My 10 Greatest Joys

Just like Mat Bangkai, I couldn’t, for the live of me find anything to write on. The Hassan’s story remain status quo in a draft form. Not an iota of strength to polish it up to be a piece decent enough to be published. Despite the guilt, despite the urge, despite the inspirition that comes knocking once in a while: I just simply could not write anything. The lawyering department decides to be busy lately for reasons only known to God and I am still struggling to finish Bridge of Sigh by Richard Russo. The library in the new house is no where near complete yet and that breaks my heart.

Give me a moment, it will come back in good time. Meanwhile, I ll give the My 10 Greatest Joys’ tag a try before you forget my existence in blogsphere.

1. Luqman

This one goes without saying isn’t it? I still have to pinch myself sometimes to realise that he is, in fact, my son. And I tell him I love him every single day. Psssst, between you and me, I hope Luqman marries Kak Ton’s granddaughter so that I could persuade them to live with us forever. Oh fine! judge me all you want.

2. Books

Books have been my most silent companion. My most trusted aide in knowledge. A friend of mine once said, “you are addicted to printed words. ” I haven’t heard from her in a long time.

3. Writing Desk

In my furniture-hunting days with Jefree, I found an antique writing desk – which should cost me a fortune but it doesn’t! – at one pathetic furniture shop. The wood still has its original structure and imperfection, it is a tad rickety but its just perfect in my eyes. The desks will be delivered to me in two weeks time and it will sit in the library at home, forever.

4. Mee Rebus Tuesday

I love the day, I love the people, I love the hosts to bits. If I may name them a few, Zorro, Rocky, Stephen, Captain, Husna, Raden Darling, Kak Ena, Wahti, Michelle, BD, Mat Salo and of course Kak Ton & Abang Ruslani.

5. Rain

There is something about the rain that gives me an immense sense of comfort.

6. Pangkor Laut Resort

I want to hide here forever. Preferably with Jefree but if he can’t make it, I ll be just fine alone.

7. Dinner at Shangrila Rasa Sayang, Penang @ Tamarind Spring, Ampang Hill.

The former serves sharks fin soup in their buffet line! And the latter is just the place when I am reminded again why in the first place I found Jefree in my life.

8. Early Learning Centre.

Okay, they are a tad expensive for toys but the toys they have rock! I swear to God. Go and have a look.

9. Technology

I am just simply attracted to technology. I think whoever invented Blackberry is just a genius.

10. Coffee

Coffee anywhere with good old friends…

Thousand Apologies

I am so sorry for the delay in posting up Hassan’s story. Yours truly just uprooted her entire family to a new house but still will be writing Sleepless in Setiawangsa notwithstanding the location. Luqman’s temperature shot up to 40 degree celcius over the weekend and I haven’t slept for the longest of time. Will be back once everything is sorted and normalcy returns in my life. Thank you.

Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 14

Tajul, Iesta, Rits, Leeya, Shahriman and I once roofed together – in the early nineties – at MRSM Kuala Terengganu. We were kids back then; we are still kids these days to a certain extent. We played pranks on each other, sang silly songs on top of our lungs, ate the same tasteless food at the dining hall and stood fidgeting during the assembly at Ibnu Sina Hall. Our only worry back then was the SPM which was looming near. Other than that, everything was nothing but a bliss.

Life interfered and we grew up. But last night Leeya made an exceptional effort (yet again!) to gather us all despite the impossibly busy schedules everyone has. Leeya – with the mildest disposition and perhaps the most soft spoken among us all – cooked up a storm at her kitchen to feed the rest of us together with our spouses and children. We gathered at Leeya’s house in the affluent neighborhood of Bandar Utama shortly after 8 pm.

Rits arrived first with her two boys and husband. If I could say something about Harita, fondly known as “Rits” among friends, it would be that she has a sense of wisdom which rivals that of Dalai Lama. She is philosophical, fair, sensible and of course, fearless. She speaks her mind without fear or favour; I am sure her husband Razman would be nodding with his approval right now. Rits places me right where I belong every time I pick up the phone to whine about silly things to her. Most of all, she keeps lecturing me to stop wasting hard-earned money on shallow stuffs like designer handbags, shoes or the technology. Between you and me, she gets on my nerve from time to time!

Iesta – the silently appointed Tok Penghulu without his consent – is probably the smartest than any of us put together. An A- List student who was a teachers’ pet all along. He can sing too – which explains why he left the financial world to join Media Prima in pursuit of his passion. Iesta has uncanny ability to lead and control big crowd even though I will never say the same to his face. Being a true Taurean by birth, Iesta can get emotional at times. But he has a gorgeous wife, Sue, who rolls her eyes behind his back every time Iesta gets into his element.

Ainul Shahriman blushes on everything he sights on. He is translucently fair for a man. Sorry my friend – but everyone agrees what? A mathematical wizard, Shahriman coached me add math in school. I am quite sure I would gloriously fail the subject without his help. Shahriman works at the illustrious Scomi Group Berhad. His spouse, Majmin, today left for Singapore for some serious shopping.

