Posts Tagged ‘emotional’

transformation definition

 Everything happens for a reason , and there is reason in everything that happens

“Aunty Nazi! Aunty Nazi!”, I hear the familiar call from Jameela and she runs to me pulling her brother behind. I bend down to kiss them both on their cheeks. Come see my drawing she says and we move towards the little kids table decked out with crayons, pastels and paper. Wow, I think. Hasina is such a good mummy.

“Ladies and gentleman…” the curator announces and I look up to find a short fattish man on a small poduim. People begin to gather around the podium. “thank you all for coming tonight. As you all may know tonight is special because we are showcasing the work of a new talented artist”. He continues into some history about Hasina and talks about her influences. I catch her eye and she winks at me. I am idly aware of my sore feet and I discreetly take my shoes of and lean against the wall.

Ahhh, that feels great. Realising that Jameela called me to the table, I sit down on the kiddies chair , slowly and carefully grabbing the chair behind me, my tummy pointing straight up at the ceiling. I laugh to myself at the thought of what I must look like, and I am thankful that everyone is listening to the speech, so no one notices. I ask Jameela about her picture quietly, she is only too happy to oblige. I listen as she talks about her drawing. She really has a way with words. As I listen to her I wonder what my child will be like.

Suddenly everyone begins to rush towards an open door. I am enjoying my moment so I stand back and let them pass. They must have opened the kitchen I think. “your tummy is so big, Aunty Nazi. Mummy says the baby is coming soon”, she says. “Yes,” I respond, remembering what an impression this little girl made on me the first time I met her. I enjoy being seated and I watch the scene of the gallery from my low point on the kiddis chair.

I look around an dthe large bold metal letters catch my eye. What an apt name , I think. This really has been a transformation.But is has been my transformation as well. I think about how Allah has put us in each others lives and then see the wisdom of everything. I think of what may be in store for me in the future and I picture my child playing in the park and hasina is there too. I see myself driving them to school and karate, doing homework and picnicking with Hussain. I am thankful, I think. I am thankful for everything I have and even for what I don’t know I have.

The stream of people have died down and I decide to go through the door and get something to eat, knowing full well that it was just a few hours ago that I had a wedding meal. Agh, I think. I am eating for two now. Walking through the door the room is empty. It is not the kitchen. There is an additional piece of work hanging on the wall. Above it is written in metal letters like the ones outside, but smaller, “TRANSFORMATION : def – the process by which someone or something is changed or altered forever sometimes caused by an event or action. Also see modify.”

I stare at it for a while and think about what Hasina told me earlier, “Every painting has me in it”. What does this one mean. Why is it here.

I look at it and the answer stares me in the face. It’s beautiful and the story speaks to me more than the colours or texture or composition. There is a large tree with strong branches and roots. The tree is bare, Below it is a grave stone. There are flowers on the grave and it is well kept. Further away, there is a woman. She is facing away but her profile can be seen. She waters a young seedling. It is small but full of leaves. The tears begin to flow as I piece together the story. It is Hasina’s basis for transformation and that is why it is here and not with the others. The grave is that of her mothers who had a stong influence on her and who continues to stand tall despite the loss of its leaves, the loss of its life. The other woman is Hasina, beginning her like a new apart from her mother. She is bringing new life and will soon transform with her children. I guess that is why the curator made that whole speech I think. To appreciate the picture you have to know the artist.

“I wanted to be here when you saw it” Hasina said coming towards me. “Its so sad”i say making no move to wipe my tears away, “… yet so happy” I continue. She doesn’t say anything. She gives me that look, she wants more detail. I begin to tell her my interpretation and then, she stops me.

“You think that is me?” she asks for clarification. I nod. She shakes her head. “This” she says pointing to the woman in the distance,  “This my dear Farnaz, is you”. I look at her bewildered as she begins to explain. “Yes this is how I see my transformation. The tree is strong and big – YES, but the life is gone. You managed to bring the life back. Don’t you see?”. I nod without voice. the lump in my throat is about the size of china now and If I try to speak I might lose my composure. My emotion is tangible within me and I feel my eyes sting with fresh tears. I have never been told anything like that before.

