Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Singapore diaries

For a while, a certain Bodyshop lip gloss was among my prized possessions. Too precious for random public appearances, I’d use it very sparingly, saving it for really special occasions that well, almost never occurred. And so it sat, proud but bored, till years of inattention drove it to stand up and get lost one day. I hardly got to use it.
This was over a decade ago, when Conscious Keeper was visiting Singapore, and had asked me what I’d like from there. After a lot of research, I came up with Bodyshop (a rather strange coming from me, considering I was, and still am, a very Vaseline person).  So he came back with a Sony camera for himself and a Bodyshop for me (almost as expensive, he claimed). I loved the description of the store he picked it up from - rows and rows of shiny products illuminated under dazzling lights amidst the aura of perfumed air. He'd also got me some IKEA manuals. I pored over the furniture and lamps for weeks, imagining a house full of pretty IKEA things.
That’s when I promised myself a trip to Singapore – way back in 2004. It finally came true in 2015.

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I strongly recommend instant gratification. Waiting 10 years was a very bad idea.
Too many things have changed.
-          Bodyshop stores are everywhere, one even next to my regular grocery store. Meanwhile, I have moved on to good old ayurvedic products.
-          I dislike large, dazzling, perfumed malls. I especially dislike the first one that entered our city - built by certain well-connected people who cheated their way through, converting a proposed multi-level car parking into a grand mall.
-          A Singapore Dollar converted to INR 30 then, its INR 54 now.
-          Today you can buy everything in India. For much cheaper. Not Ikea, perhaps. But we have HomeStop.
-          The sad truth is, no one is interested in my Singapore stories, as many of my friends have already been there. In fact I’ll have to travel to Sydney or Stockholm or someplace equally distant for a catch up with neighbourhood friends over coffee.

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But I am not sulking.
I am glad I got to travel with Conscience Keeper, like I’d wanted to all those years ago, in our uncertain early years of dating.
I am glad to have covered a lot of ground, even though we were there for only four days, from the aquarium to the gardens to the lovely 10-km running track along the beach.
I am glad we walked everywhere. The city is perfect for walking.
I am glad we were out on Friday night. It made me realize that there is more to nightlife than a 1 am deadline.
I am glad there was nothing worth buying at the famed-among-Indians Mustafa Mall. It was midnight and I was tired.

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Boy with North Indian tashan gasps, "Little India on a Sunday? Are you crazy? It will be full of Indians."
Girl with South Indian kobbu lands up at Little India every night for yele oota.


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A moment later, Conscience Keeper drops his phone under the snake pit. Happily notes the design flaw.

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