What a wonderful week it has been, a time of reunions, of getting reacquainted with long-lost school friends, of renewing ties going back almost half a century.
If ever there was one person I had so wanted to meet again after all these years, it must be the gentleman above, known to me 50 years ago simply as Usop.
Not only were we childhood friends in the (then) mining town of Bukit Besi, Terengganu, we were also classmates and friendly rivals throughout Standard One to Standard Six (1961-1966).
Yusof Ahmad was a boy of few words, always serious and rather gruff, miserly with his smile, but with excellent leadership qualities.
He was elected head boy in the last year of school whilst yours truly completed the equation as the head girl.
Yusof went on to Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak (SDAR), a premier all-boys boarding school in Tanjung Malim in 1967, and we lost touch along the way.
Nevertheless, I heard of him from time to time, courtesy of my elder brother, Megat Fouzi, his senior in the school.
In this class picture - Standard Six A, Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Besi - Yusof is seated on the extreme right whilst yours truly, the tallest of the Derejoh Nang ('Standard Six' in Trengganuspeak) bunch, stands 6th from left in the middle row.
I had expected to meet him during our primary school reunion in Bukit Besi March 6 last year. Unfortunately, it was not to be, for he had prior engagements.
A chain of events finally saw us meeting again after 45 years when he invited Pak Abu and I to his daughter's wedding in Putrajaya Saturday last.
It was also at the kenduri that I finally got to meet blogger Wan Shariff (Minyak Gaz), whose wife is a cousin of my beloved Cikgu Din.
As 'Ayoh Wang' (in red & black batik) and Yusof were buddies and batch mates in the aforesaid boarding school, with one swoop I also got acquainted with some of my own brother's former schoolmates.
It was such a droll to be introduced to all and sundry as Megat Fouzi's sister, with some asking after his well-being.
My claim to fame as father of the bride's primary school classmate dwindled by the minute as my absent brother stole the thunder. Pleasantly amusing, it was.. :D
Be that as it may, meeting Usop again after all these years, and Ayoh Wang too, made for a memorable afternoon. Thank you God for bridging the gap between us old friends...
The wonders of Facebook never cease. There I was, minding my own business on FB when I spied a 'friend' request from a lady whose name did not ring a bell at all.
Khatijah Bidin (the lady in the middle) introduced herself as my senior in Dungun English Secondary School (DESS) way back in 1969 when I was in Form Two.
She was also a classmate and close friend of my eldest brother, Megat Yusof. The third lady in the picture above is Maryati, also a senior of mine from Dungun days.
It was only after I had studied the various school photographs that Kak Jah had posted on her FB page that I could recall this sweet-faced lady.
In the group picture above - looks like a school persatuan of some sort, or it could be the prefects, I can't recall anymore - we both were seated in the front row, with me 3rd from left and Kak Jah 6th.
Fast forward 42 years..... Two Saturdays back Pak Abu and I made our way to Kelab Golf Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh to attend the wedding of Kak Jah's daughter. Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Quite a number of the 'Dungun Gang' were there. Fortunately I could still recall a few, despite the years. One of them was Aishah Abdullah (in brown tudung), gentle and sweet as ever.
Time dissolved into nothingness as we chatted and laughed, recalling people and places, and events of long ago. A wonderful time it really was, and all too soon we had to part once again.
May God grant us the opportunity to meet again in the near future, Insyaallah...