Chapter 24 | Bon Voyage

From a week to New York, there were only hours remaining. Maya and Shiv were packed for their first International Trip as a couple. Shiv was checking the luggage and all the essential documents before their cab arrived, while Maya was making sure they have taken all the chargers for their laptops and mobile. Shiv’s mobile rings, it is the cab. They check the apartment one last time, and leave.
The security guard at the building helps them with loading the bags in the cab. Maya is standing just near the cab with a carry-on bag and her laptop, while Shiv and the security guard arrange the other bags in the cab. The cab starts and Maya takes a deep breath. Shiv looks at her and smiles and says, “What’s up?” She looks at him and smiles and says, “I am a little nervous.” Shiv laughs and Maya continuous, “It is only 8 PM, aren’t we like leaving too early?” Shiv checks his phone and says, “Assuming that we will get traffic for an hour and half, I think we are good to go.” Maya looks at the road ahead and smirks when she sees a clear road.
She then asks Shiv, “I read that the flight from Mumbai to New York is much better.” Shiv replies, “I have heard the same. If I didn’t have the Delhi work, we would have taken it from Mumbai.” Shiv gets back on his phone with the emails and Maya looks outside. After fifteen minutes of clear road they hit the traffic. The cab driver was playing some radio channel that played the romantic bollywood songs from the 90’s. Maya rested her head and closed her eyes. She didn’t realize when they reached the airport. It was almost 10 PM.
They took their luggage and walked through the security, baggage, immigration and all the formalities, until they were in the waiting lounge waiting for their flight announcement. All of this took them almost 2 hours. Their flight was scheduled for 1:35 AM. Maya was starving by now and so was Shiv. They went to the nearest Burger shop and ordered two large meals with an extra side of Chicken Nuggets. While hogging on the burger, Maya asked Shiv, “So now what?” Shiv looked puzzled and she rephrased her question, “What happens next? All the formalities are done? So now we sleep in the flight and reach New York, do the formalities there and then what?” Shiv nods and takes a sip of his cold drink and says, “Yeah! We sleep or we can talk or we can do anything for almost 15 hours and 30 minutes. Then we reach New York, do the airport formalities, take our luggage and there will be someone from Sameer’s family or from the concierge team of the hotel to pick us up at the airport. Once we reach the hotel, you can sleep because it will be early morning or we can have some International fun.” Shiv winks at Maya while Maya rolls her eyes at him and continues eating her chicken nuggets.
Just in time, when they were almost done with their mid-night snacks, there was an announcement for their flight. Maya looks at Shiv and gives him the cutest smile ever. This smile is the smile of excitement. They board the flight and walk towards the First Class. They get seated and Maya tells Shiv, “I might be having flying phobia.” He smiles, holds her hand and says, “Don’t worry; I am right here, besides you.”


Maya didn’t have any flying fear and instead slept too well. While Maya was asleep, Shiv read a business magazine. Shiv couldn’t sleep in flights. After a long 15 hour journey and Maya sleeping on and off in the entire flight they reached their destination – New York. The airport formalities and collecting the baggage took more time than expected. They saw a uniformed man standing with a Blue colored fancy placard with ‘Shiv Chatterjee’ written on it. Shiv and Maya approached their driver who had a name tag on him – ‘Robert’. Robert helped the couple with the bags and directed them towards the car. Robert asked them if their flight was pleasant, to which Maya replied in a yes. Maya was stunned looking at New York.
On reaching the hotel, Shiv gave his details and a hotel staff accompanied them to the room. The hotel was taken over by one of the biggest brands in India and hence, it had quite some Indian touch in the interiors. Also, a lot of staff looked Non-Americans to Maya. Shiv gave a hefty tip to the guy who took them to their rooms and locked the door behind. The room had a king-size bed with gray bed sheets. The view from the room was captivating. Maya could see the New York City Skyline and she just kept looking. The room was too huge for the two of them. Their room was on the 7th floor and she realized that the next few rooms on the same floor were covered by the wedding guests, as she could hear a lot of Hindi and Punjabi.
Maya looked around and suddenly yelled Shiv’s name. Shiv came and smirked. Maya showed him the bath tub. Shiv held Maya by her waist and gave her a deep, intimate kiss. Maya slowly moved her hand through his hair and cherished the kiss. Shiv broke the kiss and kissed her on her forehead. Maya opened her eyes and smiled at him and said, you should sleep now, you are really tired and I feel hungry but feel sick too.
Shiv walked towards the table to get some water and looked at the wedding itinerary and told Maya, “Today evening there is a ‘Welcome Party’… and there’s theme too.” Maya walked in and sat on the bed and asked, “What’s the theme?” Shiv laughed and said, “Casual… it is in the bar of the Hotel.” Maya walked up to the table and looked at the Welcome Bag on the table with goodies and miniature alcohol. She was impressed. She looked outside the window and asked Shiv, “What time is this party?” Shiv looked in the itinerary and said, “7 PM” Maya asked him, “What is casual for them? My casual is a pajama and tank top.” They both laughed and he said, “I am sure their casual is any fancy thing with jeans or a dress for girls and a shirt and jeans for men.”
Maya took out a box of candies from the welcome bag and sat on the bed again and said, “Your friends are too fancy, huh.” Shiv smiled and sat next to Maya and said, “I have heard from people that Sameer’s fiancée, Ana – Ana Jones is an Interior designer and loves fancy things. I guess that should define the entire Welcome Bag Kit.” Maya put a red color candy in her mouth and said, “I find the Mango Bite from India better than these.” Shiv smiled and said, “Yeah I know. Why don’t we go and eat something and take a small nap?” Maya sighed and asked, “Do we have to go out?”  Shiv said, “We’re in New York! You don’t want to go out?” Maya said, “I have this headache. Will I get Desi Chai here?”
Shiv used his phone and said, “Yes, there’s a Pakistani restaurant a few blocks away, we can get some Desi Chai there.” Maya was all set to have some Desi Chai.
The moment they reached the lobby of the hotel, Maya was stunned when she saw someone.



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