Just as it was very interesting to watch carloads of people going back to their kampung for the Hariraya, it was most fascinating to see them rushing back to the city after the festive days. The eager, joyous, and beaming faces in the earlier event had changed to some frowns, yawns and irritable looks. Don't you dare to cross the path of their speeding cars or overtake them. A clenched fist might be shown to you!
Rushing back to the city and work, certainly put people in a different mood. I haven't kept up with the number of deaths and injuries on the road both before and after Hariraya, but many of those as reported on the radio and TV are just tragic and gruesome. Let's pause here to seek Allah's grace for them - Al-Fatihah. Thank God this time i didn't see any police roadblock to make the traffic jams even worse. I still long for the day to see a traffic policeman helping out the motorists in trouble instead of causing trouble with his book of summons. I didn't also see on my way to and returning from kampung, motorcyclists being herded to the roadside for close check-ups on any possible violation of the traffic ordinance. On normal days that maybe necessary, but during important festivals when the young people( who might not be able to afford a car yet) want to get home to see their parents and relatives, surely giving a sound advice is enough if there's any infraction of the law.
Be as it may it's already six days after the Hariraya and I thought everything is getting back to normal. It looks so in the community I'm staying in (that's Taman Melawati in Ulu Klang), judging from the turnout for prayers at the mosque or madrasah. Even our Bilal has returned from his holidays although none of the regular Imams seem to be around yet. But no, the Hariraya is not over yet. Today my wife and the family attended an open house at Dato Fuad and Datin Hasnah's house in Syah Alam where all close relatives had been invited. It was indeed a surprise for me but it was a most pleasant occasion to meet all those who managed to come.
Here's a few shots taken at the gathering which was quite small in size but very meaningful in getting the young members of the family to get to know each other better. The older ones of course concentrated on the food and delicacies as much as filling up on home-news.
As usual, it was always the unplanned gathering that drew the crowd- unplanned in the sense that there was no date or venue fixed some weeks or months ahead. It was just done by phone calls and words of mouth. As far as the host and hostess are concerned I'm sure they had to plan everything, especially the scrumptious lunch which laid out not only the usual Hariraya
fare but ones that were specially prepared. The ikan Goreng and Ikan Bakar were certainly a delicious change from the curry ayam and rendang daging. I have kept to a certain dietary constraint for the period before and after Hariraya, But at the gathering I totally forgot about it, especially since I've just regained my taste for food after having a bad flu just before Hariraya and which lasted until yesterday.
While the fathers. mothers and sisters had a very pleasant reunion, I think it's the younger ones and the kids who surprise us the most. They seldom had the opportunity to meet sicne the parents are always busy. But the moment they do, they got on to each other as if they had been playing together everyday for years. I was amazed to see how quick they can melt into each other like close relatives unlike the adults that I've seen both in the kampung and here in the city. The relationship can be so formal and deliberate, while some keep apart even at such a gathering. Yes, I think it's times the adult takes some lessons form the kids in terms of human relations.
This is a very a significant factor in family development nowadays, especially in the towns and cities. Cities are renowed for being crowded, but they are also full of lonely and lonesome people. People mix a lot at meetings in their places of work and social gatherings but back at home, families keep very much to themselves. Friends in schools need not be neighbors at home, and friendship in schools is pretty much like friendship in the offices and departments. Only rarely do you develop long term friendship for both schools and places of work may change quite frequently thus disabling a long-term friendship to be developed, unless the children had known each other even before they go to school.
As such the chance to meet their relatives both young and old is a very important factor in developing their human relations skill. Parents need to give them a lot of opportunities to meet their relatives, to play around with them and understand how they are related to each other. Especially when related parents live far away from each other unlike the extended families of old. Unless such opportunities are deliberately created, city children will know less and less about their relatives with school friends filling in the vacuum. And when they change school or their parents move to another vicinity, they can indeed become very lonely people until they find new friends.
It is in this light that the gathering of related parents and children in Dato Fuad's and Datin Hasnah's residence this afternoon,
( I have of course attended many other such gatherings before) gave me a sudden awareness of what the children had been missing. They need to get together with their kith and kin as often as possible to understand their common ancestry and strengthen the bonds of blood relationship, And from the way they do this at such gathering, parents who have been at odds with their own blood relations can learn much from their kids in term of forgetting the past and building up from the present.
Contrast the above to a gathering attended by more adults than kids and youngsters. The ladies in this pic represent relatives
who qorked in various parts of the country and seldom had the opportunity of meeting like this except on a festive day
These other shots were taken at a gathering in Tan Sri Dato' Hashim Meon's and Puan Sri Nor'ain's residence - a Hariraya-cum-Birthday party attended mostlly by adults from various walks of life. Though very lavish and generous with food and delicacies, the absence of little kids and children running around doing their things like brothers and sisters, sort of makes the gathering less boisterous and noisy.
To conclude, what's a gathering without the shouting, crying and cheering of kids and children running around and chasing each other, enjoying themselves. It will mostly be confined to adults talking, eating and laughing away.
Unless the gathering has an official or business overtone, I would strongly urge parents to bring their children along to meet their friends and relatives at such gatherings, especially when the gathering is held at a residential home. The children need more of the socialization than us adults who have attended enough of such gatherings.