As narrated by Nemo:
We were in matric and had come to The Playhouse on a school trip. Aara had lost her bracelet and by the time we had come back inside to look for it, people were already seated for the next show…
Aara: (looking as though she was about to cry) how are we ever going to look for it now?
I looked at her and then looked at the crowd infront of us.
Me: I have an idea…
And now…6 years later I’m walking down the same flight of stairs, about to do the same thing I had done back then. I took in a deep breath and climbed onto the stage and hoped that this wouldn’t land me in jail for the weekend!
The expressions on my friends faces were classic!
Me: Good morning ladies and gentlemen…before the show begins we have a little prize giving lined up for all you people in the first ten rows…Now, taped under two different seats is a black and yellow envelope.. and all you have to do is reach under your seat and feel for it and if you’re the lucky two…well then I have something for you:)
Within seconds, everyone in the first ten rows reached under their seats and began shuffling. Riza had his hand over his mouth in disbelief and Maariah’s grin was very hard not to miss.
I stood on the stage feeling a little impatient, a little excited, a little anxious. Walking down memory lane only meant one thing Aara…that I was going to bump into you over and over again.
Two people stood up and excitedly waved the two envelopes…a young man and an elderly lady…I walked over to them, shaking their hands and handing them their gifts. Inside the brown box in my backpack, were two smaller gift boxes. It wasn’t that this part of the race was easy…no..it was never about it being easy. It was about remembering. She wanted me to remember…
Zainab: why are you smiling so much?
Me: (smiling and shaking my head) I was just thinking about something..(Handing one envelope to Immy and the other to Arshad)
“Once in glory, now in ruin…I still watch the ships sail by. Lost by none, forgotten by all, at 12:58 I still stand tall”
I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as Arshad read out the clue again.
Me: (looking up) errr what?
Immy: tell us bro!
Me: tell you what?
Immy: what does this mean?
Me: (walking out with everyone following me) I have absolutely no idea!
Aara! Are you trying to tell me something again or is this unrelated to our memories…think think think….
Zoheb: (chuckling to himself) we can’t even google she has our phones!
Mari and Zai: Zoheb!!
Arshad: (stopping a man on the street) Sir, would you know what this means?
The man on the street: too early for this boy!
And he walked away! I laughed as we sat along the pavement.
Me: okay let’s think aloud…once in glory now in ruin…once in glory now in ruin
Mari: a ruin is generally related to an old building or an old structure..
Me: okay that’s a start…I still watch the ships sail by…so it’s an old building or structure that’s either close to the harbour…
Riza: or it’s high enough to see the harbour..
Me: lost by none, forgotten by all..
Zoheb: it’s still there but no one notices it…
Me: at 12:58 I still stand tall…
Laeeka: 12:58 is obviously the time so something either happens at this place at 12:58 or…
I closed my eyes…think Nemo think….And I could see her again…
Aara: (her hands on her hips) we’ve lived in Durban all our lives and we never looked at this closely before…I mean we’ve passed it a million times!
Me: you’re more worried about this than the fact that you just smashed your fathers car!
Aara: oh man…today is the first time that I actually really drove Naeem and it’s actually a good thing because now I don’t think that I’ll ever forget this even if I wanted to!
Me: (shaking my head at her candid attitude) what is it called anyway?
And I snapped out of my thoughts and narrated Aara’s words out aloud…
Standing infront of this huge clock made me feel as though I was stuck in time. I wasn’t the only one though…everyone else stood silently for a few minutes and stared.
Ziyaad: (breaking the silence) errr hello…no matter how hard you look at it, the hands on that clock won’t move people!
Nemo: I’m not even going to ask what you’re doing here
Ziyaad: (handing us two envelopes) time to split up…it’s a race not a group adventure!
Nemo:(opening the envelope) ya ya…oh crap
Zoheb: (taking the envelope from Nemo) Detour! ” You can choose between two tasks, each with it’s own pros and cons…”Run a Mile” or “Swim for It”. In “Run a Mile”, teams will have to run along the Golden Mile and search for clues while performing several tasks…this will be time consuming but a lot of fun! . In “Swim for It”, teams will have to be prepared to get wet and dirty, a quick but daring challenge” You have to choose now, once you’ve made a choice you have to complete the task you’ve chosen and may not back out ”
We regrouped and discussed…
My group naturally decided to choose to get wet and dirty while Riza’s group chose the Golden Mile challenge.
After a whole hour, we threw ourselves onto the grass, completely drained out. Zoheb opened the envelope that we had just retrieved…
Zoheb: “Roadblock….Only ONE of you may attempt this task, if for whatever reason you cannot complete this task then another team member can do it all over again, on your behalf…choose wisely, who’s the hungriest of you all?. Once you’ve decided, head to …..”
