I dreamt of my dearly departed grandmothers last night. The images are vague, as dreams tend to be. I remember snatches of the dream, images of my maternal grandma, my mom & I shopping along Orchard Road, taking shelter from the drizzling rain along the five-foot way near Peranakan Place just outside the Taka jewelry store. What we were shopping for, I don’t know.
Then the dream shifted to my paternal grandmother, urging me to make the booking for a cruise or a hotel or some kind of holiday online before it became all sold out! This is totally radical as my Ah Mah never had an inkling of how to use a computer!
Since time immemorial, people have wondered about dreams & their meanings. I won’t even begin to go into that. What the dream did for me was to evoke memories of Chinese New Year shared with those who are no longer with us, New Year celebrations when extended families were actually in the same country. New Year’s Eve would see us having dinner together: grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. We would pre-arrange the sequence of ‘visitations’ (actually, my beloved but dictatorial maternal grandpa would be the logistician), & even co-ordinate what kind of food we would have at each house so that there would be no overlap!
The morning of New Year’s Day would dawn with my siblings & I waking up, wishing our parents “gung hei fatt choi” & eagerly receiving hong baos from them. We would then dress in our new clothes & head out to the first stop, usually my maternal grandparent’s home. That would mark the start of a whole day of stuffing ourselves silly, mahjong, & for the kids, totaling up the hong bao takings (not necessarily in that order).
I know many people complain about the monotony & tedium of having to visit all their relatives year after year after year. To those people I say: Appreciate what you have when you have it because one day, you’ll wake up missing & wishing for those days.
I know I do.
Gung Hei Fatt Choi/Gong Xi Fa Cai/Happy Chinese New Year everyone!