( Oyster Bay Beach is a small, boutique hotel right on the beach @ Puri, in the state of Odisha, India. It belongs to my sister)
(Alright, this post is all about ‘whole lotta love’! So play the above badass link from soundcloud, while you read the blog 😀 )
‘Madam’, said the lady manager to my sister,’ we need a honeymoon suite in the hotel’. I was aimlessly lounging ( my favorite pastime anytime, anywhere) in the lobby of the hotel but straightened up at these words, redolent with the promise of an extremely interesting conversation.
Well, let me just call the lady manager Ms X. She is my sister’s trusted confidante about all affairs of the hotel along with being the major domo out there. She would be in her mid-fifties, dressed in a starched cotton saree, hails from the state of West Bengal and has a grossly obese cat called ‘Felu’. The cat is lovingly referred to by her as ‘Felu Da’ and believe it or not, snacks on Lay’s potato chips 24×7! Ms X is a spinster but a die- hard romantic. I was able to glean the gossip from my sister that when Ms X was young,comely and foolish she gave her heart to a rakish poet, who after declarations of undying love, finally left her to marry an insipid girl of his father’s choice and sacrifice his ‘art’ for a lack lustre government job .Ms X never really got over him and spurned all proposals of marriage after that to state ( to my sister) that she was martyred in love.Sometimes I have heard her singing, and she sings rather well, that weepy, cringe-worthy number “Yeh zindagi uski hai jo kissi ka ho gaya” ( This life is his, who has become somebody else’s). While Ms X adores my sister, she is , I suspect ,not too fond of me. She warily sized me up on our first encounter and declared that I am very hippie like !
(Onto the conversation which I joined with much glee)
‘Madam’, said Ms X excitedly, ‘our hotel is really liked by the young couples and newly weds because they can see the sun rise/set on the sea from their balcony!They can go to the beach anytime because Oyster Bay is right on the beach! We can increase our revenue if we do something special for such customers!’. Well, what do you suggest Ms X ?’, asked my sister.
Beaming Ms X said very firmly and conspiratorially”Madam, there should be no DISTURBANCE. The two suites on the top floor are perfect.NO DISTURBANCE,NO DISTURBANCE’. Her eyes gleamed and held a strange,far away look which made me ask unwisely ‘Why Ms X ?”. She glared at me and snapped ‘For love, choto didi ( younger sister)’. ‘ You are using the wrong four lettered word, Ms X’, I grinned ,only to be asked to shut up by my sister. ‘Madam, we must also put special things in the room’, said Ms X , warming upto the topic. ‘Yeah,some slinky gratis lingerie,possibly a few packets of con****”, I started off.Ms X was aghast at my ‘hippie-ness’ and looked mutely at my sister for support.’No, no, you suggest Ms X! Ignore choto didi’, said my sister hurriedly, giving me a kick.
Ms X had her way and has put red velvet heart shaped cushions in the honeymoon suite. She has chosen beautiful bed sheets and personally strews rose petals on them. A music system with a collection of nauseatingly mushy CD’s is in place. The lights are dim, the fragrance used is sandalwood. ‘We must have ‘love food’ too Madam’, she declared. I brightened up! Well, well the woman wasn’t such a retard after all! ‘Aphrodisiac-l ones ,Ms X ? Strawberries dipped in chocolate? Wine?”, I suggested. ‘Milk, madam. A glass of warm milk’, Ms X said authoritatively after years of viewing legendary Bollywood scenes on the subject of the best method to increase the libido. Here, see pic below 😀 I was stumped.
The pièce de résistance of Ms X’s romantic fervour was that, she would escort the couple ,clucking and fussing over them like a mother hen, to the suite. There she would coyly ask the chappie to carry the lass in his arms into the suite, while she clicked a photo of theirs’ on her mobile phone.She would then take a print, present it to them ,nicely framed, as a farewell gift from the hotel, wishing them eternal love. On one occasion, a room boy and Ms X baiter & her bête noire, told me that this touching scheme backfired. The lass was hugely plump, while the chappie was stick thin.After many takes and re-takes of enacting the scene, Ms X gave up too,long after the couple had done so 😀
Oh, I forgot to tell you.When the re-done honeymoon suite was inaugurated,I had mischievously slipped in a copy of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I had meant it as a prank to plague Ms X, who saw it at the last moment, frowned but couldn’t do anything about my ‘hippie-ness’ again. I left the next day back for New Delhi. It seems the wise, honeymooning couple took Vatsayan’s treatise along with them! Ms X excitedly saw this as a clever, marketing ploy and revenue enhancer. So she telephoned me and imperiously ordered ‘Choto didi, please send at least 50 copies of ‘those’ books! Its a hit item.Madam has okayed the proposal!”. I can’t even begin to tell you the shock on my bookstore manager’s face here when I ordered 50 copies of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I have been buying books from this store since I was in college! As he jotted down my order, I couldn’t really meet the bookstore manager’s troubled and un-believing gaze!
Ms X’s opinion about me has bettered after my above contribution to the honeymoon suite and resultant cash counter ringing. She is a huge fan of my guy, Adi who she met for the first time a couple of months back. ‘Choto didi, next time you are both on holiday, special suite will be booked for you both’,she declared. I flinched and stuttered ‘But, but we are really not honeymooners Ms X”. A sinister vision of me holding a glass of warm milk and acting coy rose up to choke me!
Then, Ms X killed me with her words ‘Nah, nah choto didi! You and Adi babu will be in love forever! My blessings”.
My eyes became moist. I wished I could recite Neruda to Ms X.To this romantic, tragic,funny,quaint woman who ‘loves to love love’ 🙂 This, perhaps?
“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue”
But I think Ms X would prefer to imagine love and passion as was shown earlier in Bollywood movies. Two red roses veering towards each other or two white pigeons canoodling 😀 Jeez!
Over & Out , guys!