Farah is coming back tonight. I think she’s arrived in KL by now. And I was driving down NKVE in the rain just now. It just triggered my memories. Of KLIA. And of my journey.

It has witnessed a lot of events in my life.

Like when I first flew to Dublin. Via Singapore and Paris. It was a day full of anticipation, excitement, jitters, butterflies in the stomach. Wondering how life would be after that day. The day I left my 4-year-old little sister behind.

The journey there was filled with a background of Sudirman’s songs.

“Sampaikan salam buat semua, salam terakhir, salam teristimewa. Kepada kau yang tersayang, pada teman yang ku kenang. Pemergian ku ini telah dirancang….salam akhir, salam yang teristimewa, bersamanya ku memohon keampunan, melaluinya kuberi kemaafan kepadamu…..andainya aku punya waktu, masih ku ingin mengulangi semula saat indah bersamamu, sayang tak berkesempatan, abadikan saja salamku di ingatan…”

It was really sad to leave everyone behind.

If it has watched me leave, it saw me coming back too. With bags laden with stuff. The first time I came back with Liza, Sarip and Erin, all tired from laughter the whole 13-hour flight. Back for Eid, after only a few months in Dublin.

Second time with Rathi. She wore a green leprechaun’s hat, to show that she’s got a great sense of humour. We laughed all the way out to the arrival hall.

All the good-byes and welcome-backs all those years to-and-fro Dublin. A lot of time with Liza. All with huge and heavy bags. Giving big hugs and carrying heavy hearts.

Once my dad was on the wheelchair – I thought he was joking. We had the wheelchair a long time back when my grandfather needed it. Apparently daddy needed it that time – he fell from the ladder when he was checking our home ceiling. It’s weird seeing someone so active sitting on wheelchair, being pushed by my brother, and Nadia sitting on his lap.

I remember the movie ‘Love Actually’, the opening scene which Hugh Grant talked about love, actually, being all around. The opening scene which showed people hugging and kissing each other in Heathrow Airport. The scene which made me cry right at the start of the movie.

Then I came back for good in 2004. Grandma came with my parents to fetch me there. I almost asked her, “What’s grandpa doing at home when you left?” Then I realised he’s gone for four years already….

The airport has seen a group of Red Crescent teenagers, welcoming their good friend Taufiq back from Korea. A group of them, cheering and laughing, I remember them doing the “tepuk bulan sabit”, such energy from young girls and boys.

It has seen a very sad day when Cik Mah saw her mother for the last time. We all went there to send her and her family off to New Zealand – the second journey there. I remember the journey there. I drove Cik Mah and embah in my car, and the song ‘Babe’ by KRU was played – somehow the music was really heartbreaking….

“Oh patutlah lagu dah tak semerdu, puputan bayu dah tak senyaman dulu, pasti kerana tiada pelengkapnya, ketiadaanmu dirasa….”

It witnessed the three of us, Tau, Adam and I, leaving to Kuching to our parents, as we were going for umrah a few days after that. The three of us, wondering why grandma’s wave was so sad this time.

It saw us arriving from Kuching, all teary eyed and hearts forlorn, as grandma passed away that afternoon. We waited for the taxi, driven by my cousin, to take us home. A shocking event, it happened so fast – the day before she was still well. I could still remember her words, “Are you going home already?” when I visited her two nights prior. She never said that before. We got into the taxi, again Tau, Adam and I. Tau sat in front, I was at the back with Adam. We hugged each other, crying.

We met with it again a few days after that, this time a little more excited – we were going for umrah. Another journey, although a little different from other journeys we’ve made thus far.

The airport watched us again when we went excitedly, happily, jovially, to New Zealand in 2005. An amazing holiday, amazing trip to an amazing country. It was totally unforgettable – a whole 10 days of freedom and wonders, of ooohs and aaahs looking at the wondrous nature and endless road trips. The 11 of us – in three cars at first, and then a car and a van. During summer time.

It was a spectator of my runs and jogs towards the departure gate – flying up to Penang after a weekend break back home. Often with Rathi waiting on the other end, driving my car for the weekend whilst I’m in Klang.

It was a testimony of love between two people – I came back in a hurry from Penang for Cik Mi’s wedding, had to be on call that day, and I was on the first flight into KL. It was a Sunday. “Excuse me I’m a doctor I need to run.” They all gave way. I ran off from that end-of-the-airport gate, straight to the taxi counter. “I’m going to Hospital Selayang.” Then he appeared, smiling, with food from Burger King in his hands. I wanted to hit him. “Let’s go,” he said. “I thought you were on call last night?” I said. “I was, I asked someone to cover me this morning.” He then drove me in his Volkswagen Golf.

Yes, he could be that sweet.

He drove me again to KLIA when we sent Cik Mah off to New Zealand after Cik Mi’s wedding. That was the first, and the last, time they met each other.

The airport witnessed my second journey to New Zealand. This time alone, with mixed feelings. Excited, grateful, sad, nervous, heartbroken….it was a journey that shouldn’t need to have happened, but I was glad I made that trip, anyway. It was as much as a spiritual journey as it was a much-needed holiday.

There was the day when we sent off Hafiz back to Dubai. We did not fetch him when he came back here because it was a surprise trip. My brother sent him to his home in Sekinchan, giving a pleasant surprise to his beloved mother and sisters. Anyway, the whole lot of us went along to send him there, while running after Zafri, all over the wide departure hall, with his green elephant pyjamas.

Also Cik Mi’s departure to New Zealand to visit his beloved sister. With Cik Ros and Zafri. Again, Zafri ran around all over the departure hall.

There was the day when the three of us, Tau, Nadia and I, anxiously waited for our mother from her Haj trip. How was she? How would she look like? Would she be a happier person now? I hoped that our being there would mean something for her…..

Cik Mah and her family came back, and then they left. It was a day full of laughter, hugs and cries. Well wishes and good byes. Zafri cried his heart out when he realised that his cousins were leaving. And we can’t hold our tears anymore. It was just so heartbreaking.

When KLIA was opened, I knew it was going to be a great one.

What I did not know was the memories it could hold – even to one person, that’s me

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