Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scramble in a Valley - III...Down Under

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a well known proverb and hence it’s that time of my blog when I need to recall the techie in me and press the F5 buttons on your brains’ keyboards. In my earlier posts (Scramble in a Valley – I, II) I had introduced the much urbane Indian babe called Natasha who had brewed her own flavor for life and was determined to find a taste in it. Let’s see if she is enjoying this flavor or not.

The sun was beaming after a long time and Natasha couldn’t prevent her heart from yearning to go out into the streets of Melbourne city. Mere feeling of warm sun rays on her skin made her feel joyous, so before the sun could change its mind she pulled up a pair of black jeans and zipped up her jacket to go out.

Oh! btw guys, did I tell you that Natasha flew to Sydney two months ago due to her recent onsite appointment from work. So how did she land up in Melbourne? Well, well just hang on there and read ahead to figure this out yourselves ;)

As Natasha got down from her apartment she was welcomed by the gust of wind which felt nothing short of a tight slap on her face. “Ouch!” Natasha murmured within herself and prodded ahead. Even though it was mid December Melbourne was still cold and the wind chill only made it bit more uncomfortable. Technically this part of the year is supposed to greet spring season but the grey skies were still dominating the city most of the time. Natasha wondered if she should hire a taxi but then she didn’t have any particular place in mind to go. She just wanted to walk in the city and enjoy the sunshine.

A few meters ahead there was a traffic signal so Natasha stopped there waiting for the walk signal to go green. Normally these signals turn green within a minute’s wait but today it was still red even after couple of minutes. Natasha began to fidget with her jacket pocket and even had the urge to dodge the traffic and cross road. At this point she was wondering about the easiness of crossing roads in India and the numerous dodges, which make one feel as though crossing road is a Kabaddi game. Nevertheless she pulled herself out of her thoughts and walked ahead. As she entered the CBD area a tiny smile appeared on her face. CBD was one part of the Australian cities which always buzzed with life and showed signs of human population which is almost difficult to find on their roads dominated with cars and cars and cars. Two wheelers are a rare category found here.

Having walked couple of kilometers by now Natasha wanted to sip something hot to thaw her body so she entered into a coffee shop and ordered for a cup of cappuccino. While her order was being serviced she noticed that most of the people in the coffee shop were having black coffee without sugar, mere thought of which made her sick in the stomach.

“One regular Cappuccino” shouted the girl from the counter. Natasha picked up her coffee and found a sunny spot outside the shop to sit. Hot coffee in mild sunshine and cold breeze was just what she needed at that point of time to feel comforted.

“Excuse me! Are you from India?” A voice came from right behind her back. Natasha turned around to find a young girl about her age dressed modestly in a pair of blue jeans and white top. She had her hair tightly pulled back into a small ponytail, though Natasha could tell from her look that her jet black hair was silky and soft when treated more leniently.

“Yes, I am” replied Natasha while thinking all this. The girl handed over a pamphlet to her with a faint smile. Before Natasha could ask anything that girl disappeared into thin air. She at once had the urge to throw away the pamphlet but couldn’t find a bin around. So she crushed it into a small clumsy ball and slipped it into her jacket pocket. Suddenly her phone rang. She looked at it and saw some unknown number calling. She didn’t want to pick it up but on second thoughts answered the phone just to realize it was customer care from her phone service. They had called up to ask some routine questions. After she hung up she realized that it was almost 4 hours since she had left the apartment and now she was beginning to feel a little hungry. So she grabbed a sandwich on her way back home.

By the time she returned back to her apartment she was very tired and wanted to hit the bed. She felt too lazy to go and change so she parked herself on the couch in the living room and switched on the heater for a while. She pulled a blanket over her, kept on the side, and tried closing her eyes. Something suddenly pricked her on the side of her belly. She got up immediately and checked her jacket to find that crumbled pamphlet. She straightened it out and stretched her hand to place it on the side table but the image on it grabbed her attention. She saw picture of Jagjit Singh, the famous ghazal singer, on the paper. She scanned it completely and found that a Jagjit Singh concert was happening in this city on the coming Friday night. Her mind raced faster. She had always wanted to attend Jagjit Singh’s ghazal concert since long but could never make it happen. Now that she was miles away from her country she couldn’t let this opportunity slip out of her hand. She made up her mind to attend the concert mostly because she loved Jagjit Singh’s ghazals and also because she was alone in the city and didn’t have much plans to keep herself occupied.

