Day #13

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

The dusk is visible in the leaping splashes of what used to be still water, but which I am now involved with in a dog-eat-dog race, as I put forth one arm after the other pushing back my enemy. Talk about savoring my first foray into a swimming pool in Hong Kong! I am going to squeeze a few paragraphs out of this –
yes, I am that happy about the whole deal.

Let me start with the pre-swim prep. After doing (unnecessary/obsessive) online research mining reviews on Hong Kong pools, I was a bit skeptical. Most forums would go on about public pools being crowded and so on. I feared a scenario like this:

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But hey, I am really geared up for the whole deal and how bad can the crowd really be? I am a veteran of the Dadar battlefield and have the scars to prove it. Plus, I mean its been almost 2 weeks since I last tasted chlorine; I rather miss it. All I really wanna do now is suit up and jump in. YOLO. (Well technically, not jump in. Since the pool is just 1.4 metres deep…)

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Anywho, desperation and good sense win over, but as I swipe my Octopus and enter the fairly large Kennedy Town Swimming Pool facility, my steps falter, unsure, as if testing the waters. I become conscious of the fact that I am probably the only Indian guy in the whole place at the moment. I begin consciously trying to be as invisible as possible, hoping to blend in, for some reason, with my predominantly Chinese brothers and sisters.

At the gates of the changing rooms, there is an odd sign which says, roughly, “Anyone above the height of 1.35 metres or older than 8 years old won’t be allowed in the changing room of the opposite sex”. It is one of those things which you know, deep down, that there is some backstory to it. One of the two conditions was surely an addendum and my bet is on the latter. There is absolutely no way, after all, that some tiny dude did _not_ misuse it at some point in the past, and prompted the law-makers to rethink things! 😀

Well, as I enter the men’s locker room, my efforts to “blend in” are rendered futile as I come across my first culture-shock. For the sake of civility, I shall not venture into details, but samajhdaar ko ishaara kaafi hai (A gesture is more than enough to the wise). Takes some time for my eyes to adjust to this new darkness. No one on any forum cared to mention this phenomenon, of course. Thanks, internet!

The first couple of laps are nice and slow, as I stop to smell the roses; not really counting the laps anymore, free/frog-styling, soaking in the warm water and the cool breeze, sighing with content after every lap. Boy, have I missed this. The pool is mildly warm and a little crowded, but reality is way better than expectation. After a few relaxing rounds, I get a little competitive with random strangers, setting arbitrary goals for beating them to the finish (always fun!).

I notice something peculiar after some time in the pool. There is a general lack of body hair on everyone! They have as much hair as would a skinned potato (Nothing wrong with it, of course) I feel like Anil Kapoor from the 90’s swimming among the people.

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Yeah, I know – Disturbing. Now you feel my exact mental state for the next few seconds after becoming conscious of the fact!

As my swimming session draws to an end, I have the pleasure to view the sunset from the quiet, open-air pool deck. As the Sun takes in a deep breath for its long dip in the far off depths of the ocean, it brings down the shutters on an almost perfect day…

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Day #10

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Shun the privilege
Unearned; Not mine
Passed through my blood
Not through my sweat

Shun the heritage
Not my creation
Nor the prize
From my journey

Burn it all down
Let the the smoke rise
Suffocate and choke
As the fossils fuel the fire

Nothing shall rise
The weight is too much
At first all will be bleak
The ashes, tombstones

Stripped down, Naked and bare
The legacy feeding on itself
Soon all is quiet
Light as a feather…

Silent winds carry away
These ashes
All in the noisy head
Of a silent islander

Lonely and stranded
No cry for help
Safer to watch
Than to be

10 minutes – Vol 1

Hello, this is a post which I hope would be one in a series *Fingers crossed*. It’s supposed to be random 10 minute thought experiments about a topic which currently (and by currently, I mean the current moment plus-minus 15 minutes) plagues that biggish thing up-top. ‘Ere goes –

I feel at home with the strangers. I feel at home with the weirdos. At the outset of writing this little 10 minute piece, I think I assigned it to be one of the self-pity ones.
Like, I am so depressed I try to seek the rung of society no one else would, and that I am so attention-starved all of a sudden that the simplest, easiest form of attention would be doing me a solid. But I think a new light, this must be looked under. A fresh pair of perspectives and a dash of positivity could lift this article. 

So yes, I think strangers and freaks are cool. People like the ones you see on the street, not begging, but prancing proudly about, singing loony tunes, walking funny, making you suspect their state of sobriety, yet giving one a twinge of longing for the kind of freedom the loony guy seems to be having at the very first glance. Then of course, and rightly so, enters a more rational realization of the person’s situation and you decide to rather be where you are than the once-coveted alternative.

But these people fascinate me. They make me question what is it that the person is truly feeling and how. Is it happiness? Is it carelessness? Is it a life of recklessness driven by desperation?What was it that this guy used to be? How did he get here? In a single query – What’s the back story here?

For instance, I look at a eunuch and I see the creepy exterior. I see the way that people on the train or in auto-rickshaws get scared, disgusted, downright repulsed even, and I try to imagine the response to these reactions of the eunuch begging for the alms. Correction – “practically demanding”. What strikes me most is the pride. A beggar could probably not choose to be a chooser or otherwise, but a eunuch would be damned if he/she isn’t! I have seen them downright rejecting offers of paltry sums that one would probably spend haggling with a vending machine, with a snide, and admittedly funny, remark. The body language and the face reflect a confidence. Where it stems from, and what infinite sink sustains it has intrigued me quite a bit in recent times.

Just to mess with a eunuch once, I gave him/her a not-quite-indigenous chocolate a friend had got me. Curiosity had overtaken me by the time said eunuch had worked through the train compartment I was traveling in, at the time. What would be the reaction? What would be the retort? Nothing too complex came out of it, except for a pleasantly surprised smile and a small conversation regarding the whereabouts and what-nots of the offering. What made the deal slightly sweeter was the slightly aghast stares from the fellow passengers (*smug smile*)

I think, in conclusion and in repetition, that I seek out the weirdos in a place because I feel at home. No matter how much it might be a creation of my mind, and no matter how much of it is probably me trying to imagine a plightful situation for myself to justify the vacuum I feel that I live in, but home’s home alright.