Posts Tagged ‘friends’

transformation definition

EPILOGUE

The pain is excrutiating. You expect this kind of pain for your first child but I have been through that already. Once you have experienced child birth, you expect subsequent labours to be easier. This is worse than I remember. Sharp stabbing pains shoots assaultingly up my spine, then down again. My entire abdomen goes hard and I hold my breath in instinct only to be scolded by the nurse. “You have to breathe the pain out” she says to me, and I shoot her a murderous look, as a string of profanities come to mind but I am in too much pain to find my voice.
This time my labour is so different. This is not what I remember. The last time I was in the labour ward it felt like a five star holiday. “I want an epidural!” I scream, “Call my doctor” I plead to the back of the nurse as she walks out.
My husband finally makes himself useful and brings me some ice cubes and juice.
“The nurse says that you are five centimeters dilated, it will still be a while”, he says as helpfully as he can. He must feel so useless, I think. He has been hanging around aimlessly and timing my contractions. I think he is in shock. “Maybe you should get some rest” he suggests. I nod. “I will stay here” is his promise as I slip under the covers. He says something else, but I don’t hear him. My body craves sleep and it consumes me immediately.
I am awoken with another sharp pain, and I sit up immediately. The contraction monitor is going crazy, the constant periodic beep is more rapid and louder than I remember. That pain comes back again with avengence, and I freeze unable to move a muscle. The pain feels different, something is wrong. Suddenly the machine sounds an alarm. Before I register what is happening I am surrounded by nurses, frantically checking the machine and then me. There are about five of them now, “what’s wrong?” I ask but I don’t get a reply, “What’s wrong with my baby?” I scream, now frantic, completely forgetting about the pain that paralysed me a minute ago.
“Call the doctor” one of them instructs and shouts out commands to the rest of them, I scream for my husband, and I try to look through the barrage of nurses in front of me.
Suddenly, he is by my side. He has the quraan in his hand.
“hey” he says, stroking my forehead that is wet with perspiration. “The baby’s heartbeat is irregular. They were monitoring it while you were asleep. The nurses were hoping you would dilate quicker” he says. I look at him in disbelief. “They have to do a c-section” he announces. Then before I can say anything, the head nurse shouts for an IV. Then she looks at me, “We need to get you on the gurney, do you need help?”
I shake my head in response and try to move off the bed. Another shooting pain runs through my body and this time I cry. I can’t believe I am crying. The pain is immense but the fear of what could happen is even worse. The bottom half of me feels like it belongs to someone else. The nurses roll me onto the gurney and they rush me out, not before I catch sight of the bed I was sleeping on, stained red with blood.
****
I feel like I have been cut in half and then stitched back together. I would crawl under a rock and disappear if it wasn’t for the little miracle that is swaddled in the crib next to me. I look over at her. She looks different now then she did a few hours ago. Her long fingers are splayed over face so beautifully you would think she was modeling for vogue.
“mummy!” comes a scream from the door. I look up to see miracle number one and Hussain not far behind. Muhammed jumps on to the bed next to me. “Baby out” he says, as he looks at his little sister in wonder. I open my arms and he comes in for a big hug. Hussain goes straight to his daughter and picks her up.
I remember 18 months ago when Hussain held Muhammed for the first time. It was our big moment. Muhammed was the baby we were waiting for, for ten years. The baby that sealed our marriage. Muhammed was the baby that we worked so hard to have. The baby that I endured, invasive scrapings and oestrogen suppliments for. I never thought I would see Hussain as happy as he was that day, until now.
“She has your nose” Hussain says, not looking up. “and your moods” I add sarcastically. “She screamed like crazy when I tried to feed her earlier” I say. He smiles, he seems proud of that.
I couldn’t believe when the doctor told me I was pregnant and not in early menopause, as I suspected. OK I was only 35 but – I heard it happens. After everything I went through to conceive the first time, Getting pregnant by accident was the last thing I thought would happen.
“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you…” I hear some singing in the corridor and I immediately recognize the voices. I smile. I know who that is.
“Don’t look at us like that?” Hasina says accusingly as she walks in. Then quickly adds – “it was her idea” and points to Jameela next to her. The both come over for hugs and kisses.
“I told mummy that we have to sing for the baby, because it is her birthday” she says seriously. Ahh this girl. She pulls muhammed off me and carries him away. I can’t believe how she has grown.
“How are you feeling?” Hasina asks me now as she sits next to me on the bed. I shake my head. “Im just glad it’s over” I say the memories flooding back. She takes my hand.
“Hussain told me how brave you were” she says. She looks at Hussain and he comes over and presents the new little baby as if it were a first prize trophy. She reaches out and Hussain reluctantly hands the bundle over to her. “Did you ask her?” Hasina asks Hussain as they exchange glances and the baby. He shakes his head. I have no idea what they are talking about.
