Sunday, October 13, 2013

Love in China

Disclaimer: Some people, especially the Chinese, may find this story racist and distasteful. However, given that this was started at three in the morning, and the probability of a Chinese actually reading this story is very low, I think I need not apologise. Even then, if anyone, Chinese or otherwise, feels offended, please let me know. I will apologise.

***

The Chinese, as well all know, are cool people. They had built The Great Wall, make products at dirt-cheap rates, had banned Google, drink copious amounts of green tea, do not eat chilli chicken, and use the abacus for calculations.

But this is not a tale of any of these attributes. Had there been chilli chicken in China it might have got a mention in this story, but I guess authenticity gets priority over culinary delights. Even if it is chilli chicken. Or chilli pork. Or chilli anything.

That is the 'China' bit of the story. Now for the 'love' bit.

Love is probably more baffling a concept to the world than the Chinese. I mean, that is obviously true for the Chinese (which, as we all know, is lot of people - 1.351 billion as I write this), but it holds good for the rest of the world as well.

It starts with a man. He had a rather annoying habit of bothering others, so we will call him Ping. As much as we want to, we will not call him Fa-Ding Kan.

It also starts with a woman. No, we will not call her Pong. Let her call her something else, like Jen.

***

Ping used to work as an executive in an office, or at least that was what he used to tell everybody. The word 'executive' comes with its advantages: it can be used both as a noun and an adjective as far as designations are concerned; more importantly, it's a term so vague that it can be used to denote any designation.

Jen had a more well-defined job: she was the manager of a pizzeria. It was not a Dominos or a Pizza Hut or a Papa John's for the simple reason that I am not sure whether these chains have outlets in China. Let us call this place Pi-Tza.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. I agree that pizza does not rank anywhere close to the top as far as Chinese cuisine is concerned. You can call this a wildcard entry, since pizza easily makes it to the top ten inventions in the history of mankind. Especially if it's thin crust Hawaiian pizza that we're discussing.

The place was certainly not called Chinatown. That is one of the biggest difference between the big Chinese cities and the big cities elsewhere in the world: no big Chinese city contains a place called Chinatown, which is rather uncanny.

***

This was what used to happen every day: Ping used to come up to Pi-Tza every day after work; he made it a habit to raise a tantrum out of small issues and call for the manager. The waiters used to smirk. The waitresses used to gossip.

But Jen could not get what it was all about. Her philosophy was simple: work hard, be punctual, eat a lot, go to the salon for periodic Chinese cuts, and sleep well. She did not have relatives. She lived with a fish and a couple of small green plants in pots.

Ping had a few relatives. All of them were dead. This was completely different from Jen's case, who did not have relatives. She was brought up in an orphanage.

Ping was very good at badminton and, as you may have guessed, ping-pong. Ping-pong is different from table-tennis. If you do not know the difference between ping-pong and table-tennis, you can Google it up, provided you are not in China right now. Or maybe you still can - I have forgotten the last update on that.
Nicked from
http://bnps.co.uk

Jen was not good at any sport, but she had that ability to appreciate the beauty of white vases with cute blue dragons painted on it. If you do not know what I am talking about, you can have a look at the adjacent picture. Pi-Tza was studded with such vases. They even served pizzas on plates with dragon art on them.

So what Ping basically wanted was this fan of dragon art to fall in love with him. Hence he pang pinged her lady love everyday with trivial complains like "there is no salt in my soup". *
=====
* "There is a (insert insect of choice) in my soup" is not a valid complaint in most eateries in China.
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Much to his dismay, Ping found out that an appreciation of dragon artwork did not necessarily imply intelligence. Jen listened to all his complaints with a kind of cute smile that only pretty Chinese women are capable of pulling off. It's the kind that melts a man at the spot: you know what I am talking about, right?

Jen also indulged herself in mindless small-talk with Ping, preferring to drag on about dragons at the slightest opportunity. Ping was remotely interested, but enjoyed watching that pretty face babbling on about an obscure form of art that he was completely clueless about.

With time Ping grew desperate and realised that it was time he proposed to Jen. He confided to the waiters and waitresses, who sympathised with him, played Chinese Whisper (that modified "Jen, will you marry me?" to "eel intestine for supper today?") and Chinese Chequers for hours, and came upon a plan.

It was an outstanding plan. Had this been the age of cellphones they would have told Ping immediately. They had to wait instead. The fact that waiting was their official profession did not make things easier.

***
Note the headgear

Ping arrived next afternoon and had a long discussion with the waiters and waitresses. They were smart, supportive, and exchanged a once-in-a-lifetime idea with Ping. Ping bought them a round of beer, and left with a smile on his face.

He had decided to put on his best Chinese suit, and also put in the Hiuen-Tsang headgear that made him look extremely cool. If you're not sure of what I am talking about, do have a look at the adjacent picture.
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Note: I am not particularly aware of how the Chinese propose, so I am trying to keep this more traditional. 
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Jen looked extremely pretty in one of those Chinese costumes that are designed to make Chinese women look pretty. Ping walked up to her, knelt down, took out a ring with a miniature dragon vase on it, and mustered enough courage to execute whatever he had rehearsed about a million times the night before.

