Almost an year ago, when Aadhya left to US after completing her post graduation in Mass Media and Communications from a reputed college of Arts - Pune, little did she know about the future that was in store for her. She had a very charming and attractive personality. She excelled in her studies too.
October 27th , the evening she landed in Chicago is the day that remains bold and clear in her memory.
In the baggage counter she stood wearing an anxious look. Her bright eyes were searching the two huge suitcases. Her mom had packed them with all sorts of eateries which consumed more space and weight than Aadhya's clothes or other essentials. She was nervous yet tried to portray the calm and confident self.
"First visit to the states ?" came a gentle voice from behind. Startled at the question, Aadhya shook her head to respond in a "YES."
"Well I am Gautam Choudary. I guess that was a Yes. No need to panic. Customs check is just a formality. I was afraid the first time I came here 5 years ago on a job assignment. But now I am a regular. Mam..."
"I am Aadhya.. Aadhya Shukla."
"Lovely name. Aadhya, by the way I have my bags here. Let me know once you find yours. So we can move towards customs"
"Oh that is really nice of you. I think I can manage. Please carry on Gautam."
"It is absolutely fine. I am in no hurry. I can afford some wait"
"There they are .. the mighty red ones with a label "Aadhya - Delhi" on them.
Gautam worked in one of those top notch MNC's. He was returning to US after having paid a visit home back in Jaipur. His parents were looking out for a perfect bride for their only son, who lived miles away from them. He had seen a series of girls' photos, shortlisted and met a few of them over tea or lunch. None seem to please them - Its a "NO" from either him or his parents. Gautam had burnt his entire vacation time on this "bride search programme" and was left with no option but to rush back to US and resume duty.
"These two bags are pretty heavy Aadhya.Trolleys might be of some help".
"Thank you very much"
Pushing the trolley as they walk down the aisle,
"So what brings you here? Job or Masters?" he asked.
"Job and Masters ". She smiles.
"Oh! if I've got it right, you are here to make some money so that you can pursue your higher education."
"Aaahmmm! Something like that."
In the queue they wait.
"Next in Queue to Counter 3 please" , the officer from Counter 3 made it through the microphone.
Gautam asked Aadhya to go to Counter 3. A branded set of 4 questions and it was done.
Aadhya waited for Gautam to finish his routine so that she could pay him a formal Thank you filled with gratitude before she could leave.
A couple more minutes and...
"Thanks Gautam for all your help. It was nice meeting you!"
"Oh!! its okay. And no formalities please. Any friends here to help you out with the initial stay and .."
"Hmmm Yeah I have a friend, Shilpa and she is gonna be here any moment now."