He was very excited about his trip to Russia. In January 2013, he had resolved to visit two new countries every year. Russia was his first country for the year 2014. He chose Russia as he was always very enamoured by the country, but primarily because one of the first films he ever saw was ‘Mera Naam Joker.’ This trip was also special for him because he would leave a lot of drama behind of strenuous work, relationship, family, and friends; and embark on a life-changing journey post the trip.
He’d travel alone because it allowed him to meet the most confident version of himself. Yet, when you are a ‘guy from Delhi,’ no amount of confidence can ease the discomfort in approaching girls. Even your chivalry can creep them out. Sophisticated stereotyping, you see. But he was going to fight it. Because he saw a ‘Russian’ girl in front of him in the check-in counter queue who was quite an eyeful, and he wasn’t going to pass the opportunity to know her. As he was practising his opening line, she turned around. He was stunned. Both by her beauty and because he wasn’t ‘ready.’ All he could muster was a nervous but a broad smile. She smiled back. They still debate who said ‘hi’ first. Inconsequential really.
She checked-in and asked if he’d mind if she waited for him. He wanted to say that he’d beat himself to death if even for one second in seven lives of 100 years each he thought about ‘minding’ that proposition. Yet, all he could manage was the Indian head-shake. He sincerely hoped she understood. The guy at the check-in counter, observing all this, cancelled his web check-in and proceeded to issue him a ‘revised seating arrangement.’