‘And when does your train depart?’ he asks while searching his shirt between the pile of clothes spread all the way.
She lits her cigar and waits for him to dress up, though she is draped around a white sheet.
‘Would you love to drop me there?’ Her voice is stern, yet lucid.
He looks at her with his winsome eyes, dropping his search and making his way towards the table.
The strands of hair, struggling to release themselves from the bun she tied at the top, finally kissed her cheeks making him more drawn towards her.
She tucks them behind her ears.
Not again, he tells himself.
‘I am too tired to drive, Darling. Some day in future, I surely would.’ He fills a glass of gin and tonics.
The sip burns his throat, soothing him down.
She laughs in a poised manner.
‘Would you live that long, my grace? I really doubt.’ He doesn’t laugh, not even a smile.
He hasn’t heard, she concludes and walks into the washroom.
Minal recalls how she spent a whole day with a stranger whom she met at the pub last night.
Everything had been exciting after that, they had their dinner at the Dhaba nearby, digging themselves into buttery aloo ka paratha and malai lassi.
Next, they hired a taxi and roamed around the city holding a bottle of beer and each other’s hand until they were tired and booked a room. She didn’t even remember whose idea it was nor did she care.
She got her wings, he gave him the much-needed break from the monotonous life she was having.
She didn’t know him, just a name; Robin.
Maybe a false name, maybe not. She didn’t care.
Life is so unpredictable, she thinks.
She read it somewhere that the pleasures of life often come with guilts and lies.
She had both but doesn’t regret this day.
Working for hours together, she missed the fun and excitement inside her.
She didn’t even imagine in her wildest dreams that her sudden plan of having a drink will land her into another opportunity of flight and fright.
She feels like a bright red flower of rose, young enough for lusty eyes, and the thorns are hidden beneath.
She puts her kajal and paints her lips with a rose pink lipstick, lets her hair free and looks perfectly pretty.
She unbolts her door and expects Robin to kiss her.
But to her astonishment, she doesn’t find him. Nor his shoes nor those filthy looking bag.
He’s gone, she thinks.
She packs her bag and grabs her purse.
Her phone rings, displaying a number she saved. She parts her lips in a small laugh and answers the call.
‘Yes, Aryan. My train’s at 11.’
‘I am on my way to the station. I will be there soon.’
‘Yes, really soon. See ya. Love you.’
She disconnects the call. Such a liar, she mutters.
Before she exits, she turns around and says, ‘Oh Robin, you were really great and I will surely miss you’ and walks out of her room.
‘The taxi’s waiting for you, Mrs Sehrif. Hope we see you soon.’
‘Oh manager, you expect me soon, I will be back really soon.’ She winks at him and makes her way towards the exit.
‘Your tip, good servant.’ She hands him a packet.
‘You have pleased me a lot and you know what more to do.’ She smiles at the help boy and boards the taxi.
Her train departs exactly at eleven. She smiles crookedly as the train leaves the city.
While she writes in her diary, those pale eyes of Robin ponder into her thoughts, ‘How beautiful this world is to them who live, and those who die, but the taste of death while being alive is something superior, but darling who would tell them?’
There, at the end of the city, lies a dead man on the chair, holding a glass of gin and those dead eyes searching for his murderer, who has already left.
Tejaswini is an aspiring writer who wants her readers to delve into her stories and enjoy reading them, because that satisfies her, a little more than Chicken Biriyani.