Be careful of 8 year old Aluguminal Muthusamy,
with her meter-long Superman flying plait,
that looks as fat as a threatening cucumber,
when tightly dolled up and ribboned.
After all, you can buy beautiful hair clips very cheaply in Brickfields,
in all the colors of the rainbow and to grab even the most unruly ponytail.
Very pretty indeed when Aluguminal's plait stands ever so still.
There have been known to be oohs-n-aahs amongst tiny aspiring beauties.
but not when she sprints a dangerous run to trip you up.
Then it looks like a frightened python in the win,
ready for swift action and a dynamite beeline sting.
Sometimes, she curls up her hair that had been soaked in coconut oil
for a deft beauty and a vain classroom style,
into a big round circle shaped like a mosquito coil.
She grins when she tells you a bite is coming your way
with which to itch and scratch and pinch you hard,
tonight in Brickfields, Malaysia,
where you stay with friendly neighbors,
Malays, Indians, Chinese and Eurasians,
and with your amma and your appa
and where they sit together on the verandah
on old rattan chairs in the evenings,
while listening to ghazals,
and watching the lizards crawl happily on the walls
Then you may hear the drone of a mosquito buzz,
so beware this warning won't you,
when you next eat appum for supper.
Of course, it was a hard choice for dinner,
with all the decorative Indian sweetmeats that are sold,
in nearby shops with people milling for spices and for pickles,
...all those colorful sarees and blaring Bollywood songs..
Sometimes, you would walk with your amma and appa,
To sit on stools in a stall and drink hot Milo with a bowl of curried mee,
But you would always be looking this way and that,
and up and down and roundabout,
because you would have heard the ghastly tale of how
Aluguminal could also turn into a moody and grumpy witch.
She could grab a broomstick,
and visit on the dot of a midnight blot.
She could scare you with her eerie laugh.
Her bones will creak noisily,
and she will turn out all the lights,
then turn up with long nails, a mask and crayoned black teeth
beside your cozy bed.
She could steal her grandma's betel-nut leaves,
to make her lips a bloodshot red.
She could bite your bones out and leave you for dead,
or she could make a nice soup stock,
with the hard bits to eat on her cold canvas bed.