Friday, 22 December 2006

Christmas Time

Christmas time around here is...



No time to make up your bed before leaving for work....

In Port Louis, where I work, its too much...


Jeans....



By the kilos-who-cares-about-display-shoes...



Watches for all tastes....

They are cheap and work fine. They only stop ticking when you wear them...


Toy street sellers urging kids to cry and scream so mummy would buy them these beautiful toys...

Christmas time is also...


Chritmas decorations...


Nice window displays...


Weird window displays (considering the weather!)...


Scary window displays...

Last but not least, Christmas Time is ...



Too much work....


Don't Drink And Drive signs...



Dozing off in buses after a hard working day. But....


Oh and Chritmas here is also...


Very green!

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Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Strength


You are Strength


Courage, strength, fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of judgement, but passing on to further action, sometimes obstinacy.


This is a card of courage and energy. It represents both the Lion's hot, roaring energy, and the Maiden's steadfast will. The innocent Maiden is unafraid, undaunted, and indomitable. In some cards she opens the lion's mouth, in others she shuts it. Either way, she proves that inner strength is more powerful than raw physical strength. That forces can be controlled and used to score a victory is very close to the message of the Chariot, which might be why, in some decks, it is Justice that is card 8 instead of Strength. With strength you can control not only the situation, but yourself. It is a card about anger and impulse management, about creative answers, leadership and maintaining one's personal honor. It can also stand for a steadfast friend.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

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Friday, 1 December 2006

A Toaster Story

He's but a form under the rumpled covers on a rumpled bed. He moves and I sees him waking up. His head emerges from under the covers and Ii note that his hair is too long. But nice too long. He blinks and rubs his eyes. The gesture looks so childlike but there's nothing childlike about him. He throws but the covers and he is naked. He stretches and yawns and walks lazily out of the room. Barefoot. He's heading to the kitchen. I follow him. He's making coffee. I watch him take the bread and look around for the knife. He sees it, picks it up and slices the bread. Its stale but it does not matter. He inserts the bread into the toaster. The next thing I know the toaster is hissing and throwing sparks and he falls on the cold cold floor with a thud. Electrocuted. I'd heard his roommate telling him the toaster was good to be thrown away. I look at him and think, Why take risks when you're naked .


[This is an ad. I watched it the same day I watched Ball story. Informative links: UNAIDS & AMfar]

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Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Thank Your First Commenter Day # 2

The first time I heard of blogs and blogging was late May last year. I started blogging here on the 28th of June and on the 16th of August I read with wonder my first comment which said:

"Hey--cool blog! I came here via Jenelle, who recommended you to me. I love the post a while back about the quotes from courts; the one where the witness asked the lawyer if he actually passed the bar exam cracked me up! J*Star"

And what I thought reading the comment was something along the line of Neil's thoughts when he read Terry:

"$%#@&, there is someone out there actually reading this nonsense. Who is this? How did they find me? I better start using a spell-checker."

Of course I was happy that I'd finally been “found” but I couldn't help but wonder about this Jenelle. Was she someone I knew? Was she a friend I'd told about my blog (which I was positive I hadn't)? Was it my one of my sisters? But none of them blogged! I looked up J*Star's messenger and added him to my contact list. Whenever he'd appear online I'd send thank yous followed by do-I-know-who-is-Jenelle-questions.

Jenelle and I eventually met.

So, when I took up on Neil's idea last year, its Jenelle I chose to thank because she read and was nice enough to recommend me.

Its curiosity which prompted me to blog; its the pleasure I have reading you which makes me come back, everyday.

Thank you for the generous thoughts shared,
Hard thought and well written!
Although reading them may quick,
No time can dull intent.

Thank you Tanisha for being first commenter when I moved here.

Thank you all for being everyday commenters.

Happy Your 1st Commenter Thanksgiving Day.

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Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Lonely # 3

On his way back from work, He is thinking about the day and how it went. He realises that things are about to change in his life. For...

... the better or for the worse? Am interested to know how you see the story ending.


UPDATE #1

According to ................................. Here is how "He"'s story goes.
Egan: "Oui, je veux savoir la résultat."

I think Egan starts reading novels by going first to the last page. :-)

fringes: "For better! For better!I have no idea what Egan said, so I'm hoping I'm answering the right question."

Egan said" I want to know what happened!"

ChickyBabe: "I'd like to think he'd realise his self worth and embrace his life."

The friend he could have spoken with could have told him that... I like it!

Winters: "He meets a woman who changes his life forever.But I don't know what she does... "

Fill us in as soon as you find out!

UPDATE #2

Aulelia: "for the worse....so that something pivotal can happen to make it a happy ending! "

That would be for the better then! Don't you agree?

Egan: "I'm so confused, but as you and Chicky know, this is nothing new. I will back up a few posts. Salut mon amie!"

*tapping foot, crossed arms, raised eyebrow = waiting impatiently* :-)

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Friday, 10 November 2006

Lonely # 2

When He opened his eyes and looked around his dark room He realised he'd overslept. He wondered why the room was still so dark and realised that its been a while that he'd pulled the curtains. He made his way to the window and hesitated to pull the curtain away. When He finally did, He waited a moment before getting nearer to the window. He slowly opened it and looked out. The streets were swarming with people. He wondered whether some of them felt the way He did.

Making his way to the bathroom He thought about how nothing had happened at the window and how that might mean that today might be better than yesterday. He got ready to work entertaining himself with that thought instead of the late dread of facing every new day.

In the lift his old neighbour gave Him a toothless smile and said “good morning”! Mumbling a reply He wondered whether it was a statement or a question.

