“Mother fucker”- I said as a BMW 7 zipped past me. It’s a habit of mine. Anytime I see a great car go by I curse the driver. He deserves it- lucky SOB!
I’d decided to walk to my room, to save the 5 bucks on the bus ticket. Month end you see. There’s this fancy hotel mid-way. I stopped just in front of it and looked inside longingly. Sons of rich bitches inside would be having a blast. I was in my office attire and could pass off for a fancy executive. The dough was the only problem. Simply put- a good time like that was unaffordable.
I remember a long time ago my Daddy told me that one didn’t need money to have a good time. I decided to give that theory a shot.
I walked in and the doorman with the thick moustache greeted me and opened the door with an exaggerated gesture. I nodded my approval like any high-flying guy would do. The lobby was a fine place with antique wooden furniture and long beautiful carpets. On the walls hung paintings and at the reception counter was a very pretty girl. Behind her were clocks showing the times of New York, London, Dubai, Singapore and local time. There was also an electronic board showing the day’s currency rates. That caught my eye because of my job.
For a moment I was lost and didn’t know what to do. The rupee was 52 to the dollar. I could have done with some dollars. The girl at the counter looked at me and smiled. “Can I help you Sir?”’- she enquired.
“Ya, could you guide me to the bar.”
“Tenth floor sir. As you get out from the lift it’s on your left.”
I made my way to the lift. There was an Arab man inside already. “Asalaam Malaiykum”- I said to him as the doors closed. He looked shocked. “Arabi?”- he enquired.
“La, Hindi”- I replied. Enthused he began to try a conversation with me in Arabic. “La la la”- I said to him. My knowledge of Arabic was very limited. I remembered the numbers so I began reciting them using my fingers for impetus.
“Wahad, Itnain, Talata, Araba, Hamsa, Sitah, Sabah, Tamaniya, Tissah and…”- I left the last for him to finish.
“Ashra!”- he exclaimed and beamed in childish glee as he did so.
At that exact moment the lift reached floor ‘Ashra’. I got off the lift shaking hands with my Arab friend.
I spent the first few moments scanning the bar. It was a fine place. There was the bar counter at one corner and tables all around- all very tastefully done up. It wasn’t very crowded. There were still some empty tables around. I sat myself at a table. Almost immediately a waiter came to me with the beverage and snacks menu. I glanced through it and it was scary- the prices!
There was this very attractive girl sitting by herself at the bar counter. It took me all of ten seconds to make up my mind. I walked up the counter, close to where she was sitting. She was just finishing her drink. I called the bar-man and said- “Buddy, another round for the lady and a JD for me- ice and nothing else.”
She looked up at me.
“May I”- I said, pointing to the stool beside her.
She smiled and said- “Please do, and thanks!” She had an American accent.
“My name is K’- and I gave her my hand. “Betsy”- she replied.
“Where are you from?”- I enquired.
“Washington. And you?”
“I’m from this same place.”
“What brings you here?”
“And what do you do?”
“Well, I’m a trained nurse.”
“You must be getting a lot of patients!” She smiled at the compliment.
“Well I’m not practicing right now. I’m producing a movie and I’m here on a project.”
“Wow! A movie producer!” She blushed.
“How about we move to a table and order some eats?”- I suggested. She agreed. I let her order the food. She ordered prawns, chicken and a plate of French fries. That itself would cost me 10% of my salary. But it was fantastic stuff!
“And what do you do?”- she enquired.
“Well I’m in to business.”- I replied.
“What sort of?”
“Well, many things, family group. We have rubber estates, coffee estates, a paper factory and a couple of properties that we let out in the city.”
“Oh… that’s impressive.”
She was drinking slowly. I took her permission and ordered another round. The drink was fantastic. I’d never had JD before and I was enjoying it. I was drinking neat and enjoying the flavor. No wonder these whiskies are so freaking expensive.
“So are you enjoying your ‘India’ experience?”- I enquired.
“Oh yes, but it’s very hot. I need to have air conditioning all the time.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
“Yes. But it’s also very dirty. And the people seem to be lacking civic sense. The traffic, the pollution, the corruption- it’s all very annoying.”
“Ya, I know.”
“And most of all, people don’t respect time here. It’s impossible to find anyone who’s on time.” I smiled.
“I was waiting for someone and he hasn’t showed up yet!” I smiled again.
“What about you? Are you alone?”- she enquired.
“Not anymore”- I replied. She blushed.
The drink was fantastic. I ordered another one. She ordered a re-fill of her ’dry martini’.
“How long are you here for?”- I asked.
“Oh, I’m leaving tomorrow. I’m going to meet my friends in Phuket.”
“Yes, last summer. Had a blast!”
“Oh that’s great to hear. I’m really looking forward to it!”
“I just need to refresh myself. Please excuse- me” – I said. She nodded her head.
I got out of the bar and made my way to the lift- got off at the ground floor (saying the Arabic numbers in reverse as I was going down), smiled at the pretty receptionist and gave the doorman a five buck ‘tip’. I walked the remaining way to my room.
I hope she had the money to pay the bill.