Just about when we were tired of walking (my new white shoes had become totally red by then), we saw what we were looking for: Hope Hall Hotel, District Raigad, 410 102. We have heard it was pretty cheap, and the hosts are nice people. We step in thought the swish gates into what looked like a garden of sorts, lots of flowers and shrubs that gave it’s a distinctive aroma, with a cage in a corner, and a table tennis board under an asbestos roof. All around this garden were huts, the first being one with an open door and a door-bell.

I go in, no one inside. Empty chairs, a scrapbook on the wall, and lots of photographs. My eyes wander along the scrapbook, which has postcards from people who have visited this place and liked it. My friend, meanwhile, comes back, after checking out the place. He announces, “No one’s here!” and goes on to ring the bell. No answer. I keep on reading the scrapbook; there is a list of the pets in the Hotel and the train time tables, and a brief history of Mathrean, some sketches also. My friend keeps on ringing. When I reach the bottom of the wall, there is a note, “Please do not ring the bell more than once.” I smile.

We were about to leave, when a lady, in her late forties, in a shirt and jeans, with a high ponytail, and smelling of alcohol, steps into the room.

“What do you want?”

My friend tells her, we want a room. She is visibly irritated. He calls a boy, younger than us, to show us a room.

We follow him, he lead us to a small two roomer. Outside there is a courtyard, a girl( pretty attractive) writing her journal on a wooden bench. Fresh green and pristine brown.

The room itself is small, the attached bathroom surprisingly big, almost as spacious as the room itself. Click on the lights, flush the loo, look out of the windows, sit on the bed, stand up, walk out, and latch the door back. Back to the reception.

We tell her that we like her place and would like to stay. However, we would like to check in after 12(we didn’t want to pay for one more day). She was pretty upset and told us, “Out rooms are not of that kind. They don’t wait for anyone.” Profound! Seeing no line of logic would reach her, we step out in to the roads again, hoping we will find another hotel for sure.

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