Travelling alone has been like a dream since a long time. And this long time really means a long wait since my school days. My class teacher used to send quarterly excursion notices to be signed and returned by the guardians. This almost succeeded in making my mother a script writer as every time she used to come up with her innovative excuses not to let me go. Her well versed excuses and well put forward reasons never failed to convince my teachers and make them appreciate her concerns.
So I felt like growing wings when I bagged my first job and was sent for a training and orientation program in the Netherlands. I started spending sleepless nights in the wait for my flight from Canada to Netherlands. In only two weeks’ time that moment was supposed to come when I would show my mother that going on a trip without parents was the coolest thing to do in life
To tell you on the sideline, Amsterdam had a special place in my heart; a place wrapped in not-so-good a perception but much-willing-to-explore kinda feeling. I assume the feeling was influenced by Anne Frank stories from my childhood. I felt that a yearning transmitted through me from the pages of the book. Her longing for life, for love, for the maturity of adulthood, a desire for the answers to her questions were all transformed into real emotions in me as I read The Diary of a Young Girl at the age of 13.
As I grew up I felt that I knew the little girl in that book and the precocious, vibrant and questioning Anne was quite like me. I wanted to know more about her and wished to be like her – outspoken, introspective and full of life. Hence, now I made it a point to go and see the House in Amsterdam where Anne lived in hiding with her family, spending each and every moment in fear during the World War ll.
Precocious, vibrant and questioning Anne was quite like me. I wanted to know more about her and wished to be like her – outspoken, introspective and full of life. Hence, now I made it a point to go and see the House in Amsterdam where Anne lived in hiding with her family, spending each and every moment in fear during the World War ll.
Then one day the day came and with much attitude I picked my luggage and left home for the airport, completely oblivious to the anxious look in my mothers’ eyes and her feeble “Take care… Be careful”. My flight from Toronto to Amsterdam was nothing eventful and not worth wasting time writing about.
I ordered my ticket in advance through my hotel and started for Prinsengracht, the canal where the building is located. I walked for about 10 mins and crossed the bridge towards the Westerkerk Church. Then I saw a massive hoard of people wrapping around a building which I assumed to be The Anne Frank House. And I pointed one girl, quite of my age, waiting patiently to get into what people call here a museum and a painfully living history in my memory. I could trace a similar wait in her eyes too.
We entered the house. The mass of visitors formed a single line. I could see the girl three people ahead of me. We passed through the office rooms below the annex. Quotes from Anne’s diary were stenciled on the wall and led our way. We reached the room where Anne and her sister were allowed to take bath on the weekends and I read the quote where Anne wrote about peeping through the curtains to see the outside world. A feeling of unknown grief was slowly capturing my head and I saw tears rolling down the cheeks of that girl ahead of me. Surprisingly, just like me she was trying to peek through the window as if to see how it felt to Anne and her sister to look outside from the darkness of this confinement.
We exchanged glances and I could feel that we are sharing the same string of thoughts in our heads. She smiled at me, wiping the tears with the sleeve of her shirt and I could bet we bonded at once. We almost felt like the Frank sisters bathing together on a weekend afternoon, as if we had only each other in this deadly captivity where we were locked up for two long years in the fear of getting discovered. I felt miserable inside, remembered family; felt like running into my mother’s arms. She walked upto me and we hugged each other. “I’m Varonica, your friend”, she whispered in my ears. Blurry-eyed I looked in her moist eyes and said, “May I call you Anne”? She smiled and nodded with an indulgence, saying, “I saw you in the hotel this morning.” Glad that we are staying at the same place, we started climbing the steep ladder like stairs to the upper level that led us to the original moveable bookshelf covering the entryway to the Secret Annex. My heart sank thinking of the lines in the Anne Frank diaries.
But the lump that formed in my throat was gradually subsiding and I started feeling comfortable in Anne alias Varonica’s engrossing company. The inner me realized I need a companion while travelling. While coming back to hotel I called my mother and explained how I remembered her and wished that she was here with me. Then I told her about Varonica, my new found sibling; how we met and bonded in almost no time. I could hear a sigh of relief as I went on describing her the whole story.
After a fulfilling dinner, I and Varonica chatted all night. A heart to heart sisterly conversation in a distant land made us discover many common points and interests in one another. Happy we slept. Next morning before leaving for my training I added her on my LYK network as a Family connection. Now I was sure that I shall never lose her in the crowded world of social networks. We are on LYK now!