My Ramadhan: Day 27

A castle in Rabat, Morocco

Saturday 1 June 2019

Something must be in the rain. It settled things. Despite the scorching heat an hour ago, now the air is more pleasant. The heat made you run for cover and the day seemed hopeless like we were being punished or something; when the rain came we went for cover also but to wait for the rainbows to shoot across the sky. Life can be beautiful sometimes whenever you put your trust into it.

Ramadhan is leaving us soon. The fasting has taught me to “let go” of something. Let go of eating and drinking and sex. Tough isn’t it!? because we all live for that- eating, drinking and sex. But thank God I managed. Soon we will let go of everything ; are we ready? I for the sake of this argument has started to let go many things. The hardest must be to let go of the family members, yep I have no clue. But I have started to let go many friends. I have good friends and pretend-to-be good friends. Some of them were really mean and the bad things they had done to me will come with me to the grave. It was not only the pain but the guilt and shame will forever be part of my sadness. Sometime my mind went back to the old place and the old time so that I can be sad and painful all over again. The memories make me smile and cry at the same time; the wound would be fresh again. So I can feel again. Strange but true. Only those who has an experience being betrayed your trust by someone you really look up would understand this odd predicament . I want to let go those friends but can’t.

Out of nowhere this beautiful bird dropped by …..

I have also needed to learn to let go my own bad blood aka family that suck on you whenever there’s a chance. What a bad jinx to own such a relationship. But they are out there and they are your own flesh and blood. The one that always ask for money but has never intended to pay back.yea that one I am sure you have them too on your side. You wish to let go of them as well; but, you can’t.

Chechaouen , Morocco

To let go of your home is a tough one. Maybe some of us have experience in moving houses; so to let go the house we have been living is something difficult to do. We built a house in Dungun; from scratch that is. From the design to buying materials like woods for flooring or roofing, I’d done it myself. I went to pick up some of the materials with my tukang— a nice local house maker that we paid weekly. No house loan. So there was a lot of memories and experience went into the development. But in one fine night, robbers put us all into a deep sleep and rampaged the house while we were in there. So terrible. We lost a lot of my wife’s jewellery but most of all we lost our privacy and dignity.The intrusion left in us a deep wound of fear and insecurity. We decided to let go of our beautiful 7-bedroom bungalow and moved to Shah Alam. We may never have a chance to own such an awesome piece of property again but , you know, we just wanted to move on.Sad but it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

Nowadays I am not afraid to let go of anything or anyone anymore . If you fucked me up please leave my life, just go away. For a long time , I have been nice to people when they return shit to me. Made me a fool out of my own naivety. I framed a nice smile nevertheless. My mom taught me that to give a sweet sour smile whenever I was made a fool. But no more. This land is flat for you as well as it is for me.

Thank god I have nice neighbours otherwise I have to let go of my neighbours as well. On the right is En Saiful and on my left is mr Lim. We have been good all this while so no issues. But both of them have moved since so could it me that is an ass?? Hmmmm inquiring mind wants to know. I hope not.

Bad colleagues also give you bad environment; thus, unnecessary stress. We all have this so do I. Sometime it is difficult to let go of them but believe me you must, slowly and surely.

Students are hard to let go for sure. I love my students very much no matter how bad they smell.the restless eyes, confused faces, and sticky hands with limply handshakes make your heart flutters for no reason. But one principle I must abide —- you can see but you cannot touch. It’s like a glass wall has been built between us. But no matter what they will be gone by semester end and you will be forgotten like yesterday’s news. So I must learn to let go of them and not get too attached. So heartbreaking isn’t it? But that’s how it works so get over it. One thing I learned about students is that they live in their own complex life. With own language, characters and social structure. They have their family at the center, girlfriends in the next layer, buddies will line up around next layer, other friends coming in next, and the rest is lump together in the final layer. If you are lucky enough , you might be in the last layer. But most of the time your importance is at the same level as the bangla at the petronas gas station—- talked to only needed and once the change is given get the hell out asap. So forgettable. Every time I see my beloved students, this framework will be fetched from the back of my mind so I wont be heartbroken again. Just let them go, they will be fine…..don’t worry….go and write some stupid articles or something.

My Ramadhan : Day 26

A restaurant selling delicious lamb dishes in Marrakesh Medina,Morocco

Friday 31st of May

The morning gave a sense of stillness with the sky rumbled like something is unsettled. I like this calm morning; it gives you the okay sign to get up and have your day the way you like it. I propped up my potty plants and gave them some new and fresh soil that was delivered last night. They will be up and reaching for the sun in no time. I like that to happen and see the new leaves and buds grow into a handsome tree. Keanu was screaming at the background and it seemed alive and well. Although still small, the stray kitty has shown a good recovery. Keanu gonna be okay; such a strong little kitty.

