Thursday, June 14, 2007

It’s about the journey not the destination...

“We plan not to sleep until the time we are ready to start our journey” Sam was acting as a spokesperson on behalf of them two, Edrin and him, begging me and wife for consents for them to stay awake until such time.

“Why should you?” I tested him up for reasons, acknowledged their excitements for the trip that make them hard to fall asleep.

“We will be very sleepy by then and will have good sleep in the car throughout the journey…” He reasoned up.

“But... nothing compared to sleeping in your own bed, you’d wake up fresh and ready to roll” I said.

By 1:30 am, both of them playfully lined up next to my bed singing a chorus line of a song I can hardly recall its title, mixed with their giggles, in high spirits for being responsible for waking me up.

Close to 2:30 am, we hit the road back to Kelantan. Just when we were about to be out of our place in Saujana Utama, Berlingo from the neighborhood called on my mobile, checking on our whereabouts, thought we were already some hundreds of kilometers away from Sungai Buluh while he was only an hour away to reach his destination in Perak. If it was a competition, it would’ve been an unfair one. He started early and had much closer point to reach whilst my Point B was over on another side of the country and still had to endure some 6 more hours of battle.

We could’ve had started early but I had a funny reason behind it. It was just simply that, by the time we arrived in the morning, it would be just nice for breakfast with choices of nasi belauk, nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and kuehs over in the home state. As a matter of fact, plenty of those are selling in Kuala Lumpur too but nothing beats the feeling of having it there while being encircled with nostalgic settings, hearing proverbial phonetics and seeing clannish faces if not due to the taste altogether.

Fara had all the necessary tidbits and morsels readily bought early that evening the time I had the gas tank filled up to the brink at Petronas gas station in our area. But it was left untouched throughout the journey because time was rather not right to nibble on it, except for the drinks. Don’t talk about the boys. They were fast asleep. As good as the time when we passed the toll gate in Gombak leading to Karak Highway, both of them were already in their forty winks.

Such a pleasant yet uncanny sensation could be felt with the ghostly sight of thick virgin jungle on the sides of the highway. Those years Karak Highway was not as good as it is today. Those days it was only an ethereal darkness that could be seen. More often than not, we had to heave at the tail of fully loaded trucks and trailers crawling uphill – with one truck overtaken just to meet another one up front – and it was endless. Eight-hour journey was a blessing if we could get. Unlike now, it cuts down many hours of traveling time.

With my wife as a “navigator” on my side, it helps me a lot to pass my time driving, sometimes with her “recorded voiceover” that plays a thousand times before warning me over my driving. She in the passenger seat would hit on the brake much earlier and more often than I do, even she’d take the cornering before I actually apply it with my steering wheel. Hehehe… I always tease her on this. Every so often I would ask her to take a nap if necessary but she’s trained not to fall asleep while I am behind the wheel. It is largely due to my robust way of driving during my younger days with some ugly incidents that involved her in the record that in turn created such dread in her.

Sometimes we would just talk over the same topics we used to talk tens of times before – about places we passed through, about our kids, past traveling we had, the experience we had in kampung and so forth, even about our hamsters we left at home. Now and again we’d also laugh at the same jokes we used to laugh at before – occasionally on certain refined and recycled shaggy dog story, it turned out to be more hilarious than it was before.

Certain landscapes and settings of places passed had drifted my mind back to the time traveling to Kelantan when my kids were still babies – a thousand stories to tell. Nothing special about the cut-off boulders to make way for the road but it reminds me of little Sam back then when it fascinated him, even matched up to the like of a chocolate bar in his discernment. It was not pretty when Fara as a baby erroneously threw up in a car but it serves as a beautiful thing to reminisce. It may be sound like a hustle when we would be on the look for the right place to stop to change diapers. But I was always a proud father carrying a baby in my arms to the toilet at the mosque somewhere amidst the jungle. Stopping at the safe area with the hazard lights on at the roadside to prepare baby formula with hot water in the thermos could be less phenomenal as anyone with small babies would do but those images are still vivid in my recollection.

Glancing in the mirror to see my kids sleeping in the backseat made my heart filled. With the kind of cogitation I was entertaining in my head, I could see their entire life in a matter of seconds. They are at where they are now and some years to go before the mirror would disappointingly reflect an empty seat in the rear, but hopefully not with an empty heart – for I would then be proud of raising them up to be humans – to lead their own lives somewhere.

GAB: It is a journey that lays ahead the destination. Any journey we embark on for that matter is irreplaceable. It only happens once. And it is one-off.

Friday, June 08, 2007



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