Saturday, 21 April 2007

22nd May 1979

My father died while I was working in Pasir Puteh Kelantan in 1979. Somewhere in April I received a telegram saying that my father was sick. I did not panic coz 2 years before that, during the emergency in Kelantan he was admitted. I rushed back then only to see him smiling at me in his hospital bed.

That evening I took a bus for Penang and upon arrival late the next day I rushed to the GH. He was not smiling, but was in a coma. I was told that the hospital erred in not discontinuing his valium injections. Prior to that he was violent and they had to give him valium but the initial dose did not keep him down so the doctor gave him another dose. When he got up, he was violent again and the doctor perscribed more valium. After that, every four hourly they gave him more valium and when confronted by my cousin who worked with a doctor, they discontinued the valium but my father was to get up only after about 2 weeks.

I spent about 4 days with him in the hospital and not once did he regain consciousness. I knew it must have been because of his drinking. He was an alchoholic. He quit abruptly and the withdrawal made him violent. I left Penang without being able to talk to him.

About a week after returning to Kelantan, I received another telegram asking me to go home. That very night I took a bus back and reached home the next evening. Again I rushed to the hospital. I was pleased to see that my father was conscious and it looked from afar like he was talking to my mother who was beside him. As I reached his bed, my mother's face told a different story. I asked her why and she said that my father does not recognise anyone, not even her, his wife for 29 years. Yes he was talking, but it was just nonsense. It seemed that he had overdosed on valium and that affected his brains and it was irreversible. The damage was permanent. I was not ready for another development that I saw. His stomach bloated like a football.

I stayed another 4 nights with him and yet did not get to speak to him coz he never knew that it was me there beside him. I was a total stranger. On my last day at the hospital, my mom told me that she heard the doctors say that he is suffering from terminal cancer of the liver and that he has no chance whatsoever. The bloated stomach was the result of his liver having completely failed to function.

I left for KL and and as usual tried to get a ticket to KB but this time there was no ticket. I had to sleep on the stone bench at Puduraya. The night was cold and I did not get much sleep. The next day I took a taxi to another bus station, I can't remember where, and got a nine o'clock bus to Kuantan. From Kuantan I took a taxi to Pasir Puteh. All along I tried to hold down the tears. I did not want anybody to see me crying.

The 22nd of May, Tuesday, was a holiday. I can't remember what occasion it was. I was in school training the school choir. I got home in the afternoon and seeing no one at home I took a nap. I got up in the evening and only then realised that it was my 23rd birthday. I never celebrate birthdays anyway so just brushed it off. I decided to take a bath. My housemates were all in KB enjoying the holiday. I heard a knock on the door. I quickly dried myself and with only a towel wrapped I ran to open the door. I was met with someone I did not know. He introduced himself as a police officer and that had they received a phone call from Penang. He broke the news about my father's death. I did not cry. I could see him looking into my eyes as if ready to act if I were to take it badly. That did not happen. I thanked him and head for my room.

I sat on the bed dazed but did not cry. When my friends got home I told them the news and they were sadder than I was . I did not want to take a bus that night coz that would mean I would only reach Penang late in the evening the next day. I decided to take a flight the next morning and could be in time for his burial. At about 2.00 am I got up. I couldn't sleep. I opened the front door, sat on the concrete verandah and cried my heart out. I was alone and I preferred it that way. No wonder he insisted on me getting married that year. He had wanted me to get married in April but my wife's side wanted it in November coz they needed time to prepare. He was not happy but relented.

I remembered him as the father who never laid a hand on me. When he first knew that I had started smoking, at the age of 18, he called me into the room. He said 'Saya ingat you satu orang dalam ini famiy tadak hisap rokok. Those were his exact words. He asked me to get out of the room and the next morning he left me 4 sticks of Benson & Hedges. He said he doesn't want me to steal money from my mom to buy cigarretes. His Malay was not good coz he came to Malaysia from Pakistan in his late teens after the war. His English was also not that good coz he picked up the language while serving in the British army. He did not have much of an education but his last post was that of a manager. I also remember something that others would say is odd for a father to say to a son. " You can drink, gamble and play with women, I don't care but if you take drugs I'll kill you".

