Scribbling and Painting and Listening

Our doors are old. On some of them you can make out the black ink of a childish scrawl through the coats of varnish we applied a few years ago. It brings back memories of how I’d huddle on the floor by my parents bedroom or out on the balcony, unsteadily scribbling out my ABC’S on the walls. I don’t remember even being asked not to do it, which makes me sheepishly smile when I think about how quick I am to tell my kids off for inadvertently making a scratch on the walls as they dance around with their pencils, which is a common stress-relieving activity kids engage in. 😀

These days I have taken up watercolour painting, with the wrong kind of paper and my kid’s caked out case of watercolours. It is a rather calming exercise with not half as disastrous a result one would expect with such unpropitious tools and it works charmingly well as a relaxing hour when Asma is in school and Ali napping. There is a quiet satisfaction in learning something of a new skill between the pauses in online tutorials as you try to move your brush in strokes and dabs and delicate little impressions of autumn leaves and spring tulips.

Another hobby I have picked up and annoyed family with, is listening to audiobooks of my favourite classics. Many of these are conveniently (for me) in the public domain and have been read so excellently by properly engaging readers that you are made quiet deaf to real human people talking to you; hence the annoyance to some. 😀 Many of my high school favourites can be so eloquently ‘read’ and enjoyed while I go about my chores or fix a meal. Karen Savage’s rendering of that passage in Sense and Sensibility where Elinor is provoked into finally breaking out with her hearts struggles and hopes is especially well done and is a performance in itself.  I have also discovered some new favourites; after having turned up my nose at Austen’s meddlesome Emma and refusing to like her when I first began reading Jane Austen novels as a teenager, I have to admit that at 26,  Emma is a pleasant, interesting story with likeable characters, particularly Emma.

Yet another hobby that I am trying to pick up but which often slips and rolls off in the distance is going to sleep early so I can wake up early.

It is 11.30 now.

So,

the end.

 

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Summer

Hurrying along the pebbly pathways, as we skirted around orange muddy puddles on our way to one or the other relative’s house, I’ d often pause and stare at the dilapidated old house or the broken down rickshaw and once even an old, yellow road roller, creeping all over with shoots, the rusting metal peeking from beneath the wilderness of leaves; all forgotten by the side of the road. Abandoned houses, vehicles and whatnot’s overrun by weeds, grass and creepers were a  common sight on our walks and drives all this monsoon in my little hometown. As my companions rushed on, eager to reach before the dry spell gave out, I’d give a last fleeting look at the locked brown doors and broken windows and stems shooting out of darkened rooms that once belonged to someone. Sometimes it seems strange, how easily homes that have seen generations come and go, and were dear to people fall into ruin and decay and then lay forgotten; just like that. May Allah, Al-Kareem grant us good, happy homes in this world and everlasting homes of peace near Him in Jannatul Firdous.

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My father, on our trips to and from the tailor, would take me through the winding alleyways of his childhood homes and point out the house he was born in and the one he grew up in and his father’s shop and he’d tell me of how he’d go swimming with his buddies in a little, picturesque canal behind the row of houses and from where the boats carrying the Hajis would come and subhanAllah, did I enjoy those rides! 😀 It’s amazing really, when you realize the effects of time on a place. I loved that warm feeling of a little history enfolding before my eyes as I clutched on to my seat on the Activa and grinned through my niqab at the trees and wondered how long they had been standing there. S, you need to get Daddy to take you on these Activa tours the next time you go.

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Sometimes I think it a pity that our town is pretty small since all rickshaw rides come to a jolting halt just as I get into a nice pensive mood owing to the light breeze against my face accompanied with the warm familiarity of sights I have been seeing since I was a child. And then we pull up into a street and I have to give directions and count out change and that’s the end of that.

P.S. I really have grown up. Not once did I go up and brood on my “Steps of Despair” this vacation. The one time I went up to check on them I got dizzy. And then she sighs, “When did my childhood go?”

Tree

Sometimes, on the occasions when we’re out and about before Maghrib, I look out the window of our waiting car to see a beautiful, lush, green tree on the median strip by the sidewalk and think to myself, “Hmmm, I really like trees.” 😀 Even as a teenager on our way back from school, just as we we drove down the overpass, I’d oftentimes spot this lone tree by a mosque, its red blossoms smiling bright optimism against the sandy landscape and I would think less anxiously about those 4 marks on the question paper in my tired hand or organic chemistry or whatever bleak terror high school curriculum has to offer. There was a poem we studied in school by Joyce Kilmer (as discovered upon googleation) and it’s closing verse seems very fitting for every occasion I’ve smilingly stopped before a grand, old tree:

“Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.”

Solitude

Sometimes

After a day of slights and snubs

I crave for a moment of solitude.

On a park swing;

I push against the grassy turf

And look up at the full moon,

Veiled behind the dark clouds.

And the sweet smelling night air

ringing with muted cheers from behind the knot of trees

reminding me of outings long passed.

I smile as I push against the grassy turf,

after a day of slights and snubs

savouring the joy in solitude.

 

Sometimes

After a day of failed expectations and disappointments

I crave for a moment of contentment,

To make up for time lost.

