The Moon Rabbit

When I was little, I was very fond of the moon.
It would always seem to follow us when we were driving back home from an occasion.
On one certain night like this, I still remember tugging at the seat belt so I could clearly look out the window and see the moon.
That’s when my mother who was sitting in front told me a very “believable” story about the darker spots on the moon which I had enquired about.

So, time flew by.. and when I was in the 3rd/4th grade, we began learning about the moon.
My teacher asked the class what those dark spots were.. and I bravely, with full conviction said :


Once upon a time, there was a mama rabbit and a baby rabbit.
The baby rabbit  was very playful and would always hop around here and there, wanting to explore this strange world that it had been brought into. Hopping around with the butterflies and the bees.
Mama rabbit would constantly hop after her baby, warning the young one of the dangers of going too far.

One day, the baby rabbit saw the moon! It was so big, and bright and beautifully white! Just like the baby rabbit and it longed to see what the moon was like.
So the rabbit pleaded to its mother to let it jump to the moon.
Mama rabbit strictly said no, and begged the rabbit to stay.
But the angry baby rabbit jumped and hopped away.That’s when a fairy rabbit came and told the baby that it would take it to the wonderful moon!
Baby rabbit was overjoyed, but the fairy said that she would, on one condition – Once the rabbit goes to the moon, it cannot come back.

Baby rabbit didn’t care! It wanted to go to the moon so much that it didn’t think of the consequences.
So the baby rabbit was granted its wish, and went to the moon!
The fairy disappeared, and baby rabbit was all alone.
At first it seemed nice, a whole new world to play around in. Baby rabbit hopped here and there.. but soon got bored and longed to see it’s mother again. The moon did not look as bright and as beautiful as it did from earth.. But it couldn’t go back!! It was stuck on the moon forever.

So the rabbit looked down sadly to earth- from the moon, regretting making that decision and wanting to go back.


That’s how it all happened.
Today whenever I look at the moon, I still see the poor rabbit, sitting there, unhappily. Wanting to come back down to earth. 😦
Oh, and as for that day in class.. My teacher never accepted it, despite me telling her that my mom told me, and that it was bound to be true!.. I guess I wasn’t convincing enough.. 😉


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Published in: on November 22, 2015 at 8:39 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Wedding

I was a lonely five year old when I discovered to my delight that I had cousins in faraway India, and that one was about to get married. My mother chatted excitedly over a twirl-corded home phone to my grandmother of wedding dates and such. Soon it was decided that we would attend my cousin Preethi’s wedding. From that day on, I cherished thoughts of my cousins becoming my best friends and playing tea-party with me.

The drive home from the airport in India was through a tarred road, grey and steaming in the summer heat. I gleefully sat in the back of a rickety ambassador car, savouring the sights and smells. Rows of coconut trees stood like sentinels along the sides of winding streets, their long trunks framing the lush green landscape. Small thatched roof homes, red tiled houses and elite hotels were arranged like blocks in a Tetris game. The air was a fruit flavoured cocktail of jackfruits and mangoes. On arriving at grandma’s house, a young lady with bouncing black curls came rushing towards us and lifted me out of the car. The sunlight daintily danced on her nose stud and her eyes glistened as she exclaimed how fast I had grown. My cousin, Preethi, was much taller than I had imagined her to be and I regretfully realised that she was too big to fit in my tea-party chair.

Soon, however, my thoughts flitted away from tea parties and flew towards wedding celebrations, inspired by the daily bustle of wedding talks and plans. The dusky mornings and evenings were spent with my cousin whom I started to grow quite fond of. We chased dragonflies in the garden and made garlands of jasmine flowers. Soft, orange sun-beams dribbled on napkins of green leaves and blossoming buds, as we listened to grandmother’s hilarious marriage advices while sucking the nectar from hibiscus flowers. Days flicked past like pages of a fairy tale and the magical wedding day dawned.

