When I was a child, I spent every weekend at my grandparent’s home, and on Sunday evening I would tearfully get into my father’s jungle green Volvo and quietly cry for most of the ride home.
It wasn’t just the idea of the weekend ending that crushed me but the fear that there would never be another like it.
I’d always have a magical time being spoilt silly by my grandfather, indulged by my grandmother and entertained endlessly by my uncles and aunts who filled the precious 48 hours with games and trivia quizzes and puzzles to solve.
Even after my grandfather passed away, even after my uncles and aunts flew the coop, even after I started lugging my homework along with me to finish off before the school week began, even after all that the weekends at Taman Desa were constantly suffused with love and laughter.
And yet, every Sunday night as we sped home along the Federal Highway, I forgot the happiness that I had just experienced and gave in to the dread.
When I think back to those rides now in the back seat of Appa’s car, I wonder what could have caused such a shattering sadness in a 7, 8, 9 year old.
I remember the tightness in my chest from suppressing the sobs, and the feeling of hot tears caught in my eyelashes.
The cool window would be a momentary balm for my forehead but soon even the glass would take on the temperature of my defeat.
It wasn’t the prospect of a school week ahead, actually no. I typed the words convincing myself that school wasn’t the problem but in all honesty it was.
I was sad because I didn’t want to be around other children whom I had so little in common with.
I didn’t want my name to be mispronounced by teachers, I didn’t want to sit in the back and squint even with my Coke-bottle glasses, I didn’t want the numbers and letters to swim unsynchronised on a blackboard, I didn’t want to feel like an outsider whom would never be part of the pack.
I wanted to be normal. I’d spend the next 30 years trying to figure out what that meant.
And today, on a Sunday evening, I wish I was sitting next to the 7 year old me in the back seat of my father’s car, to hold her hand and reassure her. We will be ok, Sumitra. We are ok, right now ❤️