Basho, my taxi driver arrived at 8 am sharp to take me for a tour around Seoul. He was a fine looking Korean man in his 50s. He had worked for some trading companies in England and the US, and was also in the Korean army for a while. Maybe that was the reason why he spoke such good English. “You know Anuj, We in South Korea concentrated on development and technology. That is why we progressed so fast. In North Korea, they were only busy building their army and buying more weapons and look where they are today. They don’t even have food to eat.” I nodded as if to affirm Basho but it is amazing how fast countries like Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian tigers progressed. I think it was the impact of the Hiroshima bombings and the second world war. The Asian tigers realised that they had to be self-sufficient and grow on their own steam. Otherwise, they would not survive. We strolled across Jogyesa Buddha Temple and Gyeongbokgung Palace in the heart of Seoul. The grand place, which was built by the Joseon Dynasty, is a huge maze of bamboo and wooden rooms with curved roofs. Pillars and courtyards run on either sides with huge free ground area in the middle. I saw the emperor’s throne which was ornamented with a colourful canopy and a symbolic painting of the sun, the moon and five mountains in the middle giving the throne a grand look.
The Jogyesa Buddha Temple reminded me of lot of the other Buddha temples I had seen in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Devotees listened to the monks preach and prayed. I lit and tied a white lantern to pay homage to the dead spirit of my father Arun Kumar. The white lantern is a symbol of peace and the monks pray for the departed soul. I realised Korean script is also written like the Chinese script as it is written from top to bottom unlike Hindi or English which is written from left to right and Urdu or Arabic which is written from right to left.
We then walked into Insadong Street which is a street where a lot of art, calligraphy, curios and other items are sold. In simpler words, it is an art street. I ventured into some art galleries and finally, when Basho and me had both worked up an appetite, we decided to dine in Caffe Little India. This was a small caffe decorated with ethnic Indian wears and served Indian food like lassi, achaar, butter chicken, roti, pullao and other such delicacies. The music from Shah Rukh Khan’s Film “Happy New Year” was playing aloud “Kehte hain humko pyar se India wale”. Basho was delighted that I would be treating him to an Indian meal. After we were over with the meal, i asked Basho to take me to a book shop where I bought a few books on Korea and its cultural heritage.
It was 6 pm by then. I had smoked my last cigarette and was getting a bit tired and irritated. Basho came up with the perfect remedy “Why don’t we get you a massage, sir?”. I said “I thought paid sex and prostitution was illegal in Korea”. He smiled and replied “It’s the oldest profession in the world, sir. How can it be illegal? Let me see what I can do”. We soon drove into an alley. I pulled out 250,000 won from the ATM and we walked into a basement. The lady of the joint took the money and walked me into a room full of towels with a bed in the middle. Soon Jueng, a young Korean girl, entered all giggly. She took me by the hand into the shower. Then took off her clothes and bathed me for a while. She then poured shampoo on me and made sure every part of my body, including my Khojo, was sparklingly clean. She gave me an oil body-to-body massage and a spanking blow job. It all took but 40 minutes and I was done. I thanked everyone and Basho drove me back home. As he opened the door to let me go, he took off his cap and said “It was a pleasure taking you around, sir. You truly are an Indian Maharaja!”.