Many seasons ago, when I was still a young girl living in Raub, Pahang, Ramadhan would be welcomed with much fanfare in the family. My grandad would make sure that all of our favourite food would be on the table for breaking fast. The usual fare would be a few types of soups, plenty of greens, gulai ikan, sambal masak (cooked sambal) and of course sambal lada dua (birds eye chilis pounded coarsely with just salt and sometimes added with some shallots).
I was telling George how the dining table looked like. It was this big, sturdy wooden table for 12 and occupied the central space of the equally huge dining area cum kitchen. The kitchen itself was not as modern as what you can find in a modern household. It can get rather hot in there as the cooking was done on this huge open woodfire stove. There were kilns and logs piled high on one side of the kitchen. To the side of the open wooden stove was this cabinet that filled the entire wall. I remember that the cabinet was always pack with aromatic herbs and spices, all kinds of groceries, cans of Milo, Ovaltine, kopi kampung (kampung coffee) bottled in this big clear glass jars. My grandmom’s home remedies made from the local roots and herbs packed in brown oil papers lined one shelf, all ready to be collected by her clients.
As time passes by, Ramadhan was still celebrated throughout the phases in my life and all came with their own memories. The first couple of years as a single mom was tough as I was juggling work and ensuring that I would come back home to break fast with the Teenager.
This year, Insyaallah, would be a first and hopefully will be the many first of Ramadhan that I would be together with George and the Teenager as a family. It would be his first to be fasting in a Muslim country too and so things would be a bit different for him.