August 29, 2011

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

I have not been in much of a Raya mood lately. 

more so when i feel that i have not had a fulfilling Ramadhan. the irony is that i only missed 3 days of fasting (due to you women (and men) know what) which is a record compared to the usual week or more. but other than that, the holy month of Ramadhan has been a blur to me. it seemed to pass through like a Formula One race car, with just a camera captured sight but left me with a perpetually ringing sound in my ears, that inevitably enveloped my subconscious.

not wanting to be dramatic about things - which my hubby would readily disagree - but i do hope i get to see another Ramadhan (insyaAllah) in order that i could perform my ibadah better. even if the niat (intention) is there, when the will is not as strong, i don't think the niat will count as much as some folks contend.

so... on to Raya. which is tomorrow. and i'm slacking at work by writing this. 

this year's my turn (me and hubby take turns) to spend the first and second day of Eidul Fitr, that is the celebration for Muslims after a month of fasting, at my mother's side which is about a stone throw away from the Twin Towers. betul!

my mom hails from Kampung Baru. my dad's kampung is in Besut, Trengganu/Kelantan. why the stroke? well, i'll explain in the footnote. 

all my life, up until i become a wife, i have been spending most of my Rayas in Kampung Baru. we usually spend it with the usual seeking of forgiveness from the oldest which is my maternal grandmother to the not-so-old uncles and aunts.  my nenek is now eighty-eight years of age (her birthday is in November, by the way). i am just glad that despite her fragility and recurring dementia, she is still around for Hari Raya. and thus, i want to be able to spend whatever time i have left with her.

on the first day of Raya, the Kampung Baru clan as i like to call ourselves, would almost always pay a visit to Kampung Pandan, which is my nenek's late sister's main domain, after Asar prayers. later on we would adjourn to Kajang which is my grandmother's late brother's place of residence. we usually pray Maghrib there together before having another feast. we like to eat, obviously!

the second day is another round of visits to my mother's paternal relatives in several kampungs in Selangor. we would start with Kampung Baru Subang for brunch and then we drive for about an hour to Kuala Selangor, where my mother's cousin resides. Their signature dishes for lunch comprising the ikan masak asam  pedas and ayam goreng are what we look forward to annually. yummyyyyyyyy!

and then it's another round of glutton fest as we head off to another uncle's place nearby the Kampung Kelip Kelip (Fireflies). i could not recall the exact name of the village but my mother's cousin built a quaint bungalow along with a swimming pool somewhere at the edge of a forest. it might not be a forest to you, but the place is secluded that it is also homey and tranquil to be there. like every house that we go to, this place has fried unripe bananas with brown molasses for dip as its signature dish. there will be another three houses to go to in Kapar thereafter but usually, as i have two small kids, we would only go to only one of them before heading home. my parents would at times host a simple dinner at their house (Pizza time!) after those rounds but this is not the norm for the last two years. i attribute this to 'old age' as most people want to retire at their respective homes after the long journey.

on the third day of Raya, we will be going back to my hubby's kampung in Baling, Kedah. we will be there for a night and then go back to hubby's home in Butterworth. unlike in Kampung Baru, there is no set routine of visitations. i wish i could persuade my hubby to go visit his relatives, but most of them are either having their Rayas elsewhere, or they would have already visited hubby's kampung prior to us coming home. 

if it's his turn to have the first and second day, we will be going back to Butterworth first before adjourning to Baling on the eve of Raya. and then it's spending the third day at my nenek's in Kampung Baru as it's the clan's turn to play host to the people whom they have visited on the first and second day. so in essence, even if i don't get to see them on those days, i could see them on the third Raya.


somehow writing all these down has upped my mood to celebrate Hari Raya a notch. yes, writing is a therapy!

i guess i should not beat myself up too much. less idealism doesn't necessarily mean less entitlement to be happy.

i am thankful and grateful for what i have and what i am. 

i am also thankful that despite my family's differences and quirkiness, we still love each other. 

blood is indeed thicker than water.

therefore, in spirit of Eidul Fitr, i wouild like to seek forgiveness from everyone whom i have somehow inadvertently hurt during the course of the year. i may have this 'foot in mouth' disease, but most of the time, i do not mean any harm. Maaf Zahir Batin.

to conclude, drive safely, consume moderately and hold your tongues... at least until after the duit raya (angpow) has been handed out. hehehe.

PS: with regards to the footnote on Trengganu/Kelantan is that once upon a time, the Sultan of Trengganu and Sultan of Kelantan had made a wager by playing their respective royal cocks in a fight. whomever loses, shall get a district in the other Sultan's state. so to cut to the chase, the Sultan of Kelantan lost and gave Besut to the Sultan of Trengganu. hence why, to this day, all the Besut folks still speak with a Kelantanese accent despite it being in Trengganu. The End.

