Posted: May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


transformation definition

“The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led” – Lisa Wingate

I had three more shows to do after the Ali house, and when I got home, it was nearly magrib. As I drove into the driveway I prayed that Hoosain was not back home yet. In our five years of marriage I have learnt that he prefers that I get home before him.  He grew up in a home with a stay-at-home mother to cater for his every need. My mother in law is an angel personified, and I have as much affection for her as I would have for my own mother. She would do anything for her four sons, and when I married into the family as the last daughter in law, it was clear that she loved being around her daughters in law. She treated us as the daughters she never had. One of her shortcomings, and she had just a few, was that in her effort to be the best mother to her boys she would do for them whatever she could. She created an expectation that all woman are at their beck and call. Well certainly MY husband expected to be waited on hand and foot. He hates when I get back later than him, because it usually means he has to do something for himself. I have a theory that my husband is capable of something domestic on his own, however Pythagoras might be easier to prove.  Really if I hadn’t witnessed the hours he spends building his model planes, I would swear his hands didn’t work.

With a sigh of relief, I pull into the empty garage and dash into the house like a madwoman. His car isn’t in there so that means that he hasn’t gotten home yet. I run into the kitchen, flinging my bag and car keys on the table and frantically try to get some sort of supper ready that will look like I spent more than just ten minutes preparing. I dig into the freezer for the stir-fry and quickly shred up some cooked chicken. A dash of soya sauce and toss it with spaghetti and, mission accomplished. The smell of the stir fry is just wafting subtly in the air as I hear the clink of his keys in the door.

Shortly he is in the kitchen. “Assalamu Alaikum , How are you?” I ask

“Walaykumsalaam”, He responds, sniffing the air. “Hmm I’m starving”, he says. Although I wasn’t exactly enquiring about his appetite, I accepted his response. I am just glad it smells like I have put more effort into supper.

After magrib salaah we sat down to supper. We each spoke briefly about our day in general. He told me about the design for a new machine the company is working on. It’s a contract from one of the car manufacturing companies in Port Elizabeth.  “I calculated the transmitted force on one of the elements and it higher than the industry standards”, he explains to me “We can’t go into production or even source materials until the numbers make sense”, he continued. He said that the design needs to be adjusted slightly and his team is responsible for design and materials and he is the team leader so any mistakes at this level could been huge problem once the design goes into the prototype phase. I listened attentively about his job, information of such detail from him, was rare these days.

His career in Mechanical Engineering always fascinated me and I often find myself wondering if there is more going on in that head of his, then he lets on. Hussain is probably the most logical person I know. He is able to make decisions based on logic, like it was the easiest thing in the world. He isn’t swayed by emotion or whimsy at all. It was on our first shopping trip for a lounge suite for our house, just before we were married, that I first got a glimpse of how his mind worked. We dragged ourselves to many stores and where, i would fall in love with the style or design of the lounge suite, he would pull out the measuring tape and measure dimensions and compare them to the dimensions of the room, and the lighting and then decide if it was suitable or not. Thankfully, we were able to compromise eventually and buy something , logical… and lovely.

I told Hussain about the Ali’s house that I had to show, and about the family that came to see it. Hussain said he thought he may have known them. He referred to them as the, “Ali spare shop boys”. He had apparently gone to school with an Ali. From just the mention of what little information I had about the Ali spare shop business, it was clear that maybe the entire town knew the family well.  Hussain recalled the boy that he schooled with and he described him as a jungley, an Indian term for ‘wild child’. “That Woody,” he said “was a crazy guy, I think he was just so spoilt by his parents. You wont believe the things he did sometimes.” I giggled at the nic name,  “Woody?” I question curiously. “Yes, His name was Dawood , and well he was a ladies man with raging hormones , if you know what I mean” he says with a raised eyebrow, daring me to read between the lines. I smile and nod thinking that could be a great nick name for every teenage boy. Hussain recalled some incident from high school, “he came to school with his motorbike once, we were in standard nine, no other seventeen year old had a car of their own, never mind a car and a motorcycle. The teachers had been on his case to cut his hair. He had long hair that he would tie up into a pony tail. “It was up to here” he gestures about three inched below the nape. Hussain sneers to himself and pauses, no doubt reminiscing his own adolescence. “it was fashionable at the time” he continues, with a smile. He was right, I recall seeing a lot of teenage Indian boys in the nineties, sporting that look. “Of course”, I agree “so, were you a jugley too?” I teased. I remember seeing  a photo of him at his matric ball, with straight dark brown hair down to his shoulders. That was a photo that never appealed to me in the least. Remembering that photo, I am glad that he was well over that stage when I first met him. Hussain laughs at my remark, and knows immediately that I am referring to his matric ball photo. “All the owens smaaked that style in the nineties”,  he rebukes in an efficient  typical Indian accent with the lingo that he no doubt he used proficiently as a teenager. He knows full well how much I hate that slang and I cringe at the sound of it. Noting my disgust with a sense of accomplishment he continues his story.

