October's over

Tall refreshing tumblers of
Lemongrass Nojitos at Ubud Cafe

October means many things to different people but for me, it’s a celebration month because my dad’s and my birthday are in October.  As in most celebrations, it involves a lot of eating.  I’m not complaining because I love food and the best way to enjoy it is with people I care about. 

It’s no wonder that I write a lot about food because in October alone, I get to sample such a wide range in a short period of time.  A week ahead of my birthday, I started having meals with friends and still have invites with dates yet to be confirmed. 

I received an email from Yap, with encouraging comments on the food posts in my blog: “So many great makan places just around the corner that we don’t even know existed!  Very good writes…” 

Chendol topped with real durian ice-cream at June's Kitchen
Besides doing a lot of eating this month, I participated in several Deepavali events with social concerns and on Deepavali day, I had invites to breakfast, lunch and dinner!  But I refrained from further indulgence and was with a few close friends, enjoying nibbles of muruku and traditional sweets.  

During this season I also take the opportunity to wear my Indian outfits to events and it was amusing to find out [later] that several senior ladies or paati [grandmothers] were very curious when they saw me and they quizzed the organizer about who I am. 

Ice Kacang topped with ice-cream at
Carabao Thai Restaurant
I also discovered that a sector of my readers is made up of senior ladies who read English.  Unknown to me, one of the ladies recognized me.  When the organizer started to serve drinks, this lady went to get a drink and she puzzled the organizer by stopping him from serving me because she wanted to serve the drink to me personally!  I was pleasantly surprised to accept it from her and felt deeply humbled by her kind gesture.

One paati who observed this and probably could not contain her curiosity any longer, bluntly asked me: “What is your name?” 

When I told her, “Peggy” her frown instantly disappeared and was replaced with recognition as she supplied my last name, “Loh – Peggy Loh” saying it loud enough for the other paati nearby to hear.  It was my turn to ask for her name and she replied, “Mrs Devaki Nair.” 

“We never miss your story,” declared Mrs Nair, on behalf of the other ladies and I felt more humbled to hear this candid comment.  It was heart-warming to hear the ladies discuss snippets of my stories and know that they can easily connect with what I write.

Some of the ladies at the Deepavali event
The lady seated in front of me turned around to tell me that she met my mum in the eye clinic yesterday morning.  [I’m not surprised because I sent my mum to that hospital visit.]  She’s Mrs Thailambal Narayanan, better known as Thangam, a former nurse with Hospital Permai, who was also at the clinic for her regular review.  I couldn’t help smiling in agreement when she said, “The hospital is the senior people’s meeting place.”

“It’s so nice to read about your Ah Kong and his house,” said Mrs Bala, the lady who kindly served me the drink and before I left, she wrapped me in her warm embrace.  After the event, the organizer sent me an email that read: “Good Morning Peggy.  It was our pleasure to have you at our Ashram last Saturday.  Our senior ladies were very excited that you were there.”  I know.  And it was a very special experience for me too. 

A few days later I learnt that the event photographer not only captured the day’s action but also caught me on camera.  I received a text message from a friend of the organizer that read: “Saw your pics at the ashram.  Nice white kurta.  You look so pretty.”  Oy!  What’s this?  I must ask the organizer to share those flattering photos with me!


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