Pressure...pressure - to come up with this sequel. Hehehe!
Okay, adek-adek, kakak-kakak and abang-abang - duduk elok-elok, and I'll continue with this Hindustani epic. By the way, after campur tolak kali bahagi again, I think there'll be more than 4 sequels actually. Ya laaahh....a lot happened in that 10 years 4 months and 15 days before Ayah and I finally got married, you know...
Anyway, moving along. And brace yourselves (again!). This may be a looonnnngggg posting, depending on whether I'm up to it or not. But, whatever it is, just in case, it is strongly advised that those who want to make their coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, etc., or those who feel that they might need to go to the loo - do whatever you need to do NOW! Hahaha!
Nothing much happened after that Wak Jonggo episode, and Ayah and I continued writing to each other throughout Form 4 and 5 (and if you have read this, you would also know that Ayah would number ALL his letters to me chronologically - so romantic....and melancholic!). We continued writing, giving each other tips and encouragement for the looming SPM.
We were both shortlisted to go for the interviews carried out by JPA and Petronas for post-SPM scholarships, but, I remember telling myself not to put too high a hope to get any offers.
SPM came and went, and I went back to Taiping without having any definite plans on what I wanted or needed to do while waiting for the results. I remember NOT getting any letters from Ayah during those time, and so, I started reading all his old letters (Angau ker aper?!)
And one day, towards the end of December 1985 - a letter came for me. A letter from Petronas -
"Tahniah - dipilih untuk menerima biasiswa dari Petronas - melanjutkan pelajaran di United Kingdom - Bidang Undang-Undang - Program Oxbridge - sila lapor diri pada sekian-sekian tarikh - di KPP Seksyen 17 Shah Alam".
YESSSS!!! Syukur Alhamdulillah...
The day finally came, and I remember how chaotic the hall was during the KPP registration, and I was looking high and low for my STF friends, and was overjoyed to see Ibu, J* and Ab*d there, among others. And of course, I was also looking out for Ayah. What with his outstanding exam results throughout Form 4 and 5, he would have surely gotten the offer. But, there was a slight problem - I wasn't sure how he looked like!
Yup! All throughout 1984-85, he only gave me one measly picture of him - looking so skinny, posing maut depan a plaque in front of his school. And I had a feeling that if Ayah was looking out for me (Cheee...confident giler pulak that he would do that. Hehehe!) he would also have problems recognizing me! Reasons being -
The picture that I gave him was of a very skinny me, in a pinafore, short straight hair, with my John Lennon glasses and VERY sun-burnt. It was taken when I was in Form 4 after 4 grueling months of training under the hot sun, 8-10 hours a day EVERY DAY for the national level Merdeka Day celebration. Our school band collaborated with our rival SIGS to perform as the main showcase for Merdeka Day in KL that year, and I was involved in it.
NOPE - I was not a bandgirl. I was, what they called - a PomPom Girl...(GELAKLAH PUAS-PUAS, you all...)
Anyway, the ME who registered that day, was way fairer, uncomfortably wearing a baju kurung, with a different pair of glasses. And because of some insane moments a week before when I agreed to follow my brother's suggestion to perm my hair, my hair was permed. PERMED you all!!! Don't pray, pray! Anyway, my friends who saw me that day sakit perut gelakkan I...Never in their wildest dreams and imagination that they thought they would see me with permed hair! I was a bit of a tomboy in school, you see...So, there was quite a high probability that should Ayah be looking out for me that day, he wouldn't have recognized me.
And I didn't see Ayah that day. Frust la jugak... Hehehe!
The next day, we were all seated in the hall and were grouped according to the Programmes we were in - Oxbridge, Ivy League, A Levels and AAD. I was trying to curi-curi pandang at the other Oxbridge and Ivy League groups if I could catch a glimpse of someone looking like Ayah, but to no avail. I was saying to myself, if macam I yang ciput ni boleh masuk Oxbridge, I'm sure Ayah's place in either programme was guaranteed!
And suddenly, I THOUGHT I saw him (but, not sure because in my mind was the skinny mamat yang posing maut depan plaque tu! And that guy was not that skinny, and quite fair) seated within the AAD group. I said to myself - Hmmmm...it couldn't have been him, and I looked away.
The next day, we sat for our placement TOEFL exam, and I was still curi-curi pandang looking for Ayah. And again, I THOUGHT I saw him in the AAD group! And I still felt that he would either be in the Ivy League or Oxbridge Programme.
Our placement TOEFL results came out within a few days, and I was placed in Oxbridge Group 2, together with Ab*d. Nasib baik ader geng... Bebudak Oxbridge yang lain cakap berabuk you, especially those in Group 1 (Ngeri...). And when they were calling out the names of the students for the other groups, I heard Ayah's name being called. I immediately looked up, and as he was standing up and walking towards his new group, I thought he looked towards where I was sitting! He must have known where I was sitting all those while, and probably HOPING that I would look at him when his name was being called - which I did! He was placed in Group 13 (i.e Group 2 for the AAD Programme) - in the same class as Ibu!!!
And THAT was the FIRST time that I saw Ayah in the flesh... and I liked what I saw - so different from that skinny mamat posing maut in front of the plaque pic...
When lunchtime came, Ab*d and I walked towards the dining hall to join the rest of the gang. There were seven of us who ALWAYS walked, ate, solat together during our KPP time - myself, Ab*d, Ibu, J*, J*ra, Gy**e and Sh*tot. The rest of the gang were already waiting for us in the dining hall, and as we were walking towards them, I saw Ibu holding a piece of neatly folded paper, and she was grinning at me.
And she said, "Shana....I have a message for you...(chuckle, chuckle, giggle, giggle...) Hehehehe!"
Me : Message?! (Cheeewaahhh... buat-buat terkejut la pulak!)
Ibu : Yup - from Haizal...
And neatly written on the folded message was my name, and the number "1".
And THAT was the first of the hundreds of messages Ayah wrote to me while we were in KPP...
...To be continued...