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!

My Ramadhan : Day 12

A sunset over Shah Alam

Friday Day 12

The morning was quiet. I went into a half full classroom and felt sick in my stomach. Do I have to deal with this again this morning? I gritted my teeth, made some stupid jokes and continue the lesson. And as expected no one really paid attention. I stood there like a stupid ass and fed everyone with misery.

What a day!

But later that day my relative dropped by. My day ended beautifully. Alhamdulillah

My Ramadhan : Day 11

Al Hambra : the glory of the past

Thursday Day 11

The day we remember our teachers and what they mean to us. Everyone of us started to see the world through our teachers. In the early days of my childhood I had teachers from school. Most of them were very strict and “bekeng” to most of us. In the 70s we had mostly Chinese and Indian teachers. The chinese headmaster was very bad and totally unapproachable. That was from my perspective as a student. Are you supposed to fear you teachers? How does the exchange of knowledge will happen if you feared your teachers so much? Not much really. We had a few Malay teachers and they were no help either. I remember trying very hard to complete a peribahasa homework. I just could not sleep and cried in bed until mom came. She did not know peribahasa also so she asked me to get help from my brother. He helped a little and my stress level started to disappear. I am not sure I learnt anything from school; it just a place you spent until father came home from work.

Born and raised here…..not much has changed since I left

After school I went to a religious lesson at the mosque. The ustaz was really nice and he asked me to join the class as I was looking through the windows. I had no money to pay for the lesson(but later found out that it was free) or books to go with the lessons.the ustaz said it was okay just sit there and listen. And thats what I did. I owe a lot to that ustaz and pray for his good life where ever he might be.

Happy Teachers Day !Ustaz….