The wedding hall was a riot of colours. Enchanting melodies floated from the two-reeded nadaswaram ensemble. It gave wings to my heart and feet as I twirled like a peacock in my fabulous bottle-green skirt. The golden borders of my skirt weaved like waves into the green sea of silk as I pranced and danced. A train of girls with lighted lamps greeted and led the groom, Rajesh, to the dais whilst Preethi waited nervously at the entrance of the hall. Her lashes fluttered like butterflies around the auburn pools of her eyes. I found myself gazing at the rippling sari wrapped around her frame. Fringes of blazing gold, cobalt blue and bronze cascades shimmered, dazzling two hundred pairs of eyes as she swept forwards… The nadaswaram maestro’s ringing tunes rose to a crescendo and flowers rained down as Rajesh tied the knot.

The wedding feast that followed was fit for a king. Fluffy, aromatic rice was served on one side of the emerald banana leaf. Chutneys and curries of varied colours and flavours decorated the rest of the green platter like a painter’s palette. Fiery-red blobs of mango, lime and ginger pickles speckled the leaf’s tapering end. The creamy pudding dessert soothed and sweetened two-hundred tongues.

Soon, however, the sweet moments turned bitter when I saw my cousin leave in a car with Rajesh. A little while later, we too drove away and arrived at a houseboat swaying on rippling waters. The deck was sundrenched and fragrant with the polish of cashew resin. Coconut groves bent over the banks to greet us as we glided along the meandering backwaters. Melancholy gripped me as my thoughts sailed to the painful memories of my cousin who was no longer by my side. It was apparent that Rajesh had stolen her. My eyes shed hot tears and I felt my little world crumble before me. In those devastating moments I strung together the beads of my pain into a verse. The off-key strings of an old guitar echoed my pain as I sang:

Rajesh! You’re so mean… You’re taking my cousin a-way…

Why couldn’t, you marry.., some other, girl today…

The next evening at the reception, I scooted over to the newlyweds and sang my composition with animation. Rajesh seemed to be slightly intimidated by my lyrics and rile.

Weeks after the wedding, I was back at my grandma’s home. The house was still and silent though my mind resonated with the sounds of laughter and excitement of the days gone by. Mustard seeds spluttered in a pan as my mom fluttered around in the kitchen, cooking for guests who were expected for lunch. I peered through the curtains as a blue car streaked in through the driveway. On seeing my cousin emerge, I shot off like an arrow towards her. Rajesh stood by us as I hugged her. Her black curls still bounced and her nose stud still gleamed. She still smelt of the jasmine blossoms that we used to string together. The couple stayed till the next day and in that time I learnt how jovial and jolly Rajesh really was. He turned into a child who played tea-party with Preethi and me. I taught him how to make garlands and draw nectar from crimson hibiscuses. Rajesh was not so mean after all…

The next evening, as night inked its darkness over daylight’s horizon, my mother came to bid me goodnight and asked whether I was still upset about Preethi leaving. She received a vigorous head shake in the negative. I mumbled my happy reasoning of how I had not lost one cousin, but gained one more.

The memory of the wedding is still green in my mind. It was not only the first celebration that I was a part of, but also the first time that I felt the pangs of parting from loved ones. Most profoundly, I realised that when you lose something, you gain something from it too.

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Published in: on October 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM  Comments (1)  

Dances with Peacocks

A twilight molten sun peers through the canopy as I venture into the dusky green town, rifle in hand. Everything is silent, silently alive. I feel the moist caked earth crumbling beneath my feet with every step I take, exposing the wriggling worms that thrive in the squishy mud. Prickly sweat glues my shirt to the cooked bacon underneath. The sultry day whimpers a solemn goodbye after steaming this part of the earth. Vines of black bleed into the green life, as if one dunked everything in exquisite chocolate and wrapped each sweet in silvery moonlight toffee wrappers.

Fangs clipped to the stems of prickly shrubs sprawl over the area. A dry musty smell of aromatic buds on poisonous greens and tropical trees whisk through the humid air. Splendid logs of bark branch out into networks. The way their leaves rustle make me uneasy. I feel as if they are whispering secrets to one another, as if they know who I am and why I am here. Up high on the giant trees, from where the birds chirp adieu, nests sit delicately on slender balconies that offer the best views. Somewhere up there, eggs sit like dumplings, huddled together in the safety of their stick woven homes.

