Five Christmases ago, I was nineteen years old and a third-year student at polytechnic. I frowned, quizzically and dispiritedly, when at dinner time one evening a distant acquaintance rested an autographed self-help book onto my palms.
“Thank you!” I chirped dryly.
“You are welcome!” she plainly acknowledged before vanishing into a melee of family members to carry on with the party favours distribution. Blankly and momentarily, I gazed at the black embossment: The Timeless Gift.
When my great-aunt and I were exchanging succinct formalities, two unarticulated thoughts had sprung unbidden to mind: firstly, the load in my hands was irrelevant—and therefore redundant—and secondly, I would have been better off with a smattering of POPULAR gift vouchers. How jejune and ungracious I was.
Together with my watered-down memory of the light-hearted merriment that had stretched into the wee hours, Ismail Gafoor’s publication was also misplaced and forgotten shortly after.
Today, I am twenty-three going on twenty-four and a financial advisor who is perennially on the verge of falling apart and calling it quits. All of a sudden, this spurned, cobwebbed hardcopy (kudos to my mother who is a masterly hoarder) appears to be a godsend.
I sat on the ground, gingerly dusted the unpretentious front cover, and leafed through the first few pages: maybe it would be electrifying and life-changing after all, I reckoned.
The featured image is courtesy of Jennifer Pallian.