Friday, 19 January 2018

Those were wonderful days

Woody Woodpecker 
The sound that reminds me of the good old days...

Woody Woodpeckerthe sound that reminds me of my late grandmother. She left me for good in 2009. I was so attached to her, until the day she left which made me so negative and depressed. I felt like I was an orphan at that time. Oh my GOD, please forgive me for being too much and my emotion could not be controlled. I was just let it happen. I was admitted to hospital for four days due to dengue fever. I guessed I missed her so much until that situation made me decided to do jungle trekking by myself and spent the night camped up the hill. It sounded crazy, but hell, it was me, Nina. I promised not to do it again!

Time went by and left her story for almost ten years now. Since then, I hardly go back to the village. She is fine up there in the heaven. But my sincere love remains forever in my heart. I love you, grandma.

One bright and sunny day, I drove from my place to the village. It took me almost two hours driving at 90km per hour to arrive at the village. I tagged along with my digital camera and was purposely wanting to get some village pictures. I got insect repellent sprayed all over my body. Just to let some cheeky and thirsty mosquitos know that I am well-guarded. It is not the fruit seasons. However, I had the opportunity to grab some “rambutans” from the garden beside my late grandma’s garden. I did not consider that as stealing but just for the sake of me being there! That day was unlike the days when the fruits are in season. At that time everyone could easily have durians, rambutan, pulasan, mango, langsat and many more. It was a fruit orchard before. All the fruits were within our reach. How blessed we are with these! We could get it for free! However, now everything left as memories.

While I was walking alone in my late grandmother’s garden, I heard the sound of something like drilling the coconut tree. It vividly reminds me of those days. “Yes, that is woody woodpecker!” Yes, Mr pecker is here! Wink-wink! I looked up the tree, and it confirmed that was the bird. The bird noted for probing for insects in tree bark and for chiseling holes in deadwood. The birds that concerned about insects that provide high levels of protein for breeding birds and growing hatchlings. I could see the mix grey colour feathers. What a beautiful day... Oh, hold on a second, it was not the only woody woodpecker, I was so blessed to see the beautiful “Kingfisher” too. The white-throated kingfisher and I believe it was the common one that ones could find in the village. Woody Woodpecker and Kingfisher, these are the bird species that started me into bird-watching. Kingfisher is a beautiful and rare bird species. This bird likes fishes, and of course, it will be hanging around trenches that having the clear water flow and some fishes swim inside it. The birds would purposely plunge into the water to catch fish or other food inside there. It’s a natural phenomenon, amazing and beautiful. But now, it is sad, but somehow it’s true. One hardly experience all this now.

The situation in the eighties which is 20 years ago won’t be repeated! Many species of birds have become lesser and turn into endangered species. This is due to human expansion, lots of trees have been cut off, cleared, removed from the place. Some of the areas are now have been turned into housing estates. Sad but true. My hand was non-stop clicking the camera, I was trying to get the best angle I could. Yes, I have photographed woody woodpecker and kingfisher with some different poses. It could come from the same bird species generations I saw twenty years ago. I am sharing those photos here (but not all, for now). Those are amazing photos from the backyard of my late grandmother’s house. Should I gathered those photos in the folder and name as “the secrets of the backyard of grandma’s house?” How about that huh? Does it sound a little eerie? It’s a little Goosebumps too!

When I was walking through the small trench about 20 yards away from the woody woodpecker and kingfisher, I spotted a place where I used to spend hours. Here the jackfruit tree was planted and grew well. It was in the late afternoon, and I almost shed my tears. The jackfruit tree was the story of my childhood days. Since I was a little girl, I love to be in nature myself. I used to be spending hours here, in the backyard. Well, if I were to think about it again, it was not a sin at all. I was not a weirdo! I did not commit to any mistakes. I just loved to be in the garden, to experience nature and was trying my best to meet someone special in my life. But it was only a dream that never comes true.

Here are the good old days' stories...
I grew up without a “hero” in my life – my father-who else? Dad passed away when I was two years old. When I asked mom at that time, where my dad whereabouts, mom would simply reply, “Nina, your father is in the sky,” pointing her fingers up to the sky (probably this was because the same question had been stricken to her ears often). She has to answer pleasantly. That question was not end there when I saw an airplane in the sky, I would ask mom again, “Mom, can I board the airplane to go to the sky?” Well, I usually never got a reply.

I was coming from the city to my grandma’s village. I loved spending my time in the backyard of my grandma’s house, looking at the jackfruit trees. In the kindergarten, the teacher would tell of “Jack and the magic beanstalk.” I hoped to one day get the beanstalks which allowed Jack to climb up to the sky. Of course, I was thinking of meeting my hero this way. What I wanted at that time was to tell him how much I loved him and missed him! I was just wanting to get his hug and to say to him how sad was my school days end without him fetching me home, like other school children.

During the long school holidays, Mom would leave me with my late grandma for at least two weeks. I could still remember how the village children boycotted me. They thought a city girl would not know how to behave in the village and play village children’s games. They thought city girls only knew how to play chess and dolls. The children liked to bully me. For instance, they invited me to take part in a running competition where they would put “cow dung” in the middle of the “running track” in which my feet would step in it. They all made fun of me. I felt so sad, but I never, never, cried because at that time I thought that crying is a sign of weakness. One day, they saw me was jumping into a small trench, climbing up the trees, and getting myself wet in the rain. After those things changed. They started to respect me and sought to make friends with me.

I grew up in the city joining girl scouts, going camping and other outdoor activities. However, I started to reminisce about those village days. Even though I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing with rainwater, I never got sick. Perhaps, nature contributed to my well-being. Now, I go jungle trekking in the nearby jungles of Kuala Lumpur. My favourite hiking place is “Broga Hill”.  Whenever I face “cul de sac” and hiccups in my life, I just love to connect and communicate with nature.

I treat today as the reminiscing the good old days! I feel calm and peaceful to be here, my late grandma’s and her house backyard, woody woodpecker, kingfisher, jackfruit tree, cow dung, trees, children in the village, the trenches that now turn into like a small hole! But I am happy because everything coincidentally reminds me of my childhood days. What a blessed life!

Once again, thank you for reading my story. As usual, I welcome your feedback and thoughts, please send to