Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A meaningful March 9
Salam Maulidur Rasul. Based on Michael H Hart's THE 100 - A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY first published in 1989, Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be Upon Him) unparalled combination of secular and religious influence make him the most influential figure in human history. So happened March 9, 2009 was the day my father in law, Cikgu Abdul Jalil, turned 63.
I first came face to face with my would be Abah on June 3, 2000. My trip to the Malaysia Games or Sukma in Penang courtesy of the Malay Mail was pre-ordained. It co-incided with my plan to pay my would be in-laws a visit. It was meant for me to kill two birds with one stone. The Sunway Hotel in mainland Penang was only half-an-hour away from Kulim. I planned it as such that I would go to Intan's place on a Saturday, when Malay Mail closed shop early (those days lah). My room mate then was photographer Roslin Mat Tahir, who gave me tips on how to smooth talk my way into their hearts!
Renting a taxi was not exactly a great way to impress your would-be in-laws. But since I left the car at home, the only option was to ask the hotel to provide me a taxi. The driver was Rocky who claimed to be a singer moonlighting as a driver. When I alighted from the taxi, I knew instantly the man on the swings was Abah. Reading his newspaper, he welcomed me with an awkward smile. Intan was at the door grinning ear to ear (oh yes I can recall vividly).
Intan had forewarned me of a few things and that Abah was a tough customer but she knew I would pass the test with flying colours because: 1. I did not smoke, 2. My interests were not restricted to sports and 3. I could talk, talk and talk!
Later on I discovered my late Ayah and Abah had a few things in common and they would have made a great pair. Exactly two years after that fateful day of which I underwent the two-hour interview in Kulim, Intan and I were blessed with our first-born, Muhammad 'Akif. That same day Brazil beat Turkey 2-1 in their opening match of the 2002 World Cup. My friends advised me to name the kid after Ilhan Mansiz or Hassan Sas or even Zinedine Zidane but I chose to be rational.
To Abah, happy birthday and our humble apologies for not being able to celebrate it with you.