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Altai as a Memoir

"Always expect the unexpected"

“We’re here,” I yelled as our new red car pulled up in front of the school. I jumped down from the backseat and a thousand thoughts flooded my mind. I let the cool breeze brush past my face. The school with it’s long, white and intimidating buildings felt like it could fall on me anytime. I looked around like a thief and sneaked into school.

It was the first time I had ever been late, and that too on the wrong day! I ran up the never-ending, blue staircase. The big room that could fit a hundred people had engulfed me in it’s multicoloured walls. I slunk around the student lounge. Today even the light blue cushions couldn’t pacify me. My eyes were hungry for even a glimpse of my friends. Finally spotting my warmly dressed companions, I sneaked up to them and enveloped them in a hug. I nervously looked around the school. The cafeteria looked odd, without its lights and usual chatter.

‘Listen up everyone!’, Mr. Trienen yelled. Everyone had quietened down like mice when a cat is around. ‘We’re going to have so much fun!,’ he screamed. We all happily looked at the grinning, tall and thin teacher in front of us. What did this trip have in store for us? I was yet to find out.

After our final goodbyes I was banished to the bus. The white bus had two seats each in store for us. I looked over at my friend Diyora. “ Hey! Come over here,” she whisper-screamed. I pushed myself through the crowd and threw myself on the seat beside her. I looked around at all the people around me. This was going to be a long ride.

“Diya wake up, please,” I looked up to see a creature above me. I screamed as if a thousand knives were in me. “Diya are you for real? It’s me Diyora,” she said. She gently fixed her dark brown hair and looked at me. I realised we had reached the airport. The tall glass walls of freedom were standing out in glory. The taxis around seemed to be in an incessant chain. One car left and almost magically, another car would replace the predecessor.

I quickly got to my suitcase that was now floating away. “No more rice, daal and sabsi for a week now Diya, this is the time of your life,” I said to myself. With whatever energy I had left, I dragged myself across the zebra crossing. With some cheers we reached the ticket counter in one piece.

I looked at the diversity surrounding me. Everyone had a passport from a different country. Some were blue, some were green and some were red. I think I had the only diplomatic passport. The lady dressed in front of me, politely interrupted my thoughts. “ Drastviche! May I have your passport?” She asked. I handed in my passport feeling very important. My passport was dark red and it had the emblem of India. She handed back my passport with my ticket. I thanked the lady and then rushed to my friends. “Great” I thought to myself. I am not sitting with any of my friends. I really won’t make it alive.

We got off the plane. The cold air was like a slap in my face. The light brown mountains that had a green carpet over them, and were towering above me. I looked at the small passage that lead me to a different route. I grabbed my gray suitcase and ran. The airport was smaller than our school. The place was as remote as an infected area.

Like a zombie, I moved towards my teacher. Two large buses stood in front of us. One was red and one was blue. Then the secret door opened and we threw our luggage in there. We got on the transporter. To my relief the seats were big and were padded with cotton. My legs threatened to give away. I lunged towards the nearest seat and plunged into a deep sleep.

I woke up to see a serene strand of crystal clear water. The very view my eyes had ached for since so long. The emerald green trees, the intimidating silence, I didn’t want to move, I wanted everything to pause. But every good thing has to end. My friends pushed past me as they scrambled down the bus. Nothing lasts forever.

“Move, get a hold of yourself” I told myself. I snatched my grey suitcase and looked up. the beautifully ivy-covered cabins with their well-heated beds gave off a feeling of home. I changed into my comfortable pyjamas and tottled out of my bamboo house. I looked outside at the sapphire sky. “What does this trip have in store for me?” I asked myself. I am yet to find out.

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