Maybe if you are interested to know the little things about myself can follow the images below;otherwise, don’t bother because there is nothing interesting anyway. Some boring stuff that l have done for the last few decades. A question most probably popped up — for what? After all those years that you have done all those things for what ? Really! Yep what a waste of time. Do I feel accomplished for some reasons ? Not really but I do feel unfinished …. like I have not done the shit that I have to do…. and I don’t know what that is…all this while no one could tell me what I need to do to feel complete of myself although some can tell me what not to do. Nope it aint this one try another one. And I do have a little bit of extra time and energy left in me to pursue another try. I will keep looking……

 

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My Ramadhan: Day 23

Tuesday 28 may 2019

A magnificent mosque in Casablanca

The sun was heating up the room pretty fast and I have an appointment with the doctor this morning. What a miserable day. My hunger was creeping up very fast as I had to skip sahur for the stupid blood test this morning. Lets see if my body could handle it. So far I could feel the hunger but nothing that I could not manage. So no issue. The clinic was pretty standard and the lady doctor and her assistants were very nice. Very professional I guess for a small clinic like that. Clean toilet and pleasant hospitality. Ironically, for the first time I realised that the yes column in the insurance form has more ticks than the no column. The lady doctor has written a pretty long description to detail out the yes part. Now I am not sure it is a good idea or not to take up the insurance for our house loan. No one would agree to put down an insurance policy without a very high premium. I felt old and unwanted. Like a yesterday product that has expired.whatever!

But it was a good trip to the clinic. The lady doctor was nice and pretty for her age. I did not ask but she must be around my age or a bit older. Her movements were quick and precise. In about half an hour she has examined all parts of my body as required. I need to take your BP three times okay so bear with me, she said politely. And she did, three times. Although I was not sure It had given any different reading.

And see who else had gone to the clinic—- my stray kitty Keanu. Grow healthy okay Keanu hang in there.

I have given up cats for some time now due to smelly poo and constant care that I could not spare. But my love to this animal is always there just like my late mother as I remember it. Then one cold night a kitty screaming came through the back door. I looked but did not see it anywhere but the scream continued. I just ignored. The next day the scream was still there but has weakened with every breath. I went out and there it was; trapped in a little hole all alone. I named it Keanu.

My Ramadhan: Day 21

Sunday

 

Bazaar in Marrakesh, Morocco

A quiet day in Shah Alam. Everyone has started to leave the city and heading to their hometowns. This year we are not going anywhere; will remain in Shah Alam and being very very sad. Hopefully not. The thing is that I can no longer bear the long drive home and madly traffics. Will see how it goes this year maybe we can find something interesting to do for the Eid celebration. But the more pressing thing was that I woke up feeling empty and a strange dash of hopelessness. What am I gonna do with the rest of my life? The question that I thought had the answer from all perspectives at this point of my age. Apparently, I have not seen any clue to my predicament. I will retire soon and what would I be when I woke up in the morning. All the plans seem far reaching. I don’t want to be stuck at home waiting for the time to die. Although the subject of dying is becoming more real each passing day now. I could have had at least 10 good years ahead of me and wanted to do something worthwhile. Ustaz always preach to give up all the worldly activities and prepare yourself for the afterlife. I have been to the surau and at every single ceramah the same tune with different melody has been reiterated again and again. If death is a passing train, it will be here inevitably, and my soul will be on it eventually. I guess it is taken care of no matter what. What I am saying is that while waiting for the train to arrive, I want to do something for my own self, I guess.

 

One thing for sure is that my career with UiTM is finished, done. For almost thirty years in academia, I am ready to quit. I have seen myself grown into a grumpy and incompetent old man. The technology has gone leaps and bounds and I am like left too far behind struggling to catch up. Amid all these thoughts, I wonder where had gone wrong. I remember as being a fighter when it comes to fight a challenge. Now the heat is gone and what left is the cold feeling of defeat and unaccomplished. I have learned a lot, of course, during my time with the university. I have met so many awesome people, taught youngsters with different attitudes, and served under many bosses and masters. They taught me about life in return.  That if you blink out of focus for a sec, life can throw shit at you. You must grab it and be in control and drive yourself to your destination. Most people remember the good things in life, but I, however, remember all the bad things that had happened to me. Am I a bad person? I don’t care. I would pray so the people responsible for my sadness and heartbreaks, would live miserably or die in vain and rot in hell. I just could not let go of my painful past and fall into deep sadness whenever the memory flashed by. Unfortunately, those memories came by very often lately.

 

So for me Sunday is very special as I will spend time in my little garden. To see my little plants alive and well; survived the harsh weather helplessly in the field gives me an immense pleasure. For some people this is irrelevant and confirms the uselessness of one’s life. It’s okay because my heart fluttered, and I went home feeling so complete and joyful. Strange isn’t it?

 

Chillies

Ginger

Ginger plot….. barely survives the heat and heavy rain

Papaya tree……looks unpromising but it will get there tough little fella

I guess I am seeing life through a different telescope now. The one that can filter out the heavy stuff like politics or global sufferings. I can see only the little things now that will make me smile and happy.

