Raindrops splat on the windscreen of the car like so many bullets. My dad increases the speed of the wipers, but to no avail. We have been caught in a traffic jam outside SJK(C) Yak Chee for nearly an hour now, and I'm starting to doubt my decision to accompany my brother on his first day of school.
The night before, my brother and I took a haircut. My bro keeps (or rather, kept) an "ekor" or tail at the back of his head, as I did when I was his age. Sigh, maybe an illustration would clarify the image of an "ekor".
Anyway, he's going to school, and the "ekor" has got to go. As my bro took his haircut with the fanfare of a travelling circus (my dad recorded the whole haircut with his handheld camera), I felt like the spare tyre of a car as I got my haircut right beside him. Ignored. (Cue Korean drama music).
It was a momentous event, of course. You only experience your first day of school ONCE IN A LIFETIME, for God's sake. While I am writing this blog update, my bro is getting ready for school downstairs - but I still can't believe that he is already 7 years old. MY little bro, now a schoolkid..
Things weren't all positive on the trip to his school, though. For one thing, it was raining. The droves of cars carrying anxious schoolchildren and their even more anxious parents choke the neighbourhood streets leading to school. I was quite tired, since I have just returned from a Pushing Boundaries camp the day before.
Veering off topic for a while, I highly recommend everyone out there to go to that camp. To me, the biggest lesson among the many I learnt there was to always see the "big picture" - whether it is in your work , marriage...or life in general.
And I did learn that lesson well, if I can say so myself - because as we escaped the traffic jam, leaving my bro now in his classroom, the bigger picture slowly materialised in my head:
MY little bro had just reached a milestone in his life. A day that he would always remember and look back on, and tell his grandchildren about one day. And I was there when he passed that milestone.
My mum kept the part of my bro's hair that was cut off. Some may find that strange, but not me. For even though we must always have "the bigger picture of life" in mind, it is the small things that differentiate life from mere existence. It is the "ekors" we keep that put a child's first day at school into perspective.
I was trapped in a car for an hour in the middle of monsoon-force rain, but that cannot take away my feeling of joy. Joy at seeing the back of my bro's head as he stepped towards the gates of life.