He'd made up his mind the night before to seek professional help or speak to someone about how He'd been feeling lately. He'd felt a little bit better afterwards.

He knew that no one else but him could clearly evaluate his emotional state. No one but him could know what He needed to feel better. And hearing himself talking about his late feelings, sentiments and fears would help. He remembered how his mum used to say that one should keep one's worries to themselves. Why? He'd asked. Because people have nothing better to do then than interrupt you and tell you about their worries. That made him smile. His own smile surprised him. The old lady smiled too. Probably thinking that the smile was meant for her.

Stepping out of the lift she waved and He waved back.

A little boy stepped in. Hi, He said. Hi said the little boy looking up and down quickly. His two front teeth were missing. He smiled again. The smile was meant for His reflection.

Stepping out of the lift, He waved at the little boy.
"Good morning" had been a statement after all.

"Inside myself is a place where I live alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up." Pearl Buck



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Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Lonely #1

He picked up the phone and dialled. It rang. He pulled at his hair. It hurt but he didn't care. Somehow, hurting himself made him better because he felt something then. He wondered if things would have to go to that extent and wished that he managed to make things right before they did.

The phone was still ringing. They've probably gone out he thought. He cursed himself for not calling earlier. No one would be home at on a Saturday night. The thought of watching TV or going out alone made him feel sick. He had to meet someone. Anyone. He needed to talk. Talk about what? He had no idea but there was something definitely the matter with him.

This morning, leaning over the window he saw himself falling down and looking up at himself his mouth open. A soundless scream. He shrank back from the window laughing nervously with the sound of his wildly beating heart filling his ears.

As much as he did not enjoy his current job he looked forward to leaving his apartment for it. He needed to meet people. Just like he'd taken to playing his music loud enough to annoy the neighbourhood. Like he'd taken to walk aimlessly around his apartment. Like he'd taken to reading till the morning.

He went back to his apartment every evening with his body as heavy as lead. He dragged his feet and took his time inserting the key to open the door. He pushed the door open and stood there watching himself go inside, shut the door and spend the evening with himself. He knew he felt that way because he feared being alone.

“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself”. Mark Twain

What's the worst loneliness, according to you?





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Monday, 30 October 2006

Infidelity

Her mother couldn’t be wrong. Could she? Even is she were all the women in her family just couldn’t be I the wrong. Could they? Let alone the women in her family, but the women in her village and country! What she’s been taught a girl since childhood is what all the little girls of generations preceding hers were taught and what the coming generations would be taught too. Would she be in the wrong if she taught her daughter the same things? She was starting to think so and that was wrong.

Princess, you and your prince love each other. But life is not all about love. We change; our emotions and feelings do too. Circumstances and time are the culprits. There is nothing you and I can do about it. If you rebel then things wouldn’t turn out right for you, they never do for a Princess. If you chose to swallow your pride then…

This is what they're all told. But what had her mother and the women in her family be exactly telling her? She had absolutely no idea. All she could thing of was the time she and prince would finally be married. What a fool she’d been. She thought she’d be the happiest bride, not unhappy like her mother who was unhappy for reasons she wouldn’t share with her.

Now listening to her friend telling her about her prince’s infidelity filled her with humiliation. She’d been a good wife and an excellent mother to their child. Why? She couldn’t come up with a single explanation. Her friend looked at her reading the thoughts that she knew were running through her head. The questions, the justifications that she’d try to come up with to excuse him, the faults she’d try to find in herself to explain his unfaithfulness, but still the questions and again the questions…

Princess looked at her child, the girl smiled at her mother. Tears filled Princess’ eyes. Her friend squeezed her hand.

If you were Princess (Or Prince if it’d been the other way around), what would you do? Why?



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Thursday, 26 October 2006

Days (and nights) spoiling thoughts

Eid was great. The cake was yummy. Mum made the tastiest food. It tasted even better since we haven't had that much to eat during Ramadan. After a whole day fast, you just don't feel like eating, believe me. But eating a lot on Eid day is a mistake. A great mistake. By 2 a. m. I was sleeping on my feet my brain completely shut. You're supposed to take it easy on the stomach on the first days. We always forget. But this is not what kept me awake yesterday night.

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Its been a week since I've had a good night sleep. I push bed time away and distract myself till I can't take it anymore. I don't get into bed because thats where the thoughts come back, rush in and out and rob me off my sleep. So whats the use of going to bed.

Yesterday night I watched Gangs of New York when everybody else went to bed. It ended around 1.30 a.m. What to do. I picked up “L'épreuve final” by Linda Fairstein where I'd left it. Got bored by 2.45 a.m. I needed to wake up at 6.30 to get ready for work so I had to sleep a bit. I went to wash my face, drank a glass of water, switched off the light and got in bed.

Just one word. Its been haunting me aver since I wrote The Arrival. I might be be speaking and it stops me in mid-sentence. I might be singing under the shower and it makes me turn icy cold. I might be laughing and it suddenly takes away the sweetness of the moment. I start composing a post and my fingers refuse to type. They hover over the same letters on the keyboard.

I find it even more strange since death and eschatology are parts of my daily life. They've never kept me awake like the thought of “I won't be there to write The Exit”.

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Monday, 23 October 2006

Divali

Saturday marked the celebration of Divali. We went around the neighbourhood watching the lights lit by our neighbours of Hindu faith. They were beautiful. But with the passing years, it seems like people are lighting them less and less and they don't keep them long. I guess its because life is so dear and electricity costs. Nonetheless, I so wished I had a tripod!

Divali is the Festival of Light. It symbolises, for the Hindu, the victory of truth (light) over ignorance (darkness).