I walk deeper into the caving green, now carpeted with an abundance of crunchy foliage. The ground feels damper as I take an untravelled path. A nutty squirrel races between my legs in a mad dash to her safe haven drey from where other furry faces look out with anxious eyes. I stop and observe their heads bobbing up in turns, scanning for a few seconds the strange giant they see before them. I am brought back to the present as a call resonates through the forest and into my ears, a bittersweet call that I tread towards…

Surrounded by short bushes I spot my prize, strutting from side to side. A soft peachy sun-beam dribbles on leaves like green napkins and soon-to-blossom crinkled buds. I swiftly hold my rifle into position and load two glistening gold pellets. All of a sudden I hear a distinct rustling nearby and cautiously watch as a large dull-brown peahen shuffles into view. She stands next to the royal blue bird, pecking at the dirt, her gaze gently sailing towards her courter in aqua.

Suddenly a high pitched scream pierces my soul. I look down instantly only to see a rifle that is yet to be fired. Looking back up, I find myself gazing at a wave that rises from the blue bachelor. With a rippling side-to-side shimmy a train of blazing gold, cobalt blue and bronze opens and spreads like a fan, painting a new horizon. I stand electrified as strokes of brown feather hairs are speckled with magnificent turquoise blush. A galaxy of black eyes smeared with aqua and brass brilliance glare at me. Swaying in the cool wind, the peacock a black pearl, with his crest a shell, starts to dance.

Fanning his brown tail in a rhythmic desirous dance for the peahen that pecks at seeds nearby, he shakes his golden plumage and flutters his brown tail, exhibiting an exotic call of attraction. The epitome of beauty and royalty, the crowned emerald bird displays desires that can only be conveyed through his rhythmic steps. Wings swell and flutter in the waves of the wind. His long slender neck twists to spill sweet words to an unbothered bird. I crouch down and disarm myself. My eyes peeled at nothing but the fireworks that explode from the prancing peacock. I am overwhelmed by its majestic beauty, and somewhere in between the hunter in me surrenders and a human emerges.

Soaring into the sky the peahen and peacock take flight, free birds beating their luminous wings with vivacious life, to live another day and to dance another dance. As I stand still, feasting my eyes on their flight, my heart takes wing and flies for the joy and celebration of life. I begin to feel a kinship with all the creatures that share this beautiful planet with me.




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Published in: on September 1, 2014 at 1:22 PM  Comments (2)  

Narrative: The Lonely Bench

A cool summery breeze fluttered in through Belinda’s window as she wriggled and stretched, awakening from her slumber. Her mother did not have to wake her; Belinda was already trying to fit her head through her new checkered uniform dress. “Good morning darling…here let me help you with that” said Belinda’s mother. “I’m excited mommy! Let’s go!” “Not yet sweetie, you haven’t had your breakfast.” It was Belinda’s first day at school. A new country, new school and new experience. She waved to her mother with ebullient frenzy as she entered her classroom, Room 01.

“Alright! Get ready for your class test!” Said Mrs Amerworthy, the class teacher, quite unaware of Belinda’s shock. Mrs Amerworthy dictated the letters of the alphabet with short pauses as pens danced in unstable clasps. How could Belinda tell the teacher that she did not know her ABC’s? Tears filled her eyes and dropped to the blank piece of paper, making soft splodges on the white sheet…

At lunchtime, Belinda wandered around with her packed lunch, looking out at the different groups of playmates who collected christmas beetles from the roots of huge trees. At home time, Belinda’s mother came to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. “Hi sweetie! How was your first day?” Belinda shrugged and melted into tears. Her mother reassured her about the test, but that was not the problem; “Mommy, nobody played with me today. I was alone…”Belinda’s mother did not know how to comfort her child, she was at such a tender age when things like this meant the world. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “Tomorrow at lunchtime, how about you ask one of the girls to play with you?” And so she did.

The next day, Belinda went outside and scuttled towards a familiar face. “Hi my name is Linda, can I play with you?” she asked, a sunny smile etched on her face. The girls looked at each other and got into a group huddle. “Umm.. We already have enough people in our group… sorry,” they said. Belinda did not ask again.

Days passed and Belinda grew more upset. One day she woke up and said she didn’t want to go to school. Perhaps Belinda’s mother must have said something as the next day when Belinda entered class, Mrs Amerworthy went and sat beside her. “Do you like your new school? Have you made some friends?” She asked, already knowing the answers. Belinda hesitated. Nothing was more frightening than talking to her teacher! “Linda, how about you sit down on the bench that’s in the middle of the playground? If you don’t have a friend, just sit there and someone nice will come and ask to play with you.”

