It was the day before Raya
This year, we celebrated 1st Syawal at my hometown i.e. Raub, Pahang. Kampung Gali Tengah to be exact. (For the hypothesis of how this Kampung got its name, read here). My parents' house is located by the main road. And this road is the road many will use to get to Kuala Lipis, Jerantut and Kelantan too. And the road can be congested with traffic during holiday time like the Aidil Fitri holidays. The pic below was taken from the upper storey of my parents' house. 



I took a few days leave before Raya so that I can help out my mum to prepare for the celebration. Coming from a big family with most of the siblings have kids of their own, my parents' house will be full to the max if everyone is back home for Eid. Thus, the food to be prepared must be doubled or tripled to feed all of us whew!.

Let's do some calculations shall we?

I have 3 older brothers (of which 2 have passed away), 2 older sisters and 3 younger brothers. That makes 9 of us.
The eldest (my late brother) had 3 kids. One is already married with a son. (That makes me a proud granny).
The second (my late brother) had 3 kids too.
The third, my sister, has 4 kids.
The fourth, a brother, has 5 kids.
The fifth, another sister, has 4 kids.
And then me. With 4 kids of my own.
Next my brother, with 1 kid.
And the 2 younger brothers are still single.

The kids alone count up to 25. So imagine the chaos. Every rooms will be in a mess with bags, hanged clothes, piles of dirty laundry, mattresses and pillows. Having to wait for the turn to use the bathroom is a common scenariowaiting. At night,  tidur je kat mana-mana asal boleh. In front of the TV or on the sofa. Breaking fast dah macam kenduri.

We started early the day before raya. Cutting meat and cleaning the chicken.


It was fun to work in the open air but we had to be on the lookout for creatures such as this one monkey. There's a troop of them and they were always aiming for my father's rambutan trees.



We peeled onions, garlic and ginger. And cut the dried chilies into small pieces.


 
Coconuts were grated. This 'mean' machine boleh makan tuan. So has to grip the coconut firmly with both hands if you don't want to injure your fingers. My dentist sister will not dare to try out this grater. Tangan cari makan tu, susah kalau luka. I remembered years ago, when we didn't have the luxury of this machine, I used to grate the coconut using the conventional grater. Lenguh beb. Kalau takat sebiji tak pe jugak, kalau berbiji-biji, surrendertime out.


Then cooking time. Beef rendang in the making.


 
Frying chicken for ayam masak merah dish.


 
And peanut sauce to be eaten with ketupat.


 
That night, we had a blasting time with fire crackers dan lain-lain yang sewaktu dengannya.



 
We also had 'fireworks show', courtesy of my youngest brother. The kids huddled together getting ready for the show, with hands covering their earsnot listening.


The kids exhausted themselves. One could not tahan anymore, that she fell asleep on this mini couch sleepy. Syafiqah, my youngest, looks so angelic, curled up like that.


 
My other kids preferred to sleep elsewhere with their cousins than sleeping with me. Their eyes were still wide open even though it was close to midnight. I was already in la-la land and I have no idea what time they finally decided to hit the pillows. Kids... seronok betul jadi diorang. With nothing to worry about. Play when they like, sleep whenever and wherever they like. Not wondering of who the hell murdered and burnt Datuk Sosilawati and friends. How I wish I can be like them. Hmm...thinking wishful thinking.
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