Sunday, April 16, 2006
Mama called me just now, wanting to know if I had any single bedsheets available to lend to Ikram. Seems like their hostel has cancelled their 'free bedsheets' policy and the students were asked to bring in their own.
However, in the background, I heard Ikram yelling something. I asked Mama about it and Mama laughingly told me that Ikram had found my DragonBall bedsheet and was claiming it as his own. As I was giving out my protest, I sudenly remembered the history of that bedsheet..
I was in form 4 during that time. My bestfriend was Ami, but I was also close to Ezrin, Amoi, Misa and Shikin. We were the pioneers of the science stream class in AlMashoor, and the pressure to help maintain the 100% excellence in SPM for the school was growing on us with each passing day. I mean, we were somehow always being reminded that before this, our school always had 100% passes so we were forewarned NOT to tarnish the school's reputation, since we were the ones who had really wanted the school to have a science stream class.
Our class only had 15 students! And yes, we were close with each other, but I was especailly close to the ones I've named above. I was the bookworm of the class, always with a book under my desk while the teacher was babbling in front. Ami was the laugh of the class, with her own laughing echoing through the class each and every day. Amoi and Misa were the inseparable bestfriends who could finish each others sentances, much to the envy of all of us in class.. and yeah, they were my partners in crime whenever I wanted to find a specific issue of Galaxie or comics we read. Shikin, the prankster of the class was a tall and thin girl who always had ideas up her sleeve. Ezrin was my Chemical, Physics AND Biology Lab mate, though most of the time we were gossiping while Cikgu Zainiyah, Cikgu Siti Azwan (kurang skit coz we kinda liked Physics) and Cikgu Pauziah rambled on.
Fadhlina was the Bahasa Melayu 'scholar' in our class. She loved writing short stories that I'd beg to read everytime I knew she wrote a new one. Her ambition at that time was to be an investigator, much to the amusement of the class until they learnt that in form 2, I had written that I wanted to be a photographer.. then I was the butt of the jokes haha..
Sonne was my rival in academics in form 5. We were constantly battling for the number 1 in every test and exam though I won in the end hahah <--gelak jahat! The both of us were maths crazy, trying our best to outdo each other in Maths, Additional Maths and Physics and though I managed to be just a bit ahead of her, she took away the prize for Physics from me in form 5. Well, she was a great 'opponent'!
Ibtisam, or Isyam was the 'trouble maker' of the class who always loved challenging the authority of the prefects and the discilplinary teacher, Cikgu Pah! She was my rival in English, and she too was a great 'opponent'. However, she was a better and more confident speaker than shy me, so she was the one who became one of the debators for the school while I just settled into becoming their 'proof-reader' and chairperson for the debating sessions (our school was the host). Frankly, I had a lot more to thank her. She had commented something in our first day in the class (truth is, I had the WORST PMR results in the whole class), and that comment made me work much harder than anyone else in that class..
Then there was Fadzilah, a die-hard fan of Shah Rukh Khan even before anyone knew who he was. She sat next to me and I always called her the class pantry as she always had tonnes of food under her desk. I nicknamed her Soto, though I don't really remember why.. kenape ek, Misa?
Nafisah and Mazrah were the newbies in the school and both were the quiet type. Mazrah was the 'innocent' one and she was always the victim of our jokes. However, once in a while she'd get back to us that we won't know what hit us.. kire diam² ubi la jugak minah ni! Nafisah was the serious one, the 'baik' type who always made us feel ashamed whenever we were too cheeky!
The three prefects in our class were Suzianie, Yana and kak Da. You know how we ALWAYS despise prefects? Well, I'll vouch for them saying they were a few of the 'ok' prefects I've ever met!Suzianie was the best as she'd always warn us of spotchecks and all that haha.. Yana was the not-to-serious but not-to-linient one while kak Da (she was older by a year and from Maktab Mahmud) was the most serious one that in some cases, Ami had to subtly WARN her not to give us away. She'd always sulk when we did that to her, but she just beared with us, anyway!
Aiseh.. lari topik la pulak!
