Leaving

October 14, 2008
By
Clothes, food, books and even bits of yesterday’s newspaper were scattered around the house in an uneven manner. The suitcases were displayed everywhere. Water sprayed the floor, making it look like a mountain of garbage. I stalked into the rooms slowly not wanting to get into the mess of it all.

Walking into my own room, I noticed the neatness that had overtaken the mad, grubby and disastrous room I used to have. Everything was changing, in a few days we would be off to another land, whose customs differed so greatly it throbbed my head to think of a way out of it. I leaned onto my bedspread thinking of how I had spent time on this tiny, miniscule island, the cycling on the beaches, spending time with friends and family, everything that related to Singapore just popped into my cranium. I shook aside my restless thoughts just when I heard my mother calling out to me. I promptly stood up and stretched myself for a bit before standing beside her, ever ready to help. Once the job was done, another job cropped up, cooking something, making chai, or even giving my opinion on something.

There was always something to do. Our close friends (Tulika auntie, Prabha auntie and Aarti) came around everyday to do all they could to help out. They obviously felt sad that we were leaving and we tried to spend as much time as possible with them. We had been clearing out our closets, throwing away all those clothes we didn’t need even if they had sentimental value, there was a purpose behind everything and ours was to carry only the important things along. Throwing out or giving away everything that belonged to us, erased the few more things we had to cherish, which indirectly brought along the sudden bursts of anger and resentment along with bursts of sadness and emptiness. Everything had been a blur, buying the suitcases, eating lunch, or even watching television. The only thought which haunts us all is the parting day, the last day to be spent where we grew up. Every thought leads to that one, and to keep ourselves from thinking about it too often, we work. We push away that pain making ourselves harder, feeling stronger than we really are.

Chatting with my cousins I got to know the land of Canadians better. The amount of information I have been trying to cram into my skull about them is entirely preposterous. The system of school, the standard of living, geography, lifestyle, everything is utterly different from what we have come to get used to. Of course aside from all that, the past few days have been memorable, meeting friends in school and even spending time with Aarti, Avik, Abhishek and the rest of the kiddies. Playing games on the computer, discussing everything possible, and watching movies once again we all were led to forget about the near future.

Lying down on the bed once again at the end of the day, I thought of the time at the beach, the gentle breeze had played with our hair, calling us towards the sea. Aarti and I sat on the rocks thinking, just reliving in the pleasure, the soothing sound of the waves splashing onto the shore and the salty smell of the sea. By then, the stars had appeared out of nowhere. The shining stars looked like a sanctuary of unshed tears. Memories rushed through my mind while I was resting on the rocks, holding back the tears. Loud music was emanating from a club nearby, a melody of monotonous sounds. Aarti and I walked toward the soft sand, the expensive sand as they called it, it was of course softer than I could imagine. Sitting down on the sand, we discussed our lives, our future and all the times we had shared. Sifting through the sand we let ourselves get lost into the beauty of it all – the beach, the lake, the waves and the sea.

Like everyone else my mind wandered from one thought to another like a plane zooming to different continents. It zigzagged through everything like a rollercoaster ride without the thrill and euphoria. Instilled in my memory were the first few days of kindergarten where I hated everything from the teachers to the students, the first few days in my beloved Swiss Cottage where I met Ankit and Sanika, a friendship that was to last forever. Soon, I made more friends than I could imagine (Aarti, Avik, Tanuf, Abhishek and many others), and ate more than ever. I had become a human pumpkin by the age of 10, I thought with a smile. It seemed that the river of memories would never stop flowing. My schools in Singapore – Swiss cottage, Balestier Hill, Bukit View, and GIIS, all deserved some respect for they all had contributed to the individual I am today, that I am to become.

In the evening when I was walking down the lane, a sudden burst of light jolted me out of my restless thoughts. Realizing it was just a street lamp, I walked on staring at the starry night with a fixed glare. I felt as if the very world was crumbling beneath my toes, the very earth that I had learnt to tread upon. The dark lane of doubts clouded my moonlit mind with thoughts of my near future. The journey towards complexity, the journey towards light. The lidded curvatures of my eyes closed shut, trying to shelter the inner soul from the bright light, like I was trying to shelter myself from the new. The calm sultry night brought a new shiver down my spine, the dangers the quiet brought were quite unknown to the victim alone, I thought. The eve of the departing day was rushing toward me like the river rushing towards its end, the sea. Memories of the past washed over me as if a bucket of ice cold water had descended upon my forehead. The many houses I had grown up in, the schools, friends and everything, slowly entered my mind like autumn drifts into winter. I stood numb, clutching onto the railing for support. It was like a jolt of lightning passing through me, the day was as close as my sister to me. Catching my breath again, I thought with a slight sense of annoyance, “Leaving this island isn’t as easy as it seems”.





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