Sweet Hell (Part 3)
Ayyea’s grandmother arrived to perform some ritual on the girls at Salty Breeze. She stayed at Ayyea’s place called Moonshine and picked in a car every day. For this reason Sharif came to know him better. She disbanded Sosun Club in Thoddo in a protest electricity cut out from some houses and stopped doing any ritual for them. Farida called Ayyea to observe a body writing session on Gulish in some blue ink. On the 25th Saturday night, these girls were nakedly lined up in the backyard under the total lunar eclipse, bathed in waters of noni leaves and beaten with the grand devil’s claw. Each girl was wrapped with the silver girdle around the hip with those silver lockets and not to separate from the body, not in bath, not in sleep, never. Ayyea wasn’t there that night. Mannan observed this rite with Sharif who quit the band.
29th March 1978, happened to be a coincidental Independence Day of a one-time record, government at that time decided to mark this new date following the evacuation of RAF Gan by the British. Television was newly introduced with a station. In its telecast Roshan Club Bandiya appeared pretty dull, sessions didn’t start quickly. Few cameras rolled to capture their faces and movement but viewers were glued to the screens. There was already a TV cinema on-going at Heenamage with four shows a day. At Hakura Fare open TV was watched by crowds. Among the culture clubs that arrived from other islands, after screening through a very unpopular Male’ stay validation, Sosun Club performed on street corners in white mini slips. Multi-Ibre began work as a cashier in a café.
Wednesday, at ten in the morning Club Rehendi climbed a boat going to Velessaru. There were fourteen dancers, youngest four left behind, and who’d bother to count. Hasan Zahir climbed with an office girl, Sherin and a new girl from Male’.
“I arrived on the spot, on my bike. Sherin’s ex climbed the boat and they were fighting. He was pulling her arms and frock. She bit his hand. Everyone watched and the crowd gathered in the waterfront. First thought, I got to sneak away but I stayed with Majid and crowd. He pulled her out of the boat and it was one of those typical ‘zuwab’ you find those days. Nobody stops them. They fight, they quarrel, a wrangle. It was embarrassing, poor Hasan Zahir...”
Few tourists were there in Velessaru Island, about sixty. Dancers passed those dangling dicks. Club Nature practised naturism.
After a huge lunch, girls started cracking the staff boys, lift the shirt and toss their boobies out. They were getting along and smoking together. “It was this boat captain, a dark thin guy, crossed the girls to take shower in the staff quarter, hanging his towel on a great wild erection,” Hasan said.
“Around five, I joined Majid and Jörgen, other staff on the fletcher. Hasan called on the walkie-talkie. Sherin’s ex, a mechanic left to a resort, she was free and would like to join with her friend.” Ayyea continued, “She was in Mafannu at her friend’s to reach a phone. We entered Gurab Thundi waters and picked those two girls.”
After dinner, Club Rehendi performed Bandiya, in mini blue slips, twisting and turning, throwing their long hair, it was good show. Soon the staff, waiters and room boys, joined falling in line, dancing half drunk. One carried a camera and shooting their panties lying on the floor. There the guests realised it was not their show and Majid didn’t plan it to entertain the tourists.
“The dancers, one after another, step out with a flower girdle and put on the neck of someone in the audience. In return they had to dance back and put it on her neck. In doing so they drop tips, dollars, attach to the flowers and staff brought all their savings. In the rows Huda with golden hair stands out. Soon the guests stepped away one by one and it was an all-staff show.” Ayyea explained.
“After the show I did enter the girl’s room with Kish. It was horrible.” Ayyea continued, “In few hours that place stench cigarettes, bidi and nuts, damp wet undies thrown all over the place. Staff boys were not happy because I picked a girl.
“There was one more late show and this was what Majid planned with Farida.”
Fourteen girls, seven in a row, performed stark naked at the mess in staff area. All of them wore silver girdles and lockets, woven temple flowers around the hips. A forty-minute show, started at one o’clock. Some of the senior staff snapped pictures.
