I think I am just a kid that is easily electrified by new things. How Ms. Priti understands me just by talking to me for a couple of minutes everyday I do not know, but there was a time I felt guilty and swore to be less adventurous. The reply I got from her was pretty damn quick: Please don’t. Be yourself. Perhaps I was a little sadistic to laugh when she said I was stupid by attempting to travel in a guys’ compartment that ended up with my body and laptop bag separated in and outside of the train.
Being away at some point, other than suffering from homesickness, you will have the advantage to connect to people whom you don’t usually interact with back at home. Close friends are more concerned with your daily life with viber-ing and whatsapp-ing (thanks to Steve’s iPhone) starting from around 6am everyday. My address here is also another piece of hot cake and sometimes I thought eventually someone will send me some cash, if I really ask for it!
I was supposed to pen these down on Oct 6 2011. However the passing of Steve made me postpone it. I thought partially God knows I will be sharing another getaway with a truly heartwarming family. I was sick for the past whole week which started with a really bad throat infection. It was so nasty that I could barely do without a Soresil (Strepsil in India) in my mouth, even when I was sleeping. That one night I was in pain and I wasn’t even sure that i was dreaming. Ms. Priti was at my bedside and she was holding my hand. The next day I woke up and my sore throat was gone. Before I managed to say a prayer of appreciation, I started coughing, at least for 10 minutes. So here the day went by. I tried the easier way out and the cough syrup I got from the pharmacy put the cough to death. The next day I woke up with a lighter heart. Then the 3rd wave came. I found a patch of blisters on my left armpit. I started to get really panicked by the sight of it, thinking about few days back when I traveled downtown and on the train I was cramped between the wall and the lady beside me. Unable to describe my situation to the pharmacist and feeling awkward, I called the helpful Dr. Seema and she diagnosed that might be caused by some spider bites. How perfect! On the same day, I called home and found out that mom was sick. The helplessness started to sink in. I was so far away and I couldn’t even help myself out of this mess. As I always do, I talked to a couple of friends and sent a short message to Ms. Priti. I was actually weeping in contrast with the loud Dussehra music outside with the local people were celebrating the festival. In fact, it was the first night I didn’t feel great but dreadful.
It took me almost two days to get over the stitching pain on my arm and for doctor to confirm mom is at least ok. On Saturday morning I have got 3 messages on my mobile. 0600, 0630 and 0720. The third one literally made me jump out of bed. I was offered an extended trip to Ms. Priti’s house (with the originally planned walk to the train station together). Her son was turning 6, the family and friends will be celebrating for him. The feeling of being part of something really lightened me up. If I have come to India and just stick to being alone, that will be a great loss for me, comparable to losing a big chunk of my savings. It was also the first time I got onto a train headed north from Andheri. I was greeted by the two adorable kids, Nathan in fact reminded me so much of my brother. His smile, his lanky figure and of course his bossy sister. 🙂
It was a pleasant afternoon, followed by a pleasant evening. We chatted on the front steps of the house, which brought me back to my childhood memories when I sat on the long bench in front of our now-demolished kampong house, chatting with my late grandpa and grandma. Then I took a short walk with Ms.Priti for some groceries, some puris and some badminton with the kids. At night I joined all the family members and friends to sing the birthday song, share some jokes, enjoy the food and alcohol (breeze, homemade wine and whisky oh yes!) before going to bed. I was actually fast asleep, totally drained because all my energy was spent on being happy and smiling all the time. I got back the next day, after a trip to the church, and I started this after my lunch, which was around 3 o’clock, 9 hours ago.
It has been an amazing ride. It amazed me how people can be really helpful to you even they don’t know you. Sometimes I admired the people here who can be truly happy and their smiles are always so real and heartfelt. Expressions. Gestures. Just like every pat at the back of me from Ms. Priti, so much of encouragement, affection and truly sincere. I guess that’s why I always tried to make her annoy, just to get her to hit me. Perhaps I have been living in a transparent shell before this, well-protected by the rules and perceptions which even myself was not aware of. There were a few moments when I closed my eyes at night that I found all these too surreal. I was actually afraid of the feeling of satisfaction and wanting for more just went dead when I woke up. How stupid. I have already lived that once. It will not change and even if tomorrow there are less adventures, inspiration and satisfaction, my heart will know what’s next.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
And my heart has led me here.