The moment that changed my life. I have always been a mama’s boy. And I felt no shame reassuring this to my friends and family. Friends would make fun of me ‘well he will live in his mother’s basement and won’t move out ever’. I kind of agreed with them at that point. Being the youngest among 5 siblings, I enjoyed the most privileged life. My family struggled a lot when they moved to America but by the time I came, everything was settled. So, we can say that my family suffered to create a life and I just moved into the ‘furnished apartment’. My mother is a businesswoman. She runs a small restaurant successfully. When I was 10, she went to a culinary fest in France. I hopped along on the journey and made sure all my siblings were jealous. They kept insisting on coming along but my mother could only afford two tickets.
When I turned 13, the sequel of that culinary fest was organized. My mother broke the news to us and I instantly tagged along. The sister older than me, protested and asked if she could go instead of me. She even cried and showed her grade sheet that she had been a good student. She proved that she deserved a holiday abroad. My mother was convinced, she told her to pack her stuff up and get ready. I, being a stubborn little brat, started planning a way to replace her.
Hanna, my sister, was very enthusiastic about the trip and she told all her friends about it. She even started making little notes to keep a journal of the journey. She showed me all the notes and made me jealous. I felt like it was a competition.
Two weeks before the fest, I came up with a wicked plan. I started acting weird and portrayed myself as a loner. Everyone thought I had issues at school and that I was depressed. I played along. I started throwing random tantrums and skipping meals on purpose. Every few hours, I would leave the family gathering and would lock myself in my room. And on any knock, I would shout ‘leave me alone, I don’t want to be bothered’. This made everyone worried, especially my mother. The kid who would not leave her side and told her about every tiny detail is going through something, was troubling for her. She made my favorite meals, she tried spending more time with me and she took me out for ice-cream. But I remained strong and did not let anything change my plan. On seeing my situation, my mother decided to take me on the trip and apologized to Hanna. She thought that the change of air might make me a happy-go-lucky child again. My mission was successful.
On the day of our departure, I noticed that Hanna was very gloomy. She did not come to the airport and even locked herself in her room for hours that day. But I could not care less, I was happy that my plan panned out well and I will be enjoying holidays in France. Hanna was not mad at me; she did not know that it was all a drama. She wrote me a note on the way that I opened days after landing in France. I and my mother went to an amusement park, a museum, and an ice-cream parlor. I was enjoying my stay to the fullest when one day on going through my stuff I found that note. I opened it carelessly and what I read made me feel very blue. I didn’t know that the moment would change my life.
She wrote, ‘I hope you enjoy your trip to the fullest. I hope whatever is going on in your life gets settled. I could not see you depressed so I suggested mama to take you on the trip. It might help with your problems. Always remember, your sister is always here for you. Love, Hanna’.
I folded that note up and sat there for almost an hour, feeling miserable. I felt like I was the worst brother and I did not deserve that kind of affection. Later, I cried myself to sleep every day of that trip. That trip became the worst tour and I could not wait to go back. The moment I landed, I hugged Hanna and told her about everything. Well, the outcome was not expected. She became very angry and told everyone about it. I got scolded by my father and my siblings made fun of me for weeks. But this trip made me a better person. I became kind and started thinking about other people’s feelings. I remained a mama’s boy but I made sure I was not depriving anyone else of their rights. That one trip changed my perspective about life. I still love that quote from Lilo and Stitch, ‘Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. Truly, it was the moment that changed my life. And now I realize that sometimes a single moment is enough to change your entire life.
By Zerafshan Laraib