Aside from the fact we’ve just spent two months in India and aside from the fact I am already familiar with Neasden, John is insisting we visit Little India. Whilst we are in Singapore.
I don’t want to visit Little India. I want to visit air-conditioning and malls and clean sparkling buildings. I want to get reacquainted with all these lovely things. Not with samosas.
‘Dude,’ I say, ‘you dragged me out of air-conditioning to see this? To see what exactly?’
Some skanky streets with skanky backpacker hostels on them? Because that seems to be about it. Even DisneyWorld could have knocked up a better Little India than this.
John asks if I’d rather be somewhere like a mall. He is being sarcastic and I narrow my eyes as if to say ‘no, I’m not that vacuous thank you very much’ but in fact I’m thinking YES. YES a mall. I want to be IN A MALL.
It is hot. I am bothered. I am bothered that John has made me get off an air-conditioned bus and deserted me on a street corner whilst he goes off to rummage for vinyl in an outdoor market. Leaving me with a child who won’t walk, who is now folding herself double screaming ‘I’m tired’ in the middle of the pavement AND who has as she so eloquently puts it ‘dodgy poos’. All in five thousand degrees and 400% humidity.
‘I need a poo,’ Alula announces. She puts on her thinking face. ‘I think I’ve done a dodgy poo.’
We can’t be in an air-conditioned mall with marble floored bathrooms and silk toilet paper. Oh no. We have to be in a replica of a Mumbai street with equivalent bathroom facilities. If we were actually in the real India – the big, grown up India – I would have no qualms about squatting her over the gutter by the side of the road but this is Singapore and you’d probably get hung, drawn and quartered for that here so instead I grab her hand and march her across the road (jaywalking – lesser FINE – only $500SGD) and into a backpacker hostel. The staff wave us towards the back. I nudge open the door to the bathroom and Alula and I flinch in horror from the scene. And then I flinch in horror at the mess she’s already made – never mind the state of the toilet…I manage to hoist her somehow over the bowl. She poos Armageddon style and then I look for toilet paper. There is none. Of course there is none. This is Little India.
Anyway, Alula leaves the place commando style. I have attempted to use the hose provided to get the worst of the dodgy poos off but it’s not been that successful because the water was cold and she almost hit the ceiling when I fired it at her.
‘I’m tired,’ she says as we start walking up the street.
John does his fatherly duty and picks her up and deposits her on his shoulders. I open my mouth to warn him about the danger that might represent then I shut my mouth again.
That’s called Karma baby.