For deeds that bolster the soul and

sakeenah that comforts the heart,

After a confiding cry.

To muster ihsaan

and do better today.

Meet the world with good,

Pull through one good word for a bad;

All the while,

cradling in the heart that precious moment of  solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine. Edit: And Rain.

A bajillion and ten people have written feel-good songs and poems and whatnots on sunshine and how happy or hopeful it makes them feel. So much so that one (as in, me) is led to believe that a sizable portion of the population feels (like me), that sunny spring days are the nicest. Looking out at the deep blue skies, as one feels the warmth of the February sun and the sunshine streaming through the windows is so calming, no? No? Here,it shall be acknowledged that there is also a sizable portion of the population (or so it seems to me) that feels that cool, drizzly days are the nicest. I was going to say that that is really inexplicable to me, but then I thought about the beautiful barakah Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala has placed in rain as well and about how it feels to make du’a when the first showers start. Hmm. So I have edited the title now 😀

 

Kitchen Adventures

Yesterday  I  removed the idli steamer from the cabinet to give it a rinse and pulled out the plates when, shocker of shocks, what do I see but a decomposing banana peel. It was properly disgusting.

Then, when I was making pakodas I got an egg fro the fridge and rapped it on the counter to crack it open and shocker of shocks, what do I see but a fridge-cold, boiled egg. It was properly ridiculous.

Cooking is full of (sometimes unsavoury) surprises with toddlers and deceptive looking eggs in the house.

The end.

Morning

It is morning. In the quiet stillness of dawn, the discernible ticking of the clock goes solemnly on and on as light begins to trickle through the windows. One is conscious of every second with every somber tick. There is a gravity in commonplace things when the day is still new. It is as though the house itself, with all its elements, is slumbering alongside its occupants; any slight movement to wake it while moving a chair or opening a door sounds too much like a jarring rebuke contrasting the peace of reticent daybreak. Presently, the birds begin to chirp and the wheels begin to creak as the day is set into motion with the troop of early-risers commencing their day. As the hammer on the construction site gets louder and one becomes conscious of the sounds of footsteps and the muffled morning traffic, the ticking of the clock sounds less solemn. The winter sun has risen with a mild, golden glow and there is a thrill in breathing the chill, morning air and in the earnestness of filling what is to come, with goodness and kindness, inshaAllah.

“We have reached the morning, and at this very time unto Allah belongs all sovereignty, Lord of the worlds. O Allah, I ask You for the good of this day, its triumphs, its victories, its light, its blessings, and its guidance. And I take refuge in You from the evil of this day and the evil that follows it.” [Abu Dawud]

Three Beautiful Things

AssalamaAlaikum

  1. Since the past few months Ali has developed this heart-warming habit of placing his hand on my cheek as he falls asleep. After he is done with his routine of climbing me and falling off in giggles as I try to put him to sleep and the drowsiness overcomes him, with an adorable, ‘Mamma, yhari come’ he pulls my face towards him and putting his warm, little palm on my cheek falls off to sleep in 3.5 seconds. And this is from the sweetness of motherhood. =)
  2. Winters in Oman are really the best time of the year here. After months of dehydrating heat, the weather mellows down beautifully, not getting too chilly or cloudy. The mornings are so hopeful and fresh that it is immensely quieting to the soul to take a walk in any of the numerous parks here with the sun shining down upon you. The other day we had taken our lunch for a picnic to a nearby park by the corniche and we were one of only a handful families there. Under the shade of the green trees in the solitary park, Asma and I turned the wheel of the merry go round, her squealing with joy. It was a nice afternoon, alhumdulillah.
  3.  Ever since I was a teenager I’ve loved wearing socks. Bright, snug, warm socks for chilly toes after baths. And at the end of the day, its still nice to remove the socks to slip them between the quilt and the cool sheets. So all in all, socks are like comfort food for the feet in winters.

AssalamAlaikum

It has come to my attention, after reading my sister’s post, that this here blog has shown a distinct lack of lists in recent years. This is unacceptable considering my love for list-making and therefore, in true H-copying-S-in-‘most-everything fashion, I am also going to be making lists on current goals I have for a healthier body, heart and mind. This reminds me of the time S convinced me to start a diary saying we’ll both keep diaries, then exchange and read when we reach the ripe old age of 20. Well, let’s just say she had a growth spurt and turned 20 a few days later. 😀

Back to the lists!

Everything Goals

  • Drink more water. Drink more water. Drink more water and then you won’t have to cry about dehydration induced headaches and fatigue.
  • Eat well and get in good shape.
  • Stop and recognize what leads you to that stressful frenzy, then avoid doing that the next time.
  • Relax, take your time and enjoy simple tasks. It’s okay to let some things just be. When you have a 4 and 2 year old in the house, things have a tendency to not stay put in right angles and that is alright.
  • Be more consistent with learning the Qur’an.
  • Stay offline more often.
  • Every once in a while, visit a neighbour or call a grandparent.
  • Write.
  • Be kinder.

There, that ought to be a decent start.

Wassalam!