Rocking Chair - July 17 2007
The place : Our house at 2 Jalan Lembah (5/2), Petaling Jaya, sometime in 1964.
Ompong (my maternal grandfather) and I were "lepaking" at the terrace that was facing the huge garden.
Ompong was reading a book. I was just lounging, enjoying the scenery.
It was a warm afternoon. There were butterflies in the garden.
We could see that the rambutans (on the tree at the edge of the garden) had turned really red.
Yammy (my "pet" hen) was leading her brood across the yard.
Then, I looked up at my Ompong.
Me: Ompong, nanti bila Ena dah besar, Ena jaga Ompong, ok?
Ompong: Ok. (smiling)
Me : Ena belikan Ompong rocking chair, ok?
Then, a gentle voice shot out from the dining room which was separated from the terrace by a row of louvered glass windows.
Bapak: Bapak nya? Ena belikan Bapak rocking chair?
I remember looking up to see Bapak peering through the window. I remember he was smiling. But, really, on reflection, it was his trademark cheeky grin, which he still wears to this day when he knows he has ribbed you or got you "there".
A little surprised, and somewhat embarrassed, I nervously smiled. Whoops, have I hurt Bapak, my little mind was asking.
Unhesitantly, I replied : Beli. Untuk Bapak pun....
Bapak looking somewhat satisfied with my quick response then walked away, still wearing that grin, and disappeared into the kitchen.
I was exceptionally close to Ompong whom I loved so dearly. Undoubtedly I was his very favourite grandaughter.
I'd go with him everywhere, sometimes, back to Singapore (by train or by taxi) for a short holiday.
Sumatra-born Ompong (Hassan Idris Lubis) collapsed while performing ablution for Subuh prayers and died at his Jalan Sudin home in Singapore sometime in 1975. He was 80.
I never got to buy him a rocking chair.
I still have not got Bapak a rocking chair.
I don't think he needs one.
But I will ask him, nonetheless, the next time I see him.