Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Reminiscence of Atuk


One of the terms used by malays to refer to their grandfathers. there are lots of other terms like Tok, Tok Wan, or Yayi ... yayi is how i refer to my grandfather on my father's side. yayi is actually a term used by the Jawas... yes, i hail from Jawa (Java)bloodline. also chinese from my mother's side eventhough i don't have the slightest chinese feature in my face. but if you see my mother, then you'd believe me.

both of my beloved grandfather passed on the same Hijrah year. My atuk on 1st muharram and my yayi on the 30th ramadhan. i cant really recall the georgian calendar date. eversince they passed, i thought mostly about my atuk rather than my yayi. not that i don't love my yayi. it's just that my atuk has the most rarest unconventional way of loving us. i admit that atuk n i never had that sort of bond that people think as unbreakable. he also never had the same kind of bond with my mother. my grandfather was a very quiet man. quiet but easily provoked. a single noise would easily raise his blood pressure up to the ceiling. a single silly mistake from us would easily get a lengthy lecture from him. a single question about the phrase '17th century' would make you sit with him explaining the meaning for 2 dreadful hours. and i'm talking about the phrase '17th century' ... luckily, i didn't ask him about 'where do babies come from?' i'd probably be wondering when he was going to finish.

my grandfather was a heavy smoker. and he does cross-stitch. yes... hmmm, i wonder what do you think of that? yes, he does cross-stitch. very huge and intricate stitching works. i think i'll paste on of his works in one of my blogs later. most of the walls in my house are covered with his stitching works. everytime we came to visit him, we would always find him (shirtless and in his 'kain pelekat') at the living/dining table, stitching and sometimes stop to blow a cigarette or stroke his cat. yup, that stern old man has a soft spot for cats. he has this one favourite cat named 'pussy'. one day, pussy died and to my biggest surprise, my atuk couldn't even stop talking about pussy for days and without crying. not to reveal my atuk's weakness wutsoever but this is a side of him that i thought i would never see.

he would spend most of the time on that living/dining table if he was still alive today. sitting very quietly, stitching and smoking. he only talks when you talk to him first. sometimes, he would quietly get up and go outside to clean the fish tank or fix his antique grandfather's clock. he dislikes people touching his stuffs. if he placed that certain item there for his own rational reason, then don't move it. according to him, it would disrupt how his system works. that showed that he was a very disciplined man or to some people, a very petty man. so most of the time, we would leave him alone with his work.

eventhough he was the type that didn't show affection- i'm not sure if he's not fond of affection or he doesn't know how to show it- but there are times that he became grandfatherly to us. the signs of affection were so rare that when he showed them, the feeling of joy and loved would never leave you. like it did to me until now. the little things he did still bring a smile to my face. like taking my siblings and i to the playground, eventhough the likeliness of it to happen is once a year... like taking me for a motorcycle ride around his neighbourhood. like giving 'duit raya' to us... even when he gave the lengthy explanation about '17th century' to me.

for the past few days, i thought of him. i'm not sure if i missed him. because he and i were never close. but the memories of his affections never left me. i remembered every single of it. i never questioned why he was the way he was but i'm glad he was that way. when he left, not a single person wasn't deeply affected. for a whole week i found my mother staring into space and cried. for a whole week, my mother said she didn't get a chance to say goodbye. at the time of my atuk's death, my mother was out buying things for him and when she came back, he was already gone. but i told my mother, perhaps my atuk loved her the most (although he never showed it) that's why he left before my mother came home. because i'm sure he didn't want to see my mother sad when he leaves. my mother had tried her best in hope that my atuk revived but somehow, it's better this way.

so, my fellow muslims, help me 'sedekah' al-fatihah to my late grandfathers and my grandmother.

The least person you hope for affection may be the person who affects you the most.

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