Decoding A Dream (Part 3)
Kaola’s mother belonged to Kashido, an island located at the northern tip of Malé Atoll. She gave birth to her first child in 1970. That daughter obtained a plot from her father and carried on life in the capital. Lafya married Othadi in 1977 and gave birth to Kaola at this place called ‘Barbeque’ in 1979. And for years they lived here until she had to dissolve her second marriage.
In the 70’s Othadi was a foreman ranked with a single stripe at the defence house and he acquired this plot newly allotted to the men in uniform. Kaola could remember very well when he was five one day he saw his father in action supervising a group of task force whitewash the walls of the defence house.
Her mother worked cleaning houses. One of the households she maintained was Sophie’s place called ‘Osse Villa’. Sophie told his mother that she detained him undressed and next time would walk around the school. What did he do to deserve it? Kaola touched her breast.
After the divorce Lafya lived a life of a beggar sweeping roadsides. Sometimes during the early dawns Kaola joined helping his mother pick garbage. One day he surprised his school buddies by arriving to play foot-ball at Lonu-ziyaraii-kol pitch on a tall Raleigh bicycle wearing a raincoat in the blazing sun. He got no shirt to wear because his mother washed them all.
Lafya didn’t lose her charm. After few years she married a third person and began a life at a place called ‘Koel’ with seven stepchildren. She gave birth to three more kids. She raised her son to love his father. Kaola had a difficult time growing up with his stepfather who pulled him off the roads. As soon as he got summoned to his house he would kick his shoes, tap his feet on the ground and dart out of the gate spurting sand. Kaola couldn’t ably socialise with his mother as he turned out to be irate and fiery with wrangles.
Kaola finished school at the age of fifteen and began his own life. He worked at the resort islands and now acquiring a house called ‘Huvafen’ on rent he made a living leasing rooms modified to minute apartments. Malé was full of people coming from the atolls and they filled tiny cubicles on any rent. Kaola lost his identity. He did not belong to Kashido or Malé and he was listed in a Register of Malé Citizens known as a ‘dafter’ of a bungled up government mismanagement.
In late 90’s Lafya divorced her third husband and returned to live in Kashido.
Last time he saw his father, some six years ago, he cut a corner only just avoiding collision with his car and pitched away. Colonel Othadi braked brusquely and paused to look for a long moment. Nobody could tell what went down his mind. He motioned a shallow relief and drove off. He was promoted to a colonel few years after 3rd November 1988 for his loyalty.
Kaola realised it was his father and nudged on his escape gripping on throttle.
Kaola reached Rainbow Road and turned the corner at rapid pace dragging his foot and collided with a pregnant woman who stumbled to the ground. There were too many people on the road, a traffic jam, office-goers and others honking the horns. It was nine o’clock in the morning and the bloke who sold the drug had not waked up. There could be a hundred of them who could not break the fast. Among them a couple of school kids, a peon on a mountain bike, a magistrate of a court and some police officers passed observingly. Nothing would kick-start the day without a piece.
Kaola in his damp shorts horribly increased the bulge and tone of his nude. Pedestrians gazed at it and looked into his eyes but he was only focused on a short-coming of getting his morning break.
In a while the boss arrived on a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle and quite professionally he brought order to the waiting crowd. They lined up and one after another entered the gate and bought his piece. A tiny drop of heroin set the day in working order. Ninety per cent of the society was drowned into drugs. This stuff of heroin and brown sugar came from Afghanistan.
Kaola returned to his little cubicle at Huvafen two blocks from Rainbow Road. This cubicle accessed through a narrow passage by the gate. His toilet located at the end of this path, three feet wide, under the gutter and water poured from the brink of the ceiling when it rained. A tiny door that stood jammed to the toilet wall gave a narrow access to his room, 8 x 8 sq. ft., reaching a single bed immediately. A 21” CRT television set hang on a wall mount. It was hot and an overheated ceiling fan continued to buzz above. The walls and insulation boxes stained with tobacco smoke and dirty pillows.
Kaola cared not to close the door and normally nobody popped at his door. He dropped heroin on foil and drew a shot.
This was an old single-storey house standing by a corner. Main section of the house with an entrance facing the gate lay behind the tiny cubicles of which the last one he kept. He was renovating the main section of the house. To the east, in the former lawn, he erected a wing and leased to a small family. A young bloke from the south slept with four girls in one dark room. Shym already proposed a relative to his wife to take over the renovated apartment on rent.
Kaola managed a small saving after paying the rent of the house by keeping three separate apartments at this place.
Land became scarce in the capital, premises got divided and small cubicles accommodated families on high rent. In former glory these blocks containing the houses in the yards were neatly divided and arranged beautifully with garden lawns. A practice of dividing the premises to sons and daughters over the generations brought chaos and disorder. At present day there was no way to rearrange them. It was a mess inside each of these blocks.
This densely populated island capital of Malé claiming an area of one square mile accommodated over a hundred thousand citizens and perhaps doubled by outsiders. People resort to solution by raising buildings and construction took place at massive scale around the island.
He pulled one of those three surfboards placed by the wall behind the bed and took off for sport in his surfing outfit.