A Stranger That Inspires

I think it’s a bit weird for me to be talking about someone that I never knew. In fact, I never knew this person at all when she was still alive. Just right after she left this world, then only I got to know about her existence. A stranger that I couldn’t identify any mutual acquaintance between us, not even one. Nonetheless, the story of her life has gripped my heart in a very mesmerizing way.

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Photo Source : Instagram @nikidznidalila

 

The Late Nik Idzni Dalila Binti Nik Mahmud – a grown girl, 25-year-old when she passed on, a student then a doctor, a wife, a cancer-fighter.

The day that she passed away on 27th December 2016, the social media has gone viral by the news. I was first not interested with it but the level of “virality” was so high that everyone was sharing the posts with crying emoji and I kept seeing the husband and wife’s pictures with screenshotted captions crossing through my timeline. Too much, I thought…‘What’s the hype?’ So I clicked on.

From one article to another, one Instagram post to the next, scrolling and scrolling, I then became very perplexed! It’s so like a made-up story. This girl was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, still wanted to continue study, stayed far away from home, found love to a very devoted guy, got married though she’s in that condition, finished studies, became a doctor, health got worse, resigned, came back home, passed away on the very first wedding anniversary! Are these all true?? I didn’t believe it’s a real story, did you?

I stalked all the pictures and was also directed to her blog. Days spent reading almost everything, it was first really heart-breaking but as I read and read, I found that this girl was truly a living proof of miracle! Her life, her illness, her very strong self, put together made one of a kind character that taught me so much real life lessons and impacted me in a way that left me thinking and reflecting about so many things in my life. I was like given answers I’ve been puzzling for so long. And what made me felt more touched was because all these things came through someone who’s no longer around. One whom I don’t and won’t ever get the chance to know in person. A stranger, but truly a godsend that had inspired me through her words she left visible.

I believe there were many other people in kinda similar situations like her but maybe she’s the one that Allah chose to flick my heart and send His messages to me. I learnt from her that being sick is truly a blessing from Allah, it’s not an unfortunate event, not a bad luck. That’s how we always perceived bad things – not just sickness but any difficulties. The way she treated this test from Allah was really extraordinary. She recognized every blessing she gained despite having the cancer and chose to be grateful for everything. When I felt like how lucky she was to be herself, I asked myself; ‘She’s sick, she got c.a.n.c.e.r, she died at only 25… How could I say she’s lucky for all that?’ From there I understand the true meaning of “blessing” in a way that I never deeply thought of.

She inspired me to blog. You know I’d been contemplating to blog for so long. I had long lists of things discouraging me from taking the plunge but most of all was because I feared that I’d regret of what I write myself. I was afraid that in future I realize what I’ve written was all crap. I was scared of being fooled by my own words. But in her blog profile she said this;

A single statement above was like resolving all my contemplations. She’s so full of courage to say this, I was so moved. I can read hundreds of blogs and get inspired, I can read fancy popular blogs and feel enthusiastic to do the same but nothing, nothing really beats my doubt to actually get started. 5 days after her passing, the New Year slipped in and I delayed no more. That’s how it started with many more blogging inspirations I obtained implicitly from her. Truly, she’s the reason for this.

In January this year, I went for Umrah and it was about a month after I knew about this wonderful soul. On my last round; I performed the Badal Umrah for her. It was just spontaneous when I was about to pronounce my niat, I thought of her in my mind so I dedicated the Umrah for her. After I completed the Badal Umrah, I was drawn with a sense of guilt in me. I doubted my action about doing it for her, who was a total stranger. I knew it was already my fourth round of Umrah, all our late relatives have been covered for Badal (by my mom and brother as well) but I still felt that I should’ve prioritized at least someone that I knew in person, not an unknown at all to me. But it’s all done, I wondered why must I still feel that way? I returned home with this unsettled feeling.

Back home, I told my husband about this ‘conflict’ within me. I thought I just wanted to express my feelings but finally my husband came out with something so relieving. He said; “It’s okay, you don’t have to feel this way. Maybe that was a blessing from Allah to her, through you. Maybe when the time you want to niat that, Allah made you think of no one else but her, though she’s just a stranger to you. It’s Allah’s will specially for her; I guess it’s nothing to be felt guilty of?”

