Chandamama (1955) August by Chakrapani (Ed.)

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By Chakrapani (Ed.)

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It’s not difficult to do. Just move your feet and flap your wings. They danced the night away. Dad was on the stage most of the time. On the whole it was a very happy occasion. But later at home…the atmosphere was not good. Mum was in a bad mood because she didn’t like Dad dancing with the girls. From inside my kelambu I could hear her whisper in anger: “A father of two doesn’t dance with cabaret girls, you know! That is meant for bachelors! ” Dad kept quiet. At the age of nine, I began to feel that I was a responsible person.

If it was fruit season, we’d spend more time guarding Meor Yusoff’s durian trees. Time traveled too fast, I thought. All of a sudden I was told that it was time for me to be circumcised. I was almost ten years old then It was not something that I was happy to hear, but I knew everyone had to pass through it. It was my grandmother’s wish that the Bersunat (circumcision) ceremony be held at her house. I was to be circumcised along with two other cousins of mine who were studying at a boarding school far away.

But that was the last time we saw them, for after the second Bersanding at about 8 pm, the bride and the groom were ushered onto their bedroom and left aone. Suddenly things outside began to swing! There was a loud happy tune with the Joget beat. We rushed out. There was a band and a group of dancing girls! This was something. I had never seen anything like this before. Probably those girls were hired from a cabaret in Ipoh, a big town 30 miles away. And they were ready! The band was playing. All they needed now was for men folks to come up to the stage (built temporarily for this wedding) and dance with them!

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