I met an old friend recently. We have not met for almost 15 years. As I walk to greet him at the hotel’s foyer, I saw a dashing not so young man in his office suit. We exchanged pleasantries and left behind our old adolescents’ behaviors. I could not helped but to see how age has finally caught up with us. He has lost most of his hair and my own is also residing at a lightning speed.
Being here in Kuala Lumpur, I would forever be the sweet 27 year old man but the reality really bites when I stepped foot back in my kampung. I have seen how was my newly born niece with her tiny fingers has grown to be a young girl and her young twins siblings are now running around, where else I felt they were just born yesterday.
In kampung, the passing of old people are common. I would ask my mother about old aunties and uncles of kampung folks and sadly most of them are now gone. That is also tell-tale sign that I am fast becoming old myself. My former school mates and old flames are vastly different from what they used to looked like and here I am still wearing alarmingly short pants with a bright red sleeveless shirt. I had to be reminded by my mother each time that when I was getting ready to pay a visit to any of my elders.
“Wear your long pants” my mother would yell on top of her lungs. Yes mak, I would oblige.
As selfish we are with the growing concern of our own feel and outlooks, we tend to forget that our own parents are rapidly age as the time goes by. We would rather supplement ourselves with the best of vitamins to maintain our vitality instead of looking at them and to count how many black hair that they have left on the their heads. Mak used to spring herself from the floor just like a live prawn without water and look at her now, she got to gingerly hold both tights and push herself up. I can easily mistaken ayah (father) for my late grand father with his platinum hair. Both are becoming gray, old and vulnerable. The ultimate departures of these two great people of my life would be such a blow and it pierces my heart, breaks into pieces each time the thought of losing them crossed my mind.
Not so distance years back, I used to call those waiters and waitresses as abang and kakak ( big brothers and sisters) and now I had to surrender myself to the fact that they are mostly younger than we. When those little kids requested for sweets, they would show their gratitude by saying ” thank you uncle”. These naive and unpretentious kids were not biased and addressed you as they saw it. Factually, here is another reminder that I have lost my youthful looking with the passing tide of time.
Yet, I am still wearing my alarming short pants and a bright red sleeveless shirt. Those of my peers in kampung are already with their white skull caps when the night approaches and I am still gelling my hair even though not much left there anymore. Do I feel ashamed of myself? Not really.
Me, myself sometimes was being comforted by younger friends who praised on my youthful look but could not helped asking myself whether or not they are telling me the truth? Or were they simply complimented me for the sake of respect or giving me a courteous gesture?
Where is that sejadah(muslim’s prayer mat)? It is nicely folded, used quite rarely and I hope, I will use it more frequently after this posting. I hope.
Is it time already for me to submit myself to the obvious requirements of being old? I am not ready but heading that way for sure despite the fact, my dancing shoes are well-worn and still cucuk langit (fun at the discotheques) with the rest of my dancing queens.
Ali is excluded!