It is one of the most joyous festivals celebrated by the Mauritian hindus in the month of October or November.


Am told that its in the villages that the ights are mst spectacular, there, houses' balconies and yards are decorated with lit “diyas”, small clay lamps instead of the electric blinking lights preffered by the twon people.


The light is believed to guide the goodness of wealth and good fortune.

Tomorow, we are celebrating Eid ul Fitr. More on that later. I've got to go shopping now.

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Monday, 16 October 2006

World Food (Every) Day

World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the Day in consideration of the fact that "food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity" (resolution 35/70 of 5 December 1980).

Whenever I sat for Economics tests at school, I used to love throwing in terms like “opportunity cost”, “wrong allocation of resources”; they gave me a sense of importance derived from my (supposed) knowledge of those terms and being able to come up with theories and examples to explain them.

I thought the poor of the world were stupid and lazy people who were poor by their own choice. I thought all they had to do was have less children, meaning less mouths to feed, meaning a little bit more of everything for everyone. I thought it just could not be otherwise since I was having food to throw. I thought I was pretty smart. I was plain ignorant and stupid.

Today, 80% of the natural resources of the planet are controlled and consumed by 20% of the inhabitants of the planet. If this is not disequilibrium, what is?

This disequilibrium, leading to famine and malnutrition, results, says Roger Garaudy (Grandeur et décadences de l'Islam), in the death of 40 million people including 15 million children according to the UNICEF. And its not getting any better.

“In a world overflowing with riches, it is a outrageous scandal that more than
826 million people suffer hunger and malnutrition and that every year over 36
million die of starvation and related causes. We must take urgent action
now.”(Jean Ziegler, April 2001, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food)

Its not a war of figures, with who has the correct figure or who hasn't or a matter of calculating the number of children dying every second. Its a matter of deaths from famine and malnutrition.

The theme for World Food Day and the TeleFood campaign for 2006 is "Investing in agriculture for food security" which highlights the need for increased resources to fight hunger. To whom will the seeds be given? Because, how can undernourished and hungry people be expected to be able to cultivate anything? They'll eat the seeds.


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Links: Facts, Right to Food

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Dear Mum,

I love you, you know that. You've always taken care of us, massaged my scalp with olive oil, made me laugh and cry too sometimes because you made me laugh so hard. Most importantly, you've always been there for us. Held my hand when I needed it the most. Lent me an ear when I needed to shout or listened to my angry silence. I can't thank you enough because the words that may express it all do not exist but you know and that's what matters the most.
Mum, yesterday I watched a movie at work. I had nothing better to do so I inserted this CD I'd been carrying around, removed my shoes, put my feet up and relaxed to enjoy it. I didn't. I could not comprehend it myself, after all, the reason I was watching that movie by myself instead of taking home or all to see was mainly because I wanted to watch it in silence and without speaking. Why then wasn't I enjoying it? Simply because you were not there.
I thought I hated watching TV at home. I thought I resented your constant questions. I felt guilty for ignoring them at times. So it served me right not to enjoy yesterday's movie one bit!


Sincerely,
Your Lovely Loving daughter

The letter explained.
Mum does not understand does not understand or speak French, English or Hindi. Watching TV is a problem since its in the languages mentioned. As far as I can remember I've always been an interpreter. To the point that, when we I was a child and fought with anyone they'd mimic me by saying “my mum says” over and over again. That's because that's how all my sentences started when Mum was around. I guess that being the eldest, the task was naturally imparted to me and the siblings who came after me took it for granted that it was my responsibility for life.
I remember I once decided I was not going to play the game anymore and the same day we watched an English futurist movie. It was about some people living in a a desert some thousand years from today and thy had to fight for water. Anyway, all the characters' eyes changed in color depending on their mood. Mum kept asking what was going on and the others assuming it was my role to answer did not acknowledge her questions. As for me, I'd decided enough was enough.
The movie wasn't really great and at the end, the hero found water. My mum had a puzzled expression on her face when I looked at her. “What happened to their eyes?” she asked me. And I felt so very guilty.
But its hard at times. I believe in the fact that everything in life has a purpose. Now, I realize why, as a child to adolescence, I loved reading dictionaries so much. I was unconsciously bettering myself for this role of mine. Its a real challenge I tell you. Hindi movies are the easiest since they don't require a lot of concentration and even if I miss 4 minutes translating the dialog, I'd be able to catch up with the story. American non-dubbed movies and French movies are another story. The good movies where every sentence of the dialog matters I mean. Here is how it goes.
I have to have an idea what it is about to give Mum an introduction first and explain on the CD cove who is who. Because – I curse the Hindi movies for this – Mum associates characters with the music playing in the background. A romantic sounding music and any female character appearing would be the heroine. Hence the importance of the introduction.
Mum relaxes while I try to follow the dialog while translating at the same time. Because when am done translating one part mum immediately asks me to explain what ha just been said which I can't since I was busy explaining the sequence just before that one. I told you, its a real exercise.
So, why couldn't I enjoy my yesterday's movie you'll ask me. Well, I found myself translating it to myself.


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Tuesday, 3 October 2006

A bird in the head

Walking to the bus station I hear footsteps behind me. The street is completely deserted at this time of the day. I clutch my bag against me and hurry a bit. The footsteps behind me seem to quicken their pace too. I slow down, they do too. I can run if it comes to that I tell myself. Am good at running with high heeled shoes. My long skirt would be a problem but I can still raise it up. Planning what to do in case I do need to do something, I momentarily forget the footsteps.

