Assalamu Alaikum Wa
Wrong is still my identity, only with a difference now.
“Happa!!!” the , now two years old, baby bumps into her and grabs her by her legs, the far she can reach her mother. She laughs and tells her to stay away from the stove. Her hands are moving fast. Once she’s mashed the potatoes, she’s now putting cream, chicken stock and adding flavors to it, a little different this time. “Goudi!!!”, the baby demands. She pushes her away. Baby is not happy with it but busies herself in other interesting items present in the kitchen. She checks the baby from the corner of her eye, satisfied, she continues her work.
A new recipe everyday is essential in order to feed the baby. She’s tried ‘em all up till now, even the combinations and variations. Oats, Mashed Bananas, Cream and honey with bread, Cheese with Paratha, Halwa, Scrambled eggs and fries, Butter and Rice, Mango pulp with fresh cream, Mashed-every-seasons-fruits, Potatoes-this, Potatoes-that .. what not? Feeding baby is always an adventure. Once the batter is ready, she puts the food in the baby utensils and prepares herself for the baby-battle-against-food.
First step is to catch her unaware. Has the baby seen the look in her mother’s eyes, she is already running and laughing. Before she gets to her, the baby has hidden herself beneath the coffee table. She calls her name. The baby giggles. She could let go of her on such cuteness but no compromises on her diet, she reminds herself. The baby is trapped, which makes it easy for her to drag her out. Rest of the steps are enacted fast and before the baby knows she is bounded under her mother’s leg, her hands firmly held by one of her mothers.
Mixed expressions of shock and horror can be seen on the baby’s face just as she lowers the spoon full of Mashed-potatoes to baby’s mouth. First one goes easy. The baby gulps it rather difficultly after keeping it in mouth for a complete analysis. Second spoonful then Third. Fourth commences the struggle for freedom. But she manages to force it in the tiny mouth. By the fifth one, baby succeeds in freeing one of her hands, which she uses to push back her mother’s hand. Mashed-potatoes out of the spoon flies and land on the couch. But she is also a Mother, not ready to surrender. Scolding, she bounds her hands again.
Sixth, Seventh and Eighth. By now the tears are flowing from baby’s eyes. The first silent cries are now turning into small screams. The baby moves uncomfortably under her mother’s hold, still trying to free herself. The ninth one, and the baby has enough of it! Using all her energy the baby twists and slips from her mother’s embrace. Her cries are louder now and her face expressions are a proof of how much she disliked the treatment with her. She now tries every mother’s strategy at this kind of situation; love. She embraces the baby gently and calls her politely with a kiss. Slowly trying to feed the baby another serving. But kids have no second opinion. The food is rejected with the same intensity.
Few more tries, and the mother has to give up! Doubtful if she’s fed the baby enough, she leaves her with a sigh. The baby, content with her success, is now playing with her teddy and tea set. The worry-free baby knows no one can make her eat mashed-potatoes ever again. The Mother is thinking; postponing mashed-potatoes till next week she will try “Soojhi ka Halwa” next.
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah.
Following depicts exactly how I have been feeling lately, due to the sickness.
Note: I highly respect the copyrights:
[COPYRIGHT 2008 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE. This feature may not be reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without the written permission of uclick and Universal Press Syndicate.] and have only used the image as a personal communication mean.
So you can describe the sufferings and miseries in great detail
ظلمت کدے میں میرے شبِ غم کا جوش ہے
ایک شمع ہے دلیلِ سحر ، سو خموش ہے ۔
The sudden darkness causes her knock her feet against the side drawer, “Ya Rabb!!”, she calls out politely. Except for few stars shining infront of her eyes because of the pain, it’s completely dark around. The load shedding would continue for an hour and a half, but she knows how prolonged it’d seem. She searches her way out the room in order to light a candle. UPS is long gone dead, and the Petromax lamp is so out of reach. She has already tried calling a number of people last week to repair the UPS, but no one seems to have time for the old lady.
She explores the neatly lined jars on the kitchen counter, feeling them by her hands she reaches for the last candle she’s been saving for days. The little flame gives her the dull sight of her clean kitchen. She admires her day’s work and after getting into lounge she places the candle in the middle of the old coffee table. After seating herself comfortably on the couch she becomes more aware of the solitude and silence around her. The quietness about sends frequent chills in her spine.
She is lost in thoughts. This same place could stand out coz of the cheers and laughter of the little ones if you only go back in latest past. The thorny period of shadows made so easy with little feet around, bumping into her, screaming, and their glowing faces enough to light the surroundings. The beautiful memories put a slight smile on her face. But a loud racket brings her back to life. Her heart starts to pound rapidly. The age has slowed down her responses but she is fast enough to reach the door and double check the lock.
Her ears are on alert, anticipating the slightest sound anyone can make. It is late till she realizes her hands are shivering and few drops of perspiration have appeared on her forehead. She holds the doorknob tightly but feels it slip through her hands because of the sweat. There is the noise again, this time with a shrill cry of a miserable cat. It’s only a cat. She tries to comfort herself by hugging her weak existence and convinces herself she is not afraid of it. It was long ago when the cats and their cries made her terrified, but she is old now.
