Month: December, 2013

Weekly Writing Challenge: Obstacles of Time

Hugging my knees, I sat in the grandstand of an unsurprisingly empty stadium, facing a sparse landscape. The air was persistently still and thus the trees and grass were rigid. My view was so immobile, it could have easily mistaken it to be painting. The extreme humidity made me perspire even before training had started. I cursed under my breath at the repulsive weather and hoped in vain for some rain so that training would be cancelled. Snapping away from my delusional thoughts, my vision shifted toward my wrist-watch which displayed “4.30 P.M” . A wry smile plastered across my face and I sniggered. “Coach is perpetually late” thinking aloud to myself.

I sat there waiting, for what seemed like eternity…

Time came to a standstill. My vision is blurry albeit fixated on the finishing line. My coach is gesticulating wildly; probably to remind me of my running technique, but I hardly take notice. My heart palpitated ferociously to draw in as much oxygen as possible, as if a brief pause of activity could be fatal. I could still taste the tartness from the remnants of the vomit from the previous 500m  on my tongue. Despite running as hard as I could, the line didn’t want to come closer.

Finally, the familiar click of the stopwatch resounded through my eardrums while my body trudged across the line.  Collapsing immediately to all fours, I felt the inevitable surge of lactic acid in my lower extremity. That feeling was not foreign to me at all, however, it felt worse each subsequent time. Writhing with brutal agony, each breath I took felt like a stab to the lungs. My head was spinning and a sharp pain shot across my jawline. Oblivious to my debilitated state, my coach bellowed “8 minutes” with such unparalleled nonchalance.

My eyelids shut involuntarily and the only audible sound was a heavy panting. I laid, waiting in intense apprehension.

I’m waiting now, again, with apprehension and exhaustion. Staring at the clock, eager for the second-hand to speed up, as it dictates the fate of time. This time, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. After having endured 4 years of secondary education, I sincerely dread attending another day of school,another day of sitting in class, hearing but not listening to the torturous voice of the teacher. I shudder at the thought- the GCE O Level Examination results are to be released in about 2 weeks, marking the start of my misery.

Strangely, I recall the days of my training. I realise that I equally dreaded each training session and feared every forthcoming set during practice, but I always willed myself through the pain and prevailed. Men can only grow under demanding circumstances, just like how diamonds can form only under high pressures and temperatures. I believe the true strength and beauty of an individual will shine only under the immensity of trials and tribulations . I now regard obstacles as opportunities to make me a stronger person, holding the mantra

“God Gives His Battles To His Toughest Soldiers”.


Weekly Writing Challenge: Collecting Detail

Darkness fell and enveloped the world in its entirety, or my world as it was. My air-conditioning was turned on ironically, at a mechanically precise 25 degrees celsius, almost as if to mock the cool night air on the other side of the glass windows, acting as a membrane between nature and artificiality. However, nature doesn’t bear grudges; it accepts whatever we throw at it, and its response is a direct result of our behaviour.

The only source of light permeating my room was from the street lamps lining the pavement. They emitted a quaint yellowish hue, similar to that of the pith of an orange. Intermittent droning of car engines roared unceremoniously as tires pressured against the metal drains without much effort for courtesy, resonating an irritable clanking.

What prevented me from falling asleep, or rather what kept me awake, was the activity in my head, not the coarse sound of combustion engines, and the livid state of my mind, as compared to the poignant lights.

I was inebriated with my own thoughts and fantasies, bustling with activity. I felt myself drift to distant lands and as the world stood very much still, my mind was reproachably active.

I dreamt of people all around the world. What were they like? What were they doing? What was their weather like? How were they feeling? What were their dreams and aspirations?  I really wish to meet the people I didn’t know, or maybe have yet to. One day the puzzle will piece itself together, and that thought served as a sedative, sending my body to recover for the next sunrise.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Snapshots

I was amidst the stream of shoppers, leaving the mall in hurried footsteps toward the train station. Everyone was intensely preoccupied and self-contained within their world.  The bustling atmosphere was  full of activity, but I felt hollow on the inside. Every pair of eyes were fixated on different places. Some had their heads bowed to their smartphones, others were caught up in their personal conversations. However, for some arcane reason, none laid their vision upon an ascetic elderly man, begging for some money.

He was sitting on a flimsy plastic chair, clad in thoroughly faded singlet and shorts, with his pot belly protruding. He had fine white hair and wrinkles deeply entrenched on his forehead. The wrinkles were further emphasised by the perpetual squinting of his beady eyes, from which I presumed he had poor vision. The elderly man had a small tin can in front of him- a receptacle for coins passers-by brusquely tossed into. He had a fanatical obsession to maintain the can in a certain orientation, for he believed it had grave implications.

As more people strutted by, the more the elderly man seemed out-of-place. It was as if time had warped around him, landing him in a foreign land where he struggled to fit in. There seemed to be cloak of invisibility around him and he was made to feel like a social mismatch . I drew this feeling from the dark undercurrents of the environment that the elderly man was not welcomed; that everyone would feel better off if his presence had conveniently evaporated.

But my whirlpool of thoughts quickly turned to guilt. As I came closer to him, I found myself blending further away into the camouflage of the crowd…