She wanted to leave the freshly applied henna a little longer, the design was appalling, but her heart advised otherwise. As the clock ticked by the minute, her desire to run away from her own wedding was getting stronger. She reached out to the nearest curtains and etched out henna coloured imprints on the pale yellow cloth. Her orange coloured palms faintly reflected the grin on her face, the decision was made. She reached out for a sticky note and scribbled out a few words for her parents and the man whom she almost married, the love of her life.
“Flight Lieutenant Sowmya Rao reporting Sir”
General Harris beamed at his finest fighter pilot as she entered his cabin and threw him a salute.
“At ease Sowmya”, he moved forward and gave a nudge on her shoulder. Sowmya stood at ease unlocking her palms. She looked at her mentor with pride, she had completed a mission even the best of her co-pilots dreaded of executing.
“You did well”, Harris spoke with a slight smile, “Saved your co-pilot’s life too, that speaks volumes of your dedication towards your team. Proud of you kid!”
“Thank you Sir!”, Sowmya replied with a straight face.
“You don’t look happy kid, what is it? They didn’t make your favourite dosa eh?”
“Expecting a crispy dosa from our not-so-south-Indian cook is like hoping for a rainfall in the desert. I have given up hopes on that ages ago”, she paused, “It’s about my leaves”, Sowmya spoke still keeping a straight face. Her voice was firm. She was angry at her boss but her army training barred her from expressing her personal jeopardy, especially in front of her seniors.
“What about it? I am not taking your bullshit anymore, you have to take a vacation. You haven’t been home in 10 years, as a matter of fact ever since you have joined the Air Force you haven’t even eaten outside the canteen. Go get a life Sowmya, see you after you’re back”, Harris commanded.
“Yes Sir”, Sowmya replied with an army embedded scream and stormed out of her senior’s cabin.
“Dude you’re supposed to be happy going home. They’re your parents, don’t worry they’ll be happy to see you”, Samir reasoned with an angry faced Sowmya. He saw Sowmya dump her clothes into her bag pack and settled on a sofa in her living room. Flight Lieutenant Samir was Sowmya’s batch mate and possibly her only friend who wasn’t scared of her.
“Come on cheer up Sowmya, your folks know you’re the first girl whose made it as a fighter pilot in the Air-Force. Who wouldn’t be proud to have such a daughter? You’re over thinking all of this, it’s been ten years S!”
“Shutup Sam! You of all people know how I don’t wanna go. Dad is still not over my-daughter-has-chosen-the-wrong-profession phase!”
“Then let’s go to Goa, my leaves should be approved soon anyways. Let’s call Divya and Sharad.”
“My folks hate me Sam, yours don’t. I can’t steal your time with them, especially with your fiancé. She would slit my throat!”
“Okay then we’re settled, you’re going home”
Sowmya settled on a wooden chair next to her backpack, she held the bag with all her might and squeezed in her fingers.
“What if he’s married, Sam?”
“Well, I would if my girl dumped me right a day before the wedding! Besides, why would you care S? It was you who ran away from from the wedding, remember?”
“Screw you, Sam”
“All right girl, I am off your radar for the next 30 days. Go have some fun and please don’t scare people while you’re at it”, Sameer stood up and shot a wink at her,”Oh and by the way, have you heard of Facebook?”, he threw an Air Force salute and left.
Sowmya reluctantly reached out for her phone and entered a name on the Facebook Search option. She froze as she saw the search result come up. According to Facebook, the love of her life was married. Seconds later the screen of her phone went blur as tears rolled down her cheeks. The tough lieutenant realised she was a hopeless romantic after all. She had to see him, he had to know the truth! She picked up her bag and took the next flight out to Bangalore.