Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE.

We just got back from India after spending more than a week there, in Belgaum, Karnataka to be exact. And it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for Adik...and a pleasant surprise for me.


I went  expecting the worse...Truth is, I have been to these parts of the world before and eerr...its not quite  my kind of things I would say. I was in fact, quite reluctant to go ...and, Adik, naturally sided with me. ( hehe...I am always a big influence to my kids, good or bad). Abah had to resort to some persuasive methods to make us agreed to go .
And then, Adik said, if we were going, she wanted the Indian train experience....and I dreaded it more!!  I read and read and read on Indian train over the net...And since I have had a preconceived idea about it, my mind played tricks on me and I saw only bad things!!!


So....
We touched down at Bengaluru airport and Adik was excited to find a man holding a board saying, ''Welcome Dr S and family....'' haha!! The airport was as good as ours and when we stepped out, the temperature was a nice 23C.I was like, 'oookay... this is nice'. Then, we hopped on the waiting car and listened to Abah chatting amicably with Mr Tajee. We wondered at how Abah could possibly understood him...Yes, he was speaking English , but we could only decipher less than 30 percent of what he was saying!!


A few minutes into the journey, as we were nearing the Bangalore town proper, we, or rather, I, had the scare of my life!! Needless to say, the rest of the journey was spent with closed eyes and constant prayer!! Driving on Indian roads are certainly not for the frail-hearted!! And oh, sounding horn IS a way of life here and a horn sound  could mean lots of things here...
you are a rude driver if you dont honk.....


We were taken to dinner at a hotel en route to the guesthouse, which turned out to be a newly and tastefully decorated serviced apartment and we were the first  to use it...As for the dinner, it  was awesome.
post-meal,they always give a bowl of warm water with a piece of lime for hand-washing n some spices combination for breath freshener


fancy pan cone wrapped in edible silver paper
 Adik got fascinated with a pan(sireh) stall in front of the hotel. It was amazing to see everybody including young and hip-looking youngsters just stopped, took a pan, popped it into their mouth and chewed away.

 The two 'servants' in the guesthouse wouldnt even let me put my drinking glass in the sink! By this time, I have started to like it here....And adik said,"Mama, its not bad at all..." in an accusing tone!


high-quality linen with low-low price!!
The next morning, we were taken to Commercial Street where I have to pinch myself to realise that I havent die and go to cotton's heaven!! Not to mention saree's....

Adik choosing materials for her salwar kameez


Evening came and off we went to the ''dreaded'' train station....but lo and behold! It was so clean that people actually sit in the open arena in small groups having a picnic while waiting for their trains. And no offensive smell whatsoever. The train was on time and we soon settled into our AC sleeper carriage. Again I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so comfortable...Thick fluffy blankets, pillows and crisp white linen were handed in brown packets,freshly laundered. The journey from Bangalore to Belgaum where the university we were heading to located, took 12 hours. Adik said she felt like sleeping in a buai and was lullabied to sleep immediately and drawing the curtain, I soon followed suit. Abah woke us up for Fajr prayer and again I was so relieved to see that the  latrine was actually clean with no foul smell emitting at all. I had actually restrained myself earlier to avoid visiting it. All in all, I would say, Indian train beat ours.


Concerned friends have reminded us not to eat from street vendors and the likes, but we are a bunch of happy people by the time morning came and the sellers came aboard crying "garam chai, idlii,vada,pakora....!!" 
a standard breakfast fare of 1 idlii + 1 vada







 the bowls holding pakoras n sambar made from dried leaves...
We threw caution to the wind and enjoyed our breakfast while feasting our eyes on the views of  the ever changing landscapes.We especially love those fields full of purplish blooms of sugarcane plants.


Around 9 in the morning we reached Belgaum and after disposing our things at the dean's residence, we were chauffeured  to another round of shopping spree. Everything was cheap, cheap, cheap....We even made a suit of a salwar kameez each and the tailor charged us less than RM10 for one suit!!


The next day, Abah started working and as the good Prof left for Malaysia during the night,  we have the house to ourselves. Waited upon by not one but three servants!!(they actually made us uncomfortable with their self-imposed inferior behaviour). Read here.  Adik and Mama took looong walk every morning to burn out those calories from all those lovely foods we consumed. 
 Abah walked to the office too despite having the driver. The campus is nice, with lots of old shady trees and very clean.

 We also walked to the alleys of small shops and bought veges sold at the roadsides.It was like in the old 60s Malay movies. They still use the old scales to weigh stuff.

And of course we did not miss the chance to experience the auto riding.
 

Adik enjoyed the ride, not me though..its too dusty n scary!!


Everyone in the university was very nice to us. The honourable director himself came to see us and took the trouble to make sure our stay was thoroughly enjoyable.He insisted that we took  a guided tour to the historical Goa. 

Inside Goan Museum

@ the Goan beach with Dr Reshma




The two tourist guides were none other than the lovely Dr Vidhya and Dr Reshma. I gained lots of knowledge talking to them.And they spoiled Adik with attention and gifts!!

We are glad we went....Alhamdulillah. We asked from Allah and He made everything easy and nice for us. We were spared from bad experience others have had.

