Salaam. Coriander, not Parsley, and a Green Prayer Mat from the Grocery.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This life isn’t ‘easy’. But we get these specific things, amid our fears, sadnesses and uncertainties, that warm our hearts and make us smile.

Yesterday, I went to my aunt’s house. My aunt is currently six months pregnant. One of my cousins (س) is ten years old; the other (ش) is seven. And, in their own ways, they light up my soul [though sometimes the seven-year-old is way too energetic for a tired person like myself (although I would love to be able to match her high energy levels!) She wants to play hide-and-seek together, and then ‘Viper’; wants to brush my hair; sit on the balcony together; watch ‘Try not to Laugh’ videos on YouTube; eat chocolate eggs; do some drawing… all in the space of (half) a day… Maa Shaa Allah, may Allah preserve her effervescent nature!]

My ten-year-old cousin (س) is generally more ‘chill’ in that sense. Likes to play football; prays all her five daily prayers; likes to just sit and talk sometimes.

س and I had to go down to the grocery shop, to get some coriander. [Bengali women seem to really show their love through food, often. My six-months-pregnant aunt prepared some six different dishes, because I was coming around…].

My aunt reminded her daughter to get coriander this time, and not parsley, like last time. So we looked at the parsley and at the coriander, and the way I remember it is that: parsley has pointed leaves.

The girl at the counter looked just a little older than I. My cousin asked her if what we had was indeed coriander, and the sister behind the counter [she had been wearing a black scarf draped over her head, as well as a black Abaya, I think] picked up her phone to double-check. Yes, coriander acquired.

Before we left, and although I know it can seem a little unusual, sometimes, for young people like we to say Salaam (“As-Salaamu ‘alaikum”, i.e. “Peace upon you”) to one another, I thought: why not. So I turned around and said Salaam. And [awwww, I love Muslims.] she said Salaam back. Then: she called us back, to… give us a gift: a green mini prayer mat, with a compass attached to its cover. س later said that she didn’t want it: I could have it. Best believe I will be using this prayer mat for the rest of my life, In Shaa Allah.

[I don’t ‘know’ this woman, but I know that I love her,

and this is part of the beauty of being Muslim.]


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