Joined: 16 December 2009
Every life has a story, and no life has ever been boring. Every decision, every choice takes a route that will bring them to face unknown, and sometimes-unexpected consequences. The likelihood of getting a desired goal is rare. Despite the reasonable number of happy people, the number of disappointed people is more.
For Radhika Shah, this was just an old philosophy read in the book and seen in the movies. She never thought that she would have a story to tell. Not even when on her cousin's birthday, when the night was full of life and darkness was encompassed in glorious, sparkling nights she sneaked out of the party and made her way to her room upstairs. The room was dark, but Radhika didn't need lights; she had lived there for twenty-two years. The bags were just where she had left it. Hoisting the bag over her shoulders, she walked over to the window that faced the backside of the house. For the first time in her life, she was thanking god that they didn't have a backyard. The steel ladder was standing by the window, the cart for the bags was right next to it and the taxi was waiting on the other side of the road. Once she had climbed down the window and placed all the bags into the cart, she rolled it towards the taxi. Right before she sat in the taxi, she murmured her farewell to her family.
She still didn't think she would ever have a story to tell.
Every life has a story, and Radhika wasn't an exception.
"Here's your passport and ticket madam." The man behind the desk handed Radhika her documents. "Enjoy you stay in London."
London was the only place that came to her mind when she had planned on this escapade. It wasn't like she was running away forever, she just needed a little time of independence and solitary, away from her crazy family. She wanted to prove herself independent in her parent's eyes. She had left an email for her parents, and even told them that she was going. But she knew they wouldn't try to find her-not when they know she doesn't want to be found. She wanted to live a few days for herself.
London was a beautiful city. The Victorian architecture, the grey and white, and brown and white houses, they gardens and the beautiful bricks. The aroma of the city engulfed her into a new, luxurious dream-like exuberance. Though Radhika didn't have much time, or enough vision to look at the cities at three in the morning. After getting the money exchange, she quickly took taxi to the hotel.
"Welcome to Hotel May Fair, may I have your name ma'm?" The recipient asked.
"Radhika Shah." She replied, smiling at the lady with a dimpled smile.
"Sorry ma'm!" The recipient looked up from her computer. "We don't have anyone booked under that name."
"Of course, I didn't book a room yet. I want to do it on the spot."
"Well I can't help you ma'm, I am afraid. We have a policy to not take on the spot booking." The lady replied, apologetic.
Radhika frowned. Who in the world have such policies? Do they want their business running or not?
"Thank you." She muttered, and turned away with her bags in hand, but turned around again to ask a question. "Do you know any hotels around that will take me on the spot?"
"I can't promote any other hotels ma'm." The lady muttered, her eyes casted down at the floor.
Radhika closed her eyes in frustration and turned away. She had searched for only one hotel, and thought that would be all she needed to get over two weeks. Too bad, she will have to go around looking for rooms at three in the morning.
"You can share the room with me." The voice behind her surprised Radhika, and she turned around to look at a boy sitting by the bar in the waiting room, sipping on a drink with straw. Though boy wasn't exactly the word she would describe him as. He was the kind of person who was at the age between boy and a man. He was what is typically referred to as a guy. His features were undoubtedly the genes of India. He was wearing a white dress shirt with black tie that told her he had just returned from attending a sophisticated party, but there was no sign of his coat.
"Excuse me?" She asked, questioning his intentions. He turned to look at her, unsurprised at her question.
"I said, you can share the room with me." He repeated for her.
"What a cheap tactic is that?" Radhika said disgusted.
"I am not initiating doing anything with you." He said bluntly. "I am just trying to help you."
"And why would a stranger do that for me?" She asked, interested in his intentions now. He stood up from the bar and walked towards her, she almost expected him to loose his balance and fall over due to the drink that was still in his hand, but to her surprise, his walk was steady and well paced. He stood right in front of her and cocked his head, a little playful smile on his face.
"Because I fell in love with you at the first sight." He said, surprising Radhika with his husky tone. She staggered back, awkwardly and astonished at the confession.
"Excuse me?" She said, her face scrunching up in a mask that was both, confused and disgusted. Then to her surprise, he grinned like he had just won a lottery.
"Nikhil Malhotra." He extended his hand for her to shake. "You can check my passport if you want to."
Radhika looked at his hand, still confused of his behavior. Then she hesitantly put her hand in his. "Radhika." She said. "Radhika Shah."
