One More Hour
September 16, 2009

A layer of remorseful sorrow blanketed my soul as I set my eyes on the scene. My heart, shatters into a million little pieces of grief at the disheartening sight of children laying flat on the ground, looking seemingly devoid of any hope. Some crawled aimlessly around my legs while others, slouching on their backs, mumbled what seemed to be their last words in life. Images from the tragic scenes of Hotel Rwanda flashed by me. Perhaps, just as Don Cheadle in the movie, I was sent in as a savior to these helpless young beings.

Puzzled as I was, in their eyes I found the answer. None of them stared in a different direction. And as I gazed along the same path, leading to clock on the wall, it was clear that I wasn't their savior. For she was in the kitchen, in the form of our lovely grandmother, preparing the evening's feast while conveniently 'comforting' my little cousins by telling them that there's "only an hour to go"... for the past three hours.

It's been a good few weeks now since the beginning of the fasting month and we're all well into the big family's buka puasa session at my grandparents' in Kg. Pandan which, for your information, is nowhere near Rwanda. With the incredible blend of scents emanating from the mountain of plates -- from my uncles and aunts' home kitchen to the dinner table -- it wasn't too long before I found myself hobbling pointlessly together with the kids. The closer we got to Maghrib, the slower it was for the arms of the clock to move. Time simply stood still.

When we finally reached the final two minutes before the azan on TV, the kids held their own countdown, one memorized Ramadhan ad after another; tightly clutching on to their drinks in the process. And rightfully, the clock struck 716pm. While the adults calmly minced on some dates and sipped in plain water, their young ones were deservedly gulping into glass after glass of their favorite glucose-induced drinks. During which, yours truly struggled to keep his plate empty. Possibly still seen as the growing boy that he was 10 years ago by the relatives, the food just kept on coming my way.

At the end of the day, it was gleaming smiles all around.

Which is what, at least to me, the month is all about. A time of reflection and a period where your patience is being put to the ultimate test. I could barely recall the number of times I get downright groggy over having to face last night's dinner at 5am under the appetite of an anorexic supermodel. The number of times I had to hold my anger in from belting out the usual curse words when I'm on the road. The number of times I howled a huge, stretching yawn during an afternoon meeting at the office.

The many things that I've overlooked since last Ramadhan, which was also the last time I had any sense of appreciation for the smaller things in life. The joy of wolfing down on a plate of nasi lemak in the morning. The joy of chugging down a cold bottle of Gatorade under the hot sun. The joy of basically having the ability to consume food, for energy, for the things that we plan to do in life. Even the simplest of things.

And it's with such realization that I managed to utilize the past, rather sedentary, month to plan out the many things that I've been meaning to do. As much as I used to dread the fasting month as a child, time has matured me into seeing it in a much clearer perspective. The many underlying messages that the holy month brings are only for us to unearth. And it is, quite amazing how you are brought to those discoveries. For which, I couldn't be thankful enough. Hopefully my little cousins could feel the same as well someday.

On that note, before I sign off for the week-long break, my sincerest apologies for any wrongdoings in the past and may you have a brilliant Raya ahead.

No apologies for the picture below though. I ran out of decent ones.




Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

About
  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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