If there is any regret at all, it is due to the fact that Abang couldnt be with us. But never mind Abang, InsyaAllah, you will be travelling the world as a dai'é of Allah very soon.

In his quest to be fair to both of you, all the expenses spent on Adik for any holidays, Abah would put the same amount in Abang's account.
So, at the moment, Adik maybe richer in experience than you Abang....but you are richer in RM!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

OUCH!!

Yes folks, its me, Grey...  and last week, I was in  pain.
It was my right front leg....it hurt so much when I moved. I'm better now, thus able to write this account of my once-a-year sickness. See, I got sick around this time too last year. (Hemm, thats a thought...based on the amount of attention lavished on me, I should make it a yearly event!)

Unlike humans (err..a woman in particular), we cats are very good at hiding pain,but there's no fooling that lady! Mama noticed my limping straight-away. I tried to tell her that it's no big deal but she wouldnt listen to any of it. She wanted to run to the vet immediately. Abah stopped her, saying,"let us wait for two three days, it may be nothing"...As she very much wants to be one isteri solehah, she reluctantly agreed. But, literally on the third day, ( and I was still limping and had a slight fever by then) a visit to the vet was on the top of her to-do list of the day.

The vet  did a thorough check-up and declared that I'm a healthy 6-year-old cat with a body score of 3 year-old . Do you hear that, I am officially an awet muda cat, seriously!!!

The limping was nothing serious, it might just be a traumatic injury following my misjudging a distance and fall not so gracefully on the feet as usual. So said the vet.

But my Mama wasnt buying it!! She tried to put forward her theory but the vet was  in a hurry to finish as he was going out to  to do a housecall or barncall or whatever a vet does...He calmly assured Mama that everything was okay, gave me an injection for the fever, recommended a tasty high energy dietary supplement ( I like!!!)  and left.

You see, in those three days of observing  and fussing over me and worrying and crying and doing solat hajat, ( if you think Mama is over-reacting, you should see Adik...she was expecting the worse.
She even wrote an entry in her blog implying that I might die...oh, how could you Adik!) , Mama had also been doing her housewifey research on the net . And she came to the conclusion that I have all the symptoms of Feline Osteoarthritis.

She observed that my limping was worse upon arising from rest.  I didnt move very much, let alone jump, and had obvious pain when walking. I just stay put  either  on Mama's or Adik's beds, curling at their feet at nights and leaned against the pillows on the days, gravitating towards the warm spots. I wouldnt eat at all. (but they carried me to the bowl and pleaded with me to eat.) I neither poo nor pee on those three days. And Mama said, I had some sort of personality changes...whatever she means by it.

Mama tried to emphatise with me. She put herself in my shoes (not that I'm wearing any, and even if I do, our sizes would vastly differ), and said she could actually feel the pain. Such a drama mama she is!! She thought that as our age are approximately the same ( when you convert the cat years to human years that is. I could tell Mama's age directly here but Mama would ban me from this blog forever....yes, she's a bit vain..please forgive her, she cannot help it, being a Libran), we'd be having common ailments.

My Mama, you see, suffers from plantar fasciitis. ( yes, go google it now!)  She brushed aside the suggestions that her insistence on wearing unsuitable footwear read high-heels and her err..excess weight are the main contributing factors. She instead, is convinced that her  alternate day brisk-walking on the treadmill is the main cause, made worse by her small feet  and reluctantly admits that her age too, might has something to do with it. 

Now, she thoughts we share the same attributes..my constant sprinting here and there, my small feet (seriously Mama, have you ever seen cats with large feet?), my age and my eerr... rotund body, which I totally disagree . For the umpteenth time, I state, I AM NOT overweight!

Even if I am, it is a universal truth that FAT CATS ARE BEAUTIFUL. Unfortunately though, the same cannot be said to human. Umm, I'm so sorry you are not a cat Mama....
No, that's not the real colour of my eyes!! Mama really is a bad photographer!

Anyway....
My point here is, Mama IS wrong. I dont suffer from osteoarthritis. I'm still too young to get it. Deal with it Mama!!! Even if our age are in the same bracket, I am much healthier than you are, due to my healthy eating, exercising lots more than you and stress-free life I am blessed with. Scratch your plan for my weight loss or exercise regimes. You, on the other hand, SERIOUSLY need them....

Okay folks...before you think that I am cruel to Mama and sound a bit smug, I must tell you that I really do appreciate Mama's efforts ( however misguided it was) and I'm showing it...So much so, that I have broken quite a few of my feline principles so far.

I have become the opposite of aloof cat I was before.

Nowadays, I'm a sweeter cat. I let them rub my abdomen, which they are crazy about. 
Please note that not everybody is welcome.....


(The rubbing/scratching area used to be limited to neck and head areas only .) I've started licking Mama's  and Adik's hands and feet daily to show my affection. ( Abah, though, is not priviliged to this affectionate behaviour as he doesnt deserve it. He didnt do any solat hajat for my speedy recovery) I let all of them carry me for as long as they like,( I'm doing away with the 5 minutes time frame) without me struggling hard to wrench myself free from their suffocating embraces. (Abah is included here as he did give me some massages and enquired after me everyday during those limping days.) 


