Now that I’m safely ensconced in Kochi, I thought I’d close the Mysore chapter with one last reflection about it.
Being full, my first hotel in Mysore couldn’t further extend my stay. So I checked into The Mansion 1907, a hostel full of charm and character. During the peak days, the dorm beds cost a steep £10 per night. This dropped to a more reasonable £6.50 after Boxing Day.
You have to take your shoes off before entering the hostel. The staff were warm; the cook was happy to make me a vegan breakfast and dinner; there were two guitars and several games for you to play; there were two spacious common rooms; and I liked that every bed had a power socket and light – having experienced one socket per dorm in some places!
I find hotels are comfortable but impersonal. Hostels can be the opposite: you share dorms with people snoring and you have to go looking for the toilet in the middle of the night!
However, at hostels, you meet the friendliest people and hear their stories.
A Swiss family were looking for a hotel before deciding that they liked the hostel so much that they wanted to stay there. The couple (one French, the other Swiss) had met in Mysore ten years ago and were now married with a young son! Apart from telling me how Mysore had changed since their first visit all those years ago, they were good company: we discussed some of the other guests (!), why people travel, and life generally.
Another family (French) were struck by the cursed Delhi Belly and were bullying the all-too-accommodating staff to extend their stay even though there weren’t enough rooms!
My favourite was the Sikh who was over from the US for a school reunion organised by a childhood crush of his. They had reconnected after 20 years whilst she was organising the reunion. Although married, she was so keen to see him, she offered to pay for his flights! It turned out, he told me, that she was in a “loveless marriage”. Yesterday evening was the big day: they would finally meet. He said he “knew something would happen”. This was causing him a little anguish. On the one hand, he believed in karma and, on the other hand, if he didn’t succumb to her wishes, someone else would! Oh, how we rationalise our desires!
I’m sorry to say that I had to leave the hostel early this morning for my coach and flight to Kerala. So we’ll never know what happened last night to our Sikh friend 😈.
Sometimes the best stories are the unfinished ones: they leave something for our imagination and let us wonder what might have been.