Posted on August 15, 2009
It is like in the movie Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore, where Afredo the blind projectionist put it nicely to Toto,
“Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.”
Toto left the Island and later became a successful movie director. I left Kelantan in 1990 and bagged few awards for my contribution in the movie industry, but just like Toto, I felt empty and missing something.
I crafted my way back to Kelantan, to be closed to my mother. I managed to spend three months together with her just like old days in Paya Rambai after all my siblings has grown up and left us.
Towards the end of the third month, she suffered a heart attack. In and out of hospital has become almost a weekly affair. Mid August 2007, I brought my family back to Kelantan and Mum shifted to our new place only to leave for Kuala Lumpur a month later at my siblings’ request as her health deteriorated further.
I last met mum, the day after the former Prime Minister dissolved the Dewan Rakyat in 2008. She died, a week earlier than I am scheduled to take her back to KB.
Since then, there are times when I wonder alone, “What the heck am I doing here, in Kelantan?”
Last December I wrote here in this blog, that I am lying to myself if I say I am happy in Kelantan. Eight months later, things haven’t change much.
This brought me the tale that Alfredo relates to Toto,
“Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard immediately, fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king? Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours.”
“The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten… And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.”
In one more night, the princess would have been his. But she also could not possibly have kept her promise. And it would have been terrible. He would have died. This way, however, at least for 99 days, he was living under the illusion that she was there, waiting for him.
Perhaps, some love is not to be conquered. It is better to just admire it secretly.
As the Ramadan is closing by, this blog would love to announce that our Ramadan Charity 2009, which is our third Ramadan Charity since my returned to Kelantan, will be the last. My contract will end early next year and by the look of it, I would rather admit things might just end there.
In our donation drive for Ramadan Charity 2008, together we have managed to collect more than forty thousands ringgit. Hopefully this Ramadan Charity 2009 will be a grand finale for us all.