Captain Rahul Mehta’s eyes strained, scanning the airport for a passenger from Flight A312. This was not an ordinary day when the pilot was waiting to meet his wife or waiting for his staff to board his Jet Airways flight.

His nervousness gave way to his anticipation of meeting his childhood friend Meghna Parthasarathy . Rahul and Meghna had grown up in Mylapore, Chennai. They had studied in the same school for 10 years after which they went their separate ways due to transferable nature of their parent’s jobs. A few weeks back he managed to trace her on Facebook and decided to meet her on his way to Bangalore. They were meeting after 15 years

Rahul had arrived half an hour early at the Bangalore Airport where they had planned to meet . Holding a cup of coffee in his hand he reminisced about how his parents had decided an engineering career for him. Meghna, being good in Biology, was being groomed to become a doctor. Rahul was the more aggressive type who rebelled against his parents and managed to wriggle himself out of the engineering path and pursue a career in aviation. “Poor Meghna”, he thought. “She must have worked hard for 7-8 years pursuing an MD”. Meghna was a bit of a recluse and reserved, in contrast to Rahul’s personality. She wasnt argumentative and was always conciliatory in nature.

As the clock struck 9.30 PM, he noticed a woman walking towards him in a Salwar Kameez waving at him. “Meghna, you havent changed a wee bit” , he said. “You definitely look smarter in a pilot uniform”, responded Meghna with a smile. After a friendly hug, they decided to occupy a nearby table. “So you managed to avoid engineering?”, Meghna asked curiously holding her cup of coffee. “Yeah, you know right, i always wanted to be unique, do something different, explore the world, take on challenges, i guess i managed to do it ! ” he said beaming with pride !. He continued “the big birds i fly are amazing machines and they have taken me to incredible heights!”.

“What about you?” he asked Meghna. Meghna sipped her cup of coffee with a smile . As she spoke, her phone rang and she picked up the phone gesturing to Rahul to give her a minute. “Meghna here” . Responding to the voice at the other end , Meghna asked calmly “What happened, was there an accident?” . There was a long pause and she responded again asking “Is the equipment ready? Do you need me urgently? Please get the Oxygen mask ready” . After a few minutes the conversation ended and Meghna asked Rahul “sorry what were you asking? “.

“I knew you would be a surgeon” quipped Rahul as he began to ask her about her specialisation. “No no, iam not a surgeon!”, Meghna replied.”Sorry to ask you, what was the incident you were discussing on the phone?” Rahul continued. “Oh, the call was from a research firm in Norway. They need me on an offshore drilling site to confirm if there was an oil spill and if the marine life in that area has been affected. So i need to be there in the next 24 hours” , Meghna replied. “So what do you do?” Rahul asked curiously.”Iam a Marine Biologist and a deep sea diver.I work with Oil and Gas firms at their offshore drilling sites to make sure marine life is unharmed due to oil spills.” Meghna remarked. Rahul was dumbfounded. He couldnt believe that a girl like Meghna would be a deep sea Marine Biologist. “But what about your parents wanting you to pursue medicine? , he remarked. “Oh during one of my school trips i was on a cruise where i spoke to a marine scientist. Since then i was hooked. Once i had decided on it, i did my groundwork and convinced my parents and they agreed because they had no choice ! Since then its been 10 years .” Meghna said gleefully

After an hour of chatting about their work and married life it was almost midnight. They bid goodbye to each other and agreed that they would let their children pursue careers of their interest ! As Rahul walked away taking one last look at Meghna, he thought “How deceiving looks could be? The Meghna he had known, the quiet girl at school, had sunk herself to insane heights in pursuit of a career that benefited the environment as a whole.” . Hats off to you Meghna !