The Egg Boiler Part 2: Carolyn

Read Part 1 here: The Egg Boiler Part 1

I stayed at Backpacker Panda hostel for over 5 weeks recently when I went to Mumbai to attend a course. As a cheap option to stay, the property attracts lots of international travelers who want to explore the mystical land that is India. I interacted with so many of them over the course of my stay there, making a few friends and many acquaintances. It was an enriching experience, to say the least.

Surprisingly, one of the icebreakers for many of these conversations was my Egg Boiler. Not many across the globe are aware that a machine like this exists and they were definitely impressed with this novel smart solution.

The Backpacker Panda Common Room

I met Carolyn one fine Saturday morning as I lazily stood in the common kitchen staring at the hot mug of coffee that I would now sip and transform my morning and mood miraculously. The eggs were boiling too.

She was a 60-something old lady dressed in “Indian” clothes. I always chuckle at how naively people from abroad embrace the orange swastika joggers. No one else from India dresses like that in India.

Her questions about the egg boiler got us talking and this developed into a series of mornings where I’d boil eggs for her too. She’d gulp down the yolks too and I’d look at her with disdain.

“Too much cholesterol,” I’d warn but she never cared. After a point, I think old people throw caution to the winds.

She was a writer. I was elated. I’d never met a writer in person ever before. Her first book is getting published next year in February some time.

“What’s it about?” I asked enthusiastically.

She’d succinctly reply, “It’s fiction, about 1000 pages. I hope it sells.”

Sensing her reluctance to share further, I chose to not pry.

She planned to go to the Jaipur Literature festival to interact with the intellectuals in India.

But these plans never materialized. She enjoyed Bombay too much to leave.

Our conversations every morning at breakfast over the course of her stay ranged from how she should divide her novel into 3 parts, 300 pages each.

She asked me this question because I am an accountant by trade.

I was puzzled but then nevertheless went on to explain how Sacred Games was a flop product as a novel with its 1000-page length, but such a big hit with a 4-season plan on Netflix. She concurred.

She once mentioned how she loved going to the Taj for breakfast.

“Crazy old lady,” I’d think.

The Taj was about 500 yards from our hostel, but I’d never go there as a customer, at least not for a few more years. Breakfast costs INR 1.9k per person there.

The day before she left, as we ate the eggs, like an excited child, she showed me her newly launched website for the promotion of her book. As I read the synopsis I was a bit taken aback,


I stared at her for a moment. She was such a sweet old lady, a bit eccentric in my opinion due to her love for Taj’s pricey breakfast menu and the eggs I boiled, but still, never had I imagined her book to be about well, sex.

Read Part 3 here: The Egg Boiler Part 3: The Russian Ballerina

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