After the show girls scattered with the boys. “Kish was with me,” Ayyea said, “Majid, I don’t know, slept with that Male’ girl but he failed to catch a bandiya girl. Sherin ran topless, grabbing peckers…
“Then around three, we got an alert, one of the girls knocked out in booze was in Room 36. Some said it was Sherin. Majid was the first to enter. He came out and headed straight to his room and was never seen again.”
At Room 36, they charged 25 dollars from each and passed free beer. Staffs were not allowed to walk up front. Everyone came out quickly but cautioned not to breathe a word right there. The price dropped to ten.
“Powerhouse guy learned what was going on. He paid ten and entered. He squeezed the balls of the carpenter lying in bed in the mock up. Then this show came to end.”
On 2nd April, Ayyea helped Sharif in organising the queue and leading the dancers to receive cholera vaccine.
“I saw a pretty girl standing by a gate not far from Rifat’s place. I asked, ‘What’s your name?’ and she replied, ‘Xenia’ and that’s how it goes. Put down a leg, park a bike, talk hours and hours till daybreak. She was from Prep School where I studied. I left halfway in the final year. Finding common ground things were getting interesting right there.” Ayyea continued, “Close to five, families gathered by the gates, they laugh, talk loud and enjoy fresh air.
“Rifat has six sisters. One of them was coming up with a boy and breastfeeding her little child in her arms. She had gone to the hospital. She was smiling big and started negotiating me before the next gate.”
“Ayyea! You have to come to my place with me now,” Shaza cried.
“Not now,” Ayyea protested.
She reached and touched his arm, “I have some very good news for you.”
Ayyea placed his bike by the wall and the new girl, Xenia, joined him around the corner to Rifat’s gate. “Families outside every gate chattering. His sisters were there, one behind the low wall helping his boy kid to pee holding him under knees, another breastfeeding another child and Rifat’s mother.”
Shaza cried before the next gate, “Here’s the fellow.”
“Now that ‘fellow’ brought a note of tease. All of them were laughing at me. Crowd drew attention on us. Rifat’s mother began…”
“That girl came,” Rifat’s mother said.
“Who? Kish?” asked Ayyea.
“That bandiya girl. She came looking for her ‘jangiya’…”
Crowd stirred in laughter. Rifat’s sister training the boy shook off caught in the hilarity spraying his pee all over the ground.
“What’s all this about?”
“She came to fetch her underwear she left here. I had to go through all my daughters’ clothes and finally she found it. She took it away.”
“It was embarrassing,” said Ayyea, “she called to pick it after four weeks. This Aquarian notch in her, thoughtless, carefree…
“Kish told me what happened there. She had actually leaked to her panties that night. Rifat’s mother ushered her to a typical huge bathroom, sheltered with well. She saw a basin with their clothes in water, their laundry. She dumped it in. And that whole night she was without panties. Ridiculous!”
“It’s mine,” said Kish, “I have to collect. I have only three pairs left.”
“Of course, it took four weeks. Hey! I have my salary. Ask Farida and we go shopping!” Ayyea took her out and bought her many things.
“I made so much. I bought my very first bike, a Honda CR250, hip in tight red shirt, high collar, my blue jeans patched with peace signs, chains and rings.” He said, “I took Farida and the girls to LH and taught her windsurfing. She was stunning in black bikini and semi-tones of a physical body shape. She picked a crown for a second time at Hakura Fare, I respect her. I took Xenia, to whom I married, to watch Shailendra Singh concert on 5th June. I picked Kish there too but Xenia knew not.
“In the rain, one night, I stopped at Multi-Ibre’s café, asked for two smokes and nuts. I shoved a broad hundred note, they come in different sizes. He tapped the cigarette on the counter and tossed into his lips. Lit with a lighter and passed me the fag. Fine, I was going to smoke one. I helped to some nuts. He did the same with the next one in rapid speed too. I was in awe.”
Ibre said, “Take it. You and Farida, remember! You have poked a snake den.” He passed the change in a polythene bag in tens and twenties of foreign currencies hardly any hard.
“What the hell is this? Give me my buck.”
“Take it. This filthy government didn’t issue a permit to Ashwar to stay in Male’ and work here. I voted for Capricorn.”
