By Nury Vittachi
Sometimes I worry that sitting at my desk eating scks is not real exercise. But then again, the pies I’m lifting weigh 340 grams each, so that’s gotta count, right?
Your rrator had to sit and think because he had a problem. I had to take a bag of cremated ashes on a flight, but officials in my town had passed a law banning the “export of human remains” without a permit.
“Put it in a talcum powder container,” said one reader. “Label it ‘self-raising flour’,” said another. A creative one suggested I spread it between 62 ashtrays and “pretend to be a used ashtray collector”.
Then there was the “friend” who told me to hide the white-ish powder on my person in a Ziploc bag labelled “Dangerous Illegal Drugs”. At first I thought she was working against my best interests, but she explained that The Universe’s sense of irony would protect me, which actually makes perfect sense, as long as your mind is scarily warped. But all the ideas were rejected as too disrespectful of my cargo. Ashes have power. A reader in Britain forwarded a news report about a woman who received so many mobile phone bills for her deceased husband that she slammed the urn holding his ashes on to the phone company’s front desk, uttering words to the affect of: “Here he is, why don’t you ask him yourself?” Officials accepted that he could not still be making calls. She was lucky. My own telecom provider would have said: “Your relative is liable for all charges until he sends us a signed termition form and, by the way, Heaven to Earth calls attract an 85 percent roaming data surcharge. Mwa ha ha ha ha.” (That’s how they end all communications.)
My correspondent in mainland Chi commented with a news report about a professiol urn kidpper. Mr. Xu of Hun Province would abduct urns and phone owners with a threat: “Unless you pay me cash, you will never see your loved one alive again, I mean, still dead.” Despite the relative weakness of this argument, he earned a small fortune before being caught last year.
From my man in Japan came news that people have been leaving the ashes of their grandparents on trains, where most end up in the lost property office at the main Tokyo station. “Where’s Grandfather, Watabe-san?” “Damn! He was under my arm a moment ago.” Station staff complain that they are paid to babysit umbrellas, not a congregation of dead people, staring at them from a shelf. (IANS)