It was a beautiful summer’s day and the birds were singing sweetly like a church choir of angels. My elder brother, Narvair suggested to my mother and father to go birthday shopping for presents as it was nearing my fifth birthday.
As we sauntered down the long drive to the blue Vauxhall Cavalier, the blazing sun almost blinded us. We could feel the intense heat so much that sweat was pouring down our faces. As we travelled and approached the motorway, I enquired about our destination, but I was informed that it was a surprise.
On the way we passed many fields where there were numerous horses, sheep and cows were grazing. In the far distance I could see the roofs of many houses and the tall pointed steeple of a church. Through the sun roof I could see the cloudless calm blue sky. As we left the motorway, I realised that we were heading for Meadow Hall. At this moment I was full of excitement, but this soon fizzled away, as it took such a long time to find a parking space. Like read about memories? Read also Flashbulb memory!
Eventually we entered the large, brightly lit shopping mall, jam-packed with people hustling and bustling in and out of the shops. I immediately held my mummy’s hand in case I strayed away. As we tried to pass the people I peeked through any small spaces in between the busy bodies looking for toy shops. Further along the mall, my grip loosened on my mum’s hand, as my attention drew towards my brother.
Whilst playfully tussling with my brother, I kept a close eye on my mum and dad’s whereabouts. My mum entered the clothes shop and my dad browsed the sports shop adjacent to it. As we were playing, a bouncy ball fell out of my pocket and rolled down the precinct. Without hesitation I let go of my mum’s hand and sped after the ball not realising I had soon left my parents and brother well behind. The ball bounced and rolled on being kicked by the on going people. In the long run I caught up with the ball as a gentleman trapped it under his foot. I thanked him and aimlessly ran in random directions seeking my mum and dad. Suddenly I discovered I was all alone and began to shed tears running in and out of shops bellowing for my mum, to no avail.
Some time later, I saw a lady clothes shop where there was a lady wearing Indian garments. At this moment I felt relieved and hoped I had found my mum. Spontaneously I dashed towards her, only to find it was a shop window dummy. Amidst the confusion and the strangers, I began to cry and screech but no one would help. Further on the shopping mall I stepped onto the escalator leading up to the top floor. Looking over the railings I had an overview of the ground floor; however I could not see any members of my family. At this point I decided to ask all the passing people of my parent’s whereabouts, but nobody knew. With exhaustion and blurry eyes I sat on the cold hard floor with my legs through the railings, eager to locate my parents or my brother.
Suddenly a security guard crouched down beside me and informed me that it was not a good idea to have my legs dangling through the railings. He then asked me why I was crying. Having told him I had ran away from my parents to find my ball and now was lost. The guard offered to help, comforted and escorted me to the customer service desk. Here he announced over the shopping mall’s tanoy system:
“Can Mr and Mrs Birdi please come to the customer service desk immediately?”
On seeing my parents coming I darted towards my mother and clung to her with a tight grip. My parents were very much relieved and delighted to see me.
“Sandeep, where have you been? We have been looking for you,” exclaimed my dad.
“I ran after my ball dad,” I replied sobbing.
“Don’t ever do it again, let us know where you are going. Now stop crying,” my mum said hugging and kissing me.
After comforting me, my parents and my brother marched on towards the toy shop.
I ran into the toy shop like a charging bull with my brother, but my mum insisted that I calmed down. Still excited I tried to take in all the toys around but eventually I carefully chose a special edition Action Man. It was a large present with many gadgets such as recording radio and a firing machine gun. I had been longing for this present and could not let anyone else handle it. I was really proud and could hardly wait for my birthday, so that I could play with it amongst my other toys. This made me the happiest five years old in the world.
To this day I have still kept the Action Man in excellent condition and working order. Even now it is a pleasure to play with it, although I remember how I found my self lost in the huge shopping Mall.