My room was sparse, but it had a rickety ceiling fan. The fan was old, and the years hadn't been kind. Its blades had curved downwards over time, and the plaster where it met the ceiling had broken off revealing concrete and iron rods. As the night grew still, the heat settled on me like a fever. I couldn't crank the fan up higher than a slow spin, lest its ties to the ceiling gave. I sweated just lying on the hot bed and couldn't see how I'd manage to sleep that night. I had absorbed every last patch of coolness from either side of the pillow, and now there was just me and the sweat. My sleep that night was more a departure from a state of awakened alertness than a night of rest.
I was up and about as soon as the sun broke. I made my way to the reception downstairs where I found a familiar face. A thin, reedy character, face all pimples, moustache all mousy was busy stacking ledgers into a drawer. It was Ranjit Rulez. Perhaps it was just me, but Ranjit always struck me as the name of a brawny, truck-like character. That and the fact that this Ranjit claimed sovereignty over some unspecified kingdom had led me to believe he'd be more than he was, despite the grainy webcam capture I'd seen on the net when I booked a room here.
He turned to face me and gave me the widest grin I'd seen in a long time. He looked like he was in his late teens. He wore gold chains around his neck and had a flashy mobile clipped onto the front of his shirt. The shades were flipped onto the top of his head. I'm not sure he wasn't simply compensating.
"Aaiye, aaiye, thik thak soye aap? I hope everything was to your liking?"
I replied that it was way too hot and that the fan just didn't cut it.
"Ah..well, anyways, I'm sure you haven't come here to sleep. What can I get you?"
Well...a wife really...but I couldn't tell him that just yet. There was still so much to do before all of that was allowed to happen.