A'dnin right before he was wheeled to the operating theater at the University Hospital
"Ma, Anin nak tanya sesuatu ni."
I was smothering talcum powder on his front and back before cupping his face to smooth the baby face area with powder next. He has just taken his bath and was still wrapped in his favourite green towel when he worded me with the one line request.
"Jap k", I delayed his question, and proceeded to combing his just cut hair and putting his uniform on. It was 11.30am and I was getting him ready to go to school. It has become a powder ritual for him now, everytime after his bath. He knows mama would dip his still damp body with fragrant corn flour right after applying a coat of baby mosturiser.
After I was finished and he looking like kuih tepung gomak, I cupped his face one more time and said, "...ok apa anin nak tanya mama ni, what is it that you wanted to ask me?"
"Tak, Anin nak tanya,..." he was looking and feeling his hand before gazing up to me with "Kenapa kakak tu kaler dia lain, anin kaler lain?. Kakak tu warna dia putih sikit, anin pulak macam coklat je" He shrugged. He didn't look sad when these words came out from his mouth neither did he look angry, instead he had that perplexed expression on. "Why did you ask this wahati mama? Ada orang ejek anin kat sekolah ke? He failed to answer me. I was examining his once broken wrist to ensure it wasn't swollen before sliding his wrist band on, when I cheered him up with, "...because Anin ialah mama's chocolate fudge!" "... and kakak? He wrinkled his forehead for an answer. "...Kakak is mama's vanilla cream". "Both pun sedap" I smiled. I ironed his baju with the palms of my hands and swiped the powder dust from his midnight blue pants whilst thinking of a simple explaination for him to understand.
"They are just colours Anin, and everything has its own colour.
The tree is green, the sky is blue." I continued with apples being red, clouds being white and suddenly he said "...Pause!" Oh it is so common of him to say Pause as he thinks everything works like a DVD or CD player where he is able to pause, unpause, play, stop, rewind, and forward anytime he fancies. He dashed downstairs and a few seconds later appeared with this Nursery Rhyme book I always read to them. "Ma, macam dalam buku ni ma. Inside ada story like this." He was flipping the pages to match the words I had said to him earlier. "Aaaa! ini dia" he jigged.
What is Pink? by Christina Rossetti
What is pink? a rose is pink
By the fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue?
the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thru'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow?
pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green?
the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? why, an orange,Just an orange!
"Yes, exactly just like this poem Anin" I said in relief. He started to read the words on the page over and over again but soon stopped to ask, "Tapi tak der colour brown pun kat sini Ma?" and I quickly huffed an answer. "...that's because brown is the most delicious colour of all. You want to know why?" He had a blank look on his face by this time, as if he knew my question was a rhetorical one. "...it's because chocolate is brown, chocolate cake is brown, roast chicken is brown and char kuey tiaw is brown!" His eye brows were rasied after I cited all his favourite food in a row and a delighted face was followed by "...a'ha la Ma. Brown sumer sedap2 kan?"
We went to school after that enlightening conversation and along the way he listed all the other brown things, food and people he knew, amongst them were Mama, Aki, handbag Mama, tudung Opah, smelly socks baba and everything else. Brown sure is an important colour in his life and it is alright to be brown, it is just a colour on the outside. I try to inculcate in him that the inside is more important which has to be white and pure, not green, not blue, not black.
As I was about to leave him with his friends, I managed to squeeze in a question, "...Anin, do you like to be brown?" He just smiled, nodded and asked me to leave him there as he was afraid I would smother him in front of his friends. Saphire, faded jeans and a flying kiss would just have to do for now.
My vanilla cream crept behind my back as I was about to publish this and warned "...hope you are not writing about me Ma" And I retorted " I know I know, your friends read my blog!" and she went "...he he he tau tak per" Kids!!
Dont Know Why - Norah Jones