Wednesday, 9 November 2005

* mandi bunga *

~ 09th November 2005 ~

Malaysia has a rich fusion of a wide variety of ethnic and religious beliefs and cultures. So it is not uncommon for its people to seek help from other races if they believe it can help benefit them in their lives.

‘Mandi bunga‘ loosely translated ‘floral bath’ in english, is a practice many use here. There are variations in some places but it is mainly to do with the cleansing of bad luck and impurities of oneself so as to be able to be more receptive of the well desired wishes. Some ladies take this bath so as to attract a suitable partner or some to hopefully better their life course.

The concoction of the bath that I know consists of a mixture of seven different kinds of flowers ( preferably more fragrant, the better ) and three numbers of ‘limau perut’ - citrus hystrix  or lime may substitute. Quarter the limau perut and mix them with the flower petals in a bath.

One of the girls at the party mentioned she was gonna do this and since I had always wanted to do this as I felt my luck with men and money quite unfortunate…. *smile*

So we met up the next morning, went to market to get the flowers. I guess you have to be in the right frame of mind when you set yourself to undertake such a ritual and we were picking our flowers instinctively. We couldn’t get the limau perut so had to settle on limes.

We went to her place and began chatting…what else? She taught me how to cut the limes and place them in, squeezing them at the same time. The flowers were separated from the stems and the petals were peeled off their centers. As I continued, the water looked so colourful and the mixing scents of the flowers and limes was very refreshing in the air.

Next I took a shower, a cleansing of the body before the actual ritual floral bath. I soaped, scrubbed every inch of me from head to toes, same time clearing my mind of my troubles and fears. It is all in the mind I must say, whether you want to believe or not or have faith that it’ll work. I was 98%  there and I was ready.

I did not want to do it in the bath so I had prepared mine in a pail and after listening carefully to what she told me, I took the pail in and set it on the floor. I finished peeling the balance petals off the centers and squeezed the limes harder.

Satisfied, I scooped some of the water and floral mixture in both hands; quietly making my wish just before I doused my face gently with it and moving my hands upwards towards my head and down my hair. I did this three times, each time wishing for something different. Then, using a small bucket, I scooped the water and started pouring from the top of my head, feeling the petals running down my hair and body. I went on till I had petals sticking to me all over and till the pail of water had finished. I used a towel, pat myself dry, leaving whatever flowers on myself as they were. It was quite funny as petals were falling off me every where I moved.

Now, I can’t describe what I felt actually, probably refreshed cos after two showers. Then my friend told me I had to throw the used petals and limes into running water, preferably a river. That kinda spoilt it for me. Right…here I have just cleansed myself but I have to go pollute the environment with my bad mojo so to speak! Not that I am such an active ‘save the world!’ person. More like the fear of being caught and given a summons was more like it!

I went to see another friend to pass some stuff and we got to talking and I told her I was a bit stressed out at having to rid the ‘bag’ into a river. She started thinking of any nearby and soon we were heading along a river but it had a wide embankment running along it and I’d have to really swing the ‘bag’ hard so that it would land in the river. Sigh….i drove further along and we came upon a small bridge. Excitedly we saw the huge drain running to meet the river. Environment or not, the mojo had to go and I threw it quickly before anybody came nearer. We shrieked a bit when we saw the ‘bag’ hit the divider wall and ‘phew’ as it was taken away by the fast currents…straight into the river.

I guess I won’t do it again, considering that last bit was quite a hassle and made me feel guilty at breaking the law and spoiling mother nature. Yet it was an experience I will remember and especially the hilarious little scurrying adventure I had with my friend in ridding the ’bad  mojo bag’ and praying  we would not be caught by the law! *chuckle*

By the way, that floral bath…. It did work! Let’s just say, some things happened the next day. Good things.
To learn more about mandi bunga, check out this address below. Enjoy…

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

* schoolgirls round-up *

~ 08th November 2005 ~

Three days ago, I met up with the usual gang. A reasonably big group of women who have known each other from school, some as far as kindergarten days! Yes, quite a number of moons ago…

It was the Indian Festival of lights –DIWALI or Deepavali as we know it better here and our friend had a separate do for our group a few days after the main day.

Needless to say, once we got around the table, it felt smaller and the conversations got louder mixed with long ago schoolgirl giggles and cackles as we caught up in each other’s lives and anecdotes. Our few parents at the party seemed not to notice as it was a normal scene for them. They had to get used to this since we were young! There was a point we were kinda quiet and I noticed they were staring at our table, faces comical as they wondered at the silence. I guess we were taking a ‘small’ break!

Many have commented at how we all still looked the same but better from school days and were mainly surprised at our camaraderie after all these years. ( Yes, yes…..quite a number of moons since! ) The laughs and old ways never seemed to have left us whenever we gathered. Come to think of it all, even with the careers we have where we have to be on our proper best…we became the same old bunch from those days. All prim and proper etiquettes went out the door. Of course we are not that bad…just a leg tucked under here or there, slapping wrists, animated arms and hands flying about in between narrations, couple of sound effects that can be sold for a song, faces contorting according to tales, etc. You get the picture I’m sure.

Yes, it’s rare to see a group of friends get together at least four times a year since leaving school. We try to get as many in each gathering but distances and work have been many excuses. The average number of regulars among us lately has been five at least. Of course, I missed a few small meets as I was away but hey, they didn’t need my entertainment all the time right? I’d been boring by the time we get old!

This Deepavali, there were seven of us. Some missing due to the long holidays. Though it was a small group, we had so much fun catching up and never stopped laughing. Maybe these meets are part of the secret that has kept us well grounded and young at heart. Not forgetting looking young too!

Whatever it is, I’ll never trade them for a posh dinner with the rich for these gatherings have been truly rich enough for me. They make the best memories. Three cheers to the old girls with young hearts!

Muah, muah muah!