Anyway, I had always seen the boys (our family's joint nickname of Iwan and Adi) reading Dragon Ball but I never got interested in them until, Isyam bought a few copies to school. Though I scolded her for getting our class in trouble, I was instantly hooked. Turned out that Nafisah was also a huge fan and I bullied her into bringing her whole collection for me to read!
Thats why, afer classes me, Amoi and Misa (and Nafisah as the reluctant 'follower' --> she didn't like wasting her time, I guess) could always be found at the magazine stall at KOMTAR or the jetty, in search of comic books (but yang cutesy macam tu la.. Pedang Setiawan or whatever yang lain, we weren't interested in.. except Amoi la kot!). I even resorted to bringing lunch from home to save money for my new found interest. We read Dragon Ball (our topmost favourite), Dragon Quest, Yuyu Hakusho, Penyiasat Remaja bla.. bla.. bla.. and the list goes on.. even succeeded in making kak Da read the comics too haha..
Me, Amoi and Misa used to go to Chowrasta searching for backdated issues. Well, truth is, these so-called second hand ones were mostly just like brand new, anyway.. plus, they were cheaper. I had a whole shelf in my room (though hidden from Abah la.. he hated those comics) dedicated to Dragon Ball.
Amoi, the artist of the class always drew any characters we requested. When our juniors came to sell these ceramic tiles ke apentah, we just bought blank ones, prefering Amoi's drawing than the juniors flowery and too-sugary-sweet designs.
On my 17th birthday, Amoi gave me a red (RED? I hated red back then!) Dragon Ball bed sheet. Suke giler! After washing it, I quickly changed my bedsheet into this one and it became my favourite one. The boys were soooo jelous of me. In fact, I must've alternated it between the other sheets until it became a bit faded due to constant washing, but I loved it anyway. However, when entering matriks, I had to leave it behind as we could only use the bedsheets provided by the college.
Truth is, during the early part of form 5, we were beginning to feel restless, the pressure put on us by some narrow minded Ustaz ("Perempuan tak elok amik science!") was starting to bother us but we wanted to prove that he was totally off the mark! Isyam started to break more rules and was a constant headache for me as I was the one (the reluctant class monitor yang kene pakse ngan cikgu Pah to become the monitor after I gave a stupid reason to not be a prefect!) who was always called whenever she made any trouble. Everyone was getting easily irritated and all that, BUT wonders of wonders, when I opened Amoi's gift, the whole class lighted up. Even kak Da..
After that, the WHOLE class cooperated in smuggling the comics and hiding them whenever there was a spotcheck. I think its fair to say that this insignificant (haha..) rule-breaking thing bought us closer together, though with kak Da, this was the only rule-breaking thing she'll tolerate. I still laugh whenever I remember catching her with the comic in her hand, while she smiled sheepishly at me, being caught red handed.
A few years ago, I found out that my comics were being read by Ikram, Izati and Iskandar and since they never put them back, my aunty had gathered them in a box, and BURNED them in a bonfire. I was so mad at all of them, and so sad for losing those precious comics. To me, they are not only comic books, but a legacy from friends that symbolize a strong relationship of an expanded network that went through the fire but still came out alive and kicking. I had almost forgot about my red faded bedsheet..
My mind snapped back into the present when I heard Ikram begging to borrow it for a while. He had always been fond of this bedsheet as he also loved Dragon Ball and was close to Amoi. I started to protest again but when I remembered Amoi's face when she saw how delighted I was with her present, I guess I just wanted to share the joy I had felt over a simple cartoon.
So well, I've given Ikram permission to use it ONLY for a week and after that, I want it back. My bedsheets now are mostly cartooned flowers and sea shells (when it comes to bedsheets, I seem to have a fetish for sea shells) but the next change of bedsheets (I washed the previous one this morning!) I wanna remember the thoughfulness of an old friend and the joy a simple cartoon made to bond all of us together!
P/S Even to this day, whenever I talk about these comics, I always associate them with my form 4 and form 5 classes.. betul tak, Misa?