“Ask me what?” I ask. Hasina takes her time to respond. She fixes the baby’s blanket and shifts her position.
“I told him to ask you about your confinement” – she holds up her hand as I am about to speak – “just wait till I am finished” she says. We have had this discussion before. She began insisting I stay with her after the baby is born months ago. She was over everyday back when Muhammed was born and I thank goodness for that.
“You need to look after yourself now Farnaz, especially now after the C-section.” Hasina begins to reason. “How are you going to do that with Muhammed to see to and a new baby?” I have asked myself that same question earlier. I can hardly bend over now but I am sure I will be ok.
“It will be difficult at first but I will manage” I say. How can I possibly impose on her and her family. The confinement is a big deal in most indian homes where all the women in the family pitch in to help with the new baby and make sure the mother recovers well.
She gives me that look. The baby starts to squirm and she stands up to rock her. “I spoke to Sameera, she is coming this weekend, and Reza and them are trying to get flights.” she says. I smile inwardly at this. My sister and brother seem to have accepted her as part of my life.In fact the last time we were all together you would think Hasina was part of the family. For this I am thankful.
The baby starts to cry. It’s feeding time, I think. Hasina hands her to me. “think about it” she says. I nod, I know her offer is sincere and I know I need her now more than ever.
****
My bags line the wall all the way to the door. I can’t remember having so much stuff for Muhammed. In just four weeks I have managed to collect six bags full of clothes, toys and the essentials.
“Hey”, comes a voice from the door. Hasina walks in with a tray.
“I was going to come down” I say to her embarrassed. I hate her treating me like a guest. “I was just dressing Laikah” I say. My daughter’s name is starting to become part of my vocabulary and is not sounding as strange on my tongue as before.
Hasina puts the tray down. “It’s the last time I can serve you breakfast” she says. As she motions to hand over the baby.
She talks to Laikah, “Aunty Hasina is going to miss you so much my poppy”.
“Is aunty Hasina not going to visit us?” I pretend to ask Laikah myself.
“Of course I will visit” Hasina says, “But it won’t be the same.”
I know what she means. The middle of the night talks while I sit up breast feeding, the extra pair of hands to rock and shake when I just cant do it anymore and the emotional support when I need it.
Theres a knock on the door , “Hasina…” it is Yusuf’s voice. She looks at me and I nod. “Come in” she says. Yusuf walks in takes one look at the bags and laughs.
“Hussain is on the way” he says to me, “ Must I call him and tell him to bring a truck rather” we all laugh. “This” I say, and motion to all the bags, “is your shopoholic wife’s fault”.
“hey!” Hasina defends, “I can’t help it if there is so much of cute girls stuff out there”.
Before I can retort, she instructs Yusuf, “Darling, Start taking the bags down so it’s easy when Hussain gets here”. Yusuf obliges immediately.
“Thank you so much for everything” I say to her when Yusuf leaves. “What?” she asks now pretending to be confused, “wouldn’t you do the same for me?” she asks playfully. “In a heartbeat”, I answer.
***
“Did you bring the salad?” I ask Farnaz. “Of course”, she answers , “That is all I have been eating for the past six months”. I laugh. “I can’t get this baby weight off” she says, as she pops a koeksister in her mouth. She looks at me and we both burst out laughing.
The children are playing on the jungle gym and the men are all braaing the meat on the fire. The Zoo lake is packed today.
“Where is the birthday boy?” Sawliha asks. “Zunaid is buying him ice cream” Farnaz’s mother in law responds. Farnaz rolls her eyes. “Sawls, I feel you sorry when you have kids…” she says. “The way Zunaid spoils Muhammed. He doesn’t want to know me when Zunaid is around”.
Everyone is here today for Muhammed’s birthday – a family fusion at the Zoo lake. Suhail and the very pregnant Rahima, Waseem and his family, Farnaz’s sister in law and mother in law, and Farnaz’s niece.
“How is your paintings, bachoo?” Farnaz’s mother in law asks me. This woman is the reason I look forward to having a daughter in law of my own one day. “Alhamdulillah, Ma” , my kids both call her ma, and so do I.
“Ghorima’s daughter in law said you did one for her entrance hall, and she just loves it.” she looks at her daughter in law, now and says, “It has the ninety nine names of Allah – So Masha Allah”.
I smile gratefully.
“How far are you now?”, Fehmeda asks Rahima. “Six months now” she says glowing. Suhail has been a different person ever since he got married and they both have been on cloud nine since they announced that they were expecting.
My inner Chachima makes a rare appearance. These days she has been busy having a fulfilled life. She looks around satisfied. Bilal chases his cousins up the jungle gym while Muhammed tried to keep up, Jameela is walking around proudly playing mummy to Laikah and showing her off to the other girls in the family.Yusuf ,Suhail, Hussain, and Waseem are huddled around the braai probably trying to remember if they turned the meat already or not. I chuckle at my prediction.
I sit with the rest of the women on a mat on the ground. Converstaion is flowing over each other and the feeling of contentment settles through me. I catch Farnaz’s eye and she winks at me. We are bonded forever, not through blood but through the many little memories like this we will share together. Now. And always.