And the directions followed.
Me: this is food…damn we’re all hungry!
Nemo: this is Aara…it’s not just food. Sorry guys, I can’t do this one
Me:( realizing that trusting Nemo right now would be the safest option) errr me neither
Zoheb and Immy looked at each other for a few seconds.
Zoheb: Immy will do it!
Nemo: (laughing to himself) let’s get moving before the other team gets there first!
And here we were…in the heart of Durban town, in a tiny little restaurant, standing about a metre away from Immy who was seated at a table for two, waiting for his meal.
Nemo excused himself to go the toilet and while we waited, Riza and his team came barging in and Arshad took a seat across Immy as the food was served. It looked like… some kind of a scrambled egg curry! Sounds weird but it looked delicious and they were eating it with hot rotis and salad! I wish I hadn’t listened to Nemo because I was starving!
Nemo: (sitting next to Riza and watching Immy and Arshad hastily eating) what are they eating?
Nemo seemed to be lost in thought for a few seconds before that look reappeared on his face. The same look that was there when he realized what to do at The Playhouse…the same look he had on his face when he figured out Aara’s clue about the clock…and I knew, I just knew there was more to it when Nemo started laughing and couldn’t stop!
Nemo: (motioning for us to come closer and then he whispered) that’s not scrambled eggs!
Zoheb: (raising his eyebrow and looking at Arshad and Immy gorging on their food) then what is it?
Nemo: (laughing uncontrollably and then whispering to us) it’s sheep brains!
Laeeka’s eyes widened…
Nemo: (nodding and biting his lip) it is….there’s actually a story behind this but I’ll tell you later
Riza: these two are eating it like it’s the best thing they have ever eaten!
Zoheb: (with a wide grin on his face) Hey Immy how are you doing there bro?
Immy, with his mouth full gave Zoheb a thumbs up….I really loved Immy but at this point in time I couldn’t help laughing at him!
Zoheb: Arshoo you?
Nemo and Riza had to turn around and face the other way because they were finished! infact, all of us were trying so hard not to laugh!
Arshad: (chewing) it’s good bro it’s good
Zoheb: (trying not to laugh) what is it that you’re eating anyway?
Arshad: looks like egg chutney..tastes a little different but it’s very tasty
Nemo: (turning around and clutching his stomach) It’s sheep brains Arshoo!!!!
The look on Arshad and Immy’s faces was priceless as they froze…their mouths stuffed with food and hanging wide open as they looked at each other in disbelief.
Immy: (swallowing his food) nice try Nemo
Nemo: (calling the waiter) dude I’m serious…let’s ask this ou…err sorry, what is this?
The Waiter: this is authentic indian cuisine Sir
Nemo: Yeah but what is it?
The Waiter: oh…sorry, it’s one of the finest delicacies around, scrambled sheep brain in a fusion of different spices giving off a blend of superbly unique flavours
Both of them stopped eating!
Riza: (laughing loudly) uh uh..you guys need to finish it and make it quick!
Immy: (looking at his plate) I can’t…I can’t…
Zoheb: (choking on his laughter) before you knew that it was sheep brains you were enjoying it…
Immy: it’s better not to know trust me
Zainab: (reprimanding Arshad) that’s why don’t be greedy!
Nemo: guys..you’re more than half way done, we are in a race….you can do it come on!
Arshad: this Aara! This is like Fear Factor instead of The Amazing Race!
We held back our laughter and motivated them to finish off their food. More than once, they looked as though they were both going to throw up and they must have easily drank atleast two jugs of water each, just trying to finish up!
Immy finished before Arshoo, swallowing the last few bites quickly and when he was done he shook…like you know when you get the “shivers” in utter disbelief of what he had just eaten! We grabbed the envelope and ran out leaving the other team behind as Arshoo struggled to finish.
Zoheb: (opening the envelope) “Well Done! After a tiresome morning, you deserve a treat! Head down to the North Beach Carpark and look out for the yellow and black flag…you’ll be with me in no time”…Ps: Enjoy the view!
And at a single yellow and black flag in the car park…stood Ziyaad, smiling and waiting. He made Zoheb hop into the backseat as he took over the wheel and drove us to a somewhat secluded part of the beach where….OH MY GOSH!!!!
Zee: Don’t worry about your vehicle, it’s safe with me. See you on the other side..have fun!
Two speedboats waited for us and so did two large parachutes…no more envelopes
Aara was ending this one in style:)
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