Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Long legs, irascible bus doors and other such ramblings

It’s been a long time since I have last put pen to paper, or to be more precise, fingers to keyboard. (Though many of you may argue that since the monitor plays the role of a paper, the metaphor that I have constructed is inaccurate.)

That was primarily because of what one could term an acclimatization period that I had to go through. After spending the lion’s share of one’s life in a place, one finds it tough going for the first few days one spends in a new place – among unfamiliar faces in a completely unfamiliar environment. Faced with situations which one never has had to face before – primarily washing one’s own clothes and cleaning one’s own room, not to mention ‘cooking’ cornflakes and coffee. :-P

So the first couple of weeks that I spent in Singapore could be termed hellish. I had been through the furnace. If today, Messrs. Shadrach, or for that matter, Messrs. Abednego and Mesach *, were to walk up to me and tell me what a hard time they had playing squash with Satan in the fires of hell, I would look them strongly in the eye.

I would tell them,

‘Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego, you have merely been through the fires of hell. That’s child’s play. Ask any KC Tech passout.’

And then with a light laugh, I would continue, ‘Have you had your heads half crushed by the doors of a bus in Singapore, just because you stood too long at the door staring at a cute wench in the miniskirt? Did you almost get torn apart by a VERY angry man for jumping the queue for a taxi – a queue that you believed did not exist? Did you have to wash your own clothes in a washing machine full of fluff? Did you ever have to realize the hard way that airline seats in Executive class have this thing below you which rises up and kicks your ankles if you press the wrong button at the wrong time? Did you ever drink porridge and smack your lips in satisfaction, just to be told it was a frog’s intestine that you’d just imbibed?’

A mortified Shadrach would trace little patterns on the floor with his feet. Mesach and Abednego, chastened by the perils I have faced, would apologize to me for bothering me with their troubles.

And my blog readers (assuming they haven’t forgotten the existence of my blog during the long silence) would throw slippers, stones and money at me. (Throwing the first two allowed, if you throw item number three as well. US dollars preferred.)

One of the best things about Singapore are the legs. Long legs. Curvaceous legs. Legs in shorts. Legs in micro-minis. Legs, period! A few trips on the MRT is likely to result in a severe case of eye-strain.

(MRT, for the uninitiated, the fancy acronym they use for a train that has doors and lets people in. And if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, the doors try to crush you into custard. Scoff if you may, but believe me, they can.)

One of the worst things about Singapore are the rules. You can’t spit! And once you’re told that you can’t spit, you just desperately want a good long spit. I spent 21 years in India fighting with a friend who liked making his presence felt by creating a ring of paan masala around wherever he stood.

And I have spent the past two weeks appreciating how much fun it would be if I could do so.

Last I heard, dogs who try to mark their territory by urinating on street lamps receive fifty lashes on the backside. That holds good for dogs of the two legged variety too.

Talking of urination, urinating onto a tree by the side of the road isn’t explicitly banned. But, when you live in a country where you’re likely to see the same people everyday, you wouldn’t really want them pointing to you every morning and exclaiming loudly, Nee wann piss treesh ne 63 64. 98 go go Shiee Shiee

(Which roughly translates to - here comes the orang utan/Indian who pissed on Trees 63 and 64 in Singapore. He just has 98 more to go before he’s made his presence felt on every tree here.)

No, that’s not the worst bit. The worst bit is that I shall from today be scoffed upon by my readers for not practicing what I preach. That’s because regular readers of my blog (assuming there are a few) would remember that I had once told them about the virtues of watching porn when in doubt. But I shall not (and more importantly, cannot) practice it here. (I hope however that most others have taken this most elevating maxim to heart.)

And now I turn to the little icon on the right hand side of my screen. And I see my worst enemy look at me. The little clock there screams at me – lazy *&(&(, you still haven’t done any work, and half the day’s behind you. It reminds me of the dangers of falling below a 3.5. It reminds me how I could create history of sorts by being the first person to be thrown out of SMA. It evokes in me the possibility of being remembered for posterity at the coridoors of SMA – maybe they’d put this portrait up and students would point to it and say, oh this is the bloke who scored a 3.4.

I would join the ranks of Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin and an old classmate of mine who attended classes at the neighbourhood wineshop more often than he dropped into class.

But I digress. What I wished to say was, Bye bye, sayanora, and a few hundred other words to the same effect.

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