It’s Wife’s birthday today. We’re still in Singapore and she wanted to go round Little India.
She wanted to eat in The Banana Leaf restaurant. Tick, excellent place.
She wanted to have a henna tattoo. Tick, easily achieved.
And she wanted to find the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet.
It’s in her guide book, Lonely Planet or the other one. In Little India there is an ancient Indian man who has a green Parakeet. The parakeet reads your fortune by selecting the cards whilst you sit before him.
-What road is he on?
That’s the thing. He moves around. You have to go to Little India and find him.
So we went to Little India. We ate at Banana Leaf. And we asked the waiters, Do you know where the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet is today? They shook their heads, not today.
So we set off deeper into Little India. Imagine a place that is like a scrubbed up version of Calcutta. But hotter. Much hotter. Hot as all hell. The smell of the little delicate flowers that are hung around the necks of Gods mixing with cardamon. People are everywhere.
We’re looking for Green. Flashes of green, above people’s heads. Maybe a pet shop. We keep searching. Through crowds and new smells of charcoal and scorching meat. Looking for a green bird. A parakeet.
We’re at the Henna place now. As she’s finishing Wife’s design we ask the henna woman, Do you know where the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet is today?
She pauses, thinks hard. Yes. Camper Lane. That way. In a big place.
We’re back on the scent! In the direction we go. At each street we check the name, not this one. Not the next. Nor the next.
We step in to one of the many gold bracelet shops. Air conditioning hitting us like a bucket of cold water.
-Do you know where Camper Lane is?
Shakes of the head.
-Do you know where the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet is today?
Oh yes! CAMPBELL Lane. The big market.
Campbell, not Camper. It’s this way.
The big market is dark. Wafts of incense fill the air with a sweet smell. It’s a massive, crammed cave of amazing fabrics and clothes.
We search for the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet, up and down each of the aisles until finally it seems clear that he’s not here.
-Do you know where the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet is today? I ask one of the stall holders.
Oh yes- over the road, by the bus station.
Really? Could he just be through that exit?
We move through the exit, back in to daylight. Bright, bright sunshine. And the scent of incense gone in seconds. Facing the bus station we look up at a big anonymous building, the complete opposite from everything we had been through in the last hour. Little India is finished, this is definitely Singapore.
We walk up to the Chinese man who is running a small drinks kiosk outside the bus station.
Do you know where the Fortune Telling Indian Green Parakeet is today?
Oh him! He moved back to India many months ago.
Of course he did…..
I have made 3 or 4 city walkabout shows and seen maybe a dozen more. I have spent months of my life working with large teams spending hundreds of man hours and thousands of pounds. I have never made anything as clever as the all inclusive fiction of the Fortune Telling Green Parakeet in Little India, Singapore.