And Tajul Farhan, I am not quite sure how to begin describing Tajul. He was and still is a bear to our eyes. He is extremely huggable. His resonant laugh echoes our gatherings. He played rugby before; which is rightly so since his presence intimidates even the fiercest of the opponent. Tajul is a jovial and comical person since he was a boy – a trait of which he carries on until today.

But fate is a dangerous thing. Tajul was recently diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia. When I heard the news I burst out crying for a good fifteen minutes before I managed to calm myself down and called him. Soon thereafter, phone calls started flying among old friends. Everybody called Iesta to find out more about Tajul as I was told.

Last night was the first time I met Tajul since the disease dawned on him. But Tajul never moans let alone feels sorry for himself. Tajul had us in stitches as he walked us along his journey to fight the cancer. He made chemotherapy sounds like a trip to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor. He painted his experience going through the MRI machine like watching a stand-up comic show. He made a complete fool out of his doctors and nurses. I repeatedly asked him “saket tak Jol?” to which he dismissed my inane questioning with a mere “taakkk lahhh…” The only indication that he suffers from cancer is his clean-shaven head. Other than that, Tajul exudes health and happiness.

He ate his food with gusto and he devoured his bowl of delicious banana royal pudding within minutes. We laughed like intoxicated cows right there at Leeya’s living room. But today Tajul is at SJMC undergoing his 5th chemotherapy treatment. As Jefree subtly reminded me on our way home, “kat luar jer dia macam tuh, dalam dia kita tak tahu”. My heart shattered into a milion pieces for Tajul.

I end this post with a prayer to God to heal Tajul forever from the grip of cancer. I hope you, my readers and friends, would do the same too. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, “We love you Bear-Bear.”

We are just a phone call away – as always.

[Picture above is of Tajul at a football field stolen from our MRSM friend, Cik Jee, without her permission].

Fuel Price Hike!

I don’t think the title of this posting does juctice to the new fuel price. “Hike” is an understatement when petrol is priced at RM2.70 per liter effective from tomorrow! I am seriously thinking of setting up a home office so that I don’t have to go anywhere!

Diesel-fueled vehicles will get RM1 increase per litre. I am so sorry Jefree. Rocky has the report.

I am lost for words. Truly.

Prologue

I have a story to tell – logic of which defies my thinking at times – or rather an education to share with you, my friends and readers. The narrative revolves around a boy who has now entered manhood. The reason as to why I choose his story to tell is beyond me but I have a hunch; and it is the same hunch that moves the pencil on the moleskin as we speak. On that score, I hope this story I am about to tell will benefit us, the lowly mortals, and more importantly I pray for it to serve as a light of guidance to the younger generation.

His isn’t an overrated rags to riches’ story we hear every so often; his is a story with a cruel twist of fates and unfriendly waves of circumstances; a combination of which shapes the man he is right now. He is still alone via myriad of definitions, but he has found his peace of mind. His isn’t an ordinary love story that triumphs beyond evils. Rather, the evil of his wrecked marriage still haunts the loneliest of his nights. But he has a constant source of strength from his mother and true friends who really care about him. Above all, he can now love again. Hope beacons every time he sights the first ray of morning sun kissing the lush green grass of his garden.

One Sunday morning – when the sky was slightly over casted – he inhaled the last puff of his Dunhill Lights at the foot of his sofa, drained his cup of mild starbucks’ brew for breakfast to the last drop and he began reliving his life to me. Hassan is a close friend to Jefree – the father of my young son. Throughout my courting time with the latter, I took a strange, inexplicable fondness towards Hassan. The fact that we are both Kelantanese helps foster the friendship at an alarming speed. I have also found out that Hassan is a very sincere person. His eyes sparkle with hope and his voice vibrates with ambition instead of bitterness. And we got along like a house on fire. Over the years he confides in me his darkest secrets. On one lonely Wednesday afternoon, he told me he wishes to share his life journey with us. It is his fervent hope that the good deed he intends to sow on the soil of this blog will help us the young parents of the Millennium in raising our children and for our boys to grow up to be as courageous as our dear Hassan.

The fact that he picked me to tell the story on his behalf, will always be a great honour for as long as I remain his loyal, truthful friend. Characters and names in this story have been altered to protect the privacy of the parties involved. While this same story is inspired from true events, some of the details have been changed also to respect the privacy of the same group of individuals.

I hope to put the final nail to the coffin of Hassan’s story within 12 weekly postings. However, please be so kind as to grace yours truly with your flexibility of more postings in the event that I have something to add. If you could emulate good lesson from this story, I am forever indebted to you and Hassan; in the event that you find discrepancies in the storyline, my apology supersedes my obvious lacking both in talent and narrative skills. With that, the story of Hassan begins…