Earlier, sayang mama number three phoned from work and he sounded very happy. Apparently, his workplace (a big departmental store) has provided a prayer room for Muslim staff, which is quite a development, I think. Before this he used to pray in the store room.
It is quite encouraging to know that these days, in spite of what we hear about the growing intolerance in some quarters, there are still people who are willing to make a difference.
It seems not too long ago that I was having a conversation with Taufiq, then only 7 and sitting on the worktop while I prepared food for Iftar. There were trying times for him especially when he could smell the food and the half an hour to go seemed like hours. He’d cry and burst out in anger at his siblings making fun of him. It was there in the kitchen that I told him what fasting is all about. It is not just about not eating but also about taming the temper. Surprisingly, at that tender age, he understood.
It became easier after that. He’d come home and regale us stories about what went on among those who fast in school. The headteacher had kindly provided a room for them to pray and there was almost always confusion during prayer times as everyone wanted to lead the prayer. There were arguments too about the number of rakaats. The headteacher then decided to take matters into his own hands and invited a parent a day to lead them, which I think was a very good move.
During his secondary years, Taufiq would stop at the local mosque to pray before coming home. His non Muslim friends would wait outside the mosque while he prayed and just before Ramadhan, three of them converted. And when the school decided that Muslim students could not longer go for Friday prayers because some inevitably go awol, Taufiq pleaded with the teacher to provide a room for prayers. We saw how Taufiq grew up and mature before our eyes. Come Friday, he’d prepare the khutbah for his small congregation. My sayang mama has really grown up.
While I am waiting to fry the mackerels, another thing about other sayang mamas comes to mind.
Since coming back from Malaysia, we have been trying to put on a brave face, when in actual fact, we are hurting inside. When we left for Malaysia, our two other sayang mamas, Tabby and Kissinger, merajuk and left home. We kept receiving sms’es that they were not back. I had sleepless nights wondering what had happened to them. I remember saying goodbye to Tabby; he was sitting upright on the bed and I cried, prompting the children to say that I was sadder leaving the cats then leaving them.
Tabby looked confused and he didn’t even follow us to the car. To this day, it would be about a month since we last saw him. My husband had gone out searching, calling out for him, but to no avail. I have included him in my prayers; to please keep him save and send him back to us. Some years ago when AG was back in Malaysia during Ramadhan, it was Tabby who woke up up, for sahur pulling at our duvet.
Yesterday, as we were preparing for maghrib, I saw Kissinger! He was lurking outside, unsure whether he would come in through the flap. When I shouted out his name, he knew we are back and dashed through the catflap. After we did our prayers, he just jumped on to our laps and started kissing us.
If only Kissinger could talk and tell us where Tabby is, and whether Tabby is alright. If only Kissinger would go and tell him that we are back and missing him. Please come back Tabby, everything is forgiven!