08/10/2017 by Siddiqui Fayesal
The past two weeks have proven to be something of a throwback to my school days. It says something about the experience because I Hate, yes, the caps are intentional, using the word “throwback”; just like I hate using words like “scrumptious” or hearing words like “the-script-demanded-it”.
Anyway, I spent the week before last writing assignments for my Master degree and I was pleasantly reminded of the time when I had to write pages and pages of material before it became a chore. I don’t count my time doing Chartered Accountancy as fruitful or fun, so I’m going to ignore it and hopefully, it’ll be blocked and blacked out from memory forever so I don’t have to whine about it every time I think about it.
Like now, for instance. Sigh.
So, while I was writing my assignment I noted that I still left the first and the last line while writing. Thoughts of Anthony flooded through like a deluge. I sat stunned for a second and noticed a slow smile stretch across my face. Anthony was my partner in class 5.
Anthony was my partner in class 5. And he ran like the wind.
And he was fun. He was my first
He was my first boarder friend and who considered me close enough to share his “mango sweet” with me. He was in it only for the stickers that came along with it. He was the one who gave me the excellent idea of making a scrapbook of those stickers. All cricketers, hundreds of them frozen in time and stuck on the pages of a two hundred page notebook (with a Spinosaurus on the cover. I coloured it pink for some unfathomable reason).
He was the one who made rude jokes and spoke English like a native. It sounded like that to me, at least. Those boarder fellows knew the lyrics of all Vengaboys and Backstreet Boys’s songs… and they sang them better than the boy band could… We were 11 years old for god’s sake.
He was the one who told me that if I leave the first line of the page the writing will look cleaner and neater. His writing was like calligraphy, I swear. He was short of stature, a wee bit healthy but he ran like the wind? We had 100-metre races before the sports day and my timing hovered around 21 or 22 (maybe it was 24, I’m not sure. I was slooow) and he used to race through the tracks with a 17 or 18. He was among the top 3 in grade 5; and easily, in the top 10 till grade 7.
This was obviously before Sajjad Alam came to study with fellow Peters. He was a goddamn alien among us humans. When I say ‘us’ I don’t include myself. I ran like a potato going uphill. My tummy jingling like a sack of rice and my face a beetroot red. I significantly remember one time when my running shoes somehow slipped out of my feet. The kind of smart ass I am I sat down to wear them. My timing was a lethel 35 seconds.
What do I say, I was slow when I was a kid. Can’t be too sure about it even today, to be honest.
Anyway, my memories are painted in bright colours when it comes to certain things about my school days. I remember certain people who none of my classmates remember. Just the other day I asked a few if they remembered this fellow from Oman called Joshua Pinto (a wee bit confused about ‘Pinto’, but almost sure) or that guy who came from Bahrain (Or, was it Kuwait?) called Nemat Sheikh, both from grade 5. Zip. Nada.
Maybe I ought to ask more people.
My assignments were pretty interesting and these sudden flashbacks made it even more memorable.
I tried hunting down Anthony on Facebook but didn’t find him. I don’t even know if he’ll remember me. I was quiet and shy, but I sat next to him for a whole damn year!