Saturday, 8 August 2009

Moments to treasure

That I lead a nomadic life every time I come home is not much of a surprise to anyone. To date, there are two suitcases and several plastic bags with snacks at Lilah's in Bangi, more carrier bags with books and gifts, a few change of clothes and a husband in Gombak and a bag at Ajie's with contents spilling on to the floor. I have a toothbrush and several small (err perhaps not so) things in a bag that I carry around with me. My mind vacillates from being here with Mak and three children and five cats in London, a daughter in Cairo and the hubby in Gombak. It is quite tiring actually: this mental and physical journey.

Two weeks have flown past and many a dish craved for in the cooler climes of London have been consumed, many moments spent with family members, friends old and new have been captured and stored in the hard drive of the memory to be savoured later. There are so many wonderful moments that I am struggling to write this entry as words failed me.

There are unforgettable moments with Mak. After the end of a long three-day seminar, I plonked myself on the sofa. She came several times to ask me where I was going to sleep. I signalled that I'd make my way upstairs soon. When I woke up, she had covered me with a blanket, and had taken the other sofa near me, sleeping peacefully, with me on one side and her youngest son, my brother, occupying the other sofa.

Alhamdulillah Mak is fine; except for her coughs that wake her up at nights and render her breathless at times. She is happiest on days that I spent lounging lazily in my kaftan in the front room. She repeatedly asks questions about the children, asks me to eat again and again even when she had seen me eating at the dinning table.

During one weekend when Lilah took her back to her house, I slept on the floor while she slept on the single bed. She got my beddings ready and we talked until I could hear her soft snores and light breathing. I rubbed her back and she said; "Now there's only skin and bones".

When she sees me packing my bags, or putting on my tudung, Mak would ask questions that a child would: where are you going?

One morning, I woke up late after a whole night of writing a long overdue piece for a magazine. I found her upset and almost in tears as she couldn't find me anywhere in the front room. She thought I had gone back to London without saying goodbye.

But all in all, I am happy that Mak is okay. She still has her wit about her and never loses any opportunity to tease or joke. Yesterday, as I was leaving to get my MYCard done, I told her that I was going to do my passport (It is easier to say passport than Mycard, I thought). She retorted, "Masa balik dulu tak dak paspot ka?"

The three day motivation seminar which I managed to squeeze in during this short trip inevitably managed to unearth a few deep-seated insecurities and touched raw nerves. There were moments of reflections, moments of self doubts and moments of realisations. But there was also a moment that I will always treasure. I caught sight of someone familiar in the crowd in the huge hall of PICC, approached her and didn't regret the bold move. There, on the second day of the seminar, I met up face to face with the lovely Ida Hariati. We sang the Chahaya Salawat in the darkened hall, holding hands and tears flowing freely down our cheeks and we prayed together in the surau .


Throughout the three day seminar, three wonderful young girls kept me company and offered me their friendship. I am most grateful to all of you, Mas, Lina and Sue. Let's keep in touch!

My homecomings are usually not complete without a reunion with my childhood friends but this time, something is definitely different and something is definitely missing. As fate would have it, the big C is taking its toll on my dear friend M. L is holidaying in Europe so there's only A and I making our rounds. No more meeting up at cafes and restaurants, or giggling and singing in carparks or the changing room. Our meetings are more sober in nature. M was too weak to leave the house. She was at times in pain and all we could do was hold her hand. There was a moment when I had to take refuge in the kitchen where I let out a huge sob so she couldn't hear me or see my tears. I remember those childhood years together - yes, we've had some wonderful moments. That evening we visited her, it was Nisfu Syaaban and we did the prayer together, led by my husband. After that, she expressed her wish to come out with us, just like the good old days.

It was all I could do to control my tears as both A and I helped her to the car and to Bangi Kopitiam. That she was in pain was quite obvious but she wanted this moment with us. The Café's catchword defined that moment for us: A Cup of Coffee with Friendship and Memories.

Another evening that is bound to remain forever with me is that evening at Lake Club. Thank you Puteri Kamaliah and Pak Abu for bringing together so many wonderful people. It was great meeting up with ex colleagues and newfound friends on the net. When we got home that night, courtesy of taxi driver MA with fellow passengers Iain and Anak SiHamid, we stayed up past our bedtime, still looking at the photos we had taken that evening. Thank you everyone.

Remember the entry on cringe moments? Well, I had one such moment that evening. Arriving at the venue, after the hug hug and kiss kiss with those already present, I sat myself down at the table, looked squarely at my companion's face and asked her, "Where's Puteri?"

That's the moment when I really wanted the floor to open up under me.

37 comments:

acciaccatura said...

Nice to have met you Kak Teh!

Kak Teh said...

Hi, Thanks for visiting! I will show the picture of the two of us to your sister. Am sorry we didnt have time to talk again after that event. Keep in touch.

Kak Ezza@makcik Blogger said...

