One could argue, Europe’s most pristine places can be found in Greece. However, just like Europe, I have come to dislike Greece.
The things I dislike. The arguments present themselves. I make the argument, and the argument forms my personality. Of which I’m not that fond anymore, my personality.
My friend, who joined me in this trip, tries to defend Europa against my aversion. She drinks more ouzo than me and stares at the sea. He silence is telling me to be happy. She is having a great time here. Between us, on the table, lies a fair lemon and some thyme. When she went for a walk earlier, she tripped over the branch of thyme and a lemon fell on her head. These are her trophies. In front of us, on the beach, dogs are sleeping. They have rashes on their skins, in shapes of islands I have yet to go to. She asks if I could make a photo of her, for Facebook. I grab her camera and switch the focus with a sigh, from automatic to manual. I’m not impressed by her trophies and jealous of her, for daring to put a stupid picture on Facebook. So carefree. She says I should meditate less and practice more Mindfulness, but I’m not sure what that means.
I have known two Greeks, I met them when I studied in the UK. The first Greek hardly ever left his room because he preferred to play computer games. After half a year, he got a girlfriend, and from that moment he never left his room because he preferred to play with her. The second Greek lived next to me, on the sixteenth floor in a Bristol flat. He played the guitar well. This Greek became addicted to heroine and came increasingly to my door to borrow money. One day I stopped opening the door. I heard him play the guitar every night, the sound was turning sour. One day, he was gone. Nobody knew where he was or looked for him. I think he went back to Greece.
In Bristol, I had an Indian friend as well. He jumped off a bridge in Swansea, He’d lost the will to live. I went to Varanasi, where his parents live, to pay my respect. They refused to open the door as if I had pushed him myself.
Since that day, I have come to dislike India as well. And maybe, I dislike England even more. The older I get, the more my world seems to be shrinking. Greece is no longer for me.
A few weeks ago, in a terrible attempt to shrink my world, I found myself at a terrace in Kuala Lumpur. I was there with my friend Wan-Nian, a wise little man. With him and his friends, old Indian men from Kerala, I used to drink beer in Brickfields. Wan-Nian was Chinese, he wore the matching beard. Wan-Nian was the only one who would not say ‘lah’ after every sentence. Instead, he kept repeating how nobody understood how things really worked. Because of that, people called him ‘professor’.
That night, we were sitting next to a brothel, at Chinese restaurant where they served fine catfish. The Indians from Kerala were bragging about Kerala again. This annoyed Wan-Nian, who drank least of all. He called them Europeans.
At that moment, a boy passed by. He was wearing a t-shirt with a big swastika on it. In red, white, and black. It did not glow in the dark. The boy entered the brothel, he was part of a group of friends.
I watched as they stumbled inside. Within a few minutes, they would be outside again. Wan-Nian caught me staring at the brothel. He grabbed the big bottle of beer we were sharing and poured me some. He mumbled how I too, was a European. I asked him what he meant. Wan-Nian poured me again, even though I had not taken a sip, and threw me a harsh look.
You’re completely obsessed by your own history!