Monday, 11 December 2006

This autumn of our lives

Shoppers choosing their goods must have thought that there was a bunch of silly kids in the changing room nearby. There were shrieks and screams and laughter. Well, the truth is, there were four of us mak and tok budaks trying on clothes. What brought on the squeals of laughter was what L had chosen from the racks. A pair of trousers that reminded us of our goo goo ga aga days – the flower power days with flares that could break a fall from the highest building.

L actually bought it for something to sleep in and I bet her dreams were full of psychedelic colours as well.

When we are together, L, M, A and I, it doesn’t need to take much to make us burst into laughter. And it has always been like that since we were in primary school. We go back a long way together. And we are now in what I choose to use, the autumn stage in our lives.

We met in primary one. I was the tearful one as Mak had left me at the classroom door. A came to hold my hand and sat with me. From that day onwards, A has been the strong one for us, for all of us. We were separated during most of the primary school years when Pak was posted to Yan, but we met up again, this time as rivals as I went to the St. Nicholas Covent – an arch rival of Sultanah Asma School. But we met up and renewed our friendships, a stronger one, until this day.

We eyed the same boys from SAHC, we danced at the same parties, but we married different men from different chapters of our lives. But we kept in touch, even when fate decided that I make London my home. I’d receive sms’es from them holidaying together in Bali, or in Australia or even when they are doing a pocho pocho somewhere.

We meet up everytime I am home and spend days and nights with each other, being sixteen all over again. With news of my homecoming, A would start contacting others. Husbands dread my homecoming as they usually have to find their own dinners. But almost always, they’d indugle us and join us for dinner and certainly at the karaoke lounge till quite late. The last time we finished off our day with a 3 am roti bakar and coffee in One Utama. Even Mak understands that when I go out with them, it will be the next day before she sees me again.

I remember once, L had picked me up, called up M at work. She had to make some excuses to leave. A phoned in sick. We all met up at KLCC, giggling like naughty kids playing truant. We bought some new clothes for dinner, did our prayers at KLCC and proceeded to have tea and then dinner and then, yes...we had fun. We’d start a conversation at tea, continue the chat in the carpark, holler over songs from yesteryears as we drive along the highway to nowhere and even enjoy getting lost as it means having more time to be with each other.

Last year, after L bought that outrageous pair of trousers, we went to do some shopping for my umrah. The three of them bought me a pair of very comfortable sandles. I promised them that I would step into the sacred city of Mecca in that pair of sandles. And I did. And I said jokingly, that, with each step that I take, I’d mention, one step for L, one step for M, one step for A and one step for me. And we burst into laughter again in that shoe shop in Midvalley as we did the steps together. But really, no matter what path our journey takes us, we have always been instep with each other.

Last week, I received an email from A. That was quite unusual because A doesn’t do emails. anything that has to be said, she sms’ed or she’d post them in our personal website. But the email brought grim news. M is to be operated tomorrow. She has the dreaded C that has taken two of our close friends already. Even when I phoned A, the strong one, the one who said, we have to be strong for each other, her voice cracked under the strain. I had to compose myself before I could phone M. But it was no good. We just sobbed.

Alhamdulillah, they have caught it at a very early stage. And Insyaallah, M will be ok. She must be, because, we have to do that steps again, together. Even in the autumn of our lives.

12th Dec. 2006 London
couldn't sleep. so - went online and found A - another lost soul. We chatted abt this and that and about M, who was then already on the operating table. It was a three hr op. Then A got ready to go to the hospital.
10am - Fadz - another childhood friend and one of the 'Special Angels' sms'ed to say M already out. A couldnt sms cos she forgot her glasses. Fadz was on the way there with several other childhood friends.
10.30 am- M sms'ed from hospital bed to say she is well. Alhamdulillah.
1500 - L sent picture message of the whole gang surrounding M in her hospital bed. I just burst into tears. These are some of my dearest friends from primary school. Love you all.


madame blossom said...

kak teh,

I hope I can have friendships that last that long! I'm not in contact with any of my pri school friends.. only a handful from sec.. but not close. Now i have some really close friends, and I hope it'll stay close for the longest time. Girlfriends are just fun.

My prayers for 'M'.

Nazrah Leopolis said...

ahh this gives me a lot of hope in friendships.

my prayers go out to all the aunties i met at the airport that day.and special ones go out to aunty M may she find the hikmah in all this and be rid of the big C once and for all.

k.d said...

KTeh..good friends are hard to come by. And we need girlfriends..

My prayers to Kak M..Insya-Allah..

