The Wonder Years


My earliest memory is of school. A playground, tents and nap time. No wonder it’s so clear. I was always the ‘quiet’ one, the ‘shy’ one and somehow the ‘pretty’ one. I didn’t like talking from the beginning. I never spoke in class unless I was asked to. I had one friend. My best friend who was a lot like me so somehow it clicked.

My father was known to be a charismatic man. We lost him very early in life. Family and friends often said I look like him, behave like him. But, I had no memory. I still only know what he’s like through photographs and stories. I do wish we had more time with him. I’d like to know first had of what us so much alike.

In school I was once chosen to play a main character in a play. I don’t know why they chose me. In my opinion I was quite a mess. But then again I was probably 7 or 8 years old or so. I didn’t have a single dialogue. Just a few expressions – “Look Sad”, “Look Happy”, “Look scared”. It is here I saw the first boy who made me smile. He was acting in the play too. He was supposed to cheer me up when I was sad but in my heart I was already smiling. Childhood crushes have their own special place. But at that age liking a boy wasn’t your best move. You’d get teased and made fun of. So this was another feeling I kept to myself. We became friends eventually but lost touch and I never came around to telling him he was special.

In Class 5, my best friend left. She moved to the states which was so far away that the only way we communicated was through letters. Here is where I discovered my love for writing letters and more so receiving handwritten ones. It’s not the same with emails. I miss letters. I still write them as often as possible.

I made new friends in the coming years. But so many of them moved away. Some wrote back, some didn’t. School was day boarding so by the time we got home it was evening. We’d go out and play with the neighborhood kids. Here we made our ‘colony friends’. It’s funny how we have our school friends, work friends, college friends, colony friends, Facebook friends now. But very few real friends.  Those who we can speak our mind with and maybe write letters to.

I was extremely possessive about my close friends. I never wanted to let them go. I felt terrible when they made new friends. I think that made me a bit bitter in a sense. In my defense, it was difficult to open up to a new person, who decides to leave or find new friends, and you’re stuck with nobody. Being selfish I guess.

My escape from the pains of growing up were always Disney’s animated classics. I felt I was The Little Mermaid swimming in her ocean when I saw the film. I watched the films back to back memorizing the songs and dialogue. It was magical. Till this date, I have dreamed to visit Disneyland in the US but have only managed to get as far as Hong Kong. But someday I’ll get there.




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