Thursday, 7 January 2010

Journey of a Friendship

I SEE her now, the bespectacled girl who was in my year when I started primary school.





I remember thinking what thick lenses she had. She must be clever, I thought, and I wasn’t wrong. She was one of those studious and serious type. And quiet too, too quiet for the rest of us in the group, who could safely be termed rowdy.




I remember thinking what thick lenses she had. She must be clever, I thought, and I wasn’t wrong. She was one of those studious and serious type. And quiet too, too quiet for the rest of us in the group, who could safely be termed rowdy.

I never knew Muni in Primary One but that was because I was in Sultanah Asma Primary school in Alor Star for only a few months before my father was transferred to Yen.

However, friendship tends to take its own journey. Muni and I met up again when I went back to Alor Star.

But this time I had chosen St Nicholas Convent, a decision which put us firmly in rival territories.

We at St Nicks had special names for our SAS friends; names I’d rather not mention here. And I am pretty sure they had names for us too.
St Nicks girls and SAS girls met regularly — the Merdeka Stadium where we regularly went for the Independence Day practice and celebration.

We had common interests too — the boys from Sultan Abdul Hamid College (SAHC). and that was where the seeds of friendship between Muni, Jijah, Lia and I began.

We went to the same parties, enjoyed mee rebus Abu and ais kacang Busu and mugged for our exams together.

When other friends took different paths after school, Muni and I continued our education in what used to be Institut Teknologi Mara, although we took different courses. We seldom met but the seeds of friendship were still there.

I never knew that she got married and had left for London — until I myself married and left for London. They rented a flat somewhere in West London.

When they returned to Malaysia after their studies, my husband and I stayed on. The distance rekindled the friendship and strengthened the bond between Muni and I. We even had a website where we’d keep in touch.

Reunions always marked my visits home where girls of SAS and St Nicks mingled with classmates from SAHC.

Jijah, Muni, Lia and I would relive our childhood days while driving along the highways belting out songs from The Carpenters, continuing conversations in the carpark of shopping complexes and even in fitting rooms. We’d stop for prayers and continue enjoying our time together like schoolgirls out on a day trip.

I remember one occasion when we parked in the underground car park of the Bangsar Shopping Centre and listened to songs from a Korean drama series.


Muni was then really into Korean dramas and even bought the whole series for me.


We’d drive around in search of good food and places to meet and the husbands would join us later for dinner and we’d talk and eat again right into the nights and early hours of the mornings.

I remember also the time when I was embarking on my journey to do the umrah.

Muni, Jijah and Lia took me shopping and bought me a pair of slippers which I promised I would use in the Holy city. We created quite a sight as we held hands and did the walk together. When we were together, we always did these silly things.

And then it had to happen. One day three years ago, I received an SMS from Jijah. Muni was diagnosed with the big C.

The last three years had been challenging. I’d get news of her chemos, of the spread and of the ups and downs.

During one of my visits back, we met at the Dome. Muni was just about coping with the drastic treatment that she had to go through.

Last year in July, we went to see her again. I could barely recognise my bespectacled friend. She could hardly walk unaided. But she remembered our times together, our friendship. And she wanted to go out again with us.

We were apprehensive about taking her out as she was very fragile and would get violent bouts of headaches.

But she insisted and so, after maghrib prayers together, we went.

Jijah and I took her hands and slowly we walked together to a café nearby. It was to be our last time eating out together.

Last week, Jijah, Lia and I went out for lunch. Seated at a table for four, we stared at the empty chair meant for Muni. She would usually be there, all prim and proper and admonishing us for our misbehaviour.

But she wasn’t there because she had been rushed to the hospital. We visited her and she was surprised to see me. She could hardly talk. Her condition worsened overnight and we were there by her bedside. We knew she was leaving us.

Last Monday, the girls of SAS, St Nicks and the boys of SAHC gathered silently as Muni was laid in her final resting place.

Goodbye, my dearest friend. But as the saying goes, death ends a life, but not a relationship; certainly not a friendship like ours.

ps. My tribute to Muni and and our friendship was first published here.

