Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's A Pale-Green Home by YantiMahamud

Chapter 1 – The Love

When I was a child, I don’t really know what were my ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ ….
Clothing – not like kids nowadays whom are so good in choosing what to wear… I just wore what my grandmother told me so. After taking bath…. It was always “Mok, pakai baju mana?” … and she would usually replied with a teasing tone, half shouting… “Pakailah kain songket pun!” But still, it was her picked then that I had to follow.

Food – never have any favorite restaurant. There was hardly an eat-out those days. It was already considered a big event if my aunties brought me to buy fried mee-hoon at nearby restaurants within the vicinity of where we lived. The few were, Sarina Reastaurant … Mirana Restaurant… even so, it was ‘tapau’ and eat it home.
Once in a blue moon I dined at a steam-boat restaurant called Sun-Too in town and that was really a HUGE-EXTRA-ORDINARY thing. There was a time Busu brought me to accompany her for dinner with her soon to be husband at Seri Restaurant. I needed to behave and of cause was trying hard to do so. Busu ordered for me float drink and I was so excited about it. Instead of slurping the drink, I blew it through the straw! It was a disaster….. the float spilled all over the big glass!

Books? – no way… Kampong girl like me…. I’d rather play “bola kaki-tiga” or follow my brother to climb trees rather than reading books. Somehow, I had a good discipline though, never go out playing unless I finished my home works.

Cartoon character – there were only RTM 1 & 2 back then. TV3 only reached my home town, I guess when I was in Std 4 or 5, or may be later. Don’t really remember. So, leaving for KL during school holidays was a big thing… that I could watch TV3 programs and boasted to my kampong friends. With limited tv programs, what cartoon character can be a favorite or a like?

Toys – Dream on! I don’t have favorite toy because I don’t have many toys. The toy that I remember playing if it can even be considered as a toy, was the lady figure print paper doll with outfits also out of printed paper-cutting that may be changed by hanging on it’s shoulder. Walllaweh… those were like Barbie dolls by current measure.
Should I want to play with toys… I’d hang-out at my Ayah Long’s (Allahyarham) house. Hmmmm… my cousin, Safrul had the most toys compared to any of us. He had this white ‘Transformer’ robot that amused us all….. Lego which he regarded as one new toy each day….. his Papa also bought him boxing gloves!.. but I think, he hardly used the gloves. He was an ever first-rate umi’s boy.

Not really having the likes, loves or certainties…. BY SOME MEANS…. there were 4 things that I was so certain about even as a child.
One – My ambition, I never change…. I wanted to be a teacher as I ever can remember. Should there be anyone that asked me… What I were gonna be when I grew up or needed me to fill in the ambition column in school particulars card, I had no hesitation. TEACHER… that was what I wanted to be. Somehow I ended up now being an Architect. (Thank God!…. can’t imagine myself teaching.)
A cousin of mine, she used to have this hesitation either wanted to be an air stewardess or a farmer! … Alamak!
Two – Once I started schooling in standard One (whoops! Never go to kindergarten….) I knew exactly I wanted to go to boarding school for secondary. The school, must be Tunku Kurshiah College because I heard it is a good school and only best students are permitted.
Three – I like the color green…. And still love it until today. All tones and hues of green. That was why I chose green color for my wedding color theme.

FourI love my House. I love it so much that I always tried to draw for primary school art classes.

And This… This is a story of one of my four early LIKES / LOVES / CERTAINTIES.
A place where I grew up and spent the best ever first 19 years of my life right from an infant to a teenager. 5 years out of that 19, was complemented with another wonderful place .......... Tunku Kurshiah College.


It was a place that is very close to my heart that I call HOME. And a story of this place will never be a story if it is without the main spine……. My grandmother, ESHAH BT ABD. RAHMAN whom her 9 children call her ‘Ming’ (short of umi), her 32 grandchildren call her ‘Mok’ and her 11 (+ another 2 on the way) great-grandchildren call her ‘Tok’…………………………..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nada Hates Carrots

Introducing solid food to an infant is not as easy as it sounds…. I started with puree.. that was boiled-mashed banana to Nada when she’s about 6 months of age. She likes it and gulps everything down her throat. A week or so, I switched to dates. Also in puree form… she likes it too. So, I thought… ok! enough on “sweet taste”, lets try some “vegy” now.

