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The Love-potion that Works One Way Only
Digestion upset
     That Monday morning. I read my own piece on glutinous rice(believe me, it was the first thing I read), and I became so moved by the description of the flavour and taste of steamed glutinous rice that I treated myself to a sumptuous breakfast featuring the delicacy.
     Now with the date line for my column close at hand I have hardly recovered from an acute attack of indigestion. At least, I can say that I am one of the rare species who practise what they preach. I hope my readers were not be so carried away by the account of delicious snacks as I have been, lest it should upset their digestion.
     Of course, it is every scribbler's dream to touch the heart of the reader; with the rattle of the typewriter in my ears punctuated by belches (excuse me). I feel happy to know that I have moved someone's heart, even if it was my own.
Faint hearts and love-potions
     It reminds me of the story of a young man who tried to win the object of his affections by using a love-potion. The Myanmar youths of olden days believed that love-potion, talismans and charms helped them in their wooing. A faint-heart could be a gallant and win the heart of a coy maiden with such aids.
     There were witch doctors and local wise men who were only too willing to help for a fee. The recipes were varied; there were those which must be sprayed on the face and hair of the swain, so that he would look charming to the girl. But it was believed that the most effective was something that could be taken orally by the girl favour th young man desired.
Double potion needed
     Once a young man went to a wise man and begged for something that might help him in his courtship. Since the girl was fond of chewing betel, the wise man gave the young man a betel quid in which the love-potion was put. He was to go to the girl and offer it to have another betel quid, in case one was not enough. So the wise man gave him another.
     The young man went to the girl at the usual courting time in the afternoon when the girl sat on the veranda, spinning. After some pleasantries, he offered her the betel quid, which she accepted with thanks. The young man watched her chew it, fascinated by the dainty way she lined the contour of her tips with the tips of her little finger, so that the betel juice would not spill out.
In praise of betel quid
     She commented on the flavour of the betel quid, how sweet it was, so on and so forth. The young man was pleased; the potion must be working beautifully. He recited a song extolling the ingredients of the betel quid:
"Form Ta-dar-Oo, come the soft tender leaves
Flavoured with tabacco from Nga-myar,
Betel nuts from Toungoo,
Lime from Sagaing and cutch from Pyay,
Made up of all these -- this betel quid,
Oh chew softly -- softly chew".
Ta-da-Oo, Nga-myar, Toungoo, Sagaing and Pyay are towns still well known for the said products, betel leaves, tobacco, betel nuts, lime, and cutch; the ingredients for making a betel quid.
The swain's finest hour
     The girl smiled and said that the quid was all the sweeter because of poetic wit. The young man was excited; he thought this was his finest hour. So he pressed his suit. To his surprise, the girl would not say yes. He thought it was impossible, because the wise man had said that this love-potion had never failed, supporting the statement with stories of evidence.
     The young man felt for sure that the postion must work. He would try it again. But instead of giving the second betel quid to the girl he chewed it himself because he wanted to find out for himself just how it worked. He chewed it and he found that he loved the girl all the more. So he said that it was impossible that she should not love him at all because he found himself in love with her a thousand fold after chewing the betel quid. It the potion worked on him, it should work on the girl too!
     The girl shook her head tolerantly, and tactfully led the conversation to other things and the young man had to come home disappointed, still not understanding why the love-potion had not worked the other way.
     Now, the eloquence of my writing worked on me wonderfully and I do not see why it should not work on others as well!
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