What I have learnt, Episode Fifteen: Can’t be asked.
Today, boy am I tired. Drained. Inadequate sleep, piles of work somewhere, everywhere. I love that Sundays often function as a sort of cleaning-and-tranquility day. But… we’re on Tuesday, right now. Some days to go, until the day of the sun…
I am so drained. Hear me complain.
Trying to make beauty out of difficult things. I love people who bring, with them, such beauty, to this Dunya. You know: the ones who leave a giant box of cornflakes for you, by your chair. Throw you a cushion, while you nap. Paint flowers over walls that seek to constrain them.
It reminds me of a Palestinian woman I’ve read about before, who plants lots of little flowers, in the shells of grenades. “Oppressors seek to destroy spirits.” And resistance often looks like such a thing of such powerful, deep-rooted, beauty, no?
I love it when people do their thing, and not really for attention. Engrossed; ‘unassuming’ is probably the word [which I picked up from Ranga Mama, when he had described Moosa’s unique lovability (Masha Allah)].
When people just believe so much in the value of what they do, that… others’ eyes don’t really matter that much. Quiet, determined, security. The doubts and uncertainties will be there; with (sadly metaphorical) swords, we can always strive to keep them at bay.
Committing oneself to beauty. Even when it seems tempting to either be neutral, or do something ‘ugly’.
Committing oneself to Truth. Even when it seems quite tempting to either be neutral, or to indulge in falsehoods.
Committing oneself to goodness. Even when Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and their metaphorical counterparts, seem real enticing, from o’er here.
Today, I learned, again, how to get through a difficult day. When I feel drained like this, firstly, people can tell. And people tell me I look very tired and drained; this does not really help.
And small conversations, which, perhaps, I would ordinarily enjoy, loom into noises I do not necessarily want; persistent questions that will not stop. Questions from students: endless-seeming. I was exhausted today.
But I have learnt that this is all part of the test. To be able to govern ourselves, even when at the mercy of heightened emotions. When I am tired, and when I feel annoyed by someone, it feels like something sort of burns, beneath my skin. And those times, I should not speak. Or, I should try to “speak a good word, or remain silent” [Muhammad (SAW)].
Today, I felt like kind of a tired mess. I cycled into school, and arrived there late. I hate this feeling: cyclical. Sleep late, wake up feeling terrible, rush to get out. Make it not on time. And the big, intimidating day ahead.
But Alhamdulillah, though. That exhaustion will hopefully bring me a blissful sleep tonight, Insha Allah. And Friday this week is my last day before a week’s half-term holiday. Woot woot.
I had accidentally left my laptop charger at home. Every morning, we get given a morning briefing, on Teams. Today, I had forgotten to check Teams; I did not know that I had been put down for Lesson 1, Year Seven Science cover.
There, since I hadn’t received any cover work, I got some scrap paper, and a pair of scissors, and organised a game of science-themed Articulate. Throwback, KS3 science; to learning about things like ‘ligers’ and the food chain.
In the staff room, I nap-napped. There is a corner of the room, in which, sometimes, people pray. And sometimes, people nap. In my first few weeks at the school, I used to look at the people who would nap, and think: that could nevah be me. I’d be way too self-conscious. Today, I decided that sleep was more important than self-consciousness. When you believe in something — and sleep is a cause I believe in! — you do it with chest. I had a great nap: I had my Bengali Kheta (embroidered blanket) in my bag – which I normally use, to pray on. I put my coat down, and just did not care if anybody would judge. I don’t think anybody is judgemental like that at my workplace, Alhamdulillah. Staff room: lesson planning; lots of marking; lots of eating; sleeping, too, sometimes. Girl’s got te nap.
Doli Khala chucked me a nice red cushion; I put my coat over it [imagine how many faces have been in contact with it]. Earphones in, Surah Rahman by Sheikh Sudais [recitation that reminds me, over and over again, of the first time I went to Saudi, aged five. I have such a sentimental attachment to this particular melody]. Beautiful, blissful: I had two frees, and a lunchtime, ahead of me.
