A collection of Short Stories on my Grandfathers

In this short story, my grandfather, as a young boy, is tortured by the thought of having to drink a particular oil during his holidays. It takes place in Malaysia, in the year 1946.
This is a story which I have written for my Personal Project at school. I will be writing a total of 13 different stories about my grandfathers and this is the first one! I would appreciate any feedback!


8. What a surprise !


Seated on yellow plastic stools in front of a road side shop were four men. The faded red umbrella stretched over their heads and the blue dotted table wobbled as the auntie using a stain apron, distributed the overflowing glasses of teh tarik[1]. The transparent, glass cups had drips of tea coming down the sides  and the hot, crispy curry puffs slid in the bright orange plate that lay in the middle of the table. At one side of the shop, a deep drain containing wet plastic bags and rotten food generated an unpleasing stench, on the other; cars drove swiftly past them, causing the plastic bags to float about in the air and the flaps of the umbrella to flare up.

As they bit into the steamy curry puffs, flaky crumbs fell onto the table, onto the cement and stuck to the sides of their lips. ‘Mmmmmm.’ they thought as the mushy, perfectly cooked potato curry crawled out of the puff, entered their mouths and rolled about between their teeth. Upon finishing their first curry puff, they bent down and took sips of their teh tarik.

A twelve year old girl, who wore a blue and white school uniform, rolled her plait into a bun, tied an apron and clipped on a pouch around her waist before attending their table and collecting the emptied glasses and plate. She twisted a small soaked towel above the drain and then cleaned the table. She smiled at the four men and they smiled back as one of them handed her a green five ringgit note. 

“Thank you uncle, come back soon.” She thanked Rajaratnam as he waved at her from the car.

“Bye- Bye!”  All four men said from the car.

On the other side of town, two men sat inside a car, driving out of Maran, a town situated in the center of Malaysia. The windows had been rolled down and the volume of the radio was low. One of the men was Satanam; he sat in the driver’s seat and listened to Richie talk as they passed a primary school. The school boys wore blue shorts and a white shirt and the girls used a pinafore, although the Muslims also wore a tudung[2].  

Richie pulled the break and the policeman walked to the middle of the street, where he signaled for the children to walk across. On the other side of the street, small stalls were set up, selling bandung[3], soya bean and cinchau[4] in large tubs. Girls tiptoed with their rubber shoes, reached over the tubs and gave the aunties scrunched up bills that they kept in their Barbie purses. The aunties smiled and gave them their bag of drink, each of which had straws jetting out from the sides. The children held the strings that were tied to the bags and walked to the bus stop.

Richie continued to drive and soon there were forests of both sides of the street which they were traveling on. The sun was setting, creating a pumpkin and tomato colored sky. A flock of black birds flew across the sky and Satanam watched their wings flap about in the air. There wasn’t a jam along the road but neither was it empty.

Suddenly, Satanam spotted a familiar looking car a hundred meters or so before them. Immediately, he pulled his seat belt away from his chest and leaned forward, sitting right at the edge of the cushioned seat. He squinted, trying his hardest to see who might be seated inside the approaching car. Richie reacted the same way and began to slow down.

“That car looks very familiar, and so does the driver.” Richie said suspiciously.

“Yea, slow down, slow down.” Satanam urged Richie.

The car was now moving as rapidly as a turtle, and both men impatiently looked out of the window, eagerly waiting to know who was in the car.  As the car drove towards them, Satanam recognized the man who sat at the passenger’s seat.

“Hey, that’s Rajaratnam!” Satanam exclaimed. He laughed and waved at the car that drove towards the.

“I think you’re right. Ravi is driving and I think behind them is Murrugiah and Shanmuga Sundrum!” Richie laughed and playfully punched Satanam’s shoulder.

Soon, both cars were within a meter away from each other and the men inside enthusiastically waved at each other as the cars passed by.

Wait, they didn’t just wave at each other. They did a little more than that. . .

                Without any thought, both drivers pulled their breaks. Everyone unbuckled their seatbelts and jumped out of their car. Doors slammed one after the other and right in the middle of the road, all six men came running towards each other.

                They gave each other bear hugs, while saying to each other:


                “Hello! Hello!”

                “What a surprise!”

                Seriously, I’m not kidding. Right in the middle of the road, six men were gathered; each hugging the other and laughing in complete and utter happiness.

[1] Malaysian tea.

[2] Islam’s hijab.

[3] Drink made from rose syrup and milk.

[4] Drink made from grass jelly


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