Other journeys with Muni:
This autumn of our lives
Yesterday Once More


42 comments:

sj said...

Muni who...tadak gambak ka ?

Kak Teh said...

sj, thanks for asking. Muni was a good friend of mine. Photographs are all kept in London. No matter what, we are prepared for these eventualities.

MA said...

Alfatihah.

May Muni lies amongst the chosen ones.

Friendship is one of the greatest joys in life. I am sure Muni would have been so happy seeing you again even at her deathbed.

zaitgha said...

al Fatehah...

aliff muhammad said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Al-Fatihah buat arwah sahabat Kak Teh.

Persahabatan yang tulus ikhlas memang akan subur dalam sanubari insan yang memiliki.

NanaDJ said...

Alfatehah, its Allah's will that you are here and able to attend her funeral. I am not that fortunate, twice I was unable to attend the funerals of my loved ones and until today I have not got over them.
Salam.

Pi Bani said...

Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un.

You are blessed to have been given the opportunity to see her during your trip home this time. She must have been so happy and touched to have her true friends by her bedside during her final days.

Semoga rohnya ditempatkan bersama orang yang beriman.

Kak Ezza@makcik Blogger said...

Al fatehah
Saya baca dengan dada yang sebak...
Saya tau macamamna perasaan nya kalau kehilangan kawan baik....
Semuga arwah di tempat kan di kalangan orang orang yang beriman.

You take care kak ...

about kitchen guardian food said...

Alfatihah Muni..baru hari tu you talked her...

mamasita said...

My deepest condolences to aruah Muni's family and very close friends.

You've written a very touching tribute..the love of true friends..your mourning for her is so tearful and sad..

And so..one by one our time will come..so meanwhile lets continue to cherish every minute with those we treasure and love..

MrsNordin said...

Ohh this is so sad... I have tears in my eyes! May she rests in peace.

Yes, death ends a life, not a relationship.. Take care, K.Teh.

[danial][ma] said...

hej! Kak Teh...i'm sorry to hear that the lost of a best friend, my deepest condolences and may she rest in peace and all the memories treasured and remembered...a sad moment indeed because i just lost a mentor, a boss, a friend a few day ago...

[danial][ma] said...

...an ex MSD officer, abdullah omar yudin...

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty KT,
My Mama lost a good friend to brain tumour two years ago. And I don't think she's over it. I'd sometimes see her look at her friend's photo with tears in her eyes. They were good friends for more than 30 years. I'd comfort her by licking her face and cuddle her. What more can a cat do? purrr....meow!

D said...

Friendship lasts forever, kan Kak Teh? (are you coming back after the crazy cold is over? ;))

Mia's Mom said...

Salam Kak Teh :-D

My prayers for Muni to be amongst the chosen few.

Al Fatehah.

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Teh,

The passing of a close friend is always hard to take, especially those that we know from childhood.

My condolonces to the family of Allahyarhamah Muni. Semuga roh beliau ditempatkan di kalangan orang-orang yang salih.

kay_leeda said...

Stay strong Kak. Cherish those beautiful moments together.

Alfatehah. Semoga roh nya ditempatkan di kalangan orang yg beriman. InshaAllah.

Zendra said...

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون


To Allah we belong, and to him we will return

May Muni be amongst the Soliheen

Shahieda said...

Al-Fatihah.....

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss KT. May the Almighty grant her Jannatul Firdous Insha-Allah!

tireless mom said...

Al Fatehah. I read the post sambil dapat goose bump. Semoga roh arwah ditempatkan bersama golongan orang yang beriman.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Al Fateha. My condolences to you and to the family of Almarhumah.

Nazrah Leopolis said...

i am so sorry for your loss KT.

no matter how prepared we think we are for such things, i am sure it is painful to lose one of your loved ones.

hugs! kak teh jaga kesihatan ok...

Naz said...

Al Fatihah..
Take care, Kak Teh.
Salam dari semua di sini.

Kak Teh said...

