CHAPTER 3 (continued)

Posted: May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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CHAPTER 3 (continued)

transformation definition

Some of us aren’t meant to belong. Some of us have to turn the world upside down and shake the hell out of it until we make our own place in it. – Elizabeth Lowell

With no Daddi tomorrow to accompany me I shudder to think how my day will go. Hussain’s brother’s wife – Husna,  has taken it upon her self to expand my social life beyond client parties. “Your clients are your clients” she says “They are not your friends”. Husna is married to Zaheer, Hussains eldest brother. She is Malay and is originally from Cape town…and yes, most of the Cape town stereotypes ring true to Husna – except that she still has all her front teeth. Zaheer and Husna live in Cape Town with their three children. They come to Johannesburg often to visit and usually stay with my in laws. This week has been one such visit.

Husna can only be described as ‘the life of the party’. She is sweet and bubbly and is liked by everyone who meets her. She is a conversation piece and a conversation starter all rolled up into one package. She is just one of those people who are just so bubbly and happy all the time. If she lived here permanently I would have a friend. We get along so well, probably because she is here- what I feel like- an outsider. Despite being an ‘ousider’ she seems to have no shortage of friends when she comes for her visits. I am constantly amazed at how full the house gets with women, whenever she is around. She comes to visit twice a year, but seems to have more friends here than I ever had – and I grew up here. I often wondered how that was so, and made the mistake of many months ago, asking Hussains opinion. ”Farnaz you need to be more… er, friendlier. You work too much and you are only interested in your clients. You have to make an effort to get to know the other woman around here, there must be someone you can get along with?” I found this response cold and unsupportive. Instead of fuming at his insensitive response, I left him to stew for a few days and treated him to a special dose of the silent treatment. It may even have worked, if he knew I was angry and ignoring him. My husband didn’t know I was ignoring him, until two days later .

I glanced at my phone on the coffee table. The red light was flashing. I leaned forward to get it and looked to my right at Hussain. He appeared to be engrossed in SCI, no doubt already weighing the evidence himself in his head to figure out and solve the case before even New Yorks best detective..

I turned my attention to my phone. It was a whatsapp message from Husna.

Husna : salaams Nazoo . How you doing? I didn’t see you at daddis house today. Are you avoiding me because you decided to chicken out tomorrow?

Husna calls our mother-in-law dadi, just like her kids do. I think it is sweet. It would be odd for me to call her that -I think idly – since I don’t have any children. She is worried I wont go tomorrow. I have been made her project this holidays. It is her help-Farnaz-make-friends holiday. I grin to myself as I recall her, learn-to-cook-like-a-kenam holiday and start-reading-books holiday. I don’t know if any of them were actually successful.   I did promise her that I will go to Taalim with her and I will. With a cunning smile, I decide to get playful.

Farnaz : wa alaykum salaam . ‘I’m ok . I won’t be coming tomorrow . I have a big client show.

Its barely a minute and I get a response.

Husna : Ya Khuda, Farnaz. I even made the koeksusters already. Either we do Taalim , or I pitch up for tea afterwards with all of the ladies.

I definitely do not want to dare her. Husna is the type of person who never says anything she doesn’t mean. That is one of the reasons I think I like her. If she said she will do something, you can bet your samoosas she will do it.

I decide to message her back before she started to plan an intervention to my house after Taalim.

Farnaz: just kidding Husna. I will be there. Send me the address and the time. I will meet you tomorrow , Insha Sha Allah.

Husna: Agh nee Nazoo. You skelm, you trying to work me up on purpose. I have tooooo many grey hairs already, have pity on an old woman Kanella. I’ll send you the details tomorrow.  Oh, and wear a nice abhaya, maybe your belted one, it looks good on you. See you tomorrow. Salaams

I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to wear. Trust Husna to think about that for me. I feel as though I am getting a proposal for marriage. I grin silently to myself thinking about Layla’s escapades again. I appreciate Husna’s offer to help me meet ladies my age, and make friends around here, but I don’t really feel comfortable trying to “chat to the ladies and get their numbers” as Husna put it. After all, at my age most women have their own friends and cliques that are harder to get into then the pentagon. I can’t just walk up to a group of ladies and say “hey, can I be your friend” like I did when I was five years old. I decide that I will just get Husna to take the lead tomorrow and follow her every move, after all she is socially superior.

I turn to Hussain, to tell him about Husna’s plan for me tomorrow, but he is fast asleep. I wonder what it must be like for a couple to share everything and talk about everything. Hussain is so clinical. He doesn’t talk about things like feelings and experiences. Telling him about my nervousness and anxiety about Taalim tomorrow, would only make him nervous and anxious. My thoughts again drift to the Vallys. I wonder about their relationship. They, like so many married couples can probably talk about everything. I can just imagine Mr. Vally listening to the endless list of expensive outfits bought by his wife as she rattled off the names on the designer labels. I feel a little jealous imagining their life at home, they probably live in the pages of a fairytale.

I turn off the TV, and the silence awakens Hussain. He takes a deep breath, eyes still closed, and then shakily gets up. He gestures to me with his hand that he is going to bed. I get up after him and make my way to the bedroom as well.

As I climb into bed and pick up the book at my bedside table for some bedtime reading. I begin to read and my thoughts turn to tomorrows Taalim. It is going to be a busy day. I realize I am not looking forward to my induction to socialization.

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