Saturday, 15 December 2012

Broken Wings: 6

Chapter 6

I was awakened by the sound of thunder. I fell asleep on my mother’s bed, holding the diary. I rubbed my sleepy eyes and looked at the watch. It was half past midnight. I yawned and stretched my body a bit. I haven’t perform the Isya’ prayer yet. I stared at the blue leathered diary. I was able to discover my mother’s childhood in it. Mother never mentioned about her childhood past to me or my other two siblings. Only father told us about his adventurous childhood past.

I learned a little bit about my biological grandparents. I can’t believe they abandoned my mother just because she wasn’t as smart as her brother and her sister. Wait. Aunt Nazatul is mother’s sister, her true sister. She’s one of the people whom my mother trust most besides Uncle Shah’s family. But in this diary, mother said that she hated her real family, which means that she hated Aunt Nazatul too.

I needed to ask Aunt Nazatul about this. I slowly put the diary into the drawer. I wanted to read the second diary later on. I went to the bathroom and washed my face and took a wudhu’. Then, I went to my own room to perform Isya’ prayer.

After praying, I thought about mother’s life for a while. She was abandoned and she lived with her aunt, whom I called Granny because I thought it was my biological Granny. She passed away years ago, when I was in secondary school. Mother was very upset after her death. It took nearly a year to regain mother’s will back. And thanks to father who always supported her.

Did father know about mother’s past? The question was lingering in my mind. I sighed and folded the sejadah. I needed to hit the sack. It was late but fortunately tomorrow is Sunday so I could read the diary more. But I really need to ask Aunt Nazatul about mother. She’s the one who knew everything about mother’s past.

*          *         *

Middle June, 1975.

Kalsom filled the metal stacked containers with rice and gravy and some vegetables for her Ayah. She did the cooking with her cousin, Merdu. It was a mundane weekend but as usual, Kalsom loved weekend. She usually went to the paddy-field and helped her aunt and uncle. She enjoyed working on the field with her neighbours and her cousins. For her, they were her new family now.

Merdu stacked the containers and made sure that the gravy wouldn’t spill. Kalsom put the water flasks in the rattan basket. Both of them were ready to go to the paddy-field. They rode an old bicycle; Kalsom cycled while Merdu sat at the back, holding the stacked containers. They rode along the road while sang a song that they used to sing every time they rode bicycle.

They reached the paddy-field few minutes later. Kalsom carefully leant the bicycle to the tree and walked to where her Ummi and Ayah were waiting under the small hut. Merdu brought the stacked containers to the hut and they un-stacked them. Karamah, Merdu’s mother, served the plate while Malik, Merdu’s father called for his sons who were still working on the field.

Malik has 6 children, including Kalsom. Although Kalsom was his niece but he treated her just like his own daughter. Both he and Karamah loved Kalsom very much because Kalsom never complained living in poor family. In fact, Kalsom loved living here rather than the place that used to be her house.

Merdu’s brothers, Shah, Raheem and Subhi joined them eating lunch under the hut. Karamah and Kalsom served the food. Malik recited the du’a before eating. Kalsom watched his father eat his food. She calmly anticipated for his comments. Kalsom cooked the groovy today and she didn’t know whether the gravy was good or not even though Merdu told her umpteenth times that the gravy was delicious.

Kalsom watched her father munched the rice. She didn’t touch hers yet. Malik realized that Kalsom was watching her. He smiled and licked his finger.

“This one is delicious than usual,” he said.

Kalsom smiled widely. She knew that her father loved the gravy. She put a lot of effort to make the delicious gravy. All thanks to Karamah and Merdu who taught Kalsom to improve her cooking.

“You’re right, Ayah. It is delicious,” praised Raheem with a smile and put another mouthful of rice inside his mouth.

Besides Merdu, Raheem also close to Kalsom.

