Was surprised to see on Facebook a picture I've not seen before, yet so familiar. It's a picture of my late paternal grandfather Allahyarham Haji Abdullah Haji Salleh (known affectionately to us grandkids as Abah) when he was still a teacher. My auntie posted it up from some stranger's short blog entry about him.
"Cikgu Lah adalah guru yang mengajar SMAS Pulai Chondong ditahun 70an. Ia tinggal di Kampung Galang. Ketika berulang alik kesekolah ia menaiki keretanya kalau tidak silap Datsun. Beliau sudah lama kembali kerahmatullah. Dahulu guru dapat mengajar murid dengan berkesan kerana dapat sedikit sebanyak dapat menggunakan body contact iaitu seperti menggunakan kekerasan tangan dengan niat mengajar. Jadi kita murid adalah merasa takut dan ambil berat untuk belajar." - dsnbuluh.blogspot.com
I've heard countless stories about him from my dad, my mom (whom Abah doted on like his own daughter), my aunties and uncles. Of course since I spent a lot of my childhood days with Abah and Ma, I have my own memories of him.
I remember him asking me to buy his favourite pack of cigarettes - Peter Stuyvesant - and I always get to keep the change. I remember him taking afternoon siestas on his favourite kerusi malas (deck chair with multicoloured plastic strings wound around the metal frame, you know what I mean) shirtless and waking with reddish stripes all over his back.
I remember motorcycle rides with him, me in the basket in front and him riding leisurely. Nobody wore helmets back then. I remember burning my knee on his hot motorcycle exhaust when I stumbled while getting off. I still have the scar to show for it.
I remember his ungainly Subaru (or was it Daihatsu?) minivan, and his red Fiat car. Apparently my dad said he loves small cars.
I remember trips with him and Ma and young Che Na and Makdik to Penang and Langkawi. I even remember asking him what does the signboard 'ikut kiri kecuali memotong' means.
I remember him taking the flight to KL with us, my first time ever. I remember him sending us off when we boarded the flight headed for London back in 1993. I remember excitedly reading letters from home telling us in East Ham that Abah and the rest are planning for a visit. He never came.
A few months later he passed away while we were a million miles way. While I was a million miles away.
To that unknown blogger, thank you so much for reminding me about this man I loved. Abah, once in a while Pih still thinks about you. Al-Fatihah.