“You remind me so much of her Farnaz, I never told you but you do”. Having heard story upon story about her mother, there is no doubt that is a compliment. “You finished what my mother started by believing in me , in my work” she turns to me. Thank you so much” she says her voice calm and sirene. SHe has obviously reheared this speech and  is perfectly eloquent. Me on the other hand – not so much. I am a mess of emotion.

She continues, “if it wasn’t for your encouragement, I don’t think I would ever have come so far”. I smile at her. An awkward laugh escapes me, “You have been my transformation”, I say thankful that my words have finally emerged. I think about everything I want to say to her and wonder if I will be able to really convey what I am feeling. “you filled the void that was missing for so long, and you taught me that strength lies in Allah”. “I was wrong about so many things” I say in between sobs and she takes my hands in hers for support as I speak. I laugh and she laughs and everything I want to say is said. In that gesture – in that moment.

We turn to look at the painting again, together. We stand there for a long time absorbing the silence between us. there will be many more conversations, many more memories and many more gestures in the future.

Right now there were no other words needed – Not between friends like us.


hadeethChangefriendfriends 2


transformation definition

Grief does not change you, it reveals the true you. – John Green

“So what was that all about?” I ask Yusuf when he finally joins me. I take note now that the two women are staring at us. They make no attempt to be subtle about it either.

“That lady wanted me to help with her phone. She said it was new and she can’t get her e-mails to update or something like that”, he said very matter-of-factly. He obviously didn’t see anything wrong with the situation. “So did you manage to fix it?” I asked still wanting to know the details. Yusuf laughs “Do I have Cellphone technician written on my forehead? the last thing I want to do is be harassed by strangers at the park. Its bad enough I have to deal with technology at work. I just saved the number for technical services for her and told her to call.” I smiled and responded, “No wonder she looked mad, she was probably expecting more than that”. He surveyed me carefully then seeing some relief on my face said, “Anyways……There’s only one person I do after-work services for”, he smirks and puts his arm around my waist and holds me tight. My inner chachima pulls her oiny over her face shyly. “Wanna give then something to really stare at” he jokes with a mischievious smile. I glance over his shoulder and they are still oogling in our direction. “They eyes are still glued” I say to him with a grimace and a roll of my eyes. Before I know it he turns me to face him and surprises me with a classy, sweet kiss on my lips. When he pulls away he smiles and winks at me, then nudges his head in the childrens direction who are now quickly running towards the slides.

At the swings I scan the park again, those pushy women are now, nowhere to be seen. Yusuf and I sit down next to each other on a bench watching the kids climb up and slide down the slide. I think about the womens’ audacity to charm my husband. I get a sick feeling in my stomach. These are the women that I could never be friends with. Women so obsessed with power, men, their careers and money. Is there any place for anything else in their lives? Despite all of their achievement I can’t help but think that their lives must be empty. I briefly wonder how Hijab’s daughter, will turn out with a mother like that. I maintain that although my mother was widowed young and had to be the main breadwinner, she was always a mother first and everything else came er. Her example is the basis of the choices I make today today. Oh how I wish I could tell her that. The familiar ache returns. It feels like my hearts overwhelming need to completely break down and wallow in my sorrow forever sharply contrasted with my brains need to reason and just carry on without her. It’s a battle within me that no matter what the outcome, it both means the same thing. She is gone and she is never coming back. The catch 22 is that when the brain does eventually make headway like this reasoning, it still triggers an emotional response anyways.

I shake my head and put my head in my hands. Yusuf instinctively pulls my head to his shoulder and rubs my back. He whispers in my ear” I miss her too. We sit like that for a few minutes. Then he calls the children and says quietly to me “Lets go home Hassie”.

Back home after salaah and a busy supper, I put my exhausted children to sleep and change into some comfortable pajamas. I had downstairs. Yusuf is in the dining room going through some documents. He is preparing for an early meeting tomorrow. I smile at him when he looks up and i am about to walk away when he says “Im nearly done sweety. Im coming now”. I nod and head to the lounge. I turn on the television in an attempt to drown out my thoughts. It doesn’t work. My thoughts are racing as quick as ever. . I know it is Allah’s plan, but I always prayed for long life for my mother. But maybe I was not specific. I did not specify how long, and what age. My duas will include specifics from now one. Now sitting on the couch I realize how tired I really am. I decide to close my eyes just for a moment.

