Tuesday, May 7, 2013

BY THE RIVERSIDE 2

My late father's hometown was a small village by the Perak River in Teluk Intan. It was not far from town and my Mum would often tell me how she used to take the 'beca' to the market to buy groceries. When I was growing up, my family rarely went back to this village and as far as my memory can tell me, the river was always muddy and murky. I did not like the river much. In the eyes of a small kid like me, it looked more like a brown-coloured ocean rather than a river. It was deep in certain places and stories of crocodiles swarming the river were not uncommon either. My Mum and I took a trip down memory lane when we went for our weekend outing a few weeks ago (we don't go for long holidays anymore due to my Mum's thrice-weekly hemodialysis but we try to make it a point to go out as often as we can and enjoy our weekends). The sleepy old village is still there and remnants from the past can be seen here and there; indicating that it comes from another era and time. But a lot of things have changed too. The old house belonging to my late grandfather is long gone and in its place is a new house occupied by relatives on my late father's side. We did not drop by since we were on our way somewhere else (to find a good place to eat which can be quite difficult sometimes). However, we did stop for a few minutes at the jetty where a boat was waiting to take a few passengers to the other side of the river. The river is still muddy and murky like I remember it. And I believe the crocodiles are still there too. Everything looked totally alien to me and there was not much that I could remember. Only bits and pieces that popped out of my subconscious like fragments of a half-forgotten dream. I never really knew this place and now that so many ties with the past have been severed, I realise I probably never will...