Saturday, January 19, 2008


This is a story of my childhood. It still haunts my parents it seems, or at least that is what they claim, though I sometimes feel it was a plan of their's foiled by my 'lightning fast reflexes' and 'mercurial thinking'. Or maybe not.
I was 7, and my sister was 5. We used to live in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia back then.
It was the weekend, a Friday! and we were on on our 'weekly family shopping spree' a must for all Indians there, for the lack of a better way to spend free time.
I used to hate it. I hate shopping. Shopping is the reason I feel the devil exists. It is the most boring human activity possible.
On our way to Al-Khobar from Dammam, which is a bit like going from Secunderabad to Hyderabad, we bought some Ice-Cream. I finished mine soon, as always. My dad then stops his car by the side of a big mall. We had to return a lamp shade or something there, I knew this was on the agenda because I would always overhear my parents talking and I had heard them talk. So I ask my sister to get out and then step out of the vehicle. She is a bit slow, she is still savoring her Ice-cream, as always.

I and my sister, we wait for my dad to kill the engine and the parents to step out of the car...

"Something's wrong, it is taking them too long !"

"Hey what is this ???"

"My dad is driving off ???"

"He is really driving off !!! "

"Is this some kind of a joke ? Have they forgotten that they have kids ? Maybe they didn't like my dismal performance at school."

"Holy shit, my sis is with me!"

What has she done ?

"Wait, should I scream ?"

No use. Let's see, sis is still busy with the ice cream. She has no clue.

'Hey! where are they ?'

She looks around,
she realizes !
she doesn't want the ice cream anymore.

She starts crying.

I tell her to drop the cup and run !
She resists, she wants to cry. She wants mommy back.

I can't think. I feel I have no other option. This is not my country, I do not know Arabic. I was afraid of strangers, especially the 'chocolate offering' kind. I have to chase after them. I hold her hand, and run in the direction that they went in. I beg her to run. They have taken a turn to the right, they are stopped in front of the mall, a car is next to them, we must have run what felt like a 'mile', I really do not remember how far we ran.
My sister is crying her eyes out, I am dragging her, I don't want to get back without her, they'll fucking kill me if I arrive without my sister.
I am 7 for crying out loud! I am not ready for this kind of responsibility, hell I STILL ain't.
Somehow, they have stopped, thank god!

They are expecting us. I don't know that I am supposed to be angry at them. I am just happy to have found them again.

Apparently, they had a change of plan for some reason at the last moment and decided to get back later. They hadn't realized that the kids(us) had gotten out. They were busy savoring the Ice cream. A bunch of Saudi kids had seen us being left behind. They had caught up to my parents, in their car, yelling 'Where kids ? Where kids ?' at my parents.
That was when they turned back and saw us missing.
That was when I arrived, carrying my sister.(well, the last few meters at least.)

Do I have the best parents in the world or what :S

True, down to the last word.

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. -Robert Fulghum

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