"Pa, can Ma wear a saree at home?", was the question I posted to my husband not so long ago. My husband's jaw dropped... He didn't expect that sort of question to come out from my mouth, I guess... hik hik hik... I couldn't help but laughed when I saw him too speechless to answer my question. Any how, I was just testing his response. I'm too short and too clumsy to wear a saree any way!
Well... Aishwarya Rai looked so beautiful in India's traditional costumes in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Hema Malini looked so graceful in a saree when she bathed her on-screen child in the film of yesteryears, Andaz (the one with the "Zindagi ek safar ek sahana" song in it). I doubt somebody clumsy like me can do something like that without getting 'my saree' all wet.
I can still recall when I was a newlywed, the first time my husband saw me demonstrating my cooking skills in the kitchen (I was a lousy cook then and I'm still a lousy cook now... my ex-Homescience teachers in Sekolah Menengah Dato Hj Hussein, Miss Batmavathy and Mrs Ambrose must be very dissapointed to hear this), he must have had the shock of his life. I'm a shopkeeper's daughter whose sundry shop is just asross the road to that one and only one mamak restaurant in my small town called Sungai Bayor. I spent my childhood watching all the friendly mamaks cooking my favorite pasembur and fried mee mamak, with their kain pelikat raised and tied at their waist in a certain way, where you can see their hairy legs while they were cooking your orders.
So, before I started to cook, I casually raised my kain batik just like those mamaks did, like I usually do as always without realizing that it posed as a shocker to my newlywed husband. He must have thought : "Alamak... what kind of Malay wife had I got married to?" Heh heh heh... Ours was a marriage arranged by friends and we didn't know each other that much, sort of Vanraj getting to know Nandini after marriage in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, with all sorts of shocking discoveries to be made after we got married heh heh heh hik hik hik...
Growing up with five elder brothers, I wasn't that lady-like at all. I didn't walk. I practically marched, immitating Mr Eoh Hook Kim's walk, my Standard Six very disciplined school teacher whom I looked up to a lot. I was always scolded by my fierce elder sister for playing with my brothers in the hot sun. I played games my brothers played. Rounders, badminton, hide and seek were among our favorite games. When they go swimming in the river or fishing, I tagged along and to my sister's dismay, I secretly took my sister's kain batik to 'sauk ikan'. Catching what we called 'ikan karim' (beautiful fighting fish found in padi fields), ikan haruan and ikan puyu were our favorite past times during my childhood. The only thing that I couldn't do was to climb coconut trees because I was afraid of heights! My sister nicknamed me "Tina Hangit" (my skin color was dark at that time due to prolonged exposure to the sun).
There was one incident I can fondly recall. After the wedding feast was over and all the guests had gone back, when I was left alone for the first time with my husband, we were starting to get to know each other better and some how the topic of our strengths and weaknesses cropped up. When it was my turn to talk about one of my strengths, I raised my sleeve, bent my right arm like Malek Noor usually posed for in his Mr Universe competitions and I proudly showed him my bulging biceps! My husband slapped his forehead, shook his head and gave a no no sound. That was only the tip of the iceberg, one of the many unexpected and unthinkable incidences he was to encounter after he became my husband. I guess there are not that many species like me he had met before heh heh heh... After all, he has seven siblings, all males!
Over the years, with my husband's patient guidance, and growing up watching lots of Hindi movies, I guess this girl has finally turned into a woman after all. Nowadays, blessed with also five sons, it's my turn to keep reminding my two daughters to behave like girls...