Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Roti Man

What a great Thursday it's been for me. The whole first half of the morning was extremely free for me, which was a relief compared to the past two weeks crazy schedule. And the second half of the day was even better cos I was not working at all :D I took the day off after lunch cos wifey and me had some stuff to do which surprisingly was completed pretty fast and left me the rest of the day to just laze around with wifey.

After coming back from our errand, we just lazed around in bed (and don't get any dirty ideas, ok? LOL!) and just chit chatted until we both dozed off for an hour or so. Now, that's what you call life ... hehehe ... It's not often I take leave and enjoy the day at home on a working day. It's really a very different feeling and atmosphere compared to being home on a holiday or the weekends.

Somehow, the neighbourhood seems all that much quieter, no kids playing outside, most of the neighbours have gone to work and it gives a really deserted feel to the neighbourhood which is a nice change for me to experience. But lying there in bed enjoying the tranquility of the moment, I was aware of a different kind of noise that permeates through the neighbourhood.

Every half an hour or so, I'll hear the 'old newspaper' guy in his small little lorry going 'old newpaper (and it's 'new' paper not newspaper), suratkhabar lama, old battery, bateri lama' over and over again. Then it's followed by the gas lorry honking away trying to sell his gas cylinders. Not to be outdone, another lorry will soon pass by blaring away 'tilam, tilam' (mattress, mattress or something like that, wifey says our younger boy knows the exact words. LOL!) bringing mattresses right to your doorstep for those who actually buy mattresses from these people.

I look at wifey and she's not really bothered by all the noise cos she says it's a daily thing and she's grown accustomed to it that she hardly hears them anymore. For me, even though I know these 'entrepreneurs' do go around daily, it was like a new experience for me. I don't remember having people like these going around back when I was growing up. Back then we didn't have people like these driving around every day bringing goods to your doorstep. How the times have changed.

Back in the old neighbourhood that I lived while I grew up, if we needed things like a new gas cylinder, we'd just walk over to the sundry shop which really wasn't too far away from my house and order the cylinders and they'd send it over in bit. There was no such a thing as anyone driving around trying to buy your old newspapers back then. In fact, I don't even know what happened to all our old newspapers, maybe my grandpa burned them or something.

But one thing I do remember back then very fondly which they don't really have these days anymore is the old 'roti man' (bread man) on his small motor cycle with this huge storage cabinet, for want of a better word, attached to his small motor cycle which will be adorned with all types of breads, buns, snacks and junk food.

Sometimes it amazes me at how he actually balances the motorcycle! These 'roti men' were normally Indian Muslims and they were such nice people. I actually remember our 'roti man'. He serviced our neighbourhood for as long as I could remember and all the kids just loved it when he came by every evening, honking away his air horn.


Every time he came over to our place, me and my cousins would always rush out and grab all kinds of things from his motorbike and one of my favorites was this huge square kinda bread with sugar and raisins on it. It was about 12 inches by 12 inches and about 2 inches thick. Any of you guys know of this bread I'm talking about? I don't know how else to describe it but it was huge and that would be the first thing I'd grab every evening and not share a single crumb with my cousins ... LOL!

Another one of my favourite items would be this coconut bun that he'd have. I'd grab as many as 3-4 buns (I was a big eater back then, ok!) and armed with my square sugar and raisin bread and these coconut buns, I'd gleefully run in and sit in front of the TV and proceed to ruin my appetite for dinner ... LOL!

And through the years, this 'roti man' fellow would become a family friend who would see us grow from small little brats to grown up adults. I still remember my 'roti man' to this very day. He always had a smile on his face and never failed to turn up, come rain or shine.

There was a time when he met with an accident and had his son took over his route for a time until he recovered. We were all so worried about him and was so relieved to see him again when he finally recovered. Life was so much easier and people were so much more friendlier and concerned about each other even though you were practically a stranger back then.

