Sizzling with the heat of prayer made too long and a thought stuck on one, Nuan Tian Teng found his sweaty forehead seared with the mark of contemplation. A devout follower of the Buddhist faith, his skin was remarkably cool to the touch despite the exposed tissue below the surface of skin.
A vaunted regular at the Spice Boys Indian takeaway restaurant in the Hunter Connection, Teng was caught off guard by a remark made on his regular mid morning journey to the hole in the wall. Finding the mysterious concept too consuming, his thoughts lay his head on the bain marie for the weight and wait.
Other customers, who jokingly refer to him as "legless and lawless" for his apparent drunken demeanour so early every morning, took no notice and ordered their lunches before the late afternoon clear out.
Only on the sharp smell of burning flesh did the owner of the restaurant facing break Teng from his deep meditative state.
Asked what he had been thinking, Teng could only mutter through a mouthful of curried rice, while drooling sauce from his left nostril.
Written on Wednesday, 25 January 2006