Outside The Window

The weather has been temperamental.

Outside my open window, I felt the breeze of an oncoming downpour, which has been a ritual now for several days. The clock marks 1.47 am, a peculiar time to be awake but when the world quietly rests, I like to have my eyes wide open. Sometimes it gets lonely, and the only accompaniment I have are low rumbles of household machinery, and songs of the crickets. If I peer through the cracks of my uplifted panes, I can see other tiny windows with the lights off, and the comfortable silence only invites a peaceful rest.

The wind was heady and thick that night from the humidity. There has never been a day when the sun hasn’t shone, and the air doesn’t suffocate inhabitants under the torrid zone. Every night at exactly half-past joint, no matter the weather, the air always seemed cooler and more bearable – tonight especially.

I’ve always wished I could live in constant 20 degrees with air so crisp your nose tingles every time you inhale. But London 2016 wasn’t very kind, even during the spring; sunshine wasn’t present, and the breeze cut through my gloves easily. Maybe it’s a little too far-fetched. Maybe I loved my weather too much to make that leap.

Sometimes when my neighbour switches on the lights, I see a tiny old lady with white hair hobbling to the fridge easily twice her size reaching for some cold water. The dreary activities of one when observed by another welcomes imagination – and I find myself constructing a whole life for this woman. Perhaps she lives alone because her husband passed away. Perhaps he died from tending to their garden one day. Their Iron Cross begonias always did thrive, and bloomed beautifully – even despite his absence.

My grandmother used to say that weather determines her mood, because it determines the health of her orchids. Orchids are notorious for being as temperamental, and nature has a funny way of coexisting. Some days they flaunt their colours, other days they dull and shy away from onlookers but they still live knowing someone is there to care for them.

Yes, perhaps I’ve grown fond of the weather over the years. 2 a.m reveries wouldn’t be as wistful under harsh winters and outside, people wouldn’t so kind to offer a hand when they can’t even feel theirs.

At least, to me. Because there is no other place I can rest, I can feel familiarity, than outside my open window.

 

 

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Open Space

I took a weekend trip back to Bachok.

I haven’t been here since Raya Haji 2016 – it’s definitely been a while. Truthfully, I have missed this place so much.

Kelantan always has (and will always have) its negative connotations, but I can’t lie; I’m fond of this place, despite its barren surroundings. Really, there are not enough trees to shield us from the sun – which explains why it’s constantly hot. But I love it.

After moving to the city, I realise that most of my friends didn’t grow up having what I had; a kampung.

A kampung, from my point of view, is simply the feeling of comfort. You associate it with childhood; simpler times, when everything is less chaotic and more… liberating.

When I was younger, a kampung meant the mud you wipe off your knees after falling from a game of galah panjang, the sloppy sloshes your slippers make when you come home dripping wet from playing in the rain.

It is homemade akok for tea, nasi berlauk for breakfast, sirap, ring candies, muruku ikan, shitty processed sausages and cheap ice cream from the pak cik eskrem every 6pm.

It is your family; petty squabbles swallowed for the sake of a good time, because no matter what, you only see these people once or twice a year – better make their presence count.

Now, a kampung is like stepping into another part of my life and leaving behind whatever it is I’ve grown so accustomed to living with. It’s leaving worries, work, and responsibilities without a care in the world. It’s coming home to my grandma’s teh tarik, the dusty roads, crazy heat, semi-haunted house, and less jangok more kaftans, please.

And it’s literally a plane ticket away.

I count myself lucky to have experienced three different sides of life and wonder why I’ve tried to suppress the less ‘glamorous’ ones so much in my formative years. I’ve grown up in a town, migrated to the city later on, and frequent the kampung-est of kampungs and still thought I was missing something. I guess my fear of missing out developed earlier than I thought – and it seemed to linger.

Apparently the grass will always be greener on the other side. Except I’ve been on both sides, and neither is greener than the other. They are different, sure, but still green.

But hey, the older I get, the more I start to appreciate the little things. I’m happy now having grown up with what I had and part of me feels so stupid for wanting more.

Tonight’s musing: visit Mak more this year.

