Ah, Siberia! As I had begun planning for my Russia trip, I knew that I had to have Siberia in my must-see places and that I had to visit house Rasputin there. I had booked a hotel in Tyumen town in Siberia. Man, it was cold as we landed in the night. I had a quick exit from the airport and was allowed to go from the green channel. There were ladies in black short skirts and white shirts looking through my luggage like suspicious KGB agents. I had taken a taxi ticket inside the airport and my designated taxi was ready for me. It was two in the night and the roads were dimly lit but it was quiet and foggy.  Nearby was a church and a community centre with a school in the bylane with a bus stop. A supermarket was situated at the left of my hotel. My hotel was plush with a large bedroom, a large tea sofa set and a huge green chain at the centre. The bed was large and covered with a blue bedsheet. The window was a large one and stared into the old oil town. There was some frost on the window pane as I reached out to the pack of Marlboro that I had just purchased at the duty-free.

I was finally there. I was lucky as the people at the reception of the hotel spoke in fluent English. My eyes fell on the short petite receptionist who gave me my room key as her assistant, who was a fat and bold gentleman, tried taking copies of my passport. He was also trying to give me my forms at the same time. On the other side of the reception was the dining room area with large plush seating and tables with pink table colours. There was a rose kept on each table. On the right of the reception was the most delightful assortments of cakes, eateries and mouse which were filled with chocolate and cream with assorted fruits and cherries full ripe in all glorious colours.  I couldn’t but stare at the delightful darlings hoping to work up an appetite later. Yes, I was sure that I was going to taste the desserts here as they looked inviting. The bell boy carted my bags to the room and I operated the lights with the electric key system. Man, it was cold and a hot shower was what I needed. Without a thought, I jumped into the shower to bathe and relax. I came out refreshed and lit a cigarette. My eyes instantly fell on the no smoking sign and a fine of 4000 roubles if I did smoke in my room. I opened my window which tilted and fell slightly towards me. It was evening and the wind howled into my room as the curtains flew upwards pulled by the current of fast chilly wind into the room. I smoked for a while as ash flew in the air and landed on the table nearby. It was going to be one cold adventure, I thought, a perfect warm-up to my Antarctica trip in December. I placed myself on the soft quilt of my blue bed and connected to wifi using the password that was given to me as I checked in. Thoughts buzzed in my mind of home, of Nani and my many friends that I have left behind in India. I am in Rasputin’s birthplace. Well, it is only a two-hour taxi ride from my hotel. The deep-set eyes and long black beard flashed in front of me. Yes, the evilest man in Russia who had the Tsarina’s blossom in his hands and was once known to wave his penis from the balcony of the palace during a dinner night. This he did to boast that he had the prick of the nation in his hands and at the Russian court, he was the one in charge. It was he who was indirectly running Russia.

Yes, I was energised after my shower and was getting hunger pains. My eyes fell on the menu in the room. It was great, the menu was in English. I ordered broth as soup and duck liver with vegetables. My mind transfixed on the satanic vision of Rasputin, the mystic of USSR as I nibbled at my bread and drank my soup. The nearby lamps threw light and made my dinner plate shimmer. I was now restless, restless to start exploring this Town of Tyumen in Siberia. I had an urge, an urge to explore. I was restless in Siberia.