My eyes were riveted on one passenger in particular: demure smile, twinkling eyes, auburn hair, bright blue scarf. When the plane landed, she walked from one end of the tiny airport to the other, as if searching for someone. When she passed me, I asked, “Is anything wrong?”
Eight months later I was in Frankfurt for a conference and had a free evening, so I called her. She picked me up from my hotel, and we had dinner at her place. I ended up staying the night. After I returned home to India, we phoned and wrote each other often. Her photograph had the pride of place on my desk: the smile, the auburn hair, the scarf. But over time the distance and demands of work took their toll, and the relationship languished.
Over dessert, I asked, “Do you ever wear scarves anymore?” She searched in her bag, found a scarf, and placed it around her neck. The same bright blue scarf.
I could have wept.