Wednesday, 12 October 2016

No.42, Filey Street...6 years later

I touched the cold iron wrought gate that opened to the small yard leading to No. 42, Filey Street, I was not sure whether it was the sleet rain or tears that rolled down my cheeks that day. But I felt a big lump in my chest that got stuck in my throat and my eyes got very misty. It was the 27th of April. 2016, summer, in Sheffield, yet the rain that fell brought sleet n snow instead of water. The last time Afzal crossed these gates was in February, 2010, when he said goodbye to his friends and left to come home for good.

It was an unplanned trip to the United Kingdom, to accompany Jep and his family, but when I purchased the air tickets to London, it was clear in my mind that I would like to revisit No. 42, Filey Street, Sheffield. The journey from London to Sheffield brought back waves of memories, with familiar sights greeting me all along the way. I felt like I'm going "home".

I toured Yafai, the grocery store opposite No. 42, Filey Street and chatted with the new owner, whose cousin manned the store back in 2010 ( but the new owner has heard of Afzal ), There were containers filled with "Nasi Kerabu" and "Beriani" on the cashier's counter, which I was told was placed there by Malaysian students. I bought one "Nasi Kerabu" and one "Beriani" and left to get ready to visit Eymen Kaya, a dear friend whose family took Afzal under their wings when he was sick.

I walked the streets of  the city, tracing the tramp route from the Sheffield University Station,had dinner at Popeye's on West Street and bought chocolates from Thorntons in downtown Sheffield. Although it has been 6 years since I was last there, nothing much has changed. It really felt like I'm visiting "home".

Today, you would have turned 32. I still miss you so much that it hurts. Being able to go back to where you spent many years studying, made friends and enjoyed life, meant so much. Thank you Allah for making it happen........Mama Afzal.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Drs In My House......

"Let's see who gets to become Dr. first......I want to get my Doctorate before turning 30....." I still remember this conversation between Afzal and Jep, in 2009, when Jep got accepted to pursue his PhD in Melbourne, Australia.  Today, eventhough I qualify to claim there are two Drs in my family, only one now grace my life.

26th January marks the 33rd birthday of Dr. Mas Jaffri, who is now a lecturer at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University Putra Malaysia. He may not be a medical doctor like Afzal, but I suppose the field he is lecturing in can be considered a close relative of medicine. As a matter of fact, his thesis titled "Chitosan nanoparticles as a delivery vehicle for [14C]-doxorubicin and the formaldehyde releasing prodrug AN-250" sounded very "medicine" to me.

Life can be a mystery at times because it sometimes unfold in a manner quite illogical to our mere human mind. For instance, my husband did Economics in the university and I did Creative and Descriptive Writing ( a relative of Mass Communications! ).....however, all of my five children pursued their tertiary education in Science subjects - Food Science, Biotechnology, Mathematics and Animal Science! Alas, Allah is so fair and all-knowing...nevertheless, I'm glad all of them retain their creative gene - they all love music......

To all parents whose children are medical doctors, I share your pride in them. I also pray Allah gives them the strength and perseverence to endure the many challenges that come with being a medical doctor. I remember on his graduation day in July, 2009, when I asked him right after the ceremony, if being a doctor has now sinked into his mind, Afzal said "...not yet, wait till the first day of work..."

Well Jep, you may be a father first and a PhD holder aka Dr. second, plus, your daughter sometimes says "papa why are you so crazy?". but to me you will always be just my lovely son. May you continue life under Allah's guidance and always strive for His acceptance and rewards.....Happy Birthday!!

.....Mama Afzal.