Dear Diary,

I am so happy today because Ayah praised my gravy this afternoon. Everybody said it was delicious! But I still cannot beat Mak’s cooking. She’s the best cook in the world! Abang Shah also said that I need to learn a lot from Mak if I want to be a great cook just like her. Abang Shah rarely talks to me but I know he’s a good brother. He’s not like Abang Heem, who likes to tease me and Merdu. Abang Heem just finish school and he works with Mak and Ayah and Abang Shah at the field. Merdu, Abang Subhi and I are still schooling.

I really missed Kak Yah. She’ll come back next month. She studies at the university which is far away from here. She’s very smart and got scholarship. Everyone is proud of her. I like to hear her stories about her university and her life there. Abang Shah is supposed to further his study too but he doesn’t want to. He wants us to be successful. He prefers helping Mak and Ayah at the field.

I know that Abang Shah sacrifices a lot for me. I still remember the day when I entered secondary school. He told Ayah that I need to have better education although the school is just a rural school. He dropped out from school that day. When I knew that news, I cried and cried until I felt that my tears dry. He comforted me and told me to promise him that I have to be a successful person.

He’s a nice eldest brother I ever have! Although he is very strict, but he loves all of us. He’s very protective especially towards us, the sisters.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I have to go to school. I need to sleep early because I want to help Mak to cook Nasi Lemak for breakfast and for selling. I love to sell Nasi Lemak on the way to school with Merdu.

Kalsom and Merdu went to school by walking. They carried a basket full of Nasi Lemak to be sold in the school canteen. Sometimes they did the extra work after school. The teachers were proud to have hardworking students like them and everyone in that school loved the Nasi Lemak.

The school was kind of small and there were only less than 100 students studied there. The buildings were made by wood and there were only three buildings – one for classes, one for teachers’ room and one for the office.

It was middle June so the weather is quite hot. Sometimes they brought extra rough papers to make a paper fan. Kalsom flapped her paper fans as she tried to concentrate what the teacher was teaching. It was Mathematics class and she was still weak in this subject. But she always asked the teacher is she didn’t understand.

But she still couldn’t get rid of her fear - the test and examination. If the teacher announced there will be a test on the next day, she couldn’t sleep. She felt miserable and a little bit depressed. She couldn’t forget the casualty that she faced a long time ago; the insult, the pain and the devastation.

Sometimes she had a nightmare that she could even imagine. The dark reminiscence of the past was still somewhere inside her mind. She slowly forgot about her own family who dumped her but she never forgot the pain that she had gone through.  

Friday, 7 December 2012

Broken Wings: 5

Chapter 5

Dear Diary,

Guess where am I, now? I’m at Tok Wan’s house! Isn’t it great? I’ve been longing to stay with Tok Wan. I’ve been waiting for the end-year school holiday just to stay with Tok Wan and Mak Su and my other cousins.

The rest of my family went to Kuala Lumpur this morning for vacation. As usual, they didn’t bring me along. Mama said that I’ll keep irritating her if she brought me along. Well, I don’t want to go to Kuala Lumpur in the first place. Kak Naz said that we have relative there but I never knew them since the day I can remember.

I woke early this morning and Mak Su’s cook cooked us special meal just for me. They treated me well here even though they are far richer than my family. Tok Wan is a rich man but he’s very humble, not like Mama and Papa. Papa is quite okay, I guess but Mama is not a humble person at all. She always brags that she’s rich and has two brilliant children - of course I’m not included.

Today, Tok Wan brought me to his orchard. He has a lot of orchards – I think more than 3. We plucked rambutans and mangosteens. I love rambutans and I even ate them on the branch. Tok Wan let me climbed the trees with my other male cousins. I was very happy today. We brought those fruits back home. Tonight, we’re going to the orchard again, this time we’re going to wait for the durians to fall from the tree.

Dear Diary,

We got a lot of durians last night. I caught three with my cousin, Mat Jie. He has a very good ears and he could hear the sound of durian falling from the distance. We brought torchlight and wore something hard on our head so that the durians won’t fall on our head – we will die for sure!

Mak Su taught me how to do the tempoyak but I don’t like to eat tempoyak as I like to eat the raw durians. We took a bath at the nearby river because eating too much durians made our body become hot in the inside. I love swimming in the river. The river is so clean and the water refreshes my body.

