Saturday, 21 December 2013

Do not disturb



This time your entry must contain, ‘Do Not Disturb’

Entering with my sole accompaniment , my hand bag , I glanced  at the spacious lobby playing soft music ,the sparkling brass pot-holders and figurines placed strategically gave a clean look to the bright interiors done by the famous architect .The carpeting sunk my feet deep into the softness giving an effect of floating in space. This place reeks  of money and to camouflage the stink , artificial floral air fresheners were  generously used.
The staff in their crisp uniform moved about with measured steps flashing plastic smiles plastered over their heavily made up faces. I was already feeling hot and suffocating despite the low temperature of the air-conditioned environs .

 I approached the back office staff and completed the formalities.


 A  'Do not disturb' sign in bright red resonating  a Greta Garbosque aura, hung on the door knob. This was going to be the scene of action. 


The estranged star-wife , Suzy, lived in this spacious suite. Her parents and in-laws with their common family friends pitched in to save the failing marriage.
This was kept a highly guarded secret but news travels faster than the speed of light and the general public  got a whiff of scent about something being cooked surreptitiously.

I was still looking around getting to be familiar with the new surroundings , rules and etiquettes of my job.

Suzy had asked for extra napkins. I was asked to accede to the demand.

I placed the napkins on the table. A huge bowl of fresh fruits lay on the table. I adjusted the bowl and I noticed that she was in a short red dress with no jewellery . The red stilettos complemented her dress . She had dark circles under her eyes  and the loss of weight had an effect on her body structure and she looked weak and waif-like.
My first day as a staff member of housekeeping at the White Lily hotel was done.

The next day , I entered room no 629 with  my colleague for change of linen. The bowl of fruits was untouched. I  moved the bowl and set the contents of the table in an orderly way.

When I was alone in my office , I removed the bug that I had dropped it in the bowl of fruits. I listened to the conversation with rapt attention. Suzy was talking to her close confidante and her business partner , another star-wife , giving her the details of her frayed marriage and the reasons for her separation from her super-hero husband. A high profile separation entails a media scrutiny and to avoid the embarrassment to her sons , she had put them into a prestigious boarding school away from Mumbai. She missed her sons. She was sobbing. But she had to put on an artificial mask of being bold and moving on with her life.

I listened to the one-sided conversation. This was fodder for gossip and the spicy nuggets would increase the reader base of the magazine and would be numero uno . I would earn accolades and appreciation for my investigative journalism. This would be the high-point of my career. Tomorrow I would discard the role of a housekeeping staff which I had donned it to extract a slice of the star-wife's life and drape the garb of a true journalist.

But on retrospection, I gave it a second thought. Did my conscience allow me the audacity to pry into someone's personal life to report the happenings to the public? Here was a wife , a lady who was on a precipice alone without support and I was preparing to pull her down. My human values forbade me against taking this step. If I could not help her I had no right to push her into a deep fathomless well.

A person's personal life , be she a celebrity or a common person, needed not be dissected in the public laboratory. I too had walked on the thorns of a failed relationship. The mere remembrance of it scratched the dried wound to bleed and hurt. No, I decided not to part with the juicy information to my higher-ups . I am a journalist and I know the tricks of the trade and survival in this labyrinthine jungle. I would project her as a strong , independent woman in control of her emotions and life. The gullible public will quench its thirst with the juicy information. 

The inauguration of her store the next evening was a big event. The print media described her as glowing confident and resplendent post her separation . But she was far from it and I was the only witness to it. She had cleverly concealed her facial disaster with make-up. And she had adorned the mask with aplomb. The pictures in the newspapers and magazines flashed her false façade. She looked happy and I was satisfied with my work. Some secrets should remain secrets forever.

P.S. : This post is not intended to hurt or malign any person but makes an honest attempt to look at the other side.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

List of WOW badges here.


  1. Nice, loved how you took the prompt and linked it to one of Bollywood's current stories. Loved how you decided to present the 'other side' of the story as you like to call it.

  2. A sensitive post. Yes rather than prying sometimes it is necessary to allow some privacy. Every human needs it...

  3. And yes it does exactly what you had intended to do. Looks of a person are always deceptive. And the real story lies much beyond things we can judge on the exterior...


  4. Exactly what was on my mind when I was hearing the journos asking her personal questions like what caused the separation! How is it their business anyway? A broken relationship, a shattered heart and washed up years of togetherness can never be explained to anyone. ANYONE!! I know is and I understand what you mean here.

    I really appreciate how you have sensitively dealt with this case. :)

  5. Superbly different !! A nice take on the prompt !! Well spun, Kalpana ji :)

  6. True.....Some secrets should remain secrets forever...simply wow :)

  7. Wonderful post. People need their space and the media ought to honour that.

  8. a sensitive and realistic and innovative post. Loved it :)


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