Excerpt: Lucky Number 9

“Everyone wants a perfect ending. But over the years, I’ve learned that some of the best poems don’t rhyme, and many great stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, or end. Life is about not knowing, embracing change, and taking a moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
—Ritu Ghatourey
 
Canossian Covent, Kluang, Johore, Malaysia 1983, year before back packing trip. (Rina Tham bottom row, last on the right )


Life is a million moments; that’s been ingrained since birth. But these situations, these occurrences, these stories that end up as memories can vary greatly in degree and impact. I was faced with another big moment in 1984: I was leaving home.

I was terrified, truthfully. I didn’t have a realistic dream any longer, just a destination: Kuala Lumpur. I wasn’t certain of the kind of work I would find, or of my skills, which were average at best. Mother assured me I was wrong about that. She said it’s not all about brains and solving equations; it’s about honesty and the desire and ability to work hard. She said I had always gotten straight As in those departments. That helped. Then she said that I’d better have some fast fun before I get down to the business of living, of surviving, of facing my unknown destiny head on. It was a time to celebrate my accomplishments thus far, and take a breather too.

The money in the red envelope from my father, aunts and uncles, other relatives and elderly friends of the family wasn’t enough for college, but it was something…. And so I did what other kids did. I went backpacking!

Excerpt Lucky Number 9: Journey of a Rubber Tappers Daughter