Saturday, 13 December 2008

Listless in London 2

The weather is not one you’d want to write home about. It is gloomy and wet and last night we missed the chance to see the full moon everyone the other side of the world is talking about. I woke up to the sound of rain pelting on the windowpane, the straggly outline of the naked acer looking menacingly still against the dark brooding sky, setting the mood for the day, the whole of Saturday.

It was a sort of anti climax to a wonderful week which started with the raya, which was cold but nice. It had the extra X factor because my siblings decided that it was a good day as any to celebrate Mak’s birthday. Mak’s birth date had been one long guesswork, mental arithmetic and at its best, logical deductions. Finally, it was decided that Hari Raya Haji would be her birthday, when she’d be surrounded by her anak cucu cicit. And for us who couldn’t be there, we sat before the pc, chaos reigning as per normal on raya mornings, and skyped, singing happy birthday to Mak, and watching her cucu cicits competing to blow the candles for her.

She was all smiles as she was smothered with kisses. I felt I was there and yet not there. When I left nearly 29 years ago, Mak was still the strong pillar of her small society, whose shoulder everyone cried on. Her memory was fantastic. You didn't need google or the who’s who directory to know who was related to whom and from which branch of the family. Today, she couldn’t even figure out the newcomer to the family – Sharifah Nasya – her great granddaughter who was born last month. Amidst the merriment, she did her asar three times.

That put us in a very cheerful mood indeed as we left for Malaysia Hall and was pleasantly surprised to have the former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Asri Zainal Abidin, to lead the prayer and deliver the Eid Khutbah. A very inspiring khutbah indeed; a reminder to all of us, the meaning of sacrifice.

The cold and the slight drizzle outside didn’t stop us taking pictures for the album and while we were all posing and clicking away, we were alerted to the fact that someone with a huge wad of crisp £10 notes, was giving £20 raya money to young and old who had gone for prayers. The Wan family walked away with springs in their steps and had tea and cheese cakes before going home. Semoga Allah murahkan lagi rezki orang yang murah hati ini!

This raya was a repeat of last raya aidil fitri as both of us had to meet deadlines and delayed visiting friends. So, it was only at 8pm that we managed to get away from the pc and joined Nina and Faisal at Ani and Art’s Makan restaurant in Portobello.

It was almost midnight when we got back, and spent the last few minutes of our 28th year together sharing the earphone listening to a beautiful zikir on the I-Pod. How habits and priorities change with age, eh?

December 9th 2008 was coming to a close and we were still in front of our PC’s. But at the last minute, we decided to catch the late night movie at the Odeon in Queensway. There must have been only about ten people watching Changeling in cinema 3 at Whiteleys and it wasn’t quite the kind of movie you’d want to watch on your anniversary.But we sat right through some gory scenes, sharing Minstrels just like we used to whenever we were at the movies.

The temperature had dipped further when we emerged from the warmth of the cinema and by then we were famished. The Lebanese restaurant was the only one opened after the movie so we decided to share mixed grill before heading home to cats and children.

Queenway and Whiteleys with the pub around the corner in front of Boots that used to be Underwoods, the news agents and the tube stations are all familiar landmarks of this place that became home when we arrived almost three decades ago. It is still the place we haunt, the place we meet for tea or even breakfast. For a long while, Queensway to me was London. Anywhere outside Notting Hill Gate was foreign territory.

Last Thursday, the surau at Malaysia Hall held a Hari Raya kenduri with all the meat from the Korban. I met a new friend who had just arrived in London, as a bride to start her married life here. Like me she arrived on a cold and wet December morning and looking at her shivering in her paper thin kebaya, brought memories flooding back.

More listless moments:

Listless in London 1
And I was there too

35 comments:

Kak Elle said...

mak look so happy in that photo:)
wow 20quid on raya morning?semoga di murahkan rezeki si pemberi ..amin.

Zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Walau apa pun tarikh dipilih untuk menyambut hari lahir emak anda itu, saya doakan semoga beliau terus diberi kesihatan yang baik.
Saya baru membaca artikel tulisan Dr. Asri di dalam MM pagi ini. Ada bercerita tentang beliau memberi khutbah di Malaysian Hall itu. Ada berjumpa Datuk seri Shahidan Kassim juga ke?

mamasita said...

Hai KT, very nice..semua very nice, I menyengih saja baca your article.

Also,teringat kat my late mum masa raya dikerumuni oleh cucu cicit jugak..we all miss her fussing,daily phone-calls and..her Raya dishes.

Thank you for updating us with the weather report and sharing the nice places you frequent.

And about the new bride you saw? How delightful and sweet.May she have a wonderful life with her husband and future kids in the UK..just like yours.Amin.

Madam Tai Tai said...

Kak Teh,

Bestnya dapat angpow raya GBP20! Kalau kat Malaysia ada orang pemurah mcm tu kan best. Gerenti berpusu-pusu orang pergi masjid for sembahyang raya. :-)

I remember 23 years ago when I arrived in London just days before Raya Haji. All of us 'newbies' menggeletar kesejukan donning our baju kurung and baju Melayu to attend an invitation from a Malaysian consulate to his raya open house. We were already shivering like crazy in Autumn, apa tah lagi this newly married lady with her kebaya in the height of winter. Kesian...

