“hfdlhksewqjpoko…..mak!! mak!! ajfga;g;l’;”
if you don’t understand it, so did i. my mentally-ill uncle came ruching out of the house and started telling me in his own language something bad has happened. i was shocked, i had never seen him panic before since he was mentalli ill a few years ago. however, i could make out what he was trying to say; something really bad has happened to my grandmother. i quickly parked my car and ran into the house only to see my aunties crying in her room. i asked what happened. my neighbour whose checking her breathing said, “her breathing is very weak”.
“let’s go and get a doctor here. drive me to the clinic” my neighbour, Rani, told me.
so i sped off with rani and her son in my car. “what happenened to pati??? is she going to be ok??” clearly the small boy was very afraid. he has been babysitted by my grandma and has since became a member of my family. he had no time to be the little devil he has always been. he’s worried.
“dah tak ada dah. maaf (she’s gone. sorry)”
my uncles and aunties started to cry. in fact, everyone in the room cried including the neighbours. i was the only one left with dry eyes. deep down inside, i thanked god for her demise. it’s time for her suffering to end. i called my mum and asked her to call my dad who is in hawaii. later, i sent the doctor home. when i was on my journey home, janet jackson’s song, “feedback” was played on Fly FM. then i was thinking, my grandma will no longer give any feedback after this. it is kinda ironic.
everyone rushed back except my dad. he could not find a flight home in time. it was his turn to organise the funeral but he could not make it. so, my uncle had to do it. my grandma’s elder sister was the first to come and cry on my grandma’s body followed by other relatives. bury her tomorrow, my mum said. clearly she wants it done fast. my dad cannot make it in time, so why bother delaying her funeral.
so i skipped school and informed my secretary, jueanne and asked her to tell the teachers that the most notable absentee is absent for a valid reason. there were lots of people who came and pay their last respects. i didn’t know that i have that many relatives. heck, they even know about my existence but sadly it was not the other way around.
the one most badly affected by this tragedy is none other than the small boy.
the shirt he wore displays our house number here in KL. it’s not like he chose to wear this shirt on my grandma’s funeral (he can’t even wear his shoes correctly), it’s just a coincidence. this boy is babysitted by my grandma shortly after he was born. she was paid at first but she decided not to accept any payment after a while as she has treated him like one of her grandchildren. that is why he comes over everyday right after kindergarten.
he is deeply attached to my grandma, my aunty and my mum. so losing my grandma was quite a bitter pill to swallow. during the proceedings of the funeral, he held my arm tightly and didn’t let go.
my grandma is quite a popular figure in the area. i’m not sure why. so when my mum, the boy and i went to the nearest shop to buy sweets (my mum promised the boy sweets), taiko, the shopkeeper, decided that the drinks we purchased are on him. heck, he even stuff the small boy’s pockets with free sweets. that boy always go to his shop and get the same sweets so taiko knows which sweets to stuff in his pockets.
this is where my grandma frequent during the last months of her life. thank you, doctors who took care of her even though you knew she was on borrowed time.
guess i didn’t follow the rules in the hospital.
a lot of people came and witness the ceromony including our new human resource minister, datuk s.subramaniam. not kidding. i don’t have a picture to prove it but he’s friends with my uncle who lives in segamat, johor. came all the way from johor, i thank you. i didn’t cry throughout the two days. i never thought i would cry. i was wrong. the moment they close the coffin, i broke down and shed tears. i hugged my mum. i realised i will never see her again.
i have never seen such a beautiful flower arrangement in my life. clearly it befits my grandma’s colourful life. i din;t actually wanted to take photos on that day. i was not sure whether i can take them. have you ever seen people taking photos of funerals (except celebrities)?? then my uncle told me to take it. it was our business, he said. he even scolded me for not snapping the moment where he shook hands with the minister. so i took three pictures only as it was near the end.
i will never forget my grandma. i have some regrets of not celebrating deepavali with her last year. i celebrated with my friends in sitiawan as it was a week before SPM. how would i know she would be gone this year. i always remembered that she will always give money whenever i stop the ice cream man. i would always remember the funny ointments she gave when i was in pain. i would always remember the comparisons she made with my father. i would always remember her shouting at people when she’s not happy. i would always remember the times where i would stupidly ask my grandma “still not finished?? what episode is this??” whenever she watches her favourite tamil dramas on astro (thank you, astro for giving us vaanavil and sun tv). i would always remember that you woke me up before 9 on whenever i’m there because you hate people who wakes up late. there are more things i would remember of you.
she was buried beside my grandfather at our family graveyard. not that we own the land but most of the deceased family members are buried there.
on tuesday, a day after she was buried, my youngest cousin came and asked, “pati mana??? (where’s grandma??)”. my mum told him that she took a flight and went travelling. we won’t see her for a very long time, she told him. small kids are innocent and easily cheated. then the small boy placed a stick he found by the roadside on the altar, beside my grandma’s photo. he said when she was alive, she would always find a stick to beat him. so in order to make things easier, he placed it there. that small boy can sometimes touch your heart.
her death can be considered a blessing from god. at least she found the exit from her pain and suffering. try staring at the ceiling for almost a year. if i was bedridden, i would ask the doctor to end my life.
so goodbye, pati. hope you’ll go to heaven and meet up with tata and mo-appa. may your soul rest in peace