Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Chance Meeting A Friend Of Old....

We were out in the other side of KL today doing some ‘must do’ errands and stopped at a restaurant that we have not visited for a good ten years or more. The restaurant is still the same, the same operators and the same spread of food, mostly traditional southern malay cooking, and as crowded as it used to be during lunch time.

All of the tables were taken up but there was a four sitter table with a lone customer who, when seeing us looking for seats offered us to join his table and we gladly took the offer. It was very kind of him. He looked kind of familiar and apparently he too was sizing me up as someone familiar to him. The moment he started to speak I recognized the voice and his face immediately became familiar. A face I have been familiar with but add to it the ravage of time for more than thirty years, with wrinkles at the odd places, a set of teeth that have shown signs of overtime use, and receding white hair covered by a skull cap. I must have appeared the same to him, ha ha ha! Suddenly we had a lot of questions for each other and lunch? We forgot how the food tasted as we were busy concentrating on information exchange.

He lives nearby he said, his wife is always busy at her medical clinic in the city and all his children have their own things to do and so, lunch has been a lone affair most of the time. He married late, hence he is retired (a retired businessman) but his wife is not ready to retire yet; his eldest just married recently and he is hoping a grandchild will fill up the void in his daily activity. He did joke that he has no capacity to start another kitchen, ha ha ha! That was his usual self, always full of pun and jokes.

He asked about my family and closed relatives and was surprised that my mum is still alive while one or two others have passed away. Mum is a wonderful woman he said. Her busy activities in politics and other family connections must have been an inspiration to him. He asked where mum lives and when I told him where, he was immediately familiar with the area as he often pass mum’s house when visiting his own relatives nearby. If it’s the third house going up the slope, on the left and slightly elevated from the road level is familiar he said. The gate is always open during the day he said and noticed a lot of activity going on, and always thought that the house is cheerful and the owner must be ‘somebody’ respected, since there were many going ins and outs, perhaps visitors for the owner. He often wondered whose house it was but had never asked anybody. If only he had, then he would have been one of the regular visitors for mum and not be a stranger to us for more than thirty years!!

I told him of the impending wedding in my house, I did not have a wedding invitation card with me then, and invited him and family to the affair stressing that a personal invitation is more valuable than a mere card!! He promised that he will attend and I am looking forward to his presence. What a pleasant chance meeting that was…….

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya