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More homesick whining - MrPutter: doing things the hard way, because it is there.
November 2nd, 2003
03:46 pm
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More homesick whining
Ramadhan in Canada... is So. Not. The. Same.
Random people in the halls at school, blatantly eating lunch in public! Blatantly!

Hey, you! What are you doing? Don't you know it's Ramadhan?
I'd like to take them to task. It's hard, at times, to restrain myself.

This is totally the part of year I miss the most. I miss wandering through the Suq in Dubai. I miss grabbing pakora from the street vendors and stuffing them, hot, into my face at Eftaar.

I miss... I miss the Maghreb call from the mosques.

And that's not just a Ramadhan thing, although it's more painful now. But dusk needs to be accompanied by the call to prayer. Ramadhan or not. When I lived in Al Ain, I used to spend many evenings on the roof of our house in Nyadat, eyes closed, listening to the harmonies from the half-dozen or so mosques within earshot.

And even when not taking time out of my day, if I was ever out at dusk and the calls started up, it would always bring a smile to my face. Both in Al Ain and in Sharjah (or Abu Dhabi, or wherever I happened to be). Maybe my favourite sound in the world? The feeling of warmth, maybe a light breeze. Dusk, darkening, darker. Reddish hues. Maybe a few birds chirping, or crickets. You can ignore the sound of the city and the traffic. And then the singing starts.

But there are no mosques here. At least, certainly none that send the call out over the whole city via loudspeaker. Dusk in Canada is Silent.

And that's just not right.

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar...
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar.
Ashahado an la elaheh eleh Allah...
Ashahado an la elaheh eleh Allah.
Ashahado an Mohammad rasool Allah...
Ashahado an Mohammad rasool Allah.
Hayy 'aleh salah...
Hayy 'aleh salah.
Hayy 'aleh al falah...
Hayy 'aleh al falah.
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar.
La elaheh eleh Allah.

Current Mood: homesick
Current Music: the mosques in my memory

(8 comments , Leave a comment)

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Date:November 2nd, 2003 04:53 pm (UTC)
living in south africa most of my life, i grew up hearing the evening call to prayer as it was broadcast in public for all to hear, and i never really thought much of it until I moved here to canada.

many times here now, I find things just too quiet, with no sound at all.

the wonders of arabic foods are also missing here, but for a few mostly overpriced resturants. nobody brings treats for diwali and hands them out in class to friends or anything of the sort even :-(.
Date:November 2nd, 2003 07:06 pm (UTC)


You can pass here as a well-traveled Canadian easily enough that it's easy to forget that you're only a temporarily-detained citizen of the world. Only once since moving out have I been caught referring to my parents' house as "home" and I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up there. I suppose the question now isn't how many years you spent living in Islamic countries but how many more you can abide being away from them.

The whole conversion thing seems a lot less spurious now that it's so apparent that it wasn't so entirely motivated by the making of a sincere impression upon a girl 8)

(not that that's a bad motivation; I determined at the hunger strike -- which I was undoubtedly at because of a girl -- that my prime impetus towards adopting the cycling lifestyle via critical mass was in hopes of increasing access to mohawked Lisa from my high school. Even then, that pales compared to the underlying cause of my interest in arts, culture and literature: the illicit pursuit of free video games. As it turns out, these activities seem to have returned dividends unto themselves despite my "bad reasons" for getting involved.)

Hey. It's your journal, yet I'm talking extensively and at great length about myself. How does that work? Perhaps I should make up for it by talking about you in my journal.
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Date:November 3rd, 2003 12:09 am (UTC)

Re: homesick?

> so apparent that it wasn't so entirely motivated

Oh, God no.
Was that a factor? I'd be lying if I denied it, but certainly it was not the only attraction, by far. I also would not have made that big a deal of everything if it was. Indeed in latter days, it was a disincentive, if anything.

And even still, there are many wistful moments when I (half) regret not having gone through with it (the conversion). Even though I've shut up about the subject, it's often on my mind; at least on the back burner as something I may yet do someday.
(Deleted comment)
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Date:November 2nd, 2003 11:19 pm (UTC)
You're right. It does.

Should I have embedded a .wav file? I don't have any.
Besides, that would be Haram (at least according to some)...
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Date:November 2nd, 2003 11:27 pm (UTC)
And Rowan, don't you even THINK about making it into a .mod file...
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Date:November 3rd, 2003 06:31 am (UTC)
Random people in the halls at school, blatantly eating lunch in public! Blatantly!
Which is all very well if you eat one meal a day. Meanwhile, they've locked up the only decent place in university for us non-Muslims to eat in during the daytime. I have to duck into an empty office for which I have the key (I have a bit of wasta now, in a sense) so that I can drink water, or stuff a sandwich down my throat between classes.

My favorite part of Ramadan is the smoking, or more precisely, the lack thereof, during the daytime. The air seems so much fresher. Oh, and then there's the way people laugh. A conspiratorial laugh when they start talking about something to do with food and then realize they shouldn't. Or a facetious one when they say they don't want (potentially) bad news during the daytime so that they can break their fasts peacefully. And of course, the way people are consciously just that little bit more tolerant of one each other's faults.

You miss Ramadan; I've never been in India during Holi or Diwali, and have thus never experienced either one properly, although I suppose that's the opposite extreme on a scale of solemness...
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2003 09:16 pm (UTC)
hey, that's a good idea, next time I go to India I'll make sure to time myself for diwali!

In the meantime, maybe you can find some cool mosque in Calgary that has loudspeakers, and move close to it within the next year 8)
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Date:November 5th, 2003 03:20 pm (UTC)


Your post brought it all back...
We lived in Al Ain from '83 to '87. Before that, we lived in Dammam for a couple of years and before that, well, my family was based in Doha from '56/'57 to '84 - 30 years of Arabic music and the smell of the charcoal burning in the humid dusk...
We've been based in London since Easter, 1987 and have never been back to the Middle East. At one time, I would have gone back in a heartbeat, but I don't think that I'd fit in any more. I suppose that my father was an ex-pat pioneer, and there was a cameraderie that I don't think one could find again.
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