Okay, I think thats enough to quench the longing someone has for my writing....(*wink to Miss Cat expert in Wangsa Maju)
I'm gonna have my beauty sleep now.... I'll have a short nap in Mama's wardrobe,the coziest spot in the whole universe. Since recovering, they've been spoiling me rotten. Mama,  happily lets me in whenever I want to, which she totally prohibits before (mental note: must get sick more often)
InsyaAllah, starting tomorrow, I'll have some peace and quiet for one week. Abang is arriving tomorrow and all attention will shift to him. I'm not complaining though...these people are too much sometimes!

Till we meet again...enjoy your weekend and Selamat Berkorban. Dont forget to fast on the Days of Tarwiyah and 'Arafaah ie 8th and 9th of Dzulhijjah.



Sign,
Dr.M.Grey 



















 


Thursday, October 21, 2010

LAMB PILAU

Abah was in a place where halaal lambs are plentiful and quite cheap. His host, one Uncle Prof KJ , kept making lamb soup as it is ( I suspect) about the only cooking method he knows!! After a few days, Abah decided its time to show-off his skill in the kitchen... (as well as wanting to escape eating another meal of lamb soup!!).

So, in one of Abah's frequent calls,skypes and emails,( cant remember which one as he did all these every so often) he asked for the recipe for lamb pilau. So, I wrote down the recipe and emailed it to him.

At the same time, I was pondering on what to write for October entry...and beginning to regret my promising Adik and Abang to post at least one entry per month. I cant go back on my words now.
Suddenly, it struck me! I could just copy/paste  this recipe for my October entry... Hemmh, what a relief! But then, as I have editted last month's entry to include a recipe, this blog will look like a cooking blog with two consecutives entries on recipes...takpe la ya, Abang, Adik...Mama memang takde idea ni!

So, here goes;

LAMB PILAU

Ingredients

Lamb (obviously!)
Onions (thinly sliced; quantity- gram to gram with lamb)
Basmathi rice (get the best u can)
Skinned and chopped ripen tomatoes (use the canned ones or failing to get it, scald the fresh ones in boiling water, the skin will come off quite easily)
Coriander seeds  (lightly crush in lesung batu, does Abg Din has it?)
Black peppercorn (ditto)
A piece of cinnamon bark
A couple of black cardamom (if using the white ones, tambah skit)
Green chillies (cut up)
Ginger (lightly pound)
Cilantro (its daun ketumbar ya laling,lots of them, roughly chop)
Salt and water ( water and rice quantity must be in equal ratio)
Cooking oil

How to go about it:
Heat up the oil, add onions. Let it fried until very brown. Just one degree away from burnt state. (This is important, as it will give the colour to the dish, we dont want a pale pilau,okay)

Add some water. Cover for a minute to sweat out the colour and sweetness from the onions. Add lamb. Put the lid back on until u see the meat has absorbed the brown colour of the onions.Add tomatoes and garlic, cover for 5 min.

Add all dry spices and salt, cover and let it simmer until the lamb is tender. Add ginger, chillies and cilantro, turn off heat and let it be at least for a couple of hours ( this is optional, just to let the meat absorbs the spices etc. U cud just go to nx process)

My style is; roughly one hour before serving, add more water to the pot ( remember to take away the amount u already added). Bring it to boil and add washed and drained basmathi. Cook till the rice is fluffy.

Serve with salad,pappadom and raita.

Good luck and dont burn down KJ's kitchen...hehe. Let me know how it turn out ya!

****************************************************************

That's about it....
But, rummaging through the pictures file, I found these;


the spiced pappadom that both of you dont really like...always preferring the plain ones.
salad of diced tomatoes,cucumber and shredded iceberg lettuce. Dressed with homemade vinaigrette. (3 parts olive oil to 1 part of malt vinegar,salt and pepper)
When I cook large portion like this, I will finish them off in the oven  ( after most of liquid has evaporated) to avoid burning at the bottom


the raita which you guys loooove. (Just plain yoghurt with mint sauce or chopped cilantro. Salt and sugar to taste.)






Looks like I have a proper entry after all!!( Now, wont you say your Mama IS clever, kids?)

Come to think of it, I wish both of you will master cooking this dish as it has always been the dish that I'll cook for any Da'awah Jamaat that happen to come to our mosque, especially for those from the foreign countries. And they always appreciate it so much and end up  making special do'a for us, Alhamdulillah...and all masturat jamaats that  came to our house were subjected to eating this too... and the session of recipe-taking (after the program end) was always inevitable!

I would like it very much that you two shall continue feeding the jamaats even when Abah and me are not around anymore....

p/s
after all the effort I made to write the email most explicitly, Abah called and said, "payoh weh, tak jadi la buat..". hemmm, why am I not surprise! ( and this is despite the fact that he was always hands-on whenever I cooked a large portion)



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE QUIET LIFE ( just for the sake of having a title...)

The silence is deafening...
How much more dramatic could I get??
Yet, truth does prevail...
It is so quiet here...too quiet.
After almost two weeks of chaos, laughter, riots of taste and colours...

Ramadhan 28th
Abang arrived home barely one hour from iftaar. I have had two episodes of  tearing out by that time. His bus was supposed to reach Kota Bharu main station by 4pm but no sight of it until a good one and a half hour later. Abah was doing full i'tikaaf for the last 10 days of Ramadhan, so the task of picking Abang up was redelegated to Ayah Chik Razif. It was totally understandable if my brother-in-law got sick of hearing my voice as I made frantic calls every few minutes. Whattodo, I was under a full-blown anxiety-attack !

