Wednesday, akademicheskaya, Moscow russia.
Pure business nothing else was on my mind when I walked down the stairs leading to metro station AKADEMICHESKAYA. In next few hours I had to meet two clients, one at LENINSKY PROSPEKT(metro station) and the other at my final destination i.e SHABOROVSKAYA(metro station). I was excited since it was my first trip outside of India and was feeling proud that my company trusted me to handle the Russian clients. I had a tetra pack(SOME COUNTRY SIDE BEER) in my hand as I sat on the bench on the only platform at the metro.
For some reasons Russians don’t really like silence to prevail for long like us Indians and this makes us bond like nothing else, we even beat Fevicol bond in this field. Few men were arguing over the ticket counter, “|vilasya something something”. I looked at the slowly ticking clock at the top of the counter and then looked on the tube for train but saw nothing except darkness. I was trying to avoid the noisy discussion that Russians were offering for free to everyone on the platform. I came back to the bench and sat down and closed my eyes as I reclined myself to be comfortable on that wooden bench, the excitement of being on my first foreign trip had kept me up like an owl for past few days. The noises became louder and louder and I decided to look into what really is going on.They could be Russian mafia, they could be terrorists, they could be drug dealers, they could be flesh traders, they could harm me, all these thoughts pricked me as I got up and started walking towards ever growing noise of the Russians.
“Excuse me can I help you”, I asked the man who was shouting loudly at the counter.
I was just hoping that he understands English otherwise there was no escape without proving to him that I was not really abusing him in English. He was an old man in mid 50’s and fortunately for me he understood English.
“yesh, we can sort it out ourselves, it is between me and the station, stay away” he shouted at me and got back to the man in the counter.
Who wants to solve your problem anyway, I am just getting troubled by the nuisance you are creating. I walked away without saying anything, as I moved out of these 10-15 people, I found a girl sitting on the bench as if waiting for these men to arrive at a decision, she was all in tears and sobbing, she must be in her mid 20’s. I framed the situation in my mind,
These men are flesh traders and they are taking this girl to LENINSKY to sell her off to bosses there, and the metro authorities are not allowing them to travel without proper identification details. I heard myself talking to my inner self,
“I am not into all this, just finish your businesss and travel back to Moscow, don’t get into all this, I don’t even know the girl and besides this happens in every part of the world”
“Why not inform policia?”
“I will end up messing things up, I should first know the situation”
Pre-occupied with these thoughts I walked up to that girl and sat besides her avoiding any eye contact with the people shouting there, of course they had seen me coming and sitting there and I had folded my fist in my pocket just in case things go awry.
“English?” I asked her avoiding looking at her.
“Thank you”, I heard as I turned back to her.
“Are you in trouble, are these people with you, what are they talking about, do you know them?”
I seemed like asking million questions and she smiled and answered.
“He is my husband and we have to travel down to shabolovskaya and they are not providing any tickets and you know it is really urgent because if we don’t go, I will be thrown out of my college, I got admission in medical college and I just want to get out of this mess here in akademicheskaya, these people are real butchrers….”
And she narrated her story of suffering and everything I thought was correct to some extent.
Yellia, something something, the man pulled her and everyone stood waiting to get into train.
The tube arrived,
Finally they too had got a ticket after lots of fighting and arguing.
I heard my cellphone ringing and it was the client I had to meet on the next station, we fixed up the meeting place to be a coffee inn at the leninsky station.
The sound of stopping train is always so different in non home country, I never experienced delhi metro like I enjoyed moscow’s, but I missed the friends I had made while travelling down in delhi metro, just smile friends. People in Russia prefer to keep stiff upper lip unlike us so you are bound to feel stuck unless you are paid like I was.
The train stopped for two min and I hurried down with my laptop and long overcoat, yes it was mid December. I was walking towards the coffee inn when I felt my hand touched by someone’s hand, it was a girl in veil and I figured her out to be the same girl I had met with all that drama on the previous station.
“What?, your train is leaving, you are supposed to be going to the next station, this is leninsky not…”, I WAS AWE STUCK!!