Today I learned that (what an L) our form class, in general, did not really like our display. Neither the colours, nor the paint. They wanted to ‘do it [themselves]’. Internally: anger, anger, frustration; I could not wait for the day to be over. Externally: neutrality. I jos could not be bothered, today. And it is my responsibility to fix up, again, so that I can be a better teacher, Insha Allah. Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow.
And I learned that M (a girl in Year Eight, who is of mixed Bengali-and-Italian origin [what a cool mix, Masha Allah]) is currently reading a book called ‘The Poetics of Movement’. M’s first name is a very classically-Muslim one. Her surname has an -oni ending. And she would like to take after her dad, and become a structural engineer in the future, Insha Allah. What a cool person, Masha Allah. When we did our unit on the Renaissance last term, she’d expressed a really evident interest in the works of Da Vinci, from a very architectural perspective, too.
Today I thought that Sweetie [my aunt who teaches A-level Biology at the school]’s sheep heart experiment (which I was quite excited for) would take place today. Turns out, ’tis tomorrow. She also reminded me on the phone that I said I would make my chicken wings for her, today. Crud, I had forgotten about this too. Tuesday 25th May 2021: good day in terms of the fact that I am alive, and Muslim, Alhamdulillah. But a day of such tiredness and disorganisation, also.
The chicken wings, I had made for Sweetie during Ramadan this year, when it had been my day to make Ifthar at Nanu’s. Mazhar semi-hijacked it, also, by making shepherd’s pie, and bringing cake. I’d made stir-fry, chicken wings, and rice pudding. I love finding recipes online [Pinterest is the one!] and going to the grocery shop for ingredients, and cooking. Certainly, a hobby of mine.
The chicken wings that Sweetie so loved [I always become real gassed when she likes my cooking, because she is known as being something of a master chef, in our family] had been an adapted version of a Korean chicken recipe I had found online, from the BBC website. But, for example, since I didn’t manage to go to Waitrose to get their Korean Gochujang sauce (which will likely forever remind me of young Tasnim-ji) I decided to mix some ketchup with chilli sauce, and use that instead.
Today, Sweetie kept expressing how delicious she found them last time. She told Mama (her husband) that he would love them too. No pressure there, then [I was actually quite stressed… If I had been making steaks, here I would have said that the steaks were high].
At Quality (ye olde grocery shoppe) I got a lime; garlic-and-chilli sauce; le organic honey; chicken pieces, from the butcher bit. I used to detest going to the butcher bit. [TW, vegans. Don’t read on] The smell of… death; the deeply disturbing view of all the cuts, hacks of meat. Today, I Bengali-woman-ed up, and just went and ordered. Sweetie told me to get her a ‘curry-cut’ baby chicken, also. So I did. I pinched the tops of the bags, though: I still find it a little disgusting.
Mainly for Sweetie’s future reference, purhapz, and for mine, so that I do not forget [“writing is an [excellent] aid to memory”]:
Sadia’s chicken wings recipe
You will need:
- Chicken wing pieces
- Oil, preferably olive-
- Honey, preferably organic
- Half a lime
- An onion or two
- Green onions
- A chilli sauce of your choosing
- Bit of ginger
- Bit of garlic
- Sesame seeds, if you want
You just mix everything up, basically: oil first, then add onions and salt/pepper, ginger, garlic. Add ketchup and chilli sauce; honey; squeeeeze of lime.
Mix the chicken wings in; let that cook.
Finally, in a separate pan: more olive oil, and fry them. Add cut-up green onion pieces; add sesame seeds. Et voila! Chicken wings, which I am yet to choose a good name for. Sweetie loved the chicken, Alhamdulillah; she said they were even better than last time!
Buenos noches, dear readers. It’s now time for the best part of the day.
“You’re not you when you’re tired. Go to sleep mate.” — a very wise person, probably.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.