After Abang was safely deposited on our doorstep could I breathe normally again...

(Abang actually arrived home looking like a 'princess'...yes, not a typo there. He wore a white jubah which is far too long that he had to pinch up on the sides to lift it up to walk...hhaha..Apparently, his ustadz just presented him the robe for getting the highest mark in tajweed test in his class. To show his appreciation he decided to wear it home, on the long bus journey. When they stopped for prayer, he actually had to change for solat. Mama and Adik cruelly laughed at him!!)

The irony of it was, I couldnt manage to cook anything special to celebrate the home-coming of my prodigal much-missed son. We had a pizza delivery instead!! Talk about being a good mum!! I am SO NOT!!(when I am nervous-stricken that is....please note that I do not function under duress)

I made up for it the next day and the day after and the day after, right to the morning of Syawwal 9th when Abang hitched a ride with his friend's father  back to madrassah.

We couldnt pick him up as Abah was occupied with i'tikaaf and couldnt send him off because Abah was flying off to a distant place in the evening.

On that day, my heart was twice broken...

Now there are only me and Adik home...Abah wont be around until Oct 2nd.

Thanks Adik, for being here and soothe my sore hearts with your antics, your laughter and and your love.
And oh, yes, you too Grey...( she just nuzzled me to remind!!)

As we look at the various photos taken during those days, we can only but reminisce...

Alhamdulillah, it was a good Ramadhan for us. Adik didnt ponteng a single night of taraweeh. She prayed with me and continued doing it  alone in the last week after Mama was visited by the 'friend' who come-a-visit everymonth. On the first night Abang home, I asked Abang to do taraweeh at home so that Adik could pray with him and I could listen to his reciting. The next night, Adik asked Abang to do it at the mosque as she couldnt stand another night of loooong rakaats!! Abang recited one whole juz the first night and Adik has had enough!

It was good too because we managed to meet the targeted number of Qur'an khatams. Good because we managed to eat simple healthy meals during sahoor and iftaar.
our standard sahoor meal..a tumbler of protein drink,dates, honey and  occasional energy bars

We didnt make a single visit to any Ramadhan bazaar. That is a success in my book!!

I learnt that adding oat bran in rice porridge made it more tasty and filling. Sprinkling it on the kerabu pucuk paku to replace toasted coconut works as well. Abang's requested durian fritters was mixed with it too, and the lepat pisang got the same treatment too. ( which prompted someone to pronounce it as lepat 'piseng',haha)

We lost a few kgs but but it came back ever so swift ...especially on ME!!huhu...

Raya came and the usual funfare took place. Our customary 3rd Syawal open house was a hit as usual. Guests started coming as early as 9.30am and the lasts groups left at 6.30pm.It peaked at around 12 noon when most of mama's and abah's siblings came together. All spaces were occupied, leaving standing room only for some of us! We had laksa Sarawak, ketupat palas with rendang and the satay with nasi himpit. I was so busy entertaining that I didnt have the chance to take photos. But I'm sure you two could check them out at your various cousins' facebooks as I remember seeing lots of cameras went clicking that day. Some of your naughtier female cousins took shots of Abang saying that they will post it on their walls claiming that Abang is their current boyfriend...haha.

Thanks to my ever-so-helpful niece, Chah, for helping out. Aminah too...and Toksu and family of course.




The merrymakings continued with lots of kenduris and open houses do that we attended and some had to be apologetically missed. We hardly had leisure time for the only four of us ( which Adik still grumbling over up to today). Its either we were out or guests were here.

I cooked all most of Abang's favourite on the pretext of cooking for guests, so it was like killing two birds with one stone.....  

                                        fruit custards that Abang and adik are crazy about.
fried tomyum beehoon with sambal kicap
and other tidbits
                                                                                                                     

I think that's about it...
Let us pray that Allah accepted all our good deeds in Ramadhan, give us the taufeeq to be istiqaamah in all our amals and bless us with better Ramadhan in future. InsyaAllah.




p/s as promised to Prof Has,here's the recipe for the fruit custard;(I always make large batch as the kids are so fond of it, u may want to halve it)

3l water
1large can of fruit cocktail- strain and put fruits aside
10 heaped tbsp custard powder
sugar to taste
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 can condensed milk
pinch of salt

Mix everything except fruit together, stir well,put on low heat till it thickens. When its cold,put in the fruits and chill overnite. 
Just b4 serving,in my attempt to make it healthier (and prettier), I wud add seeded n halved  black grapes,watermelon scooped in its baller n segmented oranges. Just put any fruits u fancy.... Alas, my kids will make it unhealthy again by putting lots of cut-up ready-made jellies . Well,it looks much prettier though with those colourful jellies.
Happy trying! (am sure u'll make a healthier version of it...)




Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WELCOMING RAMADHAN...

InsyaAllah  tomorrow , the blessed month of Ramadhan will be here again...I just cannot describe how I feel today...everything is so peaceful and oh,  this expectant mood. I feel excited, nervous and somehow melancholic.

