Syawal 6, 1433H. Kamal, Khalish, and I have been home for two days after a week in Kelantan. Routines returned, slowly. Our souls are in the East Coast still. My soul, particularly, chose to rest there after a beautiful dawn welcomed the three of us.
The moment our car reached Gombak at 00:01 on August 16, 2012, Kamal and I noted that Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway were congested with vehicles. So was Federal Route 8. Yet, the traffic flowed smoothly. As we took turns to be behind the steering wheel, Khalish remained asleep in the car seat for seven consecutive hours. When he was awake, we were only an hour away from our destination. Yes, it took us two extra hours to reach Ketereh from Bandar Baru Bangi. Surely we were knackered, but, seeing the smiles on the family members' faces refreshed us immediately.
Kamal was especially happy to meet his parents at their place again after nine months. I felt at home, too. Khalish, being a borderline introvert-extrovert, took time to adapt to those he rarely met. Nevertheless, the boy adapted well with the Kelantanese delicacies. To be in Kelantan was definitely a delight. So much so that the three of us were spirited about a trip to Tanah Merah that very evening, to join more of our relatives for iftar, as well as congregational prayers and zikr.
As planned, the next day, Kamal, Khalish, and I made our way to Kota Bharu for items we needed. Surprise, surprise, KB Mall and Buluh Kubu Bazaar were not as full of people as the previous years. We even managed to be home early, which was great because all of Kamal's sisters and their respective families were there for iftar. How I loved to be a part of the soirée in the kitchen as the ladies kept the evening alive with recipes and stories. Thus a note of gratitude addressed to my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law for the sumptuous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Not to forget, their exuberant reminiscences of life. Meanwhile, the men entertained themselves with gadgets. The reason Kamal was responsible to keep the phones and the camera charged, specifically for Syawal 1.
More of Syawal 1 in the next post. With more photos, from my favourite camera, of course. All in all, at the end of the day, I appreciated the true essences of Aidilfitri. One of them: being your-true-selves. Always, eh.
Aside from lunch with the extended family at the parents' place, Pantai Melawi was the highlight of Syawal 2, thanks to three nieces' idea. Kamal and Khalish played with the sand, followed by the waves. Hopefully, a visit to the beach in Syawal would soon be a tradition for The Ketereh Clan.
All the while, I photographed the nieces. I loved their enthusiasm. Indeed, I was inspired by their endless zest. Oh, I wished the others were there with their spirits as well.
Kamal then pointed at the sky. In our eyes, the clouds were two individuals, united by a unique dance, choreographed to complement the distinctive landscape. Inspirations were in abundance, we thought.
Inspirations were everywhere, in fact. Khalish, by Syawal 3, was confident enough to leave the introvert zone. At least, with one of his cousins, who shared a mutual interest in Lego. Together with Kamal, they built a mini Legoland. The man's focus on the project reminded his sisters about the first time he was introduced to Lego. I propose another post for such a history.
Kamal and I would love to introduce Khalish to as many families and friends as possible during our stay in Kelantan. All to assist his way completely into the extrovert zone. Too bad the traffic congestions in the state during Aidilfitri were worse than the ones in the Klang Valley before and after office hours. Alhamdulillah though, we were able to fulfill an invitation to a birthday celebration for one of Khalish's nephews, Amsyar.
Amsyar is also my parents-in-laws' second great grandchild. The youngest is Abid, pictured here with the great grandmother. Technically, Kamal and I are now grandfather and grandmother, yes. Time to update Geni.
Remember the horrendous traffic? After the birthday celebration, instead of a drive to Bachok, Kamal and I swerved to Kota Bharu. A cousin whom we wished to visit was occupied with an engagement ceremony, hence a stop at Zon Serunding for my parents' favourite Serunding Daging. Back in Ketereh, we marked the last evening there with a feast of nasi dan lauk-pauk, Kelantanese style. That included the aforementioned Serunding Daging.
Kamal, Khalish, and I truly treasure our stay in the East Coast. On the way to Bandar Baru Bangi via the East-West Highway, we passed by Lake Banding. With side screen down, I photographed the post card view. All the while, my mind poured its thoughts at the back of the card. "Ramadhan and Syawal 1433H in Kelantan have been memorable. We pray for another reunion. Soon."
Photos: My Instagram