Radha turns 35, this June the 22nd. She is a senior program manager at Boeing. A high energy individual, she has earned herself this title, at a relatively early age. In the beginning, she was elated with the success.. a bit nervous too, at the sudden thrust of responsibility. But after a few months.. after two well received successes.. competent handling of the occasional faux pas.. she has fit right in. She was recognized recently for her performance at work.
Radha has not married yet. This issue has become a sore point these days between herself and her mother. Always loving and supportive of whatever Radha wanted to do, her mom really had zero conception of what exactly her daughter had set out to achieve. When at 35, she found Radha unmarried, living by herself in a distant country, with several broken relationships under her belt, she was not comforted. She was pretty devastated actually. Nothing else Radha had or did made sense to her. Radha was tired of being cited friends and cousins having their second kids now, or, ex-es sporting pretty wives.. some into their second models. What did Radha care! She swam 20 laps a day, read voraciously and worked hard. She did not need anything else. Vacations went by happily unnoticed. She kept herself busy. Hung out ocassionally with few select friends.. Visiting a family with expectations that did not match her own, was becoming painful of late.
A recent irksome development was that her mother had enlisted her younger brother's help to setup a profile for Radha on several matrimonial websites. So regularly now, Radha received junk messages from random people expressing interest. Her brother was still in college and rumor had it that he'd recently gotten romantically involved with someone. His hurry in getting Radha to decide one way or another was palpable. Radha had no issues to see him married before herself.. but their mother would not agree. It was making things harder to put off. Normally cursorily perused, (more out of a morbid curiosity of what the yield was rather than any real interest).. and promptly deleted.. this morning's share of emails, had something that caught Radha off-guard.
She was staring at the photograph of a man she had recently sat next to on an airplane on a cross continental 8 hour flight. Radha had found him quiet attractive.. loved the cologne he wore. After some mutual eyeing, first covert and then pretty overt, graduating to smiles.. they had struck up a conversation. Topics had ranged from favorite authors, TV shows, to the fate of female executives in the aerospace industry. Radha had found his company stimulating. Conversation was just beginning to foray into their personal lives, when time was up. Radha had felt a slight twinge at the moment of touch down... she'd enjoyed her flight! She was probably never going to set eyes on the reason again. She'd almost asked for his number. Strict discipline had reigned her in. Now he sat smiling and squinting at her from under his steel frame glasses. His interest message said the following:
"Hey you! Remember me? Frankly, I am surprised to see you here! Pleasantly surprised. My sister-in-law, who I hope you will meet someday, sends me these daily updates from various websites on prospective brides.. and so here you are! I have to admit, after we went separate ways, several times I caught myself wondering if you were available or not.. sort of regretting the fact that I did not ask for your number when I had the chance. I am interested to see you.. And, I am hoping that my interest is not lopsided. My number here is 678 038 6129. I confess I am feeling very impatient about the delay I now must accept till I could talk with you again.
A 38 year old confirmed bachelor.. until very recently. "
Radha sat smiling at Deb Sanyal. This was a local area code too! Why the hell not? She reached for her phone and dialed the number in the message. She got his voice mail and spoke the following after the beep: "Calling occupant of the interplanetary most extraordinary craft... I felt the same way afterward. Cant wait to see you again. Radha."