The countryside is flooded with durian, duku, rambutan and manggis. Village folks, who own land with these fruit trees around K Terengganu, moan over the drop in fruit price. It is not worth the trouble of collecting them, so say many of them.
Ten days ago the man, who occasionally drops by to help clearing our land, came with three large durians and a bunch of ‘petai’, all from his plants. For Pakcik and Makcik, one durian is half-a-durian too much.
A few days later a father of one of our Almanar pupils came over with six durians. He is a retiree from an oil company and owns few acres of fruit trees. So these six durians are for his daughter’s Cikgu and Makcik. That was certainly not a gift we could refuse.
Then, driving home one afternoon three days ago, I dropped by one of several durian sellers by the roadside and asked for one good durian of his choice, showing my trust in his judgement - if not his honesty. No, he insisted that I took two fruits that had already been nicely strung together. They were the best of the few he had left.
Feeling rather sorry for him I agreed and expressed myself clearly that he should name one price which I would pay without any bargaining. He looked hard at me and, after a brief pause to think, he murmured, ‘Baiklah, empat ringgit (OK, four ringgits). So I readily told him that I accepted that and would pay him the eight ringgits for the two. Grinning at me he retorted that it was to be four ringgits for both fruit.
Two for four ringgits?
With disbelief and looking at the beads of sweat on his face I drew out a five-ringgit note and handed it to him, saying at the same time that I would not take the one ringgit change. He looked hard at me. Convinced that I meant it he turned around, picked two smaller fruit readily tied together and handed them to me.
“ Cikgu, ambil lah dua biji lagi ni - hadiah ikhlas dari saya! (Cikgu, take these two extra durians - a sincere gift from me!” I had little doubt he truly meant every word of it. But somewhat curious, I asked what made him address me as ‘Cikgu’.
“ Tak tahu lah. Nampak pada saya macam Cikgu, ( I don’t know. You seem to me like a ‘cikgu)”
For some unknown reasons I had taken a picture of him when he was holding the first two fruit to hand over to me. Did I have as much sixth sense to take his picture as he had to think that I was a teacher? But no one calls me other than Pakcik - not a teacher.
Semoga Tuhan murahkan rezekinya. One day I will drop by to ask if he has a child I can help at Almanar. How I wish he had children who would grow to give him a better lot in life.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan