Last Thursday was the last day of school before the long Raya break. The end-of-school bell was greeted by loud explosives of mercun. I was curious about the type of mercun the students were using because they were LOUD. Extremely loud! Like what you would hear in a battlefield. Something that could cause a person with a weak heart to have a heart attack.
The sound of the mercuns has been going on for more than a week. Despite repeated warnings (delivered through the PA system) of automatic expulsion, the perpetrators were bold enough to lit more mercuns and evade capture.
But on Thursday, nothing could sour the mood of both teachers and students. The teachers went about their business cheerfully and even the students who sat for the Ala PMR 2 exam looked happy. Everybody is in their Raya mood already.
At 12.30pm, the office was crowded with people clocking-out and embracing one another, asking for forgiveness. Mutual enquiries on "Bila balik kampung?" and "Kampung kat mana?" were carried out.
It was amusing to hear how grown-ups too get excited about balik kampung. There was one teacher who had finished packing her bags and her children's 4 days in advance! Another had even planned to leave at exactly 12.50pm on Thursday. Her husband would be waiting outside of the school gate with their kids and bags in tow. They would leave directly for kampung without making any detour.
All these elaborate plannings are quite alien to me. I don't have a "proper" kampung. My grandmother resides only 15 minutes away. So, there's not much to plan for.
I remember how I wished I had a kampung when I was a kid. I have this mental picture of an idyllic countryside; of a stately wooden kampung house overlooking paddy fields; of fruit orchards and a running creek...
Now I know that most kampung do not fit into my mental picture. And as I grow older, I begin to appreciate celebrating Raya in the city - where one does not have to endure long journeys and be stuck in nightmarish traffic jams.
People who are used to it, don't mind it at all. They have the stamina for it. But I don't. When travelling for more than 3 hours, I will get restless and start to fidget, asking periodically "Are we there yet?"
When I was a kid, I remember KL being a ghost town during long Raya breaks. They say the same thing now, but I can tell you that it's different. Now, there are more people who call KL their hometown, so the city is not as empty as it used to be when Raya comes. Back then, the streets in KL were almost completely deserted.
This year's Raya will be different because I will no longer receive duit Raya. Instead, it will be my turn to give them out. I've just finished putting the notes in green packets. I've only started working for 9 months, so I couldn't afford to give a lot. So, I've joined forces with my sister so that the sum in each packet would not seem so pitiable... hahaha
Oh, Abewan and family will be celebrating Raya in Muar. That means, I will not have my nieces and nephew with me on the first day of Raya. That will surely make the day less ceria.
But I can always count on sembahyang Raya to lift my spirits. It's my favourite part of Hari Raya - where you find everyone congregating in the masjid wearing their best attire, looking very cheerful. And after the solat and khutbah, when people shake hands and embrace each other. That always brings a lump in my throat.
This entry hasn't really got a point. Just Raya musings that I want to have written down.
Selamat Hari Raya everyone.
Hopefully, we all can istiqamah/be consistent with our Ramadan routine outside of Ramadan (with regards to our congregational prayers, recitation of the Quran, eating less, waking up before dawn, qiamullail, etc)
Takabballahu minna wa minkum [May Allah accept (the good deeds) from me and you]