When I came back from Jitra, I noticed a car was parked just outside my house's compound. I knew straightaway that Wa had arrived.
I tried to find a decent and cheap pen drive in Jitra. The shops were still closed, leaving me with little option than to opt for a Chinese shop. They priced the new Kingston Traveler 4 Gig at RM35.
I asked Ijal whether this ranged between a reasonable price...and he thought it was. But I decided against buying it after noticing a KFC outlet offers my sought after WiFi access. WiFi is such a rarity in Jitra...unlike in Penang.
Wa...or Wa Doyah as my mom preferred to call her, is my mother's only sister. My late grandma married twice...and my mother came from grandma’s second marriage. They shared the same mother with different father. Step-sister...or whatever they called it. But mother loved her sister fondly.
Wa brought along her son. Her son is married to the niece of the famed Dato' Dr Haron Din. I was still confused why the heck my family branches were all somehow connected to PAS' top echelon. PAS deputy president, Nasharuddin Mat Isa is married to one of my aunt (not my real aunt...but somehow closely related) Ustaz Nasha regularly delivered Hari Raya sermons in my village's Musollah.
I dreaded to think if, I repeat if, I am ordained to marry this Islamic type lady in the future. Coming from a PAS' loyalist surrounding, it’s a wonder how I deviated from the tradition.
But my cousin is moderately attired. No head-to-toe covering. I am not against 'Burqa' type of lady...I'm against 'Burqa' follower who thinks they are more pious and more Islamic than the rest of us. Their behavior smacks of holier than thou attitude...which I hate a lot.
I took a bath, prepared myself and sat around them. I listened carefully to every details of their conversation. It was a joy listening to people who spoke the same native language as mine.
Outsiders often mislead that northern people speak one same dialect. It was not.
Wa and my mother were hailed from Perlis. Their dialect was a bit different from us Kedahan's, although my mother successfully assimilated through her long stay here. I was born in Kangar, but I regard Kedah as my native state, Perlis as my second state, Malacca and Penang as my third and fourth state respectively.
I remember father once chided my mother for calling a catapult (or slingshot...whatever they call it) as teghede. Father told mother that the correct term was teghebe. Later, I discovered that catapult was sometimes referred to as teghede in Perlis. Mother was not wrong after all.
There was a time in the past when I was in my relatives' village in the rural part of Arau. One of the elders there greeted me
"Mekala balik...kelih dok...?"
It sounded funny in Kedah...but that's the beauty of our dialect.
Father told one of my cute cuddly cousins to call me Pak Ngah. I wondered why Pak Ngah? Why not Pak Chaq? After all, I am the eldest.
It was then I remembered the lanky Aslan, my other cousins in Langkawi. Even though he is younger than me (turning 17 this year...living alone in Langkawi as his father is living out of retirement in Kangar. Drives around with Waja...quite a flamboyant boy) but he is the son of my mother's eldest brother. He is the rightful owner of the title Pak Chaq.
We had a simple lunch together moments afterwards. I seated with my father, uncle and my younger brother. The weather was good...it was a cloudy afternoon. I listened tentatively as father and uncle chatted away, encompassing various issues that were close to their heart.
I don't know when this kind of moment will happen again. Maybe I should spend more time at home...I've been away far too long...