Yes, I got back in time for his burial and did what a son should do but I did one more thing. I promised to quit drinking coz that killed my father. I finally managed to completely quit about a year later.

26 comments:

jasgill said...

Kya Baat Hai... Sorry to start off like this but I think it takes a real man to write something like this on his blog. And if you understood the 3 words then at least you have not failed your father because you have the Punjabi in you. One of my fav singers is Ghulam Ali. Have not listened to him in a long while, but the tunes are still in my head ... esp the sharaabi songs. It is good that you have given up the sharaab as it is forbidden in your religion. But I am a whiskey man and our mutual friend Zorro is a beer man and at least you have experienced the feelin... But I agree with your father that alcohol is a different ball game as compared to drugs be it charas or ganja or heroin. You lost your dad when you were quite young. But you have become a teacher where you are a dad of sorts to your charges. I pray that you give them the balanced view. Sorry dost I have rambled too long. Hum to abiee bee us pemanai ko istimal kaartai hai. Aap ney shor di to achha hi kya. Laikin.... (sorry if I assume wrongly that you can understand Punjabi)

J.T. said...

KTN, a beautiful and touching story. Thank you for sharing it with us.
It brought back memories of how I lost my father back in June 1994.
I don't think you can ever forget significant advises a father gives. You carry it with you till the end.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Jasgil,
Thanks but sorry my dather never taught us urdu, his language. I see his letters written in urdu but don't understand them. When he died his cousin informed his family in Pakistan and they sent cassettes to us to which we got his cousin to read to us. I only learnt ek, do tin up to das.

j.t.
Yes, sometimes we have to look back for strength. I may not do justice to him because of the limitations pf my persuasive abilities but I can tell you this, he one hell of a sporting dad. My friends envied us for having a father like him. I missed him a lot.

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

Inilah masalahnya anak-anak orang India yang berkahwin dengan orang tempatan.

Anak mereka tak tau cakap mereka. Aku ada beberapa kawan keturunan mamak. Tak tau cakap Tamil. Tak kenal adik-beradik sebelah bapa.

Saya kata: "Rugi hang! Kalau hang tau se (clan la kot - orang Cina sebelah utara kata se) hang, hang boleh networking dengan depa. Macam2 hang boleh buat!"

Adakah akan ada percubaan untuk sambung kembali all the broken links?

Me pata nahi!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Bakaq,
Depa ada contact kami. Satu sepupu aku boleh cakap omputeh, dia ada tulih surat. Bukan apa, dia minta power of attorney untuk handle tanah bapak aku di sana. Banyak jugak. Sepupu bapak aku kata ada beberapa ribu ekar juga tapi tanah pendalaman dekat kawasan gunung tapi kami tak bagi. Biaq depa usaha tanah sana, kalau bagi depa nanti juai. Bukan buleh harap sangat. Kami tak mau tanah tu pasai bapak aku pesan harta sana orang sana punya, harta sini kami punya.

Tang bahasa kami langsung tak teringin nak belajaq pasai kami besaq di kampung dan bagi kami kami adalah oghang melayu semalayu-melayunya so buat apa nak belajaq bahasa lain yang kami tak akan guna? Sampai lani aku berjiwa melayu, tak langsung aku rasa yang aku oghang Pakistan. Abang aku yang sakit tu, nama dia ada khan dan dalam surat beranak depa bubuh bangsa Pakistan. Jadi aku dan abang sorang lagi bapak aku drop khan dan surat beranak kami bangsa melayu. Lagi pun aku ikut belah mak banyak jadi banyak features melayu. Abang-abang aku ikut bapak, puteh melepak, depa tak nampak macam melayu la.

jasgill said...