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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.

THE END

hadeethChangefriendfriends 2

CHAPTER 23 (cont)

Posted: August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

transformation definition

When you find yourself in the same place, but as a different person – That is progress. Farnaz (transformation)

Fehmida comes to our table just as we finish eating. We all get up to congratulate her. She collapses in her chair. “I’m just so glad it’s over” she says. “This last month has been a nightmare”. My mother in law comments, “But just look at Sawliha”. We all look at our little niece at the main table. She is a beautiful bride with a broad smile on the happiest day of her life. “May Allah always keep them happy together and grow the love and understanding, Aameen”, she says as we watch Sawliha show off her ring to her friends. When Fehmida turns back to face us all, there are tears in her eyes. “Aameen” she says softly. “Hey Fehms, not now. Wait till she comes home later to fetch her things, dan sal dit snot en trane wees”. (Then the tears will flow)

We all laugh at Husna’s animation when saying it. “Zunaid is a good boy , he will look after her” says my mother in law, much to the shock of the rest of the table. “What?” she asks innocently. Shazia nearly snorts out the water she was drinking. She looks at our mother in law and says, “”What happen to -you cant marry a Miabhai- and “the MiaBhai’s are not like us?” .“Agh you people are so old fashioned” , she says waving her hand and trying to act younger than her age. Husna and I are laughing at her, who is this woman? I think. She was so upset that Sawliha couldn’t find a nice kenam boy. Fehmida explains, “Her tune changed when Zunaid started taking her and papa to the Zoo lake and to Sandton evryweekend”. “And..” my mother is law adds, “He always phones to ask me if i want to go shopping when he is going to town” you could hear the pride in her voice. “You know the old men hate shopping, but the boys of today know all the good places to go”. I was laughing so hard I had to grab my stomach.