Abah brought home boxes of dates from markaz last night. It has been a routine for us to distribute them to our neighbours and relatives year in year out. You two were always so excited about this...the chore you always look forward to. Going round our neighbourhood on your bicycles. Alas, this year, Abang is not around....Adik has been pondering for the past few days of how is she going to do it alone....dont worry Adik, Abah will of course accompany you...

We just got home from visiting Abang...He's looking very well now with more flesh on compared to last time. And he's keeping his hair this time around. No more shaved head...hemm.. I saw a twinkle in his eyes when I pointed that out. Looks like, puberty agrees with him.  I just  hope he wont go changing so much and so fast.....I want my baby back!!!

We have to make sure, this Ramadhan, we will visit Mak Tok more frequent . Apart from deteriorating health, she is also missing 3 of her loved ones this Ramadhan. Tok Ayah is still in his 4 months khuruj, her youngest ( read most manja) daughter, Cik Ti is also on the path of Allah for 40 days with her husband Ayah Az, while Ayah Ji  left  for New Zealand yesterday, being invited to lead the taraweeh prayer somewhere over there.
Not forgetting Ayah Long who is also overseas, though he is bound to travel home more frequent now that the most awaited  cucu is now out!! Speaking of which, Mak Tok and Tok Ayah now have a great grandchild. And I am called Mama Tok! Has been one for quite sometimes though as from Abah's side, we already have 2 from Kak Long Iman/Abg Farizan  and one from Abang Long Anas/Kak Izza. Another one is on the way from Abang Ngah/ Kak Emma.

Tok Ayah wont even be home for Eid....Its okay though. All of us are well prepared for it, and happy about it, knowing how much Tok Ayah loves spending time doing this. Alhamdulillah Ayah Su is working in Kota Bharu, thus able to keep Mak Tok company.

Next week, as Mama and Abah spend some times on the path Allah, Adik will stay for the weekend with Mak Tok. I hope you will do as much khidmat as possible to her. Make her happy.....And dont forget your promise to Abah to recite one juzuk of the holy book for each day of Ramadhan.

Before I sign-off, I take this opportunity to wish everyone who comes here ( well, not that many...), Ramadhan Kareem...and May Allah gives us taufeeq to do as much devotion as possible....and, please forgive me if I ever hurt any of you with my words ........

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A GIFT FROM ABAH....



I'm so glad Abah planted these Kemunting bushes, seeing them bear fruits, and thus, afforded me with another entry. Truth be told, I have ran out of things to write!! But  write I must as I have promised Adik to post at least one entry per month. So Adik, be sure to appreciate this effort ya!! I do it solely for the love I have for you...and Abang of course.

So, these are our Kemuntings  that Abah is so proud of and we are so fond of...we and the birds!! And seems that they always won the race of reaping the ripe fruits. As a matter of fact, we only managed to get our hands on those scrumptious berries  recently despite the fact that they have started fruiting for the past few months. 
After long hot months, the rain came and all kinds of flowers and fruits came out to celebrate the gift from God. Having lots other choices of delectable to select from, those naughty but cute birds at last decided to leave the kemunting alone....baru lah kita dapat rasa!!

Anyway, despair not. We, or errrr.. maybe Abah alone ( for he single-handedly planted that while Mama looked on with sceptical look) gets the sadaqah pahala for all those fruits eaten by the creatures of  Allah.

Kemunting picking was Mama and Abah's favourite pastime in our childhood. We eagerly waited for the season each year and went about it most fervently. Many a time, it resulted in we  being scolded by our concerned parents as time tended to fly away when we were at it. They would be worried sick as dusk approached and we were still at the foothill, gathering those ripe berries.( Being 'hidden by the genie' was the order of those days as compared to being abducted/raped by so many sick people of today.)


As you, Abang and Adik, are so fond of listening to our childhood stories but cant really connect with what we went through as a result of this rapid development that has taken away all those bushes in our respective kampungs, Abah decided to plant this Kemunting....as well as teaching  you how to play all those traditional games that you two enjoy enormously.

Abah got the seedling during one of our weekend getaways in a small resort off Cherating white sandy beach. I didnt know then that Kemunting could grow on sandy soil too. When Abah scooped it up, after asking permission from resort's owner, I was quite sure that it wont be suitable for the soil  around our home . And when it struggled to grow at a snail pace, I 'advised' Abah to give up...but true to his 'healer's personality, Abah persevered....Tending it with love and care (read: put fertilizer etc) with Pakcik Noor's help of course.
All of a sudden, lovely pink flowers started to come out and soon enough, small berries followed suit, profusely so too!!


And following the tradition initiated by Abah, the first juicy fruit from any of the trees in Abah's orchard was always presented to Mama....and MasyaAllah,in this case, it was soooo sweet!!

Mama sheepishly said ' Thankyou...' and Abah beamed with satisfaction!! ( of being able to show the  berries to you two and...also I suspect, of being able to prove that Mama was  wrong!)

Abang and Adik, please take care of the bushes ya!!  InsyaAllah...one day your children will get to see them too.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

BOY TO MAN

Alhamdulillah, the weather is getting nicer...not as hot as for the past couple of months. No excuse to stay-away from the treadmill anymore, no excuse for not fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and no excuse to ignore the now overgrown garden. Hemm...looks like Mama has her hands full. And believe me, she really needs  these. Those extra flesh are prove enough...need I say more?

