early last week i got this sms from a buddy who's leaving for India for good. The survival of the sms is another miracle, i tend to delete anything that comes to the cell when i'm half asleep...the tone of the message will invite the fingers to delete it...mst be some psychological disease, but somehow his one escaped. but I did not open it, just tought it could be nothing more than asking me why I havent dropped by my usual 4 am supper/ whatever its called. well this buddy is actually a waiter at a restaurant i so religiously frequent, been doing that for nearly 4 years now. I am too darn lazy to go to other places, let alone try new food. yeh and no, im not weird. jst being very territorial, coz the ppl there are very very friendly. Kinda saw them grow the business there, from one hell to another. Cant quite remember the times these guys been picked up by the immigration, or some other government agency. and I get food discounts too, and for most of the time they wont even take money. which being somewhat seen that done that been there dude I think I am, id jst take the money and get something from seveny or some DVD's for them to watch.
and back to the Chennai story, this guy, like the hundreds of others Ive met over the years are totally sick of their routine. you cant imagine how working 12 to 16 hours non stop trying to please every damn people out there is like. this is the food business, which i cant think of anything else to compare right now. but all I know is, one miss order, or one bland plate of noodles, and you can hear every single vulgarity you got to know since creation added with racial taunts and finally if your too damn unlucky; flying plates. and there was me, always sitting at the same table, almost always the same drink and oh well...the same kinda food. and they liked me coz i dont say anything in return, just smile and wave all the time. and i was looked upon as the wise dude who doesnt seem to sleep. bad press from my housemate. and i feel for this ppls hardship, their shitty pay and the fact that its been like 5 whole years they havent seen their family, children, friends, etc.
hence, this occasion of going away for good must be good! after making sure he got his tickets right, the date, time and what else needed and managing to convince him not to renew his work permit here, he left. and not before my housemate took him around the city, to places he havent been in 5 years, despite the twin towers being only 20 miles away...depressing indeed. and not before i scrambled for an envelope at 5 am before his flight to give him some well deserved dough...not sure if its bribe or appreciation, but i just tell them all, every single of the 6 ppl who have left this year that its my tiny contribution for their wedding. I dont know how long 1000+ rupees will last in India. and much to the anger and 'what the heck is this guy thinking' look from the restaurant manager. well heck, its my bucks, and I will give him watever I want, I said that loudly to him that day. and no I wont get to hold the cable remote anymore, so I heard from my housemate today. and the quick goodbye, and well some tears did swell...knowing that its impossible for me to meet him or any of the others ever.
brings me to some 12 or 13 years ago when we had the same kind of pledge with some Bangladeshis at the mall. they were very nice people, and those were the times when foreign workers were allowed to man the cash register. by the time the holiday job ended, i had places to and family to stay with in nearly all Bangladeshi cities! and then the temple builders, the artisans (?) who would drop by at the house for friday lunch, and getting extra special attention at the temple for that. the fact was, I did not know much about nationalities or international workers exchange at that time. all i know was they talked english or tamil. and I would teach them my Kedah Malay dialect, very broken at that time. and then the customary swear word in a few different language. those were the good times. they left too.
and then it was the exchange students at uni, now this bunch of idiots i never liked. coz here I am the product of tax paying born here citizens of this country having to pay for everything i touch and use at uni and all this middle eastern guys didnt even have to pay a cent. and they can even buy cars! so no foreign friends at uni, except for the professors you so have to kowtim to get good marks. sleeping being given extra credit marks in the low 0.00 gpa every semester, I aced it very well. and much to the amusement of some research lecturer from Bangalore who tried to feed me molecular electronics, and much to the pissing off of another desi professor from Singapore, we jst had fun going zombie during classes. then it dawned, at the core we hated professional foreigners...because theyre snobs too! reminds me of the senior research scientist at the fab i used to intern. who, despite knowing his slangified American English, will always insist on using a 3rd person in addressing us. rare breed i think...and hope. and the same happened at work, in office that is. coz despite being given a condo to live in, a car with driver to come to work, my projects vendors ill always come to office at 10 am and start the day dissing how bad Malaysia is and how good India is. oh boy.
but the fact of the matter is, me and this waiter buddies. we dont talk this stuff at all. it will always be the movie review marathon, the singing competition or just plain old badmouthing the boss conversations. man it was good, the first thousand times we did it. :D which also means that i dont order the regular semi luxury food anymore, coz i cant eat that infront of them knowing they dont get anything decent too. its complicated, bt thats the way I am. and they get no holidays except for Eid, and no deepavali at all since its a Muslim restaurant. ive seen some closing on Deepavali, bt most doesnt. and they all are leaving, left, never coming. and i figured that I have invites to about a dozen countries now and really effective ways of saving my lodging costs. but now I just sit here and think, where do I go now since I dont have any reference point in my 24hrs work life. too many of them have left, where do I go now? ive been promising for ages, and then all of them have gotten married, had kids, etc. and i still wonder what happened to the ones i have lost contact. there is something waiting for me in India...if I choose to go anytime soon. or something is reminding me of going there...since ive been dreaming of it alot lately. when do I go then?!!!
[#] kinda unedited...thx for reading!!!