Last Sat , Mar 20th, 2010 in keeping with the ‘wedding week’ normally associated with the school holidays we attended yet another wedding. This time it was proud parents Shah and Bee for their son Ijam and his charming bride in TTDI.
We were seated with Dr Ib and Zariah and were later joined by Bang Aziz and Ka’ Su. There were the usual yarn of old times and current happenings, as a way of getting connected on what events transpired lately.
Then someone asked ‘how’s Farah?’ (Farah is the darling daughter of Dr Ib and Zariah) ‘She’s back here’ , Zariah confirmed. An innocent question and a simple answer suddenly led to a flurry of other further little questions and answers on Farah.
Farah evoked a nostalgic and emotional reaction on almost everyone around the table. Farah when growing up had been so close to Bang Aziz and Ka’ Su (almost a daughter to them) that Bang Aziz quickly remarked, ‘We want to see Farah’. Zariah said ok. So we agreed to adjourn to see Farah later.
There is also an emotional attachment Farah had to my loving wife Shadah many years ago. It was on June 26th 1981, to be exact.
Shadah remembered it well. A seemingly innocuous morning, Shadah and Zariah both then were teachers at the Assunta Secondary School in Petaling Jaya. Both were graduate teachers (Zariah later acquired her Master’s from the US) They shared a common bond as most colleagues did in a school.
However, theirs was a very special bond ( a bond that Dr Ib would invariably mention whenever we had the occasion to meet)
This was what happened that morning. Shadah and Zariah were then in the Staff Room. Assunta Secondary was a model school (and still is)
With Sister Enda as the Headmistress then, it was a privilege to be part of its teaching staff. Everyone were so motivated. Teaching in Assunta was just happiness (that was what Shadah used to tell me) That explained why Zariah was still taking classes even though in an advanced stage. Yes, Zariah was due but still at school that morning (dedicated teachers are a rarity these days)
Suddenly Zariah felt it. Yes, the first of many that came (ask any mother-to-be what it means to experience contractions and she’ll swear there and then that , she’ll not have another baby, ever!)
The lingering pain continued. There was no commotion but certainly something must be done, there was no time to lose. Both Zariah and Shadah had to decide immediately on what to do. Baby just couldn’t be made to wait.
An ambulance might take time. Zariah was under the care of OP Dr Idris whose clinic was in Section 14, barely 4km away (OP stands for 'Old Putra', an old boy of the RMC ) Dr Ib was then at his office further than 4km away and would not be in time to drive them there.
So what were they to do? The two wonderful ladies took it upon themselves to do the inevitable. Yes, Shadah was to drive Zariah to OP Dr Idris’ clinic. It was settled without as much of another thought.
It was a risky but brave decision but it must be done. This they agreed. (to this day I cringe thinking what if baby was really impatient, what if baby decided that the car would do just as well for a quick delivery) I dread to think.
Shadah was then driving a Honda Civic (the old version , a 2-door that looked like the present-day Proton Satria, both in shape and size).
Both scrambled to the car, Zariah gingerly holding and leaning on to Shadah’s shoulders for support. It was a miracle how Zariah could squeeze in onto the back seat of a 2-door car, but she did!
Both ladies were of sterner stuff, they kept their head, they didn’t panic. Every inch of the way, the contractions were there, silently but surely. Zariah likewise said silent prayers, repeating silently, lying face up. Shadah kept looking back, with comforting words (which baby must have heard and decided to wait until they reached the clinic)
After what seemed ages, they arrived at the clinic, they scrambled slowly out again, up a flight of stairs to the first floor. The nurses came, it was action stations. Zariah was wheeled into the labour room. Shadah was there stroking her, comforting her, and OP Dr Idris later arrived.
After all her brave efforts, Shadah was squeamish at being in the delivery room and waited outside. She knew Zariah was now in good hands. So it was ok. She could relax now. ( She later confessed she was shivering throughout the short journey but kept her composure somehow )
Zariah was barely 20 minutes in the clinic and not a moment too soon. It was then that baby decided. It was quiet on the western front. It was time to let herself out. And OP Dr Idris was there waiting with open arms.
It was such a wonderful bundle of joy! Certainly far exceeding every anxious moments the THREE of them went through minutes earlier! It was just sheer joy especially for Zariah,the proud mum!
Yes, a pinkish little darling, Farah wonderfully came into this world, oblivious of the drama that took place a good part of the preceding 40 minutes or so ( it seemed hours to both Zariah and Shadah).
It was a great relief and a great satisfaction to Zariah, now that she had a King’s Choice (a pair now with Farid the eldest boy). It was also a great relief and a great satisfaction to my loving wife Shadah for her good deed of the day (when I asked her later how she managed to get around the normally busy traffic flow , she said 'what traffic?' - in her haste she didn’t see any!) We were thankful to God the Almighty, that gave clear passage for them when mid-morning was always very crowded.
The happy Dad Dr Ib arrived later at the clinic, equally relieved that mother and daughter were there safe and well and profusely thanking my brave wife.
I’m so proud of my loving wife, Shadah. At other times she may appear dependent and helpless but in a sticky situation, she would invariably live up to it.
Now back to the present. After the wedding, we followed Dr Ib and Zariah back to the house. Farah was out but Dr Ib managed to contact her. Farah came back and met all of us. And there we were, and what do you know!
Farah is now in the family way herself. Dr Ib and Zariah are going to be doting grand-parents come July 2010 . And this is going to be their first grand-child.
( that makes it even more special!)
Dr Farah and her hubby, Dr Andy were on a short holiday back here. Dr Farah, the pride and joy of both mum and dad
(whom Dr Ib referred fondly to as 'my princess' in his email to me) is completing her post-graduate specialist course in medicine in Dublin (so also Dr Andy - there will be 2 Consultant Paediatricians in the house in no time) They have since gone back last Monday.
Apparently Zariah has planned to be with Dr Farah,( by her side in Dublin for the big day in July) and stay on for 3 months. ( ample time to reflect on the moment in time a long time ago when little Farah co-operated very well with mummy and timed it perfectly to the dot!)