Red Saab 1960. I was smiling while I am looking at this picture. It reminds me of a man who used to own the car.
I only saw him driving once in my life. That was the first and the last time. The distant? Well, few yards from his house was the farthest that I could see. As an eight year old girl, I perceived him as a bad driver, thinking that he was not as competent as his sons.
And that might be the reason why he was ordering his sons around. Especially the eldest one. When he wanted to go to a kenduri, his daughter in-law and his small grandchild would sit at the back, while his son drove him to his destination. When he wanted to see a friend, his young son played his duty again - and that duty would include his wife and the daughter. He had several places to go - and I wondered why I have never seen his son sighed; regardless of the time that he had to sacrifice with his own budding family at that time.
But he would never drove his own car. There were times when he took the bus or the cab to visit his special barber called Mokhtar in town; and his car would be left at home. That Red Saab was for his children's use and not his.
I wondered why. There were several occasion when I was furious because having him in the car would definitely made me sit at the back in my father's new car. I was only spared the front seat in that old Saab. Old..old...old...Saab.
The Red Saab was gone eventually. It means, my means of transportation to his house (whenever he wanted to see me) was gone too. I didn't realise how much I missed the red antique. No more vrooom...vroooommm sound. And I cannot sit at the front seat ever.
Red Saab was replaced by several sophisticated car from that day onwards. The departure of Saab would be the lesser time spent with him, considering that his eldest son was no longer his only driver. I grew up - went to boarding school and university and had lesser time to spend on kenduri. I didn't realise that, folks.
Then, I became more busy just to earn some money to buy a car. I told him, "One day I will drive you around, just like ayah did." He smiled when he entered the cab after he ate Beehoon Goreng - a treat that I could afford with my small salary.
But that was the last time I ate with him. A month later, I received a phone call from ayah, saying that he was in comma due to a stroke attack. He was silent forever.
It was not easy. Two years of talking to him without a respond made me realised how much I missed being teased by the man who once owned the Red Saab. The man whom I accused of being lazy to drive. The man whom I accused of robbing my childhood when all he wanted to do was for me to know the people in kampung so that I would appreciate kampung life.
He was rest in peace in year 2008.
I was on the way back from work when my father had asked me to drive his car. I was feeling uncomfortable. I hate driving. Especially when ayah is my tester. I even hated my JPJ tester when I was taking my license last time.
When we were about to reach home, suddenly I saw this strange looking bump in front of me. The car slowed down.
"Ular sawa..." ayah said.
So I swiveled the car to the right....and the big phaeton survived.
Today, a stupid monkey sat on the road.
"Ayah...macam mana nak buat dengan monyet ni?" I asked my dad as I pushed the brake paddle.
"Slow aje...nanti dia lari la tu...." ayah gave me the instruction.
Then the monkey went away.
When we were about to reach home, a ripe mango fell from the tree and dropped on the road.
"Jangan langgar mangga!" ayah said.
I turned the steering to the right.
The phaeton, monkey and even the mango survived!
They were small achievements that I could be proud of. But a thought came through my head just now:
"His father didn't say anything when he was driving last time. How did he managed to do it? Especially with that old Red Saab."
I don't know. The only thing I know is that his father was not driving ever since he almost hit a person with that Red Saab. Since then, my father has been his driver. My father did not managed to have guidance like me when he was driving.
I almost hit a monkey and I was freaked out. Luckily I had a father by my side. I wonder my own father's feeling now - he doesn't have his father at his side. Not anymore.
How I wish I could drive like my father.
So that I would be more confident, even when he is no longer by my side one day.
A Red Saab will be replaced by a Red Suzuki Swift soon, insyaAllah.
Al-Fatihah...he won't even see it.
But my father will. I promise!!!
Today is my late grandfather's birthday. If he is still alive, he is 76 years old and celebrates Father's Day today.
* Saab - a Swedish car. No blue and yellow for this WC, though...