Translate

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Dormitory

the dormitory



Sunday, January 16, 2005
Mumbai:


It's always an experience to be a part of this room, a dormitory of a hotel in Mumbai's bustling Dadar locality. I prefer to stay here whenever I visit this mad mad city. I know this place for some years now. It's fun, besides convenience, to put up here for a short visit.

It has six cots, each accompanied by a small almirah to keep your luggage safe in the room. Two young funny guys sit outside. They are the room boys.

It's neat and clean and tidy. And by Mumbai's standard, it's quite cheap - 300 bucks for a day's stay! Cheap! Ummm?

And Mr Sinha, one of my five dormitory-mates this time, also feels the same as I do. I met him the evening I checked in. He has the looks of a man who has held top positions. He was an IAS officer; retired just a year ago, I learnt from him within minutes of our interaction. I trusted him. After all, I had no other option. I am a journalist, I said. And he trusted me.

The subject was politics, as it always is in a gathering. And Mr Sinha went burst. "These bastards, what are you talking about them! These bastards don't have brains to run this country. Saale humko kehte hai...tumko akal nahin! Now these aanguthachhaps will teach us the business...." Mr Sinha must have had a bad brush with some leader, I thought.

His intervention in my conversation with other guy in the room had prompted me to introduce myself and know about him. Which he did without any problem.

In fact, Mr Sinha was very eager to introduce himself. He spoke loudly so that the other occupants in the room could also hear him . Others had no option. I was of course the worst hit, for I had started the conversation. He had, alas, found in me an audience.

And what brings you to Mumbai? I asked him in the momentum of the conversation, only to repent later. I should not have asked him another question, I felt.

Mr Sinha was in Mumbai to deliver lectures at a workshop organised by some company on marketing principles. He earned heavily from that, he said as if trying to impress me. Mr Sinha was quick to add, to avoid any misconception that, he thought, I could have had.

"Actually, you see, I can stay in rooms at any hotel. Money is no problem. Those bloody companywallas pay for my stay. Why will they not? If they bloody want my expertise, they better pay my bills. I get good money for my lectures also. I've written 12 books."

As he continued, I fell silent.

"But I prefer to stay in this dormitory; I had had a heart attack once while I was travelling in Mumbai..."

Oh! I said. How long back was that?

And Mr Sinha, who had earlier told me that he was in hurry to go out for dinner, sat firmly on his bed, and took a complete one hour to narrate the whole story. Intermittently, when I threw a look at the other samaritans in the room, I could see a deep sympathy for me in their eyes.

A fatherly Mr Sinha has no other audience in the room. A Sikh businessman from Chandigarh replaced one Mr Puri from Delhi who left for Pune yesterday. Mr Arora has been kind enough to share some of my responsibilities. He too is giving a good audience to Mr Sinha. And Mr Sinha now addresses him as well, so that I can do the work that brought me to Mumbai.

I still have to hear him in the evenings.

Mr Sinha has settled in Kanpur with his wife. He got married after his first serious love fell apart because his strict father, he said, was opposed to his affair. The memories still upset him. Or at least he pretends to be very upset over his failed affair. But more than the failure of his affair, he's annoyed with his father, who did not allow him have his way. The woman whom he married on the insistence of his mother is still his wife, by the way, Mr Sinha said.

He's been doing most of the talking. At 59, he looks 70. And that is enough to lend credence to his story. But he's joyous. Tragically for his age, he's too many diseases to deal with. One, he's already had an open heart. Two, he's a diabetic. Three, which is good for him and bad for others, he loves talking about himself! Yup, most of the time. There's no dearth of stories...

For instance, he'd tell you how he fired a Minister once on a policy when he was secretary; or how a gathering of Mumbai's leading industrialists (include any name you want, from Ambanis to Wadias to the Tatas) listened to him in awe as he delivered a sermon on the latest Marketing funda. Did he not tell me, he's an ex-student of IIM, Ahmedabad. He did. Ya.

If you've any problem, Mr Sinha is more than eager to solve it. That he would end up aggravating the problem is a different story. But Mr Sinha would not shy away from taking a chance to offer his ideas. He's now invited me to his home. He was very happy when I generously offered him a chance to solve one of my problems in the room.

Mr Sinha will be here for some more days. So far, from the day he has been in Mumbai in this dormitary, none of his family members has called on him. Neither his wife, nor his son.

"You see, it's a busy world, beta!" Mr Sinha said last evening when I opened the subject. "Nobody listens to me at my home. Nobody heard me ever. Never did my father, or my family," he said with a smile that looked superficial.

Mr Sinha was sad, as he tried to control his tears. His new story had just begun in the process. And I was there giving an ear to him.

7 comments:

Maveric Moves said...

I am Charudatta Bhagwat , we have been friends since Chandrapur from our days at LTV along with Madhav Chari. We have also met each other a few times in nagpur while you were with lokmat times. I dont know wehther you will recollect it all. incidentally I had met your dad a couple of years ago in chandrapur. I just read your
feature on nagpur boom in DNA and felt like reconnceting to you. Do drop a line whne you have time :)

c_bhagwat@hotmail.com is my mail id

K A Shaji said...

Hi Jaideep,
Just now I went through your blog.
Good work indeed.
Now, I am back in Kerala.
In Trivandrum now.

my mail ID: shaji@tehelka.com
sent me a mail immediately.
The intention is to get your e-mail id and phone number.
I have lost your visiting crad during the process of shifting from Delhi.
love and regARDS
SHAJI

Sandip Bhattacharya said...

I am Sandip Bhattacharya , I am B.Tech student from IT-BHU ,I require some help from you, Me and my friends are planning to go to bombay and will stay there for five days..We require hostel facilities mostly dorms ......I feel that the kind of dorms you had mentioned in your blog , the one at dadar will be quite apt ...... It would be very nice if you could give the details of that dorm like it's name
phone number etc to the email below (my mail)

sandip.bhattacharya4@gmal.com

Your help would be vitally important to us.

Sandip Bhattacharya said...

I am Sandip Bhattacharya , I am B.Tech student from IT-BHU ,I require some help from you, Me and my friends are planning to go to bombay and will stay there for five days..We require hostel facilities mostly dorms ......I feel that the kind of dorms you had mentioned in your blog , the one at dadar will be quite apt ...... It would be very nice if you could give the details of that dorm like it's name
phone number etc to the email below (my mail)

sandip.bhattacharya4@gmal.com

Your help would be vitally important to us.

prachi said...

helloo..
hi culd i get the details of the dormitory tht u mentioned..
would be really helpful
you can drop by at prachi_87@yahoo.com
thnk u

sunita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sunita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.