Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The other late night, I was having drinks with old friends chit-chatting over nothing prominent when suddenly, considering it is approaching near, we came to the topic of Aidilfitri's preparation. One of them, has a mother of a same origin as my mother thus what he told shared a similarity with what I used to experience whenever Aidilfitri is approaching. That experience too is strongly associated with a distinct smell, a smell that hit me recently when I was laying comfortably on our new set of sofa. A smell that brought me to my childhood experience in celebrating the festive day.
My friend was telling how he has just helped his mother in laying down some carpets all around the house. That was exactly what my mother would do to beautify the house for Aidilfitri apart from changing the new curtain, changing the cover for all the seating's cushions and polishing all the silver and brass wares. The thing about these carpets is that these carpets are only for special occasion and when not in use, we have to keep it preserved by having it wrapped in layers of old newspaper and to be tied strongly so that the size of each roll is as small as possible allowing us to tuck it all up in a very small space next to the wardrobe.
With Aidilfitri approaching, mother would tell me to have all of the 'special' carpets laid at its designated area. I used to live in a relatively very small house at a low-cost housing scheme and definitely the area that the carpet would cover overlapped with the furniture's arrangement. So, I had to lift every furniture to tuck the carpet underneath it. Imagine having lifted all the furnitures and finished laying down the carpet only to find it misaligned! In a way, luckily my house was small or else I couldn't imagine having to repeat the process for numerous of carpets - laying it down and later have it rolled and wrapped up for storage. And every time, I got used to the unique smell of these rarely used carpets hence the strong association with the event till today.
Usually, during the last two weeks of Ramadhan, we had already started to do some preparations. Putting up the colorful lights and have it switched on every night lit up the spirit of celebration. Our neighbor next door has a bigger and unfenced compound so they would set up gasoline lamp fixed to a stick stuck to the ground. I and my childhood friends would ride the bike around our housing scheme to see which house has the most decorative lighting fixtures.
Later on, we would end up at a field. On one end, there's a kid's playground and on the other end, it slopes down to a monsoon drain. It was a perfect setting for a 'war'. We would divide ourselves into two teams, both teams taking cover behind the existing 'fortress'. I remember once, I was in the team that held the line down in the sloping end. We were under heavy fire that we had to jump into the monsoon drain to evade the continuous attack. Apparently they had lots of fireworks supply than we were.
Also, during this period of the last two weeks that postman would stopped by every other day to deliver some white envelopes of various sizes. I remember the joy of looking at the stamped stamp where it states the origin of the mail (greeting card) and later on to open up the envelope to reveal the beautiful greeting card inside, amazingly never failed to make me smile. I used to see in other houses where they would hang all the cards received on strings tied over the ceiling. My mother however preferred to have it attached to our wall.
Being the youngest child, there's a big age gap with the rest of my siblings with most of them already settled down with their families in the capital. I would eagerly awaits for their return as it would make the whole house livelier. I remember a routine that we would all sit in front of the television on the eve of Aidilfitri laughing good time over 'Raya'-themed sitcoms, usually the one showed on our neighboring country's network. Meanwhile, also a routine for her, our mother was always busy in the kitchen preparing her signature dish for every Aidilfitri - the ever delicious beef 'rendang'.
Living in the small house made it became crowded when it was time to sleep. We would arrange by families and the best spot was to turn the living room into a dormitory. My spot would always be on the two-seater sofa at the front room. It was an additional room, built when I am yet to study architecture thus the way it was arranged is separated from the main house therefore whenever I wanted to go to the toilet I had to use keys to access the house before carefully choreographing my steps to avoid stepping on someone's feet or hand.
Those were the built-ups known to me in welcoming Aidilfitri. At this age, I truly miss it. Under current circumstance, it is near impossible for me to decorate the house I'm living the way I used to before. At this age too I don't think it's proper for me to wage a 'war' on other kids or else it would had me arrested by the police.
The shows for Aidilfitri on television were a total crap. Not to mention the local movies released during Aidilfitri at the cinema for the past few years were never themed to suit the festive season.
The advance cyber world definitely paved new ways of doing things but little we realized that it also kills it. People don't send greeting cards anymore. Ironically, the only card I received this year was sent by a Chinese friend and how I am grateful to her for that. As guilty as I am being a part of it and being too late to send any out now, I would like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from anyone reading this blog, from my relatives and friends, and lastly from my family. Me, my wife and our lovely daughter wish you all a happy festive celebration.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Maaf Zahir Batin.
However, what I missed most is to ask forgiveness from my parents - having them sitting side by side and returning to only one place I call home, instead of two as fate writes, it would never ever possible to happen again.