I felt like a heavy load in my heart was vanished at all. That was really, really, really calming. Because true! I did not plan that? Her name instantly crossed my mind at that very moment. Indeed it’s Allah’s will, I feel so overwhelmed to be clarified this way. Because if really that’s how Allah blessed her for the strong faith she kept through her tough times in the dunya, isn’t it an ultimate success? Think that, if everything that we have to go through in life is to promise Allah’s blessings for us in the hereafter, what else matters? T_T

I just hope that my Umrah obligations were all valid and accepted and from up there, she would gain the rewards too. May Allah forgive her sins, grant her Jannah and reunite her with all her loved ones one day. This world is indeed temporary; we all will be there too.

It’s been exactly a year since the day she returned to the Creator, and it’s been a year too I’m living life through her wisdoms. If I were to be asked; who is one person that has changed my life in 2017? I’d say it’s definitely her. On earth, we’re two total strangers that had never met eyes, never crossed paths. But in two different worlds, I feel so related to her and this connection I believe comes from Allah as spiritual guidance for me to cruise this life more wisely. Thank you Stranger, for all the things you had done.

Rest in peace, Allahyarhamah Nik Idzni Dalila Binti Nik Mahmud (1991-2016)

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Photo Source : Instagram @nikidznidalila

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Till the next post,
SALZY

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Disappointment

Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days are happy days, some days are disappointing. And today was just another day I got disappointed with myself. For again and again, the same regret.

At the office today, we had a short gathering with the whole floor for a little year-end wrap up. The leaders presented the overall agendas of the year that we’ve executed and involved, our achievements, pitfalls and whatnot. At the end of the session there was a quiz given for us to answer. The prize was two free movie tickets! The movie, date and time of own selection and they have two sets to offer.

I’m not a movie junkie but watching movie at the cinemas is one casual thing I’d think of doing once in a while. But every time also I’d rather not spend on this because you know, even if I had extra money to binge on, cinemas would be the among the last things on the list. So these free tickets would make my next visit to the cinema! I want ittttt…!!

The topic earlier was about all the great effort the company has done for the employees so the question was this – “What are you going to tell others out there about working in BP? Raise your hand!”

Was the question so hard to answer? Hey. I told you I loveeee working in here so much I have long list of reasons why and what makes this place a good place to work and I have a lot to tell others and bla bla bla.

But now was not about what I have in mind. It’s about raising my hand and voicing it out!! But what happened to my hands?? They’re clipped together soooo tightly and there was like elephant glue spread thickly in between my armpits. Being typical Asians, volunteering is just a big deal! Me being coward as always though I thought I’ve told myself to always be brave, take the chance and have a go no matter how it would turn out. I told myself most time we more often regret those things which we do not do than those which we do.

But no. That was just actually a fake pledge. When the time actually comes, I’m just being my lame self who forgets whatever motivations I had planted in my minds before. They’re all just dying inside and sprouting back uncertainty, shyness and excuses. And so I missed the chance! And so I missed that two free movie ticketttttsss!!!

Such a loser again. And you know what the winners answered the question with? The first one said about the opportunity to improve the processes basically about work but the way she said was just like shooting whatever words from the mouth which equals to bla bla bla and yeah she got it. I thought ah okay I got a stronger point but urmm…wait…urmmm….nah, another person has raised her hand and you know what she answered?? “I will tell others that BP is a great place to work.” That’s all. THAT WAS ALL with no further explanation and the director nodded with “yes yes and here’s your prize.” And what made it worse was she’s sitting just beside me! What the hell was I thinking???

I’m just so so disappointed with myself. You see, it’s not totally about the prize or what but it’s actually about missing the chance. It’s the regret of not trying. It’s the useless overthinking and wasting the time that never waits! Why am I like this? Huhuhu…. I told my husband this and he just said that ‘ah it’s just not your rezeki today’ but no, it’s not plainly about rezeki but it’s about effort too.

