Part 1

It was past midnight. The din of the road side traffic was slowly dying down. The only prominent sound was the slight hum of the airconditioner. I was lying awake on the hotel bed , trying to recollect snippets of my life. A life gone all wrong. How and why are questions still lurking in the dark corners of my mind. . Those who were near and dear to me have lost faith and trust in me. I have reached an impasse , a logical dead end to my miserable life. It is like I am perpetually trapped in a maze and frantically trying to find that elusive way out.

I got up from the bed and walked towards the balcony. The city looked dazzlingly beautiful from up here. It brought a smile to my face. "How many people out there were really happy?", I thought . I have not tasted any real happiness in the recent past. Everything was ephemeral and facile. As emotions welled up in me, i felt dizzy and numb. I felt as if I have fallen into a deep dark abyss, and yet to hit rock bottom. I was in that in between stage, where i could feel and see myself falling down ..feel life slowly slipping away ...waiting for that dull thud to happen when i hit the concrete floor. I do not know for how long i stood like that or when i came back inside. When i opened my eyes i was lying on the bed. I was about to slip into a soporific state when my cell phone buzzed. The number was unknown. In a semi dazed state i picked up the phone and said "hello".

There was silence initially from the other end. After what seemed like eternity , a very feeble female voice said "Hi, are you awake"?

I was still trying to place the caller when she said in a slightly confident tone "Sorry to call you at this hour. But it was important".

I mustered my strength and asked "Do i know you? Could you please identify yourself"?.

There was silence again at the other end. I was wide awake now. I got up, propped a pillow on my back and asked once again "please tell me who you are".

In a very feeble voice she said "Thats not important. What is important is that i have called you to at this hour to talk with you".

"I still dont get it", i said. "How did you get my number"?.

She chuckled and said "well, as i said before, that is not important".

I was getting furious as this conversation was going no where. I was about to cut the line when she said "Please do not..I need to talk to you".

I said "Look lady , I am already in doldrums and i do not want a crank call to add to my misery. So would you please end this drama and reveal yourself or you can just go to hell!!"..

"My my ...thats what i want to see in you" she said coyily. "A little bit of manliness".

I couldn't take it any more and i disconnected. After a few minutes of eerie silence, when i was thinking that i had seen the end of it, my phone buzzed once more. It was her again. I picked up and yelled "What is your problem lady"? Cant you understand what i just said to you earlier?"

Silence ...i could hear her laboured breathing at the other end. "My name is Aditi". She said. "and i know that you are going to kill some one soon".

"What" !! i shouted ..."What do you mean?" Another disturbing silence followed. "Who are you"? I enquired again.

"I am no one. But i know you well" she said. "How....where.." ..i asked . My brain frantically trying to find out a connection somewhere.."

Please dont bother wont be able to trace me. I was so inconsequential then" she said. I was dumbstruck for sometime.

"How do you know that I am going to kill someone"? "If you continue this conversation you will come to know" she said..i was confused. Was she trying to bait me? Is this some kind of a joke?

The more i thought about it , the more i wanted to end this conversation. As i was about to cut the line , she said , as if reading my thoughts , "Please dont . Give me some more time".

I didn't know what to do. For sometime we did not utter any thing. There was complete silence. Then she finally said , "I am staying in the next room. Why dont you come over?".

I thought about it for some time. "Give me your room number. I am coming over" i said. Anyway i wanted to see where this was heading.

"Room Number 1222. Right next to yours. Please come. Iam waiting" , she said.

I dressed up quickly , locked my room and stepped out to find myself right in front of her suite. Room no "1222". I knocked on the door. The door opened and i saw a very pretty lady in a negligee standing before me. She had beautiful eyes. He lips were so inviting. Her hair was undone and lovely. Her complexion was dusky and sexy. She was looking directly into my eyes. There was something about it. The way she was looking at me. As if challenging me to come inside.

Finally she extended her hand and said "Hi ..I am Aditi".

