CHAPTER 5

Posted: May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
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transformation definition

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jamie

My office desk is littered in paperwork. It has been months since I tackled it alone, and there was just so much going on now. Dilshad my assistant is usually so efficient, and my only administrative task is signing what she gives me or editing and proofing Offer To Purchase (OTP) documents. Today I am at it alone. Dilshad has recently found out she is pregnant, and since then the early morning calling in sick has been a weekly event. “Im sorry Farnaz”, she had said this morning over the phone at six in the morning, “I have been up all night throwing up. I feel terrible. I made an appointment with the doctor first thing this morning, if all goes well I should be there before lunch”, she said. I don’t blame her really, she did not sound well at all and I usually just leave the paperwork for her. She tends to be so guilty when she does eventually arrive that the work is done with more fervour than if she was here all day. Unfortunately today, there were things that just could not wait. My sabbatical from administrative tasks since I hired her, has made my paperwork skills rusty. Her neat orderly piles are unruly spread across my table now in an attempt to find some important forms for some urgent work.

I needed to send some figures to Yusuf Vally. I was overjoyed when he emailed me to ask about payment methods and options. He has not yet confirmed anything, but if he is doing his maths, then he is seriously interested. I also have to follow up on a lease opportunity that a very loyal business client is trying to get. The leasing idea was dropped into my lap by Mr. Ebrahim, a very wealthy businessman who owns many commercial properties here. I helped him sell two properties – lucrative for us both. He has since expressed interest in bidding for a property going for auction. He does not want to buy and sell as he usually does but is looking for commercial leasing. This could be a new challenge for me, but I have to act fast. The auction is next week, but he wants me to send him lease agreements and commercial rental protocols before that so he can decide on what he is willing to bid for it. For me to get this done as soon as possible I have to phone Zaheera – the property lawyer. I have learnt the ropes well in this business and have most things under control. However I usually get Dilshad to communicate with the lawyer for all conveyance work. The meetings I’ve had jointly with her and the client, go on well enough but we haven’t seem to have gotten pass the acquaintance stage. Although we share certain views, I could never see myself being friendly with her. Once, about a year ago, after she had been doing work for me for about six months we met for a meeting to discuss some business. She asked me to meet her at a coffee shop in Rosebank, where she had another client. After an hour of listening to her ramble on about her wealthy clients and their money, her rich father and cousins who own helicopters through some shady business practices, and some of the illegal dealing that she had to pull strings to sort out, I realized she was not a person I wanted to be in a friendly relationship. In fact I wondered if there was anyone she was friends with who she wouldn’t sell out for some friendly chatter. That aside, I decided to suck it up and dial Zaheeras cellphone.

To my disappointment she answers on the third ring. Now I have to go through with it. After some mild niceties, I get straight to the point and tell her that I need a rental agreement for a business client and that I will e mail her all the details. She agrees to get it done as soon as possible but not before her ramblings again. I am forced to listen to how busy she is preparing for her London holiday next week. I am bombarded with information about how she spent her honeymoon there and they stayed in The Ritz hotel. She also makes a point to say that she has some family-what I would refer to as arbitrary distant cousins- living there that has been begging them to visit. I make an excuse and end the call. Once I put the phone down, I have and urge to wash my ears out, after all the garbage she poured into it.

I type out a list for Dilshad to tackle when she gets back and I am just shutting down my computer when I see Husna pull up in her silver grey SUV. I don’t remember asking her to pick me up.

“Just thought we could drive there together”, says Husna as she finds me at the front desk. I get up from behind the desk and she can’t hide the surprised look on her face as she notices my smart belted abhaya and hijab. I am all ready for Taalim. “What?” I question her accusingly. “You thought I would forget or would chicken out?” I accuse her. I don’t need a babysitter, I think to myself. Helping me out with this is good enough, but coming to fetch me, now that’s pushing it.

“Sorry pops” she says, acknowledging my tone. “I wasn’t sure if it would be easier for us to go together” she explains with a hurt look on her face. I begin to regret my earlier harsh tone. “I’m sorry I snapped at you”, I say and try to make an excuse. “Dilshad is coming in late this morning and I have had so much work to do. We can drive in convoy there, I’ll take my own car because I have to come back here to the office after Taalim”, I reason. Really – I think- I can’t understand why women can’t do anything by themselves. Whether it is shopping or going to the toilet, it’s like they need reassurance from someone else. I am happy to arrive to Taalim by myself but if it will make her feel better we can go together. I watch her face for a reaction. She seems happy with my proposal. She quickly tells me where we are going and the name of the host and a game plan that she has developed. I laugh inwardly trying not to show my amusement, she seems very serious about her plan to help me make some grown up friends.

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Sorting through the paperwork

 

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feeling strange in my abhaya at work

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