I once read an article about “How to be Lucky?” haha something like that. It says that most times lucky people are not genuinely lucky. They usually make effort to get themselves in the lucky-list no matter how little the chance of winnings. Competitions on TVs, radios or whatever advertisement with simple conditions yet amazing prizes; these ‘lucky people’ would take the chance, do whatever they gotta do and just wait and see. And always when we see people winning this and that we’d say oh how lucky they are but hey no, how could they win it if they didn’t even enter their names? It’s all about the effort that counts.

I’m just so so disappointed with myself today and I have no more motivational words to tell myself. Thanks for reading, sorry for the negative vibes. 😦

Till the next post,
SALZY

Errasy’s Birth Story

Earlier this year, I went through some tough times raising my 2 year-old toddler who was in the terrible twos phase. It was a real struggle to face his tantrums almost every single day and night when anything I did couldn’t settle his cry. Once he got disappointed just for a tiny thing, his tantrums would last up to more than an hour with non-stop crying and screaming. Can you imagine?

I was so stressed and felt like giving up. One night I isolated myself away and decided to blog about him and his current temperament so I poured all my unhappy feelings in a note book for me to type later. Today is his birthday. I flipped the notes that I wrote months ago and somehow, it curved a smile on my face. The tough motherhood phase has passed; my baby is now a happy boy! At least most of the time, not like before Alhamdulillah. So I cancelled my intention to write all the things in my notes because today is his 3rd birthday, I wanna reminisce the sweet memories of me giving birth to him.

Errasy was born through a planned C-section. I was all awake during the operation waiting for my baby to be pulled out from my tummy. It was a different experience, scary because when I delivered my first born, I was unconscious. This time, I savoured every moment in the operation theatre (OT) in my nervousness.

The atmosphere in the OT was quite relaxed even though everyone was moving around, here and there. I think I heard music being played if I was not mistaken but that was not my focus. During the operation, these people were having conversations with each other like there’s nothing going on in the room when actually, they were cutting my tummy layer by layer okay. In my mind thinking, maybe this c-sect operation is just like cutting onions to them especially for non-emergency case like this. Haha, my God! What a creepy thinking while on the surgery table.

Now comes the most thrilling part to me. When the ‘cutting’ process was completed, they informed me that in a little while they will pull my baby out. My heart was pounding fast, excited and nervous at the same time. When they took a peek at the baby who was still positioned in my tummy, the doctor’s assistant instantly said to me – “Emmm…..the baby is just like you.” She said it in a very casual way making me feel so curious. What did she mean? What did the ‘like-you’ like? I wanted to ask but I felt so weird to be talking when I knew my tummy was wide open and bloody so I kept it to myself, wondering in silence.

In less than a minute, Errasy was safely born and immediately shown to me. Such a beautiful moment and again the assistant said to me – “See…he is so fair! Justttt like you!” Awww….. Was that what she meant earlier? I was soooo over the moon the second I heard that. Having to see my baby fresh from the oven was already wonderful, the remark from her beautifies the moment even more I was so speechless!

Errasy was then taken by the nurses and the operation continued but I couldn’t stop smiling in bliss. It was one beautiful moment throughout the delivery process that will forever stay in my memory. The words “the baby is just like you, he is so fair just like you” stuck in my mind repeatedly whenever I throwback my second maternity journey and even every time when I look at my baby who now has turned 3 years old, today.

errasy newborn

Excuse this vain mommy people! Haha… the same comment if uttered at any other time wouldn’t make me feel flattered like this. It’s just because it happened at that very time, it created an unforgettable mommy-moment to me and I gotta record it in words, mind me. Hehe.. And I believe every mother also has her own exclusive cloud nine moment when giving birth to each child, right! *Care to explain. Ahaks*

My second baby, my second pregnancy. His coming was a surprise, I didn’t expect that I’d get pregnant again when my first born was only 10 months old. Such an unexpected gift, enlivens our lives with his funny characters I called him an entertainer in this family.

