Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Left,right and down the hole

Coming back one night I thought how bizarre this place is compared to Ende. Ende is very ordered and civilised (choke). The traffic does at least make an effort to keep to the lanes there. Here it is go wherever there is a place and out chicken pedestrians and anything else that is where you have decided to be. Tonight we were turning right and took on a huge local bus, a jeep coming out where we were heading, numerous tuk tuks and more than the odd walker. Result we made it first, the bus stopped, tuk tuks wove round us, a small boy on a bike came out from behind another vehicle and swerved round us with a surprised look on his face if to say ‘I chose that place first’. All this is done with everyone hooting at everyone else, chatting to people they recognise in another vehicle and the odd cow not taking the least bit interest as it chews whatever cud it has regurgitated. A policeman stands on a raised platform in the middle of a ‘roundabout’. A word I have chosen very carefully. He waves a tiny circular disk in each hand. If you are more than 10 feet from him you cannot see what the disk is saying. Even if you can read the word he is waving both disks like the proverbial whirling dervish in a very random manner. One says ‘stop’ the other ‘go’. I see him every night as we go round (sometimes clockwise sometimes anticlockwise as my driver is just as qualified as the next man to choose his hole) on our way to the bus stop to drop the women off at the bus station. I have yet to witness anyone take any notice of the copper. Traffic goes round the roundabout in which ever direction there seems to be a bigger hole. Sometimes he blows his whistle. The response is either pretend he isn’t there or assume he is blowing it at someone else.

Along with my friends the mossies I have a pet rodent. His name is ratty. He visits me through a hole in the wall where, if the floor gets really dirty, I can sluice the wash water. He is quiet, very secretive and shy so I’ve only seen him twice. Once when I had visitors and he obviously took exception to this as he scuttled off almost immediately, and the second time he sneaked up on me when I was not paying attention. Being shy, as soon as he realised I wanted to say hello (or something to that effect) he did a runner on me. Now this upset me as I really wanted make his close acquaintance. Feeling utterly rejected I decided to take drastic action and issue a memorandum of understanding whereby sanctions would put into immediate effect. Well, immediate in terms of the Indian time scale. So over the next few days I pondered how best to deal with this unfriendly beast and came up with a wheeze. Block the hole up. Now the quick thinkers out there will say why so long for such a simple solution. Answer, because I’m a wrinkly old git and it takes ages to make the brain cells communicate with each other. But, I’m on a mission now and nothing will stop me until my global objective has been achieved. My first solution is finding a piece of wood and block the hole up from the outside. The flaw in that is that anyone passing by could easily kick it away. But it will have to do for now. A few days later I have a design amendment to make. Find a brick and place it against the hole on the INSIDE.

This is where I discover another riddle. Locating a brick is easy; the only problem there is that it is helping to hold a wall up. Do I knock the wall down or continue my hunt for an errant and solitary brick. The answer is obvious to all but the dim witted. Knock the wall down. Then I remember the landlord and his constant complaints about water overflowing and so on and so forth. Further, I realise if I knock the wall down ratty can come in whenever he likes so that idea is hastily abandoned. A few more days pass until the Eureka moment, I find a brick. I carefully clean the floor around where I am to place it and strategically position it to block the hole. Why clean the floor? Because this is a very special brick and not just any old building brick and I want ratty to know I have no ill feelings towards him other than to STAY OUT. Mission accomplished!

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