Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Contributing to the debate...

What is it about the homosexuals anyway? People seem to do nothing but talk about them. Why??? Anybody discussing my sex life? I don�t think so. It's assumed that as a (supposedly) straight, adult, independent woman, the people I sleep with are my business -- but hey, what if those people just happened to be other adult, independent women? Then I get branded?
Ok, for the sake of argument let's go ahead with the branding ('straight's a label too, if you didn't realise) but does that mean everybody and his family have the right to judge my ethics and morality? I assume that since I'm pretty spoken for (oh all right, so I'm old fashioned) nobody will hit on me, and vice versa. But people seem to take it for granted that if I state a preference for women in my bed I am also advertising 1. infidelity 2. my nymphomaniac status. How very strange and how very rude. As far as I know one's orientation has nothing to do with one's understanding of faithfulness. And why would anybody want to be a nymphomaniac? Hey, I think I enjoy sex as much as the next person (well, sometimes maybe more) but I cannot imagine wanting to do nothing else all day. How very exhausting that would be. And how can you enjoy it if you are too tired to do it right? Yet it is assumed that if I like to sleep with women then I can't wait to get into bed with as many women as I can and as often as I can. No use blaming the porn videos for this perception though, guys. Then we�d have to assume that pretty much everybody's sex-mad.
I really don't get it. We all talk about it -- till I mention that I might be interested in trying it out and suddenly I'm that weird girl talking scary stuff over there. Hello? Thought we were being very modern and understanding out here?
But what really, really puts me off homosexuals is some of them trying so hard to proclaim it; why on earth, is what I say. Your sexuality is your own business. Matters shd be kept that way, because I do know I don't particularly want anybody else's in my face, straight or gay. I'm assuming most rational people feel that way.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Singapore, Day 13

The night safari at the Singapore Zoo was great last night. Ravi and I walked around for an hour and a half and then took a 'tram' ride around the zoo. Saw all kinds of animals, closer than I've ever seen them before, a lot of them. Saw so many animals which are usually too shy to be seen properly in zoos that I'm convinced they were trained to sit in the spot-lighted areas!

Photography was next to impossible, so no pics of this part of the trip should be expected. The other thing I learnt last night is that no matter how old, a male will always jump on a suspension bridge. Honestly, men!

The other thing I wanted to mention was that at the Causeway Mall yesterday we went into a fantastic jigsaw puzzle shop. Only wish I could have bought a set. There were all kinds of pictures, including some awesome manga ones. There's no denying it, manga does have a very definite appeal.

We're leaving in a few hours. Leaving early, in the hope that it will be easier to check in too much luggage.

Good to be going back to India, that's what I say.

The last goodbye from Singapore, at least for now.



A little later. Thought I'd add this, just because I can. Have checked in at Changi and the waiting lobby here has free internet but no toilets. Pretty weird. Do they mean it as compensation? Everything is ok so far. We had a bit of excess luggage (ok, a lot) but since we didn't have any hand luggage it was sorted out very nicely. They gave us a bag, one of those cheap, plaited plastic affairs, and we divided the luggage in one of the strolleys into 2 pieces of hand baggage. We bought some cosmetics and lots of chocolates and then sat down at the MacCafe where they fed me a fabulous sandwich and some excellent coffee. Cup the size of the old Caffeine ones. Ma's chocolate chip muffin was very good too. Goodbye, really this time, from Singapore.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Singapore, Day 12

No log for yesterday because I wasn't well and was singularly boring to be around. Sore throat, aching muscles, the works, so I slept most of the day. In the evening, when the others went out (to a really nice mall in Raffles' Place, one of the more posh affairs, Ma says) I watched 'Paheli'. I couldn't figure out how to fix the speakers though, so I watched it without audio. Dhruba (friend from Calcutta, soon to be a relative I suppose) says that adds to the movie-watching experience. I dunno. I followed the story but I have no idea why people were doing the things that they did.

Afterwards there was yet another Singapore 'first' -- I watched a Chinese serial called Baby Blues which was very graphic in my opinion, regarding fertility treatments and pregnancy, but hey, I'm just a conservative middle-class Bong... Good fun to watch though. There was a mother/grandmother who warned the picture of her dead husband that he better bless their son with children since just because he was dead he need not assume his responsibilities were at an end. She followed it up with the threat that inaction on his part would result in terrible vengeance from her side when she joined him in the nether world. (There were English subtitles, lah, how else would I follow all this?)

