“Sofia, I know you took my scarf! I want it back now!”, Ayesha was yelling at the top of her lungs again. How did she do that whilst fasting?
“Sofia! Sofia! You promised I could use the laptop today, have you forgotten?”, more whining and shouting came from outside my door as my younger sister waited for me to open my door and acquiesce to her.
On another day, maybe, I would have let her stand there and shout till she was blue in the face, but I was not feeling up to it today. Lately, whatever I do seems to work on her last nerve. I am waiting for her to complain that I am using up too much oxygen next!
Mum had had enough of the yelling and started her own tirade at us both, “Can you both just cut it out and get along, please? We still have some time to go with the lockdown and your non-stop tantrums and disagreements are driving me nuts! My sabr is quickly running out!”
My mother was right, we all had been cooped up for far too long this time around, with little to do, nowhere to go, we were starting to work on each other’s nerves.
Since the lockdown began as I worried about my father whenever he left to go to work and all the negative, fearful news, death tolls and endless reports about people dying in their thousands had seriously sent my emotions on a roller-coaster ride.
This unprecedented time for us all was taking a huge toll on our mental health, and we were starting to fray at the edges. Dad was stressed out about the family business and my aunts had had a fall-out, so they were keeping to their own homes. And, of course, the children stayed away to and when they did come around it was an uncomfortable atmosphere for all. But it would soon blow over, as it always did.
My grandparents, though, seemed to be taking the forced incarceration well. They went about their lives, keeping each other company, praying, prying into the affairs of everyone and dispensing their advice, whether it was wanted or not.
Nana was shuffling past my room just as I opened the door to let Ayesha in.
“Took you long enough!”, she reprimanded clicking her tongue. Now that was something Nana abhorred. He would lecture us as younger children whenever we did that, and it stopped him now.
Turning around, he addressed us both in his gentle but forthright tone, “Can you both stop you panchaat and get along? Stop the yelling and the clicking of your tongues at each other. It is disrespectful and rude.”
He continued, whilst bent slightly over his walking stick, “Ayesha, stop yelling, speak properly to your older sister. When the Prophet SAW spoke, he always acted like a humble brother, a compassionate teacher and a merciful father.” He turned to me gently admonishing me, “Sofia if you make a promise, keep it. Fulfilling promises is one of the attributes of the pious according to the Book of Allah, and is one of the greatest means of attaining taqwa. He smiled at us both and went on his way.
I had embarked on the road to becoming a better Muslim, so the advice given by my grandfather hit home like an arrow. It is easy to stray but with patience and perseverance, I know I can do better, if only for the pleasure of Allah.