Between Us Only!
The signals were there already – but none of us had noticed them before!
I would like to share with you all today of the signals that were given to us our family long time back – but we did not notice them. Now on hindsight – it is very telling! And with due apologies to the vegetarians – but I think they may like it in a certain way! And to the meat-eaters – take it as fun and humour as you celebrate Eid with your families.
Please receive my prayers, deepest sympathies and condolences for the victims of the recent storms.
This was a long time ago when both our parents were alive (Peace be upon them). And this was the Eid Al Hajj (Sacrifice) with all its religious connotations and connections of the Great Prophet (PBUH) Abraham (Ibrahim) wanting to sacrifice his son Ismail and being given by Our Lord a ram (image below) instead for sacrifice!
Our late Father had purchased a goat for the slaughter. They were staying in Maabela – and when we reached there early morning from Qurum our twin daughters at 8 then and son at 5 with other family children were playing with the goat and enjoying themselves immensely by feeding it grass.
Then the great moment came for the children to be taken inside for the goat to be slaughtered according to the Islamic ways and rites. Children being children some of them looked even though we had tried hard for them not to see this. It might also be during the skinning time. Anyway children cannot be expected to be kept inside all the time – especially when they are ‘loaded’ with Eidiyah (money given to children on Eid days).
During the time of lunch, our children led the strike not to eat the food. They were quiet and silent – and were not talking to anyone – all upset and moody! Despite all persuasions and encouragements, they just would not budge! At the time we did not put our finger on it of what was wrong – or went wrong! It was only when we returned home in the car that they budged and started talking and opening up. They chorused together – how would you like if somebody gave you food (grass to the goat) – and later on slaughtered you! Would you like it! Did you not notice we were playing with the goat – and it really liked us! How can you do this to us?
I was laughing – and they all attacked me. You should feel ashamed of yourself – especially you dad – we thought was a nice and kind person – and yet you participated in the killing! This is NOT a laughing matter. So Madam says to me in a language they do not understand – do not laugh – try to be serious and explain to them! Then Madam Wife volunteered – those burgers that you like to eat – where do you think they came from? Oh there you go morbid – they all hit back! Why bring this thing now? We are not going to talk to you for the next few days. Then they went moody, silent and quiet.
FLASHBACK. Decades back in another age, time and place (Mafia Island – Tanzania)
The ox wase – and was running wildly – and nobody dared to come near it. You will not get me today – it says. It is also Eid! They finally catch it and bring it down. I speak to my brothers and sisters – Our father is a killer! The poor ox – see how it struggled to escape its fate. But it was sealed anyway! This presents a different picture of us of our dad – how cruel and mean he is!
It is lunch time. We boys sit with the men. My brother and I just eat the potatoes, salad and the rice (pillau). Then Uncle throws in some morsels our side. Eat – he insists! My brother and I look at each other. Silent telepathy and communication. But the protest is short-lived – as dad turns to face us. Why are you not eating the meat your uncle put on your side (the old Arab Omani way of as a child you wait and do not take meat in the centre – unless it falls your side – or a senior gives it to you! We eat. There is nothing you can do about it. There is nothing you can do about it. There are simply no elders to explain anything to you – not like then yours truly trying to explain to his children the whys and whats.
Guess if we had dared to ask the question to response would have been immediate and sharp – and a slap – or a stick! What insolence and audacity to ask such a (stupid) question!
And that explains many things …now!
Majid Al Suleimany