Sometimes it is a loss if you miss out on the language. I am not too good in Punjabi. When I studied in India I spoke a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi and my friends used to laugh at my speech. However Urdu is a beautiful language (more sweeter than even French in my opinion). I wonder if you can appreciate the ghazals of the great Urdu singers like Ghulam Ali and Ustad Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan. Even if you do not understand, their qawwallis are mesmerising. BTW, how is your brother doing?

Kata Tak Nak said...

Jasgil,
I have to lead guilty of ignorance in this case. I have heard of Ghulam and Nusrat and may have heard their songs but I do not know who they are. When I watch hindi moviesm I do coz my children and my wife are all hindi movie fans, I tend to feel deeply touched when I hear some of the gypsy type songs sung by travelling holy men aor whatever. The songs are folkish in nature and the singers would most often than not be robe-wearing bearded men. Are these the ghazals you mean. Forgive me for being ignorant. I am not blaming my father for disassociating us from our roots. He was busy earning a living and I tell you it wasn't easy.

My brother is getting to be a little bit better and back to his bossy type but you can see it in his eyes and his frail body that he himself knows his fate. yes I know about miracles and what nots but I also believe that God would very seldom intervene. If that is your fate, then so be it unless He has you marked for something important otherwise things would go as you planned. I am not a pessimist, only a realist.
I appreciate your visit and do drop by again and pen something.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Test

raden galoh said...

Very touching...thank you for opening it up for us...sometimes it's good to look back for such a wisdom... glad that you finally stop drinking...

My 'fluid in the lung' thing is still a mystery... I will only be sure about what causes it nxt 7th May (when my bloodtest result is out). I feel good despite this uncertainty. No more chest pain and short of breath.

I wish to correct bro Tokasid...I'm a woman la bro...Raden Galoh tu kononnya my ancestral origin...

raden galoh said...

Kata Tak Nak, you have won the Blogger Thinking Award! Congratulations! Please collect it from my blog

tokasid said...

Salam to Kata tak nak.
Cikgu..who can forget their father esp on their deathday date(as oppose to birthday la noo..)

Bapa tetap bapa. Dia elok ka,tak elok ka di mata orang dia tetap bapa kita.
Almost everyone dalam dunia ini ada ketidaksempurnaan masing-masing.No one is perfect.

His comatose state could be both becoz of the valium and what the doctors call hepatic encephalopathy( Dr Vijay,CGOPD's friend can correct this).Because of the liver failure the blood becomes toxic and as these toxic stuff pass in the brain,a person can become haywired.The act irrationally and sometimes act like a psychiatric patients.Finally they can go into a coma.

His liver cancer could be attributed to his drinking problems. Or it could be genetically predisposed( as your brother too had the big C).

Semoga ALLAH mengampuni segala dosa-dosa bapa-bapa kita yg telah tiada di sisi kita.Semoga kita menjadi anak yg soleh yg sentiasa mendoakan keampunan ALLAH buat bapa dan mak kita.

Radengaloh: Am sorry for thinking you are a man, ma'am. Anyway hope your medical condition will improve. Do remember to take your medicine.And always make doa for hidayah and iman ma'am.You take care.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Raden,
My father's death and that of my mother for which I have to wait 5 days for it to be official ( I'll blog about it when I feel I am up to it )are two of the most devastating and earth shattering experiences in my life. ALLAH is great, my father's death gave me the resolve to stop drinking. I have been dry for 27 years now, not even a drop and I don't miss it at all. All three of us boys together with my sister were at her bedside for 5 days taking turns caring for her that it became the single most important factor that all of us are very close now, closer than when she was alive I dare say. So in a way her death serves the purpose of uniting 4 siblings who were slowly drifting away.

Raden, I am most honoured that you are of the opinion that this old school teacher is deserving of such an award, I trully am. I have yet to decide on my next course of action.

