Maya was confused. She didn’t know whether to pack more of winter clothes or more of beach wear. it would’ve been better to pick a Europe trip instead, she was wondering. At least then she would’ve been sure of the weather. Thailand and Malaysia, she knew it was a lot of beaches, but if or not she needed warm clothing, She wasn’t sure.
Thinking of this trip and how it had materialized, Maya still couldn’t believe it. Only a couple months back, when her parents had decided that she had come of age to get married, Maya urged her parents to allow her one trip abroad before she got married. Having been an obedient daughter, all her life, She thought She at least deserved that much. And She was right. Her parents allowed her a trip to Malaysia and Thailand, a cheap package for 15 days, which normally, all well-to-do middle class families could afford.
Maya set off. Her parents bid her goodbye with plenty doses of good-to-use advice and home made achaar(Indian pickle). Least did they know, what Maya had in mind. But they were simple minded people and didn’t mind their daughter doing what she wanted for a bit, as long as, she didn’t invite trouble. She never disappointed them, nor, she would.
Four hours of flying to Bangkok, Maya was far from tired, on the contrary, she looked quite fresh. Her room was close to the airport and comfortably furnished. She dumped her luggage in the room, took a quick shower and left to see the place.
Maya had never been on a trip alone even in India, let alone outside. This was a new, rather, a very brave venture for her. She was excited, adrenaline was flowing in copious amounts in her body. She walked through the streets with curious eyes and an apprehensive smile. She went through the flea markets, saw some really disturbing stuff, evaded the parasitic tourist guides who wanted her to see another world. She dodged all the Quirky one liners about her dress and all the alluring escapades offered.
Aimlessly walking through the backyard of Bangkok, she finally found a place where she wanted to sit down and have something to eat. She ordered something she couldn’t pronounce and eventually, the dish came, she realized it was soup, only fancier. In the middle of her eating the soup, her adrenaline levels came back down, the endorphin glands snoozed off and She realized how lonely and homesick she felt already. But She didn’t want to succumb to the pressure and denied herself the liberty to be engulfed in the misery. She looked around, gazing at the beautiful people around her, looking so happy, so content with life. She had to suck in this spirit in the thin air and throw out all her fears.
the soup didn’t taste so bad now, and She also managed to find herself a decent dessert. By the time, She was done, Maya realized, it was dark. She got up unsteadily and walked up to the attendant.
“Where can I find a good place to have a drink?”, She asked, not believing the words coming out of her mouth. She had never even looked in the direction of drinks before. She didn’t quite understand the source of this new impish courage she had imbibed. But, She didn’t question herself a lot fearing the loss of it, if she thought about it much.
So, instead, She walked in the pointed direction. She walked in trans, unsure and insecure about her decisions, but still at the same time, excited to the core. This could be the end of life as she knew it, or not. How did She have the cojones to take this gamble? She didn’t want to know anyway.
It all started a month back, when her best friend Natalia got married and went to Thailand for her honeymoon, she came back with pamphlets and brochures of hotels, massage parlors, happy ending massage parlors…and suddenly Maya wanted to know. She still couldn’t believe she had pulled it off.
She reached the nearest pub, took a quiet corner and sat there for a half hour before ordering a chardonnay. She then took out her phone and called the number.
The rest of the evening went in a purple haze. It was an aroma she had never taken in before, a sight she had never witnessed, a feeling that was beyond her comprehension and a power she had never tasted before.
When She got up next morning,She had a slight headache, chardonnay, she thought and made a mental note of not having it again,at least, not so much. She looked around to find her clothes, most of them were under the guy who was fast asleep next to her. She decided not to bother him. Walking with slight uneasiness and a lot of weariness, she made her way to the bathroom. Turned on the shower and let the water pamper her burning skin. She tried to feel remorse over last night. She didn’t feel it. She tried to feel shame, hatred, disgust but none of the aforementioned emotions surfaced. Was it because She had convinced herself for weeks of this behavior or she was always devious and she had just accepted it. Whatever be the reason, we shall never know. What we know is that she emerged out of the bathroom with a wicked smile and a starved stomach.
Edward, she remembered was his name, was already up and getting dressed.
“Order some breakfast, shall we?”, She asked. “yes, m hungry, eggs?”, Edward replied.
“sure, yea, go ahead, order whatever you want”, She replied and turned over the crispy newspaper to read the headlines.
“What do you want to do for the rest of the day? or rather 15 days, because you have hired me for it…”, Edward asked between mouthfuls of cream eggs.
“I want you to show me this city and give me 15 most memorable days of my life.”,Maya replied.
“wow, are you like dying or something?”, Edward was curious.
“Maybe, I am. who knows?!”, Maya said and broke into a roar of laughter.
15 days, Thailand (she never made it Malaysia), sunsets and sunrises, no reasons, no concerns, no right, no wrong, no cause, no effect.
Maya returned to the Indira Gandhi International airport, exactly how she had gone! Nothing changed in her, except everything did. She spoke the same way, soft and submissive. She dressed the same, much to the delight of her parents. She didn’t question anything, they fixed a date for her wedding and she blushed and shied like a normal Indian bride would. She got married eventually, and when her husband suggested ‘Bangkok’, She denied politely.