Abang was home for the first week of school holidays. And Mama fed him very well....and in the process of fattening Abang up, Mama inadvertently fatten herself up too! Well, I witnessed how the three of them, Abang, Adik and  Mama, finished up 4 big tubs of different flavours of ice-cream in the span of one week. Add to that, big boxes of BigApplesDonuts, all kinds of nasi for breakfast, lunch and dinner, various kinds of puddings and cheesecakes, you get a perfect formula for fast weight-gaining....(especially if you are in a certain age-group and you fold up and stowed away your treadmill and let it be covered with cobwebs).
The two young competitors in that eating marathon used up all the energies on badminton, cycling and whatnots while the older  one just played it down, trying to fool herself up    by telling her oldself that she didnt really eat, just accompanying the kids...a small serving here and there, a little bite of this and that and a tiny-miny spoonful of whatever....Haha, kid yourself not Mama!!

She is now too  absorb in endeavouring ways to get back to her former self ( which is not too good to begin with, haha), thus  leaving me to take care of this space again.

Anyway...
Abang came home by bus...much to Mama's annoyance. She strongly opposed the notion when it was first brought up. But, Abah, Mak Tok and Umi ( among the peoples consulted over that BIG decision) were all for it, leaving Mama grudgingly agreed to the idea. But, how she fussed and fussed about it!!! I,as one wise cat, advise you Abang, please do not do it again as I couldnt stand her state of mind during that time . You have got the experience you want, now get over it already! 

Abah fetched him from the main bus station as Mama couldnt be trusted to brave the crowd in Kota Bharu town during school holidays. I tell you, it was crazy out there. All the roads are jam-packed  with holiday makers. 
So there we were, waiting excitedly for Abang at the door after getting a call from Abah saying that they would arrive in 5 minutes. We were literally jumping ( yes, mama sometimes forgets to act her age) at the sight of Abah's car and Abang just stepped out and calmly arranged the scattered shoes and sandals at the bottom of the stairs!!  Mama was like,"ABANG!!! LEAVE IT, WILL YOU!!".
It was another 30 seconds before we could maul him down.....

Abang said he felt like a grown-up riding the bus home. Got down at the stops and bought all kinds of gift for Mama, Abah and Adik. He, somehow, couldnt find anything for me, sob,sob...( he made up for it though by buying me a ball at the nearby supermarket)

The truth is, Abang has really grown up. Really. Know what I mean? He is a man now....

Apparently 'it' happened sometimes before he came home.But he was not too sure about it. Mama, being inquisitive by nature, and closer than close with Abang, managed to uncover the whole sequence of the 'dream' and inexperienced as she was, consulted Abah and Ayah Ji the maulana.

Abang ended up having to qadha' around 10 days worth of prayers. And he did it most dilligently and the whole family got to hear him reciting all the surahs he has memorised in those qadha' episodes.....it was just beautiful!!


reported by;
DR. M. GREY




Monday, May 17, 2010

AIM FOR THE SKY

At the end of last month, we made another journey yet once again to The Pearl of the Orient. A meeting of  parents and teachers were scheduled to take place from April 29th to May 1st. We were given a specific time on the 30th.,10.30a.m to be exact.The ustadz who called us at home to arrange the meeting stressed on being on time as they have arranged to meet each  and every family separately, with 45 minutes time allocated for each family.

As a stickler for punctuality, I really liked the way they handled it.

And to make it possible, for us who live about 400km away, we have to be there one day earlier. So , off we went, on Thursday morning as Abah had to attend a meeting at USM  around 3pm on that day. Adik, as usual, played truant ...( one of the benefits of sending you guys to a private school! ). Right after Asr, we went to Abang's school, bearing calorie-laden  supplies in the form of organic pasta with rich bolognese sauce, fresh milk, mango juices and  creamy trifles as the dessert. All are Abang's favourite....and as usual, shared with Hassan, Tareeq and Amir.
I brought forks and spoons but Abang said he wanted to stick to sunnah and all his friends agreed. So, they ate spaghetti  with their fingers, sauce and all, having second and third helpings.

The next morning , after  breakfast , we took off from Vistana and reached the madrassah  just in time. Abah could barely squeezed in our car in the compound turned parking area. 

 That was the first time I saw the madrasah proper, I mean the classrooms, the dorms and the backyards. In the previous visits I just  stay put on one of the cute gazebos . Though permissible, I didnt feel comfortable to roam around so many boys however young they are. Now that I have seen it all, oh my, was I impressed!! Spotless classrooms, shining windows, orderly double-deckers  with neatly made up beds, not a single pair of shoes/slippers in front of any doors ( everyone will automatically put up theirs on the tall racks nearby) and the best part is, even the laundry hanging up to dry was not haphazardly done as the usual scene in any other school hostels. Yes, I'm aware that the kids have made special effort for that particular day, but I'm sure they wont be able to it excellently if they are not used to it. MasyaAllah, I'm so impressed....(now it makes me sound like a totally clean-freak, which I'm not, okay)

Alhamdulillah, now I fully understand how Abang could quickly and easily  fit in . ( I used to wonder and worry, knowing how difficult/ fussy he could be). When Abang was 6 y.o and finally agreed to start attending a playschool, we went around looking up  at so many kindergartens before Abang would say yes. I was aiming for the one within a walking distance from our house, but, no, one look at the toilet, he just walked out. The fact that he had spent a couple of months in a playscool in Sydney made things worse. He kept comparing!! A few toilet-inspectings later, he decided on an expensive playschool which distance  required me to drive . That was exactly the point where I finally put my driving license to good use after having and keeping it as a decoration in my purse for so many years.

