I’m glad to have arrived safely in Goa. It was a tiring journey but was fun too. Thankfully the people I had to share my compartment with were kind of nice. I don’t really have much to talk about tonight as the whole day passed in the train. It was kind of monotonous but thankfully it was raining outside. You know how I love the rains…
Ah! I’m exhausted!
That day is clearly etched in my memory. I was tired from the journey. I had gone to sleep… and, I had woken up from a bad dream. However much I tried, I couldn’t go back to sleep and so I gave up. I opened the curtains and allowed the faint light to stream in through the windows. I instantly felt at ease. The calm view of the sea and the whispering waves tempted me to go out on the beach. I put on my jacket and got out of that hotel room.
It was 4.47 a.m. when I reached the sea-side. The cool zephyr hugged my body and warmed my soul and the murmuring waves welcomed me. Oddly, I didn’t feel afraid. I was conscious of the fact that I was alone on the vast coast, early in the morning and yet the same fact failed to discomfort me.
I found solace in strolling near the shallow waters and humming my favorite tune to myself. The seconds glided by one after the other, like the beads of a rosary, and grew into an hour. The sun was peeping from the horizon. The thought made me smile. I was so pleased that I wanted to sing aloud…express my joy. I started to jog. Suddenly something, no – someone caught me eye.
He stood there motionless, watching me; observing my every movement. He knew that he didn’t go unnoticed, yet he stood still, studying me.
I flinched. Something about him was eerie. I wanted to run back to my room, away from that man, but I didn’t make any effort. I pretended to take no notice of him. On the contrary, he didn’t even try hiding his interest in me.
I had now slowed down and my jog was reduced to a saunter. He was fast approaching me. I increased my speed again. The last I looked, his silhouette had reduced to a tiny dot.
I indulged myself extravagantly in the street markets of Goa. I had heard much about the night life of the state and wanted to savor it too. At around 8.30 p.m., I decided to go to the pub right across the beach. I entered the place and the aromatic smoke from the hookahs received me. It was a large area but the crowds made it look small. The space was adorned with red lanterns and soft lights. There was smoke rising from the charcoal grill and the aroma of the BBQ sauce wafting in the air. There was a local jazz band playing Sinatra that evening.
This is Goa! I said to myself. I was in a gorgeous navy blue summer dress totally in a party mood. Just then, I thought I saw the same guy I had seen on the beach that morning. When I turned around to confirm my qualm, I could see nothing of him. Maybe my imagination was running wild.
I was having a great time, meeting new people, clicking photographs with them and just talking and laughing with them. The music was slow but not boring; it was rather relaxing. It made me want to join the others on the dance floor and I did. I danced away, unaware of the time. Oh how nice it felt! So free!
The night passed and morning came. It was around 3.00 a.m. when I finally left the pub. But the crowd had not thinned; people were still busy enjoying themselves, mindless chatter filled the room. Even though I wanted to stay, I wasn’t sure I had the energy to. So I walked back to my room only to find a huge bouquet of red roses, without a card, at my doorstep. Didn’t know I had friends in Goa!
I opened the door to my room and set the bouquet on the side table. I was curious to know more about the sender but was tired enough to delay it for a few hours. I took off my sandals and jumped on the bed. I fell asleep instantly.
I must have slept for about 6 hrs because I woke up at exactly 9.17 a.m.; someone was knocking at my door. I sat up on the bed, still groggy from the sleep and I could feel a headache coming on. Must be the alcohol! Darn it!
I managed a, “Who is it?”
“Room service, ma’am”
I slowly got up from the bed, and headed towards the door. I passed the bunch of flowers which added another thing to my ‘to-do list’. I opened the door and let the employee come in. While she was about the room, changing towels and so, I settled with a paracetamol to ease my headache. Thankfully, it worked. I looked around the room and stopped at the bouquet,
“Could you have any idea as to who might’ve left these flowers for me?”
She looked at me and then at the flowers, “I’m afraid I don’t, miss. You can check at the reception desk. They might know something about it.”
She went back to changing the bed-sheets. Once she was done, she said,
“Do you have any clothes for dry-cleaning, miss?”
“Hm? Oh. No. Thank you.”
She smiled and then took leave.
Once again I was left pondering over the sender of those flowers. I decided I needed to straighten some things out. I bathed and dressed, and as soon as I opened the door, I saw an envelope at the doorstep. I sighed. Now what?!
I picked it up, tore it open and took out a small note which read (in cursive!),
“Mira, meet me today, at 8.00 sharp. I’ll be waiting for you in the lobby.”
That little note was enough to mess with my head. Who wants to meet me and what for? However, the note had made one thing clear – I was going to meet the sender of those roses, at 8.00, in the lobby.
That day shopping was what occupied most of Mira’s day but her mind was occupied with thoughts of the ‘Mystery Man’. ‘Who is he? What does he want? How does he know me?’ were only some of the questions that haunted her. She was both curious and reluctant to meet him. It was finally 8.00 p.m. She was sitting in her room and was wondering if she should meet him. In the end, curiosity took the better of her and she walked downstairs, to the lobby.
[Continued in DEAR DIARY… (Part II)]