….The night consumes most of the sound. Somewhere down the road, an emasculated man ‘red-lines’ his VW city Golf. The tyres screech on the tar, scarring it, like a black crayon on a rain cloud. Somewhere in a small suburb in Durban, a cellular phone alarm rings. A cacophonmy of xylophones. Asif grumbles, as he blindly swats around to impeach the annoying sound, vowing to himself to replace Gotye's one-hit wonder as his alarm-tone.
The phone lies on his dressing table, nestled between the men’s health and his topi. It’s on charge – undoubtedly due to all the battery draining 'eid-mubaruk' whatsapp messages he got the night before (but mostly because it is an iPhone). He scrambles to turn it off- its three thirty in the morning – and the house is asleep. ‘Gosh’, he exclaimed- ‘only two hours to get ready for Fajr’. Asif runs to the bathroom. ‘So many choices, so many choices. Do I rinse once then condition or just use a two in one? The organics has a nice smell, but the head and shoulders give me volume, which is vital, but I’m wearing a topi, so I don’t need volume… decisions, decisions’.
Asif’s shower rack resembled his mothers spice rack, except that instead of an assortment of turmeric, jeera (whatever that is), and elachi, he had cosmetics (which may or may not have had some of those spices in them - especially the yellow one which is supposed to make you fairer). He surveyed his nails proudly and thought to himself, ‘the guy reading Salaat next to me had the grossest nails. Half bitten, filthy. When he raised his finger for tashahud I felt like dying, like it was gonna jump out and attack me’. As he reached for his loofah, he realized that his shower gel had finished. Asif was horrified- he had read in Cosmo that normal soap dries out your skin- the sacrifices a young Muslim boy has to endure. Meanwhile, next door, Zakaria was sleeping, dreaming of watching some of the soccer matches he taped in Ramadan because his dad didn’t allow him to watch (actually it was his mum, his dad just seemed to agree with whatever his mum said). Asif emerged out of the shower half an hour later. He scanned the mirror instantly, looking for telltale signs of dried skin (he had watched a national discovery channel special on tortoises the week before) ‘Why didn’t I buy shower gel’ he bemoaned as he tilted his body to the left.
If his shower rack resembled a spice cupboard, surely his dressing table resembled a chemical warehouse in Iraq before the U.N inspectors popped in. Moisturizers, of all sizes and aromas. Cream to remove lines from the eyes. Sticky pieces of paper to eliminate blackheads. Asif had his routine down to the last scrub. ‘Half an hour to fajr- where is my toner? And I have to moisturize as well, some uncle is going to dab some foul smelling Attar on my hands, I just know it. I don’t mind the nice smelling ones, but the strong black stuff that stays on your hand for three days and smells like an old Kitaab is just so not cool. Next Door, Zakaria's father knocks on his door briskly, ‘Son, wake up, I need the Musallahs, we going for the Springfield Eid Gah and those mats are like sandpaper’.
A combination of hair mousse, salon gel and hair putty (that thing in a can that gives you the ‘just woke up look’) is applied mutinously to Asif’s scalp – These days it would seem that its harder to achieve a disheveled look as opposed to brushing neatly. Wardrobe choices stump poor Asif. He contemplates a black Kurtah with a white topi, or a White Kurtah with a gray Topi. ‘But I don’t have any shoes to match the white Kurtah, if I wear the grey topi, even though no one will see my shoes in the mosque, someones bound to notice when I’m outside. No No, Hmm – Eid Gah is gonna be outdoors, the white will look good with the sun rising, better put on a little more sunblock. But first, let me take a selfie...#nur4days.
(originally wrote this 8 years ago - made a few small tweaks before posting).