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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Vanga Vanga she called to Tom Cruise Muthu but he zoomed off on his motorcycle to Timbuktu

Some clumsy Tamil schoolgirls once collided with me in a busy quarter of Kuala Lumpur.

The greasy pony-tailed and plaited teens wore nose rings. They giggled, laughed and teased each other. They made a lot of noise with their theatrics. They fell forwards, frontwards and backwards. They almost slided down a drain. They almost flew up to space. Their pinnafores did little Hawaian dances.

Inside their furore of giggles, they got married, made love every moment, murdered their mothers-in-law, went to Bollywood for honeymoons and were offered roles in Hindustani films. They also met Shah Rukh Khan, their idol and he danced with each of them in the Taj Mahal and near some coconut trees on a beach. They turned up on the front covers of the Tamil Movieland edition;
glamorous and desired by all. These ambitious daydreams took place within the space of three minutes.

In real life, their faces played hide-n-seek games with their text books. Inside, were hidden love letters.

One crumply one said, "Deary Bootiful Alluguminal, I am admiring you afar 100 days ago. I so love to make a friend with you. Meet me when your school finishin. I so loving you. Can you be loving me? Then we r loving one another. I am at your friend Shantis dance party. I am wearing black. I the one dancin salsa, eatin chicken curry. I also swallow 5 chappati. You are asking Shanti, who is that handsom boy. I am at the one. I am tellin u. I am the handsom boy. 1,000 kisses, from your new boyfriend, Tom Cruise Muthu, I will be waitin for you Miss Bootiful, dressin in BLACK. PS. I also buy present for you. 1 hair-drier. My friend say your hair very oily..."

The motivation appeared to be a faraway vision of Tamil youths parked on their motorcycles. Young Cassanovas pretending to comb their hair and smile shyly. Blush, blush! Flush, flush!

Suddenly a plump schoolgirl joins her friends. It so happens that she has thick horn-rimmed spectacles, horsey, yellow teeth and her pinnafore is way too short and tight. She has amassed a lot of weight. Her bust juts out, her bum juts out, her spectacles juts out, her teeth juts out and her face looks like the moon in Weightwatchers. She wears a strange bow on her hair.

I am so inclined to notice everything at once because she keeps adjusting her spectacles, grinning widely and pulling her pinnafore down as far as it will go, all at the same time.

Miss Chubby is the most enthusiastic passionate, and boy-crazy one of all. She is also the most gregarious. Her voice can be heard at the faraway train station. It is operatic, loud, shrill and powerful. Some people buying their tickets, wonder if there are rats.

Now she enters her element. A long fat hairy hand stretches out. Her textbook is too small for her face. Her lips are so fat and covered with spit, it looks like a burst water-bed. She shouts in the direction of the youths. "Vanga, " she calls. I have no idea what "vanga" means but her hand looks like she is saying, come, come... "VANGA, VANGA", she calls all the louder. The girls giggle and giggle. Miss Chubby looks pleased with herself. She adds on some tamil words and once more with hands beckoning, shouts, "V-A-N-G-A, V-A-N-GA..."

It sounds like Tarzan calling Jane.
It sounds like a stepmother scaring a child.
It sounds like a lawmover and tractor in one.

I stare at the bold calling hand.
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It really is hairy and very fat. It moves in a beckoning motion. Her nails are yellow like her teeth. Her hand looks like a tidal wave, dragging Tom Cruise Muthu into the depths of the sea, never to be seen again. It wraps him fatefully in a tight embrace and squeezes him to death. "Vanga, vanga", she shouts, now a plump mermaid on a hardy rock. Her hand is the eel and snake of invitation. It is the dreaded hurricane Mangeswary. It is the octopus's tentacle. Soon, it will leash out a long black tongue.

"V-A-N-G-A, V-A-N-G-A," she shouts. Her hand is a tidal wave, pulling him in and never releasing him ever until he has been fed with an ocean of thick spitty kisses. The boys get the message. They start on their motorcycles and quickly zoom off. From a 1000 kisses, they flee a 1000 miles. It all happens very fast.

Bursting into fits of giggles, she is completely unware. "Vanga, vanga", she calls. The rest of the group look annoyed. As I walk away to the merriment of "vanga, vanga" that chased all the boys away, I smile, remembering how it was like to be 14.

I just hope that for Hurricane Mangeswary's giddy, fleshy, sake, and before the wait is too late that she will get herself a date and that a handsome Jude Law Lingam and please oh..God..not an ancient widower; will vanga-vanga her!

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