An Unending Conversation

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They were quite oblivious as to where they were headed for, or to be specific, where they were being taken. But it didn't matter to them, for the journey was pleasant and their companions were interesting.

The flight captain never communicated with the passengers and the air-hostesses kept mum. Every passenger had settled down, except for one boy in a blue shirt and dark trousers, who was as restive as ever. His seat number was 222 B, between an old lady and a bald-headed middle-aged man. He excused himself and squeezed out of his seat; at the expense of a few swearwords from the middle-aged man. “Thank you,” the boy said, took a stroll along the narrow passage of the plane, and reached the front. He cast a glance at all the passengers that seemed to be in their own world. Some were snoring, some were chatting with their fellow passengers, and some just kept to themselves.

Soon his eyes fell on a girl who looked his age. She was comfortably sitting, with a calm expression on her face, next to a woman who was reading a magazine. The girl was looking out of the window. In blue jeans and red top, white shoes, with her hair let loose, she looked spunky. The boy never took his eyes off her, and the girl never turned away from the window. I wonder what's so fascinating about clouds, he thought. Look at me, damn it! And she finally did.

He smiled at her and she raised her eyebrows.

“There are two vacant seats here. Would you mind sitting with me?” he asked.

“Not at all,” she said, getting up.

Once they were settled in their new seats, he asked, “What is she reading?”

The girl craned her neck to see the woman with whom she was sitting till then, turned to him and said with a wink, “You know what she is reading.”

“Of course I do. Such a moron, I say,” he said, laughing.

“Come on. Don’t say that,” she said, laughing. It was too conspicuous from the way she laughed that she agreed with him.

“Well, anyways,” he continued, “I’m Tarun.”

“I’m Sheela.”

“Splendid! And who is your sister? Munni?”

“Oh please! I’m sick of it. Everyone made fun of my name after that song came out, you know. Why did they have to write a song with my name?”

“So that Katrina could shake her booty.”

“She does it either ways,” she said, flicking her hair.

“Yes, that’s true. And as long as she does, the world will be a happy place,” he grinned.


It was two o’clock in the afternoon and an air-hostess gave them their lunch and proceeded to the next row. She didn’t speak a single word.

“These are the worst kind of air-hostesses I’ve ever seen. Such pathetic service,” Sheela murmured.

“Touché,” Tarun said, “They don't talk, they don’t smile, and mainly, they are not beautiful.” He paused for a moment and then said, “Hey, why don’t you serve food? I’m sure everybody will like that.”

“Are you flirting with me, mister?” Sheela asked, smiling.

“No, missy. I haven’t started yet. I meant it. I mean, look around. You are the only young and beautiful girl in this whole goddammn plane.”

“Sshhh. They don’t appreciate blasphemy here. Careful,” she said, with a finger on her lips.

“I don’t give a damn.”

She looked at him with mild anger as she opened the silver paper of her food packet.

“All right, all right,” he said, throwing up his hands in the air.

He too opened his food packet and took a spoonful.

“Gosh, dal rice? This has got to be the worst flight service ever.”

She just shrugged her shoulders and continued eating.

“So what do you do?” he asked.

“I’m an artist,” she said.

“Artist as in?”


“How cool is that! And what a co-incidence! I’m a painter too,” he said, cradling his chin.

“Really?” she was fascinated.

“Yes. But there is a small difference.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you paint pictures with colours. And I paint pictures with words,” he said, taking another spoonful of his food.

“Ah, a writer, I believe. What a beautiful way to say it!” she was impressed.

The laughter they shared together then was more delicious than the food they were eating.

Sheela asked him a few minutes later, “So, do you have a girlfriend?”

“Was that a question or an offer?” he was quick to answer.

“What?” she was startled. “Of course it was a question,” she said, laughing and shaking her head. “Flirting comes naturally to boys, doesn’t it? Every little opportunity is used. Well, see where you are now. The rules of flirting are different here.”

“Really?” he said, “Let’s see. After all we have all the time in the world.”

She turned away, took a spoonful of her food and asked again, “Tell me.”

“Oh, that? No. I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“You don’t look like you are single.”

