It was 2 AM when I reached my hotel room straight away from Goa airport hid behind an oversized cap to avoid the journalists.
Obviously, you don't want to be a frontpage news headline just because 1) you catch three flights in a day 2) deny pointless rumours about you dating someone you don't even know 3) lose four consecutive matches in country's largest cricket league!
No matter who you are and how hard you try, this spotlight doesn't let you sleep on some nights. Nights like these.
I took off my t-shirt and gulped down some water.
Well, in India, no amount of air-conditioning can make you pretend it is NOT summer.
As I stood touching the windowpane to look down at the pool on the ground floor, I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. It was a message from Bunty:
"Sleep well, brother.
We are to check out at 7 am tomorrow. See ya!"
I let out a sigh switching off my phone and landed on the bed like a meteor hitting the earth. The only difference being this meteor didn't shatter on colliding. Or maybe, it did. Like it does on any other day.
There's this uneasiness that hits me often at most unexpected hours of the day and on most occasions I give in and let my thoughts overtake me.
Some experiences can't be described; only experienced.
But that night I was not going to allow my thoughts take over me because 1) I was terribly tired to think about any thing 2) I had to check out early next morning 3) I didn't want to show up at a grand event with bags under my eyes 4) I wanted to devour the pleasure of sleeping on this super-deluxe-extra-soft hotel bed at the moment.
Maybe the bed turned out to be extra-deluxe-super-soft as well because my eyes didn't open until the sun made its long journey into layers of my bedsheets via window and curtains.
It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the sudden photo-exposure and I glanced at the clock that showed 7:37!
I quickly put on my t-shirt and ran to Bunty's room - less to see if he was pissed at me and more to punch him in the face for not waking me up.
Bunty!? You there?! Open the goddamned door RIGHT NOW!!"
After a couple of minutes of intense knocking, he opened the door and I saw both his eyes half-shut and his expressions so vexed as if I had snatched away his food!
"What the hell, Virat?"
"Well that's something which I am supposed to ask you, not the other way round."
"Excuse ME!? You said we're to check out at 7 and now it's - "
"SSHHH!!" he interrupted me.
"I'm pretty sure you haven't seen my message."
"I did! That's why I'm here to -"
"I'm talking about the message I sent you at 4. Now please go back, sleep and let me SLEEP!
You are just Virat Kohli; but I am Virat Kohli's MANAGER, which is worse. Good night!"
He shut the door on my face while I murmured, "Technically, it's good morning but okay," and trotted off to my room.
I switched on my phone and the very next moment, news notifications popped up on my screen. One of them read: Virat Kohli to get engaged to his girlfriend at Bangalore, sources reported.
Ignoring all the buzzing pop-ups, I opened Bunty's text and it was:
"There's a change in your schedule. The inaugration is postponed to Sunday. So we are staying here one more day. You better rest or enjoy yourself. But DO NOT WAKE ME UP."
So now I was left with a whole day, with nothing professional on the list, and bonus - I had already had a great slumber enough to refresh my body.
At such times, if you are Virat Kohli, you will want to escape four walls, wander and explore several miles around - undetected.