Couldn't sleep at night so I tuned into Chinese FM stations... not bad fun. Not great music though, most of it. One DJ was funny, and that's where I picked up the "lah".

So far today we've been to yet another mall (where I didn't buy anything, wonder of wonders). Oh no, I did buy Ma a black furry ball with two big eyes. She insists that it's cute. Whatever. If I meet it in the middle of the night anywhere at home I'll scream the house down and so I warned her.

Meeting Ravi in an hour's time to go to the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo. Vicky, your cousin called, but since I wasn't free I couldn't meet him today.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Singapore, Day 11

September 2, 2005
To all the people who have been responding to my mails and urging me not to stop writing, thanks. I appreciate it. But I must point out that my horoscope today has warned me not to speak too much of myself! So today's focus will be on the things that Ma did :-)

I stayed in yesterday morning, all the crazy touring finally taking its toll on my frail self. Ma, Akka and Kishore went to visit old man Mustapha once more, where an electric kettle was bought as a gift for our hosts (who are still refusing to accept it, I think, now that they've discovered who it was meant for.) Ma also saw lots of gold jewellery she liked, and wanted to buy me things, but I hope I've put her off all that. It's a pity in a way. She keeps being thwarted as far as buying me jewellery and perfumes go. Sometimes I even feel sorry for her!

(I stayed in all morning and caught up on three months' correspondence and secretly did some housework. They have an innovative way of drying clothes here. One pins the wet clothes to a long pole which is then stuck out from a window; the pole is set into a groove in the wall. All the flats thus have several long poles sticking out from their walls. I pinned the clothes to the first pole without any trouble, but I hadn't bargained for the weight of the wet garments. When I stuck the whole thing outside the window, I nearly dropped the lot. A blouse and a clothespin did fall off, to my consternation.)

Ma accompanied me to Chinatown afterwards, in the evening. We walked around Pagoda Street, visited the Masjid Jamae and Sri Mariamman temple (whose gopuram, being mistaken for a kind of pagoda, gave the street its name, I'm told.) We went into a shop in The Great Southern Hotel which sold lovely handstitched knicknacks. Beautiful embroidery and thread-work and cut-work.

Dinner was Cantonese chicken noodles and chicken rice off Smith Street a.k.a. Chinatown Food Street. We were actually seated at Trengganu St. which used to have the Japanese brothels in the fun old days. The entire area was lighted up and looking very exciting, thanks to the Mid-Autumn Festival going on now. Ma refused to go into an overcrowded antique shop because she was scared of toppling things off shelves. She missed some lovely laquer furniture and rice paintings. But then, it was the kind of place where roughly-made silk clogs for children were priced at about S$80 or so! A stall sold glassware handpainted from inside (beautiful) while another sold all sorts of robots fashioned out of metal wires. Looked like really cool manga figures. Yet another sold cloth ninja figures which could be paired with weapons and joined into a mobile. What a lovely wall-hanging for a house. It's a pity I don't know how I'm likely to live... sigh...

It's a rainy morning here and I've finally caught a cold, sleeping in the aircon (as they call the a.c.) each night.

love with a sneeze, from
Me

P.S.
Somehow, the focus doesn't seem to have been on Ma's adventures after all! I notice that now...

N.B. The blouse was eventually retrieved. I ran downstairs, and then couldn't locate our poles among all the others. Luckily, the pink clothespin marked the place. As I went to pick that up, the blouse, which had got caught on some other flat's poles, floated gently down to me. Talk about luck! The only thing I'm embarrassed about is the old Chinese housewife who stays in a flat in the block opposite ours, who saw the whole thing. She gave me a very disapproving look, or perhaps it was only guilty conscience.
I dream of so much. It's what I do best. Lie in bed and dream. Dream of pretty clothes fashioned by me. Of peaceful places. Of being so very far away from everybody I know (with one or two honourable exceptions, of course).