Kak Teh said...

blossom, i am in touch with most of my school friends, college friends, colleagues . I find it hard to let go of friendship - those that mean a lot to me.
Thank you for the prayers.

nazrah, yes, there's hope. and yes you have met those friends of mine.

k.d. thanks for the doa - Insyaallah.

anggerik merah said...

Kak Teh,

That is what frienship is all about.
May M recover from her predicament.

Anonymous said...

salam sejahtera buat kak teh
yang tak pernah jemu berceloteh
maaflah dah banyak haghi telopeh
banyak kojo tak sompek membaleh

maklumlah kenanga orang makan gaji
tak boleh leka barang sehari
komen ni pun ditulis waktu dinihari
masa semua dibuai mimpi

kak teh jauh di london sana
kenanga di kl ingat sentiasa
budi dan jasa tak pernah dilupa
bersama kita menyambut raya

walau lama tidak bersua
ke kl pun, kak teh bukan nak jumpa
kenanga dengar di angin lalu saja
alih-alih dah balik ke london semula

seronok dengar kak teh bercerita
tentang kawan-kawan yang akrab mesra
dari kecil hingga dewasa
moga berkekalan selama-lamanya

ada kawan yang baik budi
ada kawan harta dicari
ada kawan sementara janji
abang malaya apa kategori?

tiba waktu mengundur diri
sampai di sini kenanga berhenti
sebelum itu terimalah ucapanku ini
maaflah lewat tapi ikhlas di hati
buat kak teh dan suami, AG
Happy Anniversary and be merry

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, my prayers are with M. She will be fine, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

With clothes the new are best, with friends the old are best"

Arena said...

Kak Teh,

I know the feeling. That's the way i felt when i learnt about my friend's big C news. Macam takde kata nak cakap, takde cara nak pujuk. Just call and said that I'll be there. Allah bersama kita Kak Teh..

Queen Of The House said...

Kak Teh, there is no comparing childhood frienships ... and ones that last as long as yours have must be a real treasure. I hope your friend recovers well from the big C ... that word now sends shivers down my spine!

Kak Teh said...

Am, thank you. I am wide awake at 0335, chatting to A, while M is now being operated. Dhe shd be out of the theatre soon, Insyaallah.

terima kasih muncul kembali,
mencuri masa yang sibuk sekali,
kak teh pun tertanya berkali-kali,
kenanga ke mana dok tidur lali?

kak teh balik sekali sekala,
tak banyak masa dah pulang semula,
menjenguk ibu yang sudah tua,
tak dapat sangat nak pi kemana.

terima kasih kak teh ucapkan,
kenanga tak lupa seloka diungkapkan,
hari ulangtahun tidak sangat kami raikan,
setakat duduk di rumah dan makan-makan.

Kak Teh said...

judy, thanks, and thanks for email.

anon, how true. thanks.

arena, betul, kita berserah kepada Allah.

QOTH, I understand and I hope you are keeping strong too.

Anonymous said...

kak teh,
isn't it great to have such good friends that you know so well and in tune with each other. I have 3 myself. Known each other since primary 4. We seldom get together as everyone is busy with their own family and work, not to mention one is also in UK (hey, just like kak teh n company). But with emails, sms' and YM is not hard to gossip2 n gelak2 tungging-langgang.
My prayers go to M and hope that you all get to do your 'steps' again soon. Amin.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
That's what life is all about, it seems. We deal with different issues at different stages of our friendship, but most importantly, we are there for each other. Wish your friend will recover soonest.

ubisetela said...

I still keep friends from my kindy days... and of course from school/college etc. after that.

My prayers for kak M. Insya Allah, she'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Like you,I still keep in contact with my classmates from primary days. We still get together whenever I go back and we never got tired of reminiscencing the good ole days. In a time like this, your friend has your shoulder to cry on even if it's over the phone. I wish her a speedy recovery and please tell her to never lose hope. It's what kept us going in life.


Kak Teh,
I am also blessed with a handful of great friends. Ones that will be there for me when I need them though we don't keep in touch much but we are in each other's thoughts.
I hope your best friend M will do fine...
And Happy Anniversary to you and AG. Such lovely write always...
Take care...

Anonymous said...

Bravo Kak Teh. St Nicholas Convent wasn't bad given the circumstances. Asma was over-rated. I went to St Michael. During our time, St Nicholas and St Michael were Roman Catholic Mission schools. We survived and thrived eh? Budak college (Abdul Hamid) and Asma looked down upon us.

m.u.l.a.n said...

my prayers for kak M.. she'll be fine, InsyaAllah..


