In a classic storytelling, "once upon a time" is commonly used to start a narration of something that happened a long time ago, but my "once upon a time" in this story, was used to describe a chain of events that i rather forget than remember. The subject matter of my story is aptly a man and his shallow self. He reminds me of Narcissus, a vanity icon in the Greek epic, whom tragically perish as a result of his obsessive love towards himself.
"a man who looks into the mirror..and see nothing but himself" is the best way to describe a person whom imposed his self-imperatives upon others. Sadly self-centered, they usually consider themselves as perfect beings, hence justifying their indifference towards others. The mirror reflects the light that reached its surface,and it never hide anything that is within the sphere of their existance. An image of a man, ignoring other co-existing images within his mirror reflection. Deifying himself to another level, they ignored the impact of their words or actions towards others. And the story goes...
I was helping my dear sister, for a buka puasa catering service in our local mosque. Fresh out of a 2-hour flight, i was exasperated and the scorching heat did'nt offer any comfort. But I was completely delighted, to be able to help, as it has been a while since i returned to my beloved hometown. After i unloaded my luggage, i helped my siblings and my cousins to load the food and refreshments into the cars. Then we set off to the mosque, pretty sure that we have everything sorted out.
The catering system is a convenient way to serve a bunch of hungry people, and keep the smile on the face of the caterers as well.We were supposed to prepare 2 buffet tables, that estimated to cater 100 pax. The job is not as tedious, and we worked pretty well together. But the flow was disrupted when we figured out that we left the "cling wrapper", and we have nothing to cover the food with. Alarmed by the approaching buka puasa time, i drove as fast as i can (and still follow the traffic regulations, of course) to the nearest supermarket, to buy a roll of those. As i made my way out of the parking lot, the azan echoes, signalling the end of the fasting period for the day. It was not even 3 minutes after that, i reached the mosque, and rushed to the buffet tables.
The jemaah was having their light refreshments, and i cover the food on the table with the cling wrapper. I have'nt had anything yet, but i thought that i should prioritize the covering of the food, worrying that some flies might feast on exposed chicken curry and watermelons. As i put on the wrapper around the tray, one pakcik, came to me and say, "Apahal pinggan banyak ni aja, nanti lepas ni kau pegi basuh pinggan ni cepat. Kitorang nak makan lepas solat Maghrib".
I accept the fact that we are serving their food, so it is my responsibility to make sure everything is in order. But the tone and the gestures of that pakcik suggest that i will have to wait for my buka puasa until they finished their prayers. In the meantime, i should make use of the "three-maghrib-rakkaat" time period to clean all the dishes, so the dishes can be ready in time for their berbuka. Golly!
I assume the indifference that the pakcik had for me was because i was not dressed to the occasion. But as far as i am concerned, my Mogwai T-Shirt has no images that's grossly inappropriate, and i wore a baggy, clean, long pants. Was he trying to impose his value-laden-imperatives on me? So, a guy in a t-shirt attending a sermon in a mosque does not deserve to break his fast and perform a jemaah prayer, is it?
Maybe i was a bit disshelved that time, considering the fact that i just landed at Bintulu Airport less than an hour earlier. I rushed and ran, carried the bucket and rinse the cups, so you can picture a tired, hungry, thirsty version of me, getting a series of orders, which i perceive ridiculous in a reasonable man's point of view. At least, the pakcik should have known that i was also fasting, so i deserve at least a drink.
I can see that the pakcik took me as a slacker, a young hoodlums who was looking for quick bucks working for caterers. Even if it's true, that does not confer any right on him to treat another Muslim that way. He, as pious as he looked, (later i discovered that he is the Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Masjid) should'nt have displayed such an ass-display of a grumpy old man who is hard to please. He may have gone to Mecca twice, or donated half of his property for charity, but he should look into his inter-personal relations and do something about it. Being judgmental is wrong, especially when you dont know zip about the person you're dealing with. He is probably the type of guy who buys coloured-pictures cover type of books, and considered them interesting without even leafing through the pages (My manifestation of "Don't judge a book by its cover".
Pakcik, if i can say these words to you in person, it would be super:
"...Pakcik, boleh tak kalau saya nak buka puasa dahulu? Saya pun berpuasa juga macam pakcik, dan saya nak solat Maghrib berjemaah dengan semua orang...dan kalau boleh, tolong jangan nilai seseorang itu dari luaran nya sahaja. Pakcik pun ada kelemahan juga sebagai manusia.."