School had just started. But there were riots in the city and we were at home. They told us to stay on the compound until the riots were over. No going into the city. It was so boring.

Our shipment was still on a boat...or in customs...or something. So no games, no books, none of my stuff. Just the other kids in the compound. There were a lot, but I barely knew them. They were barely my friends. And they all knew each other really well. I hated being new. It's the worst. It's like you're the odd man out every time. Like they have their inside jokes and their routines, and you're just trying to catch up. 

The age range on the compound was big. Well, to a point. We had everyone from babies to middle schoolers. There was no American high school so anyone in high school was in boarding school in England or Switzerland, or the States. 

Anyway, were were stuck on the compound with nothing to do. My dad said there were plans for a swimming pool and a playground and a gym. But that was later, after all the houses had been built. 

We played Man Hunt a hundred times. Man Hunt is like tag only more complex. You have teams and you all congregate at a base. Then one person shouts "Go!" and one team scatters. We used the whole compound to hide. We jumped over walls and hid in other peoples' backyards. We didn't go quite as far as the offices, but nothing else was off limits. After like ten minutes we slowly made our way back to the base. We tried the avoid the other team who was looking for us or else they would tag us and we would be out. There were always a few people waiting around the base to tag us as we came in, but if you were fast and stealthy you could avoid them. 

I think the adults got tired of us running through the compound, so the Managing Director opened up his backyard to us. He had a big house with a swimming pool that we could use. Just until the riots were over and we could go back to school. 

Asha SundararamanComment