"we share the pain,
we laugh together,
through thick & thin,
friends are forever."

Kak Teh said...

yatie, hehehe, aaah ada juga orang macam kak teh yang masih ada kawan2 dari masa kecik! yes, technology nowadays allows us to do that.

mama irma, alas, yes! we have been through so many seasons together. thanks for yr doa.
ubi, to me friendship is forever. itis priceless. thanks for doa.

Kak Teh said...

alice, wonderful that you too have old friends. thanks for yr kind words.

puteri, thanks for doa and well wishes. Hope u are well.

budak kuala kangkong, ish kita pun tengok juga budak st michael sekali sekala!

mulan, terima kasih.

Anonymous said...

kak teh,
forgot to mention another coincidence. we were all from St Nicholas Convent as well. Then all of us transfered to Asma in Secondary 1. some friends became rivals and our old rivals became friends...

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, a touching post. All prayers go to M.

Anonymous said...

All our prayers for M...u r lucky to have such friends in ur life

Anonymous said...

Even to have one true friend it is already superb and you have three! I know you know you are lucky and blessed for this, from the very touching account.

M must be shattered, but being able to share with you and gang and cry with her gang makes the pain more bearable. Hope M will get the best outcome, insy.

Marlene said...

Of course you´ll be together, not only on your autumn days but also for the winter. I have a strong feeling that she´ll be all right.
I´ll be in touch with you; your entries do me a lot of good.

~ GAB ~ said...

It's nice to have friends that last that long. Nothing compared to newly met friends no matter how close we are with them. What more when having old friends traced back during childhood days and still very close and dearly as ever. Good for you Kak Teh.

BTW, hope M is fine by now.

Mama Rock said...

oh kak teh, you guys have such a beautiful friendship and i hope M will get better soon

Angel Eyes said...

My prayers to Kak M too.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
this is what friends are for.
I pray that everybody will be strong and supportive as always.

tokasid said...

Salam to kak teh and all.

Alhamdulillah kak teh ada klik yang kamceng dari kecik sampai la ni.That is a very good 'family' and support group that evryone of us need esp at a time like M is facing.

Alhamdulillah I still contact regularly with the guys fron my SAHC and MU years.

For Kak M, insyaALLAH kak M boleh hadapi ujian ALLAH Azza Wa Jalla dgn tabah. I know how devastated kak M and her family( and kamcings too) felt when first told to have that dreaded C. 4 years ago, I and my family went through the same emotional turmoil when my mum-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian C( and histologically it was a sinister one). Having gone through a major op followed by gruelling chemotherapy, Alhamdulillah she is doing well. So far no signs of distant metastasis. Having someone dear to you kena the C betul2 buat kita jadi gelabah. Tak tau macamana nak comfort orang yg sakit tu.
Kak M perlu tabah dan yakin.With recent progress of the C treatment the success rate is good and quality of live among C patients are satisfactory.

Budak kuala kangkong, budak2 college tak pernah look down upon budak st Nicholas convent walau kami lebih kenal budak2 Asma. Bila budak2 convent masuk SAHC masa form 6, budak2 college akan terbeliak biji mata tau. Depa tau selain Asma ada lagi budak pompuan yg pandai dan cun-cun dari convent.

AuntyN said...

kak Teh, sorry lambat komen ni.

1. A little prayer for your friend. I hope she will be strong, and she will survive the trials.

2. Happy 27th Anniversary to you and AG. You both have come a long way and May the Loving continues. InsyaAllah.

Kak Teh said...

yatie, yes..but its theother way round. i was from sas - balik ke convent. then i made some very close friends in convent as well. in form six at sahc - some of us satu sekolah.

rosma, thank you for yr doa.

simah, thanks to you too.

ruby, ijust received a photograph of my childhood friends surrounding M in her hospital bed. when i saw thati just burst into tears!

Kak Teh said...

woman atthe well, thank you for coming back after a long absence. yes, i hope we will brave our winter together too. Look froward to yr email.

gab, she is fine. Its the worry that was making me quite sick.

mama rock - she is aurrounded by everyone who cares and loves her - i can only send hugs and sms'es.

Kak Teh said...

angel eyes, thank you for your prayers.
dnas, inysaallah we will be strong and supportive.

tokasid, my mak is going through this and we are so scared that she will be in pain. doakan supaya dia tak sakit.
aaah, we never looked down on st michael boys. masa kayuh basikal lalu sekolah tu - kami tengok2 jugak!

