I once lived in Penang. In a government quarters near Green Lane. My room window faced the sports field of a school (Teknik Pulau Pinang, I think). On certain Sundays some expats would utilise the field to play baseball, the men busy with the game and the women would sit by the side and I would gaze at them from the window. It was a colorful sight to behold, it could well be a chapter from Somerset Maugham's book and I would get so engrossed watching them. I love Penang because of the trees that line its roads endlessly. They give shade and green-ness to the surroundings. To amble along these shady roads amidst the Angsana and other big sturdy trees that could well be a hundred yrs old, one will always be mesmerized by the magical feeling one will experience from it. Once, with a friend, I walked all the way, from my house to Pulau Tikus and back! That is approximately 14 km of to and fro journey! And what a great time we had, enjoying the splendid scenery and chatted like any two good friends would do, along the way, making silly jokes with whatever that struck out sights. As we walked, we could feel the soft breeze blowing around us and dried leaves which were abundant, would swirl in the air and on the ground making crackling sounds that was musical to the ears! Ahh! What a splendor!
Another instant would be celebrating raya at Tok's. It was in the late sixties or early seventies. My family and I would always travel back to Batu Pahat for each raya celebration to be with my maternal grandma. In fact almost everyone in mak's family would converge to Tok's grand wooden house at Jalan Lim Poon. The house would be so crammed. Some would occupy the rooms. But we kids prefered to sleep in the hall on the floor, in rows. And we simply loved it! The creaking sound of the floorboards each time someone walked. The musty smell of the wooden planks which the house was built with. Sleeping side by side with my cousins, snuggling in close proximity. Bouts of giggles now and then with the muffling sounds of hushed conversations in the background. All these in the peaceful darkness of Tok's wooden abode back then. Now the house is no more, having being pulled down in the name of development. Oh how I miss it!
Of the many good moments I shared with Bapak (my beloved dad), the time I cherish most would be accompanying him for terawikh prayers at the customs' village surau in Penang and our Sunday market trips at Klang wet market. I was in secondary 4 and 5. Each time Ramadhan came back then, I became Bapak's 'chaperone' and we would diligently join the congregation there, despite the distance, for the whole month. Sitting next to him while he drove each night had created a special bonding between us. Especially when it was a blessed month and we were doing something that pleased Allah swt.
When we lived in Shah Alam, bapak did his marketing at Klang wet market. Whenever I was back for the weekends, I'd accompany him without being asked to. My dad is a man of few words so usually our journey would be a quiet one albeit small chats here and there plus good fatherly advices from him. But these market trips have definitely brought me even closer to him. The way he bargained.(not that he likes bargaining. In fact bapak has a soft heart and would buy things out of pity for the poor seller!) The stalls he chose to buy things. The route he took and weaved through the whole market. I was the passive 'shopper', standing quietly beside him, only helping to carry things. It was even more meaningful as it was the last few years that I was spending with him as an unmarried daughter.
And there were several other instances in my life that I'd treasure as they evoke stirring emotions in me. Like when I first learnt how to do prayers and was so earnest to wake up for subuh that I climbed the balcony to get next door in the wee hours, simply to join the neighbor's daughter for prayers! Or the trips to Singapore (we lived in JB during my primary years) during my heydays, buying records and more records (yeah, the black discs that turns on a turntable with a needle player!). Oh you won't believe the endless list of LPs that I collected of singers and groups that I have long forgotten now!! Astaghfirullah! And not forgetting a particular Singapore trip when I did a shopping splurge using the substantial amount of money (well, it was a lot to me back then!) I found under the carpet which was stolen by our maid! (hey! it was our money anyway!)
Doesn't it feel good to reminisce the good old days?
p.s I hope mak is not reading this or she'll feel hurt for I have not mention anything about her. The thing is my reminiscence with mak would entail a whole entry on its own! Later, mak, later!
p.p.s. Raya today involved an itinery very similar like the previous. Breakfast at FIL's, solat raya at the Masjid nearby, beriyani at Makteh's, continental dine at SIL's (her choc/ coffee tart with whipped cream is comparable to any found at 5 star hotel!)
and finally back home and napped! We had to scrap our earlier plan of going back to KL to my parents as iKelah had to work at 6pm as the locum doctor ditched him last minute! *Sigh* Have to make up with mak as she is furious! Heard that bapak is busy at his surau today helping with the korban and melapah! Way to go Bapak!
11th Dzulhijjah 1426, I made my first set of kuih koci (recipe from Has's Blog) and alhmadulillah they turned out fine!