Every once in a while, I get all Indiana Jones And The Cave Of Horrors and try to clean my room up. Now what usually happens in my pursuit of organizational nirvana (you know, the kind that I can take pictures of and post on instagram and brag about on twitter) is that I bring everything that’s inside shelves onto the floor and in the process, discover some boxes of chewing gum that probably dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, Salman Rushdie novels whose pages one to three are very soiled because I kept reading it again and again trying to understand what he’s saying, but failed miserably and eventually gave up on reading, lots of notebooks filled with either miscellaneous calculations for currency swaps or long winding sentences. Then, just as I’m about to begin the actual cleaning process, my mother calls me to eat and I end up forgetting all about my mission to make my room fit for human habitation. Eventually, our Man Friday who comes in the next morning just puts everything back in its old place, exactly the way it was before - He has a special talent when it comes to recreating a mess.
So yesterday, when I was seriously pursuing my new favourite hobby of time-wasting-on-Pinterest, I saw a couple of organization blogs which immediately kindled my inner Organizational Goddess (whose appearance is only more frequent than my inner Baking Goddess - trust me, you don’t want to ever call her unless you need to like, burn a kitchen down or something) and keeping in line with protocol, I started pulling down stuff from shelves when I chanced upon an envelope of photos that I’d printed and meant to put into an album but like most things I mean to do, I’d conveniently forgotten about it. So like all people who try to find excuses to stop cleaning after they make a giant mess, I absolutely had to go through those pictures and get nostalgic about whatever it was.
It turned out they were pictures from our family’s vacation to Hong Kong & Singapore from a couple of years ago, also known as those 12 days I didn’t have any internet and it turned out internet is overrated when you actually have a life. AND THEN I REMEMBERED THAT I NEVER WROTE ANYTHING ABOUT THAT VACATION ON MY BLOG WHICH IS SO SAD, IN FACT, SADDER THAN THOSE K.BALACHANDAR MOVIES THEY SHOW ON KTV EVERY WEEKDAY AFTERNOON WHERE EVERYONE DIES.
The most striking memory from that vacation is when we got to go to one particular city in China, called Shenzhen, which was apparently the China part of “Made in China”. It was pretty amazing – apart from all the crazy manufacturing that they did, it was also the place where they made all the fakes, and not just designer bags or whatever (That said, the FakeLouisVuitton and FakeGucci bags I saw were so genuine looking that I’m pretty sure they even made fake FakeLouisVuitton bags). I mean, they make fake EVERYTHING. They even have this sort of park where they have fake 7 Wonders of The World. Like Fake Eiffel Tower, Fake Pyramids, Fake Taj Mahal – it’s faking awesome (See what I did there?).
But this story is not about those gorgeous but fake Chanel 2.55 bags I saw there. This is about how, on our way back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, we were detained by passport control at the Train Station, who took us into their office for “questioning”. My father was very confident that we just happened to be part of their compulsory random check, and asked us to keep cool, but my mother was totally freaked out, as if the authorities suspected us to be armed and dangerous Russian Ninja Assassins who were trying to spark a Nuclear War, which is crazy because we’re not even Russian. My mother got completely paranoid and suddenly started chanting Hanuman Chalisa and MantharaRajaPadam Sthothram under her breath in between high pitched whines in Tamil that involved calling the Chinese Passport Authorities “Shaniyan”. Very cool.
In the middle of all this I was sitting and copying a Chinese character from a flyer that was next to me, on to the back of my wrist with a black ball point pen.
About fifteen minutes later, the Authorities confirmed that we were neither Russian nor Ninja and let us leave. Just as he let us out, one of the guys at the door, pointed to my wrist and smiled, which I thought was awesome - maybe my attempts at copying Chinese characters was what had actually changed their minds and forged a new bond of trust. I beamed back, fully convinced that I had done my part as a Future Ambassador to the Country, when I realized his smile was less smile and more smirk. Two more guys spotted my ballpoint-inked wrist and started giggling. Some Engrish and lots of dubstep dance moves later, I got to know that the flyer that was next to me was about the symptoms of Bird Flu and the character that I had been so intently drawing on my arm was the Chinese symbol for...Diarrhea.
On the bright side, at least I didn't use a permanent marker.
PS - In case you want to suggest a fun tattoo idea to a friend, here you go: 泻