But I digress...


The day progressed to be a day not only I was suitably impressed, but , enlightened as well.

MasyaAllah, I learnt a lot from the ustadz assigned to talk to us.

He brought us to a greater height in understanding the importance of ilm in just a  few minutes. Subhanallah! He showed us the way to gain it and to properly put a place for it. He opened our eyes, made us see a new dimension.  And he talked with so much passion it brought tears to our eyes. I shed tears for my ignorance, for new revelation, for new understanding and for the almost tangible honesty in the ustadz's words. And all the time, Abang sat and stare at him with such open admiration that I could almost see  he absorbed each and every word of his ustadz like a sponge. Subhanallah, it was all so beautiful. It ended with report on Abang's progress and attitudes in classes which are all Alhamdulillah and then Abang recited a surah and the ustadz asked Abah to recite it too. Hemm, nasib baik Abah hafal that  particular surah...

We left feeling high-spirited, more determine and full of new resolutions. We are now aiming for the sky. Let us all pray that Abang will not only be a hafeez, but an 'alim too, and not just an ordinary 'alim, but one that reach the status of Imaam Syafi'e of even greater than that. 

And now, I have to do my part at home......



Sunday, April 18, 2010

THE HEAT IS ON.....

...and Mama is  eerrr..out ( of her elements)
So, guys, looks like its me, Grey, again....

Apparently,our beloved Mama is badly affected by the weather. The heat really gets to her and taking its toll on her, draining her out, turning her into lifeless being. ( the creativity juice, if she has any in the first place, is totally dried too, thus the need for me to  take over).  These days, she's  quite a different person. Right after zuhr prayer, she'll get into this weird mode of 'not doing anything'. To me, it looks like as if  she stops functioning. I think she even stops thinking. Truth be told, I'm a little worried about her. Worse still, I'm the only one around from 7.50 am to 4 pm. I, therefore, as a responsible and sensitive and loving child cat of hers, never leave her side.... ( except for a few minutes to,y'know, answer the call of natures...)

From 2 to 4 pm she'll sit still on that recliner, do nothing except reading and sipping cold water, while I obediently sit at her feet. She hardly moves. And when the pitcher she's been drinking from becomes empty, she'll look at me longingly, wishing that I could go and fill it up again...and I stare back at her, conveying message that reads, 'Mama, I would if I could...but you know my limitation. And, frankly speaking, you are already spoilt as it is, you dont need a cute cat to spoil you further'. I'm quite sure she reads it perfectly fine as she would lazily and ever so slowly drags her feet to the fridge....

She's been eating very little...the heat has taken away the usually very extremely healthy appetite. She then wonders, why she hasnt loose any of those excesses pounds despite not eating as usual. Oh Mama, do I need to explain this too? You see Mama, all the energy you use are only for flipping those pages of books you read, and nothing else...so, do I need to say further? Being polite as I am, I really dont want to insult your intelligence, or whatever shred of it left. Furthermore... do I need to point out the fact that you have conveniently forgotten your routine on the treadmill? Looks like the alternate-day regime has been replaced by once-a-week half-hearted effort!!

And I pity you Adik and Abah, for having to live with her ...and good for you Abang! ( for being away that is...) . The idle mode means  very few cooking done , as the kitchen is,well, obviously the hot spot!!( our kitchen faces west where it gets the full brunt of the fierce sun) After asr prayer, she'll start rummaging in the deep freezer,  and more often then not, comes out with some frozen ready-to-eat 'something' from as far back  as eidil-adha!! And throws it into the microwave. Seriously Mama!! Where is your 'trying to eat natural food as much as possible'  so-called principle? Have you forgotten the fact that food that has stayed too long in the freezer are of lesser quality? Dont you feel guilty for not feeding your family the nutritious meals at all? Hah, I guess not!! The heat has taken your memory away too....sad!!

Abah and Adik, good-naturedly, bear with this...all in the name of protecting Mama from the evil of migraine which is ever-looming nearby.( heat,fatigue and bad smell are the three migraine-inducing factors to Mama) They have to...Or else suffer from a darker mood of Mama. A situation where  the need for the whole house to be kept in the dark and everyone is reduced to tip-toeing around her, making as little noise as possible and never to let  any offensive smell, especially  of food, to come near her...Yes, she could be very difficult to live with.  Abah would be the one suffering most as he will have to lovingly massage her to sleep.( err..somehow Mama always know if the massage is done secara terpaksa and will refuse it!..followed by a few hours of sulking thereafter)) All alone now that you are gone Abang....you are the one who would usually rescue Abah from that ordeal. ( And we must never mention Abang at this stage or the waterwork will start and will be quite difficult to be stopped once it begins).I do help sometimes too...by walking on her feet and calves...I really do!! And I'm quite sure Mama does appreciates it. Despite all those massages and whatever strong painkillers administered, the evil throbbing will not end until she becomes sick enough and throw up all the contents of her gut . Some kind of abdominal migraine I would say...and its bad, real bad. Seriously.