And so she sat there lunch after lunch and it became routine. She would buy a Popsicle from the baby blue canteen and sit herself on the green bench, hoping that it might just be the day that somebody would ask her to play. Every time a kid walked near the bench she would sit up eagerly. Waves of hope would rise in her little heart only to be shattered on the rocks of disappointment.

There came a day when Belinda became tired of sitting on the bench and instead spent her lunchtimes swinging on the monkey bars. Her little palms were blistered but she didn’t give up. On seeing the blisters her mother asked why she played on the bars even when it hurt. The mother’s heart ached for her daughter when she heard, “On the monkey bars, there are other kids around me and I feel like I have some friends Mommy.”

“Belinda dear,” she spoke, “One day another kid may feel lonely. And she would come sit on the bench too. Don’t you want to make her happy and be her friend? She would want a friend just as much as you.” Belinda realised that it was true. She would wait for that one lonely girl so she could give happiness to get it back.

Time passed and Belinda fell in love with nature. She admired the pine cones that fell from trees above as she sat on what she called The Lonely Bench. Months later on an auburn-autumn afternoon, Belinda noticed a girl with brunette hair, careening around, a little lost and afraid. However she did not come near the Lonely Bench and Belinda thought she would have found another playmate. By the end of lunch, Belinda watched as the girl waddled towards the Lonely Bench. She sat down at the other end, lightly. After a few glances at the new lonely companion, Belinda took a deep breath and counted to three…“Are you lonely like me?” She asked. The new girl tilted her head up and nodded gently…

At long last, the Lonely Bench became the Friendly Bench.

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Published in: on August 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM  Leave a Comment  


It had been ten years. A decade since Humperdinck had been banished to the land of MooMoo. MooMoo was the place where characters that did not follow the Fairy tale Code of Conduct were sent for rehabilitation and happily-ever-after counselling. Humperdinck was diagnosed with inappropriate interests syndrome, centred on conflict and war fascination. Ever since his diagnosis, Humperdinck had weekly lessons in fairy-tale romance and so forth. The first few months were extremely hard for Humperdinck as he was surrounded by fairy-tale felonies who had no respect for him and mocked his name. A few convicted fairytale criminals in his campus included Captain Hook, Ursula, Scar, Gaston and Jafar. Everyone stayed away from Jafar due to his hypnotic powers. The man could be seen brooding in his cell with a parrot seated on his shoulder. Most assumed he was probably devising another plan to conquer Arabia. Jafar often murmured the name ‘Aladdin’ in a disgusted tone, but no one would dare ask what he was referring to. Humperdinck however, was more interested than afraid, in Jafar’s works. He had heard of Jafar’s evil skills. The art of hypnotising intrigued and excited Humperdinck in a way that nothing else could.

Lord Farquaad was Humperdinck’s cell-mate and only companion. Humperdinck utterly despised every moment with that arrogant little man. However, their stories were exquisitely similar. The two did everything they could to become Kings of their land, yet both of them failed, miserably. Lord Farquaad spoke of his great kingdom and how some ogre named Shrek came along one day to ruin all his plans and steal his bride Fiona. Humperdinck soon understood why any female would have chosen an ogre over this man. Farquaad’s stories reminded Humperdinck of his bitter encounter with Westley, and how Florin had come to know of his evil plans. Not long after, Humperdinck was exiled to MooMoo where he was being guided in the path of perfect love- something he found torturous.

It was true, Humperdinck had no heart, and he waited for the day to break free from prison. One day, he would return to Florin and claim back his kingdom. He could not stand how peaceful it was there now. Humperdinck received news about Florin, once in a blue moon when Dread Pirate Roberts -Inigo, visited to give the ex-prince infuriating updates of peace, harmony and love. Humperdinck could not stand it any longer. It was the ex-prince’s mission to beat goodness once and for all, and the only way to get out was to complete his course in fairytale love, whilst behaving like a gentleman.

