The events of the almost two months' so called break were beginning to fade away as the plane began its descent. Most of England were still asleep but we were sure that our children whom we had not seen for so long were there, waiting at the arrival lounge. Thank God none of the luggage were missing and the immigration waved us through without any questions.
From a distance we saw them, all excited. And how they have grown – even two months away made a difference! With them were two of our closest friends in this community that's become our family away from home. Only close friends would take the trouble to wake up at that unearthly hour and prepare us the most scrumptious nasi lemak so unlike the one served on MAS!
In the car we all wanted to talk all at the same time and nona being nona missed all the junctions and turnings and we ended up on the way to Uxbridge! That's not the most exciting part of the homecoming, the best was yet to come.
Finally on more familiar surroundings, the car which was in the middle lane of the by then very busy road of office workers going to work, stopped. Just like that! A kind soul behind us pushed the car to a safe spot and we called the RAC. Standing by the roadside, in my batik blouse bought in Pasar Payang, Kuala Terengganu and still in my heels with its bling-bling, I suddenly felt the gush of the cold winter wind that defined the distance that divides the world that still has my Mak and my loved ones and the one that has my home, children, cats and a neglected garden.
The car just gave up on us and refused to budge, giving out a strange whining sound. Nice RAC man told us to get back into the car for a slow tow home.
If the girls were chatting away, I didn't quite hear them. I was reliving the hectic schedule of the past two months as Nona slowly steered the car behind the RAC truck. Looking out of the window I was transported back to Singapore, where it all began. It was the launch of GUiT – the publisher's launch. We had hardly recovered from jetlag and there we were hobnobbing with writers young and old. AG could hardly open his eyes but he was already signing copies of GUiT. Needless to say, it was mostly GuiT related events that whizzed by – those that took us to Terengganu of old and new, to university lecture rooms and bookshops for booksigning events.
I saw my siblings; teasing, laughing and reliving our childhood from lounge to kitchen to dining room. I saw my nieces and nephews, all grown up and adorable. And I saw and heard Yaya and Hilman, belting away “Oh Dewiiiiiii, Aku cinta pada mu sampai matiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”
Then I saw visions of Mak, sometimes frail and forgetful and sometimes alert and her witty self. I heard her endless questions, repeated almost always at five minute intervals. I saw her curled up body on the sofa with the tv on, or her small figure in the white telekung perhaps doing zuhur for the second time or asar before its time. But does it matter, Mak? It doesn't for He understands.
I heard her plea to take her home to the house that Pak Built for her. I replayed the conversation at the dinner table one evening:
“Mak nak balik. Mak demam.”
“Kalau Mak demam buat apa nak balik. Sapa nak jaga?”
“Zaharah la jaga Mak.”
“Ah ada kerja sikit. Mak duduk sini lah”
“Masa Ah demam Mak jaga....” she said looking straight into my eyes, pleading. I quickly turned away to hide my shame and my guilt. I had no answer. I had no excuse. And right there on the A40, being slowly towed away by the kind RAC man, my hot tears flowed again.
The last few minutes before leaving for the airport, I crawled up to her and placed my head gently on her boney chest and closed my eyes while she patted me as if to sleep. I could have stayed there and be her baby again and listen to her syairs and hikayats that she used to tell. But she said, “Jangan lambat pi airport. Nanti kapai terbang tinggai. Anak-anak dok tunggu.”
I also saw the reunion in marriage of my childhood friends who were brought back together in the holy city during Haj, after being divorced for more than a year.
And most vivid in my mind was our time together, my AG and I; those moments of separations when we had to part at the KL Sentral, those anticipated rendevous at KLCC. Who says being warga emas doesnt have its romantic moments?
Nice RAC man deposited us safely back on our driveway. It was a far cry from the send off at KLIA when we were whisked away to the VIP room because a certain member of the Royal family had wanted a meeting with Awang Goneng. Such is life.
A review of GUiT in The Star by Dina Zaman - Local Boy Makes Good (Tales)
A review by blogger Sharon Bakar - More Awang Goneng
“Masa Ah demam Mak jaga....”
Oh Kak Teh - no matter how much we wanted, we can never measure up to the love and care of our parents to us when we were kids, kan?
It's good to be home kan - get plenty of rest. As you need to recharge the energy for another adventure in a couple of weeks!
Riza would be happy to know that you are reunited with your cats.
I smiled and I cried reading this entry. If only we could be at two places at one time...
Have a good rest.