"Radhika..." He said, trailing off her name with a grin still on his face. "Nice to meet you." Radhika didn't reply, but pulled her hand away. He chuckled. "I was just kidding. I am not in love with you or anything. I just wanted to help a fellow Indian, is that wrong?"
"Not really, but it is quite strange." She said, and then shook her head, as if shrugging of her thoughts. "Thank you Nikhil."
"My pleasure." He said. The extended his drink towards her. "Coke?" She shook her head, surprised once again that day. Radhika regarded him with a curious look as he turned to lead her to his room. He had been all gentlemen by giving her a share of his room, and now, walked away without helping her with the luggage. She took a deep breath and dragged her suitcases and bags along.
The room was on the eleventh floor, and a strange feeling had settled in Radhika. She was in a strange land, in a strange place with a stranger. If it were India, she would have kicked him even for suggesting such a thing, but here where she knows no one, a stranger with coke is better option then walking out on the streets with luggage at three in the morning.
"You take the couch over there, and keep your things in place. I don't want girly things lying around in my room." He said putting the coke in the dustbin by the door and walking towards an adjacent room. The hotel room wasn't a room but a suite. It had living room and bedroom separated, and she was quite surprised to see a kitchen too. The adjacent room where Nikhil had just disappeared was a bedroom. Radhika put all her luggage against the couch she was suppose to sleep on. She debated whether she should use the restroom to change her cloths or not, and decided to sleep in her jeans and t-shirt instead. She didn't want any kind of awkwardness to set, especially around someone who was willing to help her in the smallest way possible.
"It's okay, only for tonight." She whispered to herself, taking a deep breath. The couch wasn't as bad as she might have thought for it to be. Or maybe it was just her tiredness that made her appreciate anything that allowed her to put her head on. She drifted off to sleep in less than a minute.
When her eyes opened, Radhika found herself closing her eyes again. She groaned and turned away. "Why is there a freaking light in my room?" She grumbled.
"Because the sun has the tendency to rise on time, unlike some people." Radhika jerked up, looking for the source of strange voice. Last night came flooding to her mind and she blinked, trying to look at Nikhil. He was sitting by the window; his leg perched up on a coffee table and the play station in hand. In that green, collared t-shirt, denim ripped jean and messy gelled-up hair, he looked like a rich spoil brat.
"What?" She asked, and cringed when her voice sounded croaky and raspy.
"You have never stayed up past curfew, have you?" He glanced at her and went back to his game. Her cheeks tingled in embarrassment. "It's 2pm."
"What?" She said, louder this time. She slid down from the couch and found her brush in the first chain of her bag and ran to the bathroom. "Can I use your toothpaste?" She asked, joining her hands in front of him, the toothbrush standing between her fingers.
"Nope." He said, his eyes still on his game. She looked at him flabbergasted.
"What?" She asked for the third time that morning--or afternoon.
"I am just kidding, go ahead." He said, chuckling at her. Radhika groaned at his childish joke and ran to the bathroom. He back ached, her head ached and her condition was so bad, she almost wanted to run back to India. Her misery just added when she looked in the mirror. He hair was unkempt, her face had red marks from the couch's design and her eyes were puffy. And to top it all, Nikhil had seen her in that state.
When she came out of the bathroom, Nikhil wasn't in the room. She took the chance to shower and change into new clothes. She packed up her things and looked around to make sure she hadn't made a mess that wasn't his already. At last, she put half the money of the suite under his play-station that was left on the coffee table and left the room with her luggage.
"The next tour starts two days later, at eight in the morning, madam." The agent said in a thick accent. She sighed disappointedly.
"Thank you." She said and left the office. She had everything planned out. She was going to take a room at May Fair, wake up at eight next day and join the tour. Radhika sat at the edge of an isolated sidewalk, dejected. The luggage was heavy, and it had tired her out in less than an hours. She bit her lip, pushing back the wetness that threatened to flow over. She was failing before she had even started.
"Is it your hobby to appear helpless every time you cross my path?" Radhika looked up to find Nikhil standing next to her. She instantly stood up, surprised at his presence. When she realized what he said, she let her shoulder fall again.
"I don't plan to look helpless." She muttered, sitting down again. "You don't have to help me again. You have helped me enough."
"Not really." He said. "You paid me back, remember?" Radhika looked away, embarrassed. "Come on."
"Where?" She asked, but Nikhil had already started to walk away towards the car she hadn't even noticed before.
"If a tour doesn't show you London," He stopped and turned around, "You tour the London yourself."
Joined: 16 December 2009
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