She was an ignored young girl with furry hair, brownish skin complexion, eyes often rolling as if she was always on the lookout for something unusual and hips twisting pretending to do the catwalk while struggling to tread on the muddy path amid the village paddy field with a life-size basket on her furry head slightly messed up by dry mud virtually pulling down her hair giving her the look of a muddy lotus.
Last month she turned 14 and she felt the changes in her appearance and the feeling that had been urging her for something but it was too early for her to figure out what exactly was stirring her budding emotions and appearance.
Jack or Somchai Bungkhingkhom was the lad from the other town who had emerged as the ringleader in her school who impressed others with his lanky body, curly dyed hair ,ear piercing and above all these the most magnetic was his blue coloured Yamaha motorcycle which was handed down by his big brother who now lived in Bangkok.
It was Jack who made her realize that she was changing and it was also him who had started showering her amorous expression. Since Jack was 4 years older than her he knew how to handle many things and he could also take care of younger friends well.
He already had one girlfriend who was 2 years younger to him and he took care of her very well but the cause of the break up was the girl's unwillingness to submit to his craving. He was saddened and for some months he kept a very low profile of himself which everybody could see until he ran into the muddy lotus whose muddy beauty intrigued him with her openness to open her legs very often.
Jack and muddy lotus was a cultured couple with discreet cultural approach in every inconspicuous move. The feeling and the chemistry were not cultured but natural, though, which could only be expressed by beating about the bush and the touchy expression could be touched with the spontaneous uncultured natural conduct while abiding by the man-made cultural set-up.
School was easing going as nobody was supposed to flunk and few had to burn the midnight oil all they had to do was to just to be there to pay fold their hands and pay respect their classical teachers and to talk about the trendy fashions transported from Bangkok, Korea (it could be North Korea) and Japan with mirror and flimsy lipstick -laden friends who had established an inseparable tacky affair with mobile phones.
In between all these lousy activities time blindfolded their eyes and opened when they were already on the brink of high school life. Graduating from the high school was as sure as throwing a stone at the wide wall with eyes shut. Being high school graduates more ambition and adventures cropped up and they convinced themselves that those could be achieved only in the city of angels.
The buffaloes herding parents welcomed their ideas with uneasiness, however, they, like other parents, also wanted their offspring to be as successful as Poo and Pun from the next Soi whose feats had been the talk of the village. Their indebted parents also flirted with the dream of walking on the walled up avenues of Thong Lor someday.
Wishes were granted and they assured their parents of what they would be like in 5 years time before they departed the village that stood in the middle of the green paddy field guarded by cows and buffaloes in day time and by limping dogs at night.
With the grade they scored at high school they could study at a hardly visible university. University was again rather all about nothingness; dropping by whenever they pleased while upholding the commitment to show their faces during examination time. Far away from home and made to become invisible and reduced to nobody in the big waves of Bangkok Jack and muddy lotus huddled and cuddled under one roof. An act that was prohibited by their culture.
Newly established life was regrettably enjoyable. They regretted because they had been doing nothing and lagging behind. They enjoyed it owing to football matches, burning the midnight oil to play online game, browsing for inexpensive clothes at the night bazaar and walking about the excrement painted alleys with squealing bathroom slippers and slender arms patting the spoilt puppy.
Perhaps a beautifully crafted lifestyle and a drastic elevation from the muddy one they both had. She had turned into a soapy and scrubby lotus that was committed to abandon her muddy image. Upon her arrival at home during Songkran she felt unease being in her village with mosquitoes circling her soapy and scrubby body.
In the morning the crowing of the rooster and the chirping of the birds annoyed her ear which had grown use to honking of cars and trucks. Poor daddy and mummy could sense the changes but failed to discover the uneasiness in her as they were village bums.
Jack was also challenged by the similar uneasiness. They both decided to head with headlong for their one room house in Bangkok. Indeed it was real homecoming with full freedom and plenty of exotic sensual activities. The intimacy that they had long shared was doomed to short-live.
Jack's fed up eyes and heart began ogling for more Chinese-skinned girls. He started the comparison after a day long walk with his high school muddy lotus among the fair-skinned girls in Siam Paragon, where they went just to get a glimpse of the farangy and wealthy styles.
The similar changed didn't leave soapy lotus untouched as fun-footballer, motorcycle riding Jack could not afford new Sony Ericson mobile phone. Apart from that threatening rift there was also the looming prospective successful tales told by her puppy cuddling friends immensely obsessed with farangy things.
The hidden flames culminated to a bestial and conclusive fight. Jack throwing his spiky blows at her face and soapy lotus retaliated with clutching his fist and biting with her braced teeth. The obvious wailing and hauling fight drew good audiences who didn't want to be bothered mediating but stood by eye fixated and muttering pitiable words for the bloodied lotus.
Only both parties were exhausted they hurried back to their one room apartment and left the room slamming the door for separate directions. She sought refuge at her friend's and he sobered himself with Chang beer and finally reconciled with himself to cut the ribbon for a new life.
The day marked as the sheer reminder of her detest of Thai boyfriends. It didn't take that long to seek for a farangy soul since she had been toiling on www.sanook.com and www.bangkokpost.com to erase the scars that were printed by Jack. Her persistence paid back and he was swarmed by Jackie the English teacher, Phil the visa-runner, contemptuous Alabama James and many a lot since she was seeking friends with CUTYAngel pseudonym.
Among all the chatters she found Alabama James more reliable and payable as well as promising. Alabama James was quite an active person for his age with a protruding beer belly, pock-marked face and podgy finger and a mouth which was always stuffed with foot.
His past was not to be talked about and to talk about that pernicious failure was not a farangy culture and soapy lotus ought to keep that in her mind. Why would she bother about it after having got her what she long been grumbling for?
The buy-and-intimate affair became more matured and they both agreed to consider a nuptial future. However she was concerned about her parent's reaction if she disclosed James' actual age. He was as old as her dad but her man appeared more vibrant and livelier as he came from Alabama. Provided the ignoring that part things would be fine and they both agreed to swear to secrecy.
Happily married now they flew to James' Alabama and did all they could together to feel the taste of American comfort. Soon she got used to the prevailing culture and she concluded to disdain hers to be more civilized and sophisticated and her attempts succeeded without any hindrance.
There was the monthly Dollar-converted -Baht flowing into her village which had enabled her parents to pull down their pise walled house to build a rather sumptuous brick house beside the house there was also enough dough for a Honda car. Now the talk of Poo and Pun shied away and consumed by muddy lotus' Dollar-converted-Baht.
Years later when James was retired and she was in her early thirties they came to coup-stricken land of chaos to visit her parents. But the image she discovered was unchanged which frustrated her more. Again there were things that could make her happier; her parents' improved lifestyle.
Before she left the land of chaos she recalled her past with Jack in the muddy village, high school as well as in Bangkok but to her Jack's slot had long been filled in by James. He, Jack, had become a forgotten hero of her past who was tempted to her muddy beauty and betrayed her
Notes from the writer:
This is a product of my imagination. Hope this will find a place despite its strange words like.....farangy(whitish) Poo and Pun( names). I look forward to seeing this.
Soi means a "Leirak" - lane.
* N. Bobo Meitei, a resident of Bangkok, contributes to e-pao.net regularly.
The writer can be contacted at bobomeitei(at)hotmail(dot)com .
This article was webcasted on April 25th 2007.