To start of, I tried carrots. Boiled… mashed…. And fed her.
The first fed.. she gave me this kind of look = “mommy? What are you trying to feed me?” with her eye brows frowning! … I ignored her facial impression.

The second fed…. She spewed it out. Again I ignored her.

The third fed …. She just kept it in her mouth, not wanting to swallow! I MADE her swallowed and she gave me the FIERCE looking face.

The fourth fed…. That’s it!….. She yelled like no body’s business, with her arms and legs banging onto the bouncing chair. Her head swaying side to side… and I think the whole block apartment that we reside can actually heard her.

What a HUGE protest from this tiny monster. I gave up for that moment and realized the mistake that I have made. Shouldn’t have started with the “sweet” taste. But, too bad… damage have already been done. I have to figure out how to fix it!

Close to 7 months old, I bought the ready cereal from supermarket rack and till now, it is never enough for her at any meal. She surely wants more. Such big eater she is.

Still, I don’t want to settle with just ready cereals and with so limited time that I have, I always try to put my best effort to feed her home cook meal. Anytime that permits me, I will try to cook even though I used to hate cooking and my cook is so lousy. Until now … quite variety of porridge that I have tried, chicken .. red meat .. fish .. cabbage.. spinach. She would finish them all …. But CARROTS.. No way! Even if I mix and blend in the rice porridge. She just hate it! Was it the trauma that she had the first time? … I don’t know.

I remember then how my mami always tried to make me eat when I was little kid for I was a picky eater. So skinny I was. (God! What happen to me, now?… I’ve got no waist line already). I hated rice and instead I chose bread.
To think back, it’s very weird that my comfort food was hard-top bun bread that I bought from a sundry shop owned by an old Chinese couple I called

A-long and Mek, dipped into just plain water! It’s even tastier to have it in late afternoon at the 1 foot height ‘bendul’ of our house verandah leading to where my grandmother used to dry her laundry and listening to my mami’s sewing machine musical sound. That’s where I did my homework too.

My mami used to have the trick of “nasi ajaib”, those were rice balls with fillings inside. So, if I want to know what was inside the rice balls, I’ve got to eat them. It could be fish or eggs or chicken. Anything…, but those days, chicken was rather a luxury item.

To make me finish the meal, my mami had this tale that the food I was eating… was actually supposed to go for a gastronomy trip into my stomach. (of cause she didn’t use the word gastronomy!) So, it was rather sad to left behind the unfinished meal on the plate and made them cried for not being able to go.

She also used to say in her rich kelantanese dialect : “Tak po adik… tera dulu. Kalu tok sedak.. Kehek atah tange mami ni.” Every time she was introducing me to new food or delicacies.
Ok la!… let me translate … Meaning is “It’s okay, honey … u taste it first. If it doesn’t taste good .. spew it out on mami’s palm” …. and sure! her palm is opened right beneath my jaw ready to receive any spew at all… That was the extend she tried on me. But, I know… I have never spewed anything out… because all she fed me, taste good.

My mami …. Never a highly educated woman, what more a sophisticated 9-5 office-working woman.
She is a widow whom earns her living being a tailor to raise my brother and I, with so much patience, will and grace in her. Everyone would agree with me if I say,… when ever she smiles… it’s always a genuine smile from her innocent heart! That’s why at 58 now… she’s a healthy person who just looks 48.

And so, Nada hates carrots. Such a challenge for me but I will never give up. It’s a hurdle that I am sure I will leap over one day. Right now, I am so determine to feed her home-cook food as much as I can, and for that… I am now also eyeing for that Panasonic HR-2068 Food Processor that will cost me RM 229!

…. Nada.. Nada..
Strange thing how a small child that we love so much… even if that small child is not of our own can make us all…… change for the better.

Friday, October 10, 2008

when did they ever grow?

Aidilfitri is one of the many occasions that give me the chance to catch up on latest news, gossips, rumors and whatever word that brings the same meaning to it with my relatives particularly aunties, uncles and cousins.

