Friday, June 8, 2007

The good die young

One of the simple pleasures I often look forward to is the chance to meet up with my old school buddies. For an assortment of a hundred and thirty or so boys who don’t have much in common in the beginning I could say we developed a formidable bond throughout the 5 formative years we spent growing up in a government penitentiary that is, to the rest of the non-incarcerated population, a boarding school. However, the gathering we had two days ago we could have gladly given a miss. For just the day before, one of us, even before reaching his 40th birthday, departed this life.

Most of us received the news that Farid passed away on Wednesday morning when we were well into our working day. My phone was constantly ringing with people asking “What happened?” The facts were hazy at that time but it turned out later that Farid died of “nontraumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage”. Some call it an aneurysm and some just simply refer to it as a blood vessel bursting in the brain. It was one of those causes of death where no amount of medical checks could provide advance warning.

By late morning quite a few of us were applying for emergency leave and canceling appointments to perform the ziarah at his family home in Kelang. He died in JB while on a work assignment and the jenazah was due to arrive only at about 4 p.m. It looked certain that there was going to be a reunion of sorts for us.

My first thought was how would we conduct ourselves this time? Our get-togethers have always been lively and revelrous affairs. These were the opportunities to relive those outrageous schoolboy episodes (and some adult ones) over again.

By lunchtime, about 10 of us were already gathered at a restaurant nearby while waiting for the jenazah which was still a long way away. It didn’t turn out to be a morose gathering after all. Apart from the expected theorizing about how our friend died, everybody took turns to relate some amusing anecdote about Farid and we were in stitches. The thing was, he was quite a low profile fellow, not usually in the limelight but in a boarding school no idiosyncrasy would go unnoticed.

It turned out that Farid, for all his quiet temperament, turned to orgies of destruction as a method of stress-management. At least once he trashed the Yellow House recreation room furniture for no ascertainable reason (and had to go into hiding for about 2 hours after it drew the attention of the House Warden). There was another time that he, with the help of some equal-minded friends, flattened a loaf of bread into a very big thin slice by rolling a ground leveler (imagine a manual steamroller) over it repeatedly. Again nobody could remember for what reason. Personally I feel that if a small animal was at the receiving end, the results would have been more spectacular and memorable.

I think I speak for everybody in the group in thinking that this was the type of wake we would like to have when we go. I would rather be the source of amusement than sorrow. Wouldn’t you?

We also did the very Malay thing of identifying any peculiar behaviour or incidence that occurred just before Farid’s death. And here I did not disappoint. It was only 5 days before that I met him. I happened to be in the area where he worked and I thought it would be nice to drop by for a chat. It lasted 2 hours. Nothing strange about that but for the fact that I had never spoken to him alone for more than 10 minutes as we weren’t particularly close. We talked about all kinds of things - friends, family, work, politics. He even related to me the story of how he chatted up the manager of a Bata outlet when he went to buy shoes for his first job interview and he ended up marrying her. I felt we finally broke the ice after all these years.

Then I heard somebody say, “Are you going to blog about this?” which caught me by surprise. But it was directed to Mr Akula who said, “I’m composing it as we speak,” while shooting a knowing glance at me. I said, “Yeah, how can you let this pass?”

By Asar, we were all gathered at his grandfather’s house to read the Yassin and recite the necessary prayers. His jenazah arrived at 5.30 p.m. It was heartbreaking to see his wife and 11 year old daughter following in a daze behind the van. By Maghrib it was all over and our dear friend was laid to rest. I can see why it makes sense for Muslim funerals not to be long drawn events. The loved ones just need to grieve and move on with their life.

Over the next few days I shall have to ponder on my own mortality and on how everything can be gone in an instance. And to my friends – don’t worry, I won’t make any surprise visits very soon. Promise.


Anonymous said...

i'm really sorry about your friend. may he rest in peace. amen.

UglyButAdorable said...

AA, takziah to to your friend. May his soul be among the pious..ameen...

my brother died of sudden death that we did not even bother to do the post mortem....a shocked to the whole family..only 36yrs old.. bunch of his old frens approached my mom..shocked by the news..

eeh...melalut pulak niee..

pugly said...

All my condolences ... may his soul be placed amongst the blessed. Amen.

It's this sort of thing that pulls us back down to earth & realise our own mortality, which we sometimes tend to forget.

akula said...

Thanks for the ride dude.

Mr Hobo said...

yeah he was the quiet one ... but not as innocent. May he rest in peace.


Diesel Electric said...

Sorry to hear of the passing.

My brother was hit by a car only three days ago, and fortunately suffered only from a broken leg. That was enough to make my heart sink faster than the Titanic. I realise how unprepared I am for death, of a loved one or my own.

I never want to experience that feeling again.

Mr Incognito said...

Anonymous >>> thank you for your thoughts

UglyButAdorable >>> i can't imagine how you all feel. Al Fatihah to him too

pugly >>> feeling subdued these last few days

akula >>> wish it was in better circusmtances. hope we won't do this this again anytime soon

Mr Hobo >>> but a lot more innocent than you and more prepared to meet our Maker than any of us.

Diesel Electric >>> yes, could be worse. hope he's fine.

♥fizzy♥ said...

Salam, Mr I..
It's been so long since I last managed to check up on my fellow bloggers' blogs, and reading this?
It made my heart sink.

This entry reminds me about my brother's friend who passed away because of leukimia a few months back.
It was so sudden, and he was only 28..
The wife is my senior and their daughter is only 1 year old.
=( Sad, kan?
Come to think of it, Arwah tu your junior lah..