August 24, 2011

Ramadhan 1432

this is extremely long overdue.

i wanted to write this much earlier - which is just before Ramadhan. well, i planned to do it the day before fasting month started, but in the end things happened - unusually heavy workload, extreme exhaustion, ensuing influenza and the ever recurring procrastination - that i didn't manage to keep my want.

yep, story of my life.

two years ago i've written in FB that i missed the Ramadhan back in my childhood home Shah Alam. i love the fasting month because it always made me feel closer to my family. there was the terawih at the Masjid Biru, the preparation in which my family and i went through like the annual chores of hanging curtains, putting on festive chairbacks and table runners, baking goodies and even stowing away junks at the back of the drawers. the filial togetherness, the sense of belonging and the brimming happiness are my main memories of Ramadhan and Syawal.

fast forward to the current reality of having own family and own commitments, i realised that i still cling to those memories of the Ramadhan yesteryears. i feel that my present Ramadhan is not as happy or ideal as it should be back when i was younger. 

don't get me wrong. i do look forward to Ramadhan, but it usually does not work out the way i visualise. it falls short to my utopian expectations.

i want to be able to do terawih at the masjid (like i used to).

i want to have buka puasa with all my family members everyday (like i used to).

i want to bake cookies and cakes for Raya with my mother and siblings. (like i used to).

i want to spend the night before the first of Syawal, listening to 'live' takbir raya, as a throng of neighbours come around to the house to bless us (like i used to).

of course, unfortunately, these are just wishful thinkings. 

truthfully, i have yet to do terawih at the masjid this year and at this rate, i don't think i will. i do go for iftar at my parents' place every Sunday (and there is also the Saturday gathering at my nenek's in Kampung Baru) but that was never enough. i could make time during weekdays but this year's workload during Ramadhan was heavier than usual due to stretched deadlines, that i usually ended reaching home near to maghrib or even after that. i also don't think i would get to make any kuih raya with my sisters as we will be leaving for my hubby's kampung this weekend. nevertheless, i am glad that i have managed to share my apple and mini chicken pies with them during the last two iftar get-togethers. *beam* even though the congregation will not be in either my neighbourhood or my parents' (as they are no longer in Shah Alam) to recite the takbir raya,  i am thankful to have the resplendent memory.

yes, i still do have the memories, so that counts a lot. alhamdulillah.

the funny thing about clinging to the past, is that we forget to enjoy what we have presently. we could be ungrateful and are always expecting disappointments because things are not like 'back then'. when we compare what we have with what we don't have, the yearning cards would invariably trump.

i am not going to dabble in the psychological aspect of this, but my own take on this 'phenomenon' (i call it that because the origin of this behaviour was never properly explained) is that when things are temporarily bleak, we want to be able to have that option. of going back. of having the alternative.

it is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we are rooted in our subsistence. 

now i sound like a shrink.

moving on, this Ramadhan made me pause to reflect that i could have better memories (i do?) of the future Ramadhan and Syawal (insyaAllah), by creating new joyful memories. i could naturally base these on my experience but i could also tweak them to adapt to my current situation. all i need are creativity and boundless of faith. 

of course, Raya at my side is always better, but i know that going back to his side makes my husband happy, so i wouldn't whine about it. much. my kids, like i was back then, would be happy when both parents are happy during the festive break. more often than not, it is more about them having a good time. i guess my parent taught me that. generally good times mean a happy childhood. i, for one, would not want my grown up kids to come to me later on and say  "my Raya then sucks. i did not enjoy my Raya at all back then. so i don't think i want to go home for Raya." *yipes*

for me, this Ramadhan is about purging the past, and holding on to the gritty present. the latter is scarier with open-ended possibilities, but it also means we have opportunities to create something which we could be proud of.

i need to move on. there are certain areas in my life which are holding me back. but intuitively, i know it is time. i could not live with half-baked could haves and could bes. i will need to take that monumental step (okay, it sounds dramatic but it is not of a paradigm shift proportion), and be brave enough to live with the consequences.

bubbles burst. hearts mend. wounds heal. features restore. people adapt. life goes on.

after all, it is much easier to grieve when it is something that you never even have.

August 15, 2011

the premise (promise) of a song

I'VE promised to post something after the Mamma Mia's Thank You For The Music Youtube post.

(see how lazy i've become, since i'm only posting links lately)

but that got detoured by so many things which happened in the last 2 weeks as somehow i was part of the Board Paper preparer at work... now that's in the past, having worked until 1030pm last Friday, i think i deserved a break. by indulging in writing - as i could no longer afford any designer bags - because hey, i'm going to write, whether you like it or not. :)

the following poem/ lyrics permutation may cause you to cringe and / or snigger but i am posting it anyways.

This is 'my picker upper alternate lyrics' to Thank You For The Music - which i called Thank You For The Proses. 

Mother says I was
A dreamer before I could walk
She says I began
To make stories before I could talk
And I've often wondered
How did it all start?
Who found out that nothing
Can capture a heart
Like a narrative can?
Well who ever it was, I'm a fan

So I say
Thank you for the proses
The tales I'm writing
Thanks for all the joy
They're bringing
Who can live without it
I ask in all honesty
What would life be
Without a poem or a tale what are we?
So I say thank you for the proses

For giving it to me

I've been so lucky
I am the girl with wavy (*) hair
I wanna weave (**) it out to everybody
What a joy
What a life
What a chance

Thank you for the proses
The tales I'm writing
Thanks for all the joy
They're bringing
Who can live without it
I ask in all honesty
What would life be
Without a poem or a tale what are we?

So I say thank you for the proses
For giving it to me
So I say thank you for the proses
For giving it to me

PS: * unfortunately, i could only came up with my hair being wavy, which has no factual correlation whatsoever to my ability to craft nonsensical proses.
** yes, wave and weave somehow go together. :P

August 13, 2011

New on the Block

i have been quiet lately,

not on purpose but more on necessity,

i need to recharge in order to write,

(or is it i need to write in order to recharge? this is more like chicken and egg situation which i've no answer)

anyways, in my process to unwind, i have been fortunate enough to get acquainted with this exquisite site.

a hijab inspired line. which is modern and ultra svelte. one thing about me - i'm a sucker for clean lines and unexpected details

some pictures from this Indonesian based designer.

just dont take my word for it. check it out for yourself.