It was snowing ever so slightly outside. The snowflakes drifted down gently and melted before touching the ground. Snowbell made a dash through the cat flap bringing in a gush of cold wind into the sitting room, momentarily taking our attention away from the idiot box.
This time it wasn’t American Idol or Master Chef that demanded our attention. It was just after dinner of chicken and cashew nut plus sambal tumis sea-bass and sayur su’un, that the children wanted to have dessert served by P. Ramlee.
They grew up over dosed with P Ramlee slapsticks in Aunty Samina’s front room, watching Pendekar Bujang Lapok, Doh-Ray-Me in between Sangam and Kabhi-Kabhi with Uncle. And lately, thanks to You Tube, they’ve been enjoying snippets from old P Ramlee movies and one that got them in stitches was Pendekar Bujang Lapok, the one where Aziz or was it Ajis corrected the Pak cik on his pronunciation of Bongo, “Bukan Bangau Pak Cik, Bonggo!!!” Taufiq has a knack of imitating that, sending Nona and Rehana (making the cashew nut chicken), in stitches. “Bongggo” he said drawing out the “ggo” deep from the throat and the kitchen was filled with laughter again. It had just started snowing outside.
After dinner, I found several P Ramlee classics but none with subtitles, but sharing a duvet, four of us huddled in front of the TV and watched Madu Tiga.
It has been a while since we last did this. When they were small, the king size duvet would swallow all of us, and there would be enough for everyone. There was a time when all of us were watching a film and at that time a triangle would appear warning us of an imminent ‘rude scene’ at which point my husband would say, “everyone under the duvet!!!” and we’d dive under the duvet giggling, and waited for the scene to be over. But once when all of us waited patiently under the duvet, we heard a voice saying “It’s over now!” Oh dear!
It was Hafiz. And how we miss him. He’d do a good imitation of Ajis and never failed to have us rolling on the floor with his jokes. But now he has his own pad, the other side of
“What’s ‘Apa daaaa?’, why does he keep saying that?” would be the occasional interruption. “What’s ‘Tak sangka?’ In general they understood the language, except for the occasional P Ramlee lingo.
It is a long Easter weekend and we had spent the afternoon sorting out 20 years of old clothes to take to the recycling bin. There were many old kebayas, the ones that reminded me that I once had a waist, children’s clothes that they now cringe with realisation that they once wore those, sometimes under duress and one or two old jumpers and jeans that brought back memories of the Wan family, trooping up and down the streets of London, in what was then a big Renault estate meant for six. But they had to grow up and the MPV that we bought for seven eventually became too big and too lonely for just the two of us.
I felt quite sad leaving several big black plastic bags containing lots of memories by the bin outside Sainsbury. We have to move on. Children grew out of their clothes and inevitably grow out of the room they share with My Little Pony or Thomas the Tank Engine. They would want to move out. They want their own car and even the king size duvet is no longer big enough for all six of us.
Snowflakes and P Ramlee movies tend to make me feel like this.