Font size: - +
The multicolored group was quick to attract attention at the airport. Convivial men and women of various ages were distinct in a sleepy departure hall. Gorgeous sarees, orange and white kurtas and dhotis were like bright and vivid spots on a gloomy dark grey background.
“Check-in for passengers for Moscow-Delhi flight is now open," sounded from the loudspeaker. The passengers lined up and awaited their turn.
"Your passport and ticket," the airline agent looked at Sergey's documents and checked his baggage. Everything went without a hitch. "Next passenger."
After passing the passport control, the group headed to the carry-on luggage checkpoint then settled on seats while conversing in joyous anticipation of India. Sergey took a bag from Bhima, who was talking to an elderly woman in a saree and got settled out of the way. Goodbye, Russia. Or farewell? When will I see you again? Will I ever see you again?
"First time going to India? " a voice asked from behind.
Sergey turned around. Kind and deep eyes of a woman who Bhima was just talking to were looking at him.
"Have you been to other countries at all?"
"Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, China. And a few others."
"You are an avid traveler, I see!"
"So, how are things abroad? Impressive?"
"They are, in the beginning. Different traditions, and all. But then you realize everyone does the same thing everywhere. Eat, sleep, give birth, have fun, die," Sergey said with a smile.
"As for me, I've lived a long life, but have never been overseas. Barely traveled around my Permskaya region. And now – off to India. I'm very nervous, I must admit," the woman sat next to Sergey.
"Why are you nervous?"
"They say every visitor's experience in India is different. If you only want to have fun, you will, but you will also see many shortcomings. Or if you want to receive transcendental knowledge, you will be able to see and experience things that will blow your mind. What am I like on the inside?" The woman reflected. "What if I am only to notice the nasty things like many tourists do? I hope to have the best experience with the maximum amount of benefits from the trip."
Five minutes later Bhima joined them. The conversation flowed smoothly, shifting from one subject to the next. Suddenly, they noticed a commotion in the group. Everyone was consoling a crying young woman. Upon seeing it, Sita devi, that was the name of the elderly woman, immediately rushed towards her.
"This is outrageous!" A thirty-year-old man in an orange dhoti approached Bhima and Sergey. "Lila went into a shop to get a souvenir and noticed two foreigners snooping around her. When she went to pay, she saw her purse had been slashed. Her money and passport are gone. Her trip is over before it even began. How can our Earth tolerate such scum?"
"May I talk to her? " Sergey asked.
"Sure, let's go." The man brought him to the victim. She was a pretty, eighteen-year-old girl, her head barely leveled Sergey's chest.
"Come with me and show me the shop and those who robbed you," Sergey took Lila by the hand and led her out of the crowd. "Carry-on luggage check will begin in ten minutes," he continued in a soothing voice, "Plus, we have one hour until departure. We've got time. Please calm down and picture those tourists for me."
Lila wiped her tears with a handkerchief and focused. Sergey saw the images from her mind of the souvenir shop and the two tourists standing next to her.
"I was standing there and looking at the souvenirs," Lila's voice became more relaxed. "Two foreigners were standing near. One of them passed me by, but stumbled and lightly touched me. Then he apologized and left the store."
"Now, go back to our group and wait for me," Sergey's encouraging tone infused hope in Lila.
"Will you call the police?"
"No, I will find them and have a talk." Sergey gently pushed the girl towards the group and began wandering amongst the passengers. Here they are. Well-dressed, with taste even. Nobody will ever think they are thieves. On occasion, Sergey used to help criminal detectives. And though he apparently felt no affection towards thieves, he acted detached when they crossed paths, not showing his anger. Sergey could not fully understand, how these people did not realize that stealing and making others suffer would bring suffering back to them later. Sergey mentally scanned them and headed towards the one who, lounging in the seat was lazily sucking on a soda.
"Howdy, what's happening? " Sergey asked in English.
The tourists, surprised, stared at the stranger. "Hey, Frank, what does he want?" The other thief, who had been glancing at a cosmetics ad in a magazine, turned his head towards his friend and tensed up. Meanwhile, Sergey, as if shooing away a fly, lightly touched the thief's neck, “Don't you worry. I just want to have a heart to heart with Frank.”
Frank's companion could no longer hear anything. First, he froze in an unnatural pose, then, softened and sat motionlessly.
"My dear Frankie, if you even make a squeak, I will perform the same thing on you. And will call the cops. And instead of Dallas, you will land in a Moscow jail." Sergey didn't look like he was kidding.