The Lao Guy’s Portion

The guesthouse was depressing. As soon as I checked myself in, I decided to take a walk to the town. Since Pak Beng is a small town… the walk to town was a very short walk.

When I exit my guesthouse’s driveway I saw Lao Guy up ahead. He saw me too. Suddenly he was walking very slowly, probably waiting for me to catch up to him.

I met Lao Guy on the Slow Boat. He’s from Luang Namtha and it was his first time on the boat too. I didn’t talk to him on board. Everything I knew about him I got from the German girls and Anne. One time, I woke up from a nap and saw Lao Guy looking at me. He smiled. But I was too shy to smile back. So I checked if I was drooling instead…

The first thing Lao Guy asked me was “HAJHHSUAEIHS?” … No it wasn’t that but that was what it seemed like to me because he was speaking Lao. My answer was “Oh, sorry, I don’t speak Lao”. Caught him off guard for a moment and then he said “Oh I thought you’re Lao” … yeah, I get that a lot when I travel in SEA. Lucky me.

So Lao Guy and I walked to town. It was around 6pm and the sleepy town was beginning to come alive. We talked and I figured out that he’s a tourist guide working in Luang Namtha. He was checking out the slow boat to see if he could arrange new tours for his company. In Pak Beng, he was looking for the Red Market… I have no idea what that is. I haven’t researched it either. He probably said Night Market and I heard Red Market. Who knows.

We parted ways when Lao Guy said he wanted to look for the market up the hill. By then I was already too hungry to even walk. So I told him I was going to check out what’s at the end of the road and we parted ways.

I end up hanging around a local drinking house, taking photos and videos of a drunk lady singing. But that’s another story to tell…

On my way back, I found the only Muslim Restaurant in Pak Beng. Hassan Indian Restaurant. Because I was tired, I ordered my food to go. Hearing this the owner of the restaurant, Hassan, asked me “Oh you are going to eat with your guy?”… I got confused, because I heard Guide instead of Guy… I said No, no, I don’t have a guide… and then he explained to me that he saw me with Lao Guy earlier. Then, things started to make sense to me. Ohhhhhh, that guy. He’s not MY GUY. I met him on the boat today. We were just walking to town together.

Hearing my reply, restaurant owner nodded his head. Seemingly satisfied with my answer.

But apparently, he didn’t believe a word I said! I opened my packed food that night and found two spoons, two garlic naan and enough rice to feed two very hungry person!
Hassan, you are kind man. But honestly, Lao Guy’s not my GUY. Even though he had the nicest smile and the sexiest dimples. But not my guy!

And Lao Guy, I did not eat your portion of the rice. But the garlic naans were delicious. Thank you.

Pieces

We all go to pieces now and then. All of us are sort of chipped and broken. Some of us learned to glue ourselves back together. Some learned to live with being chipped and broken. Some learned to tolerate the cracks.

I guess that’s part of being human. Learning to live no matter what are the circumstances. There is nothing wrong with being fragmented and cracked. It’s only wrong if you don’t know how to live with it.

NanowriMo Begins.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel. Here’s a little more about how it all works.

I am joining this. Hopefully I’ll get to finish my novel in a month. I am just throwing myself out there without research or whatever… I am just going to write write write.

My Novel is Untitled for the time being. We’ll see where the story takes us.

Prologue
There are always cracks. Even on beautiful shiny surfaces. You didn’t see them until one day you look closely into a mirror and you noticed them. They were small and almost unnoticeable. But they were there and they reminded you of how fragile things were. Sometimes you didn’t even realize their existence until the mirror broke into a million pieces leaving blood and pain behind. That’s what happened to my family. One day we just shattered and I didn’t even see the cracks on the surface.

It started with a tiny change in my mother’s demeanour. She was always chirpy and full of life but a few weeks before it happened she became quiet. I couldn’t exactly pin down when it happened. It must have happened earlier but I was too naïve and too young to noticed. The first time I realized she was different was the night when I saw her sitting in alone in the kitchen. I was in there to get something to drink and when I turned on the light, there she was. She had been sitting alone in the dark. She didn’t even seem to notice me turning on the light.

“Mom? “, I said. I was trying to see if she was sleepwalking. My brother used to do that. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and find him sleeping at the foot of my bed. Maybe my mother had the same affliction. Maybe it’s genetic.

I had to call her twice before she noticed me there. She looked at me like she had just seen me walked into the room and asked me what was I doing up.

I told her and asked her why she was sitting all alone in the dark. She just shrugged, “I was just thinking” she said. A strange look came over her face as she said this. It was strange. The look on her face didn’t bother me much then. But now whenever I think about it, a chill ran through my spine. Because now, I knew exactly was she was thinking. That was the day she decided to end everything.

Cracks

We all go to pieces now and then. We are fragmented beings who cement ourselves together but there are always cracks. Living with the cracks is being, well, reasonably healthy – Siri Husvedt.

There are always cracks. You see it when you look into the mirror or when you are browsing through old photographs. It could be on your windowsill, underneath your sink or on the body of a coffee mug that you’ve been using since God knows when. There are always cracks. Sometimes they are visible, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they’re as real as you and I and sometimes they’re imagined.

You don’t see these cracks unless you are paying absolute attention to details. They are easy to miss and dismiss. Sometimes you see them but your mind don’t want to register their existence. They are so small and almost invisible to the naked eye. It’s so easy to forget they ever exist. So your bathroom’s mirror is cracked, but what’s the problem? Nothing is ever a problem until it breaks into a million pieces leaving shards of broken glass and blood behind. Nothing is ever a problem until it breaks.

There are cracks inside my mind. They’re invisible. I think I may have imagined them. But they’re always there in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I see brilliant lights shining from behind these cracks… sometimes, there is only darkness.

Should I be afraid?

Is This Your Hallowed Ground?

Sometimes I wonder why do we go to these places? These dark gloomy places of the past? Is it because we need to constantly remind ourselves of humanity’s capacity for good and evil? or is it because of our need to be connected to history or a culture or other things; to be able to feel that we are infinitely part of something bigger… a grand design?

When I was younger, I used to have so many answers for these questions. But now, I just don’t know. Because I know for a fact that some things just don’t connect. Some things just happen for no reason at all.

The Killing Field

The Killing Field

A Buddhist Monk, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

A Buddhist Monk, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap