Trespasser for Life


Trespasser for Life

Illustration: Akshita Monga


ve been sitting in a Goan marsh for the last 20 hours, waiting to enter the Taj Hotel on the sly. I had planned to enter from the beachfront, but as I approached the hotel the night before I’d been chased away furiously by a pack of dogs and had instinctively jumped into a paddy field nearby. Wading and crawling through the wet rice field, I knew I would have to just bide my time in the marsh until it was the right moment.

I’d found a small spot where there was a heap of old leaves and plastic bottles, and made it my seat. I sat in the undergrowth, leaning against a wall, hiding under a small canopy of giant frog umbrella leaves (that I later learnt are called Elephant Ears.) My constant routine was to smear Odomos all over myself, again and again, to avoid getting nibbled to the bone by mosquitoes and other insects. During that 20-hour wait, I swung between sleep and wakefulness. Sometimes I would doze off, but I must have woken up at least a 100 times.