“Zaharah masak apa?” she asked for the fifth or the sixth time in between coughs, while Eena held the microphone close to her mouth and the speaker close to her right ear.
“Masak nasi tomato, Mak!” I lied, loud enough for her to hear and clear enough to prick my conscience on this Hari Raya day.
“Masak apa lagi?” she was adamant to know, as she knew how limited my culinary skills are.
“Ah masak Ayam Portuguese macam Mak ajar tu, ayam golek macam Pak suka makan tiap-tiap hari Raya, daging masak kicap, banyaklah lagi”, I said so convincingly that I was beginning to it believe myself. There were chuckles in the background; chuckles of disbelief coming from the other half and the children who had been denied of a Raya meal.
“Yang tu sajalah dia tau masak,” she said turning to Eena, my niece. Such is the confidence Mak has in me.
Mak and I skyped this raya morning my time and evening Mak’s time. When she was aided to the front of the computer, I didn’t think I could continue the conversation with her. She looked so frail as she had been seriously fasting for the past week. I said seriously because at other times, she didn’t even know that it was Ramadhan. Sometimes, she thought my siblings were doing puasa sunat. But during the last week of Ramadhan, she fasted. And on Raya day, with visitors all day long in Lilah’s house, Mak decided to help with the dishes. And no one could stop her. Lepas tu dia penat. It was in that state that I saw her on my screen and I wanted to look away, because I didn’t want to see Mak like that. For a few minutes when she asked me how I was, I couldn’t speak for the lump in my throat.
I lied to Mak about cooking because I wanted her to believe that her son-in-law and her grandchildren were well fed that Raya morning. I didn’t feel so bad because they joined in the conspiracy as well. My other half had actually bought a whole lamb but because of the unexpected announcement of Raya on Tuesday, the lamb in several parts, is languishing in the freezer.
For several days and nights, all we, (husband and I) saw was the computer screen. Raya morning after subuh, I stopped a while just to change the tablecloth I bought from Fenwicks and put some jam tarts and biscuits that Nona brought back from Malaysia. (I don’t do kueh raya. Last year I tried, but I suspect, it was mainly so I could blog about it.) Then we were off to Malaysia Hall for prayers. All along the way, I had the laptop on my lap, typing away until we reached Whiteleys where Rehana parked the car. Rehana is our driver these days as Nona, after gallivanting in Thailand and India, has gone to spend Hari Raya in Geneva.
And all the way to the High Commissioner’s residence in the leafy suburb of Hampstead, I was furiously banging on the keyboard. As the car turned into the exclusive enclave with big houses behind tall hedges and walls, I plugged in the mobile internet thingy, pressed the right keys and voila! mission accomplished! I could at least enjoy the rest of the day. And my family had free food at the open house hosted by our Foreign Minister.
Raya mornings, come rain, shine or thunderstorm, Mak would have a spread ready for us. Ayam Golek was a must. Pak’s favourite. And of course, nasi tomato to feed the whole clan that would descend soon after prayers at the Mesjid Sultan in Alor Star.
How she managed it, we never knew. Pak helped her with peeling the onions and slicing the vegetables. The rempah and chilli paste would have been done by the little Indian lady who came weekly to grind our chillies and spice on that big slab of stone just outside the kitchen.
All these Mak did quietly but efficiently to ensure that her husband and children got their hari raya feast. All these, in spite of the fact that she had tons of baju kurungs with tulang belud to make for her regular customers. Yet, there’d be the food ready on the table.
“Selamat Hari raya, minta ampun minta maaf, Mak,” I half whispered. “Minta ampun minta maaf sebab Ah bohong pagi raya ni – bohong sunat, Mak! “
That skype thing is so clear, its hard to sorokkan the lump in our throats...my alasan as always, allergy !!
another year, another eid away from mak!!
now back to regular schedule....
Salam Aidilfitri & Maaf Zahir batin k.Teh & family.
Memang kadang2 terpaksa bohong sunat kan... on the phone, when I was away, kalau mak tanya, I selalu jawab 'dah makan', or 'tengah nak makan', even when sebenarnya I belum makan for almost a day.
