When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me how to wake up on time without the benefit of an alarm clock.
"Just pat your pillow a couple of times and gently ask it to wake you up. It will, take my word for it," grandma said. And that is what I have been practising without fail ever since.
I would like to have it known that, after more than half a century, my pillows (and there must have been over a hundred since) have not failed me yet.
Pak Abu laughed when I first told him of this. Yet, those pillows have been instrumental in making sure Pak Abu does not miss his morning golf.
Don't get me wrong, though. It's not like I believe in the powers of pillows or anything (apart from the fact that pillows can make you feel woozy) - far from it. Let's just say I don't understand it but am not losing sleep over it.
Some things are just beyond explanation. Take my subuh (dawn) prayers, for example. I am a habitual early riser, up and about by 6 am, which gives me no reason whatsoever to miss my morning prayers.
Yet, there had been times when I tried to glue my eyes shut upon hearing the azan (call to prayers), mostly out of reluctance to leave the warm bed.
And guess what? The moment I drifted off to sleep again, rest assured one of these three things would happen - either the blanket was slowly pulled off me, or someone/something would tickle the sole of my foot, or a voice would say "HAH!" into my ears.
I am not afraid. I prefer to think of it as a gentle reminder from someone who cares.
As my grandparents used to say: "We are surrounded by God's creatures, seen and unseen, good and evil. Some are kind and helpful, some are bad and destructive."
"We are never alone. Learn to accept and live alongside them just as we do with our fellow humans." I think that's the wisest advice yet.