“Farnaz are you ok?” they all asked in unison. I nodded and said, “daddi is going to make me break my waters with her jokes”.

The mood has been so joyous, fitting the occasion. I usually hate wedding, because it involves ladies cliqueing together and complaining about the food or criticizing the colour scheme. But I think I was just focusing on the negative all this time. Since I fell pregnant it has been like a light has been shining everywhere and although the tjacherag aunties still poke their noses in everyones business, there are plenty of woman who are genuinely just nice, like Hasina. I suddenly remember about her gallery showing.

Looking at my phone to check the time, I see a message from Hasina.

Hasina: hows the wedding? Don’t overdose on Briyani. I need you here at 7 pm. I am going crazy.

I smile. Im sure she has everything under control. I was disappointed when the art school chose a different artist to exhibit at the gallery all that time ago. She however was not. She seemed to see it as a challenge and tried even harder. When I saw her first painting, I knew that is where her talent lies. I can’t believe she is doing her own gallery show today, I cant be late. She refused to show me any paintings that she did for the show but I can’t wait to see them. I text her back quickly.

Me: “Will be there, don’t worry. Can’t wait. Good luck.”

wedding pic

Sawliha and Zunaid

life beginslife quote

CHAPTER 22 (continued)

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

transformation definition

‘You won’t believe what happened” I say to Farnaz, as she walks in. her eyes grow wide and judging my excitement, asks hopefully, “Did you get the gallery show?” without waiting for a response, she screams , “Oh my gosh, that is great. I knew you would do it”.

“No man” , I say. I even forgot about that. “They haven’t gotten back to me yet” I tell her. “Oh” she says. She looks confused, “So what is the big news?”.

“Suhail is getting married” I say one octave too high. “Mubarak!” Farnaz says and hugs me. “SO all your nagging finally paid off”, she teases me. I shoot her a sideways look and she shoots one right back at me. We both laugh.

“I’m so glad everything worked out with Rahima”, I say thinking about all the other girls I had seen him with. “Rahima is perfect for him” I say out loud.

“I only remember the girl he brought to your party that day”, Farnaz says. “You meant that little kid” I say indicating my disapproval. Farnaz laughs, “Yes, she was a little young for him, and a bit of a snob”. “I know right” I reply. “You know she told me that day, that she doesn’t drink tap water and at her house they have at least two different types of bottled water in the fridge. Farnaz bellows with laughter, stops and starts laughing again. I join her. “Dodged a bullet there” she says when she regains composure. I nod, I couldn’t agree more.

“Didn’t you tell me Rahima is a Chiropracter?” Farnaz asks. “Yes, Yes. Its doctor Rahima” I say with pride. “It feels like she is part of the family already, the kids love her”.

“Where are the kids?” Farnaz asks as we finally get seated in the lounge. “My father in law picked them up from school and is spending the day with them. He said he will drop them off before maghrib. I was relieved when he offered, that drive to school is torturous”.

Its just two more weeks, right?” Farnaz asks. “Yes, thank goodness” I say. We just finished sorting out the applications forms and so they will start at the school here next year”. Farnaz nods and smiles. She doesn’t have much more to say about that , without children of her own, I’m sure it must be boring having to listen to other peoples stories. I try to change the subject.

Im dying to ask her … but I decide to give her time to tell me. I was up all night thinking about her test results. I say a silent prayer again that her news is good.

“how is work?” I ask her instead.

“It’s ok, The paperwork is really getting to be a hassle. Dilshaad is on maternity leave and the new receptionist is earning her keep. If she doesn’t manage I am going to have to hire someone else”

“Hey why don’t you hire me” I say happily, “With the children starting school nearby, I will have a lot more time to kill”. She looks at me accusingly, “and what about your sketching?” she asks sternly. “Don’t tell me after all your hard work you are just going to stop”, she warns. There’s my mother’s voice again. I forgot how irritating it can be sometimes, but this time I am thankful for it. “Hey, hey , hey , hold your horses” I say. I do my painting mostly at night anyways.

