just the other day

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1993. i ran ahead, the glories of the day past aglow in my mind. one space mountain ride under my belt, at only age 10, was enough. i was tall enough. too bad for warsha. this was disneyworld, there were plenty of rides for her. that horse-ride for one. she was ecstatic. then mickey and minnie. and a glimpse of goofy. life could not be better.

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2008. i ambled forward, having skipped through most of the tarzan treehouse. somehow, underneath all the revived childhood, there was a slight lack of excitement i wanted to overcome. the indy ride had been fun, so had that “jungle cruise”. ‘pirates was probably going to be next, hopefully not too badly distorted by the movie. appa and amma were waiting patiently in the shade. i whipped out the map. where was ‘pirates’ again?

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the line was going to take some time. this was a mountain ride of some kind. looked interesting enough. warsha would probably be allowed on it. that was good. the time left when we entered was 40 minutes or somethhing. 10 were over. this should be fun. people were moving, appa pulled me forward. i wondered what we were going to do next.

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the pirates ride was not as bad as i thought it was going to be. i went over the rest of what we had. probably get tickets for that mountain ride. probably have lunch soon. got to find fries for mom. should make sure that we get out of this area in the next 40 minutes or so. and at some point ensure i go there.

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that ride was pretty neat. where would we go next. my eyes bulged at the sight. there was an island here. with a steamboat. the sign loomed above. ‘mom !’ impatience mounts. ‘moooooooooommm ! look, look, tom sawyer island ! in disneyworld !’

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lunch was getting over. managed to find a table and everything. mom was starting to wonder about whether this was all there was to disneyland. the sun was beating down on us. i checked up what we had left. ‘we can do this at 3, its now 1. i have to see this, me and warsha can go here. you guys check these things out.’ it took some understanding, but it was done. i moved ahead. time for tom sawyer island.

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we waited for the raft. appa and amma were wondering about the time. ‘just half an hour.’ there something else we needed to get to ? this was tom sawyer island. all important. how long did we have left ? it was nearly 4. place probably closed in an hour or so. ‘see na ma, lets do this now. we finish in half an hour, then get going.’ convinced ! the raft came, i ran ahead. it was time. we chugged across the water. as we landed: ‘satish, remember, half an hour.”i’ll go alone, you guys wait here.’ i didn’t wait to let them veto the idea, i rand ahead. tunnels were explored, the caves were searched. and i was just starting. some kind of bridge ? forget it ! i wanted vines, like tarzan. the trail was there, the island was as i had read about it. the excitement, the joy of tom sawyer and his exciting life encapsulated on an island. awesome ! kids overran the area. through places you could barely see, over bridges that were there for jumping over. it was tom sawyer and peter pan all in one. the stuff i had dreamed off. it was fun. it was nearly time to leave.

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the raft chugged to a stop on the island. i stepped off with warsha, and pointed out that jack sparrow would be on the island in 30 mins. we strolled along the sandy way, i saw a tunnel, we ducked into it. before i knew it, we were in the adventure. dark passageways, low light, twists and turns you didn’t know were there. and all at once we came out. i ran out, and we found the next one. i had to finish it all. how much could it be ? would i find the tree bridge ? a tree-house ! there ! we found the ladder, and saw the area. went down the other end, walked through a crack in the wall that didn’t seem possible to enter. the joy of boyhood was coming back to me. here, there everywhere, fragmented memories of a time of jumping and running, of climbing and exploring, it was all here. all around me were kids at least 10 years younger. and parents 10 years older. it didn’t matter. i was on tom sawyer island.

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we left, i didn’t want to leave the island. ‘we’ll come back tomorrow’. i extracted a promise. ‘as long as i want, even an hour.’ i was sated. the next day would come.
the next day involved doing rides we hadn’t seen so far. tom sawyer would be the piece-de-resistance, at the very end. funny thing though. it was 12 pm, but the train clock said 1. weird. mom wondered about it, i thought it was just one of those things. lunch, more rides, and now it was 4. time for tom sawyer. appa would take warsha to the steamboat, amma and i would explore the island. i ran to the entrance. no crowd ? what ? the sign said it was closed at 5. but it was 4 ? no-one to ask. my face fell. amma comforted me, and we watched warsha and appa on the steamboat. all around me, kids laughed. i was bummed. no tom sawyer. when would i get to see it again ?

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i never thought i would get to finish it. but i did. i had walked, nay, skipped all over tom sawyer island. an excitement i had felt as a boy reading mark twain’s exploit of the kids in his day was back. i had climbed tree-houses, explored tunnels, jumped bridges. it was a small island, but it was something. something i had been waiting for since that dock sign 10 years ago. i had become tom sawyer and peter pan. warsha had met jack sparrow, but that was incidental.

there is a certain feeling you get as a boy when you live the life of the outlaws in the books, which i had lost. there is a certain magic associated with disney which i was trying to find. i had found them both.

on tom sawyer island.

Based on true events.

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