An orphan by identity, staying in a village, working in a five star hotel, trying to kick a loser out of my Life; I had learnt the art of putting up a facade all too well, a little too early.
I wasn’t shy but very hesitant. I could hardly enjoy the fact that I worked in a star hotel- a five star at that. I kept too occupied to think about such tertiary subjects.
- Primary: Food, Job and Shelter
- Secondary: Appearance and Shopping
- Tertiary: Boyfriends and other such redundant necessities.
I would often notice my peers trying to observe me. What was it? Did they take me for a native villager? Or were they too confused? None of them, excepting for Shafali, Debjani, Anil and Gursharan, had been even cordial, much less friendly to me. Mansi pretended to be good, she was 26 or 27- maybe. Short in height, she didn’t look her age; till you observe the dark circles and fine lines around her eyes. I was the youngest; yet, she had tried being around me- only to scratch my being soon. She and Geetu were best of pals..
A pool- side party was announced. That’s one party that would always remain fresh in my mind. I had enjoyed my time dancing at the party; and then Anshu’s mother had made her night colorful, interrogating me. Debjani had suggested that I invite Ralhan. I had. I had called up Nitin too, he had recognized my voice and had demanded to know why I had been missing. I had stayed indifferent. . All of us had invited our “esteemed” and “special” clients to that party. It was a party specially thrown for All Season’s Club members.
I had wore my black n white saree again. I could have worn my white saree that I had worn in Induction– but I had not. The pearls were sat on me. Ralhan had left after talking to me for sometime. That’s when as if a charged bull was left loose. I had danced till the last second on those retro raunchy numbers. Deepak and I had made a good Dancing Couple- only till there. Gursharan had maintained a low profile. We had danced on “Deewane, Deewane to Deewane hain..”
Neha’s clients too had come. Neha had conveniently fallen sick. Instead she had asked Deepak to take care of those members. What a farce that was..!! A glistening pool of water, illuminated with thousands of pedestal lights and tiny bulbs. All the palms were decorated as if they were about to be slaughtered. Handa was drunk silly- why else would he dance with me? I had remained sober.. WTH!!!!! !@$%#!#
I had then stayed with Anshu for the night. I couldn’t have traveled back home at mid- night. She stayed in East of Kailash. I was made to share the bed with her mother. To hell with Anshu and her M, the lady had kept me awake the whole night asking me questions. I am not exaggerating. It was whole of the night that she had wanted to know everything about me. Being inquisitive or curious was fine.. But keeping me awake till morning- not even dawn, wasn’t. She was a mother of two young girls; couldn’t she have been a little considerate..?
She had wanted to know all about my family, my father, my not wanting to settle down- my earnings.. Blah!! She had then compared me with some religious guru she followed saying he too was an orphan; so maybe, one day I’ll make as big as him.. Whatever..!! Just the mere thought of having spent that night with that lady makes me un- restful. This was in 1997, some 13 years back. Remember- I already said that women too have been pretty digging on me?
Sanjay had been as cheap as one could go. Since he had stayed in Calcutta, he considered himself as Bengali. He would sit just next to me while in EDR. After bearing him for a few days, I had walked out leaving my food. The message was not clear to him- still. I had escalated it to Gursharan- officially; after which, he was not to be anywhere around me. The verbal flirting had still remained on though.
Within a span of 10 odd months, so much had happened; as if I lived my mini- life. People, their queer thoughts and often their peculiar outlook- I was as if in the middle of an explosion ground, shifting just enough on time to prevent getting exploded myself.
Ralhan was getting close to me. He would often pick me up after my work and drop me home. He had never insisted on seeing my place or even going anywhere near. I would walk down from Kalyanwas crossing to my place. Oh, and wearing sari was completely forbidden. What crap- a man not appreciating a girl wearing formal saris when she could carry them with as much grace.
Poor fellow- I was reading him up close.
