Tiger Growls and The Sky Falls

Thought I pen down this incident that happened few moons back. I was a bachelor then, and lived and shared an apartment with four friends with the majority of them being Bengali. Durga Puja was fast approaching and I had booked my ticket for Kolkata from Mumbai. I was working in Pune at that time. A few days after I had booked my ticket, one of my roommates, Agastya Basu, also expressed his desire to tag along. Now Before I take this story forward, I need to introduce you to this dear friend, Agastya. He was the quintessential romantic guy who wore his heart on his sleeves. He was quite a popular character in his office and a wonderful company for all of us in our evenings and weekends. And till date, I am not sure about the authenticity of the numerous incidents he narrated to us—from hilarious ones to some weird ones and few being ridiculously insane as well. But nevertheless, we all enjoyed each of those stories in good humor.

I was feeling happy cause now I would have Agastya for company in my little more than two and a half hour journey from Mumbai to Kolkata. In addition, since Pune did not have a direct flight, I would have him along in our bus journey as well. Since our Indian Airlines flight was at 6.30 AM in the morning, we left Pune at around 10 in the night in one of the state-run deluxe AC bus that ply’s between Pune station and Dadar (in Mumbai) via the beautiful and dangerous curves…oops I mean Ghats of Lonavala and Kandala. We reached the domestic airport around 1 PM and directly walked in to the terminal. We were already starving by that time, so we headed to the airport restaurant and raided on whatever was available and did not look stale. After that we had these five hours to spend. After an hour long “Addaa” session between the two of us, we decided to take a nap in our chairs. And when we woke, it was already 5 AM. So we hurriedly rush to the Indian Airlines counter. As we were standing, the fact was your truly was standing in the queue, while our dear protagonist, Agastya, was doing a survey of all the passengers lined up in our counter and off course the beautiful ground staff whom he loved to trouble with his curious questions. I still wonder how he always had this bag of questions to ask and that too for a simple air-travel. Nevertheless, why bother. Then, suddenly Agastya came up to me and said, “Buddy, look at that passenger standing two arms ahead of us.” I looked and found that it was a known face, a girl who lived in the same society building with a group of other working girls. And although not sure where she worked, but definitely she use to take the same road where majority of the IT companies were housed. So, my assumption was that she must be a software professional just like us and visiting Kolkata, hence most likely a Bengali as well. Now, our smart friend, Agastya did not want to leave this chance of befriending a pretty girl and on top of it a Bengali and working in the same city and who lives in the same building. The next thing, I know is that he is talking to the counter staff, after the guy has giving the boarding pass to this girl and tells a story about how they are related and wanted two seats besides her. And he was surely lucky because the guy at the counter obliged.

So after spending some time in the waiting area …waiting for the announcement and listening to Agastya various ideas about how we should break the ice in the flight, we are asked to board the flight. So, the seating arrangement that was worked out was the girl had the window seat, Agastya would be sitting in the middle, and yours truly would sit on the aisle seat. Fair enough. I was never the James Bond type. As the flight took off, Agastya takes out a Java book and starts talking to me about some Java technology and AJAX and how he is doing some cool security stuff in Java in his project. At this point, I think as a reflex action and if you are a software developer, who might turn for a second. The girl did just that, but just for a fraction, but it was enough for our Tiger to pounce on the open opportunity. And Agastya said, “Hi, are you also working on Java since you showed interest in our conversation?” Poor girl, she did not have any other choice than to reply, “And she said “Yes, I am working on a Java project as well”. Agastya had broken the ice and he was about to put his thought into second-gear when the most unexpected thing happened. It was a “sky fall” moment if I may say so. Funny and embarrassing, both! Suddenly, I could hear a noise, more like a growl. And am sure the girl heard it as well. It was quite audible. We both turned sideways. The only person who did hear those noises but assumed that it was not getting heard outside his body was Agastya. It was Agastya stomach making those growling noises. Remember when we are hungry, almost starving and our stomach is churning some peculiar noises and most of the time we think that it is only audible to us, but the fact is that those noises are quite loud and clear. I whispered to Agastya about his musical belly noise and he had his jaws opened. Embarrassed!!! The next thing , we both saw was that the girl was snipping, trying to put her hand over her nose and then took out a spray and perfumed around her neck. She must have assumed the noise to come from some other place, I am sure because it always sounds like someone has farted. The next thing I saw was poor Agastya hiding his face in a magazine for the remainder of the journey. He must be thinking how to tell that pretty lass that those noises came from his belly and not his bottom. Worst, he also refused to eat the food served on the plane adding fuel to the suspicion that something was not right with his stomach. To this date, I can understand the misery and how much embarrassment such bodily noises can cause especially when you least expect it to happen.

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