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Monday, September 14, 2009

"The one about that pre-Syawal reflection..."

I personally favor this phase of Ramadhan. It's last week; a knocking few days till the eve of Syawal, into the peeking Eids. For me, this would be the laziest of days - work would seem a drag and every chore becomes impossible to attend to. In my mind, nostalgic tunes of (among others) Dendang Perantau, Selamat Hari Raya, Aidilfitri and Balik Kampung play in loops throughout my daily routines. My spirits are in high gear in anticipation for the arrival of my family from KK, and looking forward to a long break from work. Radio DJs on every station and frequency speak of raya's classic repertoires; making busy in the kitchen for those wajiks, bahulus, dodols, ketupats and rendangs - getting ready for that 1st of Syawal.

My dearest Fifah would be restless, leading towards her flight back to KK. We'd exchange cards, go for quick trips all over getting stuff she'll need for her Sabahan Syawal. On the day I send her off at the airport - we say our raya wishes for each other and ask for forgiveness on all sins committed against each other.

The next few days leading up to raya with my family would be spent parading through throngs of stalls in PKNS, looking for bargains on baju raya's for Syawal morning's proceedings. Andi would take ages to get his, while most of the time chemoboy and myself would settle for something similar. Atiqah would be under Mama's wings, while Aiysha (having her own eccentric taste) would take as long a time as Andi finding hers. As for Papa - let's just say he's not that picky as to what Mama gets him. At this time being, money seems to flow like water. Mama would have a banter with Papa over our raya itinerary, with us just gleefully having a laugh at them. Everyone with their own antics and rantings. Everything may seem hurried and rushed, especially towards raya's eve - but we would not opt for anything different every year. This is what I love most about celebrating raya; the opportunity to be with your family in its rawest form.

Within the confines of my cubicle in ITMA - lay cards from colleagues and friends. The atmosphere is filled with a heightened spirit of contentment. Everyone's just so excited for the next few days and culmination of Aidilfitri. As I flip through pages of the daily newspaper, going through Aidilfitri messages from those overseas, I rejoice in the fact that I am able to be among my loved ones on this most sacred of celebrations.

Alas,

Unfortunately, this year I fall under the irony of having my Aidilfitri message read on the spreads of Mingguan Malaysia instead.

How would you spend your last week of Ramadhan?

This year, the tables turns against my liking. Suffice to say, for everyone abroad - the last few days of Ramadhan brings back a roller coaster of emotions. Looking back, I do have my fair share of wonderful pre-Syawal moments; and in lapses of these memories it's a wonder how much everyone has grown up over the years.

It seems as if this picture was just taken yesterday, but today these two rascals are almost the height of my shoulders.

This year, Syawal would be very different for everyone, if not for myself. Aidilfitri's coming would be welcomed in a different tune, unconventional, and defying the norm. This year, we would have to seek solace in Aidilfitri's true meaning; a celebration against our victory over ourselves. Like how MakTeh has put it - a return to our fitrah, after a month's reflection over the blessings of Ramadhan. This year, if I have anything to be merry for, it'd be for this.

Then again, raya has never been the same since three years ago. Because, this would be thrice the Eid's passes without her to celebrate it with.

Thank you for always being that person I look forward to seeing every raya. Thank you for always putting up with my antics with you in the kitchen (while you whisk that serving of my favorite kuah kacang, rendang and nasi himpit) on raya's eve. Thank you, wan, for all those memories for me to remember you by. I've missed you ever since, and will always have you in my prayers.

To my beloved grandmother, al-Fatihah.

I guess we all have a lot of things to be thankful for. Instead of concerning ourselves with things we've lost or don't have (at least this year), it'd be a valor to focus more on things we should rejoice for - health, friends, and the opportunity to still spend another serving of Aidilfitri. This year, I'll find that raya spirit in all things that remind me of home - the food, the atmosphere, the celebrations, and more importantly; the people. As chemoboy would put it - we may be far, but our hearts are next to each other. If he can find optimism within his circumstances, I would bear no less a similar feat.

One thing's for sure - I might be away for this year's Syawal; but I'll have everyone here with me to celebrate it with come this Sunday, in spirit. In this sense, Aidilfitri would be no different than the previous years.

Alhamdulillah, God is ever merciful.

-JeP

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum,

Yesterday we sent off Pak Tam and part of me left with him. He is a special brother. I watched him grew up and am glad that I could help out here and there during those lean years we were growing up together.

This Raya will be different. Papa is not even sure where he should be heading after Ipoh..Bentong? Temerloh? I leave it all up to them because I myself will be venturing into new territory - celebrating Eid in Sheffield.

I hope you still remember how to cook lemang wrapped in aluminium foil..that together with the wonderful rendang you said your friend made, should brighten your Raya!

Looking forward to seeing you again come 1st November...take care n keep warm...mama