Jen narrowed her eyes (or at least it seemed so).

Ping: Jen...
Jen: Can you please stand up? Your headgear is annoying me.
Ping: I am sorry (removes headgear).
Jen: What on Earth is that?
Ping: It's a ring. Look, there is a neat dragon vase on it.
Jen: No, the headgear.
Ping: Oh, it's a history thing. Did you study history?
Jen: Yes. Japanese.
Ping: Okay. But you love Chinese art, don't you?
Jen: Yes, that I do.
Ping: So this is for you. This ring.
Jen: That is amazing. Thank you. But I cannot accept this.
Ping (crestfallen): Won't you marry me, then?
Jen: Marriage? Feng-shui says that I cannot accept a vase that is less than fifteen centimetres in height.
Ping (relieved): Fine, I will get another ring for you. Now, will you marry me?
Jen: How can you propose marriage to me in The Year of the Tiger?
Ping: The Year of the What?
Jen: Oh, the Year of the Tiger. You cannot do anything good in the Year of the Tiger. It never works.
Ping: Why not?
Jen: Because they say so.
Ping: But tigers are so Chinese! A Tiger Balm and a Chinese Balm have the same effect!
Jen: Still. I cannot. It's the Year of the Tiger.
Ping: But when does the Year of the Tiger end?
Jen: It doesn't matter. I won't.
Ping: What if I insist?
Jen: Then I will bash you.
Ping: What if I still insist?
Jen: Then I will kill you, and will leave you to rot until your skeleton gets converted to bone china.
Ping: Okay. I will not marry you.
Jen: So, is this meeting over?
Ping: Yes. And you do not get to keep the ring either.
Jen: So, you won't love me anymore?
Ping: Of course I will, Jen: but now you will end up marrying someone else, and I cannot bear that.
Jen: But I love you.
Ping: But you would not marry me.
Jen: No.
Ping: Then let us call it quits. And I keep the ring.

So a crestfallen Ping walked out into the pizzeria, ordered a thin-crust Hawaiian pizza. He finished it and walked outside the pizzeria and waited.

***

Out walked Jen, in full pomp of her youth; her pale skin glowed unabashedly in the lustre of the Chinese dusk. A Chinese Sun is exactly similar to an Indian Sun other than the fact that it gives light to more people.

The waiters and waitresses left as Ping hid behind a house. Jen locked her pizzeria and approached the rickshaw parked nearest her pizzeria

Jen: You?
Ping: Yes, Jen: it's me.
Jen: What is it, Ping?
Ping: Say, Jen, can I at least hold you? Just this once?

Jen walked up and perched herself atop the rickshaw.

Ping: Please?
Jen: Okay, just this one time.

So Ping gave her a hug.  The rickshaw-puller looked confused.It was the right height; he stood on the ground; she sat on the rickshaw. The hug was tight. And then Jen pulled herself away.

Or it seemed so, at least.

The rickshaw had come down with a crash.

As did the relationship.

They were both Chinese, you see. ¦-)

20 comments:

  1. loved it, specially the ending....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Do comment more frequently, though.

      Delete
  2. The ending was superb (including the emoticon)!! By the way, there exists an approximation of Chilli-Chicken, at least from the preparation point of view. It is called La Zi Ji. (http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Zi_Ji)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and welcome to my blog. Do keep coming back. I was wondering whether anyone would notice the emoticon!

      Also, thank you for letting me know of La Zi Ji.

      Delete
  3. thik poshalo na.....mone holo just kichu lekhar pachchile na bole eta likhle, kichu 1ta likhte hobei emon compulsion theke

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is a rather impractical scene. Who hugs atop a rickshaw? And, why should they crash?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is impractical. And they crashed - because everything here was Chinese.

      Delete


  5. did a trip to chinatown inspire this post?
    Was Ping and Jen's love doomed because it was 'made in china'?
    What is your chinese zodiac? Were you born in the year of the tiger?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. No Chinatown. And I am clueless about Chinese Zodiac.

      Delete
  6. Penguins mate for life - which isn't surprising as they all look alike. It's not like they're going to meet a better looking penguin one day...

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  7. at the perfect moment upon my lips,
    onto the tip of my pen, into my inkwell.
    From the depths of your
    dense and reverberating jungle
    grant me,
    at the moment it is needed,
    a single birdsong, the luxury
    of one bee,
    one splinter
    of your ancient wood perfumed
    by an eternity of jasmine,
    one
    syllable,
    one tremor, one sound,
    one seed:
    I am of the earth and with words I sing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoever you are, that sounded lovely. Thank you.

      Delete
  8. :D :D :D - ROTFL! This is a declared revenge on Chineses 'can't be repaired' gadgets!

    ReplyDelete

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