When I see Yusuf again, he is serenely asleep in bed next to me. Did I fall asleep? I wondered. Wasn’t I on the couch? Had he carried my up to bed? Well he must have because I have no memory of climbing the stairs. A dream about my mother has shaken me awake and I feel unsettled. Although it was a good dream, it was so real and so comforting that waking up now, like this, in the middle of the night and realizing that it was only a dream is earth shattering. I could see her and I could feel her just like she was in front of me. ‘Oh if I had only slept a little while longer’ , I think. My eyes begin to pool like a dam about to burst. I needed to get up. I shift so slowly that each muscle I moved ached as I tried best not to displace the bed too much and wake Yusuf up. I managed to climb out of bed and decided to head downstairs for a cup of coffee.

As I descended the stairs the loneliness and stillness of the house could be felt immediately. I have never been awake this late at night alone. Maybe this was not such a good idea. Determined not to be a grown woman scared of the dark I continued down to the kitchen. Going back up to bed meant possibly disturbing Yusuf, and I did not want to do that. He mentioned he had an early meeting, earlier than usual. I really didn’t want to disturb his sleep.

As I switched on the lights I realized that the house really was not as scary as I thought. In fact late at night when all is so quiet, there’s a certain peacefulness about it.  I grab a mug out of the cabinet to fill with water for coffee. Only water, it has to be strong and black. I need a strong cup of coffee to calm my nerves that has been on the verge of breakdown all day. I have tried my best all day to keep the floodgates closed, but here –now -by myself, I just can’t be strong anymore. The battle between my head and my heart rages on again and a flurry of emotion choke at my heart. There’s an ominous emptiness within me, as if a part of me has been ripped away leaving nothing in its place. A hole in my heart, a hole in my life and a hole in my spirit. I sip at my coffee slowly. It’s as hot as the anger that wells beneath the surface. The stupid truck driver – I say aloud. That bloody stupid truck driver, I say again, now a little too loudly.That was just the means of her death.As a Muslim I know that, but… anger is anger.  Then the questions. Why didn’t I go with her? Why was I so involved in my own life? Why did I dismiss her efforts all those times encouraging me to sketch? It’s the guilt of it all that gives way to sobs. Sobs that become low cries. I hang my head in my hands and give in to the sorrow. No matter how many times I replay the events that day, one year ago, I cant believe it. I know it happened, I was there but I can’t believe it. It’s broken me in some ways , but in some ways I have been made stronger. I don’t feel the strength now, I can’t, not today. The steady stream of tears now threaten a downpour. I don’t want to stop it. I need to feel it. For so many months after, I just felt numb. No pain, no hurt, no nothing. I lift my head, my hands are wet with tears. The salty tears glide effortlessly down my cheeks. Tissues, damn I forgot tissues. I start to sniff and wipe my tears with my sleeve.

I think back to my wedding day and when my children were born. She was there through the wedding dress disasters and even when I became intolerable, she was always by my side. The birth of my children and subsequent confinement was close to a holiday in Maldives, with her waiting on me hand and foot. Should I have waited on her instead? Should I have been less demanding at the time? What if I have another baby? How will I cope without her strength, without her presence, without her smile and laughter? Now that house. How will I live in a bigger house knowing she was meant to share it with us? Im curled up onto the kitchen stool now, my arms on the granite table my hands supporting my weary head. My body feels drained. As if all the sadness has taken the life out of me with the tears. The sobs are still consistent as I close my eyes as if to block out all the hurt and pain. When I open my eyes again Yusuf is next to me, a box of tissues in his hand and a look of pain on his face. ‘He feels it too’ I think and somehow that makes me feel better. As if my burden is made easier if we carry it together. He takes a tissue and wipes the tears from my stained cheeks. “Its OK Hassie”, he says stroking my back. “You should have woken me, you all alone like this baby”, he says deepening the pained look on his face.

He takes me in his arms and gently sways me back and forth rhythmically till my sobbing relents. When I am calmer, he pulls me away from him and holds me at arms length, he looks at me and says “I made a promise to you, to your mother and to Allah to be for there for you forever. The tragedy that happened last year ,hurt us both deeply. I lost a mother too” he says this with so  much sincerety that my heart aches for him. “We need to be strong for each other”, he finishes. He reaches behind me and pulls my hood of my pajama top over my head. Then, holding me close again, begins reciting Surah Yaaseen from memory.