In my dreams I'm pretty and slim and graceful and soft-spoken and elegant and a hundred other things I'm not. I'm not sure I want to be them exactly, but it's fun dreaming I am them. My hair is long and silky and I wear pretty jewellery and eat dainty foods. And sometimes I walk away into nowhere and return later, much later, with no memories of where I went, but with a wistful feeling that I would like to return. In my dreams I can run away with that man who haunts these dreams -- and come back later, happy, to the people and places that make up my life otherwise. I think what I really want are escapades, not an extended romance. Somehow, that has lost its charm. But if one runs away for a few hours, one can be utterly happy for that little space. It gives one something to dream of and anticipate. And it cannot be spoiled by things like electricity bills and the demands of neighbours. Besides, it is such a very charming prospect.

One leads a 'normal' life to all appearances, doing the usual round of chores and looking after one's family. And then, when one is entirely free, one opens a door and for an hour or two, is in another world, where the rules are relaxed and it's permissible to be selfishly happy. And one looks and sounds happy because one really is content. Afterwards, one returns to one's family and normal life and is satisfied with it, because that is also wanted. This way, reality never gets overwhelming.

If I had such a world to escape into as I dream of, perhaps I would fail to return these days, the way I feel. That cannot be a good thing I suppose. The charm of such a world lies in its occupation of a few hours. And yet, I can lie dreaming in bed and forget the things I do not wish to remember. That is more than most people have I suppose. And the hero of my dreams is more accomodating than most, changing himself to suit my needs, disappearing at will. A real lover could never compare, unfortunately.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Singapore, Day 10

September 1, 2005
A lot of people will no doubt be relieved to hear that I didn't get a tattoo after all... I went with Ravi to the place where one can get them. Looked a bit seedy but safe enough. I changed my mind in the last minute because it seemed too expensive, S$100 for one small tattoo.

Went to a lot of interesting places yesterday, actually. Kishore took Ma and me out walking near the Esplanade, so we went into the Theatres on the Bay building, which has some hideously expensive but intriguing shops inside. One shop sold movie posters, but only recent ones. (I almost bought one of the big shark in Finding Nemo but that's another story. Besides, if we were to go into all the things I have 'almost bought' in Singapore, these mails would become a lot longer.)

One shop sold teddy bears. One buys the unstuffed bear, fills it with one's choice of stuffing and then gets to choose from racks and racks of teddy clothing. Luckily, none of it would have fitted Srinivas, because he was out with me yesterday and it would be very diffcult to refuse to buy him clothes when I've been shopping so much for myself! We walked around the various quays. The shophouses on Boat Quay are particularly quaint and we saw the live seafood at a Jap restaurant. The thing was, the crabs were huge. The prospect of eating them was more scary than enticing. We also saw the original merlion, a much smaller, cuter affair than that ugly thing at Sentosa. It's stuck out on the bay and has water gushing out of its mouth. One can sit there feeling the spray from the fountain and watching the boats go by. We saw one of the Ducktours boats, which is part bus, part boat and which looks screamingly funny on both land and sea!

Kishore eventually took us to a satay area near Raffles Place. It's an old building with lovely wrought-iron work on the grills and rafters which houses a Kopitiam (the generic name of coffee-houses I find, although it's also the name of one particular chain. We had chicken, duck and mutton satay (something like small kebabs on sticks, for those who're wondering) all of which was very good. I also tried out the chendol, a sweet dessert made of red beans (yes, beans), coconut cream, two kinds of jelly and lots of ground ice, served with some hot brown sauce on top. So far I've had the Hainanese chicken rice (hope I got the term right), chendol and the Singapore kopi (coffee). The kopi didn't impress me... but I grew up in South India after all :-) I mean to try out the kaya roti, which is a sort of a slightly flattened bun with egg jam. Sounds gross but is supposed to be delicious.

I have also discovered a delicious hamburger at Burger King's. It's a double cheese hamburger with mushrooms in it and it's positively heavenly. It's also very, very filling. Otherwise, I'm not really into the burger scene. But that I always knew.

Satiated in Singapore,
Me

P.S.
Those who are wondering at the length of these mails... I like writing journals while travelling. Maitra, Misha, Nan and gang would know that! This time, I thought an online version would be more fun. You can always skip them if they are too long/boring. The subject header ought to warn you :-)