She made a phone call on number printed on the pamphlet and bought a ticket using her credit card. She eagerly waited for the whole week to pass by. On Friday evening she wore a lavender colour dress and matched it up with a pair of pearl earrings of the same hue. Then she slipped into her stilettos and saw herself in the mirror. She was very pleased with the way she was looking. She had always felt confident about her dressing sense and this was one occasion which bolstered her belief. Feeling all pumped up about the evening she left her apartment. She hopped into the taxi waiting for her downstairs and reached the concert venue just on time.

She entered the ground where the show was to happen. It was bubbling with Indians all around though few firangs could also be spotted occasionally. She looked at her ticket and found her seat number. It was somewhere in the middle of the ground. Though she didn’t like the view from her seat she was happy to be there that night. Within some time the concert began. Seeing Jagjit Singh live and attending his concert was too exciting for her. One after the other Jagjit Singh sang all his famous ghazals, some from the movies and some from his albums. She was thoroughly enjoying the renditions when suddenly her eyes fell on a girl who was seated two rows ahead of her, almost at a diagonal distance. She couldn’t believe she was looking at Piya. That girl had the same face and same looks, but how could she be Piya? Wasn’t Piya out of town for 10 days? At least that’s what she had told Natasha.

Piya was Natasha’s friend from college who was living in Melbourne and had invited her to spend Christmas and New Year eve with her. And that’s how our girl Natasha landed up in Melbourne. Natasha suddenly recalled the conversation she had with Piya when she had landed up at her apartment in Melbourne a week ago.

“Hey Natasha, am glad to see you. You look great” Piya said this while greeting Natasha with a warm hug.

“Thanks Piya. Firstly for inviting me to your beautiful place and secondly for your generous compliments”

“Oh! Come on. Don’t be formal now. Make yourself comfortable”

“Thanks again. I sure will”

“Oh btw Natasha, I got a call from my work this morning and unfortunately something urgent has come up. I might have to travel out of the city for ten days. I am sorry this is all happening now”

“Oops! That’s sad. But don’t you worry. I can arrange for myself in some hotel. You can carry on with your work” Natasha said this while feeling totally taken aback by what Piya had told her just now.

“Oh! No. I didn’t mean that. You do not have to go anywhere. This is your place. I just mean that I would be gone for 10 days so I wouldn’t be able to spend time with you but I promise I would be back after Christmas and we'll have a rocking time then” Piya replied immediately.

“City is just walking distance from this place so you roam around there. Shop, eat and enjoy your time. Once I am back we’ll have fun” Piya added this not to sound too rude.

“Are you sure” Natasha asked hesitatingly.

“Cent per cent” Piya replied

“Alright then. You carry on. I shall see you after ten days”

“Sure” Piya said with a smile.

This was the last conversation Natasha had with Piya after which Piya had left for the airport. Natasha was now no more concentrating on Jagjit Singh or his ghazals. All she could think was Piya and their conversation. She was feeling sad and betrayed and now uninvited to this concert, evening and the city. Everything seemed to make her feel unwanted. “Why did Piya lie to me? Why did she leave me alone at her apartment?” Natasha’s mind was full of these questions and more. She was angry with Piya but more with herself for being such a na├»ve. She wanted to leave Melbourne immediately. She left the concert half way through and made way to Piya’s apartment. By the time she reached home she was less angry but more puzzled. She decided to confront Piya about all this and hence dropped her plans to go back to Sydney. Piya was coming back on Sunday evening which was just a day away.

Perplexed by the turn of events that evening Natasha decided to calm herself and think about something soothing. She decided to watch a movie at home. With all the excitement of Jagjit Singh and shock of seeing Piya, Natahsa had almost forgotten that she hadn’t had her dinner. So she got up and made some nice maggie noodles for herself and began to watch “No One Killed Jessica”. She always liked watching suspense and murder mysteries. As the evening grew into night, Natasha got lost into the movie and even forgot what had happened few hours ago.

For now she was really enjoying the hot maggie and Hindi movie combination but what would happen when she meets Piya on Sunday evening? Will Natasha forget everything and spend a happy New Year eve with Piya or will she question Piya about her fabricated story?

Well life has its unique way of surprising us and unfurling events which are best understood with time. So let’s give some time to Natasha and wait for her to share more about this mystery. Till then you folks enjoy and have some good time.