Friday, September 09, 2016



2015. I became one year older on Syawal 2, 1436H. A Sunday spent with The Ketereh Clan, plus a visit by The Chembong Clan, were the perfect birthday presents. Being an ambivert, I longed to celebrate such a special day more intimately though, with Kamal and Khalish. The three of us did so in the evening, after the last guests left.

Kelantan during Aidilfitri was similar to New York on new year's eve; every inch of space was filled with people. By the time we reached KB Mall, Kota Bharu for a piece of cake, there was none left. The sweet-tooth birthday celebrant chose to share a cup of ice cream with her family instead. The best Baskin-Robbins in my life.

On Monday, after attending a cousin's wedding in Jerteh, Terengganu, Kamal, Khalish and I made our way back to the Klang Valley; only to detour towards Cherating, Pahang because of the traffic congestion. Confused by the change of plan, the son asked, "is this a birthday surprise for mommy, daddy?" To which Kamal wittily said, "surprise!"

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In spite of the peak season, there was still a room available at Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa. I was also thankful for the intuition to, i) pack extra clothes, and ii) bring Khalish's swimwear. The latter was actually meant for a picnic at Pantai Melawi, just in case.

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Beach has a special place in my heart, always. The one in Cherating is ingrained as the most memorable for its dawn. Indescribably magical.

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"We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves."
- Leonora Carrington

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Kamal, Khalish, and I were also in love with the breakfast terrace within the resort. Primarily for the view. Had it not been for the boy's wish to play at the pool, the adults would have stayed for a second cup of coffee.

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The caffeine fix came in the form of Kopi Hai Peng, which accompanied our Nasi Lemak Kari Ayam. The boy requested for his favourite combo, Milo O Ais and Roti Bakar Kaya. What a delish lunch. So much so, we were in our own utopia despite the crowded kopitiam. The reason I only noticed a familiar face on the way out. Little Khaled of Amazing You!

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Energised by the food as well as the scenery back and forth between Cherating and Kemaman, Kamal, Khalish, and I stopped by a few places. To experience more, to photograph more. Kamal's favourite place was the mangrove forest (where he ventured out for a photo); mine, a garden at the resort (which my son referred to as 'the amazon'); Khalish's, the beach (where I met a former schoolmate from Sekolah Seri Puteri, Aulia).

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Our ultimate favourites that afternoon? The room. Just chillaxing. Even Kamal, who needed to complete a task for work, felt relaxed, and consequently, inspired. I, meanwhile, continued to draw a self-portrait. Both of us let Khalish play Minecraft. Pool time before Maghrib. A rejuvenating day, entirely.

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Came another dawn, I chose to be on the beach by myself. The sun rose placidly behind the clouds, spreading serenity to each soul. In my own way, I meditated. 

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One of the main reasons I love to photograph: to recollect moments in my life, and ruminate on their significance. Oh, to remind those around me that we have been surrounded by an abundance of happiness, too, no matter what. A note to Kamal here: like Khalish and his little antics. 

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The insistence to wear that t-shirt again. Sock over jeans. The pretend torch. And the list continued ;D

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Alhamdulillah, 34 was an age full of celebrations and contemplations. All were cherished. Hopefully, all have led to a better me.


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