So there I was in Bangsar, having dinner with a friend when suddenly an old disheveled grandma carrying a basket of tidbits came to our table. She would walk up and down the Telawi Street selling her stuff. That was a pity sight. Doesn’t she have any kids that can take care of her? Why put her on the streets like that? We bought her whole basket for RM35 and told her to get a taxi back home.
Then I kept thinking about my late grandmother. She was the grand old BIATCH in my kampung. She single-handedly raised my uncle and my dad after her husband died in the early 1950’s. Everyone was afraid to cross her path. Denying her would mean getting a death wish and your ass kicked even after you’re dead. She was loud and fierce but I love her so much. My fondest memory of her was when I was about 9 years old. I was schooling in my kampung in Melaka for about 1 semester coz we just moved from Sabah and waiting for my dad to relocate back to Kuala Lumpur. My grandma sold nasi lemak in the school canteen at that time. So naturally, I’d get my daily nasi lemak from her during recess. But, she kept on hugging me n kissing me everytime I see her at the canteen. I really did not understand why. We were living in the same kampung house at that time, I would see her after school at home every fucking day, – why would she kiss me and hug me as if I went missing for several years like that?
After awhile, I’d have enough of my friends making fun of me, calling me Grandma’s Boy etc. and stopped seeing her during recess. Instead, I bought fried mee hoon from another hawker. But it was still in the same canteen. So I had to dodge and crawl just to buy that 10 sen fried mee hoon without my grandma seeing me. Yes, all food was 10 sen at that time.
On the second day right after recess, a rookie teacher was teaching English with a Nazir (appraiser) sitting behind our class trying to appraise the rookie teacher’s performance. Apparently, my grandma was worried about my absence in the canteen that she had searched the entire school from class to class for me. As I was sitting at the back row beside the door, she saw me and surprised the entire class (teacher and Nazir included) with a packet of nasi lemak for me.
Grandma : Cikgu, cucu saya ni lapar tak makan lagi
Me : Eh nek, kita dah makan lah! (embarrassed)
Grandma : Bila masa ngko makan? Tadi takde pun!
English teacher : Eh kenapa ni makcik?
Grandma : Ni ha budak ni dah lapar dah tadi tak makan
(unpacking the nasi lemak on my desk)
English teacher : A’ah ye lah (baffled, but trying to look cool in
front of the Nazir)
Me : Tak nak la nek (I wanna crawl under a rock and
Grandma : Tak pe makan makan.. Nenek dah bukak kan ni
I was nearly crying while eating the nasi lemak with my hand…
I thought she would leave the class when I started eating but no, she did not. She kept on talking to herself the entire time I was eating. Her voice was even louder than the teacher’s.
Grandma : Haaa.. makan, makan Cucu aku ni pandai! Rajin
cucu aku ni! Ngko nak air? Nenek bawak air botol
So on and so forth. The ridicule I got from friends from that day onwards was nearly unbearable.
My grandma died in 2003, leaving 2 sons, 8 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. She was 79.
There wasn’t a time when I didnt think of her while eating nasi lemak 🙂
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