Kak Teh said...

auntyN, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Theta said...

Wow, yours is a living evidence that friendships do last a lifetime, insyaAllah....
I'm truly amazed at the durability of your bond. In fact, I can honestly say that I am a little bit envious. I'd thought those kinds of relationships are just in sappy, Chick movies. Silly me.
May Allah bless your friendships always. And I pray for the speedy recovery of Aunty M.

nyonyapenang said...

aww.....such thick frens.
hope she gets well soon.

Rockybru said...

Hi Ah,
re yr mail, i'll be visiting our friend in the next couple of days. want to see him first, discuss with him and family what we should and shouldn't do. i still remember him when he was so healthy and so normal. we'll do whatever we can. i hope his employers will be good to him and not let him down. chances are they will, though. nobody loves you when you're down, somebody sang that. i'll tell him about your mail, your thoughts. and will tell you how it goes.
take care, Ah. salams to everyone.sleelwyn

Kak Teh said...

theta, thanks for dropping by. yes, it exists. You have to stick by yr friends through thick and thin. I know many more people with this kind of friendship. My older sister too has friends from her school days. Thank you for yr prayers.

nyonya - yes.

Rocky, thanks. Tell him we have not forgotten him.

Anonymous said...

Doa buat M dan semua insan yang memerlukan doa dan simpati.

Demikian hidup wahai Adik Teh. Ibarat sungai yang ada pasang surutnya. Ibarat lautan yang ada tenang dan geloranya.

Ibarat lagit yang kala cerah dan kala mendung.

Abang Malaya?

Pagi ini bangun tidur berasa hiba kerana tiada berkemampuan memutar kembali masa.

Ah...demikian kisah hidup kita.

Doa adikku dan rakan-rakan pelayar siber bahagia, Insya-Allah.

ManaL said...

I was breathing heavily reading this entry. Though i wasnt as lucky as u kak teh on having a handful of good buddies from primary years till now, i still stick to my few yet close friends.

U mustve been born a people person. It took me a while to get to what i am now.

Prayers for your girl, M, may Allah ease her pains and speed up her recovery.

Anonymous said...

Alhamdulillah M is well. What a beautiful bunch of friends you guys are. Keep it up.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Kak Teh
Losing a friend can be tough.
Two of my ex-schoolmates, both I've known since Primary One, succumbed to cancer; one last year and the other a few months ago. Another is in remission. We are praying for her. Our prayers for M also.

Kak Teh said...

abang malaya,
nada abang malaya semakin hiba,
jelas tertera rasa kecewa,
alangkah baik kalau boleh diputarkan masa,
tapi buat apa?
bolehkah ubah kisah hidup kita?

manal, thanks for your prayers. I am indeed lucky to have such friends. and for this, kak teh bersyukur.

ruby, alhamdulillah. she'll be up in no time.

x-matters, I am sorry abt yr loss. I have lost quite a few friends as well. when a childhood friend was having treatment in Singapore, A, M and L went to visit her every weekend , taking turns to be with her. Then she went. Al Fatehah to all those who have left us.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

Your story brought me to tears. I have a couple of close friends from our primary school days. 2 are now in KL while the rest are here in SG. Our last gathering was in 2003 in SG but we always keep in touch via emails.

My prayers to M. Take care Kak Teh.

Count Byron said...

Such beautiful heartfelt& profound friendship Kak Teh.. I am absorbed.. very deep. May M fully recover soon. May Allah always keep you 4, and the rest too, in step with each other. I am misty eyed.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh - like you I still have friends from Primary One. Most are still in Johor and ours are a muhibbah lot.

I treasure friendship very much and friends look out for each other, through thick and thin.

The way you and your friends have been.

My prayers for *M*.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, i always enjoy reading your blog although i did not leave my 'mark' :)

Good friends are hard to find, they hv been with you through thick and thin and they will go through it again with u. kan?

My prayer to KM. Take care of yourself too KT.

Anonymous said...

oh mak teh. lama tak jumpa. your music player is killing me, it murdered my IE and mozilla!

Anonymous said...

Kak M

Anonymous said...

A'kum Kak Teh! I cried my eyes out when I read your article about our friends, our deep friendship and about my illness. It's been 22 days since my operation and I am now strong enough to surf the net. You never realised you have been blessed with so much until you see everything almost slipping away with that dreaded announcement that you have the 'Big C'! I would like to thank everyone for all the prayers and only God can repay your kindness! I am being positive about my future and I hope I can be a regular on this blog!