I look right and left still no one. I don't want the footsteps behind me to sense my fear so I don't turn around. But am tall and can take wide steps without seeming to have quickened my pace. I adopt this strategy. I pass through “Le Jardin de La Compagnie”, reach “Paille en Queue” but still don't turn to look. But now its Ok, there are people around here. Its when I finally relax that I realise I'd been holding my breath. A group of girls watch me walking by and I smile. They smile back. But am worried because am starting to scare myself. Am afraid I'd become completely paranoid. Maybe I should forget the pain easing techniques.


I often have abdominal cramps and have mastered some breathing techniques which ease the pain. I'd decided to try and find a pain easing technique for my headaches a while back.


When it pains I can feel it in every part of my body; even my skin seems to hurt. I lay down and stare unseeingly in front of me; that's when am lucky to be home because at work I go around on auto pilot. I have and need to get inside me and concentrate on the pain. I dare it to hurt more and it does. Thud... thud.. thud.. it goes.

I imagine it's my heart I hear pounding in my head. I imagine its my blood I hear pumping in my head.

I tell myself it has to hurt if it stops my heart would too.

I can't cry. That's how bad it hurts.

I try to take my mind off it. The bird trick is my best pain easing technique.


My head is a cage. With a locked door. The key is lost and I can't let the bird out. In my mind's eye, I hear it wailing and flying about the cage only to bump against its sides. Its wings flutter wildly for minutes. It rests the tries again. Again and again. It cannot escape. I squeeze my eyes hard and pray for the cage's door to be open when I open my eyes but when I do, it's still locked. I no longer feel it hurting me, am hurting for the poor bird.


The footsteps I heard on my way back home were no footsteps. It was the pain thudding.


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Monday, 18 September 2006

Trade in time

[This has been borrowed from
joek-s.com.
It clearly illustrates my current how am doing!]

"If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model.

I have lumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull - but that's not the worst of it.

My fenders are too wide to be considered stylish. They were once as sleek as a little MG - now they look more like my mom's old Buick.

My seat cushions have split open at the seams. My seats are sagging.

Seat belts? I gave up all belts when Ben & Jerry's opened a shop in my neighbourhood.

Air bags? Forget it. The only bags I have these days are under my eyes. Not counting the saddlebags, of course.

I have soooooo many miles on my odometer. Sure, I've been many places and seen many things, but when is the last time an appraiser factored life experiences against depreciation?

My headlights are out of focus and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My reaction is not as graceful as it once was.

I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins.

It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed.

I'm burning fuel at an inefficient rate.

But here's the worst of it: almost every time I sneeze, cough or sputter, I leak fluids.

I'm so ready for a trade in!

Anyone know where I can get a good deal?"

All things considered, am not really doing as bad as that!


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Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Blog Appreciation Day

*C'est la Vie! Life!*

Evening Edition

After a two week rest ordered by doctor due to what
the French call “suremenage”, Director
Fitena assured the press that
“Blog Appreciation Day” is starting today.

Handouts where distributed
to the all with the cast and full details.

“Blog Appreciation Day” is adapted from Neil Kramer's post which bears the same title. Mr. Kramer is a popular and very appreciated blogger. He is reported to be very funny. He refused to grant us an interview. He is quite shy, we are told.

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Director Fitena explained that after receiving this very romantic note (see below) from Neil Kramer and reading the linked to post she just could not resist and receiving another touching note from friend Chickyabe convinced her that the movie was a good idea indeed!

Neil's note
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Chicky's note
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Chicky Babe is playing the much spoken of mystery woman. The movie actually ends with her mystère unrevealed which makes us believe that there will be a “Blog Appreciation Day II”.

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Aadil plays the local guy (the movie is being mainly shot in Mauritius) who befriends the bubbly Adeline.

Aadil

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Adeline

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The others local as played by Javed and waz

The movie is about friendship and love, how they spread and how true feelings no geographical or whatever else limitations. It's a movie about hope for a better tomorrow where people shall live and let live. Where our today problematic issues won't be issues anymore.


We were quite impressed by the casting! Here is the rest of it:

The Girls:
Ed who the fans would be glad to know, finally quit her job and her horrid boss!

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Jack 2

Due to a technical problem, our photographer was unable to provide us with photos of all the comédiens but they may rest assured that they are much appreciated!

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Romance?

After Broken and Robbed below, I thought it was time for something super light. This is a rechauffé from my old home but it's still good!

In the world of romance, one single rule applies to the men:

*Make the woman happy. Do something she likes, and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played.*

Here is a guide to the point system:

SIMPLE DUTIES
You make the bed (+1)
You make the bed, but forget the decorative pillow (0)
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets (-1)
You go out to buy her what she wants (+5)
In the rain (+8)
But return with Beer (-5)
You check out a suspicious noise at night (0)
You check out a suspicious noise, and it is nothing (0)
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something (+5)
You pummel it with iron rod (+10)
It's her pet (-10)

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS
You stay by her side the entire party (0)
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a college buddy (-2)
Named Tina (-4)
Tina is a dancer (-6)
Tina has silicon implants (-80)

HER BIRTHDAY
You take her out to dinner (0)
You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar (+1)
Okay, it's a sports bar (-2)
And it's all-you-can-eat night (-3)
It's a sports bar, it's all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colours of your favourite team (-10)

A NIGHT OUT
You take her to a movie (+2)
You take her to a movie she likes (+4)
You take her to a movie you hate (+6)
You take her to a movie you like (-2)
It's called 'DeathCop' (-3)
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans (-15)

ENJOY THE 'BIG' QUESTION
She asks, "Do I look fat?" (-5) [Yes, you LOSE points no matterWHAT]
You hesitate in responding (-10)
You reply, "Where?" (-35)
Any other response (-20)

COMMUNICATION
When she wants to talk about a problem, you listen, displaying what looks like a concerned expression (0)
You listen, for over 30 minutes (+50)
You listen for more than 30 minutes without looking at the TV (+500)
She realizes this is because you have fallen asleep (-10000)

Now what chance do you have???