Freak & Geek said...

my condolences.

anyway, hope it's not too late to say this 'welcome back!'.

and don't deny it lah coz it's so damn obvious. :-P

Blabarella said...

Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi raajiun.

We're in now in that uncomfortable phase of our lives where we seek to true meaning and purpose in our lives, but at the same time, it also happens to be the time when some from among us are taken to join the Creator in the blink of an eye, or even if not in a blink, when he or she is, by our reckoning, "still too young to go". It just goes to show our state of mind, which often tries to ignore or suppress thoughts of mortality.

Last year, a friend who was at the peak of his career and worldly pursuits, took his own life - leaving a wife who was pregnant with their child. He was just 34.

A few months ago, a friend of a friend was suddenly diagnosed with final stage leukemia and died within a week of diagnosis, again leaving a young wife and a little girl.

As mere mortals, death is often something we do not know how to handle. It means entering another realm for eternity and leaving behind all that we know and love. That in itself, can be a frightening prospect.

Perhaps that is why the death of a friend or a loved one, especially one who is in our current age group, shakes us to the core. It reminds us of our own mortality, and of how we have no control over it when it comes, and hopefully, to remind us to live our lives accordingly.

May Allah swt provide peace to arwah Farid's soul in the hereafter.

izso said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. I don't think anyone can ever truly be prepared for death. Especially more so if he/she is of a young age.

It's cool you guys have that sort of bond and can remember the good times you spent with him. Kinda makes me wonder what people would remember of me if I ever go (touch wood)

miss legally blonde said...

My condolences!

Just heard of a friend who died of colon cancer at the age of 33....I am doing full medical check up again..

Mr Incognito said...

♥fizzy♥ >>> the usual small talk with old friends: X dah grad ... X dah kerja ...... X dah kawin .... X dah ada Y orang anak ..... anak X nak kain ... X dah meninggal. Too bad some events can bypass others prematurely

Freak & Geek >>> i've just been gone a week

Blabarella >>> that guy who took his life sounds familiar. worked in CTS right? thanks for the thoughts. seems like everyone has similar stories even at this age.

izso >>> they can always check out your blog if they forget

Mr Incognito said...

mlb >>> check your policy too while u r at it

lived-legna said...

My condolences... I too think the best way to celebrate a life is to remember the good and happy times. God bless his soul and his family.

D.N.A.S said...

My condolences.
I heard the wife is currently not working. Betulke?

Winged Acrophobic said...

This came as a total shock, after almost a week. May Allah bless his soul.

Mr Incognito said...

lived-legna >>> i'd like to go new orleans style with jazz band and all. probably won't happen here.

D.N.A.S >>> it's true. your boss knows him better.

Winged Acrophobic >>> u would never have expected this huh?

SaigonKat said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your friend.

I dont think anyone can be truly prepared for death, and its especially hard for those left behind.

But for those left behind, events like these can also be a reminder of how precious life can be and you never know when or what can happen to you...

Oreos said...


I was away and couldn't make it on that day. Semoga roh Allahyarham ditempat bersama golongan orang2 yang mukmin.

Adek said...


Two of my juniors passed away before they were 30. Sad eh. We live longer now & die younger too. I was just discussing with my friend on drawing up a will a couple of mths back. We like to think it's too early to prepare for this, too early to die. But as unpleasant and morbid it is to think of death, we need to devote thought to life after our departure.

All the same, I still haven't filled in the will form...

Mr Incognito said...

SaigonKat >>> well said. but let's have less of these events.

Oreos >>> this is one time i won't say "there'll be other opportunities"

Adek >>> it just sucks having to put down "write your will" on your to do lists

NinJaMoo said...

I'm really sorry for your loss. We had a friend who passed away suddenly a few years back and we were devastated by the loss (were were only 22 or 23 then). Nobody had any idea how it happened...

But time heals all wounds and now, we talk of him fondly and remember all his littl' idiosyncrasies and peculiarities. & we miss him.

May they both rest in peace. Amen.

izso said...

Not to sound insensitive, but your blog has been having a lot of really heart-heavy posts. Anything on the light side of things you can post about?

Mr Incognito said...

NinJaMoo >>> we'd all be very forgettable without our idiosyncrasies and peculiarities

izso >>> not always i get a specific request. will try to oblige next post

themidget said...

My condolences. May he rest in peace.

Dr rYn said...

heyp.. njoi viewing ur block..thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

enjoy viewing your 'block'? As in the "bloody block off"? LOL!~

Sorry, couldn't resist. ;)

Mr Incognito said...

themidget >>> all i can say is thanks

Dr rYn >>> this is a typo right?

Anonymous >>> u got there first. well done

Sorry folks .... work crisis. Late update

aisha_ said...

mr incognito,,so u re an ex sbp la ni! :) maybe u interested in this ...

condolence abt ur friend.may he rest in peace,,

Maya said...

hi there..tumpang lalu ye and will sure make visit again.. i guess u must be a lawyer.

have a good day

kimster said...

Sad, ain't it?

Manal said... when's ur next post will be?? missed having u around, mate.

Da Winged Acrophobic said...

Can't help feeling our roles have reversed for the time being.

ruby ahmad said...

Heyy there,

Selamat Berpuasa. Take care.

The Oriental Express said...

I agree. God takes away early those that He specially loves.

My wonderful brother died when he was just 16 years old. He was papa's cream of the crop, the best brother and son.

God has a plan for everything, and we can only trust in His wonderful plans.

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