The Kingdom Of Obsession
Chapter 1: Room no. 515
Vivek drove as fast as he could through the traffic. It was always a challenge to Negotiate through the heavy traffic of the weekend partygoers. But he could not wait any longer to get to his hotel room. He had left half an hour early from his office and had already called the hotel twice to confirm his booking and was pretty satisfied that the hotel room was waiting for him.
Weekends were a getaway for Vivek; a getaway from his busy office work and mostly from his nagging wife. It was not a marriage it was an agreement; an agreement that the whole week his wife could treat him like shit and in return she would allow him to be free to do whatever he pleased on the weekends. Most men would use this opportunity to go to the local bar get drunk and get laid, but Vivek was different. He would book a room at the Grand Icon hotel for the entire weekend, buy a second-hand novel and indulge himself in a reading spree and end up completing the book by the weekend.
Hotel Grand Icon was his choice of hotel as it was situated near the seashore and was clam and quiet. Every weekend room no. 515 was waiting for him. He has booked the same room for the past 3 years without fail. As a regular customer, the hotel had made it a norm to keep the room reserved for him on the weekends.
Room 515 was a sea-facing room, no disturbance, no noise other than the roaring sea, and since it was the last room on the floor there were less chances of someone disturbing him.
Once he was in the room he would get out only for smoke or while checking out on Monday mornings at 7 am. Food, breakfast, and all other necessities were supplied by the hotel staff on request.
So what did he do in the room for the entire weekend? Was the question running in the staff’s minds? No one knew the secret. The Hotel did not mind as long as the payment was made on time and there were no complaints from the guest. But rumors spread among the staff like wildfire guessing what could be happening behind those closed doors.
Some said he was a porn addict and spent his entire weekend jerking off on cheap porn. The housekeeping staff was sure about it as they pointed the finger at the bedsheets. While some said he was a creepo who would spend the weekend all by himself or he was a secret spy working for the government agencies secretly typing away codes on his laptop or he was just a rich man who could spend money on a hotel room. Well, no one could be sure.
Whenever the hotel staff came by for the room service, the TV was turned off and a thick book lying on the table; which sometimes made people believe that he was a writer or something.
What he actually did was this; he would go to a popular bookstall in the town, where you could get your hands on some second-hand books, go to the hotel room, spend the entire weekend reading the book from cover to cover with breaks only for some sleep, food, drinks and toilet needs.
Now, why did he do that? Simply because he could. This was his opportunity to get away from his nagging wife. But the main reason for all this was simple; it was his obsession.
Vivek always preferred second-hand books, not because they were cheaper. He could afford first editions of most of the books but he would still go for the second-hand ones. He felt nostalgic with the smell of the pale brown dusty papers, the lightening ink blurring with time and most importantly for the reason that he could imagine the number of people who might have turned over those old pages and have read the books word by word, leaving behind their dead skin, a strand of hair, sweat; their DNA. As he read the books and turned its pages one by one he reimagined the thoughts that might have run across the minds if those numerous readers since the book was first published. In a new book his imagination was limited to that of the writer. But a used second-hand book had many thoughts to it and also many interpretations of the ideas of the author.
At the early age of 15, Vivek was introduced to the world of reading. His aunt had a huge library which contained many classics and rare books on the shelves.
Aunt Reena’s library was strictly off-limits for people who had no liking or any idea of creative writing. But that didn’t stop Vivek from seeking in and making himself comfortable on the reading chair with a book of “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
When he was caught Vivek was so scared and thought that Aunt Reena will beat the crap out of him. She did beat him but not as he had expected. She soon found that his mischief can be put for her advantage.
Aunt Reena was a pedophile; she took pleasure in making sex slaves out of young boys. Vivek was of the right age and needed to be punished for his mischief. She gave him 10 of his favorite books that day if he would spend the night in her bed doing what she pleased.
Just like any other teenager, Vivek did want the sex but just not with Aunt Reena. He would find every reason to make an excuse to escape it, but his love for the books made him do it almost every weekend. Soon he got used to the hardcore sex but was disgusted with Aunt Reena’s abuses. He wanted an escape. But he could never say no to books. He could have always gone to his father asking for money to buy books, but his father never wanted him to be cooped up in his room reading some old book and cooking up ideas in his brain. He wanted him to go out play with other kids get some part-time jobs or do the chores. The thought of his father’s disapproval towards books and the constant nagging kept him away from approaching his unapproachable Dad and instead turn to Aunt Reena’s bed for some classics.