While the fight continues inside her, she finds herself almost talking out aloud. Her own voice sounds like a stranger’s and when she realizes she is alone, she reaches for the receiver of the phone. She’s started dialing her son’s number on the keypad. But what is she going to tell him? Not that its completely dark, and she is alone and scared. He’ll laugh if she tells him about the noise and the cat. She wants to tell him she misses him and wants him to come back. But she doesn’t want to put pressure on him, so its not a good idea. She will talk to her grand daughter, that will make her happy. The bell is going through. “Hello..”, she quickly speaks in the receiver only to hear his son’s voice directing: “Hello, you’ve reached the Ahmed’s, please leave your message after the beep and We’ll call you back. Thank you.”.
The small dark room, lit by one candle is her only companion for now. The flame of the candle synchronizes with the surroundings and has become dead still. The petrifying silence enters her soul and the emptiness around is winning over her. She’s become a part of the darkness and can no longer feel herself. She lingers on the couch while her life is played like a movie in front of her eyes.
Her parents leaving her behind in the house since she was a child. She complaining to her mother that she is scared of cats, and her mother telling her she is old now. Her husband leaving her for long hours alone and unable to fight for life when she needs him the most. She’s been brave for most of her life, she’s brought up her children alone. She’s fought for her rights and has given her children the best. She can see them happy and content in their lives now, and the best part of her life is her grand children. She is playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, and clothing them like she’s done with her children. But this time it is more satisfactory. She can feel their tiny hands on hers and their soft kisses on her cheeks. And she sees them running. They run so fast. She tries to reach them but they’ve disappeared. She has failed to catch them. She has failed to keep them. She calls out their names but only silences answer her.
The wax is melting fast; the silent flame of the only candle is low. She is old to be left alone, she has weakened to die. The flame of the candle is struggling to keep itself alight. The tears are flowing silently. The hot melted wax has gained the mass and the flame is twirling to live to the last of the thread. She sighs. The flame gives up, spreading the darkness in an already darkened life. Silence prevails.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“You’ve one new messages”.
“ ** Silence ** ”.
“Hasbunallahu Wa Naimal Wakeel”
I open my side of window and let the cool morning breeze rush inside the small area of the van. The day has started with its usual pace and I am on my way to the institute [after a wonderful Sahoor prepared by my Grandmother] where another usual day is awaiting.
Days are very specifically scheduled in the month of Ramadan and we spend it like any other day at University, only fully aware we're fasting and avoiding most of our usual behavior and actions [including studying]. Still till the end of the day we're tired like anything and expect people not to ask us to help with any extra chores.
I plan not to think about the deficiencies from my side but to concentrate on the blessings and wonders Allah has created [SUBHAN ALLAH], which are spread all around you in shape of beautiful nature so clean [which overcomes the man-made-pollution anyway], the everyday Miracle in form of little kids, worry free and happy, birds, trees, wind, vegetables and fruits on the cart for sale...
...reminds me of the Iftaar time in 10-11 hours to come and my only duty to make "fruit chaat" (mixed fruits nicely cut and toppled with sugar and black pepper), which no one has assigned me but I feel obligated to perform. I decide to make it with variations today in order to provide a feast for my lovely Grandmother at Iftaar, that is the least I can do for them.
I feel at peace after deciding a payback for the unnumbered favors by the caring, angel-like, always on her toes, never complaining or scolding, motherly, Grandmother, my Nani. Only in the time to come I’ll get to know that preparing a thousand meals, sahoor, iftaar can never compensate for the least she did for me.
I continue to observe around and waste my day in the usual manner.
I quietly, hesitantly sit at the table which is already set for the Iftaar, containing two dishes [Three if you count dates, and four if you include the Drinks]. The third was supposed to be there but I overslept. I busy myself in praying, one of the reasons, so I don’t have to talk to my Granny. Just as she shoves a date in my hand, I feel compelled to explain…
“There were no fruits…” I start guiltily.
“Really? Just bought them yesterday!?”, she doesn’t have even slightest suspicion or complain. Never rely on your past knowledge! I tell myself and slips even lower on the chair so I may hide my guilt.
“Theres enough, Thanks to Allah.” She says really politely and I feel worse.
“You know, I couldn’t decide what to make for iftaar. There was no yoghurt and we’re short of flour. But has Allah not promised He’d provide us with food? And the “rizq” gets double in Ramadan, Alhumdulillah.” She continues while pouring me a glass of Rooh Afza drink. I know she understands and is trying to make me feel better, rather she has a point here.
We break our fasts as the Maghrib Adhan begins. I eat and I eat much from what I thought was little, and I am already full ALHUMDULILLAH.
It is Allah who “provides”, Allah who sprinkles “Barakah” in what you eat, drink, wear, do. Why I thought I could add some luxury in already luxurious Iftaar, or why I thought I’d provide my Granny with a feast while Allah has already taken care of it!?? Allah shows you He is the Owner, Creator, The Only One, Eternal One, Provider.. The Greatest and Most Merciful, and we’re No One, Really.
“See, it was just a matter of 5 minutes!” my Granny smiles.“We don’t even have to work so hard, or to worry what to eat, when it’ll all be gone so soon.” She leaves the table. I secretly admire her for her care and understanding and wonders how to Thank Allah for all His blessings, for giving me such a wonderful Granny, giving me time for realization and for granting me the most satisfactory and “Perfect Iftaar” in my lifetime.
I can never thank Him enough , “Innallaha Ala Kul’le Shaii’in Qadeer”.
Is Taudi U Kumullah.