Jodhpur Diaries #1

the palace
the palace

I finished my research work for the day and went downstairs. The weather outside was good. A cup of coffee should rejuvenate my weary nerves, I decided.

The stairs were made of teak from Burma- exquisite looking and very much royal. The hall was furnitured with big vases, motifs, statues and paintings on the walls from all around the world. And one couldn’t miss the intricate design of the heavy entrance doors and the architecture of the pillars outside. No doubt these people did good business turning the big palace into lodgings and guest houses. They don’t like to call it a hotel.

I walked to the open café just outside the building, ordered a cappuccino and rested my exhausted self on an ebony colored chair. The sun had already set perhaps; it would take time to get dark. My phone had been vibrating all afternoon. I checked Whatsapp messages, emails and made some pending calls home. It had been a week since I last called mom. Calls didn’t last more than just a few minutes, just the usual- are you eating well?, how’s work?, and other things.

My coffee didn’t come yet. The customer numbers must have increased, as it was almost evening. I thought to check on it at the counter when someone took the chair opposite mine and placed two coffee cups on the table.

‘Hi,’ he smiled an earnest disarming smile, ‘Surprise! Here’s your coffee Rano, um, I can call you Rano, right? Ratirano is a big name.’
I was staring at him. Did I know him? I couldn’t place him anywhere. But he knew my complete name. Everybody here addressed me as Ms.Devi.  Was he in the research team, was he an assistant, or a hotel manager? He looked a well groomed man of manners and no less than royalty. His dressing was impeccable. And this was no place for random flirtatious people.

‘Sorry, but do I know you?’ I asked politely.

He looked, I don’t know, a bit astonished. Taking a sip he said sarcastically, ‘Aw, that hurt.’ He looked me straight waiting, and continued when I didn’t reply,’ Do I look so different now, that you don’t even recognise me?’ I tried remembering the faces of my old friends, school mates, college buddies, and colleagues- couldn’t find him anywhere.

‘I don’t seem to remember,’ I offered. He seemed genuinely hurt, ’Ok, I’ll make your acquaintance later then, when you tend to recall. It has just been a month, and you seem to have forgotten everything. Tell me, do you have a case of amnesia? Ah, never mind,’ he said getting up with his cup.

I felt foolish and stupid. Having made someone feel embarrassed did no good either. Not that I have encountered many flirtatious perverts in my teenage days to be able to identify with their looks, but this person didn’t seem like one. I racked my brains to recall what happened one month back. I left home in Shillong for a research assignment in Jodhpur, a month back. Mom had been suggesting that I married and got settled, but I still had a few other ambitions.

And I haven’t even asked him his name, I realised. Well, how could I ask- it would have made him just more miserable, perhaps, that is if he was sincere.

I finished my coffee and went to my room, deliberately removing all unwanted stuff from my brain. I had come to love my room in a month. At first I found the place alien and uncomfortable, but then slowly the place accomodated me and made me its own.
Getting a good night’s sleep has been easier these days, than it was earlier. But today I couldn’t sleep peacefully. I decided to check my mail and my blog, that I had neglected for almost a year. The rankings must have come down, along with the page views, I thought. My personal gmail account hadn’t been opened for more than a month. I wondered if there were any mails from friends, or mails worth my curiosity, instead of the usual spams.

An invitation for the college alumni party was there- beautifuly designed. New friend requests from facebook, linkedin, glassdoor, twitter, etc. were among the other lots. But something peculiar caught my interest. Some Mr.Shantanu P Chauhan had left me 6 messages in Shadi.com, and it was dated today, just an hour ago. I clicked on the link. Oh my, it was the same person- sleek tailored suit, gorgeous smile and a clean shaved version of what I saw today. Even the picture gave a regal aura. I almost panicked at the never ending chats and conversations between us on the page, which I don’t remember having at all.

The recent message said- hope you remember me soon. I intend to change my display pic if you don’t. I have come to like you very much. Don’t push me out now.

My heart skipped a beat. I don’t remember anyone having enough courage to even say that to me. I think they thought me unapproachable, well, to my own advantage.

I believed my intuitions and sixth sense a hundred percent, and something told me my life was going to change- but I still doubted, for the better or for the worse.

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