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I woke up at 10am this morning because my phone rang. My mother was on the line, asking me whether I would drop by her place later or not. I said no and placed myself comfortably back on the queen-size bed. There were no bed sheet and pillow cases for 4 days now since I sent the previous sets to the cleaner. I was lazy as always. That was when I realized that it was Saturday the 27th and I have to be somewhere by noon.

My shower session was brief and by 10:45am I was at the ESSO station in Taman Melati drinking Coke light and eating 2 big-sized mutton curry puffs, breakfast that was obviously not for champions.

It was nearly 11:20am and I’m in the alleys between Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut, looking for parking space. I think the area is called Lorong Gombak or something. I parked my car and walked to the Coliseum theatre. At the old parking space beside Coliseum theatre, tents were placed up and there was a mini book fair in conjunction to the International Book Fair 2010 in PWTC. Since it was just still 11:30am, I browsed through the mini book fair.

To my excitement, I came across the first 1986 edition of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali translation by Latiff Mohidin there. I was tremendously animated that I didn’t realize that I was shaking. Alas, my watch showed that it was close to noon. I decided to leave the books behind for the time being and went to Coliseum theatre. People have started entering the auditorium. The last time I was there was exactly a year ago when I watched Kembara Seniman Jalanan with Anu.

This time, I was going to watch Mat Som, a film by Hatta Azad Khan, based on Lat’s best selling comic novel. I was eager to watch the film because of so many reasons. One being nobody shares the whole, complete movie on YouTube. And among other reason was that I truly loved Latiff Mohidin’s 1976 poem, “Songsang”.

As expected, the movie was so cool and it reminded me of Kuala Lumpur in the late 80s and early 90s. To me, that period was the best period for young adults to find the meaning of decent life in Kuala Lumpur. Now? Ah! Just forget about now.

After an autograph session with Imuda, Zami Ismail and Ahmad Busu (I got a cool poster with their autograph on it), I went to the mini book fair and grabbed the Gitanjali translation I said earlier, a copy of Abdul Ghafar Ibrahim’s (AGI) poetry book, Yang yang, Raja Yusof Ariffin’s play, Sketsa Bas Mini and Rustam Sani’s last book before he died, Ketemu di Alur Zaman. To my surprise, the Bangla cashier told me that all 4 books cost me only RM15!

After that I decided to have lunch. I walked to Jalan Masjid India to eat at a Benggali restaurant called Jaiwind or something. I asked an Indonesian waitress to point out to me which one was mutton curry among the three huge pots of curries. She pointed to the wrong curry (chicken) only to get scolded by me later, before finally sending me a bowl of mutton curry.

After lunch I drove to Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan, behind the old Federal Court building. I parked my car hastily before any drug addicts could extort me a ringgit or two. I then walked to Central Market for no particular reason.

I watched the patrons, the artists and the capitalists, coagulating. I end up on Central Market’s sidewalk with a cold Cincau drink in my right hand and a cigarette in the other while watching Adnan Blues busking. The melody of Adnan’s rendition of The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Woman among others made me lost track of time. I suddenly realized that it was nearly 5pm and my cigarette box was almost empty. I dropped a few ringgits into Adnan’s guitar case before taking off.

Just before I got into the car, on a bridge-like structure at the intersection of Leboh Pasar Besar and Jalan Benteng, I lit up another cigarette and gazed at the meeting point of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang, never actually realizing which one is which. My gaze brought me to look back at the whole 29 years of my existence. The gaze ended when my cigarette was down to its bud.

I drove off hastily before any drug addicts could extort me a ringgit or two and headed back home.

I wonder why I spent my Saturday with all of the great things above by myself. The answer was, all of my friends are either married, or dead.

(buat Tok Awang)

Maafkan aku
kalau aku sering saja
berlaku songsang

di perayaan tahun
seperti hari ini

Apabila semua orang
telah sedia duduk
aku bangun berdiri

Apabila orang
bangun bertepuk
aku duduk

Apabila orang
ghairah berbincang
aku tidur

Apabila orang
melepaskan merpati
aku tabur padi

Orang lain
telah merdeka
aku belum

Maafkan aku
kalau aku sering saja
berlaku songsang

Aku hanya

Latiff Mohidin
Kota Bharu, Nov 1976.