I lived in Singapore for two years and loved the place. Work was interesting, I was young, and the city was vibrant. I couldn’t have had any better way to start my career.
I had treasured many interesting memories from Singapore and from time to time the beautiful yore keeps revisiting, rekindling the moments fondly in my heart. I was reminded of one such incidence this morning. So, I thought why not share with you all beautiful souls in WP – so here it goes.
It was the month of July. The summer was at its peak. Regardless, Singapore being a tropical country was always hot. We infamously joked about Singapore seasons, for we had three seasons hot, hotter and hottest with some occasional rain as teasers. Our work was at the extreme. We were in the final stages of a product release to major markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Working long hours was not considered aberration from normal and life outside work was reduced to a negligible minimum.
It was a Friday. Rahul and I decided to work late. The plan was to take the weekend off, something we had not done for a long time and we were looking forward to it.
Rahul and I used to stay together. We were looking for a bachelor’s apartment and in the interim, we moved into a temporary place. It was one of the apartments in the usual long rises in Singapore. With 3.5 times the size of Washington DC, tall buildings were the only respite to manage the growing population in this country. The place was owned by Ved. We found him through our realtor. Ved and his wife were expecting a baby and his wife was at her maternal place. It worked well for us. With no leisure time left because of work, the stopgap house was the perfect solution.
That Friday we left office at 2:00 AM in the morning to catch the last MRT to our dwelling in Bukit Batok. Our office was right across the Orchard Road and our walk to the MRT was just a block. Nothing was too far in Singapore. In 30 minutes, we reached home.
Ved was not at home. He had some friends staying close to the city and was staying with them to finish some weekend shopping.
After several weeks of daunting commotions, all I desired was to sleep. I was halfway through changing when I heard the groggy voice of Rahul from the living room, requesting me to accompany him outside so that he could smoke. I never smoked and personally I hated the concept of passive smoking. Besides, I was dead tired of any trivial blather. I dragged myself back to the living room questioning his perilous desire. But somehow, he persuaded me to passively inhale some obnoxious gas.
We walked out and stayed in the corridor next to our apartment door. He lit the cigarette and I watched the wind direction to adjust my location base to avoid the vapors. After a few long drags, he asked a dangerously leading question, “do you have the house keys?”
The access door to the apartment had a self-locking feature. As we pulled the door it got locked by itself. I was standing outside with an old vest and a worn-out short. We were standing right outside the door, so I had ditched wearing shoes. Our phone, wallet everything was behind the locked doors. My friend was also in a similar paradoxical situation. Although, with his slippers on him he was in a slightly better shape than me.
For a few minutes, we didn’t know what to do. Angst, tiredness, and frustration loomed us. We couldn’t call anyone, had no money on us and above all our dull minds were defeating any sane thinking. My friend spoke first “the 7-11 down below is open 24 hours. I had bought dozens of cigarette packs and I am sure they will lend me 10 cents to call Siva.”
Siva was our colleague from work. It seemed like a good idea. Rahul was still better dressed than me, so I refrained to expose myself to the shop and waited by the building entrance while Rahul went ahead with his plan.
He returned with a pensive look. Upon my asking, I learned the shopkeeper refused to give him any money. My friend swore never to buy anything from the shop, but that wasn’t helping our cause. The morning was not too far away, forcing us to think about ways to bail out of the situation.
“How about we hire a taxi to Siva’s house. You are in some decent shape. You hail a cab and I will sneak in. We anyways need to pay on arrival and once we reach Siva’s house money won’t be a concern.” I offered my suggestion.
It seemed that was the best we could think of and we went ahead with the plan. We sauntered towards the Main Street looking for our ride. I stayed behind while Rahul waved for taxis. Soon we were on our way to Siva’s house. The taxi driver was skeptical.
Looking at my dilapidated stature anyone would be. So, I went ahead and explained him our situation. He was still incredulous and upon reaching, used me as the man in custody while Rahul went to get the money.
Our troubles were far from being over. We rested for a few hours, borrowed our friend’s clothes and called Ved for the house keys. He asked us to meet by one of the shops near Orchard road. Ved gave us the apartment keys and also requested us to carry a stroller he had bought from the store.
We reached home and crashed. I must be 15 minutes into my slumber when I heard some noises coming from a distance. First, I thought I was dreaming, but soon I realized it was Rahul who was trying to wake me up. When I heard him, my sleep disappeared? In the entire hullabaloo, we left Ved’s stroller in the taxi trunk. Since it was a personal trip, we did not take any receipt. There was no way to trace the driver. We tried calling the cab toll free number, but it was next to impossible to track someone without any details.
We didn’t have the heart to let Ved know that we lost his baby stroller. So, to avoid any further humiliation we decided to go to the shop and buy a replacement stroller. We were perilously delirious, had no verve left, yet we took the journey back to the store to save our pride. This time I ensured we had the house keys.
Till date, Ved doesn’t know anything about the replacement stroller. There were no more incidences that day, for god may have run out of all pranks.
Hope you enjoyed reading it
Copyright © Shantanu Baruah
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.