At 11am last Sunday, our doorbell rang. I was surfing the net in bed, while Azri was still asleep. I didn’t want to open the door so I poked him awake, and he sleepily went to the door. I trailed him. We took turns looking through the peephole and decided not to open the door since we didn’t recognized the man. But he started banging the door and so, Azri opened the door while I scurried away behind a wall. (I was in t-shirt and shorts, a completely inappropriate attire to present oneself in before an Indian man.)
“Yes?” went Azri.
“SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING WE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND,” bellowed the man in Hindi.
“English?” replied Azri.
“YOUR CAR WINDOW IS OPENED,” he shouted while waving his right hand violently before walking off immediately.
“Omg, ok, thanks,” were Azri’s words which I didn’t think the man heard.
Azri quickly changed (though his face was still so busuk) and checked on the car.
“Not our car leh,” Azri shared once he reached home back. We gave each other the ‘Huh?’ face and then just laughed ‘cause we were too confused: (1) Why was he so angry yet helpful???; (2) Whose car was he talking about since it’s not ours? This will forever remain a mystery…
Later in the afternoon, I had a random thought. We were in the car and I saw someone open his door, spit, close his door, and continue driving. It didn’t bother me, but it did make me think of the large population here and what would happen if there was a zombie apocalypse.
“I know my chances of surviving a zombie attack anywhere is low, but I think I will immediately die if a zombie virus spreads here! Like how to run away sia?” I asked Azri.
He gave me the ‘WTF, ape you merepek?’ look.
“No seriously, there’re so many people here and y’know, if I get a wound, there’s like spit here and pee there which are zombie infected and I’ll be a zombie before you know it!”
Azri continued to not layan me, heh. (i.e. He ignored me.)
Obviously, I’ve watched/played too many zombie movies and series/games. (Think: Train to Busan, Zombieland, The Walking Dead, L4D2, Fallout 4.) But you have to agree that it’d be cool to have an action packed zombie film based in Kolkata, right?
Anyway, Sunday was a pretty fun day. We had to buy more things for our apartment and our driver, Rai, suggested to go to a heartland mall called City Centre 2. We got the things that we needed and somehow, I ended up with a tastefully stained left hand 🙂
Truthfully, I never understood the idea behind inai (henna). It is simply a lucrative business in Singapore to me. When I asked my friends why they do it, their answer is because it’s pretty. But I didn’t find any beauty in waiting and paying a lot for the service. Hence, I rarely got it during Raya and I refused to have it for my wedding day.
But since we are in India where staining is a widely adopted culture for women and it’s relatively cheap (SGD4), I gave it a go and then read on the whys. Apparently, apart from the superficial reason, henna is believed to bring in blessings, good luck and joy. The more complex the pattern, the stronger the symbolisms stand – this is why brides’ designs are much more detailed than usual. I learn something new 🙂
What I found particularly interesting about my experience was that the henna designers were men. There was only one woman and I assumed she’s the boss since she was giving instructions. It’s too bad that their command of English and my command of Hindi is low, else I could ask about this unique dynamics of male providing feminine service to females. If any of you know how and why this came about, please enlighten me!