“I know. It’s just that I’m keeping my options open,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Typical guy’s answer.”

“What about you? Do you have a boyfriend? Wait, before you could answer; it is a question as well as an offer.”

“I’m sorry to say, my dear. Your offer is rejected. But at the same time, I’m single too.”

“Oh, great. Then I was wondering if we –,” he was cut in.

“Don’t have any imaginations about wooing me, all right?”

“Funny you should say that, Sheela. After all, this journey is going to be very long, trust me.”

“Yes, maybe,” she said with a tinge of sadness.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, noticing her melancholic expression.

“It’s OK,” she said.

A moment later an air-hostess cleared their empty food packets. Several minutes later the plane landed in an obscure location. Nobody knew what place it was. The pilot didn’t even bother to announce that he was landing. Sometime later a few more passengers got on the plane. Every one of them had a confused expression on his/her face. They checked their tickets and found their seats.

Tarun was clearly enjoying Sheela’s company very much. As they had occupied others’ seats, Tarun was worried that they would be sent back to their places. If Sheela was worried about the same thing, she didn’t evince it. Fortunately for them, no such thing happened. In fact many seats were still unoccupied. There were going to be a few more stops on the way, they were sure.

“Had you ever seen an aeroplane like this before?” Sheela asked, crinkling her eyes.

“No. This is weird. A 3000-seater plane? And a black-coloured one?”

“Maybe these kinds of planes are meant to be for special purposes,” she said, looking around.

“I think so too,” he acquiesced.


A few minutes passed and Sheela still looked sombre, pensive. Tarun, in an attempt to perk her up, said, “You know what. I’m still not able to get over the idea of that woman reading Lifestyle magazine."

It did the trick. She chuckled. “She had it with her when she got on the plane.”

“I’m sure she did,” he said, with a sarcastic smile.

She shook her head, smiling; craned her neck to see the woman and started laughing hysterically as she turned towards him. They held each other’s hands and continued laughing.

“So, tell me,” Tarun said when their laughter had subsided, “How did you get on this plane?”

He finally asked the question to which there was no easy answer. And thus began a conversation that would never end. They talked about their dreams, their desires, their fantasies, their parents and siblings and friends, their careers, and mainly, they talked about how they had lived……and died.

********************The End********************

Copyright © Karthik 2011

Comments (31)

As usual that quirky little twist after the three dots... well told, Karthik, the story! :)

I told this to you when I read what was my first story from your end (where the girl picks up the wasted drafts of love letters and falls in love)... I say this again after the line about writers as being painters with words - your girl is going to be one lucky one (at least as far as romance is concerned; and although often undervalued it is an important, believe me, your senior in the dept, albeit one who messed up. :D)

As for dhal rice? Ha, I would love that any time to some of the stuff they serve on real planes these days ;)

interesting thought.. a flight to heaven.. well written as always.. u hav the gift of being an imaginative guy and having the language to express yourself well... hats off..

Another brilliantly written story Karthik.Enjoyed to the core.The ending though was unexpected(I thought that to be a love story)but then I guess, I was ready for this as you're a master in coming out with twist endings.The character of Tarun is really genuine and highly pertinent to our generation.When tarun said "“Well, you paint pictures with colours. And I paint pictures with words,” I could only Imagine you as the "GUY" who can paint picture with words and brilliant writings.Superbly drafted characters too Karthik.

Completely unexpected ending :) Even the Lifestyle joke did not give me a clue :) Great work, again.

Loved it, and I rarely use the L word.

I liked the fact that the story ended with a positive note :) very well narrated, as always.
well as long as there is someone to talk to I think the after life seems quite interesting.
I kinda guessed when I read the line "Every one of them had a confused expression on his/her face" and I re-read the title. like that only guessed off ending .. see brilliance no :D hehhe thenks thenks I'm too good that way.

loved the concept. a flight to the afterlife... heaven or hell.
and like someone above said.. you DO paint pictures with your words. ;)

*Bows down*
Karthik Sir, I absolutely loved this story! Like all your stories, of course. But this was the best for me!

