R for Room and Board


R“You know, I know a little bit about Brisbane. I used to stay there during my school holidays.” The lady on the other end of the phone line was called Usha. We had been introduced to each other by some writers in Malaysia and the plan was to collaborate on an online writing project. I’d insisted on speaking with her before we even started. We’d already sorted out the preliminaries when I decided to tell about the people I’d once stayed with in Brisbane. After all, the Malaysian community in Brisbane was quite small. And the first thing a Malaysian will often do in a foreign country is find another Malaysian.

“Oh, where in Brisbane?” Usha sounded chirpy. She had already told me how happy she was having made Australia their home years ago.

“Somewhere called Kenmore.” I answered, not expecting her to know the place. After all, Australia is a vast place and Brisbane was big city – by Malaysian standards, at least. I mean, if you come to KL and ask me about Puchong, I would be lost. I know about Puchong and how to get there. Beyond that, I’m lost.

“Ah. We live there,” Usha replied, surprising me.

“Let me think.” I scratched my head. It was more than 15 years since I’d stayed in Brisbane. Could I even remember the address?

“Ah, yes. I remember. The address was 25 Mabb Street.”

I was so impressed with myself. I could remember the exact address after all these years. It took me a few seconds to realise that Usha was completely quiet.

“Hello? Usha? Are you there?”

“Err… Yes.” There was something strange in her voice. I detected a smidgen of shock in it. “How do you know that address?”

I replied, nonchalant. “I told you. I used to stay there during my school holidays. With some family friends. They are called the Menons.”

Again, there was no response from her. I was getting worried. Had I said something wrong?

“Usha? Are you there?”

I could hear her take a deep breath. Then she said, “Aneeta, we bought their house. We’re now living in that house.”

Is this what people mean by a coincidence? Have you had such coincidences?

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11 thoughts on “R for Room and Board

  1. Pingback: Great Storytelling Network Newsletter – 14 December 2016 | How To Tell A Great Story

  2. Oh, WOW! Aneeta, that’s quite a coincidence indeed! Like Betty above, I got goosebumps too 🙂 Good story!

  3. I’ve had some coincidences. When I changed university jobs many years ago, I ended up going to the school where the person who took my old position had been teaching. With all the hundreds of colleges and universities in the US, that switch was quite a coincidence!

  4. I’ve experienced some coincidences on my travels, but that really takes the biscuit, Aneeta! Just incredible.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    • The part that fascinates me most about this incident is that after all those years away, I could recall the Menons’ exact address. They don’t even live there anymore. But I could rattle it off …

  5. I’m not sure that I believe in coincidence. I think there are higher powers at play when “coincidences” happen…
    Great story.
    Thanks for visiting today. Nice to meet you! I’m glad to be introduced to your blog. Going to check out your ebook now…

    Michele at Angels Bark

    • Like you, Michele, I have no doubt that there are higher powers at play. Too many strange things have happened in my life not to believe in this, at the very least.

  6. Wow that kind of gave me goosebumps! Definitely a small world if not a coincidence!

    thanks for visiting 🙂


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