By Myself and Bangkok
- And the well wishers are convinced
I am eloping!
- The Hubby and the kiddy say, “O,
great, go go. For once we'll get to do our own thing!”.
- The worried mother-in-law says, “How
can you leave my son, and my grandson and go like that? What, just
for a lark? No work? What kind of a woman are you?”
- The amused mother quizzes me with
a wink, “Hey, had a fight with him? Go, go, have a blast! I tried
doing it once, only, the patch-up happened even before I could decide
what clothes to carry!”
- Once in Bangkok, the familiar smiles,
the familiar sois, the familiar assertions of “no, ken not (cannot)”
(if you've ever tried haggling for lower prices in that country,
you'll know these three words with the right inflection), and the
familiar sea of women all around. Someone please tell me, why aren't
there ever any men visible on the roads?!!
- Step inside the familiar lobby of
the hotel, and the lady at the reception says, “Nice to see you
again, madaam, what, no husband this time? Ah, perhaps we could
arrange for a specialist masseur for you, a male one, if you please,
would that be fine?”. The deadpan straight-faced query leaves me
squirming for replies. All I can summon up is, “oh no, that will
not be required. But thanks, all the same. I'll get in touch with
you if I need it, err, need something”.
- The glow sign outside this upmarket
restaurant in downtown Sukhumvit says, “If it swims, we have it”,
to which I say, “If it breathes, I have it”. The perfect concurrence
of the minds, of tastes, of gustatory ideology.
- But that's just that one time. For
the rest of the trip, it's street food all the way. Find myself
woefully ill equipped to make my preferences known, so it's “nee,
nee, nee, and nee” to the vendor, pointing at the specific items
which tickle my taste buds from among the delectable fare laid out
on their carts.
- “What, five kilos less!”, could the
bathroom scales at the hotel room be lying? Or has the scale gone
bust from the impact of my sheer mass? I decide it is the latter.
- All by myself in Chatuchak Weekend
Market, and I miss The Hubby for the first time on this trip. Two
hours into the frenzied shopping binge, I need a porter, a beast
of burden. Oh Hubby, why didn't I get you along? How am I to shop
some more until I get rid of all these heavy shopping bags I'm weighed
down with. The bones, a breaking; the wallets, near empty, but yeh
dil maange more! Negotiating the mass of humanity through the concentric
maze that is Chatuchak, I drag myself to the Tourist Information
Centre seeking help, but, “sorry madam, don't have no cloak room
here. You ken not leave your shopping bags here”.
- By myself in the mega-malls, with
huge off season discounts, and a guilt free shopping setting (no
hubby to nag to hurry up, or no kiddy to constantly remind me that
mothers and trial rooms make a sinful guilt-ridden combination).
But what's the use. None of those clothes will fit me, anyway! But
I don't give up. Not without a fight, at least. “Err, excuse me,
you have this in extra extra large size, or larger?”. The sales
person looks me in the places it hurts most and shakes her head,
“sorry madam, we donhave. Not your size. Our extra large, not large
enuf for you”!
- By myself on the roads, and decide
the best way to beat the traffic is to ride the motorbike taxis.
Whiz past the infinitely long vehicular queues, the smaller alleys,
the narrow by lanes of Bangkok and pray for my dear life as the
mobikes rev their engines and 'take-off'! There is no such thing
as a 'brake' in their vocabulary. Phew! I survive to tell this tale.
- At the end of each day, the feet
just about drag, the hands just about lift up to cover that gaping
yawn, the eyes just about open to notice my station on the sky-train,
and my hand-to-brain co-ordination just about alert enough to key
in the ticket the right way to be let out of the station. But nothing
that an hour-long vigorous foot massage can't fix. There are several
on my way to the hotel, step inside a new one each day. By the end
of it, I am ready to jive my way through the night life of Bangkok!
Ooooh, don't shudder - there's plenty more to Bangkok's nighlife
than just the infamous Patpong, trust me!
- Days fly, and it's time to return.
On the way back, the two men-in-black sitting next to me look at
each other, nod, and soon disappear just as the lunch is about to
be served. I wait for twenty minutes, after which I start getting
fidgety. I call the crew, and raise an alarm. “Terrorists, terrorists…”
(in retrospect, it must have been the lack of sleep which caused
these hallucinations). Turns out, they had moved to the back to
some empty seats. After which, anyways, I'm too embarrassed to see
anyone in the eyes, so I sleep.
- Reach home to discover my son swinging,
chanting Malaika aunty and Shahrukh uncle, and humming chhaiyyan
chhaiyan! I know the two men in my life have had a good time. So
have I. Every one's happy. A win-win for all!
Until next time, when I chose a different