Salam Kak Teh,
Haa....NOW I'm not shy anymore!!! he he..Kak Teh, the conversation with your Mak brought tears to my eyes....After losing mine, I realised that of all the people in this whole wide world, it's our mothers who love us MOST. And, no matter how our relationship with our mom was, when they are gone, we WILL miss them, so painfully too at times.
Thanks Kak Teh!
welcome home KT .. 'jauh dimata dekat dihati'...
the love a mother their kids is unmeasurable rite?
Father is now in hospital after I noticed him being drowsy and jerking his right limbs...alhamdulillah improving now and more alert.
MA, yes, ir ius good to be home although the weather is far from kind. Am getting lots of rest and for those coming here, bring lots of thick clothes!! winking back.
Pok Ku, its amazing! Tabby who went missing for sometime, returned and wouldnt leave his master's side. They all slept around him.
wanshana, yes, if only. It was difficult to leave. Days before leaving I always feel the stress.
ms hart, thanks for the visit. apalah yang nak shy-shy sangat. I made a real boo boo in your comment box and my excuse is jetlag! Yes, the greatest test surely for any child is looking after ageing parents. I salute my siblings and my sis and bro in laws.
kak elle, I pray and hope that he is comfortable and you need a lot of rest too.
Sedih sangat baca your conversation with your mak. Alhamdulillah, you have arrived safely to your family. Sorry didn't get to meet you when you were here. I know you were probably veryy busy anyways. Oh my dad thot he saw AG somewhere in a restaurant. He actually asked me to arrange a meeting, but he himself pon takde dekat KL sangat. Maybe I can catch you in London in March? Take care.
arena, it was a hectic visit but a very rewarding one. Alahai , why didnt yr father tegur AG? we were everywhere and all over the place - - yes, we can certainly meet up in March in London. sms me ya?
My dad was already in the car masa tu, and he wasn't really sure it was the famous AG or not. He asked my mum to identify you(the lady beside the said AG), and my mum said that she didn't get to meet you while in London the other day kan. Anyways, Insyallah I'll be in touch when I'm going to London in March. You may get to meet Ed too!
Kak Teh, forgot to tell you just now that yesterday, I actually bought GUIT in appreciation of your coming to my humble 'house' and making that cute little boo-boo there!! - unquote!! he he he...Otherwise, I was actually waiting for my turn to read GUIT which my aunt bought and is still reading now. Thanks Kak Teh!
Alhamdulillah sudah selamat pulang.
Yes that conversation with your Mak was really deep.
My mom pun macam tu jugak...and I feel of so ever gulity
Salam to AG.
Like you, I have two homes. Welcome back (or Welcome home?)!
Kak Teh, selamat pulang... Salam to AG.. and thanks for the picture..
I was really moved by the story of your Mak pining to go back to her home and have you care for her at the end of her life's journey. Posted it on my Stories From Blogs for more people to share.
Thank you Kak Teh for sharing how you felt in regard to your Mak's desire to have you care for her.
glad to know that you selamat sampai in Londria.
Berair mata bila tengok Guit Trail's.
Who says being warga emas doesnt have its romantic moments?
It certainly does Kak Teh. Can I reveal more on what happened on the day I bought my first GUiT in Penang. Err, I don’t think anyone will pengsan ternganga.
At the Kopitiam, when I lifted my teary gaze away from the printed word to pause and reflect, I realized there’s a CCTV staring starkly at me. Instinctively, I thought “Oh No .. I’ve been captured at my most fragile moment” and left the place almost immediately to avoid further embarrassment.
I then continued my foray into GUiT in a more agreeable surrounding, lying on a white sandy beach in Penang, and pausing after each segment of GUiT to tuck into the nasi bungkus bought from the Norman Nasi Melayu stall near the old Sheraton Penang or …
to marvel at the sweetness and light spectacles unfolding infront of us involving a lovey dovey warga emas Malay couple who came all the way from Taiping. At one moment, we saw the lady scooped a handful of sand from the sea bottom, and loofah the bare back of her husband for the longest time. And the next moment, we saw her suap the husband slices of exotic fruits dipped in kuah rojak. Imagine all the frolics if she were to suap him lompat tikam ...
Didn’t I tell you Penang is oh so impossibly romantic?
dah sampai london ke ni???
nanti cek telefon.
So sorry I missed you, Kak Teh! BTW, I left a message for you at my blog that your husband might find interesting - it truly is a very small beguiling world after all!
KakTeh, couldn't say it better than what M'Andeh had said (and she was the first one!). Ok, take a rest and blog to us all about it in due time.
