The sudden downpour was definitely a relief from the beating summer, but it caught everyone unprepared for the occurrence. Dark clouds had opened up like never before flooding the streets and damaging the roads. As the evening was setting in, the anticipation to go home could be smelt in the air. Today was one hell of a day for Shreya. The make-up could be seen wearing off her face, the eyeliner smudged, the lip gloss totally rubbed off and her hair was falling out of place with entangled strands.
Working in a client facing role wasn’t easy, especially when your hotel is world renowned. To provide a solution wasn’t the toughest part, to take abuses on your face due to another’s mistake just to hold the brand image of the hotel gave a terrible feeling. How do you expect us to keep calm when the customer is angry due to no mistake of mine? She often asked her trainer.
“That is part of the job Shreya” he said in the most convincing tone. She had done her apprentice in the same hotel and was an excellent performer, which earned her a permanent role at the reception desk. Long hours of standing, receiving and accommodating customers had become a tiresome process for her. At the beginning it was wonderful, she would meet world famous personalities and have an extra word or two with them. Beautiful as she was, they would be lured into spending an extra minute or two with her. Now that monotonous procedure was filled with fake smiles and artificial composure. It was just not going along. An extra hour of beautifying herself was something she was beginning to hate. “Why don’t they accept me the way I am”. By the rules of Radisson, the make-up has to go in tune with the dress code which made sense, but wearing the same thing repeatedly killed the excitement. She didn’t want to quit as promotion was at her door step owing to her seniority. Within the next couple of months she would become a senior client service representative which involved the overseeing of all the receptionists.
Sitting in the public transport riding back home she just couldn’t forget the two incidents of the day. Firstly, Mr Peter whose hosts had booked a deluxe room even when he had mentioned that he wanted a suite as his family was accompanying him grew furious at the desk. Keeping her cool, Shreya tried to make him understand that it wasn’t their fault. After creating a mega scene at the hotel lobby, she contacted his hosts and sorted out the matter. Second incident was that of a kid who broke a chandelier by tossing his cricket ball into it. His mother apologized for the incident, but poor Shreya got a sound trashing from her boss. You could have warned the kid and avoided it, he replied to anything that she said. She gave up after that. With the holiday season on the go, the number of check-in’s were also too many. This was the first time she saw the hotel with cent percent occupancy. Radisson was making huge money and hardly any of it trickled down to her.
The passenger bus came to a halt as she went to the exit to walk back home. She now was wary of how people would stare at her legs as she walked back home. Today it was unbearable; the constant pierce of the stares boiled her blood. She wished that she could turn around and bash those wavered men, but there was no energy left. She just shut her thoughts, and kept walking home. It was a short distance walk to home, she liked this idea occasionally as it would help her keep fit by having at least a ten minute walk home. But on days like these, when the legs ached and the arms couldn’t carry her bags anymore, she cursed her fate for this miserable situation. Satish wasn’t in town for more than a month, his job kept him away most of the time. All she had to get back home and do was be with herself all over again, sometimes the loneliness haunted her. Her thoughts kept wavering from north to south. He wasn’t a man of many words, would talk only when required.
The heavy rains had washed away the top layer of the roads, exposing the soil beneath. She looked at the flowing sheet of water on the road trying to make a path. After doing a metal recce she placed her foot cautiously. Less than five steps later, as she placed her left foot, the soil under the pin of her stiletto gave way. The sudden jerk of the left foot slipping into the water disrupted her balance. She tried to balance by raising the right leg which did not help. The left knee jerked and automatically went forward as it folded. Before she could try to regain balance, she felt her whole body lean on the left and found herself crashing. Hardly a second and she felt the water running on to her face and going down her neck. Quickly she stood up only to find herself tripping again. The footwear had been damaged. The needle on the stiletto had broken.
Removing her footwear and holding them, she looked at her pathetic self, half wet with soiled water. Some kids from a nearby apartment had a hearty laugh seeing her fall. A biker zoomed past her in the narrow lane as more water splashed across her body. Wading through ankle deep water, she made her way home.
The elevator bell rang signaling that she reached her floor. Dashing to the door, she went unlocking it. All she wanted to do was to unwind from this frustrating day. She banged the door shut “home sweet home” that feeling was incredible. The broken stiletto was tossed into the dustbin. Wanting to crash into the bed she went, but her dripping self, made her change her mind. “Not with these clothes” she said to herself. She gave a big sigh of relief after unhooking her bra, probably the only moment of happiness throughout the day. She hated that thing. Within seconds of unhooking, the doorbell rang, “let me have my space for the day Lord!” She remarked.
But a visitor at this time of the day was unimaginable. The doorbell wasn’t rung for months. Could it be the neighbor she wondered, probably an emergency. She hurriedly dressed herself and went to the door and opened it to find none. “This is enough for the day” the children in the apartment were becoming unbearable. As she was about to shut the door, she heard a voice which said “surprise”.
Wait a minute, she recognized that voice. It was what she longed to hear. In one quick motion she stepped outside the door only to watch him hide next to the stairs. All that negative energy accumulated during the day drained out as she watched him smile. She ran and jumped on him to give him the tightest hug possible. He lifted her feet off the ground and carried her. Without a slightest delay, she put her lips to his holding his neck tightly as he walked inside and latched the door.
With every touch of his, her body was recharged. As he rubbed his hands over her back, happiness crept in. Finally she was taken to a new world as he ran his lips over her body. “Thank you for coming today”, she said with tears in her eyes.