26 August 2019, I entered A Whole New World, and instantly fell in love with it.
November 2019, I packed my bags as well as I could in 20 minutes, and I ran for the airport.
If you’re gonna ask me why, I’m gonna ask you do stay updated with world news, and go to Google before you proceed reading.
It feels like a dream now. I’m back in Delhi, and it feels as if I never left. All the thousand memories I made there were unreal, something cooked up by me. But, I had, indeed, spent 2.5 months in that city. The city which is going through the most crucial time of it’s freedom, like every other country once does. India & neighbours did during 1940s, Brexit is also some stuff I don’t understand, Taiwan had it going on very recently, and US has always been privileged. It’s time for Hong Kong to fight for their rights.
See, I don’t understand the politics of all this well, being very frank, nor am I gonna comment on who’s right or who’s wrong. What I know, and I care about is that – I was forced to return home just when I started calling that place my home. Last 2 days, all of us were closed inside our rooms, peeking through the windows and looking at the demonstrations – which were increasingly turning violent, while Netflix & chilling, since all our classes were cancelled. And, suddenly, our emails & WhatsApp groups were flooded with news, and there we were, packing our stuff and planning to leave the city – as safely and early as we could.
It didn’t take long for the university to turn into Hogwarts. (No, they didn’t start teaching magic. It was just under attack, on fire & final exams were cancelled.) And, reports followed. The inbox was even more flooded now, with every department, every professor mailing individually, telling us how the course will be graded now. They were so many updates, that it was even difficult to be happy about the fact that we don’t have final exams anymore this semester. (No, I wasn’t being Hermione.)
Well, in all honesty, happiness wasn’t even an emotion anyone of us could think of. It was scary. It was worrisome. We found that beautiful place just few months back, and so fast made a countless number of memories – be it having a birthday celebration during quiet hours or watching the sunrise while having a McDonald’s. And, finally when everything was going good, while we were gearing up for project presentations, for the final exams, when we had our return tickets booked, suddenly, everything turned upside down.
Now, whenever I listen to ‘A Whole New World‘ from Aladdin, I think of how beautiful the sunrise & sunset looked from the Hi-Bye bridge, and how, later, I saw piles of stones, collection of umbrellas & thousands of posters there. And how scared I felt when I crossed that to collect what I didn’t know was my last lunch in Hong Kong for a while. I think of Doraemon, and countless conversations we had there, and how I saw that become a camp for the protestors, taken over by the men in black. How even the banda-bandi there had the scary masks on them. I think of AC3, where we spent countless nights, either studying or playing cards, and it gives me goosebumps to think that it was set on fire. I think of the area in front of CMC, where the wind would give me chills, after I came out of practice for my first ever dance performance, and how that was totally broken, with roads blocked, and how I saw that from my window for hours. I think of SKM, and the police chase I saw in front of that. I think of Festival Walk, and #GoAt11, and now I think of the pictures I received from that mall, stuff I really want to unsee. And, no, I won’t post those pictures here, simply because I don’t have the courage to see them again.
Those 2.5 months were very, very fun. And, I’m gonna stay positive that all of us are going to return to Hong Kong next semester, back to the same place, and hopefully, everything will be okay. I know, we’ll be alright this time. This has been a life experience in itself, and certainly a story I’ll be telling my kids.
Until then, guys, stay safe! We have to believe in that everything will get back to normal, just how it was. See you next sem!