Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Ode To 'Opah'

My 'kaki laram' sister, Idah - expensively and fashionably togged always - moved up one generational notch to become a grandmother yesterday when daughter-in-law Zetty delivered a healthy nine-pounder baby boy, Zufar Qadri, in Kuching, Sarawak.

Because of our Perak heritage, grandmothers of the clan are always called Opah or Pah. But this glamorous granny balks at the idea. "Pah bunyi tua lah," (Pah sounds so old) she reasons. So we'll have to wait and see what she will settle on.

Knowing dear Idah, rest assured it WILL be one of those fancy-sounding terms, whatever they are. I am happy for her though, although I know, even with a cucu (grandchild) in tow, she will never be caught dead without make-up.

On the other hand, my immediate sister Ani settled into her Opah role six years ago without as much as a whimper. To us, she was born to be the consummate homemaker - loving wife, wonderful mother and doting grandma - all rolled into one.

I have a healthy respect and much affection for grandmothers, especially because I was raised by one. My late Opah, Puteri Habibah Megat Ibrahim, took me in when I was only nine days old.

My parents had separated months before I was born and poor Mum was understandably depressed at my birth. Despatching me off to grandma's was the only solution. I guess I must be a living reminder of whatever that went wrong with their tumultuous marriage.

Anyway, there were a lot of perks in living with doting grandparents. I have to admit I was spoilt rotten. Perhaps it was my grandparents' way of making amends for my inauspicious start in life.

But that didn't mean I was spared the rod when the occasion called for it. I was caned many times as a child, mostly for talking back and cussing under my breath. But Opah was also generous with her affection - hugs and kisses were aplenty. I felt wanted and much loved.

Today I am grandaunt to many; the children of my nieces and nephews call me Opah Kama while I am Uwo Puteri to those from my husband's side of the family (they being Kamparese from Sumatra).

I have lost count of the number of grandnephews and grandnieces I have. I think I have in excess of 30. I long to be bona fide Opah, as real and genuine as they come, but the kids aren't listening.....(sigh!)


Anonymous said...

haha,opah sounded un glamourous!to all the younger ones,i will be known as POPO QADRI cos most of the neices and nephews panggil mak emy.dulu zack selalu cakap dia tak ada mak!

Puteri Kamaliah At-Tarawis said...

WHOA! You have finally made it into blogsphere Idah! Welkam, vanakkam... Selamat terima cucu, Popo Qadri!

Anonymous said...

erkkk..whoah..mak emy reply blog..