Kak Teh, there are so many things to be thankful for this Raya that the little bohong sunat is allowable. afrter all tu kan nak menyedapkan hati mak..:)
kalau nak bilang satu persatu, banyak nikmat yg Allah swt bagi pd kita di penghujung usia ni kan kak teh.. saya pun tumpang syukur.
kak teh,selamat hr raya dan maaf zahir batin.am typing from my handphone at ed's kampung.esok br arena blk kuantan.jaga diri baik2.salam 2 your family and may our maks dlm lindungan allah selalu.teringat jumpa kak teh di whiteleys tu.bilalah nak sampai dan jumpa lagi-arena
klmuk, selamat hari raya to you. You are a veteran skyper and am sure you skype with your mak. I am just starting and yes, quite difficult to hide any emotions when skyping. Nasib baik laa i have back up actor sin my living room...my AG willalways parade his cats before the camera!
ubi, salam aidilfitri to you too. OOh you must never tell the truth about makan. Kalau tak makan seminggu pun kena cakap dah makan!
Puteri, oh yes, thank God for the allowables...sometimes i suspect my mother knows the truth and she just humours me by pretending to believe me.
arena, selamat hari raya to you and ed. Baik-baik bawa kereta balik kampong. Yes, Insyaallah , one day we will meet again at Whiteleys!
Pergghhh... nak betul I rasa ayam golek virtual you tu. kalau lah sama std dgn mee hailam tu, kira pass lah kak.
shikin, I can tell you that memang sama standard dengan my mee hailam. so just ikut the resipi tu...and get fershly baked french bread - fulamak!
Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yang alim.
Saya sangat suka ayam golek, kata Pak Malim sambil tergolek.
pak malim, kucing ray yang alim,
ayam goleh juga kesukaan kak teh,
kata Tabby, kucing kak teh yang selalu letih...
Nasib baiklah dia tak suruh tayangkan ayam golek and nasi tomato tu depan komputer kan? ;)
Selamat Hari Raya.
Mak Yon came over with Kak Ilah and had laksa at our Putrajaya home.
Before that we were in Shah Alam at Nan's house. She had Mee Gearbox there.
It seems that she is moving around this raya.
She's very ok for somebody at 96.
kak teh, i have been meaning to ask you. kak jamaliah is your elder sister kan? how is she? i knew her well those days when i just became part of pak rahman's family. i remember her husband was in the police force then.
hehe.. tak pe(half-whisperingly), think that bohong sunat@white lie is permissible.
Don't feel so badly about your bohong sunat. I too have done it many times. Especially kalau dia tanya buka makan apa - I would have to invent all these yummy food, when infact, I am just eating roti. Th Consul General is having a ray celebration tomorrow in LA.
Skype - tak tau menatang apa - I ni ketinggalan zaman sikit.
Pi Bani, kalau dia suruh tunjuk ayam golek dengan nasi tomato, teruklah kak teh! Kena cari gambarlah!!
Din, masa Kak ah telefon tadi dia penat sebab berjalansakan rupanya! Tak palah at least dia berhari raya jugak!
Puteri, my sis is okay - except for sakit lutut. Apart from cucu yang ramai, dia bela kambing, jual kelapa - hehe - such a different life style from those days, kan? But my brother in law loves his mini farm. Bangun pagi2 lagi to tend to his goats and garden. He has of course retired - dok di Bukit Pinang. Ya, i remember the Rahman brothers visiting them inKpg Tunku, esp on Fridays.
d, honestly, I am terrible with masak memasak ni. I hope to do somethinhg for the kids - when nona comes back from Geneva, we will celebrate again. This time kena ambik gambar and post it to her.
Farizah, Skype tu - you kena download, then the otherside punkena ada skype juga and both yr pc or laptop kena ada camera and mike. so you can actually see each other and talk to each other - macam dalam tv - tapi live.
The picture you see in my blog is taken while my mak was talking to me. Try it!
Alhamdulillah and tq for the update. Way back in the mid-70s when I first got to know Kak J, she was such a beauty. Cantik sungguh. In fact the girls in yr family memang comel comel belaka.. :) Plse send my regards to them both should you be in touch with them.