Salam Kak Teh

Saya pun teringin nak jumpa kak Teh..tapi saya faham..Kak Teh pun sibuk....sedih baca cerita Mak kak teh tu...saya dapat bayang kan bertapa bahagia nya dia tgk kak teh depan mata secara Live...dapat pegang dan peluk....
Lagi sedih bila tgk kawan yang kena big C tu...aduhaiiii, tak tau apa nak cakap dah...

Take care kak teh n AG
one day, kita pasti jumpa jugak...insyaallah kalau ada umur panjang....

Kak Teh said...

Salam Ezza, kalau boleh kak teh pun nak jumpa ramai lagi. Tapi kak teh ni dok di sebelah bangi - jauh sangat dari Klang. Kalau ada rezki kak teh ke sebelah situ kak teh akan bagi tau.

Alhamdulillah, seronok dapat bercakap dengan mak, walaupun kekadang kena jerit-jerit sikit.
You too, take care.

pugly said...

Alaaaa ... I read this a little too late. If not, boleh try to arrange to meet up. Tak apa la, tak ada rezeki this time around, next time maybe.

Glad to know your Mak is fine :-)

tireless mom said...

Dear Kak Teh

I am sure your Mak will be looking forward to waking up in the mornings to see you in the same home, something that she must have missed very much in many months.

I hope M will pull it through with lots of strength.

Glad to have met you. I hope there will me more meets with you, be it in blogosphere or in person. Kalau my Project R jadi, maybe you will have to bear with me harassing you in London from middle of next year : )

Kama said...

u are very very excused, kak teh, for not recognising me.. after all, dah 30 tahun tak jumpa! body pun dan 50lbs extra..lol

madam gold said...

Wish I could meet you too kak teh.But I m way back in the east coast.Maybe some other time.Hope ur mak is doing fine.I almost broke into tears reading about ur mak.She must have missed u all this while.But ur ending of the story always make me smile as always.
Enjoy ur stay here.If ever come to KB, let me know ok.

Naz said...

Your homecoming this time sounds pretty hectic, Kak Teh. Enjoy your stay to the fullest and charge all your batteries cukup cukup!
Take care :)

mamasita said...

Alhamdullillah mum you still sihat and so happy to see her darling daughter.
And Alhamdullillah some of us get to meet up with you..I have a gut feeling we'll meet again soon..in London..InsyaALLAH.

Sad you tak dapat jumpa the very young and petite Puteri ever again..hahaha
Dia tak jumpa the youth fountain and the elixir..otherwise we'd be the first to strangle her for the potion!! haha

Sorry to hear about your friend M..
K..Kak Teh..glad we finally met..a memorable night for A and I..Salam kat AG.

Kitchen Guardian said...

Salam Kak Teh,
I can imagine myself wt my kids in the years to come, mcm yr Mak! Now; i dok scream kat depa, esp when all are home this past 10 days as school is closed due to self quarantine..
I know 2 of the owners of Bangi Kopitiam, in fact a few photos on their wall were taken at my humble abode, ada pic of my sons and FIL baca paper...
Yeah this blogging thingy has brought new experiences, new world and new friends.....bilalah i boleh jumpa you!

D.N.A.S said...

Did you attend ESQ at PICC?

Raden Galoh said...

kak teh...

nothing can describe how happy i was to have met you that nite... i kept telling Mh that's kak teh yg interview I that nite I duduk kat tembok jalan... hahaha

will definitely cherish that night, one of the best kak!

i am happy to hear your mak is doing ok...

sebak pulak baca about M... hopefully she is given the strength... dan sentiasa didakap kasih sayang Allah... amiin.

when are you going back to london kak?

kay_leeda said...

Dear Kak Teh,

Glad yr Mak is fine. I bet it just feels great to be spending time with her, kan? She's strong because YOU are strong. That's how it is I guess this mother daughter bonding.

I'm also so, so glad we met that night. You are just how I imagined you would be. Rosy cheeks lagi...so ayu!! It was great meeting AG too. I had earlier wanted to bring GUiT along to get his signature. But terlupa pulak. Tak pe lah, some other time perhaps.

You take care Kak Teh and enjoy the holidays :)

Dr Mohd Safar Hasim said...

Salam kepada Zaharah dan Wan Hulaimi. Bila balik London?

Safar, UKM

Mat Cendana said...

There are a few things here that have nudged me into thinking about my own mother - particularly my less-than-sterling relationship with this most important person in our lives ... and feeling guilty about my shortcomings.

Maybe I'll gather enough courage to go back and see her - I haven't gone back to Alor Star for quite a number of years. Or maybe it's better that I just stay away: this will prevent relatives and neighbours from asking me `things'; the answers to which might result in embarrassment and shame for my parents.

For people `like me', normal and routine things like this can get complicated. I miss her, wanting to salam, kiss her hands, acknowledge all my wrongs and asking forgiveness for hurting and disappointing her... and thanking her for being with me during all of those moments of hardship.