Tokasid,
Terima kasih tentang penerangan tentang mengapa arwah bapak aku behaved the way he did masa dia sakit dulu. Ya, hang betoi, bapak tetap bapak, aku sanggup bagi nyawa aku untuk selamatkan dia walaupun dia ada banyak ketidaksempurnaan pasai aku sendiri pun banyak sangat kekurangan. Yang aku harap ialah aku dah buat cukup untuk anak2 so that they will remember me as a father and loved me as much as I loved my father. I'll die with my eyes shut knowing that.

ROY's said...

Hi bro,

Your account on your father's demised is really touching my heart and soul. I lost my father whos suffered from an acute heart attack, which he never realised before time.

We shared almost similar background, my father was also a migrant to this country and could hardly speak good Bahasa or English.

To my deepest disappointment, I was the only family member who wasn't there during his last breath.

My father rooted from the same village of TDM ancestors. He prided himself for that and how he wished his children to see Mahathir one day and to bring back the story to him.

I did just that - met TDM. I was invited to Putrajaya and for the first time in my life, I had a live meeting with TDM on an event he patroned. I was too excited and waited to tell that to my father. And the day I met TDM was the day my father admitted to ICU. My called me to inform but I was on board of flight to Penang where I worked and stayed at the time.

The very next day, my father passed away, left me with a story he wanted to hear.

Like yours, my father was such a loving and caring father that every kids in the world should have.

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

Cik Gu kata:

"Yang aku harap ialah aku dah buat cukup untuk anak2 so that they will remember me as a father and loved me as much as I loved my father. I'll die with my eyes shut knowing that."

bakaq pulak kata:

Your children must be very proud of you and i envy you!

Daripada body language depa, aku perasan sorang2 yang anak2 aku sayang kat aku. Aku perasan la...

But, i am damn sure they are not proud of me. Kadang2 kalau ada majlis apa2 kat sekolah atau dgn kawan2 depa, aku kesian sangat2 kat depa terpaksa atur cakap dan berbasa-basi fasal nak cakap elok2 untuk bagi tau aku, "abah banyak kerja... Biar Umi la yang pergi..."

Tapi aku jenis tak ambil pot dan i'm trying to be emphatic - meneyelami perasaan dan keresahan depa...

Aku sendiri pun tak banyak bercerita pasal perasaan aku kat depa. Yang aku tau, aku suka cium anak2. Kalau tak, aku rasa salah tak kena. Nak pi sekolah ka, nak pi kerja ka.. (sementara July or December intake)

Banyak pulak meramble. Tujuan aku ni ialah nak minta code yang hang buat recent comment tu. Aku dari awal lagi tak suka pakai benda yang tukang reka nak bubuh jugak nama dia. Tapi dah terpaksa...

Kalau boleh, tolong email...

monsterball said...

My father was well educated but it seems your father was wiser than mine with your story. It proves God gifted talents need no schooling for some fortunate souls.
I love my father equally so...and you have no more tears at the last moment like me...because our fathers sufferings are at last all gone....so there were infact..joys in our heart ..that we go back and perform our earthy rituals for them to rest in peace forever.
Your family photo shows what are lovely united good family you have. Malaysia will benefit from such lovely young generations after us...kata tak nak.
Travelling by buses...eating simple..saving as much as you can for year after year to bring up a family with a supportive wife...they suck know by now how much their parents suffered and sacrificed to bring them up and time for you two old folks to get pampered by them.
And if you still game to take a executive bus to Kelantan one day and get first hand look on what Sheih is talking about...I will be your travelling partner....with my focus on Thai massages and cheap nice hawker clean food.
And if your and your better half ever come down to K.Lumpur...lets meet and have a lunch or dinner date together.Zorro gave me your HP...mine is with him for you too.
May Allah always protect and keep you and family safe.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Bakaq,
Dalam gambaq tu anak aku 3 orang saja, Yang belakang kiri sekali menantu aku o9rang Parit Buntaq. Sebelah dia anak ppompuan sulong 27 taun, kerani bank. Tepi dia anak pompuan bongsu, 20, menganggur, sebelah dia anak jantan sorang, 23, dan tepi dia girlfriend dia orang Bangkok dok study di Penang. Depa serious so aku suruh dia duduk dengan kami cara zislam dulu, belajaq dulu, kalau bekenan peluk Islam pas tu kawin, kalau tak buleh ikut baik tok sah la. Aku tak mau jadi hagh-bighu lepaih kawin. Tang agama, walau pun aku bukan ustad tapi aku tak mau ada unsur main-main.