Your mak at her age is very fiesty and sharp. Am sure she reads you like a book (hehehe). But you did it to make her happy.
As you said we cannot tell satu persatu. The geling batu has a special place in my heart.
I believe AG must be good in culinary to compensate your 'shortcoming'.
puteri, thanks for the compliment. comel tu dulu! hahah - anyway, when my sister kak J was born, the mould was broken and thrown away! will indeed convey to them yr salam. she tried to webcam with me on raya day - but, aisey - i was so busy with work.
hi & lo, AG's culinary skills is okay - but the thing is, he is not cerewet - no matter what i cooked , everything is fine. even if i dont cook. ours is nit a conventional family - no food - there's takeaways. life is not that regimented, thank God for that.
takpe kak teh..seru ayam golek 30x..sat gi ada la yang mai hantaq ayam golek ke london nun..
atiza, kalau salah seru, dia datang bergolek2, tanpa perencah and all that, nak buat macam mana? hehe! insyaallah akan dibuat nanti...the ayam golek, not the seru.
Selamat HAri raya Kakteh and family.
I know what you mean, I for one don't quite understand whats the food fuss all about when it comes to Hari Raya, until I have the little one of course. Suddenly everything changes.
Insyallah may Allah always protect your mum and may she have good health always.
sunflora - before we had children, or when they were small - hari raya was no big deal. we'd go to regent's mosque, and proceed to selfridges to eat - then browse the bookshop. No baju raya, no kueh raya. Then when children were older, we made an effort - we began taking them to malaysia hall for prayers and to friends' house - and id make special food. kuehs would be ordered from home as i am hopeless with this. I think being away, we need to make the children aware of the celebrations.
Alas now i am down with fever and flu. loads of open house to go to!!
Salam Aidilfitri to Kak Teh and family.
Maaf Zahir Batin.
Takper bohong sunat untuk menyeronokkan hati Mak, Kak Teh...
But, being mothers ourselves, we know how it feels kalau anak-anak tak dapat makan, kan Kak Teh? So, it's understandable when your Mak asked you what you've prepared for Raya.
But, as Kak Pi said, nasib baik your Mak tak insist on you showing the proof on skype! Kalau tak...haru!
wanshana, i will make it up to the children one of these weekends, when all my children are home - ada sorang who is currently being bitten by the travel bug is now in Geneva - bak kata orang - dari himalayas to mont blanc - dia berjalan sakan, and my boy is now in Carlisle and then to Prague - so bila dah semua balik nanti boleh lah nak celebrate properly - raya ada sebulan kan?
teringat masa Ilham asked his teacher what is the meaning of 'fib', and she said it's a small lie. He balik tanya I, I thought a lie is a lie, no matter how big? aiseh man... terkedu gak bonda dia.
i guess that's the word for 'bohong sunat'.. takpe kak teh, janji niat tu baik. :)
London raya terkejut jugak ke? Nasib baik Elisa tak plan nak buat kambing golek.. ;)
p/s Eid Mubarak to you, Ag and the whole clan! :)
Selamat Hari Raya Kak Teh and family. Maaf Zahir Bathin.
Ishhh, ayam golek tu nampak sedap sangat lah. Entah bila AN nak try tak tau lah. Ni dah raya ke-4 jari-jemari dok sakit tak habih2 lagi. Orang dok mai tak putuih-putuih Kak Teh ooi 3 hari mula ni. Tidoq pun kaleh kut ni sakit, kaleh kut nu sakit. Nak suruh orang urut pun dia pun sama penat macam kita jugak. terpaksalah tahan sat. :-)
Selamat Hari Raya & Maaf Zahir Bathin Kak Teh & Family.
Im pretty sure iv wished you before but takpelah. Here's wishing you and family Selamat Hari Raya.
Isnt skype just a god-sent? Altho sometimes there are delays like last night. lol. But yeah, cant hide those tears fr skype and we only need 1 person to cry before everybody starts crying as well. ;)
p.s. we have msian open hse today too so am looking forward to it.