Sadly, these days I don't see them anymore. I suppose they are still around but they don't come anywhere near my neighbourhood. These days, you get this Gardenia sponsored van going around blaring it's Gardenia tunes selling nothing but bread. How boring! No character at all unlike the old 'roti man'.

And somehow you can never relate or build a friendship with these new breed of bread men like the one I did with my 'roti man'. I guess the times really have changed and in a way I sometimes feel sorry for my kids at not being able to enjoy the things I did when I was growing up. I wouldn't trust my kids with anyone out there and strangers will just remain strangers unlike the old days.

All this reminiscing has made me long for the old days in my old neighbourhood. The carefree times I had, the friendships I made, the experiences I went through, the ups, the downs, all of it. Some were bad, some were good but one thing is for certain. They were all such fun times. And I'm glad I was able to experience and cherish all those times. It will never ever come around these parts again.

But then, these days, I have a whole new set of experiences to live through with wifey and the boys and that will be something to cherish and remember years down the road :D
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36 comments:

  1. nothing beats not working on a working day! hahahah..
    some ulu areas eg some parts of puchong they still have the rotiman around.
    im still wondering whether the coconut bun has some sort of drug or what, cos my husband flips over it as well.
    same zaman maybe u guys huh?
    the zaman that we have now is video games, ps2 etc. and what way to bond with our sons than to master those darn ps2 games.
    however in our home we r sticking to the conventional way of bonding - outdoor activities like football, gardening, travelling etc. sounds more healthier than playing video games the whole day.
    tgif!! yipeeeee..

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  2. Three to four coconut buns?! Wow, you really did like them!

    Cherish those memories Nick and keep them safe. While you're building new loving ones for your own family.

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  3. I sometimes feel sorry for my kids at not being able to enjoy the things I did when I was growing up.


    thats a very powerful and TRUE statement. I wish we still had the days when milk, eggs and cheese were delivered to out doorsteps.

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  4. Hi Nick,

    I think we have something similar in Kuching, those small van going around in the evening, toot-ting their hon and sells bread, cakes and other pastries. Guess they are called roti man too? I think we had the same roti man since I was a kid till we left the neighborhood when I was in my late teens. Those were the days!

    By the way, did you really finish 3-4 coconut buns + 1 big icing raisin bun in one sitting????!

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  5. I'm glad you had a relaxing day, you deserve it!

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  6. Lxndreasb - They do? I haven't seen one of these 'roti man' in ages!

    Hahaha ... I guess everyone from that 'zaman' is probably the same cos even my buddy loves the coconut buns.

    True, these days kids spend too much time indoors, luckily my boys are not addicted to playing games and stuff. They're always bugging wifey that they want to go to the park nearby ...

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  7. The World According To Me - Yes, 3-4 coconut buns in one seating ... hehehe ... I actually loved them, but these days I'm not into sweet stuff anymore.

    I hope my kids would have something to blog about one day in the future about their memories too ... :D

    A happy weekend to you.

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  8. Meleah - Times change but sometimes I wonder if they change for the better or not. I guess we just have to accept the changes, make the best out of it and move along ...

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  9. Jen - Those were fun days. The current bread man we have in my neighbourhood uses a small van too but he only sells bread. Like I said in the post, how boring!

    And yes, I did finish all that buns in one go and even had dinner after that ... LOL!

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  10. Tammy - Thank you Tammy :D I really enjoyed taking things easy yesterday ... A happy weekend to you.

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  11. Oh yah, I miss the roti man and his kaya and coconut bread too. It's almost extinct here now. I miss the ice cream man too.

    I know what you mean about the peace and quiet on a weekday afternoon. I was just complaining to CH yesterday that I haven't had an opportunity to go home to some peace and quiet since my kids were born. Now that my nieces come over to my parent's place during the day, all I hear is kids' crying and whining the moment I step inside the house. I need a holiday!!

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  12. Roti man! Uh oh..there's this wut do u call those small buns thing still sell around KK which is absolutely tasty! XD

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  13. BT - I forgot about the ice cream man, but the ice cream man still comes by my neighbourhood. He isn't going extinct yet, thankfully ... hehehe ...