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Dear Errasy Eddean,

Happy 3rd Birthday my baby! May you grow healthy, wealthy, wise and lucky. Be a good boy now and rise as a good man in the future. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to us, we’re so blessed to have you as that cutie little brother. Stay close and clingy to Mom as you always do, I may seem annoyed with your childishness but please know that, deep inside my heart I’m loving every bit of it!

Mom loves you so much, Ayash Ayadean.. Always, and forever. Happy Birthday. 

Till the next post,
SALZY

Toastmasters : Ice Breaker Speech

This is a continuation post from the previous one. Feel free to read it first – Finding the Old Me

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First and foremost, let me make an important disclaimer here. In the speech Finding the Old Me, I actually added a spoon of seasonings to enhance the flavor finely. Haha! Actually, the part that I said I spoke in front of many people – no, I did not speak in front of many people back then. The part that I loved to volunteer in class – no, I never volunteered in class. Hahaha…I exaggerated! Yes I was active with clubs and societies but I was just a regular committee and I just led small teams once or twice. And yes I enjoyed class presentations and yes my work life was right as described. My point was actually to distinguish these two positions so I exaggerated the U part a bit. Just a bit, mind me! Haha okay done with my confessions. Let’s move on to a more constructive discussion.

SPEECH WRITING

Ice Breaker speech is very basic. It’s talking about yourself so in terms of the contents, you don’t have to climb the Google mountain. The difference is how it’s being delivered. Through my observation in the meetings :

  • They talk about their lives based on chronology –  from the time they’re born to the present, highlighting significant facts along the way.
  • They pick only two or three things about them and they elaborate further.
  • They tell a story about an incident or an experience they went through and what they learned that made them who they are today.

I was interested with the second one and I also wanted to tell a story. And so that’s how it turned out.

PREPARATION & PRACTICE

I practiced a lot! Within two weeks prior to that, I acted in front of the mirror every single day. At first, I wrote my text and memorized it line by line but I found it so hard to flow. I sought advice from my hubby and a friend who are very associated with this speaking thingy and they told me not to memorize everything but just remember the points and structure and keep on practicing. I did just that! Thank guys.

TIPS & IDEAS

Okay these are random tips and ideas I scooped out from here and there that might be useful for you :

  1. Volunteer to speak during Table Topic sessions prior to the day as a practice to overcome your stage fright.
  2. Have a mutual interaction. Throw a question and self-answer. That would spare a pause for you to hold a moment.
  3. You may want to use the projector. Display interesting pictures of yourself and share the story behind them (e.g : pictures of you travelling to other countries)
  4. Describe yourself based on astrology, chinese zodiac or favourite colors.
  5. Tell the meaning of your name and elaborate the elements that make you you.
  6. Begin or end your speech with a quote.
  7. Conclude yourself in 3 words.
  8. Don’t forget to relate your stories with the audience. Offer something for them to take home.

EVALUATION

I was evaluated by the Mr. President himself. One good point I want to remember is that he said I began my speech with a big smile. Some people forgot to smile when in nervous state. So yes, smile! And these are some rooms of improvement for me to note :

  1. “Too much hand gestures.”
    This is the most obvious. That’s my habit anyway but during the speech, I even overdid it. Gotta watch these hands next time. The evaluator said, every gesture should be purposeful.
  2. “Too static.”
    I did not move.  I purposely did not move. When practicing, I tried to casually move a step or two but the risk is that I would get distracted and go blank at all. No way! So I glued my feet on the ground. Will practice on this later.
  3. “Less pauses.”
    Those who knew me in-person surely know that I naturally speak like a train. So this is what happened live. Actually I controlled this in my practice. I timed myself and every time it was all reaching 6 minutes. But on real play, my time recorded was only 5 minutes 17 seconds. I was speeding obviously. He reminded us to use the power of pauses for the audience to absorb what we say. Okay!

