Saturday, April 30, 2005

50 days: Brushing the Cobwebs of the Sky

I'm restarting the countdown, seeing that i've a definitive date to be back in Singapore.

The storms have not been letting up, they've been a regular but welcomed visitor almost every evening. And thanks to that, I had another one of those sweet nights yesterday.. you know those few moments you'll remember out of the six months of any experience.

It was a nice coincidence that the rain had slowed to a drizzle just as i typed the final words in the report i was trying to finish. Work on an off-day. Nice. Would have probably finished it in double quick time too, if I hadn't been so stupid to watch Apocalyspe Now. Just one scene.. just one scene... Ya right. The horror!

So I headed out solo, pleased that the weather had finally turned cold enough to wear my favourite brown jacket out. Got on a rickshaw, headed to Rifle Square for a bit of grocery shopping.

I probably have said this enough before, but I really enjoy grocery shopping. Just let me loose in NTUC or Cold Storage and watch me make myself happy man.

Agora doesn't quite have the range.. I mean.. its instant noodles rack barely takes up three tiers.. and that's shameful. But I got what I needed, taking a raincheck on the bunch of thailand longans. And strawberries. And this box of cherries that looked like juice wrapped in skin. Ah well, good fruits expensive.

And I figured, why end the night so early when it was so good?

Headed to this place I'd seen perched on the fourth floor of one of those decrepit-looking malls, full length glass windows all round... the Kozmo Lounge. I think I was just drawn to any place that might serve alcohol, even though I knew there was no chance in hell I was going to get a nice margarita to end the night with.

But it was a nice, the owner couldn't quite decide between the Japanese zen look at the minimalist metal-and-faux leather look. So they had comfy sofas scattered around, plus the usual given dinner tables in dark wood and glass.

I didn't even notice the projection screen playing VH1 Divas Live till I sat down... and yeaaaaaah i still can't stand Shakira.

To make up for the lost margarita, I had the rare and elusive iced lemon tea. (Dhaka has a blanket ban on ice lemon tea in ANY FORM, canned or fresh). So fresh the lime leaves they ground to put in hasn't even sunk to the bottom yet. And treated myself to a plate of honey-glazed chicken wings, which seemed more like teriyaki, but who the hell cares.

There was a couple a few tables behind, but i didn't really care. It's nicer than Cafe Mango, because it's... more honest I suppose. I liked being the youngest there.

The sweetness of it all sank it. Me, alone on the fourth floor of a almost empty shopping mall, looking at the street lights below and the barest hint of rain drops on the glass. Chicken wings and iced tea.

And then to make the moment more complete, the Dixie Chicks came on over the excellent stereo. I never tire of "Landslide". I don't understand why people diss the group so much.. or maybe i would if I listened to more of their stuff. But yes, even the Smashing Pumpkins version couldn't top theirs.

I changed seats to get a better view of the projection screen so I could watch a bit of the mtv, and got myself another cup of latte.

Later, the owner came over to chat with me. Nice, mid-30s, interesting tattoo on wrist. He'd fit in so well with Darren and his group of friends.. cut from the same mould, they would say.

He has a day job in the American Express bank.. and the lounge was just a nighttime hobby for him.

The conversation flowed freely... after a while it wasn't the cordial kind of small talk anymore, but real, proper conversation which I hadn't realised till then - I had been sorely lacking.

"You know, I really believe that I stopped growing mentally when I was 22. Everyone stops growing at some time or other, and that's the way it should be. But some stop too soon."

"Oh yes, there hasn't been any lack of those examples."

What I really liked, was that he didn't ask all those typical questions about whether I liked Bangladesh and what my job was etc etc. Talk instead about his wife, significance of family ties, irritating old classmates who he couldn't recognise anymore and yet were insistant on reunions...

I don't know why I enjoyed it so much. Maybe he's a Gemini, one of those good ones. Or maybe I was just so relieved at the sight of a human being that seemed perfectly fine with talking to me as an equal, with respect and no prejudice because of my foreigner status and age...

Yes, it was a real good night.


50 more days to touchdown.


Anonymous said...

when are you posting your cox bazar photos?

panaphobic said...

who are you? is that you kris...

or as we say, "le sea si mi nang?"

Arif from KOZMO said...

Hey I know who you was funny to read my conversation on the net...came out as a surprise. By the way I used one of your kettle shots for my visiting card. Drop a line if you can, it'd be nice to hear back from you.