“So he pulled up into school, just as the bell rang. We were all getting to class when we heard the loud engine sound screaming, it was Woody’s Ninja ZX9R” , I nodded.  I assumed that a ninja was his motorbike, and from the expression on his face and the way he stressed Z , X ,9,R , it may well have been the latest and best bike at the time . “He went straight to the principals office and dropped of a letter, then went back to his bike, revved it up ,and made three donuts and a burnout in the teachers car park and left. Eish”,  he shook his head disapprovingly.

“So what was the letter about?” I asked wondering if there wasn’t  any more to the story. “The principal said it was a letter from some Moulana saying that his hair was kept like that for religious reasons, The principal at the time was Tamil , so he said he wasn’t going to make him compromise his religion. Just like that, Woody was of the hook. There was a rumour which some teachers confirmed, that there was no letter just an envelope of cash”, he said as he shrugged his shoulders defensively. “That’s shocking”, I said deciding that the moulana story was indeed made up, which it obviously had to be, since there was no such religious need for long hair, well at least not for boys. I couldn’t understand why the principal would take a bribe. Back in my  old high school, Crawford college , even a rumour that a principal had taken a bribe would get him booted out. As if he could read my thoughts Hussain says, “Money talks Farnaz” with an emphatic pause, he continued,  “and back then when so many had so little here, it even did a song and dance”.

We sat for a minute or two in silence finishing our supper. Then Hussain got up and headed to the lounge, and turned the TV on. I got on with the table clearing. Although I could faintly hear the intro of CSI coming from the Tv room, the silence in the kitchen now became almost deafening.

It has been too long since we had a good long conversation, and I have missed it. Tonight was on of the rare nights that the conversation flowed effortlessly. We have been married for five years now and the pressure to start a family is definitely there. There has been a trend with Indians and especially muslims is to start a family after two years of marriage. That way the girl gets to work or live freely for two years when she eventually has to leave work and be a full time mummy. Of course I fought this trend when Hussain brought it up about a year after we were married.

“I just started the Estate business now”, I said. “If I could just grow the business for a few more years I would be established enough to take on more staff and let go of some of the work”, I pleaded. He added that there was no need for me to work. “My new job will have me established in no time, and once I get a team leader position, which won’t be long now, I could easily support you and several children”, he joked.

I wasn’t going to be swayed by humour, “Its not the money Hussain, I need this for me, for my independence”. He stared at me for a moment, I could see anger below the surface. He obviously did not like the idea of waiting to have children. I didn’t know why he was in such a hurry. OK, he was three years older than me , but that made him 27 years old, and in man’s terms he certainly was young enough to wait. I didn’t think that at twenty four I needed to rush. Friends that I had had at University were older than me then and certainly not ready for that added responsibility. Of course many of then were white and their idea of family differed a great deal from the “Indian” idea. “I don’t want to be an old man, when I have children Farnaz. We need to be young enough to enjoy our children”, he said to me. I could see that he was mature enough even back then. That never was the issue. Hussain is a responsible man, and he does what he needs to for his family. I felt a bit selfish telling him to wait, but after all , this was my life too and my body. I wasn’t saying that I never wanted children, I was just asking for more time.

My mother in law was a star about it. When the subject of babies came up at a family lunch, a few months after our baby discussion. Hussain sulkily mentioned that, “I” said we should wait a few years. Seeing the embarassed look on my face she addressed her son, “Hussain you both so young, my dikra, You only just got married,  why don’t you both enjoy your time as couple. Go for a holiday overseas, do all the things you want to do, Once the babies come , they won’t be any time for that”. I was so grateful for her coming to my rescue and even more for her advice to her son. Knowing how much Hussain treasures his mothers advice, I was overjoyed that she was not pushing the idea.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s