Chapter : 1.2 - Accidentally In LoveAtul had grinned to see me wince.
"Stay," Atul had said, "I'll take you around to meet the gang."
I'd gone cold. I'd told him I should go get some feminine Indian clothes instead.
I look at the lightening darkness outside the window, wonder what I'd have said to them, Atul's gang, if I'd stayed. It may have gone a bit like the time Abhi had brought his aunt's dog over, I imagine. He'd been looking after Duke while his aunt was in hospital; he's called me up and asked if he could bring him round. 'He's looking so morose' he'd said. They'd been at the front door moments later, a determined Abhi, a mournful Duke. 'He's very well behaved,' he'd said, and patted him on the back. 'Aren't you, Duke Buddy?'
Duke Buddy had stared into the distance.
"Come on, be a good boy and shake paws with Ridzie, Dukey"
Dukey had whimpered, tucked his tail between his legs and crawled under the bed.
I'd have to meet them at some point of course, Atul's gang. It was part of the deal. New place, new friends, new life; I'd have to meet them all, I'd have to be a person again. Someone definite and describable, someone who smiled when introduced and shook hands and went through the motions with a few minimal outward signs of pleasure. At very least, I'd have to be someone who didn't crawl under a bed.
It wouldn't be easy .
Another movement in the window makes me look up again; I follow the reflection of a housekeeping staff member emptying bud vases and polishing tabletops in the alcove adjacent to mine. Behind him, another young man trundles up with a tall cart filled with flowers. There are buckets of gladiolas and lilies and daisies, and ferns and roses, exotic greens and much, much more. I sit back in my sofa, watch as he replaces the vases on the coffee tables with fresh sprigs, inhale with gratitude the fresh scent that wafts my way.
I turn around with a start; there is someone behind me, holding a tray. On it is a mug of steaming hot chocolate, a slice of cake, and single pink bud, a corner of a newspaper. I swing my feet off the table, tell him there's a mistake. "I didn't order anything."
He places the tray down anyway. "Compliments of the manager," he says
I study the tray. It has been painstakingly put together; there are tiny drops of dew on the rosebud. A steady stream of steam rises from the mug; its surface is foamy with whipped cream. I pick it up, take a sip. It is heavenly. The night manager behind the front desk is on the phone; he smiles,reveals his dimples, as he catches my eye.
The newspaper, fresh, crisp, beckons me. India tri - the partly visible headline reads over a partly visible picture. I unfurl it to reveal a blue-clad Sikh sportsperson, with a matching blue mini turban, leaping in midair, his face and body taut, a dark ball poised to fly from his fingers.
India Triumphs! Bhajji spins victory! The headline over his head declares. I feel a surge of pride. Unaccountable for I have no idea who Bhajji is and the exact victory he has spun, but it is uplifting. I shake out the paper and find myself sucked into breathless, giddy story, then the one beneath it, and the ones inside. The news, alien,colourful,over-the-top with puns and clichs, is a riveting nonetheless. I am lost in a brash story about Saina Nehwal, the new wunderkind who's apparently setting a scorching pace, when a movement makes me look up.
It is the night manager, a cup of coffee in hand, apparently asking my permission to join me in my alcove. I'd rather he didn't, but cocoa and cake are still warm in my belly. I watch as he sinks into the chair opposite me, loosens his tie, stretches out his legs. "Ahhh, that feels good."
I watch him shut his eyes and lean his head against the backrest of the chair, then stretch his hands and massage the back of his neck. "Thanks for the cake." I say
"On your break?"
He opens his eyes. I like his eyes, I think; they are friendly and BLUE ! "Better" he says "my shift just got over now."
"That must feel good."
"You're from America?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"We get a lot of American guests. But your accent is a little different"
He's sitting up, I realize. He moved his chair closer to mine; his eyes are no longer impersonal. The sun, now bold and bright outside the window, dispels the magic of the earlt morning. It outlines the speck of dirt on the coffee table the housekeeping staff left behind.
"So what brings you to India?" Armaan the night manager asks.
"northwest KLM," I reply
So, done with chapter 1 !
Now tell me, how many of you like Armaan being a hotel manager and Riddhima being his guest.
Be frank and tell me if you liked it or not !
Coz my job is writing, whether good or bad. and your job is reading and liking/disliking it. So there's no use if I write something and you dislike it. So I need your opinion.
Thanks for tolerating it.
Keep Smiling :)
Edited by GEhsaas - 13 December 2009 at 6:24am