Day Twenty

What I have learnt, Episode Twenty: Thai Food and Tiredness.

Bismillah.

Yesterday had been Day Twenty of this thirty-day documentation thing. Yesterday, after breakfast, I got ready to leave from Ranga Mama’s: he gave me a ride home, and took Stomami and Dawud Biyya to Stomami’s mum’s house, in East London.

Some random additional memories from being at Dawud’s house, this past [past? Last? Past? Past.] weekend:

  • While playing with Ya’qub and Sabrine in the adventure park, Dawud, swinging on the baby-swing, called out: “I love you Fuldiiii”
  • While I prayed Salāh on Stomami’s purple prayer mat, Dawud Biyya put down his mini red prayer mat, put his forehead on the floor once, then whispered, “I love you Fuldi” and packed up and ran away
  • Dawud tried to put my bracelet on my hand for me [the one that Nabeelah’s fam got me, from Saudi. It has my ‘other name’ (Jannath) engraved on it, in Arabic, on one side, with ‘Allah’, in Arabic, on the other]. He wasn’t really succeeding with it, but kept trying nonetheless
  • On Saturday, at breakfast time, Stomami had made us a full English breakfast. Dawud loves to eat eggs (with a ‘zh’ sound, at the end, the way he pronounces it). He wanted some of my food; I went to get him his own fork because he probably has the same lil hygiene particularities as I do. But then his mum said I should just carry on eating: he’s already eaten. To us: this was kind of a ‘small thing’. But to Dawud: this was kind of a big thing. I think he sort of came to see it as me not liking him anymore. Perspectives. Kids are so impossibly heart-meltingly c u t e, Masha Allah.

I am trying to use this documentation thing to capture this temporal slice of my early twenties: the bridge between being a (nominal) teenager, and being an adult. I am trying to write truly, to myself, while also giving due consideration to those who are reading these entries. To clarify, then: my little cousins call me ‘Fuldi’. Maryam randomly gave me the title one day, and I can’t even remember what everybody had called me before then. ‘Fuldi’ means ‘flower girl’ or ‘flower sister’. I love the name so much, and coincidentally, I have grown to also really love flowers. I would like for even my friends’ future kids, and my cousins’, to call me ‘Fuldi’ in the future. Insha Allah, Insha Allah.

My aunt that I have spoken about fairly copiously in these articles, also: her real name is Salma, but we have called her ‘Sweetie’ ever since Maryam’s mum gave her the name. For a good chunk of time, though, I used to call her ‘Switzerland’. Now I guess I just call her “Swey-‘ey” (Cockney accent) and “bro”, and, more recently, “babes”.

Well, yesterday, I felt really tired. When I feel tired, I feel it in my limbs. Fatigue envelops me. But it was that sort of nice kind of tired: a day out, in the sun, in nature. Topped off by food. Peaceful prayers. Dawud Biyya, and saying “I love you too Dawud” again and again [how sad that someday he will likely grow out of this…].

I came home and napped – I think, for three hours or more. Then, after thinking for a while about how much I miss riding my bike around Tower Bridge with the two people whom I would go with last year, in lockdown [M&M] I heard that Priya (my paternal cousin, who lives in Folkestone, Kent) was in London. She had to go and do something at my dad’s shop, apparently.

Priya and I made plans to go for a bike ride, while my dad had planned to take Saif and Isa to the travelling fun-fair. But “the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley” [R.B.] and all. Even though my dad had been fasting (voluntarily) yesterday, he decided to take us all out to a new[? At least, I think it had been] Thai restaurant for lunch. When we got there, we found that it was a Thai-Japanese-Indian fusion restaurant.

Beesa and I had chicken burgers and chips. I sort of absent-mindedly ate the burger using a knife and fork [because I hate the feeling of grease on my hands] and then I snapped back into reality (which I… share with other hoomans) and realised that… people find this shiz weird. Priya (whom I sometimes call ‘Priyanka’, and sometimes ‘Prijonka’) had actual Thai food. My brother had what he usually actively searches for at restaurants: chicken nuggitz and chips. Priya and I also had ‘Thai mojitos’: coconut, pineapple, something-else-I-think, and chilli flakes, to top it all off. [I’d forgotten that I’m somewhat allergic to pineapples. But that drink was kind of worth it].

Priya took the bus home; she had not been feeling especially well yesterday. Beesa, Soopaf and I had to wait in the mini-van while my dad visited a suppliers’ for his shop. And they would not stop harassing me. Saif whacked a paper KFC cup into my eye. I got really angry, and hit him back. This is how I fight with my brother who is almost twelve years my junior.

Currently, my brother is playing football outside, with one of our neighbours’ son, Faris. Faris attends a prep primary school, while my brother attends a state one. This conversation sounds interesting. [We first properly met Faris last snow-day. That was a fun day].

Oh! After a brief dialogue between Saif and Faris, about Palestine and Israel, we’ve just found out that Faris is eleven years old. They have no idea I can hear them from up here, probably. Now Saif and Faris are arguing a little: Saif is accusing F of lying about his age.

“I promise! I’ve just finished my 11+ exam!” This is so funny.

Saif can be way too direct, sometimes: “but you’re short for your age!”

I can’t even remember what I did yesterday evening, or what I had learnt. I guess I just learned, again, that Priya is a sister to me, and that this bond is an undying one, Insha Allah. All these blessings that I have, in my life, which I have often taken for granted: the people, the food, the random adventures. I am very deeply grateful, Alhamdulillah.

And, also, did you know that I love to sleep?


With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.

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