Hey, nicely written as ever and enjoyed reading it! :)

I suppose what you wanted to highlight was how in living world we are so narrow minded thinking about the little world around us leading to not enjoying much more that life offers us? that's my take away from this anyway.. thanks for the story :)

I got the 'dead' concept right at the start, so the twist wasn't a surprise :(

It was a wonderful way to put up your thoughts in such a way n the last words changed it all so drastically..... just as always..!! :) :)

Thanks a lot, Srini. :)
Ah, that story! "My Colourful World". It's been a year since I wrote it, and you still remember it? You certainly made my day. :)
As far as my girl being lucky is concerned, I need to find her first. And I don't have any idea as to where the hell she is! :( Hope I meet her soon.

High-five on dal rice. I love it too. But as a rule, I don't put myself into my stories. :))
Thanks again, for those kind words, Srini. :)

Thanks a lot, man. Coming from a creative writer such as yourself, I'm so glad you liked it.

Aaww, Sanjay, that's one helluva compliment really.
You are right. Tarun is a typical guy you find everywhere, but only this time he is in a bizarre place. ;)
As for painting pictures with words, I try my best. So happy you find my attempts good.
Thank you so much.

Thanks a lot, Vignesh. Glad you liked it.

And I rarely get to know what you think about my stories. Thanks, man.

Look who's here!!!!!!
Ended with a positive note aa? Paapa avru satthu bejaar maadkondidaare. Ended with a positive note ante.
And what's that you said? "As long as there is someone to talk to afterlife seems quite interesting."
What if that someone is pulkesi? :P Hehehe.. :D

Ending guess maadbitya? You are definitely brilliant. :))
Thanks a lot, Putts! :)

That's a very pleasant compliment really. Thank you so much. :)
And don't know whether they are being taken to heaven or hell. :P

Thyaank you, thyaanku you!! *humbly bows down and takes the compliment*
So happy you liked it so much. :))

Thanks a lot, dude. :)
But there's no philosophy in it. It's just a story. Just for entertainment. ;)
Either ways, it's great to know it made you think in a different way. :)

Long time, Urvashi. Hope you are doing fine.
Thanks a bunch. Glad you liked it. :)

WOW... :) really good! didnt guess that... even the 'black' airplane part was cleverly camouflaged!

a very good read!

keep writing!

Welcome to Eloquence Redefined.
Thank you so much. I'm happy you enjoyed reading. :)
Sure I'll keep writing. And you keep visiting. :)

as gug as it can be...was one of the best post u hv written... :)

nice....the story was flowing and i was fully into it..then near the end, i started thinking how is he going to end this? and then the last 3 dots....nice twist with just 2 words

Thanks a lot, dude. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Begin with the end in mind, says Stephen R Covey. ;)
Thank you so much, Megha. :)

Hey Karthik,
Here, after a long time. And i can see the changes..!
The stories are beautifully written. Infact, i should say you've this knack of story-telling :)
Keep up the good work.

Welcome back! Sure it's a long time. Hope you are doing fine.
Thank you so much, Shruti. Happy you liked 'em. :)

Really nice one dude... I didn't expect the twist. Completely enjoyed the story. Keep writing dude..

How do you come up with such stuff? love the twist you give to every tale towards the end. I just loved it. What more can I say?:)

PS: Do you come online these days? I can't find the time these days and I miss the chats!

Thanks a lot, man. So glad you enjoyed. Keep visiting and I shall keep writing.

Destiny's child,
Thank you thank you! *humbly bows head* :)

I was just about to msg you about the same thing. Come online sometime. I miss the chats too. Usually I'll be online (invisible sometimes) after 10 or 10 30.

Usually it is curd rice on such planes with maybe some ganga jal

First time here. Loved your story. :) And the twist in the end!

The Holy Lama,
Is it? Has anyone told you that? :D

Welcome to Eloquence Redefined.
Thank you so much, Ajay. Keep visiting. :)

Never expected the end coming. I thought you had carelessly missed out where the plane was going and it turns out that was the key to the story.

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts

Your site is really good and the posts are just wonderful. Thank you and keep doing your great work.

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