I couldn’t sleep last night, the heat seemed to be seeping in through the heavy red sandstone of my apartment block, sucking the humidity and coolness out of my bedroom. Heat is a rare commodity here in Scotland, and as a result, almost all of the major outlets have actually sold out of fans!! While the wasps haven’t quite bombarded us yet (every one knows of my phobia!), the flies certainly have! They are worse than Pakistan; at least in Karachi they flutter through one window, and vanish out of the next exit point they find! Here, they enter sneakily through cracks and linger over food, inside shoes and in the high recesses of my living room sealing! But sleep is only the start of it! When you finally shower and dress and sweat and get out of the house and sweat some more, you have the constant stairs, and all those who simply cannot comprehend how you can remain fully clothed in such hot weather!! “you are crazy! How do you keep all that on; don’t you get hot?” (and that’s just my dad!). “don’t you get hot without it? The burns all over your ass seem to indicate that you do!”, of course, none of this I say; like a good Muslima should, I grit my teeth, practise mental linguistic programming and so find myself walking along a moonlit beech with the heat of the day still deep in the golden sand under foot, Zuhair is holding my hand, we find a quiet corner and ….., OK I’ll stop now!!!
Back in the real world, All this stuffiness kept me awake, and I woke up to a rather strange day! Auntie Kamar’s daughter past away early this morning; aged 15, which came as a huge shock to us all. Her impairment was something which slid between the autistic spectrum and downs syndrome, but it seemed to cause her increased distress and a very weak heart. I was brought down to earth with a thud when I heard this tragic news, wondering how in the world a family comes to terms with losing a child in this way. Only last week, Anees and myself were discussing the tragedy that was losing Narjiss. When she left us, we lost a sister, a friend, and most importantly, Zara lost a mother. For auntie Kamar, she has lost a daughter, but a direction too; Asiya and Maryam have lost a sister, and our tiny community have lost another of our own, and each time we lose some one, we lose a link that binds us, we lose part of our own selves, and this is a difficult thing to reconcile. After getting my head around this, I rushed out to work; being late, I jumped in a cab, all too quickly to discover that the taxi driver was a fundamentalist Zionist, who held me entirely responsible, for the middle east crisis, Palestine, and the crude battles (as he saw them), committed in the name of Islam by the Prophet Mohammed! (PBUH). Under normal circumstances I’d perhaps try to take on a person like this, point them in the direction of some useful learning material, or at least give them some food for thought, but hey! I’d just heard of a friend passing away, and I was late for work!! Not quite what one needs on a Tuesday morning!
Any way, I finally arrived in one piece, and slept through another long and laborious staff meeting (yon yon!), but came out to find an Email from the Scottish Islamic foundation, inviting me to join their board!! I had applied to become a director a few months ago, not expecting to hear any thing at all, so you can imagine my shock when they asked me to join them! For a disabled woman who is a very active shia revert, this is momentous to say the least! First meeting is on the 10th of July, so will update you then! For now, I need to go off and fix up my Iraq flights; have made a mess of the London part! And bemoan the first of July; (remember remember the 1st of July!), …, OK so that doesn’t work!