'A walk to remember' - The book remained in my hand as I reached Accra in Ghana for my project assignment. Close to ten hours on a flight might seem long, but not when you are occupied with thoughts. And I was. In Cal's thoughts. As so was the situation when I was standing at the immigration counter waiting for my turn. Balancing the book and my passport in one hand, I pulled out my phone from my pocket and switched it on. Soon after, Cal called. Ah, that was probably the widest my smile could ever get. He said, he missed me. I told him I missed him too. Then out of the blue he suddenly asks me, "What do you think is happening?". "I don't know", I said. Then he says, "But, I'm loving it". My smile got wider. "Me too", I said. I could almost hear him smile at the other end.
It was my turn and after getting my passport stamped I walked out to an unknown country which was going to be my home for the next 30 days. I was picked up from the airport and dropped to my hotel. I was given a fabulous room, facing the pool and I settled my luggage down. Ideally the best thing for me to do would have been to freshen up and sleep, but I had a call to make. Obviously! Yes, I was on international roaming but that was the last thing on my mind. I bought myself a local sim a couple of days later but until then Bharti Airtel it was. He kept extending his credit limit and I kept receiving the calls. We both together paid a phone bill of sixty thousand to Airtel that month. Till date, we don't regret it.
Ghana is in the GMT time zone, which means that I was a good five and a half hours behind Cal's time. By the time he woke me up in the morning, half his day was over. Since I was there to render trainings to the client I could barely use my phone at work. I would come back to an empty hotel room every single night. Yes, it is as depressing as it sounds. But Cal did not let me get into that mode. 9 pm for me. 2.30 am for him. My phone would promptly ring everyday that time. He would wait until I freshen up, cook my dinner and eat. Then he would sing me to sleep and wait up until I would just doze off with a sleepy bye. Even if I accomplished all this in an hour, it would be 3.30 am for him. Yet, he would wake up everyday at 7 am and head to work. Later, he would call to wake me up. This happened non-stop for the next 30 days. He, was the only reason why I did not feel homesick in a strange continent. And this was just one of the reasons why I fell in love with him.
The most painful thing was that I could see him, but he couldn't see me. My work laptop did not have a webcam and I was unable to find one there too. So, when we skyped I could see his pale face and he could only hear me. His internet modem was not stable and every two minutes the call would get cut. I waited. He called back. This happened atleast 20 times during an hour. But neither of us gave up. This, till date remains one of the things that taught us immense patience, something which we both lacked. Funny thing was that we lost our patience with the world, but not with each other. If I was seething, he'd cool down and placate me and vice versa. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, it did. But it sure is frustrating. Somehow the days passed and soon I was just a day away from my return. After another grueling 15 hours of flight, I landed in Bangalore. My phone rang, while I was still seated in the plane. "I'm here, come soon", he said.
After hurriedly collecting my bags, I made my way out of the terminal and walked out. There were hordes of people waiting for someone or the other. Amongst all of them I saw a beaming face. Cal's smile was so bright that it was almost impossible to miss him in that crowd. He came running towards me. I left my trolley mid way and walked towards him. Yes, it was like a movie scene. A very common one at that. But to us, it meant walking towards to a common destination. To be together. All my tiredness vanished the minute he hugged me tight. This was December 23rd, 2011. (Yes, I'm excellent at remembering dates.)
We spent the new year's eve together. It was beautiful. We spoke, drank and danced away to glory. It was just the two of us, but it was the best party I've ever been to. He laughed when I told him that he can't dance. I laughed when he told me that I'm so much of a tom boy. Whatever it was, we were so comfortable with each other that everything else seemed so trivial at that point of time. And by trivial I mean the fact that we were actually related. We did discuss it once, and brushed it away with ease. We were concentrating on what was happening, rather than on what could happen later. Nothing was said, we just held our hands together and welcomed 2012 with a big smile on our faces. It was the beginning of a new year.
And we both knew that "it" had begun.
To be continued.