My Ramadhan :Day 18

Thursday

We have passed the halfway mark and from this point on it will be a downhill ride…. fast and forgettable (the hunger that is)

I walked into an almost empty classroom this morning. Only a few made it to the class. Maybe they were still sleeping or just woke up but the ride to the class was not worth the trip. I went on as usual making a conclusion to the lessons that we have had for the last 13 weeks.

The subject is C++ programming ; not so appealing to rush through the morning traffic. The students are going to start a long Hari Raya break starting tomorrow; so some of them may have gone back to avoid crowded buses or trains. Shah Alam will be a ghost town when the students leave. The madly traffics with raging motorcycles and naughty Kancils will disappear from the streets. Things will be quiet for a while so the locals can breathe a relief and enjoy the peace and tranquility.but students population brings in a lot of business to Shah Alam. Especially food and housing. I dont own any business but will benefit from the thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere that came with it. Choices of food outlets are tremendous in shah alam so do clothing’s and accessories. So we do not complain much.

At the end of the class I just could not let them go witthout giving some kind of rewards for the effort that these few students have put forward. So I posted a “bonus” quiz that required them to write an essay on “ Five people that you wish to meet this Raya and Why?”. Just some points they can use to pad up their test marks, and some really need a good pad up.

Here are some of the answers they have given me. Please excuse the grammatical mistakes as I have yet to correct them. The essays will be graded mainly on how they explain the reason why.

Interesting, isn’t it?

My Ramadhan : Day 14

Casablanca, Morocco

Sunday

I woke up feeling numb, early in the morning for sahur (pre dawn meal). For the first rime I had rice. Whatever! Killing off all the thoughts battling in the mind. During the fajr prayers my mind went wild with the memories of my late father in law. We will go through this Ramadhan without him and felt for the first time his absent in our life. His family and relatives did not really keen of him and I am here among those who hate him. I was not sure I wanted to be here .

Pa with brother Muhammad.

The memories of him are too much and the loss is still painful. I have lost the reason to be in this place. I would go back to the empty patio without the sound of a broken desk fan. No more yesterday’s newspapers that he regularly went out to buy each morning. Nothing’s around just a dusty desk and filthy cushions that the cats used to sleep. No more —- “ Din sapa bila? (When did you arrive?); nothing, the air was thick and quiet. I crossed my arms and squeezed my chest and felt like it gonna explode and burst with melancholy.

The sun rose as quickly as it sent the night away; so I felt as the sunshine started to heat up the room. I got up and realised that my Pa is really not here. What a sad feeling.

My Ramadhan : Day 13

Saturday

My body can cope better now with the fasting. Occasionally, the hunger came and went. No longer I felt nervous or anxious due to lack of food. I could easily see the end of this fasting without any problem. InsyaAllah.

Travelled to my hometown today for a quick getaway. The city roads were busy but once we hit the highway it was a smashing drive through beautiful rain forest. The beautiful blue sky just a perfect background for the hills and mountains. Once in a while when you drive away from the city ; you would appreciate the beauty of lush green hills and valleys that create such an amazing serenity when you look at it. I just took it for granted and never before think for a moment that my place reflects such a great beauty.

The drive was long, the road surface was bad most of the places plus terrible driving manners from my road companions gave such a stressful time on the road. I tried most of the time to exclude all those bad factors while driving but you know when your life is at the stake too you must get involved and go with the flow. Sometimes you raced uphills, which is illegal at most spots, just to avoid the big trucks or that expired old pick up that could not get itself on top of the hill anytime soon today.with a narrow road that was a big challenge.

By the time we reached town, the folks were busy shopping for iftar and the traffics became madly hectic and erratic. I had a long drive and now have to continuously stop and go to let people find the kueh they were looking for breaking the fast. At times I was fascinated by the many booths by the roadside selling all sort of sweets and dishes and the frenzied buyers trying to get their order first. That’s the Ramadhan i remember the most from my memories in this remote place that is so special to me.

I pressed on for my breaking of fast appointment with my old friends in Pasir Mas. I arrived just on time and met the familiar faces of my old classmates. Not many was there just enough to reminisce the past time of our childhood. And that was about 40 years ago. Many have caught up with a hardlife as painted on their faces and stuttered smiles. The handshakes were firm and hard as if not to let go of our beautiful pasts.

Our parents were mainly peasants who raised us with little hope they had. Not much I think our parents expected from us, just stay alive and stay out of troubles. I sat down amazed by the many dishes laid out on the table that triggered my appetites from the past.

Speechless, I raced through the many Ramadhan I had around this place; it was wonderful time with family and friends. The memories that I rarely indulged myself into so as to isolate them away and build a new memory with my children in Shah Alam. But tonight I would let the oldies roam the night and take me back to the good old days. Maybe it would do some good to me, so I hope.

We entertained orphans as well tonight as part of the social responsibilities to the community. They all looked happy and in high spirits. We talked, we ate, we laughed and we ate some more. The night was awesome and I have not had so much fun for a long time. Friends can fix you in so many ways. I felt rejuvenated and alive again as we walked down the memory lanes.

Thank you friends!