Sunday, October 09, 2005

adlan’s first puasa

Today, Adlan fasted for the first time.

He’s six and he proudly broke his brother’s fasting record having lost to Amir in reading, writing and ‘bersunat’. The big brother had it all done at five but only fasted at seven after being in school. Amir had his circumcision at five when he innocently walked into the operation room ahead of Ayah Mi - his uncle and said yes to the doctor. Adlan was booked for circumcision last holiday when he was five but the doctor refused to do it because he cried too soon. His first day of fasting was certainly costly. At 5.30 pm when we got home, he was begging to break fast and eat, mineral water bottle in his hand. But he must have been too weak to break the seal and a ten ringgit incentive must have prodded him on. I was told he made a few ringgit more from the uncles and sisters.

Children must be the mirror that you see yourself – of you in the younger days. I must say Adlan had beaten me on his first day of fasting. On my very first, I broke the fast some thirty minutes away from the time. And I cheated in the many years later, accidentally drinking during shower or conveniently forgetting that I was fasting. We were taught early that there was neither compulsion nor sin on those who forget so we eat and claim to have forgotten the fast.

In my kampong then, in the fasting month, there was a day we term as ‘na-mat’ (penamat – end) to celebrate the impending end of fasting month. That day there were to be a feast in the masjid. That day was for ‘pot-luck’ - everyone were to bring some kueh for breaking the fast. In that good year, somebody donated a buffalo to be slaughtered. So it was to be a big feast indeed. But then the na-mat was meant only for those who fast. One must be fasting to be rightfully invited. I knew of the kueh-mueh and knew about the kenduri. To get to go, I must fast. The very first fast of my entire life.

So I did. But the challenge of fasting got worse in late afternoon. Your throat dried, your tummy twirling and the aroma of the delicacies tasted so very appetizing. Under the hot afternoon sun you could almost kill for a bite of ais-krim potong your little brother was having.

To make the story short, I failed; just half an hour before the dawn. I must have been a pitiful sight my mother let me eat so close to the time. And ayah decided to take me along anyway.

So when Adlan fasted for the first time, I saw myself and knew that I had lost to my own son.

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