Our family just lost our beloved grandma, Ariah Sanin. We call her, Nenek Umi (from ummi in Arabic, or ibu in bahasa Indonesia). She died on Wednesday, 2nd June 2010, at 3.55am. It was a peril to us, Ariah Sanin’s great family. I don’t remember exactly her birthday, but I know she was around 90.
It is a tradition in Minangkabau that a mother in her old days lives in her daughter’s place. Nenek Umi had two daughters, my mother in Padang, and Aunt At, my mother’s little sister, who lives in Dumai (Riau). There are three other children of our grandma, Mak Dang (great uncle, the older), Mak Uniang (middle uncle, the fourth), and Mak Uncu ( little uncle, the youngest). My mother is the second. And, we, Rusydi’s family, are lucky since Nenek Umi stayed in our place longer than others.
The long interaction with Nenek Umi had made her so important in our life. She was our guardian, our teacher, our friend, and lately she became our role model. It was she who taught us reading Al Quran (with tajwid) for the first time. She encouraged us, sometime by force, to attend to surau (a traditional muslim school for learning Islam in Minangkabau). She challenged us to memorize Al Quran, often by promising some gifts. She liked to cook and her cook, in our subjective tongues, was the best in the Universe. When she was in the kitchen, she was like a magician, can turn every single thing into a delicious meal. No one who eat her cooks can argue more than that! Apparently her cook’s skill descends to my mother, and hopefully to me 🙂
I heard she joined Indonesian’s army in her youth, made her as veteran and all rights for her special citizen (including pension). She told me once that she was around 10 or 11 when Soempah Pemoeda event. If this memory was correct, she should be born around 1917, or she died at around 93 years old. She witnessed colonist (Nederlander and Japanese) murdered local heroes, jet fighter flied above her land, involved at several combats, and also served meal for local combatant.
After independence day, she was back to her original nature: a farmer. Her parents were farmers, her grandparents were farmers, her great-great-great-great-grandfather (I don’t remember how many “greats” I should use) was one of the founder of the village called Sumanik, some where in Batu Sangkar town, in West Sumatera. It made her had some quite large and wide fields to farm. Every time we go to Sumanik, we love to walk on her sawah, swim and fish in her ponds, play around in her inherited great house with nine room and a rankiang in front (rumah gadang nan sambilan ruang dan rankiang di depannya).