January 22, 2012
10: 41 PM

Visiting the Queen – 6

The lobby looked neat with the reception desk in the left and a waiting area in the right. I showed the online booking slip to a receptionist, who started asking a series of questions (in fact everything except my lineage) for identification. After I filled the check-in form, she had a brief KT session with her co-worker, a man sporting a French-beard and boasting a cool accent, which he probably picked up from a Hollywood B-movie he had watched on a pirated DVD during one of those lonely night shifts. He repeated the entire line of questioning as he wasn’t much convinced about my photo (taken from the dark ages) in the driving license. I confined my responses to yes’ and no’s just to indicate I was tired and itching to get to the room. However, he said, according to the policy, which the hotel had been following traditionally, I had to wait for an hour or so, as the room, though baygon-sprayed and ready to be occupied already, couldn’t be given to me until the check-in time. I appreciated his emphasis on not allowing a harmless weasel like me to taint the policy and walked to the waiting area filled with guests.Guests were primarily North Indian families, which had turned out in large numbers. And a few couples (legal and illegal) were standing by the huge glass window overlooking the lovely garden beneath and enjoying the distant view of the town. I settled down on a sofa taking a full note of the lobby activities. There was a spacious dining hall attached to the end of the lobby. The very sight of it got me hungry. First up, to refresh myself, I entered the washroom that looked too cramped for two people. Before I could dry my face, a plump man about the age of thirty-five barged in. He was wearing a shirt liberally unbuttoned at the top thus exposing his hairy chest that only got hairier by the minute and a strong Arabian scent that even moved the rusty exhaust fan at the top. He was so pushy it obviously meant I had to get out with bits of torn tissue paper sticking onto my wet face. I learnt that there is no country for lean men.

To prove that I could be authoritative as a guest at least in a dining hall (suspiciously running empty) I beckoned the waiter to bring me the menu card.

“Saar, this is too early to give you a lunch menu. And too late for a breakfast menu!”

“So what do you have then?”

He gave me multiple choices but as follows,

1.    Idly
2.    Sambhar
3.    Coconut Chutney
4.    Mint Chutney

He told that I could choose only two among them. That was the first time in my life I ever had someone give me choices that really made me think. I thanked heavens that I had been lucky enough not to get the third choice as Chutney and fourth choice as Coconut.

After having the sumptuous brunch with a unique flavor, I went back to the reception to get the key for the cottage. The bellhop holding my luggage kept descending downhill leading to a cottage house that seemed to be located at the bottom of the stack of their cottages. Viola! There it was! I was so thrilled to see it as I was seriously imagining waking up to a full wide view of the lake. A single room cottage at the lakeside! What a lovely sight! I tipped him heavy just to show how happy I was.


After he left with all smiles, I darted to every nook and corner, and smelt the blankets, and tasted the water, and listened to the insect chirps at the back window, and graced the furniture to get a grasp of things as would a curious child experiencing its first little contact with the outside world. I hopped out to get a full view of the cottage. Just to consume the idea that I was finally there. All alone, in a place, where I could spend time simply for the sake of spending time.

To be continued…

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