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Behind the Kitchen Walls – Her sanctity, her listener, her keeper of secrets – By Mumtaz Moosa

SABERA’S POINT OF VIEW

Can you believe Amina dishing out at me like that, Baboo? What kind of child do we have?, Sabera asked angrily.

“Sabera, Amina is not wrong. Taskeen is a beautiful soul. She makes our son happy. She has been entrusted to our family for us to protect and care for her as we would our daughter, Baboo responded, annoyed.

Sabera was angered further by his words, “Oh, just leave it be. I have more other things to do.”

It was difficult to concentrate on prayer as I nursed my anger. Instead of performing my prayers, I worked to keep my mind occupied. Fatima arrived and began chatting, oblivious to my mood. Before long, the words spewed out of my mouth.

“Aadam is my only son, my apple. He could do no wrong. I took umbrage to her spying on Aadam after she married him and found out he was having an affair. A good wife would not have done that. I am sure she drove him to it.” she rattled on. “She is so young; what must she wear that nikaab for, huh, Fatima? Why must she dress like an old lady? That’s why he cheated on her. It’s because of the way she dresses. A 29-year-old man doesn’t want a wife, covered from head to toe.” Sabera complained.

“Sabera, you are judging and gossiping during this blessed month. Have you forgotten that our mother was the Appa at madressa, and you wore a scarf? Did your Mother-in-law not tell you the same thing? Why are you wearing a doekie now? You are not a granny yet.” Fatima scolded.

Sabera had tuned out as she found Fatima annoying, “What does she know? Her son is missing and on drugs. Why should I listen to her?”

“Sabera! Snap out of it and listen to what I am saying,” Fatima exclaimed. “Your Aadam is no angel, nor is any human. Stop judging that poor girl who has left her parents’ home to be with your son. Look after her and treat her well. Sabera, I would have loved to have my son in my life. I have no idea if he is alive, so be grateful and stop filling your scroll of deeds with bitterness and anger. Remember Baboo’s advice – live this Ramadhan as if it was your last.”, Fatima said, exasperated.

But Sabera was well past listening to the well-meaning words and wished she could throw her out, so she could get on with the baking. “What is she so holier than thou attitude? All these people are why my connection with Allah has slipped over the years, starting with my mother-in-law. It was because of her I stopped praying.”

Fatima eventually left, realising that Sabera was in no mood to listen and was giving her the cold shoulder.

Sabera, still stinging from the advice given and the snub from her daughter, was glad to be alone. “Let me get started with my food preparation. I have to send food to Amina. The poor dear has no children and much to do in her home. Where will she find time to cook?” Sabera thought as she busied herself.

RAMADAN TIP:

You are your sister’s keeper. That means protecting their honour and not gossiping about them or finding faults in each other. This will only lead to the breakdown of family ties.

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