Aku rasa anak2 hang akan paham, kalau tak lani bila depa besaq nanti depa nanti paham.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Monsterball,
If Sheih accepts you as a father then I who is older then him thinks that you and zorro are like my brothers. I have no qualms as to race or religion.

One think that I realized is that as we grow older, become fathers ourselves, we appreciate more what our fathers have done to us.

When I was younger, though I was quite distant from my father, I still loved him very much, now when he is no more around, I love him more.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Roy, since we have something in common in that our fathers come from the sub-continent, there is one thing I would like to share with you and ask you if you chose to comment. Do you think your father's heart and soul is with this country? As for my dad, I believed he died a Pakistani (citizen that is) He is so loyal to his country of birth. He was never an Alliance or BN man. He was a Labour Party man while the rest of us in the family even when we were young were pro-establishment. We are not so now, all of us.
My father once told me that when he retires, he would leave for Pakistan for good. Was your dad like that?

Sorry to here that your father missed the good news you had wanted to report to HIM.

I wonder why is it that there are so many old folks home and many of the people there have children who could afford to look after their parents.

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

Salam~

Tabik, abang! Tabik!

i thougt you are about my age. Kasaq sangat kalau saya main aku hang dgn abang!

(i avoid abang ... here)

How i wonder who you are!

Sorry, bang!

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

Abang!

God be my Witness, mujhe maaf kar de!!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Alah, aku tua dari hang 3 tahun saja, tak pa aih. Aku tak tau la dengan hang, mungkin you were brought up to respect elders to the extend of not using aku and hang dengan depa dan hang rasa janggal bila guna aku dan hang dengan elders. As for me aku tak kisah. Aku ada kawan yang jauh lagi muda guna panggilan2 tu dengan aku dan aku very comfortable with it. I feel closer with someone if I could use aku and hang with them but the irony of it all is I will try not to use aku hang with those older than me unless they want me to.

So no apology needed here but if you are adamant on apologising then apology is accepted.

As long as wondering who I am, you have my email, kalau satu hari nak mai Penang tu habaq kat aku, mungkin kita buleh jumpa but I warn you, you will be dissapointed coz I am an ordinary man with failings.

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

Aca!

zorro said...

Poignant, captivating but most of all impactfully honest. Hey did you enjoy the Dominican cigar? Sending you the photo we took by email.Cheers bro.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I am not much of a cigar man, but I finished it in 2 goes. thanks for appreciating my post.

monsterball said...

Thanks brother kata tak nak. I welcome such loving relationship.
But in the muslim world...they greet each other as brothers and sisters..so nothing new for Sheih to call me papa monsterball....just his respect to me as elder person. I AM SURE...IN YEARS TO COME...WHEN HE GROWS younger AND I AGED MORE...HE WILL CALL ME GRANDPA MONTY....just wait and see....hahahahaha

ROY's said...

Bro, it is ablatant lie if I say my father was a total loyalistto this country. Of course he did mention about the greatness of his origin which I think it's normal for everyone, no matter where they are and from which country they from. However, one thing I learnt from him, he stayed loyal to leaders who are able and gained respect by all.

Sadly, there's no such leaders now. All of them are kaput in one way or another.

Sad. Very sad.

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