I tried to explain everything to her but I felt she knew it was the wrong station, she just winked and said,
“I will wait for you in the bench”. And walked away towards smoky bench near the exit.
I was in the state of ruins, oh god why do you do this to me!! Whatt am I supposed to do now, face Russian mafia for kidnapping someone’s wife, I had a meeting in few minutes but there was nothing in my mind and there was every possible chance that I will loose the client.
“No, just come with me, you are not safe here”, I don’t know why I saId this, I honestly don’t know it!! There was no lOve I had not even seen her properly and I avoided looking in her eyes because I was not sure of what this whole thing is all about.
We walked towards the coffee inn and I booked a table for two and left her with the discretion of ordering anything.
I met the client and we sat on class “A TABLE”(kind of business class table), I could see my table(table where the unknown Russian gal was) from this positon. She was not eating anything, just lost in thought and had unveiled her face, damn she was goegeous, she had blue eyes, pink cheeks and small nose which is characteristic of country side Russians. There were two things that were going on.
A meeting with the client
And meeting of two hearts, a Russian and an Indian enterprise heart,
One was the heart bound by work, bound by rules, bound by his country’s ethics, customs, religion and all that sense that comes in mind when you think of a girl who is married and stranger.
The other heart too had a story, story of suffering, story of suppression, story of poverty and story of dreams and story of love.
I walked upto her after hurrying through the meeting with the Russian client and asked,
“Would you like to have soup?”
Soups have always played great role in Russian meal and there was hardly anything other than soups that I saw in the menu.
“schi, ukha, rassolnik, solyanka, botvinya, okroshka and tyurya and the list continues”
She looked in my eyes and smiled and waved out to the waiter.
“poluchite dva supa I vodka”
The waiter nodded and went away!!
I was wondering what she ordered and dared to ask, “did you order vodka?”
“yes, don’t you want it too?”
There was no answer, I mean I would better take vodka than those soups!!
We finished with the bowls of rassolnik and she continued with vodka without caring to pour it in glass. I was wondering what Jason statham did in transporters movie where he meets a Russian stubborn suffering girl!! I somehow felt like him.
We got into train together after good dinner and I thanked her for being a good omen for my very first meeting. She pretended to be good in English but she was not very fluent so she just thanked me again and smiled and whispered in my ear something that meant.
“I don’t want to go to shabolovskaya, they will get me there”.
This shivered me because I had to go to shabolovskaya in any circumstance to meet my next client nad the fact that she did not go with her clan means that they will be looking for her and they had seen me talking to her at akedemicheskaya station so I was bound to be inquired and they may even suspect something fishy.
I told her this and asked her name to address her properly, with every mile that we moved towards the next station I started to sweat and my voice got timid.
“kerniasova Alana” she replied.
Damn just this much for all that I just told you, she seemed to be so cool and played with my hair and kissed me as train whizzed as fast as could.
I realized I had fallen in love with her cuz the fact that she will be away from me now was killing me more than the fear of those men. I just wanted to get down at leninsky and hurry fast into Moscow with her and even made plan in my head. We talked a lot, we shared almost same music interests, she was more into country music and Shania twain was her favorite, there was only one common thing that we talked about and that was US. I felt a new world building in front of my eyes, somewhere at the back of my mind I thought of her as someone who just wanted to get into Moscow and I was just ‘channel’, but when I looked in her deep blue eyes I saw truth, truth that bollYwood has never been able to put in the eyes of crying and sobbing actresses. She slept with her head on my shoulder and her locks were moving all over my face, never had I imagined that I will be in love with a gal whose hair will be natural brown, prided and smiled and kissed her!!! It was 2:30 am and leninsky was still an hour away, I remember she got up at 3am and whispered “ya lyublyu tebya” in my ear. I responded with slow,” I love you too and we slept again”!!
9AM LENINSKY METRO STATION
MESTNOE SAMOUPRVLENE, The leading Leninsky English dialy read the following:
“UNFORTUNATE THURSDAY NIGHT, SHABOLOVSKAYA METRO AND ARBATSKO PORKOVSKAYA COLLIDE, RESCUE TEAM FEARS ALL DEAD.”