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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking After Dear Little Sister

     I still remember during my childhood days, when my parents wanted to go to school (to teach, not to learn), they would bring me and my little sister to granny's house so that she could look after us while they were away.  On the way to granny's house, dad walked fast holding sis in his strong arms as well as holding a basketful of napkins and other things. I had to also walk fast and sometimes almost ran so that I could catch up with him.

     Several of my cousins stayed together with their family at granny's house, two of them being twins named Kaka and Nana (the children of Pak Usu Ali and Mak Usu Ruminah).  With these two little boys, I played all afternoon. Sometimes an old woman (Wak Ngadinah her name; if I am not mistaken) came selling some 'kuih' (traditional malay cakes).  She had no basket to load her 'kuih' into, instead she bundled them in a piece of batik sarung which she hung one end around her neck and the other loosely by her side.  Usually, granny would call her and she would sit on the top most part of granny's wooden steps and open her bundle.  We would see assorted 'kuihs' like, curry puffs, fried bananas, 'kuih bom' (made of banana mixed with flour), 'kasturi' and many which have escaped my memory.  Granny Jameela would buy some, and we would get some to satisfy our crave.  They were delicious, sweet, still warm and fragrant.

     At other times, Granny Jameela would peel some pomelos (see picture above) which she plucked from a tree just beside the house and give us.  They were sweet, but a little bitter.

     At that time, Granny Jameela's house was surrounded by her children's houses, Wak Aim's, Mak Itam's, Mak Ngah's, Bang Long Katup's and a little bit further, Wak Ong's.   In the evening, Pak Usu Ali would come back from school, riding a scooter known as Lambretta.  He would stop after he passed a small bridge which linked his house to the road. Tthen, he would wobble slowly home while some of his nephews and nieces cling onto his motorcycle merrily and noisily.  His motorcycle was a bit weird, I reckon, because its headlight was not built on the handle so as to enable it to shine right if the rider swerved towards that direction.  Instead, it was built in on the front part of the body (see picture), so it still shone straight although the rider turned right or left, just like a car's.

Then, Wak Aim dismantled his house and rebuilt it on another piece of land not far from there (presently the place where his youngest daughter, Rafeah's house is now standing).  A few years after that, granny's house was taken down and rebuilt next to dad's house.  Then Mak Itam followed suit, leaving Mak Ngah, Bang Long Katup alone, apart from Wak Ong who lived a little bit further.  After Bang Long joined the felda scheme in Kota Tinggi, Mak Ngah went to stay with Bang Nal in Kuala Lumpur and her house was sold to Wak Lajim.  The place became barren of any houses and deserted.

     A few years back, Zamzam built a house at more or less the old area and stayed there, then Bang Hamid built his at the end of last year.  Now there are two houses at that place, and it looks cheerful again.

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