EXPERIENCE & FEELINGS

All in all, well done, self! I’m so glad I did it anyways. For once I broke through my fear, my self-doubt and timidity with this challenge and what I can say is, knowing my level and competency, I’m pretty satisfied with my first performance. Thank God, Allah eased my say. I’d less fumbles and most importantly I didn’t forget my script because I didn’t bring any notes with me. Because this is the first one, this is the best so far. Hahaha. Now, I’m on to the next. Bring it on!!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Arranging My Bookshelves on Goodreads

I think I’m funny. I played around with the Goodreads apps browsing and adding books only to know that I created 10 shelves in total! Haha… Who on earth needs 10 virtual bookshelves when you can actually load thousands of books in only one default Read shelve with no-collapse assurance? Me, and I have my own justification. :p

Here’s the list of my shelves :

bookshelves

Four Read shelves labelled by years? That’s triggered by my date-oriented nature that really thinks I need to group my books based on the year read. If possible, I wanna sub-group them by months, hehe. But of course it’s not necessitous and as years pass by; it’s gonna be so messy to have these 2018, 2019, 2020 and so forth. I think I will just cancel the rest and only maintain the current year and the default read shelve for older books.

Just for now, I wanted to see my collections since 2015 – the year I revisited this hobby after abandoning it for quite some time. My God I’m so good at abandoning things even they’re some sort of entertainment to me. How could it be, self?

Well, I can say that was since I got married or more factually, married to a no-bookworm. My husband, he doesn’t read books! We still remember a moment in the beginning of our relationship; the ice-breaker phase. On the phone, we talked about our favourites and I told him about my reading pastime. I went on and on talking about my favourite books, this book and that book. And he was like.. clueless. Didn’t know what to reply vis-à-vis books and so he tactically diverted the topic into movies. So then we talked about movies. No more books. Haha. It’s funny to recall it now yet funnier to realize that I didn’t grasp that hint telling me that we’re so contradict so why did I marry this man?! Hahaha..

And so 2015 was the year I returned to reading as I was setting up my goals for the New Year, I searched for things that could activate my brain other than just fulfilling my to-do list with the never-ending house chores and life errands. My current collections are all starting from only 2 years ago and it’s growing I’m loving it!

Moral is, even though we don’t marry someone who shares the same interests with us and even if our spouses are more dominant in influencing us to follow their stuff, it doesn’t mean we have to give up things that we love to do. Sometimes we tend to abandon them just because we donned our head with multiple hats. But hey, don’t let our concerns toward others steal the concern over our own selves, okay? While my husband is not a book lover like I am, that wouldn’t space a distance between us.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Riddle Time

You’re about to use an elevator from Ground Floor to go up. There are three elevators; elevator A, B and C. You must use elevator C because you’re bringing a furniture so you must use that Fire Lift. There are 16 floors in the building.

Now, Lift A and B are at Level G where you are now. While Lift C, the one that you want to use is at Level 10, all idle. Every time you press that ‘Up’ button, either Lift A or B will open but not Lift C. Lift C stays idle at Level 10.

Question is – How do you wanna make Lift C comes down to you? Hi hi hi.

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Think think think….. or give up? Yes, I know it’s hard. Because this is a Cambridge-level riddle. Hehehe… Scroll down!

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That was my own situation yesterday. My landlord delivered a new fridge to our home so I ushered the fridge boy from his Hilux. While waiting for him to push the fridge, I ran to the lifts and faced the above problem. I kept pressing Up but had no response from Lift C until the fridge boy arrived and I sighed, “Hmm.. I think we gotta wait so long. This Fire Lift is not coming down!”

The fridge boy said, “Oh, no problem” and steadily he pressed the Up button, Lift A opened, he pressed Level 16, got out and the lift moved. Did the same thing to Lift B and it went up too. Pressed the Up button again, Lift C moved down and…..opened!!!

Jawdropping I was like.. Wowwww…so clever!!! Clap clap clap!! Hahhahahha.. I felt so useless. Not only that I couldn’t help him lift the fridge, but also fool I was. Ashamedly yet in cool I said, “Wa you’re so smart, huh”. He said, “Oh no it’s common..always do that in offices and all.” Aw so humble.. and pheww…! I’m not fool then. It’s just his everyday thing. Ahaks.

