In the name of Allah, the Most Affectionate, the Most Merciful


Unexpected Guests

So, Humza, my brother, and I finally decide to play out our challenge on each other and win the Mario game. I don't like it that he is already 20 points ahead of me, but I also know how to make a great comeback at the very end. Which I would have if we were not interrupted.

"Iman! Humza! Afreen Khala and her family are coming over in an hour! Hurry up and help me clean the house!"

These are not the words I like to hear when I'm focused on blasting my car over the road on the TV screen. In fact, I barely register my mother's words. It isn't until she comes in and switches off the TV that I realize it's time to be serious.

"Aw Mom. C'mon," Humza whines in his gooey voice. But it is not going to win over Ammi's heart this time.

"Who's coming over?" I ask, staring at the black TV screen. Now that the animation has stopped, I can focus on what she is saying.

"Afreen Khala from Toronto. She just called me. They're over at your Chacha's house right now. But they'll be coming here in a bit. We have so much to do!"

"And why are they coming over suddenly?" I ask, not thinking it is rude at all.

"Iman, I don't have time to answer your questions. Now get up and help me in the kitchen. Humza! Tidy up the living room. Now."

I get up, because I know if I don't, my mother will be minutes away from getting a heart attack. Humza does too, but he feels compelled to irritate me, as always.

"I told you I would win."

I sneak a scornful look at him. "We didn't finish the game so it doesn't count."

In the kitchen, I busy myself in frying samosas while my mom prepares for the pakora. Honestly, I can't help but admit that Indian food is the worst for your health. No food is Indian without being drenched in oil. (Well, maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but you know what I mean) And all the curries? Well, they're full of oil and spices too.

Luckily for us, my mom is a health freak. So she adjusts accordingly, but not for guests. Which is a little ironic.

"Are you sure we shouldn't bake these samosas instead?" I ask her. I know better than to ask her. She hates it more than anything when someone tries to talk to her while she's busy cooking, especially under pressure. Surprisingly, she answers.

"No, it doesn't look good. I'll bake some pastries instead."

I purse my lips. Who was coming again? Had I seen them before? Having such a large family does that you sometimes. You forget who's who. Afreen rings a bell, but then again it is a pretty common name.

The bell rings just as we are wrapping up.

"Iman, get me my dupatta. Hurry!"

Why is my mother so anxious? This isn't the first time we have guests over. Maybe it's because Dad isn't home.

I give her the matching dupatta and in fifteen seconds, my mom fixes herself so no one can tell she's been cooking in the kitchen. Now that takes skill.

Afreen Khala isn't really my Khala, or I obviously would know her. But she's my actual Khala's (meaning Aunt) sister-in-law's high school friend from India. Pretty complex relationship.

Afreen Khala is actually not that bad. She's quite jolly and sweet. But it does annoy me like crazy that she feeds her six year old granddaughter instead of letting her eat by herself. She's not an infant for God's sake!

Uncle is coming a little later because he's busy cruising on Devon Avenue. I just keep observing the six year old while smiling politely at her own mother. God, that girl is spoiled and naughty. She won't let her mother rest for a single minute. I look at Humza enviously, who is getting along perfectly with the young grandson. He's showing off his video game collection again.

I urge Afreen Khala to eat some sweets. And she moves to grab a piece from the plate, the little girl shrieks.

What in the world? Now I'm really scared.

"She gets tense when she sees new people," her mother explains, but of course I don't buy it. Toddlers have stranger anxiety, not six year olds.

Anyway, after two hours of trying to please our guests while controlling my resentment towards the little girl, I am free at last.

"Ammi, that girl was an annoying brat," I tell my mom afterward.

"That's what happens when you spoil children," she simply says.

I'm glad my mom didn't spoil me. People would hate me then. You don't hate me do you? You hardly know me.

Well, it is awfully hot now because the AC broke down on us. I'm going to grab some cold milk and see if Ammi lets us replay our Mario game.

Until then,
American Muslim Girl


This is swell, isn't it?

I decide to write a blog and neglect it after the first entry.

I didn't even keep a diary when I was a young girl. Is that normal?

Anyhow, after my grand entry (my first post, obviously), I have decided to take this on less dramatically. Forgive me, I do get excited about things and lose myself in fantasies. I am a girl after all.

I didn't even realize that if I wanted to be secretive about my identity and let my reader guess, I should have had a less obvious title. Blog of a Mysterian. I like that word, even though it doesn't exist.

So, it is now June and terribly warm in Chicago (because I already wrote that in my profile description, it would be futile to keep it from you). Even though I have the advantage of not being swamped with homework (well, I do have several assignments to complete for A.P. English), I do have a number of other things to do. Summer in the life of a desi Muslim girl would be incomplete without at least two weddings, which compromises to at least six days of celebration.

But just these past two weeks, I attended four graduation parties and made pitiful excuses to not attend the other three. Now isn't that a good explanation as to why I did not find time to write an entry?

No. It is not. Especially because I want to commit myself to writing. At least every day. It is hard because I hate routine and consistency all the time. Not to mention writing was torture for me as a ten year old. But, I want to challenge my weakness. It was a direct challenge from my British Literature teacher this past May.

"Work on improving your writing, and not rambling on with inconsistent shifts. Participation in class is satisfactory but can be more articulate and focused."

Why did she use hot pink letters in her non-legible writing to emblazon my beautiful piece of writing on Brave New World? She considers herself an expert in literature and writing, but I think that with her dyed black hair and streak of gray, she would serve her time well in playing the witch in 101 Dalmatians--oh wait, what if she comes upon my blog mysteriously and remembers the exact words I quoted above? And worse, what I am saying of her? She can't penalize me because she is no longer my teacher, and I also believe she might be retiring. And it isn't rude, is it?

Dear Lord. Is there such a thing as privacy in this day and age? Well, let's hope I am protected by the First Amendment.

My little brother is challenging me to play the new Mario with him. He's upset I won last time and insists it won't happen again. Yea right. Keep dreaming, little pumpkin. If I win this time, he has to let me use his skateboard and teach me at least one of his bizarre tricks.

And if he wins? It'll probably be something like "Make me five sandwiches and a pizza along with chocolate muffins for me and my cool gang of friends, AND no you can't tag along with us while I use my skateboard."

And why would I tag along with a bunch of eleven-year olds who think it's cool to keep their hair long and flip their skateboards up in the air only to trip and fall on the concrete?

Only because I have much much better things to do. Like deciding from ten outfits, which one I will wear for the five weddings I have to attend. And trying out the guacamole recipe my friend gave me, prohibiting me from letting anyone else get a hold of it. Isn't my life so exciting? -Sigh-

I must go now, before my brother goes frantic in his desperation to see me lose.

Until then,
American Muslim Girl