One thing that I’ve always loved and looked forward to do whenever I went back to my hometown in Johor, was and will always be rummaging through all the old and nostalgic stuff that I’ve kept ever since primary school. The beautiful thing about keeping old stuff or what I would call ‘treasure’ is that, they’re nostalgic and they reminded me of those times when I was a kid, of happy and broken times, of all the shit I go through just to get here, just to be who I am today. And the somewhat ugly side behind these treasures is that each and every collection comes with extra dust, or those stickers you collected that wont stick anymore as it’s been years since you’ve bought them. Pretty much a waste, huh.
Anyways, around three weeks ago, we did some sort of a ‘spring cleaning’, whereby a huge pile of books from my parents bedroom was transferred to a new cupboard. The books, ranging from The Holy Quran, Muqaddam and a number of other religiously motivational and spiritual guidances were unpacked from an old antique cupboard that my Mom had delicately polished and repaired when she first brought it back from our kampung.
So, being the curious cat that I am, as I was rummaging through the pile of books, one of them caught my attention. And it was a book fully written in the Arabic alphabets (or what we Malays called Jawi) namely ‘Mustika Hadith Rasulullah S.A.W.’ which comprises of 2 volumes, and was apparently under the publication of The Division of Islamic Affairs by The Prime Minister Office (Bahagian Hal Ehwal Islam, Jabatan Perdana Menteri). Leafing through the cover, I was amazingly greeted by a bunch of what I would call a ‘legendary’ hand writing.
For those of you who can read the Jawi, I’ll leave it to you to comprehend (it may be a little bit challenging though considering the hand writing). For those of you who cannot read that, it states the name and address of the owner as well as the date the book was bought. However, the very last phrases, which I believed to be some sort of a Dua’ or Zikr, I could not be sure myself.
Basically, it was the hand writing of my late Grandfather, who I have never met in real life as he passed away a year after my eldest sister was born into this world. I was born four years after.
This moved me to a certain level, posing as a huge realization, proving my ever-standing belief that you are who your family is. Their habit and gestures cultivate who you are today, your attitude, your character and your mannerisms.
I’ve personally always thought that I get this involuntary habit of writing my name in each and every one of my novels, from my dad. This is due to the fact that my dad writes his name including the year he bought/read his books on the very first page. He must get that from his own dad. Finding this hidden treasure, belonging to my late Grandfather whom I never had the chance to look upon with my own two eyes, to initiate a conversation with, to salam him whenever Hari Raya comes or whenever we balik kampung and to listen to his stories, is very special to me. It’s like having a mutual connection that I’ve never fully knew how it starts in the first place. It’s a memory of a loved one whom I’ve never met, somehow never lost, quietly hidden and just there existing to be discovered.
This is one of the reasons to why I decided to keep my own treasures, all the journals, key chains and even the ridiculous demerit receipt/ticket I got from high school, regardless of their functions and back stories. I consider them my treasures because they are my memories. They are my life.
And someday, someone might just find them and reconnect the dots.