He had suggested that we go to Mussourie some time. I had agreed to. Fate had other plans in store. Carrying a huge air bag (only for 2 days stay), I had boarded his car DAJ 4255, a white Maruti 800. Damn my memory!! It was pretty late by the time we had decided to drive. it was decided that we travel in the morning. We had stopped at his friend- George’s place.
Both of the morons had gone off to snore soon. I had kept loitering around his house. Something just didn’t seem right. I wasn’t at all attracted to him- he was though- yet, he was far from making any commitment or proposal. He was much elder to me- but was getting a fair deal in me.
I was young, attractive, with good comm skills- just what else could he ask for at his age. He had wanted a dame who was smart, could carry herself well. I was again proving out to be a pretty doll. Moreover, I had become his lucky charm!! His private venture- his architecture ship had started to earn well for him. He dressed in formals, spoke well; wonder, why was he single till then. Then again, was he Single?
Next morning, he had spent half hour chanting after wash. His finger-rings were also taken off for some ritual..!! He wasn’t a pandit by religion, yet all such prayers. He would often tell me about a pandit (astrologer), who had told him to stay away from women on certain days. His Mondays used to be his stones purifying days. He wore a huge sapphire on his Saturn finger (middle finger- LOLsss)
He bought a Govinda Yellow Tee shirt from Benetton, while travelling. Drive was fun. I hadn’t really freaked out, only anticipating. What was I stepping into anyways? We all know what was to happen upon reaching the hotel. The beauty of the episode is that we never made it till any. The vehicle was stopped at the Tool Tax check point. As if they had read him too well. He was held for interrogation for almost half hour.
He had looked tensed. I had kept asking why it had taken long- to which, he replied nothing straight. I had suggested we rather go back.
We had stopped for food. Two men moved past us looking at us in a strange manner. I had asked Ralhan if they were the ones who had quizzed him at the check point. No sooner had we finished our food, they had pounced upon us. The story was out.
At the check point, he was held for Interrogation about my Identity. Clearly, age difference was apparent- but what was their business? He also seemed to have revealed that he worked with Northern Railways. To me, he only worked there on “hired for Project” basis. Otherwise, he was an Interior Designer or architect.
My mind had gotten clouded with queries. Why had he declared about his project work, instead of his business- which was his actual work? Why did he have to talk about his work/profession? Why was my Identity so important? Why couldn’t he fight it out?
We had traveled back and reached Delhi at around 3- ish in the midnight. Neither of us could go home. Instead we had gone to George’s home. He wasn’t home either. We had stayed in the car till morning. I had sat awake, maybe because I had slept in the car while traveling back. He had dozed off soon. No, he didn’t do anything funny at all. Now, isn’t that funny?
I had become as unrestful as never. I had been wanting to dig- up. Things weren’t as they seemed to be. Often some Mishra had answered my call whenever I called him up at his work. He was yet another middle- aged loser. This time, I talked to him for a little longer. I had managed to obtain the Office board numbers too. Till then, I had histhe direct number only.
I had started conversing with Mishra frequently. I had desperately wanted to dig the “truth”. One such conversation resulted me in going to his place. Right, to Mishra’s place. I now feel how much risk I had put myself into. That was not the only time though. He lived in some small flat in Naoroji Nagar (I am guessing- don’t remember well..) I had sat for some 2 hours maybe. Mishra had been happy welcoming me. He had thought that he had hooked me. Poor him.
The entire cat was out of the bag alongwith the siblings too. I had behaved as if nothing had happened. I had acted as indifferently as I could. I had managed to conceal the fact that I had dug out about him. Him, his family, his work and his wife too. Once again, he had not caused any harm to me or even otherwise; but the fact that he had omitted certain facts selecting them carefully, resulting to lying, had hurt me.
Maybe I had needed that. To understand men. To conclude that lying was their 2nd nature. I did not act eager anymore to see him. He had as if lost it- seeing that change in me. I had still kept our “friendship” up- who knows-when I would have needed some help..?
Moreover, I had wanted to learn to become indifferent- to be aware of the facts and yet act innocent.