Late, that evening Mohit, who is a senior level boss in the company Ranjit works for rang up to say that we and three others could stay at another boss’s casa in Mantagua. I was so happy and Ranjit was relieved. Casa meant an independent house on the ground so no stairs for me to climb up or run down!. As we drove into the residential area I couldn’t suppress the “wow” that slipped out. This was definitely one of the better places, and a more expensive one to reside in. The house we had to go to wasn’t completed in terms of interior decoration, facade, front garden and back lawn and garden. There was rubble, wood and weeds, over-grown grass and bramble all around it. But the main structure was very nice and all the rooms which included living-room, dining room and bedrooms had the basic furniture, curtains, beds, pillows and comforters. The bathrooms were good with an ample store of towels however there was no hot water and the kitchen was fully equipped.
The tremors were mild here, and I spent a relatively calm time for as long as we stayed. Initially I fretted about no internet and TV. What was I supposed to do the whole day while everyone was at work? Relief hopped in to give me English novels from Mohit’s library and a gadget called a dongle, which connected me to the net, from Karmeshu one of the senior bosses from India, who was also staying with us. I was getting reasons to be grateful at every step which reminded me that someone up there was looking out for me.
But the most striking thing about the place was the location. These houses were built on hilly ground so the roads ran up and down slopes. Each house had well kept gardens in front of the house and behind. The gardens were ablaze with bright hues. The flowers here have amazingly bright colours. And the Pacific lay behind our row of houses. It was beautiful as the sea was near enough to get a clear view of seals swimming, yachts sailing or ships entering the port. The huge window that spread against one whole wall of the dining cum living room offered the most scenic view I’ve seen here till now. I used to sit and soak in the cool breeze as I gazed over treetops at the ever changing sand dunes that rolled down to the blue ocean. My spirit was forever hovering between the brilliant sun and aquamarine water. The breeze is always so cool even when the clear sunshine is blazing on terra firma.
Well true to nature relief isn’t a long staying pal. We moved in on Sunday night and moved out next Sunday morning. Not that we had to, in fact the boss’s family, who lived one casa away was surprised that we were moving out. But it was becoming inconvenient for Ranjit and Manu to commute to the office. Mantagua is about twenty-five kms away from Vina, so that added to the distance. Their work place is not in Vina Del Mar. To make the daily run Tintin had to hire a car for the entire week. This was proving to be very expensive. So we were back in the apartment and I had the jitters. Monday morning the tremors decided to get back in full force. Strong ones kept the count rolling to sixteen in the day. Tintin would keep calling every time one came and would find me rattled.
Finally he found a room on the ground floor at a hotel barely five minutes from the apartment. He drove down from office and shifted me there.
I slept. I slept the afternoon away.
I stayed here in the night too, alone, but it wasn’t scary. The tremors were not so frightening here as they didn’t shake up the room so badly. Still it was quite late when I finally went to sleep. What matters is that I slept well. However, the next morning saw me packing my stuff and moving to the company guesthouse. I didn’t want to leave but I had no choice. Although the room was neat and clean and had a nice attached bathroom, it was a one-star facility with a three-star tariff.