Friday, October 17, 2008

Alien cities


After the old waiter, wearing a haggard bow tie, kept my luggage on the table, I tipped him and locked the room behind him. It was an old hotel, and there were rumours that it would soon be dismantled to give way to a shopping mall. The paint had been peeling off the walls, and the damp bed covers reeked of lovemaking. The fan moved about its wobbly wings and the television set’s volume control lay broken. The window, overlooking a residential apartment, would not close properly and the curtains were torn off at several places.

I put my hand inside the crevice of the old sofa and discovered a bunch of cinema tickets of a film twenty years old. For some time, I could hear noise in the corridor and then it died down. There was silence.

In alien cities, in hotel rooms like these, the feeling of loneliness is most intense.

I had come prepared for this. So, as I lowered my back partially over the sofa, I took out a cigarette and, as the ice bucket arrived, I poured myself Vodka in a shallow glass made for consuming tea. Then I senselessly watched television for some time, letting the extra volume drown me into it. Then I flung its remote somewhere.

The curtains swirled under the fan. Two poems lay unfinished in a small diary, stuffed in my jeans pocket. Words had been failing me. Newspapers, which lay on my bed, made no sense. I didn’t have the patience to read the book on the table, leaning against a thermos. I ended up drinking too much, letting the alcohol drift me towards sleep.

In the morning, I woke up with a headache. The ashtray was full – the cigarette ash had filled the gaps last night. The remote lay sulking in one corner. A new set of newspapers had been slid through. The jeans lay in a heap on the chair, with the unfinished poems still unfinished. I closed my eyes.

In alien cities, in hotel rooms like these, the feeling of loneliness is most intense.

8 comments:

Nadia Khan said...

Have a nice blog

Anonymous said...

Hi R, I am safe.
- P.

Rahul Pandita said...

Great, P. You take care, and write to me whenever you get time.

Karan said...

Rahul, I forgot to ask - did you receive the book?

Kakshi said...

Waiting for a new post! :)

Neelesh Misra said...

Rahul,

The strange destiny of writers is that we lament about loneliness, and yet crave it. Very lonely without it.

I dont drink or smoke, but even without the cigarette butts and the ice bucket, you have captured those islands of loneliness in our lives very beautifuly. I could relive he unending days I have spent in alien cities in quiet hotel rooms, some as dirty as he one you walked into, some not so -- but always lonely and inviting like a secret lover.

Neelesh

Anonymous said...

Found an apartment finally! Will move in tomorrow :)
- P.

Anonymous said...

waiting for ur nxt post I think m addicted