For the past several years, whenever we didn’t “Balik Kampung” (Going back to the hometown in Kota Bharu which is over 450km away!) for Raya, we would end up going to Muar or Segamat, instead. Muar is where my step-mum lives. There’s also the old (much renovated) Granpa’s house inhabited by my cousin. Segamat is where a favourite cousin (whose kids are of my generation) lives with her family, with some of the kids living nearby.
So, yesterday, after the Eid Prayers, we left home, heading towards Muar (south of Kuala Lumpur, a good 2 to 2.5 hrs drive).
We arrived at the stepmum’s house just in time for lunch . Both stepmum and I maintain a cordial relationship (after some “turbulance” in the late 1970s). We have forgiven (I know I have, though I will never forget) each other of the past.She now lives in her late parents’ house, with her daughter (from her marriage prior to marrying my dad). Her brother, Zul was home too. Zul is a few years my senior. I remember during the 1970s when I used to spend my holidays with my stepmum’s parents, I didn’t get too much time chatting with Zul (who was then already working in KL). The few times we chatted, I noticed that he was witty and funny. There was a time when his elder brother (we called him Oted) got married, my cousin and I was doing the dishes with Zul, and Zul cracked a few jokes that really cheered us up .
My stepmum looked frail yesterday. I hope I cheered her up a bit by visiting her. I am sorry to say that there was no real love developed between me and her, otherwise I would not hesitate to have her live with me. I know she was quite nice to me when she first became my stepmum, but there were some not so nice events later (especially just before and after the demise of my dad that leave some real scars in me).
Here’s my stepmum feeding my kids:
Here is stepmum talking to me (no, we were not arguing! We’ve passed that):
Anyway, back to the visit yesterday… We were also served with homemade roselle cordial. There’s a roselle bush just outside the kitchen. Stepmum has always been good in cooking, and now she’s making her own rosselle cordial. The cordial tastes very close to Ribena!
After bidding goodbye, we headed towards my cousin’s house in Serom. On our way, we passed by the cemetery when my late dad’s grave is. I have NEVER been to his grave! As posted on my Facebook, I sometimes wonder if it is really necessary to visit the graves to show our love and give our prayers to our loved ones? Initially I didn’t go to the grave because I was told that females are not recommended to do so. Later on in my live, I didn’t go because I do not see any need for it. I still love my late dad, remember him and pray for him. The only thing I do not do is visit his grave. Mum was burried in Mecca (she died while waiting to perform her haj there), and I never see her grave either, but memories of her are always fresh in me.
I got side-tracked again! Now back to yesterday’s visit. When we arrived at the old house, it was quiet :
Initially we wanted to head to Segamat soon after that. However, a few phonecalls confirmed that my Segamat cousin and clan were coming back here too, so we decided we stay put and wait for them instead.
While waiting for them, my kids had the opportunity to rummage through some of my old stuff which are well kept by my cousin. And they found this pic of me:
Interlude: Hahaha! That was me, in long plaits of hair, barely 14 years old! I popped my head out of the train window, and someone snapped the pic. I was on my way back to Muar for a school holiday.
Back to yesterday, while we were there, the village Marhaban group came visiting. It was my kids’ first time, seeing the Marhaban do.As for me, it was my first time in 30 years! Yeah, the last time I came across one was in 1979 when I celebrated Eid in the same house, as a student! Here’s a pic of some of the Marhaban ppl(kids):
Somebody likens it to Christmaas Carols. Well, there are some similarities in the modus operandi, I guess… This group yesterday managed to visit 30 houses for this Marhaban session! They started soon after the morning Raya prayers, and had a break for a while during the afternoon prayer. When they visited my cousin, it was the 24th (or was it 26th) house! By then, they didn’t have space in their tummies for food, I am sure, hahaha!!
At one point of yesterday, I noticed the bikes in front of the house (my cousin takes care of some of the neighbours’ kids during schooldays. These are their bikes that they use to commute to school, and are left here during holidays). Nuni and I decided to cycle them, just for the fun of it, and to make sure that we can still cycle! My other kids got excited too, and eventually took over the bikes. Nuni managed to “catch” Aina and Nafis here:
At about 5.30pm, my cousin and her clan arrived – in 5 cars!
Pic taken when they were about to leave.
I was the one who insisted for a group photo, and with such crowd, it was not easy to get everyone to stay put at one place (no, we never got everyone in the pic). Here are some of them:
My Segamat cousin is the one sitting 2nd from left (her hubby on her right, and her SIL on her right). My cousin, the host, is seated on the same row, 4th from left.My introvert DH and kids were no where to be seen either. Nuni was one of the photographers.
I like this one because suddenly aina appeared from the window:
Some of the othe shots taken by Nuni:
The playful me just couldn’t resist this:
All pix are provided by Nuni. For more pix, please click here.
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