Friday, June 24, 2005


We were driving back from Friday prayers this afternoon when I asked my father what time we were going to go to Abu Dhabi to see Ammi.

“About threeish,” he replied, “Usman and Hana will be coming too.”

Usman uncle and Hana aunty are two of my parents’ oldest friends. We’ve known them for about twenty years, ever since Usman uncle came from Karachi and set up a clothing outlet here. Masha-Allah, the business prospered and they were doing very well until a few years ago when Dubai announced itself in a series of grand shopping festivals and suddenly everybody wanted to shop there. The independent traders in our small town slowly started going out of business.

“Any idea what time we’ll be coming back?” I asked, hoping to catch a late show at the cinema in Abu Dhabi. The new Shahrukh-Rani Mukherjee film’s come to town. Paheli. The story of a woman who fell in love with a ghost.

“Not too late,” he replied, outwitting me. “We can’t keep them waiting for us.”

“Why don’t we just drop them off at the bus station then and go watch the movie ourselves?” I suggested maliciously.

“Behave yourself,” my father said, looking at me. “Don’t ever make fun of anyone just because they’re down on their luck.”

“Sorry? What?” I fumbled, confused.

“Why do you think they’re asking for a ride with us? Don’t you think they would already have driven up themselves if they had a car?”

I felt so ashamed of myself. I didn’t know things were this bad.

“When a person is going through a rough time he is especially sensitive to other people. Things that would normally be overlooked or not noticed at all now dig in and damage a person’s self-respect. You have to be very careful about what you say because people can be extremely vulnerable.”

I remembered the day when they’d got their Mercedes. Custom-made and especially ordered from Germany. All of us children had gathered around it reverently, admiring the sleek, elegant look. Usman uncle loved to race it on the highway, letting the engine rip as we shot over the tarmac. Sometimes it felt as if we were almost going to take off.

“Money comes and money goes. It is all from God,” my father was saying. “Never be arrogant about your wealth because it’s not yours. It is a trust that God has blessed you with. And you will be held accountable for it.”

I could only nod in embarrassment.


Blogger chai said...

there are so many lessons to be learned. and even more to be reminded of. arrogance is a big fall and although we slip a lot it's nice that you have people surrounding you of strong faith that will be quick to help you up. thanks for sharing that. it's a good lesson

5:22 AM  
Blogger yasmine said...

chai said all i could think of saying. jazakAllah khayr for the reminder, bro.

6:43 PM  

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