Dear Kak Teh,
Bohong sunat? Siki-sikit tak pe lah...dari letting your Mak sedih tentang anak dan her grandchildren samada Rayanya sempurna or not. I think each one of us is capable at that. And it's done for one sincere reason, we don't want them to worry sick about us.
Waduhh...ayam golek tuh!!! Dah nak tergolek-golek rasanya...Ni yang gi search for its recipe ni.
sape tak sedih bila tgk mak kita nun jauh dari kita. Apa lagi mak kita ni dah uzur ...sedih sangat...tapi saya tau kat teh ni orang yang tabah sangat. Anak pun jauh masa raya...Kalau saya ,saya tak tau la kalau saya boleh setabah akak...Kak teh bila balik KL ni...boleh jamu ketupat rendang,kuah kacang dan lodeh!!Salam sakit pinggang dari Klang...
Selamat Hari Raya Kak Teh and family. As usual, your story touched every chords of my heart. A little white lie that shines to make someone happy, tak salah kan? Hahaha.
kak teh...tak pe bohong sunat, so long as it doesn't hurt others. tak kira lah masak sendiri ke, makan kat embassy ke...janji spirit raya tu ada for the family. hope you had a great raya together. maaf zahir batin
Hi Aunty Teh,
I think white lies are good (AT TIMES) if they keep the people you love happy and non-worrying...
This certainly counts as those 'at times' moments ;)
Glad you had a good raya...=)
selamat hariraya kak teh & AG. maaf zahir batin.
Oooo.. Kak Teh tipu mak ya pagi2 raya...hehehe... Yup, been there done that... part2 telling white lies to Mak ni..:D
Hope Kak Teh, Bro AG, Tabby, Thinkerbell (betul kan), kucing2 yg lain, and your lovely broods had a swell Raya in London (and Nona's in Geneva).
Selamat hari raya to you too.
liar liar pants on fire
I hope you've had a lovely raya, Kak Teh, and managed to eat nasi tomato (whether from your own kitchen or otherwise). Tipu sunat tak apa... just to make her happy..!
Salam Kak Teh dan Keluarga,
Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin,
Nak tumpang tanya,DiLondon is there any one conduct klas Bahasa Melayu for our boys dan girls staying there.
As for fardu Ain yes nothing to worry there is and matter of fact it is well organise but formal Bahasa Melayu oral and written classes for our children there?
A bit worrylah Kak Teh.My two boys down there.I was chating with them on MSN semalam.
Thus,I greeted them Selamat Hari Raya Adil Fitri to them,The Hari Raya part was well understood but when I wrote down,
'papa memohon maaf diatas kesilapan Papa yang terdahulu, the reply given was ".....whats that?'
alamak...help me God.
Thus I suggested to him to take O level Bahasa Melayu with London Univ.Examination Board or attend any Malay class in London but I am not sure if it does exist.Attending Malay classes does not nessarymeans one have to take the Bahasa Melaya examination but merely enhancing the launge skill of our young one.Macam pergi klas Fardu Ain too.No examination required.
As for Islam all the two boys fullfill the 30 days obligation and constantly performs their prayers with their Daddy and Ibu.Alhamdulillah.
Puzzlelah Kak Teh.Pleased help.
Salam Kak Teh,
...bukan apa 'takut baca lafaz akad nikah dengan slang nanti....parah jugak tu'
That is so sweet, skyping with your mom. I wish mine would come to the computer so I can see her.
And ur mum might be whispering in her heart: "As if I dont know u!"
Is there any of ur kids who can cook but wont cook? (re Ainsley Harriot show)
U know, i cud actually muster the courage walking up the hilly road all the way to templewood garden from Heath Drive, and yet I dreaded doing so here in msia? Ala2 tak diva la kononnya...
Sama la kita on my parents helping each other to prepare dinner and anak2 balik rumah tolong hidang and later on clear the table and wash the dishes....
Kak Teh - I didn't know you're so hi tech. I'm stuck to my desk as I write this. I know Whiteleys very well as I used to wander around Queensway as a teenager. Selamat Hari Raya!
