To some others, the real meaning of Aidilfitri may be lost, but that doesn’t mean the celebration is any less. We all rejoice, visit each other, ask for forgiveness from one another, and we eat all the ketupat and rending on the table. It is a day so meaningful that even those who do not fast and observe Ramadhan can still find a reason to celebrate it at a scale grander than those who do.
Children enjoy it the most I think, donning their colourful baju raya and going from house to house collecting duit raya. I hope parents do not let their young ones wander out too far, for we never know what evil lurks in a corner somewhere.
I will be going back north to my mother’s house in Alor Setar, a quiet unassuming place where cars travel so slow they cause KL drivers to go mad and start waving fingers, until the KLites manage to overtake and discover that it is an octogenarian Atuk who is driving at a pace which is probably just a little bit faster than a turtle jogging in the morning.
Having gotten over the Atuk, you drive further ahead, only to be stopped by a cow crossing the highway, while in a distance a BMW seems to be traversing the padi fields next to the highway at breakneck speed.
Such is the colours of Alor Setar road. One that hasn’t change for many many years and I suspect, will not change anytime soon.
I will be bored out of my skull over there, to be honest. Everything seems to be moving so slowly you’d think you’re in twilight zone or something. Immediately after passing the toll plaza at Alor Setar Utara, the reality sinks in, what with the traffic light at the Jalan Sultanah – Jalan Langgar junction letting only 3 cars go before it turns red again, and the single lane road all the way back to Mum’s place that lets no one overtake. Honking and swearing and waving fingers won’t do you any good here-- the cars in front of you just won’t go any faster. Maybe it’s the Atuk again.
At least there’s one thing that I can look forward to though —the ketupat and rendang and all the yummylicious food readily available everywhere I go. I’m already smacking my lips at the thought of that!
My nieces and nephews will be expecting, or rather demanding loads of duit raya. The Minah Bakhil that I am, I only give to my nieces and nephews and usually do not give a hoot about other kids visiting my house, be it neighbours or cousins or whomever. Being the youngest child in the family has its advantages-- I can always hide behind my 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Let them give duit raya to all these other kids while I pretend not to notice, unless of course, if my Mum would be ever so vigilant and remind me to do the same, at which point I would have to feign forgetfulness.
“Eh, luckily Mum reminded me, I almost forgot to give duit raya. Here you go little fella”.
..and the child looks at me, almost angrily, “Singgit aje?”
Maaf Zahir & Batin.