We went to the field to fly the kites. Tok Wan taught me how to do a kite with the kite-paper. My kite flew high in the sky and that made me very happy. I wish I could fly like a kite in the sky.

Dear Diary,

I have a wonderful dream last night. I dreamt that I was flying in the sky. But it was scary too because I flew so high that I couldn’t see the land. But I finally woke up when Tok Wan shook my shoulder gently.

We went to the mosque for the Subuh prayer. Today is Friday and Tok Wan usually took all of us to the mosque nearby. We went there by walking. Only Mak Su and my younger cousin stayed at home. I was very sleepy and I slept during the Kuliyyah. Papa never brought me to the mosque before but he always go for Jumaat prayer every Friday with Abang Lan. Sometimes Abang Lan skipped the Jumaat prayer - he said that he’s too tired after playing football with his friends.

Pak Su and Tok Wan are very strict when it comes to the daily prayers. They will scold us if we skipped or prayed in the eleventh hour. All of my cousins are very discipline when it comes to prayers. So, I think I must be like them because Tok Wan said that if we always pray every day, we can go to Heaven. In Heaven, we can live the most wonderful life ever! We can ask Allah anything that we want! I want to go to Heaven when I die one day.

Before going to bed, Kalsom always calmly anticipating what will happen on the next day. Staying with her paternal grandfather was a heaven to her. Even though she only had to stay not more than a week, she was feeling grateful because the days she spent with her grandfather were sacred to her. She was happy and the only people who understand her were them.  

But her happiness subsided as her family arrived on the next day. She knew that her mother wanted to pick her up. Her mother never let her stay at her grandfather’s place for too long – because they were rich. She didn’t understand why her mother hated this side of family so much, especially when her aunt was there. Her aunt, her father’s youngest sister, was a nice and pretty person. She just got married and she loved Kalsom so much. She never saw her mother smiled or talked to her except when she opposed her or boasted about her situation.

Kalsom waved to her grandfather as she got on the car. She was feeling a little bit sad but she’ll meet her grandfather again during the next school holiday. She didn’t fall asleep on the way back home and she had the uncomfortable feeling when her mother called her name suddenly.

“Papa and I were discussing lately, about you. I think it’s time for you to learn the truth,” said Rohaya.

Kalsom frowned. The truth? What was her mother trying to say?

“From this day onward, you’ll be staying with my sister. We have no interested in taking care of you. You wasted our money in paying the school fees. We’ve sent you to the best school but you disappointed us. Then, I realized that you’re not even belong to this family in the first place,” Rohaya continued.

“What do you mean?” asked Kalsom. She had a bad feeling about this. She could feel that her mother was smiling satisfyingly.

“You are not my daughter, Kalsom. I adopted you when you’re a baby. We trained you well to be smart like Azlan and Nazatul but we failed. No, you are not born with good brain. That’s why, Papa and I don’t need you to live with us anymore. Isn’t, Papa?” Rohaya turned to the husband who was driving the car.

“I only have two children. Two is enough,” said Mr. Johari coldly.

Azlan was chuckling while glancing at Kalsom. Nazatul, on the other hand, kept her head down. She didn’t want to look at Kalsom’s face. Kalsom was shocked to hear the horrible news but she didn’t say anything. She felt like she was dreaming but she’s not. She felt nothing – zilch.

They arrived at Rohaya’s sister’s house. Both Mr. Johari and Rohaya got out of the car. Kalsom followed them not long after that. Mr. Johari opened the boot and took Kalsom’s belonging out. Rohaya told her sister that she didn’t need Kalsom anymore so Kalsom had to stay with her.

Rohaya’s sister, Karamah, was shocked to hear what Rohaya said to her. She knew her sister was a bit arrogant but this was far too cruel. Karamah’s husband stared at Mr. Johari. He hated this man from the very beginning. And Rohaya too.

“So long, Kalsom. Don’t ever think that we’re going to see you for the rest of our lives!” Her mother snorted and got into the car. They left Kalsom without saying a word. At that moment, a spark of hatred flashed in Kalsom’s heart.