Btw, happy birthday wish to your Mak. She looks very happy in the pic. She is blessed indeed to have the love from her family wherever they may be, near or far.

Roti Kacang Merah said...

yeahhh 20quid for duit Raya??? fwallauuu.

and bestnya dapat berimamkan Dr.Asri.

double-rezqi indeed!

equally, the heavy clouds here at home do not do justice to the fullmoon at night. petang, hujan lebat. kadang membawa ke pagi.

tireless mom said...

Dear Kak Teh

Hari raya baru ni tak bervideo call with your Mak ke again? Happy belated birthday to your mum, semoga panjang umur, sihat walafiat dan murah rezki. Naturally we worry about our aging Mums. Wish we could do more for them.

Sunflora said...

Kakteh, a Belated EId Mubarak to you and happy anniversary too! I think both you and Awang Goneng is an inspiration to us.

Is Makan run by Art as in Art Fadzil now? Mawar closed for good?

Its freezing cold over here too just not as wet. Take care! Kim salam pada abg Awang.

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Mak Kak Teh mesti seronok tengok ahli keluarga berkumpul ramai-ramai, kata Pak Malim sambil bermain pok amai-amai. Saya tumpang gembira, kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk kera.

D said...

kak teh, yesterday, despite the weather, we gathered indoors for a small belated eidul adha potluck and a friend remarked how excellent the combination of good food with great company was. And indeed, I realised it was!

That generous tycoon went a long way to make so many people happy,eh? Dang! Guess I was 100miles too far away...

Kak Teh said...

kak elle, £20 untuk seorang - bayangkan berapa ramai yang datang hari tu!

Zabs, Betul - dah tak kira hari ibu, hari lahir, emak mesti kita raikan setiap hari.
and about Dr Asri - memang memberangsangkan bila dengar dia berkhutbah. Datuk Seri? You just mentioned the name of the one with the bottomless pocket!

mamasita,insyaallah - i pun harapkan begitu juga bagi sesiapa yang memulakan dunia berumah tangga. I tak penah mengharapkan apa-apa - cuma bersyukur bagi setiap tahun yang dikurniakan bersama.

Kak Teh said...

MTT, raya aidil adha tak ramai sangat , esp students sebab ada kelas. My two student children tuang kelas - hehe! tapi tak ramai yang pakai baju melayu disebabkan sejuk.

Roti, for a few nights sebelum the big full moon, i saw such a beautiful sight of the moon - tapi tak kena tempat - i was hoping kalau dapat di atas big ben atau london eye - barulah cantik untuk hantar kpd you. Insyaallah satu hari nanti.

tireless mom, yes, we did our skying with mak pagi raya london - semua menyanyi happy birthday! hehe! ramai anak cucu cicit, menantu dia.

Kak Teh said...

Sunflora, no it is not art fazil that i meant. this is art as in Azhar who used to run malaysia hall canteen and the opened up selasih restaurant and then now Makan in Portobello. Mawar closed and now opened as Melur - I have yet to go there.

Pak Malim,
Kalau anak cucu, cicit danmenantu berkumpul, mak tak pernah merenget nak balik rumah dia lagi, kata kak teh sambil berus gigi. tapi selepas orang semua balik rumah masing-masing, mulalah dia teringat rumah sendiri, keluh kak teh sambil berdiri.

D, it is usually the good company that makes a gathering such a success! and the duit raya? aaah, kalau you and your brood ada, memang boleh belanja sakan!

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Dr. Asri was in London and you got to hear him deliver the khutbah? Now that's a bit of good fortune.

As always, love reading your stories. Queensway dan Bayswater tu memang tmepat lepak kami dulu. And they are still playing The Changeling at the movies? Wow... feels like I'm traveling back in time.

drbubbles said...

Salam AidilAdha to you and Pak AG and the family.

I was in KT right after Raya and saw a nice banner somewhere near KT dok promo,

"Beluda Panas".

Pak AG mesti dok senyum baca ni...hehehe

Kak Teh said...

Salam Oldstock. Actually, I didnt know who it was giving the khutbah but unlike other times, I found myself listneing to his every word. Then, at the end of it we were told it was Dr Asri. Apparently he is here on sabbatical.

Changeling? yes, it is still showing. We didnt want to see that because it didnt get very good reviews but because we missed all the others and just wanted a night out, anyway.

Ya queensway, bayswater memang tempat we all lepak jugak. many old shops dah tak ada.

Kak Teh said...

Is, am sure masa weather sejuk macam ni beluda panas is a welcome. tapi mana nak cari?

Zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Dah agak dah!!!

Kak Teh said...

Zabs, apa maknanya banyak duit kalau tak kongsi dan berkorban untuk orang lain, kan?
Tapi ramai juga politicians yang datang buat gitu. especially berbelanja dengan students. Alhamdulillah, banyak rezki mereka dan dapat orang lain tumpang.

