My intentions of taking a bath fizzled out into my dreams. No one disturbed me. I think maybe Beena came to check once on my status and found me dead to the world with my jet lag and many sleepless nights; during our marital dog fights. I slept through late lunch, dinner and woke up very thirsty in the morning. The air conditioning had come on and I was feeling very cold.
I pulled the curtains from the big French windows and peeped outside. It was still dark. This was the end of September. The days were beginning to shrink. The Sun too had begun to come out late. I looked out it was still dark. My watch was telling me Toronto time. It would be the evening of the previous day back home. I had a sudden urge for a hot coffee. I was still dressed in my pants and shirt which i had worn in the plane.
I opened the sliding French windows and came out on to the balcony. ‘Good morning, mem sahib!’ said the guard at the gate in a hushed voice. I whispered a ‘good morning’ back to him. The trees were swaying in the park with a gentle cool breeze. They were tall eucalyptus trees as I found out later, and were inhabited by a gang of rowdy crows. They were beginning to create a ruckus like all self righteous early morning risers all over the world who also feel that the rest of the world should get up now. There was a pleasant smell coming from all the greenery and I made up my mind to get familiar with the trees and the birds of my park.
Coming down the stairs i could smell fresh coffee but with a different tang to it. I walked into the bright kitchen and found a man grinding coffee beans in a mixer. He was short and round. He was wearing a cap and was about five feet tall. He had faint Mongoloid features. He was Nepalese. He saluted me formally with a hand to the forehead and i smiled and said, ‘Good Morning.’
‘That smells like some great coffee.’
‘Good Morning, I am Bahadur. Yes great coffee. South Indian. Home of coffee or kaapi. You like a cup. Ok. Ok. I bring to your room.’
‘No, no,’ I told him that I would wait and have the coffee in the kitchen only. He raised one eyebrow a little scandalized by my proletarian behaviour.
The coffee was tremendous. It was a new thing for me. A very strong brew with a richer coffee tang.
I walked out of the kitchen, foyer, main door and was confronted by the iron gate. ‘Was I a prisoner?’ I tapped gently on the gate and the guard opened the little hatch in the large gate and I stepped out on to the street. ‘is it safe for me to take a walk’ I asked the guard and he said, ‘yes ma’am as safe as Ram Rajya.’ I did not stop to question what that was and started walking on the dark unlit street. Another power cut I presumed was the reason for the unlit street lights.