I seem to remember Ramadhan better than Hari Raya. Here is one of my recollection of my very first experience fasting. But then, this is my post for Raya. Perhaps, my fancy would take flight and I would remember the best moments of Raya as I go along.
When I was a little girl, about nine years of age, we took a family photograph for our first Hari Raya card. My mother just gave me the photo to scan a few weeks ago. I was shocked, I was in a very short dress and my brother was in shorts. Mak was in baju kurung but Encik (my Dad) was in his bush jacket!
And yet, as I reflect on my earliest Hari Raya, I remember it was of course the occasion to go home to Chenor. A quaint kampung if there was any. Sungai Pahang beckons and there were rambutan trees everywhere. We played badminton in the evenings. And ran in the kebun getah. Dad had hunting trips! Grandfather Tok Salehuddin enjoyed his dinner with the table filled up - a hugh lazy susan table that could fit 10 people. The whiff of ikan goreng and daging pacak from the cupboard that stood in water containers and and had gauzy wired cabinet doors - ooshmuryummy! We had fruits of every kind - apart from rambutan, all from the garden and coconut - kelapa gading!
The night before raya we couldn't sleep, the excitement was certainly the highlight of the year. Whether it was Tok Salehuddin's grand lavish cengal mansion or Tok Jaafar's small and filled to the brim kampung house ten minutes away, both were in full Raya spirit of baking, cooking and sleeping all over the house with midnight rendezvous of chatting with the cousins.
At night we had grand main mercun affairs. Houses against houses, the skies truly ablaze with the display. 30 das, 60 das and mercun putar. Bunga api and mercun roket.
Lemang and rendang were home cooked in the garden, and I know the older teenagers were all a-courting while they fill the bamboo with glutinous rice and stir the dodol and wajik. The air was pregnant with riang ria atmosphere and the whiff of goodies were oh so sedap, almost Arabian Night like in its spicy entrapment.
Duit Raya? Well it was nice. Encik had all this stack of 50sen coins wrapped in paper and he would give two pieces away to everyone. I didn't remember how much I got but I remember my great grandmother giving me a ruby ring which was lost the very same night!
Later on, I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa in Chenor, so Hari Raya would begin with picking up my aunties and uncles from the train station as they return from MCKK, SDAR, STF and the likes ... a little bit like the train from Hogswatz. Only, theirs were better as the coaches had sleeping berth. Oh, how I longed to go to such schools and how disappointed I was that I went to Seri Puteri in the beginning because I couldn't take the train.
Now I celebrate Raya in Kelantan most years. It still has that old kampung charm and yet I do miss my family, cousins and childhood friends. Sham, Ros and Saharbanun, this is for you.
Remember those Raya cards with lovely pictures of old malay houses and the coconut trees?
Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin.
Keep safe and drive safe.
If I could turn back the clock
Il y a 11 mois