Neha unlocked her phone for the 100th time and sighed. Waiting for a delayed flight is one boring job. And the Facebook was proving to be the perfect nuisance by spamming her timeline with mushy love posts. This over enthusiasm around the so called Valentine’s day gives her much headache. No, she isn’t a member of the anti-valentine squad, but, just irked by this hype around a ‘special day’ for love. And the professional business analyst claims, this irritation have nothing to do with her bitter break up during college days. The red balloon clad shops and cafe in the lounge wasn’t helping her to breathe easier either.
Getting bored to death, she decided to try a new game to keep herself occupied.

**********

-“Hi, nice hack. Delayed flight?”

-“Hey, thanks. Yes, flight delayed by almost 3 hours. And I read this hack in a story. When getting bored in a public place, turn on the hotspot from Wi-Fi and rename with ‘getting bored, wanna chat, whatsapp at < phone no >.’ So decided to try it.”

-“A brilliant idea. I must say. I was trying to utilize the free Wi-Fi when your hotspot name interested me. So I stalled posting the photo of this happening “valentine’s day special lounge” and decided to ping you instead.”

-“You find this happening! Yuck. This hype, just infuriates me 🔥🔥🔥🔥”

-“OMG cool down. So not a patron of romance, I see. But, books of other genre, that may excite you?”

-“ Books are one true love. Especially I love detective and thriller story. What about you?”

-“About me?”

-“I mean, do you like books?”

-“ Oh, I read all kinds of books.”

-“But, which is your favourite genre?”

-“Hard to choose.”

-“Ah! Never mind. Do you read detective or adventure stories?”

-“Yes, of course, started with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, then Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot.”

-“No Miss Marple?”

-“Yes her too. Why?”

-“You never mentioned her? Because she is a woman?”

-“Oh are you one of those feminist types?”

-“Cut the crap. Stop generalising.”

-“Peace, peace. 🏳️🏳️🏳️. ”

-“Ok. By the way Miss Marple is brilliant. If you haven’t read, do give it a try.”

-“Absolutely. So why don’t we nurture your passion a little.”

-“What???”

-“I mean, why don’t we play a small game?”

-“Like!”

-“Well, both of our DPs are hidden. We don’t even know each other’s gender. So a game to spot each other. Who ever finds first, wins..”

-“ Sounds interesting.”

-“Good. By the way, did you hear about the guy who bought so many books he was eventually crushed underneath them? Now whom to blame?”

-“Huh?”

-“Well, he can only blame his shelf.”

-“Lame.”

-“Red top, blue jeans, long curly hair, with a yellow bag on her lap, sitting beside the man savouring waffles. That’s you. I spot, I win.”

-“What? But, how?”

-“Method of elimination Miss Marple. Out of the total twenty to twenty five people sitting here, the ones talking on the phone are immediately ruled out. Some are sleeping. So didn’t count them. Finally, there were around five to six suspects, explicitly dedicated to their phone screen, but, only you smiled the moment I sent the ‘lame’ joke.”

-“Impressive.”

-“Now find me.”

-“Why? You found me and you won. Game over”

-“But, you didn’t even try.”

-“I would’ve loved it. But my flight is announced and I am off to board now.”

-“You are one sore loser, Miss.”

***************

Neha started moving towards her airbus, but her eyes were still searching for him. She was now certain the sender is a guy.

“Looking for me?”

A bright looking man appeared from nowhere in front of her.

“Umm, so you are the chat friend. But, hey your face seems familiar.”

“ May be you have seen me at the conference, you just attended few hours ago.” He answered sheepishly.

“ Yes, you were representing some Dellas company. I liked your presentation.”

“Yeah. But, still you ignored when your friend wanted to introduce us.”

“ Oh, she is always trying to set me up…oh no, wait, so, you are following me!!!!” Neha was visibly irritated now.

“Not really. Just boarding flights from the same airport at the same time and coincidental delay unfolded opportunities. And mind it, it was you, who wanted to chat.” He replied cheekily.

“Stop playing cool”, Neha snapped in an exasperating voice, “You cheated, you just pretended to find me.”

“Guilty as charged madam. But, it was indeed a pleasure to know you. By the way, in case you don’t remember my name from the presentation intro, I am Vikram.” He extended his hand.

His words were melting down Neha’s fury slowly. She smiled warmly before and shook his hand.

“You’ve my number. Please call, if you find it worthy.”

The sincerity in his voice did stir up something in Neha, which was long forgotten. One bad incident shouldn’t define her future. She should give herself another chance, she decided. Nodding graciously as he walked away, she was still wondering, how many good detectives were seen doing romance. The lounge suddenly wasn’t looking that tacky anymore.

—–X—–

This post is a guest contribution to the ‘Petals of Love’ blog hop hosted by Swarnali Nath.

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