"Hi..I am John" , i said. "Come on in . I have been waiting for you for quite some time now. How long you will be staying in this hotel?" She enquired.

"I have not decided. How do you know me?" i asked. She smiled . She got a lovely smile , revealing her perfect white teeth and the tiniest dimples on her chin.

"Well, we have got all night. I will tell you everything. What would you like to have? Wine or Whisky"?

"Wine" , i said. "Please sit down , i will be with you in a jiffy", she said.

As she was walking towards the bar , which was immaculately arranged, i noticed that she had very shapely legs. She definitely knew how to flaunt her assets. Everything about her was sexy. The way she walked , the way she looked at you , the way her hair bounced on her shoulders. I couldn't take my eyes off her.

She brought 2 glasses of white wine and came and sat very close to me. I could smell her perfume. Faint but very enticing.

"So what brings you to this place.?" She enquired.

"How do you know me? I am sure that I am seeing you for the first time. So how come you know so much about me? And why do you say that I am going to kill someone"?, i asked

"Shhh...she put her lovely fingers to my lips. Lets not spoil this evening. I will tell you everything. But first have your drink ." She lifted her glass and said "Cheers".

I sipped the wine. Let it swirl around inside my mouth. Caressing my taste buds. I closed my eyes and allowed the flavour to sink in. It really tasted good. When i opened my eyes , she was smiling at me.

"Liked it?. Its one of my personal favourites", she said. " tastes good. Leaves you wanting for more", i said.

"You can have as much as you want. I have reserved this only for you",she said.

After a few drinks , the wine started to take its effect. We spoke about many things in general. About different brands of wine , about books , movies ...but whenever she spoke i was not listening , i was just looking at her lips. How perfect it is! How nice it would be to kiss those lips? I was immersed in my own thoughts..

"Come inside", she said..i will show you some of my music collection.

She took me inside and made me sit on her bed. The she closed the door and vanished.

I didn't see her for five minutes. I was beginning to get jittery , when she opened the door.

She was completely nude. She stood like that for some time, wanting me to devour every inch of her lovely body. Then she slowly walked towards me , her body bouncing in rhythmic cadence with each step. Before i knew what was happening, my lips were on hers ... Everything became hazy and disoriented. In that frenzied state , we made passionate love. Time stood still as we explored each other , created new horizons for pain and pleasure..our bodies entwined in the ultimate bliss of oneness. We lay like that for eternity each others arms.. our breathing in congruence..

She then looked lovingly into my eyes. I never felt such intense longing for anyone in my life before. I kissed her lips once more and then got off her. Lay down beside her and took her hands gently ......

Part 2

"Who are you"? I asked her.

"I am Aditi", she said.

"I know that ... but i want to know who you really are", i said

She looked into my eyes for a long time. For a second i sensed pity in her eyes. But she quickly gained her composure and patted my cheeks. "I am yours" , she said.

I got up from the bed and told her that i needed to get cleaned up.

When i came back from the bathroom , she was all dressed up in her negligee and was seated on the bed. "Would you like to have something" , "How about Whisky"? She asked.

Ok, but i need to go back soon. I need to catch tomorrow's early morning flight to Mumbai.

"I know" , she said .

"How do you know that"?. I just booked the tickets a few days back.", i said.

"I know everything about you". "I also know where you will be staying in Mumbai"

I was left speechless for some time. Her lovely eyes revealed nothing. Except for a deep longingness and love.

"Who are you"?. "Would you please tell me ?"

"I will , but let us have a drink first", she said.

Reluctantly i followed her. My mind told me to scoot from there at that very instant. But my heart told me to stay on , repercussions of what had happened before.

She brought two glasses of whisky and handed over one to me .

"To your health", she said.

As i took one sip , she said "i am your alter ego", and smiled.

"Did you make a panic call to an agency sometime back? You had suicidal tendencies. You still have. You were quite lonely when you made that call. You are still lonely. Right?", She asked.

I was spellbound. Stood transfixed for some time. I felt as if my entire life has been read out to me by her. How come she knows so much about me? I thought to myself.