Soon after Humperdinck’s transformation into a prince charming prospect, the authorities at Fairy Tale Laws and Regulations cautiously considered his early release. They believed in hope, and since there was little hope for Humperdinck to marry and rule Florin again- (he now had wrinkles and had started greying.) The authorities decided to shorten Humperdinck’s term and set him free to set things right. Little did they know, Humperdinck was preparing to gather an army to invade Florin, de-crown whoever the current ruler was, and spark heat between Guilder and Florin like the good old days. The night he was set free, Humperdinck approached a street seller, “Excuse me Mr Tacky-clothes, will you direct me to the Kingdom of Florin?” “Ahem, Mop-head” the seller replied. “You don’t look so good yourself! Brush up your general knowledge while you are at the barber. The kingdom is no more.’’ Humperdinck’s jaw dropped. It was true; there was no longer a kingdom, no longer aristocracy, nor royalty. Florin had become a democratic nation!

It was sickening. What had Florin become without Humperdinck? For a moment Humperdinck contemplated going back to MooMoo where he at least had some civilised company of his own kind. He thought long and hard yet there seemed to be no other option than to not look back. Everything seemed bleak, and Humperdinck wished Count Rugen was still there to advise him.

Suddenly, a thought popped in Humperdinck’s mind. One he immediately dismissed to the back of his tiny brain; yet it just kept looping around and coming back. “Elections” he whispered, gazing into the vastness of land that stretched as far as the eye could see. Humperdinck had a fair way to go, yet he believed standing for the elections that year was the only way to get Florin back under his control. Besides, hours of fairytale English and Speech classes gave Humperdinck that extra-smooth loveliness in his verbal communication, great for persuasive campaigning!

Humperdinck travelled to Florin rather scared for his own life. The Florinese were an unforgiving old lot. They never forgot the ones who deceived them, and he had firsthand experience of the community punishments and public shame that favoured anyone who hurt the land and its people. However, Humperdinck fooled the Florinese once before, he could fool them again; especially now, with the new tricks up his sleeve.

As Humperdinck reached Florin, the walls and fences were hidden behind posters and campaigning advertisements of a somewhat familiar face. A cheesy Miracle Max with white wispy hair covered the streets. He was everywhere! Even Mc Florinalds advertised Max holding an MLT- mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Humperdinck realised he had competition and scrambled away to a barbershop as fast as he could. His plans were beginning to unravel…

Two months had passed, and the name ‘Humperdinck’ no longer fuelled hatred in the Florinese. Humperdinck cleverly established his worthiness of humane treatment slowly by slowly, capturing the naive minds of Florin’s inhabitants with his death stares and looks. A proud grin spread across Humperdinck’s thin lips as he realised the elections were looming closer and he had immorally, perhaps, gained the majority. A sinister man had grown in him these past couple of months, a magnitude of wickedness that could only be of Count Rugen’s, showed life in Humperdinck’s soul. Humperdinck had mastered the skills Jafar had taught him, and he planned to hire Jafar as Count Rugen’s replacement once the man finished his term.

The day finally arrived. The big oak trees towered over the land, making splotches of sun dance on the pavement. The air was fresh and crisp, and Humperdinck was more confident than ever. The crowds gathered around the castle gardens cheering, and with one glimpse of Humperdinck, they became as silent as zombies. Proudly, he waddled towards the pedestal, his contender nowhere to be seen, and cleared his throat loudly for his victory speech. Suddenly the silence broke before Humperdinck’s mouth opened. “Pig,” a calm voice mumbled. “Who was that!?” Humperdinck boomed at the audience that silently watched him. “Well, look who it is! I thought you would be back in MooMoo where you belong. What are you doing here?” A voice sounded from the spectators. “I believe I am about to give my victory speech, so if you would shut it- whoever you are, that would be highly appreciated.” “Step down. Who voted for you? You are a cheater!” A voice chimed. “No I am not!” “Yes you are, you have fooled no one. Nobody made you win! You deplorable, despicable being. What did MooMoo do to you?” Humperdinck cringed. All eyes were on him, and from the stage, he could not see the man who spoke. “Step down, you shameless baboon”, ordered a voice. Humperdinck stood there, perplexed. It could not be. He had skilfully trained with Jafar and built up his hypnotising power. There was no way in the world that Humperdinck could not have won against Max! “Why are you just standing there meatloaf? Get off the stage! Boo!” Someone cried. Humperdinck kneeled down like a dog. He was confused. How did they know? “How did you find out?” Humperdinck asked, his eyes searching for the source of the voice in the zombie crowd. “Well, do you want me to rat you out?” replied the unknown voice. “No, no. Please. I just want to know how you found out that I tried to hypnotise you brainless creatures to win the elections. And why you did not tell me earlier that you knew it was not working- would have saved me the embarrassment”. Gasps were let out and shrieks as a woman fainted into her mother’s arms. The crowd suddenly got restless, everyone was stomping their feet. The air felt heavy. “Ha!” Replied the voice. A man climbed onto the stage next to Humperdinck and looked him right in the eye. “Westley” Humperdinck scorned. “You are a doofus are you not?” Westley’s voice rang through the courtyard. “I did not say a word. You let it all out. Now go on, say more. Your ridiculousness cannot be matched.” Humperdinck realised his victory speech had turned into an unanticipated confession! “Oh Jafar! If only you were here! We should have rehearsed the zombie-eye-roll and speech at least one last time!” Humperdinck cried. Westley carried the sobbing Humperdinck in his arms toward a cardboard box where he was dropped in and sealed. A few air holes were stabbed in to prolong the fool’s life.

