Thursday, February 16, 2006

World Without Men

Chapter VII

'It helps if you are as beautiful as Saira Banu.'

In February the rain came on and off in brief and mild showers mostly in the evening as if it was the most appropriate time of the day to say good-bye to the waves for what a nice monsoon it had been, and to please come again around November or December to blow away another roof, or fell another coconut tree down to the ground so the village boys could have fun playing on its trunk, rocking it in unison so it bobbed like a boat in a storm that you had to hold on tight, wrapping your arms and legs around the trunk as if riding double in a horizontal position on a horse at full gallop. It's a lot of fun that will leave your thighs bruised red, the skin scratched close to the flesh. By this time it was getting darker but you didn't want to go home because the rain was coming on. You hoped that it would come down in one big heavy shower so you could start over because the racket was starting to receive the attention of the sisters one of whom you wanted to marry, have children with and live happily ever after. You wanted to play into the night but your friends were leaving one after another because they didn't want their mother to keep calling out for them as if in Padang Masyar, or their father coming after them with a pelepah nyior.

They left you alone to play all you wanted with the coconut tree the size of the Gun Of Navarone, but a toy that big meant nothing to you without a friend to share it with, or the sisters to watch you walked up and down the trunk, balancing yourself like a dashing pirate raiding a ship full of gold, fried chicken, and beautiful women in white cotton dresses with the skirts that twirled in the wind. There was no gold or fried chicken, or beautiful women in white cotton dresses with that kind of skirts. There were women, berkemban by the telaga talking among themselves in a chatter that sounded like chicken feeding themselves silly on corn seeds.

When you got home feeling hungry that you could eat a couldron of rice with a chunk of fish Aunt said you had to go buy yourself dinner because she was too tired from peddling the latest collection of batik sarung all day from one house to the next that her legs are swollen and you saw her face damp with sweat that her eyeliner was melting into a river of thin black smear. She gave you one ringgit and then changed her mind to give you five so you could get satay for her, and Grandma and Cousin, and you said to yourself that simply meant you can't hang around the cinema to listen to the medicine men selling Spanish Fly pills, and to look at pictures of naked women that he had arranged nicely for the viewing pleasure of the men who circled around him gawking at the pictures probably thinking of a girl in tight kebaya and kain susun looking pretty with the face powdered thick waiting for the customers at a row of drinking shops behind the cinema where the music coming on from a jukebox could leave you deaf for a week.

Pok Mat satay, his glasses thick as magnifying glass, fanning the satay looked at me with a look that got me thinking if he knew I was there as his customer and not a street urchin trying to steal one of his raw satay so I could eat it off the stick like a hungry caveman. Awak ni bukan cucu Tokku? Yes. Nak beli berapa? Five.

Mok mung ada rumah?

Aunt said Pok Mat must have gone senile to give us so much satay for five ringgit and wondered if he made a profit at all that night.


Blogger NBB said...

Pok Mat ikhlas ke ni??

9:41 PM  
Blogger dr in the house said...

Am reading

7:57 AM  
Blogger Nurelhuda said...


8:08 AM  
Blogger A Babe Of Very Little Brain said...

itulah rezeki.

8:25 AM  
Blogger RedKebaya said...

bergen - i've noticed when HE bestows beauty to a person, it comes with a high price... usually kebahagian & ketenangan tu seems to be just out of reach, ntah kenape. i see it in my mom. the same with wealth... banyak dugaan n cubaan nye.

10:36 AM  
Blogger mommy@lif said...

ayah selalu pesan .."rezeki jangan di tolak, musuh jangan dicari".. .."selalu bersangka baik kat orang".. takyah fikir org ikhlas ke tak, tu urusan tuan punya badan dengan Tuhan.

langkah kanan en bergen ptg tu! alhamdulillah.. murah rezeki !!

11:04 AM  
Blogger thinktankgal said...

You are making me hungry, Bergen...*Plans to order satay for lunch*

11:09 AM  
Blogger AuntieYan. said...

...:-)....ada udang di sebalik mee...

11:14 AM  
Blogger Noni said...

I know someone who was stalked online. She had a pretty face. Reading the one-way correspondeces frm the 'stalker', I wonder sometimes if he was just a love-struck fella who just didn't know of a more 'classy' way to express his admiration for her. Could it be the same with all these men and ur Aunt?

11:32 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

(It's Friday, so it's Ustazah Nurul): We won't know for sure.

Dr Roza: Am writing, ma'am.

Dr Nurul: (what to say aa?)

Three doctors in a row, this is line Jupiter lines with Mars. How often does this happen, and what's a probability of this happening again.

ABWVLB: Why do you call yourself this? Wanna tell us about it?

RedKebaya: Everything is dugaan. Something may look like a rahmat but if you are not careful it may turn into bala. The best way is to consider everything dugaan and deal with it the best we can, and hope that it can be traded as a boarding pass to heaven.

Alif's Mommy: It was good.

Thinktankgal: Be sure to send for me when you do, ma'am. I'm right here.

AuntieYan: When I was old enough to know what was going on, I used this to my advantage. Although several times it backfired. More of this in next entries.

BTW: The next few entries (I don't know how many) will carry the same title i.e World Without Men. To indicate different entries I post summary pictures on top.

These are my tribute to my late Aunt.

12:42 PM  
Blogger A Babe Of Very Little Brain said...

or you can call me Xaviera for short.



4:56 PM  

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