithsonian, just requested the manager to fly the passenger in the business class seat, which was supposed to be booked for his wife! He even got Amonita's return ticket upgraded to business class! It took about 10-15 minutes for all the changes to be affected in the system. Mr. Jones headed back to where he had left the weeping Amonita, beaming all over his face. Mr. Smithsonian accompanied the security guard on his joyful errand! During the short walk to where Amonita waited, Mr. Smithsonian related, why he had gifted Amonita the ticket. Mr. Jones felt good, he worked for a company that cared for people!
Amonita had shed a few more tears in anxiety, while she waited for Mr.Jones to come back! It felt like her world had come to a standstill, as she watched the people who were hurrying to get on to their respective flights, no one cared about a lady weeping dejectedly sitting on her luggage trolley!
Mr. Jones handed Amonita her tickets and told her sternly - Now are you going to sit here flooding this place weeping all day? Amonita looked up at the two gentlemen, she recognized Mr. Smithsonian, and couldn't speak a word! She was embarrassed to be caught by a client in such a situation. He just smiled and patted her shoulder. Mr. Jones couldn't stop himself from breaking into a huge smile! Bon Voyage, Amonita!
Amonita could not believe her eyes! She looked at the ticket and boarding pass that Mr. Jones had handed her! She hugged the old man to show her gratitude! Mr.Jones told her that it wasn't him, who had done the good deed! He was just the harbinger of the good news! It was her hard work at the store, where she had served her customer Mrs. Smithsonian so well for all these years that had brought her this reward! So young lady, remember - what goes around comes around!
So the journey was to begin on a wing and a prayer! Amonita could not believe her good luck, while they ushered her to her seat in business class. Just as the plane took off, she spotted Avi, tall, confident, well groomed. That same warm smile and self-assured manner, He walked in her direction, as soon as he recognized his childhood sweetheart! He had proposed to her at school gate, on the last day of school, she had just laughed at him and gone her way! Her heart skipped a beat! She found, that she liked him more than she cared to admit to herself! Amonita admonished herself for feeling like a schoolgirl. As he approached her, she was filled with mixed feelings, will she allow herself to fulfill the circle of joy?