If only Humperdinck had not been so hasty as to skip reading his schedule. It was Election Day, and he was supposed to capture his audience with his final speech, not the assumed victory speech. He did everything to plan and hypnotised the crowd right on time so as to make sure they listened to his enchanting words. Miracle Max was in the crowd- he had not been hypnotised due to his magic powers that saved him. Max told Westley of the strange hypnotic happenings in Florin a while ago. Max was too weak to expose Humperdinck’s plans, he did not know what to do. Only Westley could outwit Humperdinck while he was on stage, and he did it with class; completely shaking the essence of Humperdinck’s evilness. Everyone snapped out of the hypno-state after a while, and Miracle Max became President of Florin- considering his contender was a hypnotising freak. “Sweet revenge” Max muttered, as a cardboard box sailed away to Hunting Jungle.

Buttercup who now came out from the crowd thought that was the perfect place for Humperdinck too. After all, hunting was what he and the animals that lived there did best. “Humperdinck’s an animal.” Buttercup giggled, as Inigo waved goodbye from his ship with a swaying box. She hugged Westley and smiled at the world, Florin, and what was to come.


As for Humperdinck, he lived in hiding from the wild beasts that inhabited Hunting Jungle, and one day fell into an ogre’s swamp whilst running away from an ape. No one heard from him ever again..


© Copyright 2013-2016  A Cup of Strawberries

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Published in: on October 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM  Leave a Comment  

My Wonky A

When I first moved to Australia from New Zealand it was frankly really hard, and quite upsetting. I left Palmerston North, the place where I was born and along with that had to leave my best friend and neighbour- Bhagavathi, ‘our castle’ playground <3, my first (red) table-set, and my home. I was five, and wasn’t aware that I’d be shifting from place to place even years later now.

Anyway, since I was only five, I was admitted into reception (first year of primary) at a school, just walking distance from my new home in Adelaide.

On my first day of school, I wore the school uniform: a bright yellow T-shirt, blue pants, and my hair in a ponytail. I was nervous, no doubt about that haha.

There was a brightly painted ‘kids holding hands under a rainbow’ mural outside the classroom that made me smile.

So there I was dropped off at Room 01. Though I was a new student, the teacher was adamant to get down to business. A CLASS TEST- on my first day. Probably the first and worst test I ever had hehe.

So I sat down on a plastic chair in between two kids who squished me, and then I was given a sheet of paper. The teacher began the test where she would dictate each letter of the alphabet and we had to write it down. As I wrote my wonky ‘capital A’ I remember feeling anxious as she had already moved onto another letter. I couldn’t keep up as I didn’t write fast enough, nor did I recall all the letters for me to write them on my own. 😦

The test finished and I started getting teary-eyed. That’s when I found out everyone wrote in lower-case letters, not in capitals, and in pencil, not marker like what I had done.

I became distressed and cried.

After that I remember my parents meeting the teacher the next day in the morning before class, and telling them how I hadn’t learnt my ABC’s fully. I only felt relieved once the teacher said it was OK and that I would catch up soon.

Still have a photographic memory of my wonky A, and a heart filled recollection of my first day at school.

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Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 4:40 AM  Leave a Comment  
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