I was very angry. I somehow felt cheated and betrayed. I gave my glass to her and started walking towards the door when she called me back.

"Hey! Please come back. You spoke to me that day"

I was shocked. I turned back and looked at her.

"I spoke to you"?

"Yes". It was me who listened to your whole story that day. We spoke for nearly one hour. But you wouldn't remember cause you were drunk . I could make out from the slurring in your voice", she said.

"So how did you end up in this hotel"? ,i asked her.

"I knew that you were going to commit suicide. Sooner or later. When i listened to you , i understood that our life was more or less similar. I was also quite lonely. Well, if you could take away one or two unsteady and unreliable boyfriends that i had. But i was really lonely. And i realised that loneliness is a disease. And i wanted to cure yours and mine too. So i was tracking you all this while. Was following you. Had a tough time tracing you to this hotel. And when i called you and said that you were going to kill someone , i meant killing yourself ".

"What is this? Some kind of a joke? Why should you take so much pains to come all the way and do this? Just to make me feel good? Is that it ? Do you expect me to believe that?

"No", she said. I came all the way because i knew what you were going through. I had attempted suicide once. I know the state of mind that your are in right now. And i wanted to help."

"You wanted to help a stranger? We have not met before and you know nothing about

me. Yet you wanted to help me? Why??

She just looked at me and said nothing.

I still felt conceited and used. I was having trouble believing her story.

"Sorry , I am finding it hard to believe this bullshit which you just told me" ,i said.

"I am leaving", i said.

Her eyes welled up. Tears started to trickle out of her lovely eyes, making tiny fjords on her cheeks .

I couldn't take it anymore. I just turned away from her and walked off.

I closed the door and traipsed to my room in a semi dazed state. I still couldnt believe what had just happened.

I checked my watch. It was 1.00 am. I need to leave for airport in another 5 hours. Hardly have time to pack my bag and get some sleep. I got inside my room , took a shower and crashed . I fell asleep even before i hit the bed.

When i opened my eyes it was 03.30 am. I had to rush to the airport now. I got up , brushed my teeth, took a quick shower and dressed up. I did one final check to see whether i had taken everything and stepped out. I locked the room and was about to walk towards the elevator when i noticed that Aditi's door was open. It was 04.00 a m, a little too early for her to be awake. Curiosity got better of me and i went inside to check on her. She was lying on the bed. Maybe she forgot to close the door before going to sleep , i thought. But when i got near her bed, i noticed something peculiar in the way she was lying down. Her hands were awkwardly placed. Her skin had a pale blue color. I just touched her and withdrew my hands immediately. She was stone cold. I checked for a pulse but couldn't find anything. She was dead. Aditi was dead !!. I didn't know what to do. I was shaking all over. I have to inform the hotel authorities. Involuntarily I took out my mobile to check , when i saw a message from an unknown number.

It said. " I wanted you more....thought you would understand..Love ..Aditi".

Then I noticed a bottle of sleeping pills on the table. I took it into my hands and looked at it. It was almost empty. My eyes vacillated between the bottle and the message on my mobile. And i looked at her. Without even realising tears started streaming down my eyes.

I sat down on the bed beside her and stroked her lovely hair.

"I am sorry ...iam really sorry ", i said ..and wept inconsolably.

I was about to get up and leave when an entourage of hotel attendants and policemen barged into the room. They were all over the place , checking stuff. They seem to be too busy to even notice me. I got up and stepped aside to make their job easier. The man in charge , who i presumed to be a police inspector, was questioning the hotel staff.

"So when did you say that you last saw her like this"?, he asked the hotel attendant. The boy who was cowering behind the hotel manager said "around 8.00 P M yesterday sir. I thought she was sleeping", he said.

I was shocked. "How can that be?", i thought. I met her at around 10.30 pm yesterday.

I was about to say this when the police inspector asked again , "and where did u find the body of the guy in the next room?".

"He fell into the mini garden between the building sir. He might have jumped from his balcony", said the attendant.

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