I met mano-e-mano (which literally means mano-o-mano) with The Grim Reaper.
Only it was not The Grim Reaper we have all come to know and love.
No thanks to Hollywood and their "creative licence" and shit, we were led to believe that The Grim Reaper was a guy with a Cloak and Sabit who spoke in a booming, echoey voice.
Because of this, all my life, I've been avoiding people who fit this description.
But now I feel sorry for the poor Cloak and Sabit guys, who have had to endure people avoiding them for no good reason whatsoever.
They're probably just some guys from DBKL whose job it is to sabit all the lalang.
And who have to wear a cloak due to DBKL budget cuts that have forced them to abandon the stylish-yet-functional green flourescent vests.
And who've consumed too many Fisherman's Friends.
So the next time you see a guy with a Cloak and Sabit who speaks in a booming, echoey voice, please give him a hug and some money.
Those DBKL lalang-sabitters are grossly underpaid.
Anyway, it was after work when it occured. I was standing by the road. I hailed a cab. The cab stopped, I got in and...
And there he was.
The Grim Reaper.
He looked me straight in the eye, and in a voice that was neither booming nor echoey, said:
"இணைப்புகள் - தமிழ் தேடல் எந்திரம், பகுதிபிரிக்கப்பட்ட நூற்றுக்கணக்கான"
Oh no, I thought. I had been in this perilous situation before.
"I don't speak Tamil," I said.
"Are you Indian?" he asked.
"And you don't speak Tamil?"
"Why don't you speak Tamil?" he asked, clearly agitated.
"Because most people in this country, including Indians, can speak English or Malay. I'm fluent in both languages. So I can communicate effectively with most people in this country. I don't need to learn an entire language just so I can order a Thosai without getting scolded for being a traitor to my kind."
"What if you visit India?"
"What if I visit The Democratic Republic of Congo? Do I need to learn how to speak Democratic-Republic-of-Congoian? Should I quit my job and devote my entire existence to studying languages, including morse-code and that clickety-click language that they spoke in The Gods Must Be Crazy?"
"But Tamil is our culture. We must preserve our culture!"
"Can you dance the bharatanatyam?"
"But it's our culture! We must preserve our culture. Now dance, dammit! Dance!"
That shut him up. And that was the problem.
I don't know if it was his intention to terrorize me or whether he just wanted to get me out of his cab pronto, but he started driving like a lunatic. At breakneck speed. Past red lights.
I knew then that I was going to die in one of two ways:
1) Death by Lunatic Indian
As you already know, Indians have no qualms about killing other Indians because of their perceived lack of Indian-ness.
Historians have recently unearthed concrete proof that Gandhi was in fact killed because he was played by Ben Kingsley, who is not Indian.
Had he been played by Rajinikanth, he most certainly would have survived.
Not only that, he would have ditched all that passive-resistance nonsense and killed the entire Brtisih Army in one elaborately-choreographed move and proceeded to perform a geographically-impossible dance within a span of 3 minutes in 5 different continents.
So if they can kill Gandhi, India's Father of Independence, surely this guy wouldn't think twice about killing me, Malaysia's Blogger of the Year.
I had heard the voice of Death. And I couldn't understand a word.
He spoke Tamil.
2) Death by Crumpled Cab
I could almost see it:
The crumpled red-and-white tin lay in a ditch by the road. My lifeless body lay strewn nearby, providing the inspiration for the chalk-outline-guy's latest masterpiece.
My brains lay splattered about, like Nestum from a digestively-challenged baby.
My last act in life was to create a massive traffic jam on the other side of the road.
Years later, a Chinaman would recall:
"I saw his brains splattered everywhere. So I bought 10 Big, 10 Small. First Prize, man!"
That would be all my life would amount to. Inspiration for some random Chinaman to gamble on numbers.
But I didn't die.
The Grim Reaper allowed me to pay him off with RM5 above the meter charge. It was a good deal, considering the alternative.
So fuck you, random Chinaman! Go get your 4 digits off someone else's dismembered body! Hah!
Anyway, the whole incident has left me pensive.
I keep thinking about my death.
What will happen to me after I die? I wonder.
If you think that I'm being unnecessarily morbid, then you don't know what it's like being an Indian in Malaysia.
When we're alive, nobody gives a toss about us.
Suddenly, when we die, everybody wants to claim the rights to our bodies. The courts get involved. Parliament gets involved. People talk about it in parties and warungs.
Indians are like Artists. We're only worth something after we're dead.
I don't want Anybody fighting over my Body when I'm dead. Everybody should just leave my body alone. Is Anybody listening? Leave my Body alone! Somebody better tell Everybody that they can't just take Anybody's Body!
Everything I've written so far has been Ado. So without any further Ado, I hereby leave You, my dear Loyal Reader, with directions on what to do with my body after I'm dead.
Please follow these directions to a "t". When you reach a "t", make a right and go straight until you come to a "w". Fifty paces away, you'll find a spot marked "x". Beneath this spot lies my dead body.
Using a Ginsu Knife, kindly cut my body up into manageable-sized parts. Place the various parts in boxes. Then tape the boxes with masking tape. I'm not really fussy about the colour of the masking tape, but if you have time, and if it's not too much trouble, blue would be nice.
I would like specific Body Parts to be delivered to various bodies (no pun intended) as indicated below.
My Hands are to be delivered to a Hollywood Studio of Your Choice.
It is to be used as either the Main or Supporting Actor in a horror film featuring an evil hand that has been transplanted on to a transplatee, who then unwittingly beheads horny teenagers and leaves their heads in cupboards, to be discovered later by other horny teenagers who will scream loudly before they themselves have their heads chopped off.
If my hand wins an Oscar for it's performance, kindly have either Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman accept the award on my behalf.
My heart should be delivered to the girl on the cover of a Playboy magazine that my friend gave me when I was thirteen. I think her name is Miss April. She wore nothing but a pair of pink roller-skates. Please deliver my heart to her, along with the following note:
This belongs to you. It always has.
My ears should be delivered to The Hallmark Sappy Greeting Card Company. It is to be inserted into a Greeting Card that should be designed as follows:
My brain should be delivered to The White House.
It should be used to replace the brain of President George "WW3" Bush.
I realise that with my brain being dead and all, it is completely useless. So clearly, this is an improvement over the President's current brain, which was an illegal campaign donation from Paris Hilton.
My nose should be bleached and delivered to Michael Jackson.
My penis should be delivered to the concerned people who frequently send me E-mails urging me to "Enlarge Your Penis Now For Only $9.99!"
Along with my penis, please enclose a cheque for $9999.00 and ask them to enlarge my penis to 1000 times its current size.
Then tell them to stick it in a personal orifice of their choice.
My toes should be delivered to a certain Lunatic Cab Driver. But before that, kindly kidnap one of his Loved Ones. After that, deliver the dismembered toes to him, along with the following message, which should be written using magazine-cutout alphabets:
If you ever want to see (Insert Loved One's name here) again, wear a hat, sunglasses and a trenchcoat and put RM1,000,005 (he still owes me five bucks) in a dustbin in (insert your location of choice here).
When you collect the money, please buy something nice for yourself. I insist.
The rest of the money should be delivered to:
Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur,
Along with the money, please include the following note:
I'm so sorry I always avoided you guys. I thought you were Death. Please accept this money as a token of my remorse.
The Rest of My Body
The rest of my body should be delivered to the characters from the movie Alive, to use as they see fit.