Saturday, October 10, 2009


(NOTE: I need to address some one to get into the mood of story writing. These are merely stories, the addressee is imaginary and contents are mixtures of some truth and some imaginations. )

Dear  Koyangi

How are you? Yesterday I was remembering you, because I was thinking about my Vietnam days. I used to tell you Vietnam stories. Remember when I was telling you about the incident of leaves and water, you started sobbing and slapping me and tearing at my hair shouting “How can you be so cruel to narrate the incident with a giggle?. You are a heartless monster etc.” You stopped talking to me for several days. That was no less painful for me either.
You always wanted to know more about Vietnam trip. I used to run short of my imaginations, so mixed some Orissa days as if they happened in Vietnam. Ha ha now don’t get angry for those lies, because I am not around to take the slaps. (I wish I could..). But they were interesting isn’t it? For a long time I was thinking of writing to you about real Vietnam days. But sitting down and writing few lines have become a painful exercise because of my laziness coupled with “not feeling well” or “feeling depressed” excuses. So “SOMEDAY” I need to get out of these frills “With a new vein of talent take a new course and astound the world”. (Quote from ‘the arrangement’ by Elia Kazan. Fortunately or unfortunately the only difference is Miss Gwendlene Hunt, is not with me and I don’t need though. Don’t bother about who are Kazan, and Gwen but the word SOMEDAY you have heard from me many times and what I meant all the time. There will be some Indian words and political matters bellow, which you may kindly ignore)
After spending 4 months in Korea in the winter of in 2002-03 (my 1st trip), I was requested to move to Vietnam by my employer from Malaysia.
Vietnam was in my blood.
 In 60s all young people were communists, if not, were   rebels or antiestablishment and that was just to maintain status.
One of my very close friends ( who did not believe in communism because he was a communist) whom I met later, always used to say there were only 3 places to go for a pilgrimage, USSR, Vietnam and China, the land of Lord Lenin, Lord Mao and Lord Ho Chi Min. The Vietnam war was still on.  Later on Vietnam became Maha Tirtha among the three dhams. I had completed the USSR Tirtha during the beginning of Glasnost days. The effect of glasnost was slightly visible in Moscow. Because a KGB agent, in disguise of a felicitator and who knew English but pretended he did not, was not breathing on my neck when I was roaming alone in Moscow. But I had one all the time with me (as a free guide from Govt and quite beautiful even with fat legs and chubby chicks) when I was on the other side of the Urals.
So the next pilgrimage, to Vietnam was like a boon from the God. This place had become a Maha Tirtha because this is the only place on earth from where the big brother, the mighty USA was kicked out, a great defeat in the History of USA which may not repeat again. But I am sure; the American Govt. will shamefully remember forever this event.
I did cherish the dream to see these great people who, starving, scantily clothed, bare footed, achieved the greatest victory.
Leaving Incheon was not as painful as it was in the spring of 2006, when I left you with that memorable incident. It is more painful now, that I won’t see you again. (Who knows, may be I will SOMEDAY)
I landed at Hanoi airport around 9-30 PM on 20th Feb 2002 and was thinking of spending the night at the airport and catch the early morning flight to Nah Trang. (Pronounced Nachang).
At 10-30 when the last flight left, the police kicked me and others out, switched off the lights, locked the airport and drove off. It was dark out side barring few distant street lights. There were ten Koreans from our subcontractor and were going to the same place to calibrate instruments.
Fishy looking taxi drivers were coaxing us to go to Hanoi city and to a good hotel. The place was deserted. Finally they decided to go to a hotel and I didn’t have any option to stay back. So I piled on to the pick up van. A 5 $ charge was agreed by the Koreans which was quite cheap. He drove towards the city.
Hanoi by night was quite scary, Inadequate street lights, low houses, trees and deserted streets at 11 PM. They maintain it as a low key, poor looking Capital city in line with the proletariat trademark. Ho chi min city is very different.
He drove through by lanes and I was sure he would stop some where, take out a gun and ask us to get lost without the baggage. But finally he reached a house and declared this was the hotel. It was a dilapidated house, with plasters falling off, most of the windows “Pallas” were hanging out from the last hinge. The hotel man said only one hall was available and 10 of you could stay for 50$. By then scantily dressed girls were playing tug of war with each Korean. I was spared from the game. We went inside to inspect the room and the girls followed with the slogan.. 2 $ , 2 $ , some 1 $ , 1 $ and so on. At least 20 of them got inside the room. The hall or an apology of a hall was looking like a Calcutta suburban train compartment at peak hours. So all of us rushed out and asked the taxiwallah to take us back to airport.
At the airport the team leader took out 5 $ and 2 $ tips. The taxi chap smiled and asked him to pay 100$. Our man was surprised. After lot of argument he accepted 90$ and let us go. The taxi chap made it clear with a dirty look and an equally dirty smile that the deal was 5$ each and for going and coming it was 100$ for 10 people, simple calculation!!!!
It was almost past mid night.
We settled down on the verandah without a roof and dark clouds were building up at a distant. Suddenly we saw few young guys appeared from nowhere and took seat 20ft away, smoking giggling and talking. The Koreans got tensed and me too.  One of them whispered to me “He had traveled this sector many times and these guys lift baggage if one falls asleep. There will be fight if they try to lift our bags. Of course if they are carrying guns we have to give our bags.” They kept coming closure slowly and sat next to us.
Few of the Koreans got up and started displaying their Kung Fu skills. But those guys were not entertained or deterred.
The night appeared too long. At 4 AM the doors were opened as few airport staffs started arriving. We pleaded to allow us to go inside, but to no avail. I was sure, these security staffs were in league with the thieves. As the door opened at 5 AM, these boys rushed inside pushing us off from the entrance. They vanished in the lobby.
I saw them again while I was having coffee; coming from some where with big bags on their back. There was no other passenger yet except us. They settled down at the next table while I clutched my laptop.
While settling my bills, I asked the counter girl “Who are these people?”
“Oh these boys, they are poor rag pickers. They come every day before the garbage is taken away by airport staff. Every day we give them coffee and leftover bread free. They bring good luck for us and good business too”.
So how was it, paboya?  This is no story. I don’t remember if I told this to you before. But it makes me laugh when I think, how sacred I was that night.
Our flight left at 6-30 AM to Nah Trang (Pronounced as Nachang) and what happened next was that the plane crashed and I died.
I am bored writing this. And now I am going to sleep THERE.
Ne Khum Khuo.
Surprised to hear this??? You thought, I had forgotten this sentence, which you never stopped saying every night and when you used to be in no talking term, you always used to send by SMS at dead hour of the night. Miss you really.
Yes of course I remember the meaning “come in my dreams” and in my language (if you want to use again SOMEDAY), “Amar swap-ne esho


Yours Yaonga


  1. this is excellent story telling...if it is just that..ha ha .
    i wonder how i had missed this fine piece of a story should be...a nice n interesting pick up , a curiosity enhancing n crisp narration and a dramatic climax.......

    please carry on with this...