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A Four Dollar Room

My Room In Tomato’s House

sunny 38 °C
View Journey 2013 on Quah Khian Hu's travel map.


With a four dollar, I am given a private room in Tomato’s house. I am not expecting an attached toilet but there is one in the room. I am not expecting a fan but there is a three bladed ceiling fan spinning madly for me over day and night like a topsy-turvy bumble-bee. There is a TV but it’s not in my room, it entertains only people living in the downstairs. There is a radio but it belongs to Mrs. Sekar who plays only Tamil songs. There is no air conditioning but I yearned for one. I have tried my best to almost forget about this great modern invention. There is a coir bed made of coconut husk fibre, I sleep not on it but on the floor. There are world full of parasitic arthropods living in it, but I could do nothing about it.

I wish for a writing table and there is one but not reachable to a plug point. There are many tales to tell you, only I can write to you if my laptop is reachable to that plug point higher up. Finally, I choose to write to you with my legs crossed sitting on the broken marble floor with the laptop on the bed.

There is a four dollar payment, surely it worth a value.

Tomato and his family live at the ground floor. I live at the first floor. I chose one room and the other two rooms are still vacant. Other than the dull morning and night greetings, I have too little vocabulary in Tamil to exchange with Mrs. Sekar. When we begin to talk, of nowhere we changed form like domestic fowls. I had always been a duck and she had never been away from becoming a chicken. We had a duck quack and chicken cluck. A chicken and duck talk. Nobody understands one another better than ourselves. There is no way I was able to tell her my grudges.

Today is a warfare day. I uphold my breath and a gritted my teeth and wished to bust the parasites out completely in one breath. When I drew the layer of coconut husk fibre off from the bed, I have a gruesome eye-pop alarm seeing endless tiny creatures, a world of them boring and revolving around the hollow nests in the husk fibre of the bed. With a loathing disgust, adding on with a nauseating goosebumps developed over my neck and arms, I see colonies of tiny flying insects and also wingless ticks creeping around the bed I once slept on it. No wonder I have fresh clusters of sequential itchy red bumps growing around my body every morning.

I had another disgust to tell. The ants have out ruled me. I am gasping for breath to counter combat the attack of the miserable household ants over my stuff kept in the room. I am not a sweet tooth and I bet these ants now aren’t too. They must have genetically undergone mutation and changed the way they diet. They are no longer the orthodox household ants who are keen to make neat lines and obediently follow the rows with a hug and kiss with each other to reach the sweets. Does it make sense if I were to tell you they walloped every stuff including my laptop?

To counter attack the wearily miserable household ants, I brought in to the room a huge laundry bucket and filled it with several inches of tape water. I found a tiny water dipper, filled it with some water to gain some weight, to make sure it doesn’t wobble in the laundry bucket’s water and sinks down stably when I placed it down into the centre of the laundry bucket. Then I get a snake-ladder game board, I opened it up and laid it on the water dipper. Now I have built a model moat with a defensive ditch filled with water round the game board.

Unless the army ants learn to swim, I now ruled them over finally. My food stuff, fresh fruits and sweet drinks are all stacked on the game board like a pyramid. That stacking includes my laptop too.

Mrs. Sekar must be hunting for her laundry bucket now and scratching her head wondering how on earth the huge blue laundry bucket went missing. As for the snake-ladder game board, I heard no one searching yet.

Later afterwards, I remember I had once watched on TV documentary of troops of ants marched their way to the water bed and later plunged their way into the water before swimming across it. Ants don't swim, do they? Oh no, not again.

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 06:24 Archived in India

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Sorry to tell you this, but ants do swim : )
The story reminds me of the last day in Calcatta, where you were the only one that the bed bugs bothered. Must have been your secret charm with them 555...

by Kitty Nimit

these ants really "walloped" my laptop, dunno why...hmmmm

by Quah Khian Hu


by gaik choo

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