Thursday, January 25, 2007

Norita's Wedding and a journey of nostalgic fool

Nov. 29, 2003

Our plan was to pack everything for home and travel to Temerloh for Norita's wedding before backtracking to KL. The weather was gloomy as usual but I woke up early nonetheless. As soon as daylight broke in I resurrected my old Komander Muda kawat diRaja voices and yelled everyone up. Of course there were few ears that were immuned to this that required personal yelling sessions. After breakfast everyone went around doing their own things – packing and collecting flowers, fruits, vegetables and such to take home to decorate, or at least trying to, our new home. It so happened that my sister, her family and my mum were also going to Temerloh to a different wedding that morning, so everyone was busy. Around 11 am we left Kg Gali Tengah, Raub after saying goodbye to everyone.

I took the Mempaga route and came out at Lanchang. On nearing Mentakab due to the continuous rain I made a pit stop at one Petronas Gas Station. As I made the turn into Temerloh - Jerantut Highway, I can call it a highway now as the road is excellently new, I was amazed by the changes. The other main reason why I persisted in going to the wedding was to take my family along this route. I could still remember vividly in 1975 or 1976 when my brother and I passed along this route to Jerantut from Kuantan. Way back then if you were going back to Raub from Kuantan you only had two options. Either you take a taxi to Temerloh and continue with the journey 'naik bas loncat- loncat' to Bentong and subsequently to Raub. The other option, which was our most frequent – the reason because my father got his traveling warrant just for this route, was to take the so called Kuantan – Jerantut `Express' through Maran, and all the Jengka precincts complete with all the winding and river crossings all that you want. There was indeed one portion of the journey that we had to cross Pahang river on a pulled ferry. It was scary the first time but we got to enjoy it after few times. This whole journey took us almost three quarter of the day and it could make the toughest weak when you get to Jerantut, especially if you were the type that has this traveling sickness, which was common back then due to poor transportation and road condition. I mean when you alighted at Jerantut your knees started to shake, sometimes violently, that you need support just to stand upright. As for us we got immuned to all of these and at the age of 9 I am already veteran of such journey.

The main consolation of traveling by buses back then was the journey really presented you with the best opportunity to look at different, sometimes remote, places. The best time was when you were traveling during fruits seasons around July – August. You could see all colours through out the journey as well as locals selling their produce along the road. I miss all that now.

That particular journey with my brother was the first trip home on our own. The reason our parents allowed us to do that because a different bus company had just started a real express route from Kuantan to Jerantut via Termerloh along the just completed Temerloh – Jerantut trunk road passing Kerdau, Kuala Krau and all. It is still fresh in my mind when we left Kuantan in the early morning and got to Temerloh – Jerantut stretch by midmorning with the glorious sunshine glimmering within the new Express Bus. I set in front of the entrance and had a full view of the road ahead. Another advantage of sitting there was you got to see all the beautiful country girls on the road and when they got down. Really, the best part was the view of the country that I am not able to see anymore.

Now, as we moved along I can only describe the scenery to my children. I have been for along time meant to take my family along this route and Norita's wedding invitation presented me with the opportunity, albeit until Kuala Krau. Nonetheless, it was a discovery for all of us.

Around 1 pm we reached Kuala Krau town and I missed the railway station and overshot the town. I turned back and found out that the railway station just snuck nicely on the side. A nondescript location but no doubt the centre of activities during old days as for the place like this was used to evolve around the train schedule. Also, this is another perspective of life from the other side of the train. For so many years during my younger days Kuala Krau was just another station during my twice a year trip home. Again, looking up from the railway station is another life that you had not expected at all.

As expected finding Norita's house was quite easy – going into a turn I asked somebody in front of the mosque and soon I was parking my truck beside the gate of Sek Men Ugama Darun Naim. There were already crowd going in and out of the premise and we walked navigated by our instinct. Our instinct was right only that we had entered from the back instead of the front.
Nevertheless, we were there and it reminded me of a friend's house in Butterworth that had and address, Rumah Tepi Klinik Bidan, by no means I am commenting the state of Norita's resident but more of and association on my part. A home is still a home to someone, alien to others but the best place on earth for the resident and it is true of Norita's house. Since, I could not locate any familiar faces we started to eat. While eating I observed the surrounding and sense that there was something going on and from my observation I correctly identified Norita's father, mother and brother. I continued eating and the food was something you could not get in KL. After eating we waited for few minutes, as I knew the pengantin was on his way and about half an hour later he still didn't show up. That was when I made a decision to leave, sorry Norita I can't wait as I was to drive back to KL immediately to beat the traffic, I met Norita's father, bersalaman, bertanya khabar dan meninggalkan pesan, sekiranya ayahanda Norita teringat. I was informed that the pangantin was stuck due to a minor accident on the road. True enough as we drove out we saw the small accident and the pengantin was standing under a yellow umbrella.

Norita, once again we are sorry for not able to wait a little bit longer as we would like to beat the heavy traffic as well as my baby has already gone restless in turn making everyone restless as well. Nevertheless, Selamat Pengantin Baru semoga berkekalan sehingga keanak cucu dan Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Bathin. Please send us the photos.

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