Commuting to and from work for four years on the KLIA Transit Express Railway Link’s (ERL) Nilai–KL Sentral–Nilai route, taking the train at the same time each evening with the same group of ladies, slowly grew from a hesitant smile to a tangible friendship for three of us.
Zubaidah Sulaiman, Saharitah Ibrahim and I stopped taking the ERL to work this year. Ju and Eta, as I call them, got jobs closer to home; and I retired.
The rest of the “Geng ERL’ decided that there should be a farewell gathering, not to mark the end of our friendship but the end of our daily rides together.
Hence, husbands and kids followed these independent ladies to Payah Indah Wetlands in Putrajaya recently, dressed in T-shirts with the words “Geng ERL’ printed on the sleeves.
Home-cooked food, the specially baked cake, certificates and gifts were brought to the gathering.
There was a football match for the young boys, their dads watching and their cheering punctuating the calm atmosphere of the natural surroundings. The roar that went up when a goal was scored could have been from a stadium!
The ‘official ceremony’ began with the presentation of certificates and gifts to the Ju, Eta and myself by none other than our own husbands! Sweetly printed on the ceramic vases were the words ‘Geng ERL 2011 Friendship 4 ever’. Then the lovely cake baked by Sarina was cut and shared.
Everyone was feeling uplifted. Even the husbands whom we were meeting for the first time made my husband and I feel like we have known one another for a lifetime.
It was an extremely heart warming event for us all. We are all looking forward to the next time we get together again. This friendship formed on the ERL is a journey from the tracks to the trails of life.
by Helen Lionel
Photographs taken by: Antony D’Cruz