"You can like the life you're living. You can live the life you like."Roxie Hart singing "Nowadays", Chicago (2002)
I just can't get it out of my head.
Last Friday, Phoebe and I (I seem to be saying "Phoebe and I" a lot these days, huh?) decided take a bus down to Mangalore, the token big city of the small town of Manipal, which I live in at the moment. It's kind of like what KL is to Malacca, except that Mangalore is pretty backwards even when compared to good ol' Malacca town. I think it must have been my 4th or 5th time there, and my reason for going was the same as my reasons for my previous visits - to catch a movie. Or rather, two.
This time, it's for The Golden Compass and National Treasure: The Book of Secrets.
It's a two-hour bus ride from Manipal to Mangalore, and the public transportation services here aren't world-class, I can tell you. I have tons of horror stories about Indian buses that'll make your skin crawl up and down and do back-flips through fire-hoops but this - this seriously takes the cake,
First off, you'll have to forgive my appearance. The photograph was taken discreetly from a terribly unflattering low angle. I am like 2 months due for a maintenance haircut and at that moment, I happened to have been recently and abruptly woken up from a nap which I - if you would allow me to add - was enjoying a great deal.
Because the whiff of something tart, rank, and possibly in an advanced stage of decay socked me good in the snoot. For reasons best left rotting in the X-files, the plump, local man sitting beside me suddenly (and without any warning whatsoever) raised his right arm and latched on to the luggage compartment above my head - giving me a deadly blast of eau de armpit hair square in the face.
What the fuck did I ever do to him? Did I kill his mother, rape his dog and eat all his chapatis?! The bus wasn't even swerving as violently in the unbalanced psycho way as it usually does! And he was in a bloody seat - not standing and being narrowly jerked off his feet and out the bus' window at every turn! He didn't need support! Do you know what he needs? He needs to stop flashing his sour ketiak and attempting to murder innocent, law-abiding civilians on buses with his freakishly powerful BO.
I pretty much spent the rest of the bus journey leaning as far as I could from the disgusting, curly, drippy armpit hairs sitting right there in plain sight inches from my left cheek.
You'd think a man can take a hint. Gah. Ack.
Moving along with the story - we missed our stop when we finally reached Mangalore with my miraculous survival of the fiendish ordeal, so we had to take an auto rickshaw to Bharath Mall (which was pretty much the only place worth going to in Mangalore).
We found this cute auto which had hearts sewed onto its upholstery,
I think there was some political rally thing going on that day in Mangalore because we spotted a whole procession of autos on the road all flying the Indian National Congress Party's flag,
It's hard to imagine a bunch of people who had to make a living chauffeuring folks around would have the time (and petrol) to spend making circuits around town in a show of conviction for their political party of choice. I imagine that they are probably paid for this. Kind of like how Digi is corrupting the trishaws back in Malacca.
They even have a pickup ferrying a troupe of men with drums following the mini-parade around,
Not that anyone can hear them over the level of traffic noise pollution the typical Indian city suffers. I swear that every driver had one hand on the horn at all times.
One of the weird things you'll see at Bharath Mall is that they have metal detectors which customers have to walk through in order to get in,
It's admirable, really, how seriously they view the threat of suicide-bombing extremist hereabouts. I mean, look at us in Malaysia! How perfectly sloppy! Been to KLCC? We ain't got no metal detectors there! Since it's one of the world's tallest buildings, you'd think they employ the whole shebang - y'know, like narcotic-sniffing dogs, X-ray scans and full Kevlar-armoured guards armed with sub-machine guns.
But nooooo. We got none of that. Not even mandatory full-body, cavity searches. Disgraceful, that's what it is.
Now that I'm reminded of it, Shaki told me that when he first came here last year, they had to post someone on duty by the escalator to instruct some of the less bright local customers on how to ride it properly. Someone could seriously get hurt on those magically moving stairs, eh?
Anyway, it turned out that The Golden Compass had its last run in the Adlabs theatre here the day before, so we had to be contented with watching just National Treasure 2. Our outing was starting to shape into a "series of unfortunate events" kind of day. Okay, given that there's only two unfortunate happenstances so far you might not think it qualifies as one, but I can tell this one thing about you, mister - you have obviously never sat beside an open ketiak before.
Since the flick plays at 2.30 pm, we opted to have lunch at Pizza Hut first,
From where we sat, we spotted this conga line,
Now that I've seen it, that idiom sort of lost its connotations for me. You can't help feeling sorry for them. It took them forever to negotiate their way to the front door (at one point, the alpha blind man nearly led them down to the basement instead of the front door). If you look really close at this picture, you'll see that he has a bicycle bell attached to his stick.
I think that they must be one of those unfortunate folks which represent some sort of society which aids certain people of a specific handicap - the sort that got this little portfolio full of newspaper clippings and certificates and stuff like that.
Too bad the guard at the door wouldn't let them in. They should have just pretended that they are shoppers.
It's pretty wrenching to see the four of them forlornly making their way down the steps onto the hot summer streets again after trying so hard to find the entrance.
We headed to the Coffee Day outlet there after lunch to while away the hour or so we still have before the flick starts,
I always enjoyed reading the menus, feedback forms, signs and posters of franchised F&B outlets in India (especially Coffee Day's and Barista's) because they are always worth the gander for a bit of unexpected wit. They aren't like the boring, unimaginative drivel we see in our typical Malaysian chain restaurants. Have you read the Sushi King menu before? It's like a furniture catalogue written by a law student on valium.
It's only a couple journal when there's more than two couple cam-whoring photographs per post. Last you'll see of us in this update, I promise.
Later at the One Dollar Store (which ironically sells stuff priced at 100 rupees apiece), I saw something that looked suspiciously like a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal, which I always wanted to try. It couldn't be, of course - not at 100 rupees, I thought to myself.
And damn straight, it wasn't,
It only looked like a Cap'n Crunch cereal box from 5 feet away or more but once you get close enough, you'll choke and blurt out, "Cap'n Crunch isn't kangaroo!" But hey, I still think it's a seriously well-done imitation. I wish I've bought one now, just for the novelty of it. Oh, and can anyone tell me where I can get some Niko, Reebak and Adidaz merchandise? I always wanted fake stuff that are made to look intentionally pirated. I mean, put it this way - since everyone is wearing overpriced tees with that stupid, contrived motto "Just Do It", it'll be really nifty if yours says "Just Screw It".
One day, I'll print a shirt like that for myself.
Speaking of nifty shirts, we spotted this right after we exit the theatre,
Why can't our medical school's tee-shirt look half as cool? I wonder which geek designed it.
And one last picture,
C'mon people, try to guess what it is. I'll tell you guys the answer when I reply your comments later. Whoever manage to get it right will win an all-expense paid trip to the Maldives!
Okay, I'm just shitting you.
We finally left Mangalore at about 5.00 pm even though I wanted to shop for a backpack for my Awesome, Super-Cool North Indian Backpacking Escapade in March during the month-long hols. Mainly because I was tired. I'm like that - always terribly undisciplined and fickle. I would make up plans from the start and then nix them on the way depending on how I feel. I'm told that real men aren't like that at all. Real men always stick to the plan, and get things done, and all those other macho crap I keep hearing about. As far as I'm concerned, I think having a tallywacker should qualify me as one already. I still think football stinks.
Of this post.
Big lazy blogger,
k0k s3n w4i