Perhaps I was not meant to take the 1258 from King’s Cross. The mini cab driver had foolishly taken the wrong lane and the turning into the busy station at that time of the day was choc-a-bloc! But as fate would have it the 1302 was standing on Platform 8 ready to go. I huffed and puffed lugging two bags in search of a quiet seat by the window, far away from other passengers. The rush meant I didnt have time to get that much needed latte from Starbuck and when the train pulled away from the platform, I allowed my mind to wander off to
44 Cemetery Road.
Cemeteries, if I may state the obvious, are fertile grounds for imaginative minds. I have not read
The title of Tunku Halim’s new book brought to mind the early morning walks with Mak to the mosque for subuh prayers. The Jerai, protective and majestic in the daytime, posed a more sinister feature hovering over us in the dark before the break of dawn. From a distance, clusters of women in white telekungs seemed to be floating towards the mosque as the call for prayer broke the early morning silence. The smell of the cempaka flowers pervaded the cool morning air but the sweetness of the smell usually gave me the shivers. We used to call the flowers that fell scattered on the final resting place of the residents of the cemetery adjacent to the mosque, bunga kubur.
Entering the compound, Mak would remind us to give salam to the residents of the cemetery: “Assalamualaikum Ya ahli kubur”, I would hurriedly mutter without looking left or right and I’d clutch Mak’s arm even tighter. I’d imagine eyes looking at me from every corner, I’d hear all kinds of shrieks and screams and laughter coming from graves with their tilting headstones. I’d remember tales of restless souls wandering the nights and returning at dawn, stories about ghosts of women who died during childbirth said to be residing on big trees bordering the compound. These were stories we children would exchange with each other in hushed tones during the day, and these were stories that’d keep us awake during the nights.
Anyway, I am sure
There are many stories to choose from but as someone who did a paper on “The Monstrous Feminine in South East Asian Cinemas” I opted for ‘Night of the
As the First Capital Connect whizzed past the English countryside, I found myself engrossed in the story with rich Malaysian flavour. Tunku, although residing in
The harmless banter between three friends, one woman and two men, was light and easy – like starters and appetisers before the main meal. The beginning chugged along well to the speed of the First Capital Connect – no hurry, no fuss. And in fact by the time we reached Hornsey, everything was still hunkydory with the three old friends. By the time we reached
“My heart pounded like bleeding fist in my head. The car skidded and swerved as I raced down the hill and I nearly got killed as it almost ploughed into the jungle.............”
And at this point I jumped.