Welcome to the Hotel California


Living in a new city can sometimes be overwhelming. Especially, if you don’t know the local language. Things as simple as getting a ticket in the bus could be complicated. Ultimately, it takes a LOT of gestures and broken words to make yourself understood. You may go through a dozen crappy experiences before you end up with the right thing. But at the end of the day you have an awesome story to tell and a treasure trove of experience to share. That being said, don’t expect an awesome story from this post. ๐Ÿ˜›

As a vegetarian, my options in the locality are pretty limited. Within a month of my arrival, I knew that my chances of getting ‘Vatha Kozhambu’ was pretty bleak. Until one day, I saw the dark green signboard with the words ‘Chennai’ on them. Let me call the restaurant ‘Narnia’ for it claimed to be a ‘shortcut to Chennai’. Vatha Kozhambu was back in the game. Ha! The day came and we friends decidedย to get a takeaway and have a movie marathon for the night.

The words printed in Tamizh near the entrance was so inviting compared to the series of bizarre things that happened next. We took the elevator (which by the way looked ancient with rusting grill doors and barely had enough space for three people) and landed on the second floor. Pitch darkness. Were we actually travelling to Chennai ? Was this some sort of teleportation machine stuck in between space? I wish. We were on the wrong floor. Once we moved up to third level,things looked reassuring again. I went inside the restaurant. The ambiance was fantastic – the dim golden lighting,the circular tables with glimmering glassware and pristine white napkins. Everything was perfect except that the place was completely empty. Not a soul in sight. Now, Narnia was really starting to scare me. First the pitch darkness in the second floor and now a deserted dining hall. Oh boy! In a few seconds, a man came out of the kitchen door. He gave the menu and alas, no ‘Vatha Kozhambu’ in theย evenings. So I ordered something else and sat waiting. There was absolute silence except for grinding of machinery from the kitchen. The place had an eerie quality to it. Gaping emptiness and grandeur. If only there was an old English Butler by my side, it would have been the perfect setting for a Hitchcock movie.

After a while, some one entered the restaurant. At last another customer ! Before I could even heave a sigh of relief, the man went straight for the speakers and fiddled around with the music player. So he was one of them. Perhaps the owner. Grr. An eerie old tamizh song blared out of the speaker. The slow melancholic tune was enough to creep the hell out of anyone. My friend and I became so uneasy. When we were making dumb jokes to ease the tension, suddenly we noticed out of the corner of our eyes someone moving. We when looked towards the direction, there was no one. I asked my friend if she noticed the movement. She did too. It was definitely scary. In a minute or so, it happened again. This time we could not dismiss it as a trick of the light. We were starting to get a little panicky but kept looking for the source of disturbance and there it was ! A big fat mouse running through the tables. Phew! Our 20 minutes encounter fizzled out like baloon.

I couldn’t wait to pay the bill and run straight for the door. While all this happened, I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics of ‘Hotel California’ and chuckle a bit. I am never going back to Narnia again…. and my quest for โ€œVatha Kozhambuโ€ is permanently shelved!

P.S : This is my first post after nearly a gap of nine months. College to Job transition. Big story. But I can say with delight that I discovered so many new things in these nine months. Moved to a new place. Met wonderful people. Missed home. Rediscovered me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now back to blogging. Home sweet home ๐Ÿ™‚


About vandysnape

Hi ! I'm Vandhana. Books. Blogging. Rickmaniac. Titanic. Time Travel. UFOs. Madras. Travel. History. Quirks. Shopaholic. Sinatra. Mozart. Beatles. Amelie. Me :)
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15 Responses to Welcome to the Hotel California

  1. hehe! i am only guessing which new eerie corner of the world this is. happy new job and wishes for the new phase in life btw!

  2. Aadi says:

    A long gap. Was wondering what happened to you.
    Moved to a new place? Kerala perhaps? Not probable.
    The hotel of course reminded me of one in Fort Cochin over here in Kerala. Seldom haunted and eerie music (Always. I plan to buy them a good music CD on my next visit ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but no mice (never ventured to investigate though).
    Your first job, ain’t it? How do you find it? I’m on my way there (Final Year). And what is it? You did engg., didn’t you?
    And how’s your reading going?
    Hope all’s well over there. Convey my regards to all at home.

    P.S. What kind of a food is vatha kozhambu?

    • vandysnape says:

      Hope you are doing good ! I am in Hyderabad now, Aadi ๐Ÿ™‚
      Job’s going on fine. My first job, so I am learning things. No complaining ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes a software job it is ! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Read some wonderful books year. Book Thief and A Tree grows in Brooklyn really made a mark on me. Sure, book count has reduced, but I am trying to catch up on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Vatha Kozhambu is sort of a gravy that you can take with rice ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Balu says:

    lol, Pursuit of Vatha Kuzhambu…it sounded like you were in Hotel Transylvania ๐Ÿ˜€
    Btw, thank you so much for posting again and Congrats on your new job Vandhana!!
    Keep blogging!! cheers!!

  4. mramani says:

    Hi ๐Ÿ™‚
    It is so nice to see you back on your blog – would you believe it, perhaps every other day I have been checking here to see what happened. Hope all is well. Do share your experience of moving from college to a job. Write regularly and all the very best ๐Ÿ™‚


    • vandysnape says:

      Thank you, Mahesh ๐Ÿ™‚ Sure will share all the interesting events happening ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so glad that there are a few souls actually interested in my blog. Much appreciated, Mahesh.
      Looking forward to catching up with your posts again !

  5. Vandy!! So glad to see you back in action, even tho you had to star in a Hitchcock movie about the Bates Motel Restaurant! But you survived handily, as you always do.

    Wow– you finally graduated from Hogwarts College, new city, new job. Lotta changes for you! Glad to hear you’re doing OK, despite โ€œVatha Kozhambuโ€ deprivation. Best wishes, and I shall look forward to hearing more of your adventures!! : )

  6. ahh proof that home is where the sum of our parts are ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the pudding!

  7. Ram N says:

    I recall another hotel called Southern Spice in Road No 2, Banjara a few years back… unsure if its still there .. i love their pepper rasam served as the soup/appetizer. Do try while you’re there

  8. Praveena says:

    Good to see your posts again.Beautiful one as always ๐Ÿ™‚

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