Ok guys...if you have any love for Mama, please pray for her. She's in dire need of your prayers to become wholesome again and be patient and be thankful of whatever situation she's in.  Look no  further than at ME!! With my thick fur, I should be more uncomfortable than she is...but, do any of you hear any complains from me? NO. I am always grateful of what Allah decides for me....

With that wise words, I end this entry. 

                   well, no mama here, she's gone for yet another refill...



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

THE WEEK THAT WAS...

It was one delightful week.... Alhamdulillah. Abang was home from 13th to 20th and we enjoyed every single  minute of it. Saw lots of relatives, attended oh so many kenduris, ate loooots of food ( Mama gained 2kg huhu) , not to mention huge doses of  talking and laughing.

But for Adik and Abang, nothing beats the pleasure of being surrounded by cousins. And Alhamdulillah, almost all of your cousins from Abah's side were home and many from Mama's too.

When Abang arrived, Tok Nazi, Kak Shara, Abang Halim and that adorable Rayyan were  already here. Rayyan was inseparable with his life-size Barney. That prompted Abang and Adik to dig out Abang's own Barney that was also inseparable with Abang about 7 years ago. We were in Sydney at that time. It triggered happy childhood  memories of  our dancing in a circle while singing to Barney's song of I love youuu, you love meeee.....and ends up with BIIIIGGG hug!! We had fun singing with Rayyan.

We sent them to the airport the next day and dropped at Tok Ayah Wahab's to find the compound filled with cars from Kuala Lumpur. All the cousins were here!!! It felt like Eid.

There was an awkward moment at first when Abang met Akim, the most-missed cousin. Akim, as usual, straight away jumped into the small stream behind Tok Ayah's house as soon as he arrived, closely followed by Zaid. It was nearly 12 noon. Soon, Aman and co arrived and joined in the fun. Abang was in a  dilemma.  To join or not to join....He desperately wanted to stick to his routine at the madrassah, keeping in mind every word of his ustadzs's. He dilligently did his daily recitation, dhuha and tahajjud besides doing loooots of khidmats...and  play time is always after asar!! Abang finally opted to sit in and listened to the conversations of Tok Ayah, Pak Uda, Ayah Man and Ayah Yi though  his minds was with his cousins having fun under the sun... 

And I'm ever so proud of you Abang for your perseverance. 

But, he crumbled at last when we were going home and Akim refused to come with us despite being asked to by his own mum. I saw  a fat tear rolled down Abang's cheek. Akim and Muslihin are always his favourite cousins, being the same age and all. Those are the two cousins Abang always look forward to see during every holiday. It was bad enough that Muslihin's madrassah in Kubang Bujuk was not on holidays, now Akim  was also not agreeable. I tried to console Abang by saying maybe Akim was feeling a bit ill at ease with Abang's strict adherence to his maahad's rule. 

Anyway, all things went well after that. Akim came later and things were never better. 

Adik's sanctuary became very popular.

Grey never left Abang's room. It was amazing watching her jumping wildly upon  seeing Abang. I never thought she could be that clever. Sowwy Grey....but you always seems to have this couldnt-care-less look on your face!

I cried the tears of happiness when I listened to Abang's Qur'an reciting. Subhanallah! It was so beautiful...almost perfect tajweed, excellent pronounciation of the letters and all. I never thought he could achieve that in such a short span of time. Not that I ever underestimate you, but it surpassed my expectation. The next day, Abah and Adik took turn to do tasme' of the surahs that he had memorised. Adik was so inspired that I found her doing her own tilawah more carefully now, trying to imitate Abang. We are so thankful to all his ustadzs for their patience and diligence in teaching our beloved Abang. May them get the most bountiful rewards from The Almighty.

We were supposed to go on a trip to Pulau Redang with Mak's family but a couple of days before the holidays started, Wafaa had to undergo an appendectomy, thus the plan was aborted. To make up for it, we had a picnic with Umi's family at La Hot Spring in Jerteh. It was a lot of fun!!

Abang and Adik also had fun listening to 5-year-old Naqib  reading the Bawal books. They made a video of it and after Cik Jah and family went back, they kept playing it and laughed their heart out everytime. So, you had  conveniently forgotten how you two also read in that way not too many years ago!!

All in all, it had been a fulfilled week....

Came Saturday, Abang took off  with Tareeq's father around 9.00 in the morning. The house became unbearably quiet . Adik slept if off until midday...and Mama cleaned up the house while Abah had to go to the hospital and then off to do nusrah at one jamaat.

We thought all of us were doing well. No tears during the goodbyes. Abang was smiling brightly and we were joking about something.

During the taalem, there were only Mama and Adik. Suddenly, Abang's absence was  profoundly felt. We missed listening to his careful reading (very much different from before)  for the past few nights. Soon as we recited the kaffarah tasbeeh, Adik literally dived at me and the dam was broken....So much for being cool in the morning!!