It’s in Aunt Reena’s library Vivek took an interest towards second-hand books. A new book his father might have bought if he was lucky was in a way boring as it had no nostalgia to it. Whereas the same book in Aunt Reena’s library had pale dusty pages, scribbling or marks of previous readers, a dried leaf trapped in between the pages, a dedication to a loved one, and so on.
At the age of 19 Vivek realized that Aunt Reena was using him as a sex toy. He was getting tired of her insatiable desires. He had a part-time job which paid him enough money to buy second-hand books. He no longer needed to turn to her library or rather to her bedroom. But Aunt Reena would not let him go so easily. So he relocated as he applied for college education in a faraway city and where Aunt Reena could no longer follow him.
A touch of a woman made his skin crawl after what Aunt Reena did to him. He had no friends no girlfriends in particular. He had his books to keep him company. Girls used to call him a creepo and stayed away from his sight. Vivek didn’t seem to mind as he never enjoyed their company. But it all changed when Sweta entered his life. She found something in him that most of the girls never understood. There was charm to this mysterious young boy who was sunk in his books. She found him cute and nerdy intelligent. Soon she wanted to be with him all the time.
Initially, it was difficult for Sweta to be in touch with Vivek as he ignored or escaped all her attempts to get closer. But then she understood what he is interested in. Naturally, he was interested in books and so she started taking interest in the books he was reading and gradually she struck a conversation with him. The conversation turned into a friendship and gradually in love and marriage. In the beginning, the marriage went on well for some time. They soon had 2 kids but gradually the marriage lost its flavor as years went by and now Sweta secretly cursed her decision of falling in love with him.
Their marriage has finally reached a stage were love has been replaced by hateful words and care replaced with constant nagging. To get away from the nasty weekends Vivek finally struck a deal with Sweta that he would take off the whole weekend away from the family and she could spend some quality time shopping with her girls. He had no problem taking care of the expenses. She agreed instantly. And from then onwards Vivek has booked the hotel room constantly for the weekends and has enjoyed the company of the books he so revered.
Now driving as fast as possible through the weekend traffic Vivek was excited to lay his hands on the book- lying on the passenger’s seat “The Kingdom of Obsession”. A friend of his had suggested the book and he had immediately called the book shop to keep it ready. He stole a glance at the book like a boy would at his crush. “The Kingdom of Obsession by James John” the book cover was teasing him.
James John was not a popular writer and Vivek had never heard about him. But whenever his book-loving friend suggested a book he didn’t think twice. The book was about a man who was obsessed with keeping himself organized. He would prepare timetables, planners, schedules to do everything he liked. He became so much obsessed with getting organized that soon he also had a time slot for making love.
Initially, his girlfriend took it as a joke but soon she realized that he was serious and it was taking a turn of madness. She left him at the right opportunity. He soon had no one for himself and was left lonely. But his obsession continued and it caused his downfall.
When his friend told him about the book he got instantly connected with it as he was also obsessed with books just like the character in the story was obsessed with his timetables.
His car stopped at the traffic signal 10 minutes away from the Hotel, he retrieved a folder from the glove compartment. Inside the folder, there were several smaller plastic pouches that were neatly labeled and sealed. These contained the treasured memorabilia he collected from the books.
He opened the folder and placed a fresh plastic pouch inside for the memorabilia from his new book.
Sydney Billford Monteiro
Sydney Billford Monteiro was born and brought up in Mangalore, Karnataka. An HR by profession, he has a Masters in Social Work and is working for the Hospitality Industry in Bangalore. He is an avid reader of Crime Thrillers, Mystery novels, and Science books. Creative writing and poetry is his passion.
He loves exploring the world of stories. His favourite pastime is experimenting with real-life events, creating characters and turning them into engaging storylines.
Apart from reading and writing the author loves football; his favourite game and watching movies that depict unusual concepts and real-life events.
He also loves to have a healthy debate over a scientific idea.