I was invited to take a seat at the veranda. There was home-made cakes on the table and I was asked if I could like a cup of coffee or tea. Sean, the real estate agent looked like he was an old family friend, chatting with the owners of the property as if they had known for ages.
Neil, the owner's son was telling me about the property with genuine passion. He seemed like the real real estate agent and was doing a better job. I told my audience I had 30 questions for them and they gasped. I assured them it wasn't that bad.
"I went to another property with 60 questions," I revealed. They responded with rattles of laughter. "Besides," I continued, "I have the answers to about 10 of these, so we have only 20 to go."
The owner was silent throughout our conversations. After introducing himself, he sat with us throughout without saying a word. The quiet, unassuming man was Robert David. He came to Perth from India 50 years ago. According to his wife, Perth had "nothing" back then. That matched what Lynus Martin, who came to Perth 30 years ago, said of Perth. Coincidentally, Singaporean tourists still said the same thing up to this day about Perth's nothingness and return to show their ignorance to their friends by telling them Perth was boring.
According to Neil, their family visited more than 50 properties before falling in love with the property they ended up buying and staying for 30 years, where the family of 8 grew up and grew old together. Both his parents worked their socks off, working 2 jobs each to pay for their 15 acres and brought up all 5 kids. The land held a lot of fond memories for the family. The animals roaming freely, the plentiful fruit trees that used to be there, the fishing, gutting and cooking straightaway for dinners, the countless parties held in the open area....
On Robert David's book, he described himself as an engineer, accountant, musician and short story writer at the back of the book. He told me he had written many books. When he handed me a copy of his booked titled, "A land I once call home" it did not look anything like a short story. It was a massive book that would take me weeks to finish. After he autographed the book for me, I hold it against my chest and thanked him.
You know, when I saw the book title, I thought I could write a book with the same title too. My primary school friend, Inshera kept asking me to write a book a few months back. She had since migrated to NZ and never looked back since. Incidentally she stopped bugging me about the book too but the seed she planted in my mind remained dormant. Me, Sg uneducated beng, write book? Even my mum will laugh if she knows. heh heh.
Ok, any pre-orders?