You had a really good dream but can’t recall the events in it and then you wake up.
You woke up on your own because you had reached the saturation point of lying-in bed – sweetness turned into bitter.
You walk out to see your cousin (let’s call him Spipam) all
dressed in draped in the bell– never-ending –bottom pants tucked in his chest waiting for the school bus, a few steps towards Spipam, and the bus driver honks, the bus is here, Spipam rushes with his bag into the bus. The bus starts to move and “he forgot his lunch bag”, your aunt gasps the next moment. You grab the bag and yell at the bus, the bus slows down but doesn’t stop, rather the conductor anna puts his hand out like Shahrukh khan – you already rushing like Meenamma with the lunch bag in one hand and sense of duty in the other in delivering the ‘package’.
Who did you think you were – Double O Seven?
Delivering the package wasn’t your duty but to be on that very bus with your cousin going to school was! ‘Wait a minute – Who are you¿’
I am just another mediocre kid who is about to witness a trail of events that are going to change everything about me – It started with my mum applying for an indefinite holiday with the School, Holidays are all fun and games(literally) until you’re the only one sitting at home when all your friends have School – sweetness turned into bitter.
Apparently, I was going on a journey to the end of the world where my dad lives. This place was called (kathar). 15 years in Qatar, things have changed drastically and I still haven’t got the logic behind pronouncing Q-A-T-A-R as kathar. The first thing I noticed upon arrival – you know those fancy flip-phones you would flip open and it would sing. I flipped open the same phone here – it sang “Ya Taiba Ya Taiba Ya Da walae yaana”, apparently this was an attempt to translate “I’m a barbie girl”; Such a scam – my whole outlook on toys took a turn for the worse – sweetness turned into bitter.
I got admitted into Birla Public School – Doha Qatar, I knew with certainty – the trail of events had begun when I got to know we had to report for school at 7 in the morning which meant the bus would be here at 6 which meant I need to wake up before 5 which meant the alarm started crying at 4 – but that’s how schools are in the middle east.
Start early – Finish Early – but we (“gulf kids”) never woke up Early.
I have a lot of memories with this school, it has given me exposure to foreign cultures and traditions. The dramatic conductor Anna was now replaced with a young conductress who was pretty(*wink) and Filipino. She would greet us every morning with ‘kumusta kayo’ meaning ‘how are you’ in Filipino. Initially, we would just nod and walk our way in but eventually, we started replying ‘mabuthe’ which meant all good. When I was in my fifth grade, we moved to this gated community – a compound with around 400 houses, my school friends now became my neighbors and remember Spipam – the guy who still wore bell-bottom pants now – moved to Qatar, joined the same school and even lived in the same compound – what more could I ask for? I and Spipam are so close – You can either be a mutual friend or a no friend to the both of us – there’s no in-between.
I knew something was not right, it wasn’t ‘sweet’ anymore – it was cloyed. My sweetness has always turned bitter, trying to find a term for bitterer-bitter was the need and my fear of the hour.
I passed out of school and made it to VIT. Had the bat, the Chinese dude chose to eat been bitter; my
bitterer-bitter wouldn’t have hit us in the form of a pandemic. You now enjoy the indefinite holiday – I once dreaded after experiencing. Long way to go – Godspeed my child!
This world isn’t your wish-granting Factory but developing the maturity to enjoy the taste of bitter enhances the value of sweet that persists forever.
Every change is hard in the beginning; messy in between and beautiful in the end so trust the process – We are in this(pandemic) together!