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Angie Eng

In India, there are some hotels which hark back to 1970's American Day's Inn motel, replete with furry lion comforters, dark wood panel furniture, fake gold plated appliances, an unfunctional vanity set in the corner and a black and white television suspended on a high shelf which you need to periodically reach up and hit in order to stop the horizontal rolling zigzags.

At other times your room reminds you of a converted insane asylum or in this case-a low season health clinic used as a backpacker guesthouse painted in happy yellow. I went to close the oversized sliding door and climbed(up) into the metal framed rolling ‘dead Indian bed’. This was not a good sign. In fact it was definitely bad luck to be sleeping in beds made especially for the sick and dying.

It began; I woke up to find my watch broken from the night before when I, too lazy to get out of bed, chucked it on the waiting bench across the room. $1 Thai watch, no big loss. The bad luck proceeded with a sample size packet of Sunsilk shampoo spilling into the computer board inside the door panel of my mini digital video camera leaving me with a fuzzy focused image zooming automatically in and out. My $600 Ebay find goes down the drain along with a pair of underwear I washed in a bucket and accidentally poured down the toilet.  I assumed it finally made its way into the open sewers with the other rags which are scooped out once a week making piles of black sludge around the town.

Technically these incidents could happen anywhere, anytime, but not a wild cow charging past you and, for a tasty meal, licking up your postcards out of your hand. "Dead Indian Bed" struck again.
I knew eventually the pendulum would swing back. I made a visit to the Hindu rat temple near Bikaner (Rajasthan) where thousands of rats run around in sacredness, I was lucky to spot the one good luck white rat running under the temple door beside the bright orange blobby Ganesh with beady eyes. I changed guest house the very next day and so did my luck.

© Angie Eng 2001


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