Monday, 20 August 2012


On the list of my close friends, Muslims have a fair number. I don't know how I ended up loving them so but I think it has something to do with the fact that my parents' home is very close to a mosque and the first people I interacted with were well groomed and dressed Muslim girls. I remember Makkah. She was a classmate in primary school and the daughter of the mosque's Imam. We were not so 'tight' but she took me to their house one day... no, actually, we needed to do an assignment together and for some reason, we went to their house to do it.

 I remember  seeing no chair until we got to the study table: The house felt so strange. His brothers, Habib and Aziz were in one of the rooms praying... at about four in the afternoon, Makkah was asked to lead me to another room for a meal. I was sure my mother would kill me if she learnt that I ate in people's houses.Then I thought of how enclosed the house was and I decided that there was no way mother would know. So I went to eat.

I sat on the carpet with folded legs next to Makkah and her mom brought the food. There were things that looked like chapati...I have forgotten the name. But they had a distant taste of  lemon and were white in color. Then another shock. There was only one bowl of stew from which everybody was supposed to eat! I cannot say that I did not eat because I ate, albeit with a twisted face. So that was a culture shock I am glad I dealt with it when I was young.

But something else troubled me. Farida, a close friend of mine had been a Muslim but their house had chairs and apart from the hijaab, nothing else would tell you that she was a muslim. I did my inquiries and I discovered that Farida's family belonged to the soonu muslims while the Makkah's family were shia muslims. So I began to appreciate both of them differently. Makka's family moved to Iran following her father's transfer in working stations and I have never been able to get in touch with them.

So that is it. I have made a lot of muslim friends and I interact with them so freely and if I were to have reservations, then it wouldn't be because we belong to different faiths.

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