“Are you working on apiece now?” she asks curious. I nod. Ralph said I should experiment with different materials and techniques. He has been so pleased with my work so far” I gloat. “Oh well if Ralph said so…” she says mockingly sticking her nose in the air. We laugh together yet again.

As we chat I am aware of how we have somehow gotten tangled up in each others lives. A few of months ago, no one could have predicted how close we would become. I have seen her softer side and I cant help thinking that it may be my influence. She certainly has brought out my stronger, confident self. I am so happy these days and the thoughts of my mother are more like happy memories rather than sad regrets. Farnaz showed me that being grateful for all the memories is better than regretting time lost. It doesn’t help that she reminds me more and more of my mother everyday. She even has that annoying habit of starring at my work for a long time before she is willing to give a comment. My mother drove me crazy when she did that. But also … Farnaz is different. She has thoughts and opinions that I would never have and talking to her is illuminating. She grounded and gives me the realistic angle when I am up in the clouds.

“So when will the school confirm who will be exhibiting?” she asks. “sometime this week” I say. “Are you nervous?” she asks me. I think about it. “No, not really” I reply honestly. “It will be a good opportunity but I think I still have to explore a lot of other mediums” I say. She seems happy with my answer.

“SO!!??” I finally ask her when I cant wait any longer. “Are you going to put me out of my misery and tell me about the appointment today?” I ask exasperated.  I didn’t ask immediately because I wanted to gauge her mood. As much as she tries to remain strong I know she is trying not to get her hopes up.

A smile creeps over her face, “I was wondering what took you so long?” and she shakes her head at me feigning disappointment.

“Well?!” I say.

“it’s positive” she says barely able to hide that glow on her face. “Dr. Rehana did a sonar and everything”. the joy on her face is indescribable.

I feel as if I am going to burst. First Suhail gets engaged and now Farnaz is pregnant. This is too much good news. My inner Chachima breaks out into full blown Bollywood dance.

I am so happy for Farnaz. If anyone deserves happiness it is her. She had endured endless tests, and hormone injections, sonars, scrapings and now finally there is good news. Through all the difficulties these past few months she has kept strong. After each negative test and more hormons she was never defeated and this is the magic that is Farnaz.

“I start a whole bunch of new meds next week.”

“Oh that is fantastic” I finally say after finding my words. “I’m so happy for you”.

“I am going to knit booties and a blanket and Im definitely doing a special art piece for the baby’s room-”

The look on Farnaz’s face tells me that I have gone too far. Of course, I think, these are early days, and in most pregnancies that would mean celebration, but in her case after 2 miscarriages and a complicated history this just means more worry.

“Don’t worry”, I say. “Read Surah Maryam everyday, and make lots of dua. Insha Allah everything will go well”.

she thanks me with her words but her face tells me something different. “You know you have to be positive”, unable to take that stricken look on her face.

“I know” she says, ” …and I want to be” she looks down and fidgets with her hands, ” I have been here twice before. Excited about my baby. Making plans. And after each miscarriage – it’s worse. If I can just get past 6 months” she says now looking hopefull, “Dr. Rehana says that we will know that the uterus is competent and I will probably carry to term”.

“Hussain should get you to stay home for 6 months and relax” I said, knowing that her husband probably already said that to her. She rolls her eyes at me, “Not you too” she accuses. “As soon as Dilshad gets back from maternity leave i will take more time off ” she promises.. “Anyways I don’t do any house shows myself anymore. I have that new agent that does all of that”. I am ever impressed with her business and I wonder if my business would last two seconds before it keeled over and died.

“Anyways” she says after a while, “My niece’s wedding is this weekend and somehow I got elected to plan the mehndhi night” she said horrified. “I hate henna. I hate the look, I hate the smell and I hate …well everything else” she shivers from disgust. I laugh at this playful side of her. The mehndi night is the modest Indian version of a hen party. “SO you mean you don’t like gathering the young an old woman together to embarrass the young bride with stories of the first night of marriage while decorating their hands and feet and whatever else in patterned henna?” I asked.

