Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Little House Among the Paddy Fields - a hard but beautiful life

Twenty seven years ago, I returned from my boarding school to find a young lady working in our home. She was Kak Mutiah (Kak - sister). For over twenty years she worked with us. Today, prior arranged by my auntie, I drove down to Tanjung Karang, a rural district in the State of Selangor to pick her up at her home village. She will be staying again with us for at least two weeks. Word of her return has spread like wild fire among my extended family. She has become a celebrity of sorts and a culinary icon.

These are some pictures I manage to shoot while I was at her rumah kampung (village house). The last time I was here I was still a school kid. But the vast expanse of padi  fields (rice) is still breath taking. And the kindness and politeness of Kak Mutiah's mother and father still very much endearing. Heche, who is a bit of a city girl was delighted...

Padi fields all around the house. I asked the father, "What is the name of
this village?" thinking that it must have some interesting or romantic name. He replied,
"Blok F, Sawah Sempadan" meaning Block F, Padi Field Border.
Hmm... Or maybe not.
From left: Mutiah's mother, Mutiah and her father. Life long rice growers, her parents are
now retired. So they spend their days minding the house and garden, praying and studying
at the nearby mosque, and entertaining their children and 20 grandchildren(!) when they come to
visit the house. Kind and polite, they are a beautiful couple, and very much loved by
Mutiah who hugged them lovingly before taking leave. They are both in their 70s. 
Tall coconut trees stand majestic in front and back of the house. Them coconuts
up the tree look just young enough to drink. But who will climb up to get them?
City Girl playing the ubiquitous shy and diffident Kampung Girl (village girl)
The house has three entrances. One main entrance in front, one side entrance into
the dining area and another, this one leading up into the kitchen. The last time I was
here, I practically leaped up those wooden steps. Now I go one tentative step at a time -
"Steady, old chum. No point falling and looking like a damn fool." I tell myself.
The fact that there is a car here is relevant. Years ago the country lane that
dissects through the rice fields to reach this house was too narrow for cars. You either
walked or cycled from the main road to the house. On one visit Mutiah offered to bring
my mother on a bicycle. So my mother sat at the back while Mutiah cycled down the lane.
Arriving at the house, my mother (without prior warning) suddenly leaped off the bicycle, causing
Mutiah to lose control of the contraption and falling into the water channel
which ran parallel to the sandy track. I never grow tired of recalling this story.
In my indolent and food-mad life, I must have eaten fields and fields of rice.
No wonder I look so happy to be surrounded by the rice fields. 
No poetry today, just people who have enriched and made our lives better by simply being part of ours. We know the sort, don't we, sunshine. They can be anywhere, even in a little house among the paddy fields.

wa min Allah at-taufiq


Denise Emanuel Clemen said...

What a joy for this traveler to visit a part of your world. Thank you.

IES Agencies said...

If you don't invite me over for some of Kak Mutiah's cooking, we are no longer friends....just me....pleasee...

I promise I won't eat too much

PS say hi to her for me

IES Agencies said...

BTW this is me, atoque

Milky Tea said...

Hullo Denise, are you not inviting yourself for lunch or dinner here, like the rest of my old friends who have kinda invited themselves?


Anytime, Atoque. Just buzz!

Pax Taufiqa.