Monday, September 24, 2007

rejoice

I am going to Limbang tomorrow morning for an exams briefing. It is just a short trip, but I here I am, having that anxiety as always.

Right before a trip, I will have this thing where I am not really nervous, but I just can't sleep. Maybe it was also because of the 3 glasses of iced nescafe my housemate made for berbuka puasa today. I seldom have coffee after 12 noon, for fear of not being able to go to sleep later on. But then, I am always had trouble sleeping before a trip. But since tomorrow was gonna be just Limbang, I wonder if my pre-trip anxiety is just getting worse now that I don't travel as much as I used to, when I was still new in this profession.

It's close to 3.00 am and I am watching Kathy Griffin on YouTube. Get a life, you say? I wish. I really would like to get some sleep, even if it is just gonna be 2 measly hour of the 8 that I'd usually need to function well the next day. I'd probably sleep all the way there and also at the briefing and embarrass myself. I should train myself not to get too worked up over a trip somewhere because that is not healthy. And I really should lay off the caffeine after 1pm. I was worried that my housemate was feeling a little down cuz her laptop won't start and our friend the computer geek told her that it is not the software, it is the hardware. So I said, you can make whatever you want for iftar, deary.

I made masak lemak daging with pucuk ubi. Missing my mom's cooking actually. She makes kick-ass everything cuz she likes to 'kick it up a notch' with everything. Mine was not exactly pitiful, but it couldn't beat my mom's masak lemak daging with pucuk ubi. I also made some sambal belacan to go with the left over blanched pucuk ubi. I haven't had pucuk ubi with sambal belacan since like, forever. And I am so into greens. I even take the small peria (some people call it peria katak [barf!]) as ulam.

Petang tadi we went to the market to get some fish for the pegedil ikan. On the way back to the car, we walked through the bazaar and ended up with a piece of roti canai, and some kuih. I ate my karipap, but I can't eat my seri muka and kelupis after my rice meal. I eat a lot. But fasting must have shrunk my bottomless pit somewhat to make me feel full. But I think that is also age. I know once, when I was in uni, being depressed some of the time, I was able to finish 2 giant plates of rice and all the good stuff, to my mother's delight, who is a fiend when it comes to cooking. It's not like that anymore and that has been since... I don't know.

Anyway, I love Ramadhan. I have a reason to skip breakfast and lunch and not feel guilty because my housemate would have to starve along with me because she would be fasting along with me. I know we have to eventually come to the end of it and celebrate the 1st of Syawal, but really, I don't know if I am committing a sin here by saying that, but sometimes, I wish I can have Ramadhan all year long.

I know, that is crazy, nasty and horrible. People might ask, what if it really happens and we all go through famine or something? Then what? I don't know. I am not saying I hate Raya and all that jazz. Maybe it is bad of me to say that I prefer Ramadhan than Syawal. It's not just the constant feeling of bloatedness that comes along with Syawal, it is also the dreaded visits of family, relatives and friends. And then it is also the valid excuse my mom would have to be able to drag me all over the place to meet with relatives I never knew we had, without me whining about having to go. Selfish, childish me. But that was then. When I was younger. Now that I am older, I realized the value of keeping the relationship alive. But I still pick my allies because I was bitten once, and I don't think I can bare letting myself being bitten again.

Besides, I am not saying this because I am bitter and I am not denying that there are wondeful memories that come along with it, but it is sad for me to also admit, when it comes to celebrating Raya, that most of the things I remember from my childhood had been crazy, hectic and not very pleasant. No, I am not writing this to blame anyone. They didn't know what was happening to me with that being the yearly servings of Raya. But really, growing up with those things embedded in my mind, makes me yearn for Ramadhan to last forever. Things were calmer during Ramadhan. Raya was not evil. The people and the atmosphere created by the people was. I have never really enjoyed my Raya, as in really enjoyed it, by being breathless and wild-eyed and filled with wonder and anticipation. Apart from the new clothes and shoes, I don't remember looking forward to anything much, when I was growing up.

So, it is funny for me when I see people around me getting into the mood of celebration when I myself feel that it is gonna be the same day as any other day in my whole entire life. I might as well be a hermit. Don't you think?

I understand that we have to celebrate the coming of Syawal because it commemorates the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan and we should all rejoice and it it sunat to do certain stuff on that auspicious day. I understand that and it is a good thing to have something to look forward to at the end of a struggle, to celebrate, to share. I do see the point. I just find it hard to get myself in the mood.

Kesian my mom, because she is the one yang sibuk-sibuk tempahkan baju kurung raya for me each and every year. I don't remember buying or paying anyone to make me my own baju raya. I just don't feel like it.

I remember, when I was a little kid, mom would bering home something she had tailor-made (mom prefers it that way instead of buying them off the rack cuz they won't fit as well and she used to make her own clothes. I don't know why she stopped) and made me wear them complete with the new shoes and made me strut around the house, before changing back into what I was wearing for bed. Then I remember my mom baking cookies and cakes in her spare time to prepare for the day. She would clean up and make rendang and all that stuff people serve for Raya. Dad, he would always, always make lemang. He would be the one tending to the flames making sure that there is the right lemang for everyone. Mom likes it with the crust thick and hard. I like mine without. He'd also help mom stir the dodol for hours on end. My brothers and I would help stir the thick gooey concoction too. It would take hours, and although I am not a big fan, it was fun making it.

Then there is the house-cleaning and putting up the new curtains and changing the cushion covers, and she would take out her knitted chairbacks and table covers. We'd be wiping and vacuuming till the wee hours of the morning, working together and having fun.

When the next day comes, we'd all feel giddy with excitement. Wake up, mandi sunat Raya, go to the mosque, minta ampun and maaf from everyone, dapat duit raya, wait for people to come visit (mom never lets me and W go beraya to our neighbor's houses, which I can't really explain, but I am glad that she didn't because I know I would have hated going from house to house of people I don't know simply because I have to go with the flow because all the other kids are going). And then stuffing our faces with the delightful feast mom and dad had prepared. I loved mom's cookies. She made them so intricately. Even when she was working she made the cookies herself. We never bought our cookies.

As I grew older, mom taught me and ever since I have been the one with the full responsibility of making the signature fruitcake and cookies. But since I have never had the patience to mold them individually and wait for them to bake, I concentrated more on making the cake. I once made 16 cakes that took 4 hours to bake, (actually, I steamed them) each! Just so mom could give them away when she visits or have visitors. I wish I could still do that, but then I came here to work and never seemed to budge afterwards. Balik Raya pun mesti dah tinggal 2 hari atau 1 hari je puasa lagi, so I would usually manage 2 or 3, and I tempah je kek Sarawak to take home with me. Maybe I should make them here and take home so that the house would not be messy for Raya?

I assure you, it was all wonderful so what is it about this whole thing that made me hate it so much?

Maybe I know why but choose not to discuss it further on this entry. Maybe when I am stronger and able to face the realities of my existence.

When I am ready.


2 comments:

Belladonna said...

Nok, ko patut buka restoran. Meliur-liur aku dengar uols masak lemak pucuk ubi and sambal belacan..yummm,!!!!

Anillynnette said...

You know, one of my dreams is to have my own restaurant. I'm a long way to being a chef, but I know I can be good at cooking. Tapi, itulah, bila dah kerja dengan gomen ni, susah nak meninggalkan semua jaminan yang kita dah terbiasa tu.