Brave

Always fascinating that in my wife’s extended family, it’s the women who find faith, while the men actively and vehemently oppose it. I suppose they must have greater strength and fortitude than their brothers. Such strength can never be underestimated in a family like theirs.

Dreams

Here I am sitting, just reflecting on dreams I once had, and how it all came to be. Maybe I forgot those dreams, setting them aside for many years, but everything was nevertheless set in motion. Despite myself, I was granted a companion who shared those ambitions and would help me realise all I once yearned for. Dreams don’t come to fruition overnight; often you have to wait years, but one day all that you once desired you will hold in your hands. These the lessons of life.

Sabret

Everything in it’s time. These things don’t just happen. You have to work towards your end goal in stages. You don’t just go out and win the prize. You struggle and strive for it over many years. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. There are always obstacles along the way. Be patient. Your time will come.

Soundtrack

The kids hate my taste in music. They call the modern acoustic folk I listen to, “Dad’s misery songs.” So you can imagine my delight when we sat down in a restaurant in Turkey’s most easterly province only to hear several of those songs spill forth from the speakers above us in succession. I couldn’t have arranged it better had I tried. I had to share a dry wry smile.

In practice

In religious communities, as in society in general, there are the principles, and then there is actual practice.

Note, for example, wise gurus railing against caste discrimination in their own times, only for modern followers of their tradition to promulgate ideas of belonging and unbelonging based on caste status.

It’s no wonder many reject these traditions wholesale. But perhaps they would be surprised if they delved into the teachings of their wise ones. Much of it bears no relation to the practices of the people at all.

Mindset

I will never understand the mentality that emboldens some people to treat complete strangers with total disdain, addressing them rudely and generally behaving obnoxiously. What is it that causes an old man in the street to yell at a mother and her daughter: “We’re in England… speak English…”? What is it that enables a woman to swear aggressively at a family enjoying a quiet meal in a restaurant? What causes some humans to obliterate others? Where does this mindset come from?

Seek shade

I found me some shade.

It’s well known that only mad dogs and English(people) go out in the midday sun. Those who live in hot countries learned long ago to seek shade when the day is at its hottest. Traditional wisdom did not need to wait for scientists to warn that exposing skin to the blazing sun can cause skin cancer. Go see how the Tuareg people dress to deal with the desert heat. Only the English insist on lying on their back in full sun, until their skin has turned dark purple. Seek shade. Be sensible. Stay safe.

Cultural exchange

It really isn’t strange that an individual should express appreciation for a culture other than his own. If that seems peculiar, it is only due to the diet of political propaganda we have been fed for two decades which has tried to paint multiculturalism as a failed experiment consigned to the bin. I don’t subscribe to that worldview at all. I have never subscribed to a hierarchy of cultures. I embrace whatever is good in those around me.

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No surprise

I was just starting to question my own reality and sanity, when the doctor I met on hajj fifteen years ago messaged me with Eid greetings, and I recalled that moment too, sitting down amidst strangers in a tent in the midst of tens of thousands of tents, only to discover that the gentlemen at my side had been neighbours of mine in the suburbs of my hometown, and they both knew my mum from her days as hospital chaplain. So, yes, okay, really I should not be surprised by anything anymore, however unlikely or bizarre.

Thought police

In the eighteen years since diagnosis, I have never knowingly met anyone else with the condition, or interacted with them in any way. This despite studies indicating that it is one of the most common chromosome disorders, affecting as many as one in five-hundred males. In a town like mine, we might expect to encounter about twenty people with the condition. But no, I’ve never encountered anyone else with this diagnosis, not that it’s something you would typically publicise.

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Strange wiring

There is definitely some strange wiring in the background connecting us, which proponents of a material-only world cannot account for. Another one this morning. Feeling blue, I was just thinking to myself, “You know, maybe I have depression.” But just as I’m thinking this, my phone rings and it’s an old friend who is going through a really tough time. It put everything in perspective. I really should express more gratitude for great blessings.

On loyalty

On unswerving loyalty to family, regardless of what they do. We are held to a different standard:

O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be for rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not your desires, lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.

Qur’an 4:135

Our way is to speak the truth even against ourselves, even if it pains us.

Laila

Tilda is the Ferrari of Basmati rice, but no one can afford it anymore. Fortunately, there is still Laila, the BMW of Basmati. Leave all that £5.99 special offer crap: that’s the Robin Reliant of rice. You might as well just serve up a plate of sand.