    That's exactly the sounds I hear on weekends with the neighbours kids screaming and whining away. I think I should be taking more half day leave from now on ... LOL!

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  14. Maslight - LOL! I seriously have no idea la ...

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  15. I'm so impressed by the rotiman performing the "stunt" on his bike. Its really dangerous all for a living. Bravo :)

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  16. we have no rotiman in our area last time, but we do have vanMan we called 'Thet-Thet'. Hehe The van honk so funny its sounded like..thet..thet..so that how VanMan earned his 'Thet-Thet' name..

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  17. You know what I miss being back here in Sabah? The roti man! LOL! I don't see no roti man over here lah!! :( And besides, I really am hungry right now. Didn't have breakfast and lunch. :( So looking forward for tonight. Planning to go fishing at the Fish Market. LOL!

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  18. Janice - Yeah, I seriously wonder how he manages to balance all that on just two tiny wheels!

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  19. Kadus Mama - LOL! I think it's the same kind of horn my roti man uses la ... Everytime we hear that honking, we'd all be running out like the flash waiting for him ... hehehe ...

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  20. Cindy - is that really you? Do my eyes deceive me? LOL! Hey, it's good to see you here again.

    They're a dying breed la over here la. Soon, I don't think I'll even see one on the roads anymore.

    Well, you have a great time fishing now, ok? And get yourself a nice big huge dinner :D Happy weekend.

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  21. Hehehe Iya so kesian oh those guys. I have no idea how they do it! If me seriously terlimpang on the floor already the motor. Hehehe

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  22. you know while I was reading this, the old-newspaper-suratkhabar-lama-old-battery-bateri-lama just passed by...hahaha...

    Enjoy your weekend too Nick ;-)

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  23. i also like to buy things with the roti boys when i was a kid

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  24. ahhh.. that's the kind of day that I love... and yes, I do remember the roti man.. but we used to pester our parents to buy the snacks rather than bread! :-)

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  25. Very lovely reminiscence, Nick. I remember when I was little, there used to be some people who would knock on our door with chickens and eggs and asked us to barter them with clothings or money. That was what we call barter trading. But it just stopped and no one would do such things again. Those were the days.

    You had a good time with the roti-man, hehee. Ya, it's easy to deal with strangers before than now. I'm always scared with stranged-looking strangers, lol!

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  26. Rozella - Even if I had a tricycle I'd still have a tough time balancing all that. LOL! That roti man sure gets my utmost respect :D

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  27. Monica - LOL! They roam around every neighbourhood, don't they?

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  28. Hazel - I think all of us would have sometime in our lives bought something from these roti men :D

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  29. Sting - Hehehe ... we had an account with the roti man so we just took whatever we needed and let poor old mommy pay up every month end ... LOL!

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  30. Marlene - I guess there were lots of things that we experienced when we were young that don't exist anymore ... siggghhh, those were such good old days to be a kid.

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  31. Hi Nick, I've heard of suratkhabar lama, but never tilam, tilam!

    Oh I loved my Roti Man too, and couldn't wait for him to finally stop at our house so I can buy all the nonsense snacks (Ding Dang etc), just to get the toy inside! :):):)

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  32. Marzie - Then you should come here tomorrow cos the tilam man always passes by on Saturdays ... LOL!

    Hahaha, I remember the Ding Dang too and I also bought it when I was young just for the toy inside ... hehehe ...

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  33. There's a kind of a "roti man" where I live in. He´s got a radio. Imagine the noise he does whenever he passes on the street! :o)

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  34. Cidao - The newer guys selling bread here drive in a van with blaring music too unlike the old 'roti man'.

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  35. i love those roti man..i still remember waiting for it to come when i was staying in pj. just heard old newspaper boy last 2 weeks..here in kk u can't get both..hehe may be soon..

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  36. Deana - Hey, you're back from your holiday already?

    It was fun ya waiting for the roti man to arrive? I sure miss those times ...

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