Her clothes all wet, her hair half messed up with water, she was
picture of unfathomable fantasy gone slightly off track. For a
second and longer I kept looking at her, as if she is going to
push me into my room and render our chance meeting and
continuance to its beaten and logical end.
She grabbed my hand, but instead of pushing me in, she pulled me
out. Dragging me to her room, where my bare feet felt the reason
for her sudden rush of action. There was inch-high water near the
entrance. She shouted, "please call house keeping", the bathroom
tab knob just came off and the water won't stop.
Like all specimens of my species, I wanted to try and fix the
problem. Tried and failed. After all they didn't include the word
plumber in the dictionary for nothing.
After my brief attempt at plumbing failed, I rushed to my room to
call the house keeping. They came down in about five minutes, by
then the room was a pool and the water was flowing into the
During all this I kept feeling kind of awkward. What was I doing
with this clichéd beautiful stranger. My life had a different
calling. A calling to which I had heeded when I boarded the train
to Dehradoon. It was as if there was a ghost in the machine,
random codes of my unfulfilled desires that were coming together
for one meaningful crescendo, the remainder of so many divided
moments, phosphorus sesquisulfide of matchsticks painstakingly
collected over the years for one explosive escape. The universal
errant who always adds up to more than the sum of its summated
Nonetheless the house keeping guys were at work, and in the
meanwhile Shruti spoke to the hotel manager who came down hearing
the commotion. She was clear, she wanted another room and the
manager politely obliged. There was no dearth of room during the
off season. But he told her the room would take about twenty
minutes to be readied and that it was a floor lower than the
current one. I saw a kind of discomfort on Shruti's face on
hearing this. Well anyways, she gave him the go head.
While the men were trying to fix the overflowing tap, Shruti had
moved her baggage to my room. She took control of my bathroom and
didn't come out for a good twenty-thirty minutes.
Not to make her uncomfortable with my presence, I picked up a
wooden chair and moved out to the balcony. The steel-grey air of
the hills was compassionate and cold, the irony resides in hills
and the seas. My mind was running two parallel tracks -
One on hand my whole life has become a self-obstructing
nuisance where I was falling out from my once aspirational
marriage and my once perfect soul mate. My purpose was narrowed
to the lane driving of travelling to the end of the world and
On the other, I was drawn to this sharp shooting girl. It was
as if she was in my grasp, for me to have, for her to have me,
for a moment or two or even longer, and then to recede like the
universe. Like the universe recedes as I write this and as you
read. Never to meet, never to part.
Then I heard her voice call for
me. She called out my name.
Instinctively I yelled back,
"Yes, tell me!". But then all of a sudden, I realized all through
out I have not shared my name with her. It has been awful, we
have met, talked, liked each other, checked into the same hotel,
she was even taking bath in my room's bathroom and I didn't tell
her my name. How rude or strange was that?
It occurred to me, I never
mentioned my name. How did she know? I was