Friday, August 24, 2012

The RM37 journey - Part II

I still wish that I had scaled mountains, and the deepest seas to visit my teachers in Kota Bharu.

I had thought of driving to KB. But with Akmal still busy with his assignments, and Arif's flight a bit too close for comfort for them to be driving with me, it made no sense for me to be driving, especially if there were less than 2 people in the car.

So instead, I took the easy way out, and paid RM37 for a seat with Air Asia. The return flight had cost me RM40.

"Who do you want to visit tomorrow? Let me see who's here - Cikgu Wan Nasihah is here. You know Ustaz Ridhwan or not? He lives not far from cikgu Wan Nasihah," she said, thoughtfully.

Yes, of course I remember him. I even remember that he was from University of Airlangga. I remember him because he taught us Islamic study obviously. In fact, I remember the car that he drove. It has an AR plate - a Perak registered car.

So when one day I found him washing his car at the school compound, I approached him. "Ustaz, ustaz pakai kereta nama saya - Abdul Rahman," I jokingly teased him.

"Bukan, AR tu Abang Ridhwan," he replied, matter-of-factly. He was quick witted. That's Ustaz Ridhwan for me.

I told Cikgu Nik that I didn't know Ustaz masih ada, and yes I would love to meet up with him.

But in the end, time was just too short to see everybody. I had to take a raincheck.

The day before in the car of a junior at school (Hiday, a lecturer at UMK) on the way back after visiting Cikgu Norbibi, I had talked to Cikgu Wan Tik over the phone. She was to leave to KL the next day for a medical appointment at HKL. I last talked to her perhaps in 2006. She was supposed to come to my Raya open house, but at the very last minute she called to apologized for not being to make it due to a thunderstorm brewing in her area.
Here is the picture of Cikgu Wan Tik and I
taken in 2003 in PJ

"Rahman, I have read your blog that you had written about me," she said, "you had written that I was (one of your) favourite geography teacher."

"Oh and you said that I looked younger than you," she told me teasingly. I laughed.

Yes, I am sure I had written that about her. I had a picture taken with her at a lunch gathering in PJ and I commented that she looked much younger than her own student!

Earlier at the hospital while chatting with Cikgu Nik, a junior (KB1992) had commented on how we looked like we were of similar age.

But I disagree. Totally. Cikgu Nik may be amused, but I was offended by that remark! I thought it missed the mark by at least a decade.

I thought I looked older than her, to be honest!

White hairs all around, and losing most of them too. A face beaten up by the stress of life. The story of my life - so what else is new? ;)

So by noon (Thursday 23) we were at Cikgu Wan Nasihah's abode. She lives right next to the Sultan's palace - literally, so she can be considered a royal neighbour. That's how cikgu Nik Faridah has been teasing Cikgu Wan Nasihah.

I should be able to find her house the next time I am in KB. Just go and find the sultan's palace!

Cikgu Wan Nasihah had, a couple years ago, had a brain surgery, so she walked in a robotic way. She can't make a gradual turn. But she is strong and can still walk with little problem. May be with a little help, at times.

Other than that she is fine.
The blogger with his teachers from the 70s. Love
the tapai pulut.

The beauty of being the teacher to MRSM students that many of her medical needs were/are attended by her (former) students who are now surgeons and specialists in many (medical) fields, and they gave  their best treatments to their teachers, like Cikgu Wan and Nor Bibi.

That's the beauty of being a teacher, a privilege that I would never be accorded in my lifetime.

So many stories were told by her about that privilege when she was doing her operations, and medical check ups. Their (former) students were always grateful and obliging to their teachers.

As an engineer, a veteran oil and gas engineer, I would never be as useful to my teachers. I can never return their deeds in a direct manner, unlike my doctor colleagues. I do know a thing or two about oil and gas and chemical engineering, but I guess at this stage of their lives, I am quite useless.

For that, I feel so small, so miniscule. Again.

(If you want to know how to calculate fire and explosion at an oil and gas facility, do let me know. I'll design a safe system for you. Or if you found oil in your backyard, and you want to distill it into diesel and kerosene portions, I'll do it for you for free. I'll simulate the process for you in a simulator. Hahaha, pretty useless me, huh?)

We didn't leave until Cikgu Nik telling Cikgu Wan that Arif is now a pilot with AirAsia and hence got cheap flight ticket to come to Kota Bharu.

She looked at me in amazement; not that she was surprised that I got a pilot son, she was more surprised that I already have a 'working' son.

"You are old, Rahman," she exclaimed, smilingly. I just laughed - I did not try to explain; that goes without saying!

After nearly two hours, I bade her goodbye, promising that I would return to visit her again one of these days. We headed to Pengkalan Chepa to Cikgu Nik's house; and closer to the wedding venue I was supposed to attend. We weren't there that long - the clock was ticking fast, but I was served quiche and Starbucks coffee.

It was four-ish when I arrived at Hafiz's wedding. For some reasons, I thought he didn't recognize me until Cikgu Nik waved at him. The couple looked resplendent in their wedding dresses; memang sepadan.
Hafiz and NOrizan on their auspicious day with the blogger.
at Taman Bumi, Pengkalan Chepa on Thursday 23/8/12.

I was wondering initially when I saw the invitation card - it says the wedding feast starts at 1 pm and ends at 6 pm. I thought it was a tad too long, but since it says so, I took my time with my heavy schedule to come to the wedding reception, and sure enough, tables were still nearly fully occupied even at that late hour. In KL or the west coast state, I am sure all the tables and food would be gone by then!

I have to mention that the it was food galore at the wedding. Laksa, laksam, two kind of buburs and obviously nasik minyak with a dalca gearbox - you would not get that anywhere. 

"You eat all that, Rahman?" cikgu Nik asked me.

"I love the sum-sum tulang and the internal organs - I eat everything. The liver, the peruts, the sum-sum tulang!" I told her, as I was shaking the gearbox against my plate to get the sum-sum tulang out.

I am sure she cringed upon hearing the bad eating habits of her (former) student.

"We only live once, Cikgu," I told her, laughingly, and trying hard not to sound cliche. After all, she was and still is an English teacher.

One thing about Kelantan and Kelantanese that I like - they practically knew each other and everybody. The same with Cikgu Nik and the hosts - apparently they were schoolmates, albeit separated by a year of schooling. She knew many guests at the wedding reception, when this blogger knew no one else other than the groom.

The only thing I found surprising is that she did not find out that somehow, somewhere they were related. The last time she met with strangers in a hospital in my presence, she found out that they were not strangers afterall.

They were in fact related.

That's Kelantan for you.


I reached the airport at 5.55 pm, barely an hour before the flight. A tad too close to the departure. I was worried about not getting a seat; the next flight was at 2155 hours, another 4 hours away. Cikgu Nik was also rushing as she has another guest to entertain.

That's her - an ever willing host. God bless you Cikgu. She is heading to Spain with Cikgu Somchit in about two weeks. Post many pictures in FB, cikgu, and please do it while in Spain. Would love to enjoy the pictures fresh from the camera so to speak. Cikgu, I'll lend you my DSLR for your trip. It is worth bringing that heavy camera, for the memories. Let me know if you want to bring it with you to Spain.

These are views from my RM40 seat back to KL (RM3 more than the incoming journey).

Good bye Pengkalan Chepa.
Pengkalan Chepa as we departed
Goodbye Sabak
I presume this is Sabak beach
Goodbye Kota Bharu.

Looking towards Kota Bharu
Until we meet again.

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