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Monday, 14 August 2006

Broken

When I was eight I went to spend the night at my mum's friend. She was a neighbor, had no kids and her husband had gone abroad. As far as I could remember that was the first time I'd slept over at anyone's place. I must have before that but I don't recall any of the previous sleep overs. I still remember and will always will this one.

Aunt N was so happy to have me over. She asked my mum to let me come a bit early. I was there at five. She made me her famous chocolate chip cookies which I loved. She did not fear me spoiling my appetite like my mum. That was super cool. She made yellow rice (she actually added saffron, which I did not know then) and beef stew. It was yummy. She even let me stay late for TV which wasn't that late since TV ended at 10 sharp on week days.

I was a very curious kid - still is, curious I mean - and asked her questions non-stop. She obliged and seemed really happy to converse with me. I felt so grown up.

Later, after bath and wearing my pajamas, I jumped into her huge bed where she spread her wedding pictures which I'd seen before but quickly because the mums wanted to see them and it wouldn't have been polite to take one's time. Now, they were all mine. I asked questions about each and every picture. I was mesmerized by her pictures in her wedding dress. I'd never seen anyone in a black wedding dress before. I asked her about it and she went to her wardrobe asking me to shut my eyes till she told me otherwise. I did. When I opened them she was holding the dress against herself. The black glittering fabric looked weird against her white pale skin and her blondish hair. With brutal children frankness I remarked that she looked like she were in mourning. She smiled but she did not look pleased. She put it away and said Sleep time now. She switched off the light and got in bed.

She started telling me a story which bored me. I asked her how they met, she and her husband. Surely, that was more interesting that the rabbit tale she was telling me. She laughed and said that they did not meet. Then how did you get married I asked, puzzled. She explained that he saw her, came to ask for her hand. She saw him the day he came. He pleased her. They got married. This bored me too.

What do you want to do when you grow old? She asked.
Study.
And then?
Go to University I guess.
And then?
Become a doctor.
Why?
Because I think doctors look real classy and they are liked by people.
Hummm..

I felt so good to be able to talk to an adult so freely. She's so cool I thought.

And then? She interrupted my thoughts.
Get married and have babies.
Silence.

She's fallen asleep, I told myself.

The next day over lunch my mum asked, What did you tell N last night huh? Eight years old girls don't think about marrying and having babies. They concentrate on their homework, don't stay up late or TV and quit eating chocolate chip cookies all the time.

I felt as if someone was squeezing my insides. I felt a pain in a my heart. The food I was eating was suddenly tasteless.

Later, when I grew up, I realised that that was the day I got my first taste of broken trust.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2006

That's the Question?

People don't listen to themselves speaking. Nor do they listen to you. If they did, they'd have spent their whole lives laughing at themselves. If they've got a sens of humour that is!

It's amazing how nonsensical and unintelligent we are sometimes. I guess it's because no one takes the trouble to think twice before uttering anything. The examples are innumerable so I shall just mention a few here.

A month ago, E and me had a lunch date. After lunch I walked her to the post office. On the way we stopped at a street t-shirt seller's to have a look. While E and me were bargaining, K, a school friend happened to walk by. We hugged and kissed how do you do. I introduced E and K seriously asks me Is she your friend? Yes I solemnly replied.

I was actually thinking, No, I just saw this girl bargaining for a T-shirt, thought I'd help her because I thought she looked cool and asked her her name just in case someone I knew would walk by for me to introduce her.

Now, why did she even have to ask me that huh?

I went to a friend's wedding and met another friend whom I hadn't seen for a while there. We kiss and she says Friend invited you. No, she did not say it, she was asking. I didn't think she was serious so I just smiled.

Yes, because what would I have been doing there in my best attire with a gift for the bride?

We went to watch Invisible Man a couple of years ago. If you've seen it then you'd remember the lift scene where the heroine manages to push Invisible Man down in the fire where he stews. Anyway, everyone knows that Invisible Man is dead at this point. He's finished. Mort. Muerte or whatever. G sitting next to me whispers Is he dead. Am so into the movie I don't answer. I think he's just making a statement. Furious whispers and definitely a question Is he dead? Now Invisible Man is stewing and the heroine looks relieved. G grabs my arm to draw my attention Is he dead??? Am a very mean person so I let him simmer in what he's living as a suspense when the whole cinema knows that Invisible Man is gone to lala land. Is HE DEAD? Am feeling sorry for G who looks like he's going to cry. I wait a bit but now the heroine is out of the building and the rescues are there and the movie is coming to an end. I look at G and say Yes, he's dead G, he's dead. See, the movie has ended. He glares at me and says I know, what do you think I am, stupid?

I raised an eyebrow.



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Friday, 4 August 2006

Robbed

When you were a child, everything was possible. Nothing was impossible. You were fed, clothed and instructed. No worries about tomorrow. Dreams about tomorrow instead.

When you were a child you were a nurse now, later a cop, yesterday you wanted to be Jackie Chan, a soldier but right now you wanted to be President. When you grew older.

When you were a child your parents were there for you.

Remember when you fell from you bike? Mum was there to calm, comfort and take care of you. When Big Bully bullied you at school Dad taught you a trick or two.