MA, thanks. I am happy that she recognised me.

Zai, thanks and thanks too for company during lunch that day.

Kak Teh said...

alif, terima kasih banyak-banyak.

nanadj,Memang sudah terancang. Didnt expect to come back. And I am now so glad that I made that decision to come back.

Kak Teh said...

Pi Bani, when I saw her the first time, she could still talk to me although her voice was soft. Then her condition deteriorated. Yes, I am glad I am back for my friend's last few days.

ezza, terima kasih dan you too - take care.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Zah, I truly sorry that you lost a good friend that you grew up & share your childhood with.

It's just like you'd lost a part of yourself too. Such is life; we grieve & move on but fond memories remains.

Take Care,
Tommy.

edelweiss said...

salam...

kak teh...sorry to hear about muni...al fatihah...allah lebih menyanyangi arwah....

u take care

Chahya said...

AlFatihah to her.
*sniff*
You've been a great friend.

SOHO Mama said...

Al Fatihah.
I remembered several years ago when I visited my husband's friend, they went to the same uni together..her husband is a good friend of my husband too. She also had the big C. During that visit, she looked so frail, SO different than when we first met the few years before that. I knew I wont be seeing her again after that..I was right. Eventho I'm not that close to her, but she left 2 children and a loving husband..it was sad..
Apalagi kalau kawan2 rapat macam Kak Teh & Muni ni..

DrSam said...

Salam Kak Teh. Read your first entry about arwah. It made me sad. Now after reading this one it showed how beautiful your frienship is, lasting forever. Al-fatihah to arwah.

AK47 said...

Innalillahi wa innaillaihirajiun. Semoga rohnya ditempatkan bersama-sama orang yg beriman.

Ainun

GUiKP said...

Someone said "the richness of your friendships is what define you. Not wealth, not knowledge, not fame!"

You are blessed with ever-lasting friendships that endure "susah senang kita bersama".

Al-Fatihah for Muni.

Life for Beginners said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Kak Teh. Muni sounded like a wonderful friend and person.

tireless mom said...

Dear Kak Teh

A correction to my statement when I saw you at Seoul Garden the other day. I just got to know that memang Abg Sahak didnt get to tunaikan haji last year, tak ada rezki. My MIL just infrmed me just now and all the while we thot dia dah pergi and balik. Looks like org London lagi updated with the news : )

mekyam said...

al-fatihah!

glad you were able to meet muni for the last time before your beloved friend left, kt.

p.s. welcome back to you & ag to blighty's coldest in.. what is it.. 30 years(?) [that's what i read in the austrian standard yesterday]!

i too landed in a snowy jfk a week ago, but as i came from the cold (albeit a much drier cold), there wasn't much adjusting to do.

keep well and keep warm, you two!

Jeedisini said...

My feel so melancholy reading your post today. Its touching, its sad yet its is also so incredible to see friendship at its best. I realised now that I have been following you since may be 2004! And of course, I have a copy of GUIT. This year, I've finally decided to start my own blog. Visit me Kak Teh if you have the time http://jeedisini.blogspot.com/.

Mama Rock said...

oh kak teh, I have goose bumps reading this! May Arwah rest in peace...Alfatehah!

faizal bidin said...

salam kak teh...
im juz a 19 years old boy...

when i read your post.
i'm remember my friend who has just left me in a couples of month..

alfatihah for both your friends and mines too..

i like this quote.
"death ends a life, but not a relationship; certainly not a friendship like ours."

Bonda said...

heloo.. kak teh, boleh ibu join

izreen - fluff and stuff - said...

hello aunty,
this is izreen, zain's wife. this (passed) 4th jan marked the first year anniversary of arwah mama's passing.
i've read your post so many times since that sad day last year and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. she often talked about the crazy adventures she used to have with her girlfriends...and i remember how she'd always laugh her heart out whilst telling them to us.
yes, she was a huge fan of korean dramas! which could explain zain's love of korean pop ;)
thank you for keeping the sweet memory of her alive thru your blog xxx