Room No 118
“Yes ma’am, that’d be no problem at all.” The manager said.
“Trring, trring” and after exactly seven more rings, one of the receptionist picked up the phone.
“Good Morning, this is Grahan Hotel. How can I help you?”
“I need to book a room..single bedroom actually and tell me the prices too?“ The man on the other side said.
“Sir, single bedroom for a night would cost Rs. 2300 and it would include breakfast for the other day too.” The receptionist replied.
“I’d like to book a room then for two nights.” The man replied.
“On what name, the room would be booked, sir?” The receptionist asked.
“Alright, Mr. Kuinkel.”
“Thank you.” Mr. Kuinkel cut the phone from the other side.
Grahan Hotel is one of the reputed hotels in Kathmandu. It was built by Grahan Thapa, in the memory of his late father, Shamser Thapa but now it was handed to his son, Chandra Thapa, to operate it in the present era. It is situated in Gaushala, near the famous temple, Pashupatinath. It is the perfect place to reside for the average class people.
The huge mansion of the hotel is colored yellow and it is almost fifty years old and the faded paint in some parts show its oldness and the need of renovation.
The next day when the clock showed the time of half past three in the evening, a man stood at the reception seeking the attention of the busy receptionist, Reecha who was facing backwards busy on her computer.
He tried to press the bell in front of him, but it didn’t work; he thought he’d try calling her himself.
“Ahem, Ahem! Excuse me.” The man said.
“Oh, I am so sorry sir. Welcome to Grahan Hotel. How can I help you?” Reecha replied.
“I have booked a room here.” The man replied.
“On what name has the room been booked, sir?” Reecha asked.
“Let me check. Please wait.” Reecha said.
After a minute she found his booking and asked him to sign a paper.
“Is Room 118 available?” he asked.
After checking for a minute, she came forward.
“Yes, sir. Here’s your key. Enjoy your stay, thank you.” She replied with a smile.
Mr. Kuinkel was a retired employee of an IT company in Pokhara. He was visiting the capital to attend the alumni ceremony, organized by the company.
He was fit, living his late fifties with his hair greyish at some parts. His face was well equipped with a bushy moustache and a spectacle hanging, supported by the two ears and the nose.
Mr. Kuinkel then proceeded towards the elevator to go to his room. His room was on the second floor, towards the left side of the entrance of the elevator through the long, wide corridor.
“The hotel has changed completely in thirty years and it’s not the same feeling as before,” he thought.
“The company matters when you visit the place after so long and the nostalgia haunts, no matter how long it has been.” He was swimming inside his memories.
He stood still observing the environment and his eyes were wet with tears, visualizing the scenario, drowning in his memories.
He opened his room with the keys provided and saw a room consisting of a bed, a small cupboard, a couch and a television. A window was placed to the right and the dusty road was visible with unclear sights of the famous temple, Pashupatinath. There was an attached bathroom to the left with all the necessary equipment placed in the right place inside.
The same old room, he thought, with some improvements and some upgrades but the aroma, it was leaving after the thirty years was the same, though he was isolated now.
He went inside and sat on the couch and began to think about the marriage, which connected him with Payal Hamal, changing her surname to Kuinkel and bringing their lives together.
Payal was fair, extremely beautiful, with an average figure, short and the curly hair with those sparkling would take anyone’s breath away.
They were strangers before the marriage in their different lives and an event brought them together and they had to plan their life together from then.
The after marriage honeymoon brought the couple to Kathmandu from Pokhara to The Grahan Hotel and the same room where they handed each other their body.
The marriage had gifted them with two children and the happiness was in the air, they just had to inhale it and live in it.
Manoj thoughts were distracted by a phone call from his elder son, asking him if he had reached safely.
Manoj then decided to take a vapor bath to freshen up as he had travelled a long road to be there; the trip had made him drowsy and weak.
The small activities drove the time at a faster rate and it was already seven in the evening.
He then decided to order some room service but the phone operator invited him to have dinner in the dining room as there were only a few customers residing in the hotel.
Manoj then put on his slippers and moved his steps to the elevator. The dining room was on the ground floor towards the other side of the entrance, next to the kitchen.
As everyone preferred to have the regular diet, the manager ordered his cooks to prepare dal, rice for the customers and staffs.
When the food was being prepared, the manager indulged himself in conversation with the customers.
The room was filled with gossips and laughter but Manoj was sitting at the left corner in a lonely table with no one around him.
He could remember his first dinner with Payal in the same hotel. He could remember Payal wearing a black sari and a green shawl. He was in a greyish suit.
He could notice Payal, a bit shy and he thought it was because she was all alone, miles away from her home, with a stranger who had become her husband, two days ago.
He had tried to make her comfortable by involving her in the conversation and making her believe that their ways lead to the same destination from then and holding hands with each other and helping each other out would make the journey easier and fun than going through separate ways.
He also poured that he was so lucky to find such a beautiful wife, and he could clearly remember her smiling for the first time, still trying her best to hide it from him.
The dinner was served at last. Manoj was deep inside his memories, smiling and remembering the moments when the waiter brought him to thirty years in the future.
A simple feast with the food that reflected the Nepalese tradition was in front of all the guests there.
The thirty minutes long dinner was over with the guests, tummy full and satisfied. They left filling their body with the healthy food and healthy conversation.
Mr. Kuinkel then dragged himself towards his room as he still had to prepare himself for the conference, next day.
Manoj then headed to his bed, wrapped up in the blanket to save him from the cold weather.
The hotel was a beginning to his new phase of his life. The time spent with Payal there brought them closer and the stranger was connected with a strange bond, which led them together to their new world.
Payal was stubborn at times but she never left him alone in his ups and downs. The happiness that she gifted him was more than he asked for.
The day, when their first child was born; Payal was so nervous and his company had made her feel a little bit comfortable. The delivery resulted to their baby child, Prayash.
There were tears of joy in their eyes as they knew they had taken another step in their lives adding a member to their family.
Their lives had taken twists and turns, and after a gap of three long years, they were gifted with their second child, Prashant.
He was smiling, remembering his wife, who was a superwoman, who could complete the household chores, look after the children, take care of the hubby and still couldn’t feel a bit of laziness, following the same old routine every day.
Manoj was still in his bed staring at the wall colored in blue, fading with time and listening to the ticking of the clock.
Manoj was happy with Payal; he couldn’t ask more from his life. The later stages made Payal very weak and depressed of small matters causing her headaches and seizures.
He could still memorize how she used to snub doctors by saying “it’s just a normal headache, I’ll rest for now, and I will wake up tomorrow, all fit and fine.”
The health worsened day by day, and the weakness never left her, compelling her to get admitted to the hospital.
After going through several processes such as a neurologic exam, MRI, angiograms, spinal tap, CT scan and biopsy, the doctor finally had to spread the news that she had a brain tumor stage IV.
Manoj knew by then that he was living his last moments with his beloved wife. He couldn’t control his tears. She knew that she was bidding goodbye to everyone in her life and she had not much time left to live.
After two weeks, she left everyone, leaving them with sadness and isolation.
Manoj was in tears, remembering his life and remembering the span from the start till the end.
Certain places, events or songs are very memorable in life; they are memorable even if the people connected to the event are long gone and the feelings are buried deep inside.
People can never be trusted nor the life; death is the only thing that can be trusted and it will never betray us as it’s gonna haunt each and everyone sooner or later.
Even though Manoj was lost in his past, with tears flowing from his eyes, he knew by then that everything starts to end.
After all, everything has an ending, everyone’s life is a story and it has to end, no matter it’s gonna be a happy one or a sad one.