Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014: What a Year!

There's only a week left to 2014 and if anyone were to look at my Facebook timeline, they'll be able to see how much of an adventure this year has been for me. This year has seen me through two storms followed by a beautiful childhood dream come true. God has tested my emotional and psychological endurance and rewarded me with something so memorable that I believe I will remember until my last breath.

MH370 was a storm of a mission that proved to me that I can remain functional and effective despite my severe depression. MH17 mission ensued far too soon and as much as I tried to continue functioning, I had to confess it was too much for me to handle. Both tragedies were equally devastating to my beloved country and national airline; but in different ways. As terrible as MH17 may have been, at least there was closure for the families and relatives, unlike MH370 that remains a mystery until today. Documentaries were made by international channels, one of which made it appear as though I was one of the grieving family members. See for yourself in the video below, 30 mins 38 secs into the documentary. 

During the time I took to recover from MH17, my father spoke to me about his concert that was going to be on 13th December. It would showcase his compositions and symphonic arrangements, with a huge orchestra of 60 musicians. He invited me to perform 3 of his compositions, one of them being a song he had composed for his father entitled Oh Papaku (Oh My Father). I was both excited and nervous as the months reduced to weeks and days approaching the day of the concert. I attended all rehearsals equipped with vigour and enthusiasm. 

I remember fondly how I used to follow my father to his orchestra rehearsals and watched him conduct the orchestra, backing up our nation's superstars such as Anita Sarawak, Saloma and Sharifah Aini. I dreamed and fervently wished that one day, I will be able to get a chance to sing with an orchestra under my father's baton. I waited for 45 years. It was worth the wait. And the day of the concert arrived.

As I sang the first line of the song Berdebar Rasa Hati (Nervous Beating of the Heart), I heard my voice quiver. I was nervous. Among the audience were my mother and brothers, relatives and very close friends. They were emotional and nervous too, because they know my story. They know how much this night mean to me. 

After the first song ended, my father proudly introduced me to the audience. He then went on to speak about the song he had composed for his late father, Mohd Salleh Bin Mohammad. It was a very emotionally touching moment and I feared my emotions might get in my way of rendering the song. I knew that if I were to sing that song with my father in mind, I will break into tears. I decided that I will sing the song on behalf of my father, for his father. I focused on my late grandfather's face. His smile. His quiet demeanour. I focused on Atok Salleh.

The audience responded to Konsert Maestro Dato' Johari Salleh with a standing ovation and two encores! I felt so much pride in my heart for my father, I could feel as though my chest was going to explode! It was a truly spectacular night and emotionally charged. 

I am ready to move forward, leaving painful past behind. I am ready to start a new book. As I turn 50 a month from now, I will begin a life that is going to look very different from my past. I will be embarking on several endeavours that I have never taken on before. I am truly excited and nervous at the same time. But I fear nothing except Allah.

Thank you to Noorazah Aziz, my Mak, who brought up my brothers and I with so much love, grace and elegance. 

Thank you to Johari Salleh, my Ayah, who always wished for nothing but the best for us all. 

Most of all, thank you to Wan, my grandfather, who took my brothers and I under his wings and groomed us to be such refined and educated people that we are today. Without him, we would just be mediocre underachievers.

Yesterday, I looked like this.

Today, I am back to the simple but intricate me:

Now, I am ready to make the rest of my life to be the best of my life. May Allah bless me with the strength, endurance, talents and intelligence to make Him proud of humble me. Ameen.