I dont know if ZAR is still operating in UKM, Bangi or not. during my uni days, they operated at the UG of PUSANIKA building. i frequented their cafe (like, 6 times per week). they open officially at 8.00 am, but, they didnt close their door when i came usually at 7.30 am (obviously their first customer each day). a few minutes later, an Indonesia guy with a battered sling bag would emerged and sat on the next table. except for hi at the door, i
didn't rarely exchanged pleasantry with the owner. and they didn't bugged me either. early morning were especially busy at their little bakery. after 8.30, customers started to flood in and i usually leave before 8.30 for Tun Sri Lanang library.
Nothing fabulously fantastic in their menu offering. theirs was a simple bakery with limited baked goods. the owners were elderly Malay couple who speak English with brits accent. but, the runner of that shop was their plump (very good looking) son. i enjoyed my uninterrupted morning tea (they got quite a selection of Earl Grey teas). those were the times i spent looking at plants nomenclature (i did a bit on plant taxonomy for my MSc Theses) and the times i think, i was so much at ease.
maybe it's the rarity of time spent just to be on my own that i treasured those early mornings so much. coming from a large family (of 9 siblings), its really hard to find a place or time to be alone. maybe that's why i love reading so much, it allows my mind to drift and escape. don't get me wrong, i love socializing too. i enjoy hanging out with friends or just talking nonsense with my brothers and sisters, i enjoy companionship. but my heart quietened when i am alone, collecting my thoughts, reading my favourite book, browsing through old photos, doing my cross-stitch, writing on my spiral bound note book, daydreaming.
The last time i went to ZAR was in 2008. the lady owner looked shocked seeing me and asked "i thought you already finished your course? why are you still here?". after all those years, she did remember me. "i did. i work in Kuching now. i come to visit a friend working here. i thought, you'll not recognize me". "of course i remember you. i baked apple pie, because you always asked for it". oooo my.. yes, i love apple pie, still do. only then i realized, even in my search for solitude, there's someone helping with the details to ease the way. and that's comforting to know.