It is a love-hate relationship of sorts that I have with that place south of the border I call my kampung tanpa halaman. So many reasons to hate yet many more memories to love, the way I love my 3 year stay on the 25th floor of Great World City. Yes, a building is a city there but well, a village to me. Spent 3 hari raya eid-ul-fitr in that kampung and made real nasi dagang. And since down on the ground there is no compound to shout about, actually up to 5 floors below my apartment is a shopping complex, it is to be sure my kampong tanpa halaman.
That April visit was the first time I was back there since I left, walking down memory lane with precious people from that part of the past doing the things we used to do then,......going to Tong Seng for chicken rice then ice cream in the mall, and to River Valley for nasi padang, and hang out all afternoon at the bookstore until it was time to wander into the restaurant for dinner and then spill out into the crowd on Orchard Road for that long, long walk back to the hotel.
Anyway, I could not make the short non-chalant walk up to the boss to ask for leave after that holiday, neither could I bring myself to ask for a week or so off to go see my Zara this month, since I'll be away from office close to a fortnight, to attend meetings at my other kampung tanpa halaman. Yes, I go to this place so often, it does feel like I am going back to kampung! But almost always, I stay in a hotel, no halaman, just Rue de Lausanne outside the hotel.
So here I am sitting at the concourse of St. Pancras international, wondering what Min and Eez thinks of their Mama and one day, what Ary and Zara will think of their TokTok. I hope they forgive their yellow-bellied grandmother who has been forming a whole gamut of feeble excuses and laughable reasons for not applying for the time-off and making arrangements to go to Doha and see them.
The gentleman sitting beside me on the flight over was actually visiting his brand new grandchild here in London, before he flies off to New York. He is even worse off than I am, even though I say so myself. It took him 4 months to come see his grandchild who was born in January. But will I break or match his record? I pray neither! I will go see Zara soon, well before she is 4 months old and goes home to her kampung halaman for the summer and hari raya.