I had to go to Chennai as a Sales Officer. This meant living on a SO's allowance (thankfully, not the salary). I had to stay in a hotel for Rs 350 per night and Rs 110 as DA (daily allowance). The 110 was supposed to cover my food and miscellaneous. Apart from that, I could claim laundry and travel expenses (on actuals). The HR female gave me few contact nos of hotels. Such cheap hotels do not book in advance. I had to reach Chennai in the morning, search for a hotel, get dressed and reach market by 9 am... a daunting task. I was also given the contact no of a Summer Trainee who was working on a project in Modern Trade. He was staying on the same allowances.
A and I left our excess luggage at the office... the caretaker would shift it to the guesthouse. We carried only 1 bag. A also carried his laptop. I had left mine at home. There was no point in dragging a laptop everywhere.
After work I met Tangy at Crossword. He gifted me a set of green wooden bangles. I still have one of the pair (the other one broke). That was my only b'day gift that year. The bus was at 10 pm... I reached the boarding point and called the trainee. He was kind enough to book a room in the hotel opposite to his. He was staying at a hotel- JJS Guesthouse for Rs 375/night. I did not want to pay more than my allowance. I was obviously on a pocket money from dad and wanted to spend as little as possible.
The bus left at 11 pm. Reality about buses from B'glore to Chennai- the drivers are crazy and reach the city at the oddest time. I reached Chennai at 4.30 am. No kidding. I called the trainee who was kind enough to answer his phone at that hour. He gave me the directions to the hotel and was waiting outside when I reached.
That is how I met my husband.
I had expected meeting my husband to be more dramatic but if someone would have told me at that moment that we would be married someday I would have laughed. KC's reaction would have been same.
Anyway, so he took me to the hotel opposite to his. Everyone was asleep and I was asked to come after 7 am. It was 5 am... how was I supposed to kill 2 hours? We then went to his hotel... his friends had checked out a day earlier and he was sure there were vacant rooms. Even here I was asked to come after 7 am. KC suggested I kill time at his room. Where else was I supposed to go at 5 am? I was not comfortable being alone with a guy in his hotel room. I decided to find another hotel. I went to every hotel whose address the HR female had given me. Guess what? They all charged atleast 500 bucks/night. I was so screwed. All the while, KC called me and urged me to come back. He was sure I would find a room there. But stubborn headed that I am, I wanted to try all the other options first. I went to the hotel where I had stayed during my summer training. I was a trainee at Taj Coromandel and they were not paying a stipend. Few months before the actual project we had gone to the company for a 7 day stint. It was a shady hotel but cheap at Rs 300/night. I didn't mind staying there 'coz my batchmates were around. This time the hotel felt shadier and I was reluctant to take a chance with safety. I came outside the hotel and wondered what to do. 2 guys approached me and asked if I was looking for a hotel. Thats when I freaked. I took the nearest auto and rushed to KC's room.
His room was tiny, it had 1 bed which took up half of the room, a TV, a bathroom and a tiny stool. I perched myself on the stool... it was very tiny and I longed to sleep on the bed. But KC was sitting on it... he could hardly invite me on the bed. We watched TV and talked for the next 1-1.5 hours. At 7.30/8 am, I tried to negotiate with the manager on the room rate. I did not want to pay Rs 375. Due to the language barrier I brought down the rate (or so I thought). KC was surprised... he had been staying for 2 months and was not offered any discount.
I rushed to the room, slept for 10-15 mins, got dressed, called the Sales Officer- Bala and rushed to the market.
Next post- My most important training begins