When you were a child you played bang bang you're dead and everybody ressurected after a few seconds an had a big laugh.

When you were a child, you thought "action-less" and "blood-less" movies sucked.

Today your life is a movie only no one ressurects.

Today you don't dream anymore, you've been robbed of your childhood.

Today what you want to do when you grow up is be alive.

[This is for all the children of the world reffered to by some as "collateral damage"].
[Ceci est pour tous les enfants du monde appelés par certains "domages collattereaux"].

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Friday, 28 July 2006

Dodo

Thinking about “Mauritianism”, it occurred to me that there is no such thing as “True Mauritianism”. Well, it’s the case where citizenship is concerned but not at all when you start digging deeper into the origins of the Mauritians.

You’re told that before the arrival of the first settlers, the island was inhabited. Does the absence of men make a place uninhabited? That’s what history tells you. What about the animals and birds living on the island then? Surely, they are to be considered Habitants of the Island.

The Mauritius Dodo, more commonly just Dodo, was a metre-high flightless bird of the island. It is currently extinct and it lived on fruit and nested on the ground. The origin of its extinction is controversed since many think that it was brought about by the Dutch, who were the first settlers, while others think that it was caused by a natural disaster which might have occurred even before the arrval of men on the island. The point is, the Dodo is extinct.

“Dodo”, such a funny name you’d think. You wouldn’t be wrong! The etymology of “Dodo” is one of controversy – the bird seems to be controversy prone.

According to Encarta, "dodo" comes from Portuguese doudo meaning "fool" or "crazy". David Quammen, author of "Song of the Dodo", points out "that 'dodo' was an onomatopoeic approximation of the bird's own call, a two-note pigeony sound like 'doo-doo'."

“Fool” or “Crazy”, the Dodo is also portrayed as a clumsy, not very intelligent bird (which is an understatement I am told!). From artists' renditions we know that the Dodo had blue-grey plumage, a 23-centimetre (9-inch) blackish hooked bill with a reddish point, very small – useless - wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end. Dodos were very large birds – Fat - , weighing about 23 kg (50 pounds).

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Of course, this is not the Dodo, this is a very dangerous dog. Please see the do below:

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The last known Dodo was killed less than a centuary after the species' discovery. A Dodo egg is on display at the East London museum in South Africa. From genetical researches, it now appears that the Dodo was a close relative of pigeon species that are to be found in Africa and especially South Asia.

No one took particular notice of the extinct bird until it was featured in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). With the popularity of the book, the Dodo became a household word: "as dead as a Dodo" is a common expression – poor Dodo.

Since 2002, following “Ice Age”, directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha there’s been a renewal of the interest in the Dodo.

The animated movie featured Dodos at their best. Their Tae Kwon “attacks” made them memorable and movie forums have been full of questions about their origin and whether they truly existed.

Here are a couple of memorable quotes of the movie:

*Dodo: This is our private stockpile for the Ice Age. Sub arctic temperatures will force us underground for a billion, billion years.
Manfred: So you got three melons?

*Dodo: If you weren't smart enough to plan ahead, then doom on you. Other Dodos: [chanting] Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on... Manfred: Get away from me.

*Dodo: Tae Kwon Dodos, attack

*Dodo #1: Prepare for the Ice Age.
Dodo #2: Protect the dodo way of life.
Dodo #3: Survival separates the dodos from the beasts.

*Dodo #1: [lecturing about a crater] Now don't fall in. If you do, you will definitely...
Dodo #2: [runs in] Intruders. Intruders... oops. [trips and falls into crater]
Dodo #2: ...Burn and die.

At one point, in the French version, they sing "I believe I can Fly"!

It’s terrible though, the fate of the Dodo when you think of it. It does not occur to many but when you medidate over this you realise that the Only True Mauritian is the Dodo and it’s extinct!


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Monday, 24 July 2006

Thought of the Day

"Level with your child by being honest. Nobody spots a phony quicker than a child."

Mary MacCracken

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Monday, 17 July 2006

All in a School Day

I never liked the girl. I don’t dislike many people; I normally make good choices whenever friendship is concerned. Only for that one time but let’s not get into it.


So this girl was not my friend yet I disliked her. Why? I don’t like Snobs and she was a Snob par Excellence – still is. You’d think she’d change after what happened later but no, she is still Miss Am Better than You. That’s the look she gives me whenever our paths cross. She seems to hate me. But I guess she just resents me for witnessing what happened.


You are now dying to know what actually happened, right? Shall I tell you?


It was a school day. When the bus dropped me on my station after school I remembered that I had to wait for my friend C. to whom I’d lent my literature notes. But people being people and the island being so small, anyone seeing me standing there on the station was bound to bring it up “incidentally” in a conversation with my parents. How’s Your Daughter, I Saw Her That Day…. So I decided to cross the sugarcanes and wait on the other side of the road.


I cross the sugar canes and wait. I see this guy walking up and down the road. He’s clearly waiting for someone. He looks familiar but I'm not sure. There are two crossings through the sugar canes; the one I came through and another one up the road. He does not know which one his – I thought – rendezvous would be coming through so he checks both. He looks distressed now and is talking to himself. I realize why he looks familiar. I’d seen him hand in hand with Snob many times. I remember thinking what an apparently Nice Guy was doing with a Snob-School-Girl like her.


He looks my way and sees me staring. He attempts a smile and fails. He crosses the road and comes my way. I look around. Oh my God what if he is not a nice guy after all, goes though my mind.


