It's good to have gone back. To the place where I first had my breath of life. To where my nights were once lighted up by pelita and shower meant having to pave through morning coldness and had our bath at perigi or telaga. To get back to your roots, they say.
I grew up in a kampung. I, was a kampung girl and still am very much of it until now.
Masa saya kecik, tak ada paip air di kampung saya. Our source of water for washing, bathing or drinking came either from perigi, telaga or the great Sungai Pahang itself. I loved the river, obviously for the many activities could be done while waiting for our mothers to finish washing. Especially bila air cetek and a small island of sand appeared in the middle. We erect makeshift pondok made from dahan-dahan pokok which could be found in abundant along the river bank. Or kutip remis and at times, kijin from the sand and mud. Since almost the whole kampung did those related activities dekat sungai tu, makanya the mothers had to take turns washing. Sabunnya pulak sabun ketul cap buruh where the seller cut the big chunk into small portions depending on how much you want to buy. I didn't do much washing back then, being no more than 5 or 6 years old but funny, I can still imagine the smell until now.
If it was not the river, the other option is telaga. I loved the telaga comparing to perigi. Reason being, I had more friends while waiting and it was very near to paya (sawah). When it dried up we could walk on it and played in lopak air. Or just watched kerbau-kerbau lazed around. At times, one or few of us brought tangguk and we had splashsing time trying to tangguk udang kecik from the paya.
Water supply was not the only things we did not have. We lacked electricity as well. It meant daily shopping for perishable for the lack of refrigerator. When it was fasting month, ice was sold like hot cakes. Again, depending on how much you want to buy, the big cube was cut using gergaji and kept cold in saw dust, tightly wrapped in suratkhabar. It also meant when it started to get dark, we had newspaper crumpled and used it to clean cempeni pelita from the jelaga it accumulated the night before. On better days we had lampu geselin (gasoline) lighted up and on those nights, we stayed up a little bit longer, playing. Sometime later, LLN (TNB equivalent at that time) erected poles and we had the priviledge of having electric supply from dark till dawn. 12 hours but we were grateful.
Now we have proper air paip and we have continuous eletric supply day and night. The irony is that, althought I didn't want to go through all those again, I missed them all. I am glad my kids always looked forward to spend times back in my kampung. When I see them played with chicken or pick flowers and plants (much to their Wan's nagging), it's like seeing myself back then. Comot, berpeluh, masam and all. Yes, I was like that.