The Old Man is Snoring

Remember that rhyme “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…” Well, that’s the story of my life right now – sans the apnea-impaired codger. The Buzzy Spell is still going strong (which reminds me, I need to put ‘watch Aquila and the Bee’ on my list of things to do when I get time, right under ‘breath normally again’)

Remember all the other stuff I mentioned? Well, the list just doubled. The play we were doing has been postponed due to exams and other commitments, so now I have to write another shorter skit to take its place. The catch is that the script has to be ready by tomorrow morning (yes, you read that right) and the play ready for presentation in a fortnight. The only upside is that it’ll probably have just three or four characters so it should be okay to practice.

And then the magazine awaits with its deadline in neon, foot-high letters. I’m trying to ignore the glare with little success, because every time I take a break I can see it flashing in the corner of my mind.

I haven’t even begun work on the Library project for the madrasa and there’s the magazine birthday party (we’re 5 years old!! Yeah!!) and the Workshop Weekend all within the space of three weeks.

The only downside of all this work is that I’m not writing what I really want to. And I need to fix that. I have to get that book synopsis out – it started off as a writing assignment, but now I’m thinking why not? Why not work seriously on a book about hijab from the hijabi’s perspective? I really want it be a collection of stories exploring the special relationship between a Muslim woman and her veil. The real view we have of it, not the one that’s regurgitated and sieved through a dozen stereotypical and clichéd versions of the imprisoned woman who has no rights and no say.

I know there are women who suffer, but they are the ones who need aid, not the rest of us who are proud and happy with our hijabs.

At the end of everyday, when I sit down and think about all that I haven’t done yet. i keep reminding myself that the main question is not how much I’ve done, but what my aim was in doing it. There’s this beautiful story I read the other day. It goes like this:

Once a man was riding his camel through an open desert plain and he stopped to pray and rest. When he dismounted, he could find nowhere to tie his camel so he took a small stick and stuck it into the ground to tether the animal. Later, when he was resuming his journey, he thought to himself, “Let me leave this stick here so that if another traveller comes behind me, he will not have trouble finding a place to tie his animal.”

After a little while, another rider came along. As he passed by the stick, he paused and thought, “Someone might stumble or trip over this stick.” So he pulled it out and threw it away before riding on.

Which man did the right thing?

Their actions were contradictory, but because of their intentions, each is considered noble. This is exactly as it is in life. We look at things we do and sometimes we don’t understand or know what the repercussions will be. However, as long as we have attuned our intentions with the pleasure of Allah (SWT), there can be no doubt that only good will come of them – whether obvious or not.

Bint Ali


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