(Almost) Goodbye Ramadan.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Currently, it is the last of the odd nights of the final ten days of Ramadan this year.

Two of my aunts, with the aid of two of the little kids, are putting together and packing Eid goodie-bags, for Dawud’s classmates at school. Little snacks, bubbles, activities, balloons…

My little cousin Dawud had his own blown-up blue balloon. He gave me my own pink one. Siyana had a purple balloon; my little brother Saif had a green one.

Today, I guess Dawud and Siyana learned about the whole balloon ‘static’ thing for the first time. You rub a balloon on hair: it ‘sticks’ to the wall.

It’s amazing how kids, and indeed we, develop, year by year. Just last year, I think, Dawud thought the moon shines because it has batteries in it.

This year, I’ve had Ifthār with quite a lovely range of different people, AlHamduli Llah. At different places. When my best friend and I had gone to the Cambridge ‘eco’ masjid for Ifthār, the moon had looked magnificent that day, Maa Shaa Allah. Almost surreally large and luminous.

Upon seeing it, my friend had remarked something like:

You’ve got to be… having a laugh!

What a beautiful month this one has been, AlHamduli Llah. Ramadan, and the wonderful moon. And then Eid, and the incoming of balloons…

Always, there are things on our paths and in our days that Allah chooses. Like: where, precisely, you might have Ifthār on a particular day. And what, and with whom.

Yesterday, I ended up eating at my nan’s house. I had a tuna-and-red-pepper sandwich, and some sweet chilli crisps, and juice. Some chocolate, and some kiwi fruit.

I got the kiwi fruit from the local greengrocer’s. I actually went there thinking I’d get a nice salmon bagel, since that’s something that’s advertised on the window. The lady said I should have come earlier: they’re closing now. I explained that I’d been fasting: just thought I could go in and get something to break my fast with.

She suggested some fruit — or fruitcake — instead, to boost those energy levels. So I got some kiwi fruit, and she commented on how “sensible” my choice had been. “Too sensible,” in her personal opinion.

I said that kiwi fruit’s good for the skin. [They’re high in Vitamin C.]

Isn’t it remarkable: all these types of fruit and vegetation that Allah has placed throughout the Earth?!

Currently, my three-year-old Siyana is sitting on my shoulders: she climbed onto my shoulders and said something like, “That’s how my Baba do it.”

Now, apparently, according to her, there are bubbles on my clothes: the sticky-bubble type.

Today, Siyana is wearing an adorable checkered dress with flowers on it. And: Batman glasses. I love this kid: what a super-duper cute and funny little G, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik.

Dawud is wearing a thobe: a grey one. He looks so adorable, Maa Shaa Allah. Some of the adults have agreed that he looks like he could actually be my actual little brother, and this makes me happy, AlHamduli Llah. We have the same “skin tone” too, according to my uncle. It’s nice to see bits of yourself in the people you love; it’s nice to notice bits of whom they are, in you, too.

For Ifthār today, I had a delectable buttermilk chicken burger. Takeaway paid for by my aunt, AlHamduli Llah. Later: coffee-and-walnut cake, with cardamom-infused tea.

Today, my aunt (whom we call ‘Sweetie’, as a nickname of endearment) had made a lot of food. Some for us, and some for the masjid that her husband frequently attends and is quite involved in.

Quiche, chicken samosas made out of roti, pakoras made of noodles…

And some of it had also been delivered to a colleague of ours’ house: she lives right near my nan, with her husband. She’s an A-level English teacher, while my aunt is an A-level Biology teacher, at an Islamic girls’ school. I got to have a years’ experience teaching secondary school English and History there too, last year; I’m still there, AlHamduli Llah, albeit very part-time now. I love the people there, Maa Shaa Allah: you know, when beautiful souls just shine through?

[No batteries required…]

Sweetie had been wrapping one of her Eid presents for this Eid in brown paper. She also just… brought up the topic of a former pet of mine in conversation. Shadow the hamster. RIP.

My little cousin Sarina has started up a cooking blog of her own this Ramadan: recipes for things like Mishti (Bengali-style sweets) and chocolate cake, and tandoori chicken. Sarina’s mum’s cooking is incredible, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik.

And, after I asked about how Ramadan has gone: my two aunts who are here had been talking about how, in Ramadan, managing the food, and their kids, and their kids’ school things, and work, can prove quite taxing put together, and can also lead to them feeling like they’ve been less spiritually productive than they would have liked.

In general: Muslim women, our aunties and our mothers, are incredible, in all that they do, Maa Shaa Allah, and I definitely think we should better, and more intentionally, appreciate them, and seek to help them wherever we can.

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