The Hotel / Rakesh Kamath

The hotel without a board belonged to Pappan. Pappettan’s hotel stood right next to George’s hotel.

He served the best idlis in the village. Idlis and Kadala curry. Also available in the mornings was Aval nanachat. Aval mixed with jaggery, coconut, and bananas. There was also an option of spicy aval, aval mixed with his own recipe of spice mixture. Sometimes he added pieces of murukku and peanuts. In the evening, Papettan would make dosas. Dosas and chutney. Also available was ela adas and pazhampori.

“Why are you so late?”

“I had to run some errands father” replied Rekha.

Rekha was his youngest.

“I know you have been frolicking with that Abdul. Please i am begging you not to do what Rema did. I cannot bear the ignominy. If you want i will get you two married tomorrow.”

Rekha continued to look down at her feet. She was blushing.

“Should I talk to them?”

Rekha ran to her room and closed it.

But Pappettan’s appeals and pleadings changed  no one’s heart. And Rekha had to elope. Just like her sister had done. Papettan had given no dowry to either of his daughters.

The idlis were sourer than usual. The kadala was uncooked. The chai was watery. The coffee tasted bitter. The hotel was his soul. Now the soul was dead.

Rakesh Kamath wants to be a writer but makes no serious effort. He has a master’s degree in engineering but currently works as a clerk.

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