He stops a step from me and says Can you do me a Favor please? What? I ask. Hold my malette for me please. I say I can’t, Sorry. He says, You don’t have to hold it. Listen, am going nowhere. It’s just that it’s heavy. I’ll just put it down here. I say, whatever but I wouldn’t be responsible if… Am going nowhere. Please. He cuts me off. I shrug. He says Thanks and lays the bag against the wall. He resumes his surveillance.


He’s at the up crossing when I see his Snob-School-Girl coming down the sugar cane crossing in front of me hand in hand with a School Boy. Wow! I think, She’s going to be in big trouble!


Nice-Guy must have seen me looking intently in front of me – did I do that on purpose? - so he runs down the road and sees what am seeing.


Standing next to me, he starts muttering Bitch. Am feeling sorry for him.


She’d let go of her new boyfriend’s hand and is pretending that she’s alone. But he’d already seen her.


Nice-Guy starts screaming insults her way and shows his fist. I almost giggle because it reminds me of a Hindi Movie I’d seen.


Now he’s serving me the whole story. They’d split because she’s told him that her parents found out about them and been spying on her ever since. He, being a gentleman, let go because he does not want to cause her trouble. Then someone called him and told him that she’d been seeing this new boyfriend while she was still with him and how now he was going to fix her right.


By the time the story is over Snob Girl has crossed the road with her new Boyfriend. She tries hard to show that she’s not scared. She starts stuttering and asks him what he wants. He asks her why she’d betrayed him, why she just didn’t tell him that they were over instead of serving him lies, did she not know that he loathes liars. She just says leave me alone, look please go away. She tells him her parents might see them. But he’s beyond caring. He’s screaming away.


I look up the Avenue. It’s her house’s. And I know both her parents work. I wonder if some neighbor would come to her rescue. Then I remember her vis à vis neighbor telling me this family – hers – is not nice. They don’t participate in the neighborhood activities or neighborhood watch. No, no one would come to her rescue.
I look at new boyfriend and am curious to see his reaction. But he’s having none. Reaction I mean. He’s standing there in the background. I give him a scornful look and apparently piqué au vif he tries to intervene. Cute Nice Guy gives him a look that makes him step back. He looks at me. He looks away.


Watching Snob-Girl and Nice-Guy is more fun. He is now holding her by the shoulders and she’s shaking her head and her eyes are wide.


Not fun anymore I think. I hope he’s not going to beat her. Just then she says something I miss and he slaps her. Hard. My hand almost flies to my cheek. Her mouth is open and her eyes are wider but no sound comes out. She’s shocked speechless. He looks at his had and seems not to believe what he’s just done. He lets go of her. She staggers back. New Boyfriend holds her. I think she’s going to shrug him off. But she doesn’t. Cute I Don’t Believe He’s That Nice Anymore Guy, takes a step back. Two. Turns his back on them. Picks up his bag. Turns his head to look at them. Smiles weakly at me and says Sorry. Then he’s gone.


I went home forgetting all about my literature notes.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

The Fiancé who is eating my friend

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Is she home? Can I go over and see her? Is she all right? I'll text her! No, not a good idea. The last time he replied. Yes, he replied on her behalf from her mobile phone. As it is I don't feel at ease around when he's there. He's cool though. He makes jokes and is quit talkative. He laughs a lot. He's nice really. I don't like him. But it does not matter. She does. She does so much that am starting not to miss seeing her. Because when I do she only talks of him. It's starting to get to me. Why? Because am starting to wonder if she and me ever had anything in common. But we must have.

We used to be together, studying together, eyeing guys together, and making up stories of what our future would be like together and vowing to remain always friends. Friends forever. We made silly friendship pacts. We wrote in each other's memo diaries. Calling each other "Sister". Crying at the prospect of an eventual separation.

Now, no more. We've grown up. We've changed. She has and I have to.

Yesterday despite the fiancé I'd have been visiting at her place, today I can't ring myself to go there. I sit and wonder how it would be like when they'll get married? Not very different from now I tell myself. They're as good as married now.

Am I jealous? I think about all my other friends with whom and whose husbands I have a super good relationship. No, am perfectly all right.

It's that fiancé, he's eating her.


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Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Blogging Again

Thank God the PC is now repaired! I can now indulge in my favorite passe temps; blogging.

I bought a poster which I stuck on the wall in my office. Here is what it says:

As soon as the Rush is Over,
I’m going to Have a Nervous Breakdown.
I worked hard for it – I owe it to myself,
AND nobody is going to deprive me of it!


My boss looked at it, looked at my other notice which says:

Of Course I can handle it.
I’m a woman!

He then raised an eyebrow. I raised mine even higher.

Maybe I should bring them both down? Non?


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Friday, 30 June 2006

5 Philosophical Questions

This is not a meme. This is serious. I requested to be interviewed by Mr. Kimananda. He said, it will be à vos risques et périls. Shut up and shoot said I. He aimed...


Shot #1: You have been raised in many places, and been exposed to many different languages and cultures. If you had to pick one of these languages or cultures or places as more your own than the others, which would you choose and why?

