"Evaluate a significant experience or achievement that has special meaning to you."
With a cup of warm milk in hand, I stepped on to the roof of our house. It was a chilly post-rain morning and I didn't have a clue why I was up there. When I reached the top, I reflected on my memories. I envisioned this seven-year-old child prancing and skipping on the rooftop, following the paths of her imaginative, innocent mind which perhaps only a seven-year-old could fathom: being a little fairy who grants her own wishes; a monster about to gulp down her little brother; and, of course, the beautiful princess who marries a gorgeous prince and lives happily ever after.
As I opened my eyes, I scanned the damp terrace. Its gigantic walls that once protected me from the outer forces of evil were now only at my waist. The colossal coconut branches that once protected me from monsoons could now be trampled with one simple step. After gorging the now-cold cup of milk, I went downstairs. I noticed something strange. What happened to the "restaurant" we used to run? I swear we had those tall cooks with aprons and weapon-like utensils who used our long countertops to chop and fry vegetables. Where was that huge tray where all the dishes were placed to serve me? As I stepped out of the kitchen, the same feeling crept in. I always remembered living in a mansion. Had it shrunk? When I asked my mom, she gave me a perplexed look as though I had just left a mental hospital.
I heard several quarrels within our home, ones I had never before noticed. I viewed sides of our family that I had never seen before. Adults whom I had once regarded as the "bestest" people in the world were now simply minds with thoughts completely different from me. The people whose words used to be right to me were now wrong, although I never mentioned it. As I walked the streets, I hardly received a smile or even a glance. People strolled their own way and I was forced to do the same. The advice always given to me was " ... be careful out there - you're not looked upon as a little girl anymore ... "
Sometimes I wish that the dreams of the seven-year-old had come true. But then again I'm happy that she grew up to perceive life and its realities. After spending three weeks in my home country, and covering six years of lost distance, I could only ask myself one question: has the world changed or have I? -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.