Ms B said...

KT,

u made me miss my mom now..

anyway, glad to know u had a blast. Love the cringe moment too! *grins*

mekyam said...

LOL @ cringe moment! [must be the tudung... the thing can really change a face. i once went right by my aunt at the airport. the last time we met she was still using just scarfs, you see.]

but pssst, the hostest with the mostest never said a word. ;D

melayudilondon said...

hmmm we missed you KT. but don't hurry back if you don't have to.

edelweiss said...

Salam...

Sayu pulak baca u tulih Mak carik u , ingatkan you dah balik ke london...

Kak teh when are u leaving?

SkyJuice said...

Good to know you're making good use of your time here, Kak Teh. If I were in KL, boleh jugak jumpa. Apakan daya, cheq dok nun jauh di utagha.

Enjoy the rest of your time with your loved ones especially your Mak. :-)

Chet said...

It was a lovely surprise seeing you at Shirley Lim's writing workshop today, Kak Teh! Really made my day. And I'm glad my attempt at poetry evoked a memory for you. Sinseh smells!

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
Sorry I couldn't make it for dinner. I was still at the office and couldn't get myself away.
Nasib baik dah jumpa Kak Teh masa you visited the office or else we wouldn't be able to see each other before you leave.

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Kak Teh,

Welcome back! kata Pak Malim sambil memakai baju bareback. Errrm, saya tak tahu lak, Kak Teh dah balik, kata kawannya si Goblok sambil tergolek. Kami rasa sangat teruja, kata Pak Malim sambil duduk atas meja.

Oldstock said...

Kak Teh,

You didn't recognize Kak Kama ye, heheheh... Kak Kama is so gracious in not writing about your cringe moment in her blog.

Hope you trip back has been rewarding. I guess the only way that I may get to meet you and AG is for me to fly to London :-)

D said...

You don't mean THE magazine article I think it is, do you? HAHA!!

I can imagine how chaotic but fun your life is now! They are definitely moments to treasure...

Pak Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
Can't blame you for not recognizing Puteri, she had been displaying her pic of 2 decades ago on her site. I guess I will not recognize her too when attending the coming Peseni Kelantan's art exhibition at Balai Berita sometime in November.

MrsNordin said...

I've heard this story over dinner last Friday, but still, reading it here makes it sounds even nicer.

You are one bubbly and happy character, K.Teh, and I'm glad I got to know you. Will put down my thoughts in my blog soon.

Cheers and have a nice day!

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Dear Kak Teh,
Glad to have met you at LC albeit very briefly amid the flurry of activities. We'll keep in touch via blogosphere then. I'll be heading home too, soon. InsyaAllah, panjang umur kita berjumpa lagi.

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Kak Teh

Glad you had a good vacation here...Pity I did not get to meet you. If ever you come to Penang...do let me know.

In the mean time, bon voyage and may you have a safe journey home.

Do keep in touch.

Salam

mekyam said...

kt,

in case u haven't heard, halimahton yusof [you & ag kenal dia kan?] has returned to malaysia. she has just launched the Genius Preschool Programme [a series of interactive workshops for parents with children aged 0-5] in KL/PJ. somewhere near 1-Utama and the Curve, i heard.

if you are still in msia when you read this and want to say hello, she can be reached at this number 012-355 8792.

DrSam said...

Welcome back to Malaysia Kak Teh! Glad to hear that you are having a wonderful time with all the local celebrity bloggers and having to spend some wonderful moments with your Mak.

I am sorry to hear about your childhood friend's suffering. I hope and I pray that Allah will give her more strength and blessing.

Have a nice day Kak Teh.

p/s: Many others have asked this same question : when are you leaving? I still have un-autographed GUiTs with me :)

syalinamd said...

Salam, I just found this blog while searching for "Fajar Di Bumi Permata". Wow, amazing site! I luv reading what you have in here. Keep it up. So, are you a DJ, a student or someone who spends her time blogging & choc a blog? Tell me, tell me! Sorry, excited terlebih hehhe. All the best yah!

Justiffa said...

Its heartwrenching to witness a mom's dilemma & sacrifice when we know first hand how difficult it is to want our children around yet am fully aware of the need to let them get on with their own lives..

Hope your mom holds on to her strength & spirit :)

.:HalogAmora:. said...

saw u on tv. u look good! having good time ere' eh :)

atenah said...

Salam Kak Teh, great that you are here with your mother, savour the moments. My mother passed away exactly 2 months ago yesterday.

Royalshoppingarcade said...

sedih tak dpt jumpa kak teh.
bangi dgn cheras dekat but I was way too bz, and tak sempat nak catch up.
tgk2 u r already back in London.
takpe kak teh, next time we shall meet. Who knows, in London again kan?you'll come to my rescue with Roha.