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Looking Through The Window – Episode 10

May 04, 2020

We are a third into Ramadan, today being the tenth fast. We have become accustomed to the cravings and irritability that comes from hunger and have settled into a calmer mode.

My uncles and father decided that they were going to the ladies a break and planned a cook-off among themselves. Yikes, I am not sure if I want to be around for the cleaning up!

My mother was tickled pink at the idea as my father was clueless in the kitchen and would probably set himself on fire! And my uncle, well his only great ability with food is being able to find the elachi in his food! And with Nana added to the mix, we were prepared for the worst.

The whole idea sprung forth after Mama, my uncle, during a conversation said that the women were always complaining that they were tired when all they did was stay home and cook. Papa, trying to save himself from the dog-box, said that maybe the men should give it a try for the day and the ladies could then have a day free.

My mother was amused by this and said with a chuckle, “Sofia, please make certain that your phone is on and the highest volume at all times, in case we need to call the fire brigade or ambulance.”

She was on a roll and said to Ayesha, “And you Ayesha, keep the fire extinguisher close to the kitchen and make sure you are ready to use it.

Ayesha joined in the teasing, “Yes and Nani and Daadi best sit close to the exit, so they can make a beeline for it should the house catch fire!”

But we acquiesced to the men in our family and spent the morning, reading Qur’an without interruption and other personal chores that we usually leave for when there are spare moments.

By around 10 o’clock, it was all calm and then I heard a hissing and whispering at my door. It was my Dad, “Sofia, behta, where do I find the broom?” But before I could respond, there were sounds of a commotion taking place in the kitchen area. Nana was yelling at my uncle, “Ya Allah, you made my khurta pink! How will I enter the masjid with a pink khurta?”

As I was about to make my way down to the kitchen, three heads poked around my mother’s bedroom door. There looks on their faces were enough to stop me in my tracks. Nani wagged her finger me and admonished, “Let them sort it out. They must know what we do to keep the house clean and feed them too.”

Things quieted down after a few hours, but I knew my mother and aunt were concerned about the clean-up operation later.

I went to the kitchen after praying Dhuhr salah, feeling like the spy I was! Nana smiled broadly under the assumption that I had come to rescue him and then started to complain about Nani sitting in his favourite couch, with her feet up, reading the newspaper! That was what he usually did! My dad and uncle were pouring over Mum’s old Indian Delight recipe book. They had the ingredients laid out and were trying to put a dish together. Next thing, there was a cloud of dust as the bag of flour fell to the floor and as dad moved to see what was happening, he knocked over the oil bottle! Pandemonium as they both slipped and slid in the mess on the floor. I hurriedly left, laughing do hard that I cried. Yes, I was mean, but it was funny.

After I reported to my cohorts, we stayed put and left them to their own devices. Just before Iftaar, we heard the dinner table been set and soon we were called down to break fast.

 

The men had come up with an idea after they cleaned up the kitchen. It would be best to do what they knew best, and so they went over to my uncle’s house, prepared scrambled eggs that needed to be cooked further (Ya Allah, please do not let us be sick with Salmonella, was the silent dua I made) and they had braaied meat with a salad that looked like the vegetables had been hacked with a saw! The centrepiece though was a plate of samoosas from my aunt’s freezer that were undercooked, and we realised this as we bit into the crisp outside and met with the still frozen filling!

Everyone was sitting very quietly waiting for adhaan when my dad piped up, “We owe you all an apology as we realised that we under-estimated how much work is done by female folk.”

He continued quietly, “I am exhausted, and I did do half of what you do but it’s a lesson to us to follow the sunnah and help our wives where we can. The opening shop and the closing shop is tiring but this is exhausting.”

My uncle interjected, “I am sorry too and I hope that Nana will forgive me for turning all his khurtas pink. And I will ensure that I assist every day with chores, starting the day after tomorrow because I need to rest after today!”

And Nana was not to be left out, “I warned you both that you would fail but you wouldn’t listen. I also told you that you should remember that the Prophet, peace, and blessings upon him, would do chores for his family, and he would go out when it was time for prayer.

We, ladies, smiled, knowingly and before we could get into teasing them, the Adhaan was called and Nana broke into a dua as we readied to break fast and pray.

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