I am trying very hard to doze off yet the familiar continuous clanking sound forces me to recall old memories, the last one perhaps 3 years ago when I headed to the city of Ipoh for a job interview.
Yes, as I am writing this, I am on a train ride to my hometown, Johor Bahru. I am riding on a sleeping coach with beds, since it's a 6 hours journey to my destination. However, this wasn't my preferred option more than 10 years ago.
The first mind-recorded experience of me riding a long distance train was in 1994, when I rode with my newlywed brother for their unofficial honeymoon to Penang. Why was I there in his honeymoon? I just can't remember why. Anyway, prior to that, I only rode the train for short distance journeys to Singapore.
I remember during that 1994 journey, I had an overwhelming impression for the rail service. Before that, all the short journeys to Singapore were on the 3rd class coach, that translates to poor sensory experience. In that journey to Penang, I remember we had evening tea at the canteen coach while enjoying the passing scenery which was a new experience to me. It left an everlasting impression to me that a long journey train ride allows me to enjoy the scenery more than the boring highway ride.
In 1998, while I was still living in Johor Bahru, a scenario occured that made it best for me to take the train instead of the express bus. I had to be at the higher education department in Kuala Lumpur the next morning to urgently resolve an administrative issue for my admittance to the university. Being young with strong sense of curiosity, I spent most of the time standing at the door, wide open, enjoying the scenery naturally with strong wind gushing through my hair. Ever since, I'm hooked.
The next recorded memory was when there was a calling - a calling of the heart when I was madly in love. The love of my life at that time was living in Kuala Lumpur. Whenever the heart calls, off I went on a train. It happened to be that one of the journey, I shared it with my roommate who of course for anybody being a roommate of mine is also a good talking partner. We ended up sitting by the door throughout the whole journey, again, of course the door was wide open, having one of the best conversations I had in my life. And I still remember as we arrived, it happened to be that I was riding on the first train to arrive at the then newly opened KL Sentral. There was a group of press photographers already clicking their shutters as we slowly came to a stop, trying to catch the first batch of passengers to use the new station.
Another good experience was when me and my wife were travelling across Java. The trip from Surabaya to Bandung took 14 hours and we did a return journey. A cumulatively, we were on Indonesian train for 28 hours. Anyhow, we got to enjoy the landscape of Java in an express way.
We figured out that we couldn't be staring out the window throughout the 14 hours journey, so we decided to drop by at a bookstore in Surabaya the night before and grabbed a few books to read. Incidentally, the book I picked partly told a story of the characters were experiencing a lesson in life while riding in a standard class train, travelling across Java. The way it described the scenery, the common people who use the train as their main mode of transportation and how the atmosphere inside the train somehow felt very much related to what was I experiencing at that time, only, with a very big exception, that actually I was travelling in an executive coach. There's a big difference riding between the classes in Indonesia.
Definitely, if I ever have the opportunity to visit other country, I'd first look for its rail service as I strongly feel it is one of the best way to experience a country.
Present day, here I am 2 hours into the journey still restraining myself from going to the door and open it. There have been many calls for me to take the train ride, be it for my education, my love and even for my career. For now the call is no less important, in fact of the highest priority. I was informed that my mother has been warded. Seriously, I need to catch some rest now.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Lira was trying to play a CD for Dhea using a CD player when somehow the sound didn't come out through the complex connection of the amp. Sufy, being a 1 year and a month old curious little boy joined in to see what was happening. I was watching them lazily from the sofa when suddenly Sufy appeared to have an idea. He turned and walked towards me like a penguin (it's really cute) still with that beaming face when I noticed his eyes were locked to the thing I was holding in my hand. It was the remote control for our pay TV. He grabbed it from me and brought it closer to Lira who was still struggling to get the sound out from the amp. With his unique version for the sound of the remote, he 'clicked' the remote pointing to the amp. He actually thought it was the solution for whatever problem Lira was facing. Oh, my boy. I am amazed.