“I don’t know Ayyea but Sharif knows him very well. I don’t even remember him on Thoddo trip,” said Mannan. “Sharif took me to a cargo ship with his band. I remember one girl cried because the vessel was huge as we approached its bow, three storeys high. Mid-section was though pretty low alongside.”
Club Rehendi performed topless dance wearing brocades of heavy féli wraps, tickling tits on top deck served with barbeque and drinks, started at eight.
“After the break dancers turned up in stretch-panty briefs rolled down on lower hips revealing pubes and bums wearing silver girdles and flowers.
“At that point those Filipinos and Japanese got drunk. Boat captain gave us cocaine and we got ‘stoned’. I never tried that, I don’t even know how to use that. It got me staggering and images cascading. Crew got wild and show ended around ten. They were not supposed to stay…
“Farida and Sharif knocked my cabin with a line of girls in féli crowding the tiny corridor. I picked one, happened to be Kish.
“I thought we were sport but I couldn’t make a thing. She got into a fit, her eyes rolled, eyeballs turned white, fluid coming out of her mouth. Someone banged on the door.”
He opened to find a Filipino with a knife. “Girl!” he cried. He grabbed Mannan by the hair and pressed the knife in his chest. So hard he got a cut and bleeding. “Nigger…”
“He called me a Negro because I got this curly hair. I’m not black,” Mannan protested. “He spat on my hair.”
There were a crowd of angered Filipinos pulling the local guys out of the cabins, four decks below. Three groups got in a row; Japs, Filipinos and the locals. They exchanged angry voices in languages incomprehensive. Mannan couldn’t see a single girl in the corridor. Some guy threw a smoke canister instantly filling the passage. He escaped into the cabin and the Filipino slipped in with his knife closing the door behind.
“I was terrified he would kill me. At that point I realised Kish was not in bed. Somehow she escaped. In truth, she disappeared,” Mannan claimed. “That’s what happened to us, all the girls disappeared. It did that good of the grand devil’s claw.”
“Then the lights went out, pitch dark. This guy left me unharmed,” said Mannan. “He opened the door, I saw flashlights in the smoke, he ran away crying and screaming like a madman.”
There was fight on board. Japs and the locals against the Filipinos armed with knives. Most trapped in the corridor.
“We see lot of fight those days, street fight and mobs but no one carries a knife. Boys use leather belts and bicycle chains. Fight is a Bruce Lee cult,” Mannan said. “Unnatural deaths in record are only suicides and accidents.”
Local crew picked weapons, tools. Mannan tried to escape, coughing in the corridor, reached the stairs and rushed on to the top deck in pitch dark, lights out and a signal flare glowing in the night sky. He tripped over some empty bottles and fell down a vent hitting cement bags three storeys below and broke his spine.
Captain Hiroshi and local crew managed to take Farida and some girls to the bridge. He called the white shirt police. Filipinos were holding the transfer boat away from the vessel.
According to Sharif, while some girls vanished from their eyes, Farida Ikhtak could see them all. The fanditha of Ayyea’s grandma worked.
Police arrived at midnight. They quickly picked the girls on their shoulders and put them on the boat. Eighteen girls, Farida and Sharif got away unharmed. It took a moment to bring calm and order on the vessel and find Mannan in the cargo deck.
“Police those days never questioned us coming from the resorts after gigs, embarking Male’ completely drunk. They did a professional job saving the girls but they never probably heard of cocaine,” said Mannan. “It took six months to heel and a year to sing. I quit the band and turned solo, made good money out of my albums.”
“I noticed Ashwar at Ibre’s café, he lied or not. He divorced Gulish. One night I saw him on a scooter scrambling down the main street with two tubs full of café waste mounted on its rear. I cut him within inches on my Honda giving him a shock. I heard his cry. I looked behind, that tubby guy dropped on the ground. The scooter rolled away with the tubs, hit a gate right in front and dumped the waste.” Ayyea laughed, “Wearing sarong, he tossed a leg over its steering as he ran out of control, dropped down seated on the ground.”
“Ama-fui!” he cried, “Why did you do that?”
“How would I know?” Ayyea kicked off.