I was waiting at the train station the other day, all ready to take out a book and start reading to pass the time when I decided against it. On the bench in front of me were these three kids, around 11 to 13 years old, sitting mostly in silence. From time to time the one on the right would talk to the boy in the middle and ask him a question in English with the cutest Chinese accent. Not a deep one but enough that one could tell that he was from those parts. Watching their conversation dynamic, I realised that the one on the extreme left spoke Chinese and French, the one in the middle spoke English and French and the one on the right spoke Chinese and English. It was the perfect game to watch because they tossed and translated for the other when they wished to include a third into the conversation. So it would start with English between boy 1 and boy 2, then Chinese between boy 1 and boy 3, then French between boy 3 and boy 2.
This is what I love about living here, that these boys were talking about their experiences in yet other places where they had lived. I love that I come from this place where you can admire these exchanges taking place. I love this airy-fairy concept of understanding and communicating beyond cultures. At the Centre, I remember watching a little Gujrati boy who had yet not outgrown his baby lisp, communicating with another little boy in the sweetest, cutest, broken Urdu. You could tell his version of Urdu was enough for the other boy. After all, this was communication for the sake of playing.
I love living in a place where going to the mosque means seeing so many different nationalities, so many sights and sounds, so many ways of dressing, so many different ways of praying. Eid is a mela on it’s own. I can’t wait for this one just to see that again.
I also love living in a place where summers are for swimming, surfing, barbecues, late night sheesha sessions in dimly-lit cafes, and the winters are for mountain chalets, ice-skating and snow-boarding. And even though I have itchy feet, and even though I may not stay here long, I did yearn to come back here when I was away, and so here I am.