Here's a gem of a picture.Taken at my 5th birthday bash. Im standing on the furthest left in all dark brown.Jeeva, the chief researcher for this blog is second from the right in the second row.Still on the back row and third to the left of Jeeva is Declan (Mr.Devadas's son) and to the left of him is his sister in all red, Sharmen.The girl standing to the right of me in yellow is Sabrina and to her immediate right is her older sister Shirin.The toddler in red is their youngest sister,Amelia.Missing from the photo is Nazrin, which makes up the four girls (Mr.Naidu's daughters) who I have known all my life,and lived as my neighbour in St.Aidan until 1980. The toddler in yellow is my sis, Mala. The girl on the furthest right is Ting Pei Pei, the daughter of Mr.Ting,another wonderful ex-teacher of St.Aidan who lived in the school quarters and were neighbours to Mr.Nadarajah.To the left of Pei Pei is Helen (who i used to label goldilocks) from UK and beside her is Alison from the US.
Alison was my biggest nightmare back then. She used to be so friendly to me and would follow me wherever I went during my kindergarden days. She'd always want to share her biscuits and drinks with me,and greedy me would take the offerings and run as far as I could from her. One day during our break, she came and sat beside me while I was chomping away on my favourite jam biscuit.Then she surprised me with a quick peck on my cheek.I freaked out,and pushed her hard away from me,in the process hitting her nose. I remember her fleeing away in tears and although I didnt mean any harm, I was grinning from ear to ear. I must have thought "that'll teach her!". Yeah,it taught her alright.She squealed to her mum, and her mum came immediately to my house to complain.Good god.The fit my mum went into about me hitting a girl. I remember clearly my mum breaking a long twig from our guava tree, and chasing me around the house with her self made "rotan". After several lashes, a painful twist of my ear and a humiliating "sorry" to alison, I made up my mind never to speak to her ever again.
It was all I could ever remember of this beautiful 5 year old blue-eyed american lass because a few months later they left Bahau... and I never heard from them ever again(her dad was an expat attached to the estates and they moved with his job).Many,many years later, I would seek out her photo in my old albums to try as hard as I could to remember any details about where she eventually left to,but my memory would fail me everytime. It's funny that after all these years I still miss someone whom I despised during my childhood. The amazing thing was,she was always nice to me, and I took her friendship for granted.It taught me a huge lesson in life and embedded a friendship philosophy in me till this very day. "Never take anyone for granted because you wont know a good thing, until it's gone!"
It's too late for regrets, but she will live long in my memory and I hope someday, our paths shall cross again.