Dear Kak Teh,
AG muncul dalam The Star semalam; dalam hati saya "Henseng juga suami Kak Teh ni ya!"
arena, hopefully match will not be so cold. Its freezing now...Its a pity tak dapat jumpa yr parents - it would have been nice. I think I masih ingat your dad. Kirim salam to them, okay?
ms hart, thanks for buying GUiT! It means a lot to us that people are supporting and enjoying the book.
mior azhar, Mak masih terbayang di mata kak teh tapi, nak buat macam mana beribu batu jauhnya. Kita doakan saja bagi ibu bapa kita. semasa kak teh minta amoun minta maaf drp Mak, mak kata, mak selalu ampunkan anak2 mak. dan kita dalam doa selepas solat juga minta Allah ampunkan segala dosa ibu bapa kita. Insyaallah.
Salam Kak Teh,
Thank you for putting the Guit Trail's in your blog. Dapat juga tengok keana k sempat tengok di TV1 tu. Mata sedikit pedih bila tengok some of the scenes. May your mother be in good health always. Take care.
Pak Zab, am glad you watched it. Wish i could do a better jhob but time was limited. Take care and God bless.
aline @ wonda - in my diary I put going home when i was going to malaysia and coming back here too, i wrote coming home...home is where the heart is, eh?
anak mami, glad you received the picture. take care.
zawi, thanks for including the piece in yr blog. My stories on Mak, and there's quite a few of that, is my way pf coping with the guilt , the feelings that i cannot express, otherwise.
dr bubbles, you're a gem and thanks for being around.
aMiR, i will one day blog about this when the time is right. I saw a couple, not that young - the woman was all wrapped up and certainly from a middle eastern country. usually u'd see the husband walking miles ahead of the wife. But what i saw really touched me. They were not holding hands ,ay be because they both had their wuduk, but they were holding one tasbih - one tasbih to link them. Reminded me of AG and i sitting in the back seats of the number seven, sharing the i-pod. hehe - now we listen to zikirs and no more pop songs!
melayu in london who is now in singapore, thanks for the call and we truly miss you. come back laaaa! I will make you thai sing and whatever else you want!
xeus, what a small world!! victor is indeed an old friend of AG but sadly we didnt get to meet when we were back. yes, had dinner with richard and julia before they left. what a small world.
OSH, yes, am resting. canrt keep my eyes open all day. Jetlag semakin teruk sekarang ni.
has, ish osh, mestilah hemsem! semakin tua pun nampaknya okay jugak, kan?
Aduh! I can imagine how you felt during that conversation with your mom. Thanks for reminding me how blessed I am to be able to take care of my mom now.
Masih jet-lag ke?
pi bani, yes you are lucky and on top of that you are looking after so many people too. Bless you!
yes, still jetlagged - masih bangun jam 3 pagi!
Glad you and AG have finally settled in.
To borrow your phrase, even in the autumn of your years, the both of you are so romantic with one another.
It's so heartening to see old couples still able to show their affection in public, with some discretion of course :)
Liz...sollii aaa...many times missed your YM. My computer is perpetually on but am perpetually off...wakakakakakk :0 Always run in and out of the opis what - as usual pretend to be busy banget :) Went to some wasting my time meeting in Langkawi last Friday and got back Sunday nite and this morning flew back to KL as 2ro got meeteng here ma...2ro nite I go back Png and Weds I should be back krohhhingg at the opis ma :)Then 4 days CNY hols will be krohhinng away at home ma..told Laily that I will only lift my head up if you call me for food :) Hopefully u oledi lecover flom jetleg but wargaemas normally takes longer time ma......he he he.....Anyway, Mus mentioned AG in his weekly coloum in the Star (Friday) Cheerio
theta, thanks for the kind words. Even ten or fifteen years ago, when we were not quite qualified to be termed warga emas and we were holding hands - there were some young ones who commented, ish masih nak pegang tangan...haiyaaa what do you say to that? is there an age limit to holding hands and be loving?
sam oi, i think someone shd do a study on khrohing during working house. May be u shd take another sabbatical to do so. thanks for alerting us to Mus' ramblings. His memories could be a start to another memoir!
Dear Kak Teh,
Happy to hear that you & Wan are safely back in London despite the small hiccup on the car. We are proud at the way GUITs take off here and the recognition given to Wan and the lady behind the successful man. Managed to catch almost all the write ups and Galeri Perdana episodes on GUITs. GUITs managed to touch so many people from Terengganu now, from ordinary people to politicans and Royals. Looking forward for GUITs part 2.
