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The time I have spent traveling in cars could add up to months by now. Initially I was traveling with family to explore places together. I came away with memories, mostly forgotten now. Memories that don’t leave me alone even today are memories of when I started experiencing on my own. Jab Hosh aya toh pata chala ki duniya bohot badi hai. India is big, really big but there are other worlds out there, and I dont mean White worlds.

This world was rocky, dry and remote. Oman, the country I fled from later, the memories that make me nostalgic now.

I was 9 when I went there. Ibri was a small town on the fringes of the country, far far away from the capital, Muscat and four hours away from UAE. I had learned to identify the scanty lights from experience in those back roads of Oman connecting me to UAE. Dad was in UAE, working in Advertising. Living, sharing space with another family that was Bangladeshi.

Mom had a government job so we had a villa to ourselves in Tanam Campus, Ibri, Oman. If you feel like looking up this remote corner of the world that’s what you need to type into your computer – Tanam Campus, Ibri, Oman. My address for two years.

I may have hated the isolation of that world but today I remember only the people who were there with me sharing this experience with me to whom I want to go back.

Mariam had four elder brothers. She was from Kashmir, Pakistan. She was a tomboy like me. Maybe all kids our age are genderless. She told me how her teacher hit a child so hard that she bled from her ears. I remember Mariam for her beauty, brashness and this story. Her elder brothers were probably one of the most good looking boys I had seen. I can’t remember their names but I remember that the eldest brother who was a  teenager then and on whom I had a huge crush was exactly the kind of guy who would comfort a child and protect her. I was always the goal keeper when we played football, or the worst player when playing pithu, but he always took me in his team. I am grateful to him for that, for not neglecting this siblingless child.

Saniya was my classmate and we were frenemies. We had the same best friend and hated each other for having to share our mutual best friend’s attention. She was one of the few people I could track down on facebook years after coming back from Oman. I facebook  stalk her sometimes, she graduated recently and lives in Abu Dhabi.

One of my dearest friends I still haven’t been able to find on facebook. Saboor was 5 when I was 9 and his sister Shera was around 3. We played at each other’s house because they weren’t allowed to stay out till late. They were really young now that I think about it. We all had to go to the same school. Indian School, Ibri,Oman. Adeel and I met on facebook even though we can’t remember each other so much from school. He’s the funnest ( is that a word?) guy I have met. Whenever I ask him how he is doing he would say Fantastic,awesome,great. His love for superlatives is as endearing as his love for life. He’s also the biggest flirt I have seen. He never went back to Karachi. His home is now in Sur,Oman. Funnily enough, we always end up debating about The Mentalist and tattoos.

” I agree with you on The Mentalist.”

“Yeah. That’s because I told you about it.” 

Simon Baker’s character in The Mentalist is …

I digress.

Coming back to the point, I have had some greatest friendships on distant shores with those who are my neighbours because we shared the same experience of living in an alien world so we got together and made a community. I think this can happen with any two people who know how to communicate and find the common points amongst themselves.

We had found ours.

Originally posted on Campusdiaries.com – https://campusdiaries.com/stories/memories-from-another-life

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