Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Tale of Three Muketis

One day Adel told us how she came to be wearing a nose stud. Being Adel, she had us in stitches until we were rolling all over the floor in Devi's Corner, clutching our tired stomachs.

Anyways, fast forward a few years and I have this blog and I think I want to tell the story here. So Adel and I meet for dinner. And the following conversation ensues:

Me: Why did you decide to get a muketi?

Adeline: Simply. (laughs) No, no, I’ve always wanted to get a muketi. I think it looks nice and attractive, gives someone that additional edge…but I didn’t dare do it for a long long time, obviously because I’m Cina and got a flat nose, right? So it was no, no, no, no, no and then one day I’m like, just screw it and do it ...that’s it lar, that’s why I got a muketi.

Me: OK, how did you go about screwing it and doing it?

Adel: OK the first time I did it was back in (my) kampong. I just went to one of those jewelry stores in the shopping mall. So just went there and the lady marked the spot with a marker pen, took the gun out, chose the stone and just hit the nose. And then just one teardrop (flowed down). Damn painful, OK? Damn painful.

So my mother said, happylar now? So I was very smug and happy and it was swollen for a few days, then I kept it for some time. But the thing didn’t go through all the way. It was a very short muketi and it kept coming out. When I started diving again after some time and I had to press my nose to equalize (the air between my nostrils) that thing kept coming out. At that point Sree was still diving with me and she used to get really irritated and say, Adel, the muketi is out, put it back again.

(sounds of raucous laughter from interviewer and interviewee)

Adel: So it kept coming out in the boat and stuff like that. So that was it. And after a while I was like, forget it, so I just took it out and threw it away. So that was (both together in sing-song voice) muketi number one.

Adel: There story of muketi number two was in Pakistan. I was there for work, work, work and as you know in Pakistan, every woman has a muketi, right? I was like, OK, I think I should do it here. They seem professional enough. It was painless. Painless! You won’t know that they’ve done it, OK? So, so easy. You just go, you just pick whatever you want…and I picked a very fine one. What they did was rub some alcohol on your nose, and it was like a long, well, it’s tiny but it’s longish and they just twirl it at the back of your nose, that’s it. So they pierce it through and just twirl it. So that was muketi number two. When I came (home) to Malaysia all my friends said, wah, you are so brave to get a muketi done in Pakistan. You don’t know what level of sanitation there, blah, blah, blah.

So muketi number two. I kept it for a while. I can’t remember for how long but it was very tiny and it was red in colour and then when I came back to KL, a friend of mine said, come, let’s go to Little India, in town. So I said, OK, just went for fun. She had gone to get her earrings changed, or whatever. So I followed her and I saw this guy selling muketis. So gatal-lar. Went and asked, 'Uncle, uncle, how much, how much everything?', and he said, 'You want to do it, can.'

So I got it done, there and then. He took out the old muketi, snipped the top off, (me cringing in alarm: aiyo!). Adel (hastening to reassure me): No, no, it’s not painful. It’s all entangled at the bottom so there’s no way to remove it except by cutting off the top. So he cut it off, threw it off, no pain, then he put this in. I chose the stone.

Now this one (pointing to muketi presently on nose) has a longer story. Because Cina nose a bit fat, right? (we both laugh)

And I already had muketi number two. So I was thinking that OK, muketi number two already there, all you need to do is replace and put the new muketi in. But no, you see, this one (pointing to present nose stud) is fat. The other one was thin, maybe the same size as a toothpick. So, I was thinking to myself , go there, just put the other in, no need to pierce through. I was wrong. It was like a fresh piercing. But in my mind, it was like, nolar, it’s just like exchanging your earrings, I mean how painful can it be, right?

Totally (painful)! He removed it (my old nose stud), he put the new one in, just a little bit of alcohol, he pierced through and I criedlar. As in my eyes turned red and my friend Yoges was like, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, pain, pain.’ So screw it (this is a screw-on ah, so screw it, paid Uncle, thank you very much, went home)

A bit shylar, because I was the only Cina girl there. You know in Little India there are all these little Indian jewelry shops, right? All these ladies with these fat fingers, buying their gold and diamonds and all that. And there’s this Cina girl sitting there in the corner and crying and her friend asking her over and over again, are you OK, are you OK? Nose swollen, saying, OK let’s go.

That was the funny part lar, and the embarrassing part.

The next day was a Saturday. The first thing I did was wake up and feel for the muketi. It was not there. (Me: What????) Adel: The muketi was not on my nose, where it was supposed to be. It was on my pillow, away from my nose. It dropped, because fat nose. The nose is fat, right? It screwed on right but it didn’t go in all the ay, because my nose was so swollen. And me like a dungu. I mean I knew it was swollen, it was painful, right? And I panicked because I was thinking that freshly pierced, if you remove it, the hole will close. And my friend was telling me, the hole will close quite fast. The nose is different from the ears.

So here I was in the morning, didn’t brush teeth or anything. Just put on my glasses and tried to put the muketi on and couldn’t do it because by then my nose was so painful and so swollen and so tender, so I was like, ‘Shit! What the hell am I supposed to do?’, right?

So that’s it, lar. I got up, showered, drove all the way from Subang to Little India, went to the shop, told Uncle, here, see, you pierced for me (of course he remembered me, right? Not every day some random Cina girl comes to do a muketi) and he said, 'What happened? And I told him, and he said, oh, very easy. You have to pay a bit more and I will extend the muketi for you.' So he went to the back and did his magic. Basically, extended the stem to make it a bit longer. Then he pierced it through and there was another round of tears, then I went home. And he told me, after a few days, when the swell has gone down, come back and I can shorten it for you.

But I have NEVER gone back since.

Me: You must have really wanted a muketi if you were willing to go through all that to have it.

Adel: Yes, so now I only remove it, clean it and put it back on.

Me: And what does your grandmother say?

Adel: My grandmother? Well, she’s got Alzheimer’s, you know right? Every now and then when I go back she will come and say, 'oh cantik ah, batu kilat-kilat? Bila buat?'(Oh how pretty, that shiny stone. When did you do it?) And then she will ask me how much and all that. And five minutes later she will ask me the same question. So every time I go back, she will ask me at least two or three times, 'oh itu batu cantik, kilat-kilat, bila buat? Berapa ringgit?' (How much) So she will ask those sorts of things lar.

Me: So, berapa ringgit?

Adel: I can’t remember now. It’s been six, seven years since I had this muketi number three. It’s diamond. Maybe about a few hundred? I can’t remember. I mean, I really, really can’t remember how much it cost now.

But one funny story is, a few years ago I had this problem with my nose as in I couldn’t smell. I had very bad blocked nose and it’s not a sinus thing so I had gone to see the doctor and my father swore it was because of the muketi. And I had the whole works. I went to see an ENT, I even had a head scan. Basically it was nothing to do with the muketilar. It’s basically, I’ve got crooked drains. So when it’s aggravated like when I got flu or inhale very bad fumes and all that, it just blocks my sense of smell. So it was nothing to do with my muketi.