What was I doing? This was not what I should be getting into. Not
something that I came here for. I came in pursuit of zero
visibility. The climate or whatever you may wish to term it. I
leave it up to you. But I was here for precisely that. A time and
place where matter ceased and disintegrated. The end of the world
from where I could fall-off literally.
I have heard people say that such places do exist. One of the
popular citations has crowned a cliff by the sea with this title.
But I was sure the end of the world could only be reached through
Mussoorie. Some goat path that will lead to the precise spot and
from where there was no turning back… no coming back.
But all this is my bitch to deal with.
Currently I had to take stock and deal with a couple of practical
worldly issues at hand.
We had reached the Mussoorie library stand and it was raining
heavily. We had to find a hotel, a hotel where Shruti would be
comfortable and also try and look for a hotel that had two rooms
available. Too much consideration for a rainy morning at a hill
That's why I said, it was much easier coming alone. You take a
pit stop where you wished and not necessarily at a comfortable
place. But the kiss was slowly diluting my focus. I wanted more
of it… perhaps she too.
Was it obvious? Will we end up in bed tonight and wage war
against our senses?
Not very sure…
We quickly took shelter in an over crowded tea stall. The rains
ensured brisk business for the rickety tea stall vendor. With hot
piping tea, he was selling big fat aloo paranthas - India bread
stuffed with boiled and mashed potatoes.
The small enclosure was brimming with passer-bys who were
clamoring for shelter from the rain. The sour odor of sweat was
overpowering and nauseous. Yet it was our only refuge from rain.
Shruti was standing very close to me. Perhaps she was
uncomfortable getting close to the taxi drivers who shared the
shelter. Her black kurti was half drenched revealing the seams of
her innerwear. Her shoulders were wet and strands of hair wound
around her neck and made curvy images as if magic fingers were
feeling her spine.
It was getting increasingly difficult for me to hold back. My
head felt a rush of blood and I was feeling overwhelmed. I could
just imagining rushing her to the nice hotel room that we would
have hired and start making out.
We could hear each other's breath and sense the restlessness
In about ten minutes the rain dwindled and it was only a slight
drizzle. We decided to move out of the pigeon hole without caring
for a bite or two of those freshly made paranthas.
The air was nippy, in fact cold. The road was all wet and the
slopes full of bottle green palms of nature. It was beautiful as
the mist made everything gray. Near zero visibility.
We climbed the steep bend to set foot on the mall road. I told
her that I knew the place well enough and it would not be a
challenge in getting hotel rooms during this off season time.
It was almost certain that we will check into one hotel.
I took her to a couple of hotels on the mall.
First we checked out "Whispering Windows" and found it too dingy
for our tastes. Then we tried our hand at a newly constructed
hotel - "Hotel Shilton". The rates blew us off with our modest
Shruti was now getting restless. Hunger, sticky feeling of being
drenched and the cold weather never helps.
We decided to just get into one of the small restaurants and have
a cup of tea and breakfast.
Getting inside, we ordered two mix paranthas and tea. The service
was prompt and reassuring. We were dead hungry and just wolfed
down bite after bite.
Once done with the breakfast, it was time to pay the bill. I
reached out to the counter and paid the bill (thirty four rupees
to be precise).
I asked the chap at the counter on any reasonable and good hotel.
He directed us to a by lane that was just next to his shop. He
asked us to try Hotel Ashoka Continental.
We took his advice and strolled down the lane. To start with it
was a narrow lane that had a mosque to the left and a small
utensil shop on the right.
We walked further and the lane widened up and just ten steps down
was the terrace of Hotel Ashoka Continental.
In hilly terrain, hotels have the terrace at the effective ground
level and the rooms and amenities in layers of floors below.
We walked in to the reception and an unassuming chap stood up to
greet us. A refreshing and crisp "Good Morning" was not at all
expected, reassuring nonetheless.
We asked him on room availability and the tariff. He asked us our
The usual trade exchanges.
We just asked him to first show us the rooms, in fact two rooms.
He gave us weird look on hearing two rooms but carried on to show
us the rooms.
We quietly followed him down the stairs… the walls were well
painted with abstract paintings on either side. Every two meters
there were earthen pot with money plant growing quite profusely.
Well as a child I always thought money plants would one day grow
money and that my father would be very rich. I grew up and no
money came out of those plants.
Coming back to the hotel rooms, we entered the first room he
showed us. Room No. 1214. Wonder why they keep such room numbers…
at best the hotel would have had 30 rooms.
Well the room was reasonably airy, with no visible decay and
importantly no overpowering toilet odor. We asked him the tariff.
He said, "eight hundred only". I knew it was off season and I
could further push down the prices at least down till seven
We were booking two rooms, so it was big volume in an off season.
We got two rooms for fourteen hundred a night. Through all this I
kept wondering were two rooms required… maybe I was too hopeful.
He asked us to wait for fifteen minutes so he could quickly
change the linen and clean the rooms for us.
We sat at the reception kept stealing glances at each other. It
was so weird even after such good conversations we were still
stealing glances. There was still a lot of awkwardness.
Soon the house keeping staff and told us the rooms were ready… We
took our respective bags and headed for our rooms. Our rooms were
next each other… before entering our respective rooms we smiled
at each other and said lets meet in a couple of hours.
I went inside my room. The walls were faded peach in color and
the room opened to a valley view through a French window. I
neared the window and parted the curtains and outside it was
Near zero visibility. Perfect for me to fall off.
Then suddenly I heard a frantic knock on my door. I rushed
towards the door and held the door knob and twisted it to open.
The door opened and I didn't know how to react.