Internal Battle – The Force of Nature

My brilliantly planned vacation around Europe was terminated prematurely as I was robbed in a night train from Nice to Rome. My friends and I were supposed to book ourselves into a sleeping carriage furnished with bunk beds but more importantly, a lockable door.  Unfortunately, the sleeping carriages were fully booked leaving us no choice but to settle for the first come first serve normal carriage without a lockable door.  Since they were three of us, we managed to secure a carriage all to ourselves.  I remembered when we first boarded the train just after the sun set, we were all chirpy and excited about the upcoming destinations.  Eventually the hours passed and it was bedtime.  I couldn’t really sleep as the train was horribly rocky and the seats weren’t exactly made for slumber comfort.

After a couple of hours, 2 immigration officers came knocking on our door, checked our passports and traveling documents.  The perplexing thing was, my passport was in my luggage initially and not in my hand luggage.  I took it out when the officers came to inspect us and did not return it to my luggage but my hand luggage instead.  After that, I tried to go back to sleep.  In the middle of the night, I vaguely remembered I saw a couple of heads sticking into our carriage briefly, as if to examine the contents of our carriage.  At that point, I was still easily awakened, what with the rocky motion of the train and the screeching of the rail.  Then suddenly, I was in an incredibly deep sleep… completely unaware of any motion or sound.  When I woke up just after dawn, my little gray velvety satchel, which was serving as my pillow, containing some of my personal belongings AND my passport (as I had transferred it just after the immigration inspection) was no longer under my head!

First, I was confused.  I started searching the entire carriage, climbing over my sleeping friends and waking them up in the process alarming them of the incident.  They as well started searching the carriage.  Then panic set in.  I started running the length of the entire train from one end to the other hoping desperately that these people just took the valuables and dumped my satchel somewhere in the train.  I inspected every single carriage and toilet to no avail.  All hopes of locating my satchel finally vanished as reality set in.  I was robbed.

I suppose I should be grateful that only my satchel was stolen and we did not suffer from any physical injuries.  Obviously, the rest of my trip was cancelled as I became an illegal immigrant without any legal identification.  I went to the Malaysian Embassy in Rome, obtained a temporary traveling document which only allowed one trip back to the UK.  We completed the trip in Italy and flew back to London.  Then I went to the Malaysian Embassy in London and tried to secure a new passport.  They then told me that it would take a while if I were to apply for a new passport in London.  It would be faster for me to return to Malaysia to do it.  That left me no choice but to return.  I knew that once I returned, it would be bidding farewell to the UK for good.

Of course my parents were worried and wanted to fly me back from Rome immediately.  They were most helpful as all parents would be for the sake of their children’s safety.  What they didn’t know was my reluctance of packing up and going home.  Like I said, I love my life and friends in the UK.  I didn’t want to leave.  I wasn’t ready… AT ALL.

The worst thing was, who am I to blame for this? No one, as  my parents did not force me to return.  I could get away for a few more years with an excellent scheme in place.  Of all the bags loitering in our carriage, why was mine the only bag that was stolen?  Especially when the other bags were actually easier to access.  I swear to God we were all gassed sometime in the mid morning.  That was why none of us even felt any movement or heard any noise.  For many nights I kept pondering, if only I had returned my passport into my luggage…..

So, what do you call this?  After years of deliberation, I labeled the cause of my return as the Force of Nature.  Maybe each and everyone of us has a path laid out and mine is to return to Malaysia and take over my father’s legacy.  Maybe we just cannot fight Fate.

The day my plane landed in KKIA, also marked the beginning of the battle within myself that lasted for 3 agonising years.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Trinh on June 1, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    I often did wonder why they took your bag and no-one elses. Like you say, mine was much more accessible! I do agree with you that “someone” has laid out a path for us and no matter what deviations we may make along the way, things happen for a reason and happen when they are supposed to happen….some things are just beyond our control I guess.


  2. Posted by kareensyl on June 4, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Precisely and it happened to me again!!! 🙂


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