Please keep up the good work and wish both of you higher success always.
wah nampak macam MA nak gi visit kak teh kat landeng jer tu..
I read the trails of GUiT everywhere but never been able to buy a copy yet...tak sempat nak ke bookstore lagi ni..
selamat pulang dan berperang dengan cuaca sejuk di landeng..
ha ah, your hasbeng memang henseng! hehehehehe..padan la dengan kak teh yang vogue!
jaflam, thank you so much for your kind words. We are still trying to come to terms with events of the past two months. Support of friends and bloggers surely have a lot to do with what GUiT has become now. Thank you.
The car has been warded and its going to be OUCH!
onde-onde, eh MA nak datang ke? Ish ish, berani dia datang musim sejuk nih! hehehe...do keep looking for GUiT - thanks.
sedih kan kak teh nak tinggalkan mak jauh...namun dekat di hati sentiasa..take care kak teh...
mak lang, thanks for the visit. Memang sedih nak tinggalkan dia. Tapi nak buat macam mana? if only there is a solution. Setiapkalu balik macam tulah rasanya...
ahhhh kak teh, finally together with family, priceless!
This posting touches the heart of my hearts.
I shamelessly shed tears in front of the PC and I thank God for the privacy of my small library at the moment.
I wish, one day, I could write something half as good as this piece of yours.
I am sure you are happy to be reunited with your cat and to sit in that lovely garden of yours.
Sampai bertemu kembali Kak Teh...
Kak Teh and AG selamat sampai...
it was great to have met both of you at the Monsoon Cuppa, X'mas day!!
tried to catch up when you all kat Mid Valley, but i couldn't avail myself...
anyways, take care all...semoga murah rezeki selalu, dan di dalam perlindunganNya sokmo...Amin...
and i miss my mak too. And i agree to MA's comments. Nothing that we can do can ever even equals up to how much they did for us.
Tak care kak teh. Your kids need you just as much as the kid in you needs your Mak.
Kak Teh, it's very nice to get the chance to "Balik Kampung". I was in KL for 3 weeks too and oh what a holiday it was! Now back in Madinah....sigh....
am a bit on the emo side today and been shedding tears upon reading some provoking words on people's blogs. What your mom said got to me...
Welcome home Kak Teh!
mama rock - yes, finally back with kids and cats. Priceless?? I think the word is pricey...the car broke down and it has cost us quite a lot! hehe!
elviza, you wouldn't want to see my garden at this time of the year. Thank you for kind words - and coming from you - that's a compliment.
red, it was wonderful meeting you and the family. You were one of the early ones and we now have photographs to remind us of that wonderful day. Thank you for your support and friendship and my salam to your wife.
Ood dearest, she is in a better place and no longer in pain. In my mind's eye you are forever a little girl who perhaps played with my niece anedra in the neighbourhood.
uncle 815, it must have been a lovely three weeks. for us, seven weeks went very quickly..and what a wonderful place where you are now!
D dearest, I wish I can find words to make you feel better. But I think like you we use words as therapy. I am having to deal with this guilt of not looking after Mak...and so, I write and write. Take care D.
Ada orang kena dinding api, you dapat dinding coklat! I lick, ok?
thanks alice - am feeling very chocolatey!!
wow, AG really made waves. At least I can say, I knew him before he was femes. But then, he was already femes in his own ways, ya Kak Teh.
yes he did ---hehe - but i thought you knew robert redford!! haha! take care where ever you are.
Aunt, we are safely home and jet-lag has kicked in (tu lah, eksyen sangat dok gelak at your jet-lag phase.... still?). trying hard to keep awake at the office (already!) and look productive. I'm exposing my 'kedekut' self munching away Walkers' cheese&onion all by myself while reading (&chuckling) your blog, without the slightest guilt for not offering this bumper pack to those deprived collegues.
yes, over lunch (thank you again!!! tasted the same even after 11 years!) you asked about my 'plans' to work 'there'. i gave candid excuses about $$$, income tax, cost-of-living and other material disadvantages. however, reading your lovely piece made me realize the underlying hesitance for such a "move". Given the choice, it's everything about being 'there' for "them".
Thank you Aunt, for that 'reminder'.
p/s : deciphering Rayyan's blabber this morning before leaving home : "nak go out, nak naik plane, nak nana", then he hopped & ran in circles a few times.. that must be hyde park.
love to you both from us.
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