Tiger and Leo met on a flight. Tiger- 5’2 and Leo- 5’11, both were taking the last flight- a Jet Airways, ATR- out of Hyderabad to Bangalore. Tiger had had a long day and by God’s grace- grace which was not to last long- had all the three seats to herself. Leo was the last to board the flight and it was to him that she had to give up one of her seats.
Yes, she was irritated. But the irritation was lessened by the fact that he was well-built with a fashion sense- a trait rare to find in Indian men. He seemed to be in good humour and she could see that he kept looking at her through the corner of his eyes. She was pleased. After all, women wear their vanity on their backs all the time.
She pretended to be lost in her book but Leo was not fooled.
“So you read,” he asked.
Isn’t it obvious? — She thought. But, at least he was trying.
“Yes, I really enjoy reading,” she played along.
“Jeffrey Archer is one of my favourites. I love the way he captures your attention in the very first line,” he went on.
Well, not bad— thought she– a guy who looks like a US marine, has a fashion sense and reads. This flight is going to be fun—she smirked in her head.
They spoke about the book and other trivial things- their habitats, food habits, life stories and so on. Both had gone through rough patches and were looking to better their lives. Their 45 minutes together were over. They exchanged business cards and parted ways with—let’s keep in touch. No one wants to seem too eager on the first meet.
In stories such as these, technology is of vital importance. In the old times, it was a pigeon carrying letters. Pigeons were replaced by postmen and subsequently, letters were replaced by emails and postmen- by the internet. In the second decade of 2000s, there is Whatsapp and skype that comes to the aide of lovers.
As expected, they started texting and texting and texting and texting- to such an extent that Tiger got a lecture from her teenage daughter- a Panda- on how to live in the present.
A month later, they met on their first planned ‘meeting’ at an eatery. Tiger was in Bangalore with Panda for a conference. She left Panda in the hotel and disappeared for 5 hours, almost giving Panda a cardiac arrest. That day Panda understood what it would be like to have a teenage daughter who went on a date with a possible axe-murderer. Their meeting was all laugh and joy. Again, they parted ways.
Another month passed by and the texting and skyping reached its peak. Relationships, in my limited experience, have a growth curve. It starts with a bang and reaches its peak and then, with time, fall down at a steady state. This was the peak in their relationship.
They decided to ‘date.’ The venue was Samarkhand. Both were as nervous as kids going for prom. They met and hardly ate; just yapped the night away.
A week later, they were off to BR Hills—the deciding trip. ‘Whether to take it forward or not’- was the agenda. They lived on a tree house- their natural habitat, and discovered that they could live in harmony without eating each other up.
Tiger told Panda, “This is it.” Panda replied, “Go ahead kid, live your life.” Tiger met the mother lion and Leo did the same. They moved in together and subsequently tied the knot. The ceremony was presided over by all the animals of the animal kingdom.
Panda moved in with them soon after and now, Tiger, Leo, Panda and Panda’s two daughter live happily. I can’t vouch for a ‘happily ever after’, but they are happy for now. That is how this unlikely love story began.