Monday, 5 January 2009

Empty nest again

Monday, 5th January 2009

Yes they have flown the coup. Rastam was the first to leave on Sunday.

MSN chat . . .
Mummy: Good flight? Done your crying yet?
Rastam: notchet... still numb, wait i go pang sai . . .
Mummy: ah yo numb ah, poor baby! I had nightmare last night. I dreamt Faculty of Med UM wuz hit by landslide and I saved Jo!
It finally dawns on you that your buddy is no longer around to accompany you on mutually fave jaunts like 'blind' foot reflexology, the kaya toast coffee shop or Kinokunya bookshop.

On the positive side, you savour the new experiences shared like the visit to the National Archives and National Library to research on Syed Sheikh Alhady, my great grandfather. Rastam dug out Faridah Hanum, his great great grandfather's novel written in the 1920's, from our bookshelves and finally decided to review it.

I have been coaxing him, for sometime now, to translate the novel into English and eventually publish it. The stanzas of poetry he read out aloud to me was sensuous bordering on erotic, almost D H Lawrence in old Malay. Much to Mummy's approval he has taken the relevant material back with him to Tokyo to peruse. We will see how this project develops.

While in Tokyo, Rastam had begun organising a school class reunion in KL on Facebook but was frustrated with the lukewarm response. Apparently a couple of weddings were scheduled at that time. In the end, a small group met up for the first time after Form 5.
Raena, succeeded in getting her student visa rectified. In September 08, for RM700, she was issued a visa until 21 January 2009 when her course ends in November 09. Numerous calls and emails to the British Visa department in KL and Edinburgh categorically refuted any error and advised that she reapply. Renewal in the UK would have meant a hefty 700 Pounds Sterling. I had been fretting over this for months, but 'Ms Joe Cool' was unfazed. A visit to the Visa Office at Wisma MCA and a couple of internal phone calls later, she was told to collect her passport on 31st December. Whew!

They packed the two weeks solid with prioritised activities:- getting hair done (relaxing, hair cut, steaming), fitting in all the favourite foods for lunch or dinner, Thai massage and meeting up with friends.

Raena caught up on sleep as she had just had term papers and post-exam celebrations lasting 14 hours at a stretch (the celebrations, I mean!). Shopping-wise Raena and I had a ball catching all the sales. She even found the heels that she missed out on at Zara Edinburgh. Rastam did some price comparisons and found that he could find cheaper shirts and trousers, more to his liking, in Tokyo. Imagine that.

Our beach holiday, on Rastam's request for three days of luxury after toiling for two long years in Tokyo, was blissful. Chilling out on deck chairs in Emerald bay, sipping fresh coconut, chatting and snoozing was the perfect way to spend time together as a family.

When they are back home, be they kids or young adults, we still turn cartwheels to get them from A to B, feed them Peking duck, run up and down to the tailor etc and even look for durian when it's not in season. When they are away you pray that they are safe. You imagine the horror stories you read in the newspapers of burning discos and muggings and hope that they keep their wits about them.

My favourite crime thriller, Rebus by Ian Rankin, happens to have the Detective Inspector tracking down murderers in Edinburgh, which only conjures up more fears about the safety of my baby girl. The really dodgy areas are places like Sight Hill and Leith docks, she says, and reassures me that such areas are not frequented by Edinburgh Uni students.

The movie, Taken, starring Liam Neeson is about the kidnapping of his teenage daughter in Paris by the Albanian mafia for white slavery, sets off more alarm bells. Parents be warned that an innocent pick up line can spell disaster!

Saturday, 10th January 2009

Raena flew off at midnight on Friday.

My Thursday nightmare was on continuous replay mode, of the seedy side of old Edinburgh, much like Oliver Twist cinematography. So much for bringing up the exploits of DI Rebus.

These episodes of bonding, albeit brief, set the mold for things to come. Both parent and child touch base with the subtle changes and nuances of being. Increasingly, the adult offspring reflects traits of parents and grandparents in some modified way. What goes around comes around. The sibling rivalry is less overt and replaced by caring, tolerance and sacrifice. The family hallmark is stamped in indelible ink.

Look beyond the emptiness
Feel the goodwill & bond
from a distance
Exuding warmth and love
It's almost surreal

When they are both finally away, the house takes on a different light, literally.

The electricity bill comes down, the all night Internet activity is over and the sickly smell of nail polish remover no longer gives me a headache. We go back to our tuna salad, chicken wraps and cabbage soup. Fazil and his blog and golf, me and my blog, long walks and new found love of Pilates.

I could join the patchwork circle but that is not for me.

We could move house but we already have done that.

I was chided by a friend recently, "You are old enough to be a granny, you shouldn't dress like that". Well I'm not a grandmother yet and believe it or not it feels like only yesterday I was raving to Santana and Led Zepplin. I dare say I'm having more fun now then when I was 27, 37 or 47. Live and love life and stop fussing about trivia, I say.


October said...

Dress like what? I really like your funky style, Auntie. :)

Reading this entry made me think about the "old days" when us six "kiddies" were still making mischief. But everyone is leading such different lives right now.

This post also made me think about how much I miss my parents all the time. Even if they don't know it.


fidel said...

Ya lor I wont let go of funky!

We do know and love you all for it.

Uncle was remarking the other day...of the 6 only Ef remained in KL!