Ever since I can remember, my family and I have been staying with my grandmother. So I am rather attached with cousins because the place that I live, was and is the home for everyone to gather.
Those days, during childhood … the grandchildren are divided into batches. I was in the first batch which consists the 5 of us with unique or long names in descending order :
1. My brother…, Mohd Safari Nasir or Abang Payie… he’s the naughty one and used to be leader in everything
2. My cousin sister…., Sulastri or Kakak … she is the LOVE of everybody
3. My cousin brother …., Mohd Safrul Alam or ‘Row’… he is Kakak’s younger brother and always a good boy.
4. My self …., Safariyanti Mario…. Don’t really know how to describe myself5. My younger cousin sister … Feby Soosani… I would say she’s the materially spoilt girl for being the only daughter for 12 years but a VERY kind hearted person.

Being the first batch we would bet among us the next cousin to come if it would be a boy or a girl, if there was any aunt of us whom got pregnant. This was like to ascertain the strength of BOY or GIRL power.

After Feby… it was then quite a big gap before the others came … Gg, Faizal, Fahmi, Adzim, Farah, Fatin, Boy … and on and on….. (I remember them all, but it will be a looooooong list!…. 32 names.)

At one point…. Boom ! it’s like America after World War 2, we welcomed some kind of 2 or 3 or 4 cousins in a year! Sana beranak… sini beranak.

I remember Kakak once said to me… few years to come, there will be a batch of girl cousins that’s gonna fight for the date to get married!
This year aidilifitri, I realized what Kakak said before, is becoming to be true.

Ika – at her 20, had revolved from a used to be fair and chubby girl with boyish hair cut to a tall, slim ‘chick’. Rather attractive.

Syasha – also at 20 whom from a baby has always has the beautiful eyes…. and … Now, that same eyes are even more beautiful and brighter which can struck any lad any time. She doesn’t need any berries essence for that!

Thirah – should be 19 now, has the most obvious change. She…….., if not as beautiful as her mother, my youngest aunt Busu, is SO…. SO….SO much sweeter!

Mirah – the same age as Thirah was a big, rough girl …. Has turn to a lady with so much GRACE.

They all have grown up and not the little girls that I used to see in them anymore. WHEN DID THEY EVER GROW?………………………………..

A few lines of word and advise here for my young cousins… that I will always regard them as my little sisters even in years to come :
1. Kak Yanti loves you all.
2. Wear make up for yourselves and not for boys! It is just too shallow if you all do that.
3. Have fun being yourselves as girls.
4. Soon, you’ll enter to the working life. Remember for every Ringgit that you earn, there is a portion for others. So at least spare some for your parents even if they do not ask you for it….. because all your life… you only know how to ask !!

Looking at my beautiful grown cousins…………… suddenly it fears me, if one day……. I’ll be seeing my darling daughter, Nada all grown up with out realizing when does she ever grow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Letter for a Friend

Dear Johahn,

Hi.. It’s been ages since I last wrote to you. Was it 14? or may be 15 years back? At that instance we were both still in school uniforms and the means was… SNAIL MAIL!

So, how are you at the present? The last time we bumped to each other, you’re still the good looking guy that I have always pictured you are.

Returning home for eid, the news traveled fast to me that you were getting married. Congratulation! I am happy for you.

Now that we are in the later phase of our lives,…. Having families of our own….
I really hope we’ll able to be better friends moment on.
As you know, I am blessed with the arrival of such a gorgeous daughter…. ………….

Nada Firas bt Abdul Harris. She’s now eight months old and my husband and I love her dearly!
Not for long, I am sure you’ll be blessed with one too.

Johahn,
These 15 years or so, it is always in me the things that I wanted to let u know.

……………. I am very.. very sorry that I ever uttered the dim-witted phrase which I believe makes us apart, though it could be due to other reasons that I’ll never know. I admit, it was said out of depth thought. And I regretted the way it was conveyed to you. At times, how I wish I could turn back the clock and make it right.
But the clock has been ticking for 15 years……………. And I know, I should let it go somehow. …….. May be by writing thee letter.
I never had the chance to apologize personally, so by way of this letter I am hoping that my apology is accepted.

All said, again……, a heartfelt congratulation on your wedding. May it brings you joy and happiness forever.

Until our paths cross again……….. cherish the good moment…..

Truly,
yanti