When we were children, we skipped around our kampung. Now that we're 'middleaged', we Skype around the world.
Your Raya story touched me, Kak Teh. It reminded me of how frail my mum was in the months before she passed on.
Hope your Hari Raya was joyful and fun. I'm sure the lamb was enjoyed the next day. ^_^ Here's wishing you and your loved ones health and happiness.
Ah, the things we tell the people we love to ensure they don't worry too much about us. But worry they will nonetheless. That's what loved ones do, after all.
Selamat Hari Raya, Kak Teh and everyone else! :)
Selamat Hari Raya Kak Zaharah, minal aidil wal faizin!
I'm so happy to read your post -- it's heartening to know that one does not outgrow lying to impress mum! Such are the powers of mothers, kan? Mine can always make me feel like I'm an eight year old all over again.
Kak Zaharah tak test your own power ke atas sapa-sapa ke?
its ok bohong sunat pagi raya bab ibu tersayang kan KT?..lagi pun semua dah komplot...hehe
Elisa dan semua, maaf kak the lambat jawab.
Ya, di London memang terkejut. I was hoping it’d fall on Wednesday – more time to prepare and also finish off some work. Tapi, apakan daya, kita merancang Tuhan yang menentukan.
AuntyN, It was you who challenged me to make the Ayam Golek. Sungguh lama tak buat. I think it is time I try the Golek again..makan dengan roti panas-panas!
Farina, I think there’s something wrong with blogspot. Ada orang kata komen dia hilang terus. Hope you had a good raya. Yes, skype is really something. Wasn’t too long ago, we thought the mobile phone is everything. How was the open house?
Do click on the link to ayam golek – I can assure you senang saja. I don’t do difficult things.
Ezza, memang sedih selalu teringat mak, tapi apakah daya – it is a choice that we make..I will take up yr offer of ketupat – api bila entah lah. Insyaallah – bila ada rezki, kak teh balik and we can all meet up.
Lilian, Thanks for the wishes. Memang tak salah white lies – tapi jangan buat selalu…I think she suspects something.
Mama Rock, thanks – yes, I had a great time, sampai demam ketupat, demam rendang and demam lontong!
Daphne dear, Thanks – yes, I had a great raya. Did you go visiting over there?
Kak e, Thanks and same to you. Selamat hari raya and maaf zahir dan batin.
NJ – aha – tu laaa pagi2 dah tipu Mak. Entah apa bak jadi, nak berubah dah terlambat dah! Err btw it is Snowbell, not Tinkerbell…nanti merajuk Snowbell.
Zarina, thanks – hope you had a nice time.
Sue, no wonder tak boleh duduk. Dok rasa panaih! So how was raya in Alork Stark?
Mrs N, I had lots of nasi tomato and none came from my kitchen. I will , insyaallah make it one of these days - bila keadaan reda sikit.
Pak Tuo, am so sorry for this late reply. Please send me an email and I will reply about the malay class.
Tea, I have done it quite a few times - i must say she is doing well too considering she is 90+! Thanks for the visit.
Manal, I am sure my mother said that!
Ya, I saw lots of students making that walk to templewood Gdns. and it wa sraining pulak tu and sejuk...but the food was well worth the walk and the cold.
Tunku, oh yes, I am quite IT savvy - did i tell you that I once did internet tv?
Argus, when I read your comment, i nearly fell off the chair laughing. How true - we skipped around the kampong when we were young, and now we can skype around the world - the old knees are no longer up to it.
Kenny dear, thanks ..and what is this I hear that you are not well? Sorry I have not been over - been qt qt busy.
aaah, Mociknab! welcome, welcome, lamanya tak nampak. Yes, i can tell when my children try it on me.
kak elle, hal komplot mengomplot ni - memang dah perkara tabii... we do it quitenaturally when there are things we dont want mak to know!
Selamat hari raya to you too.
Kak, thats so sweet. My nenek pun dah tak berapa dgr sgt, kena cakap kuat2 and dia melatah! Heheh!
Ted Baker, thanks for the visit. My mak pun selective hearing . But it is always nice to hear her voice and see her face...eventho' thousands of miles away.
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