 

 

 

Cosy

As much as I’d like to think ‘cozy’ or ‘cosy’ (because not all of us adhere to American spelling) resembles plush cushions, a hot cup of tea, and snuggling to a new episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, recently it hasn’t been like that.

Cosy is wearing a long-sleeved jumper and having a cheap IKEA cushion in my arms while I type away on my laptop in the cold, unforgiving office air-cond.

Cosy is being able to smell the artificial lemon scent courtesy of the cleaning lady that comes every Friday.

Cosy is plugging in my earphones and listening to droning, melancholic post-rock during lunch time.

As 2018 draws nearer, I can feel the exhaustion of 2017 setting in. Suddenly I’m overwhelmed by everything that has happened and it seems like work is the only thing suppressing those thoughts. Perhaps I’ll be able to face my discomfort during the weekend.

I’ll probably sit and contemplate what 2018 will bring me – or what I will bring to the new year, since one of the biggest takeaways I’ve learned is that you can never expect things to just happen to you.

More so, I will think about past relationships, friendship shifts, uncanny encounters, piety and where I stand in the spectrum, and so many more I can hardly stop myself from squirming in agony.

But for now, I’ll settle with being cosy at work.

PS post-rock playlist here. It’s not all post-rock, nor is it all droning and melancholic. But it’s good shit. 🙂

via Daily Prompt: Cozy

 

Let Go.

We twist her body for the umpteenth time, gingerly adjusting her pillow so she gets the cold side. Her frail body is almost skin and bones, and her glassy eyes stare off into nothing particular as we speak to her.

My mother brushes the strands of hair off her face and murmurs almost comforting words, words she can only muster enough empathy to her mother who had never done the same.

Here lies the woman who, once upon a time, carried an air of pride and dominance with her. Her piercing eyes and upturned nose made her peers both admire and resent her, to which she revelled in the fact. She had filled her life with superficiality, caring little of what the world had to offer other than paper thin egos.

Tight-fisted, she counted numbers in her pastime, and smiled when the stacks piled higher and higher. When she was done, she would gather them all and gingerly place them in her secret cupboard, away from prying eyes and grubby, calloused hands.

Now she lies in bed, with nothing but a kaftan and the people she had once turned away from, gather around her with pitying eyes laced with frustration – for her grip remained cautious till her knuckles shook. Old habits die hard, she says with a sliver of a smile, ignoring the gentle massages on her cold fists.

When will she live so happily and carelessly?

Perhaps one day when death claims her for its own, she will finally raise a finger up to her worldly prison, and say fuck no to holding things gingerly.

Perhaps.

via Daily Prompt: Gingerly

#WIP

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 11.23.36 PM

 

Messy lines, awkward strokes. Here’s a WIP because I am frustrated and my patience is wearing thin.

She drags her cigarette and puffs out the clouds of aesthetics she desperately tries to cling onto, like how it does on her clothes, nails and hair. But she doesn’t mind it so much anymore. She lets herself sink into the acrid smell, revelling in the two-minute caresses of comfort.

Good night strange world.

 

 

 

 

No Glitter

You want the photos but not the smell

of petrichor and saccharine garbage water

permeating the humid city of Kuala Lumpur,

You want KLCC but not the streets of Chow Kit

Dimly lit in nightfall with leathery-skinned uncles on basikal buruks

Pedalling hefty folded cardboard boxes bound by fraying tali rafias.

Not the pitter patter of footsteps crossing from one road to another,

tiny children laughing on their makeshift playground.

 

You want the #nofilter on your face –

strike a pose between undulating hills, exuding the all too common image of ‘wanderlust’

but not the back alleys scattered with cockroaches and

pudgy rats satiated by the abundance of waste to devour

where the mamak stalls set base

but that’s where the good nasi lemak is.

 

You want the glitter that comes with living but not the dust

that trails after.

You want the easy

– but who doesn’t?

 


 

A two-minute, half-baked ramble about things I’ve noticed recently with people – myself included. We all need a good slap of reality – because asking why can’t everything be easy is like screaming into the void and waiting for your echo to bounce back.