“And sitting on the floor covered in colourful silk and shimmer while young girls danced with rolling pins and sing bollywood songs” she added laughing hysterically. I join her. It has been an Indian custom brought over from India, but it isn’t quite so dramatic since Islam and Indian customs don’t mix very well. “The brides mother is in purdah, so thankfully it has to be simple and Islamic, so that means no bollywood and no rolling pins” she ordered. “hmm, Okay” I say and cross that out on  my invisible paper in my hands.

 

“As long as you can sort out a venue, I will sort out the henna artist, décor and I know a a caterer that did a mehndi night a while back. I will give you her number” I say. She look sat me incredulousy. “Wow, Hasina. You really know how to take charge” she compliments me. “Well , I’m learning from the best”, I reply hitting her compliment right back at her. We smile warmly at each other and I think how lucky I am to have a friend in her, and I see the look in her eyes and I know she is thinking the same thing.

hijab woman outside

 

CHAPTER 22

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

transformation definition

It took a person who seemed to be someone I never wanted to be, to help me find the person I am now. – Hasina (Transformation)

I return the letter to the envelope and slip it into my file. It has been my talisman since the day Waseem gave it to me. I am nervous sitting in the common room of the art studio. I try my best to act natural as art students float in and out of the room. There are some outrageous people making a personal art statement with their body and dressing, and then there are some average people, you would pass in a shopping mall and not look twice at. I am the additional variable thrown in to the equation as a muslim Hijabi, yet strangely, I don’t feel out of place.

My phone buzzes and I take it out to check. There are several text messages.

Suhayl : Hey pops. Hope it goes well. Thinking of you.

Waseem : Your art thing is today right? Let me know how it goes.

Yusuf: slms. did you get there ok? Call me when you done. good luck Picasso. J

I smile to myself warmed by the overwhelming support. I can’t believe that not so long ago i felt as if my world was falling apart. Suhayl has just moved in with us after his 3 months at rehab and Yusuf has decided to join him for his weekly sessions. Waseem and the family visit every weekend and Jameela and Bilal can’t get enough of their cousins. The biggest change has been me, though. I feel like a different woman, no – I am a different woman.

My feelings can best be compared to the weight loss flyers I have often seen around with before and after photos of massive weightloss. On the one end is a picture of an unusually large woman and the other end is a slim version of that woman, usually in a bikini holding up her old pair of pants that she manages to fit herself and the rest of her family into. No I didn’t lose a massive amount of weight, but I feel like a weight has been lifted that has been weighing me down.

Maybe it was getting married at such a young age or becoming a mother so quickly that made me lose sight of myself and who I was. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful family, but taking on full domestic responsibilities at the age of 19, not to mention a mother in law from hell, that really took a toll on my dreams.But actually most of the new Hasina can be attributed to one person. Farnaz.

It took a person who seemed to be someone I never wanted to be, to help me find the person I am now.

A week after her visit when she dropped of the documents, I had gone to her office to give her the dua for conception. She had been on her way out to lunch and she invited me along. We had coffee the next week and slowly it seems we have become tangled up in each others lives. Me calling after every doctors appointment, and her bugging to see each new piece I do.

Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted and I become aware of a pair of feet walking towards me and the nervousness kicks in.

“The panel is ready for you” says the young lady tasked with the job of coming to get me. This is my first showing to the panel after weeks of tutorials. The panel is made up of people from the art school and a representative of an art gallery, who chooses one piece from the school to exhibit in the show. I try to swallow my nervousness and get up. “Follow me, Mrs Vally” she says as she turns and walks back towards the door. I get up , take a deep breath. I have as much talent as anybody else in the class. Although I try not to get my hopes up, I wonder how great it would be to have my pieces in a gallery.