So guys, if you’re facing this kind of situation, use this trick and be the hero, okay! Don’t be like my husband. I quested him this riddle this morning and he gave me the funniest answer ever! He said, he will use Lift A or B, go up to Level 10,  get in Lift C, go down to Level G. Hahahaha!!! Who would do that?? What if you go to Level 10 and Lift C moves to other levels?? I was imagining him chasing lift from floors to floors like a cartoon! Hahaha… Worse than me because I’m less tired – me with my thinking face, I would wait at Level G forever, okay! =D

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Ride Full of Messages

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Since a year ago I guess I can say I am a regular customer of the increasingly popular public transport – GrabCar, or UBER sometimes. Not a routine but quite frequently I’d rather ‘grab’ than drive just because I’m lazy. Do you usually chat with the driver? I usually only take short trips around 10 to 15 minutes to arrive so normally it doesn’t really spare time to chat. Being in cars without having to concentrate on the road is the time we should steal to do our little things or just – scroll the phone, right? But today’s experience was completely different.

Today I took the longest trip in my record – a 50-minute ride involving highways so I had set to read a book all the way to kill the time. But then, after 10 minutes of muteness I felt really awkward because it was so quiet, the radio was low volume and the driver seemed bored. It’s still a long way to arrival so I thought let’s say a word just to break the silence if it’s cold, I can continue with my reading. Little did I know, from just a typical question “Hey do you do UBER as well or just totally Grab?” it turned into a conversation about life!

It went on and on to talking about doing it full or part-time, to his current other job, to his job prior to this, to why he’s doing this. This guy was really a talking personality he talked talked talked so openly. Haha. But of course because I also kept asking from one question to another just to relate anyway. He told about a major accident he involved years ago and that now he’s wearing an artificial backbone! It was so incredible that he broke his spine and not paralysed? MashaAllah.

After the accident, a series of drama happened in his life from having to quit from a governmental job, on how unfair the employer treated his situation, the tough recovery process, the devastation of not able to do his favourite thing before – cycling, he was an active cyclist by the way. After he somewhat recovered and found himself jobless, he went to Perth, Australia to find luck. With his brother and cousin, first they got cheated of 15 thousand dollars, which was another drama, but still managed to get there. The trials of getting a job there was another hardship so his brother and cousin couldn’t survive, because they have families, so they went home leaving him alone. It was really a rough journey he even told that sometimes he cried in shower. Erp, my God. An astonishment not because of the crying-in-shower thing but for telling a stranger so!

He managed to secure a job, and worked and lived a life for I’m not sure how long but earlier this year he returned to Malaysia to urgently settle his insurance case pertaining to the accident. It involved lawyers to fight for his rights but in the end, for what he’s gone through since then it only compensated an undeserved amount of money for him. How awful.

So there he was. Starting over in Malaysia with this GrabCar service almost full-time and also another job. With GrabCar was another challenge as well but I’d rather not continue here or it’s gonna be a novel, haha.

The ride was one of a kind. It left me reflective with a deep thought that how life can be so tragic for some people. Everyone in this world is tested, we all are. But for certain people we somehow would say they’re the chosen ones. Some tests happened once and they changed the person’s life completely after that. But some tests happened in a way to generate problems after problems like a never-ending story. Either way, that’s what life is! This life is a test for the believers and from time to time it will be difficult. And for as long as we live we in fact don’t know when actually the turning point of our life is. We could think we have been tested enough and that made us stronger but do we actually know Allah’s plans on us? Who might not know for one day people will look at us and say we’re ‘the chosen ones’? Honestly it’s scary to think of.

It was coincidence that we, husband and I, came across this ayah just two mornings ago so when I had this conversation in Grab, it instantly reminded me to what we just tadabbur. Allah mentioned in ayah 214 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “Or do ye think that ye shall enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Verily, the Help of Allah is near!” – Telling us how difficult the trials of the believers (may Allah bless them) were for Allah to let them into paradise so what about us? Wanting such an easy life with a trial or two, getting over and expecting paradise? Shame now. We actually just forgot what we were here for.

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To the driver, I may be just another passenger that came in and out of his car like the others. But to me, the ride was full of messages that still left me thinking about life.

Till the next post,
SALZY