F: When I was a Child, I used to be asked this question but differently. Which one do you prefer, they'd ask, the grown ups, your papa's country or your mama's country.
I was forever terrified lest they told mama on me if I choose papa's country or vice-versa.
They're spies the Suspicion-Prone-Child-Fitèna used to think.
Why do they do this to me the Victim-Child-Fitèna would silently wail.
It's none of these bad people's business thought The No-Nonsens-Child-Fitèna scowling.
It's a hard choice says Me, today. For many reasons. Mainly for the reasons above. Born to parents from two different countries, two completely different cultures and two different languages makes me bi-everything de naissance. Not taking them for granted I sincerely wouldn't be able to objectively chose between those two. This narrows it down.
My most beautiful memories are those of my childhood spent in Niger. The best years of my life I always say. My primary school, my childhood friends, my father's friend at whose place we spent the holidays and who had 18 kids from 4 wives. The battles we used to have. The beatings I took from the big ones and took out on their little brothers and sisters. The memory of my mama clipping off our sometimes friend but most times enemy Hudda's fingernails. Because Hudda's weapons were her long fingernails. My sister's cheeks still bear her scratches. The memory of Hudda then telling mama You clipped off my Nails but have a look at THIS showing her a strip. The horrified look on mama's face. The memory of my friend Moundé who came to spend the night over with her little nephew and how we got scared by our own shadows and almost jumped off our skins and how he hysterically laughed at ourselves afterward. The neighbours at whose place I never knew why everyone went to watch TV; even those who owned one. How nobody left while the neighbour and her husband were having a row right in front of all. How we quit watching the TV and watched them instead. And no one left. On Eid day we'd go from house to house wishing all a Happy Eid and they'd give us money and offer juice and beignets. They never ever see us again but they act as if they've known us for ever. Memories of Le Fou du ludo, a crazy man who got crazier whenever he'd see miniskirt dressed girls. He'd chase them with a club. Memories of the boy mama employed and how he used to sneer at us whenever she wasn't looking asking You think You're black skinned White People, Don't you? And how mama did not believe us when we told her and how he was sacked the day she heard him. That was sad because by that time we'd gotten used to having him around. Oh, more good memories. The time I lost my front teeth and papa said there's something wrong with her teeth, they don't take 8 months to grow. I still haven't lost my self-conscious hand covering mouth movement when I laugh and smile. And oh so much more that cannot be enumerated here. The best. Am not choosing them though. They're mine to treasure.
I'd chose Mauritius where am living right now. An island where Africa and Asia meet and give birth to a palette of cultures and languages. It's not a culture per say, its a way of living different cultures and speaking a language which is a cross between broken French and seasoned with some English. A smiling Chinese faced Melissa, the belly laughter of my African descendant friend Wendy, the funny French accent of my Franco-Mauritian next door neighbour Gabrielle, the Divali lights lit at Meenakshi's and the Briyani we share at aunty Mahani's place on Eid day. Here, is a miniature planet. If this island not become, for you, a school where you graduate with the full knowledge of what respecting others with their beliefs an cultures means, then there's something the matter with you.



Shot #2: You have the power to erase one food off the face of the Earth, and replace it with another food of your choosing. Which food would you get rid of, and what food would you use to replace it?


F: It's not a food its a way of cooking the food in question. I can't stand oil and fat in food. Excuse me, I meant visible oil and fat. Not visible OK. Visible, very bad. So am asking, requesting from a particular food joint in Port Louis to please please not ever serve me my pizza with the emballage dripping soaked in oil. And that other joint which I won't mention either. My Pain au poulet sauté, I like it better without the oil running down my hands while am eating. In short Kim, I'd say its Fat and Oil but since they're irreplaceable and food would be so bland without them. Let's keep them till we find a substitute.



Shot #3: You can meet anyone in the world, and ask that person one question. Who do you meet and what do you ask?

F: Nelson Mandela. People become your heroes for one reason or the other. He's mine for many interlinked reasons. The main of which is courage and hope. Whenever am down or find myself in a difficult situation I talk to myself. I tell myself every night ends and with it the darkness and enter the sunrise with it light. Just think of Mandela says Me to I. Imagine that. who would have thought that after so many years of imprisonment he'd get out? Not only does he get out but he also becomes President of no other country but South Africa. Black President. Of South Africa. Imprisoned because he wanted to achieve just that. Change.
Mr. President, you give me courage and hope to believe that tomorrow everything is going to be alright, but what gave you courage and hope to believe that, eventually, every thing's gonna e alright?
This is what I'd ask Mr. Nelson Mandela, when we meet. If we meet.



Shot #4: The person you meet in the previous question writes you a thank you note after your meeting. What is he or she thanking you for?

F:
Dear Fitèna,
Meeting you has been a great pleasure. I wish to thank you for the humbling conversation we had. Your questions made me think a lot. About life, what we call faith and destiny. You made me realise that nothing happens in this life au hasard. Everything has a meaning. For those who pay attention.
Thank you for the simplicity of your questions.
My regards to Mr. Kimananda who arranged the meeting.
God Bless,
N. M.



Shot #5: You can provide a special gift to each person on the planet. What gift will you give? It can be something material, or something intangible.

My father told us the last time he went to France how terribly bad he felt. For them.
In the Parisian cold morning many people are sleeping outside. Because they're homeless. because in times of trouble they've had nowhere and no one to turn to. They sleep anywhere they can squeeze in, under the stairs of a building with upstairs people warming up with a cup of tea or coffee. They sleep in the metro. You stumble upon them turning a corner because you're in a hurry to reach home sweet home because its so cold outside. Seeing them, my father said, raised the hair on his head rise. It made us laugh because he's bald my father. But it wasn't and is not funny.
Yesterday I went to the World Press Photo exhibition hosted at the Netherlands Consulate. It was beautiful. So sad. The image of this five or six year old child being prepared for burial in a cardboard coffin by her father stayed on my mind and brought out the water of my eyes. You feel terrible because there's so much misery and you are oh so powerless.
A blanket. A blanket to make them warm in the cold cold nights that make them which they were never born. When they're unclothed and are ashamed because they can't even hold onto dignity, a blanket. A clean blanket for them in times of war and famine to give their dear ones a decent burial in. a blanket.


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