Al-Manar said...

I was in and out of Notting Hill Gate great many times. The Underwoods was where I used to send rolls of film to be developed and got a new roll of film for free in return. And I passed that Whiteway corner on my way to a certain flat where a certain young couple used to live. There were newsagents, Middle Eastern restaurants etc, etc. And, with my good wife, I used to put up many a night there and enjoyed the couple’s hospitality. They usually had up-to-date world news ( not necessarily news of the world!) and news from home,Malaysia. We talked. We played scrabble later into the night. We consumed lots and lots of bryani from Khan around the same corner. All this happened about three decades ago – what a coincident. By any chance could we be talking of the same place?

Kak Teh said...

Abang Ngah, it is indeed the same Whiteleys. and I do remember the day you and kak mah arrived with Georgie in tow! We had take aways from khans because I couldnt cook until kak mah took over the kitchen and we had nasi dagang! What a pleasure knowing you and the whole family.

Yes, we played scrabble, i love scrabble.

mekyam said...

beautiful family, kt!

your mak looks very well, serene in the midst of that loving cheerful group. can see where their good looks come from. :)

Kak Teh said...

mekyam, mak is happiest when she is surrounded by her loved ones like that. She really cannot be left to entertain her own thoughts and then, that is when she will think of going back to her own home etc etc.

Manal said...

When it was at bryanston sq, we headed to Abu Ali for some lebanese mint tea and shish taok, and then it moved to Queensborough terrace and we had had to squeeze ourselves at that pretty small Taza resto. And those days seeing u and AG on the same bus 70 or 7 , yupps memories totally.
I hope ur mum will hit the centenarian soon with good health and smile on her face as always.

MrsNordin said...

Happy 29th Anniversary, Kak Teh! Sorry lambat sikit... tertinggal keretapi! Hee.. hee...

I wish you both happiness and love for many, many more years to come!!

And your Mak... she doesn't look as frail as how you pictured her in your postings. And you sure takes after her beauty. I hope you'll make that trip back again soon!

elisataufik said...

happy anniversary Kak teh!!
Horror movie lah syiok.. boleh peluk2 ketakutan ;) tee hee.

Kak Teh said...

manal, taza is still there and there's always a long queue , even late at night. Most times, i'd see a malay family queueing up too - nak cari lain sikit from food at malaysia hall kut!

Ms nordin, thanks. yes, I was delightfully surprised to see mak like that. But like i said, she is happiest and at her best when she is surrounded by her loved ones. She feels better - it is when they all go back to their own houses,to work, to school that she feels lonely. but she is frail, no doubt about that. She used to be such a tough cookie.

Kak Teh said...

elisa, welcome back and alhamdulillah, you did it, mak aji!

peluk2?hahaha! dah tua2 balik peluk kat rumah lah!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
Either my computer is haunted or there is some technical glitch. Three times in a row my comments were lost in cyber space.
Here's hoping that this one will not suffer the same fate.
Nice to see your mum surrounded by anak cucu n cicit. I think my 80 year old mum would not be able to fit all her 11 living children and spouses plus 38 granchildren(some with spouses) and 18 great great grandchildren into one photo.

Yes, Queensway, my happy hunting ground too, and I miss Khan, we will never fail to make a beeline to Khan every time we are in London. Its been 3 long years since we were in UK and how we miss being there. The call is getting stronger thanks to you. We'ii see..., would be nice to surprise you!
Salam, Nana DJ

Kak Teh said...

nanaDJ, see, you made it! There's always some glitch - sometimes I;d get repeated comments. and sometimes, someone will say, his/her comment did not appear.

Yes, do come to london again and we'll have tea at whiteleys!

Alang said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Alhamdulillah..
She looks so happy. Jauh di mata tapi dekat di hati.. betui dak?..
so, tak pa lah jauh sikit..

Ms B said...

and i missed the duit raya?!

i only managed to leave office at 730pm that day. well, at least i'm glad i hv a job.

u know.. ur posting reminds me of my own mom. sometimes i feel i've been away far too long..

Kak Teh said...

Alang, memang betui tu...! Kekadang tu, sebab kita jauh, kita lagi dekat, kan?

Ms B, yes, ALhamdulillah. With all the gloom and doom, we must be thankful for what we have.

Naz said...

Kak Teh,
Seronok tengok gambar famili macam ni. Walaupun jauh di mata, deep down kita rasa so close to them. Betul tak? :)

The Ceramic Designer said...

we're having my parents 50th golden wedding anniversary this sat 20th dec.. i'm the organiser with 6 siblings assisting.. organising reunions and gatherings have been my forte lately.. the passing of time, eh? in another few more years, i may end up organising weddings for children and anak-anak saudara..

are these tugas-tugas kita as we grow older...?? ;)

Kak Teh said...

naz, bila tengok dia sehat macam tu, hati kita pun lega sikit.

CD, your parents' 50th? Bless then!
My childreb and children of 2 other friends will be organising a group anniversary celebration this christmas - there will be 4 anniversaries. And they will cook! It will be good.so ours is belated.