Felled By Two Accursed M’buus
Let me relate to you the story of two m’buus, may Allah curse them until the day of reckoning. Now, you cannot hurry me up. This story must be told at my pace, the way I want it. So, I suggest you make yourself a cup of chai, or coffee, perhaps some (elichi-free) mandazi or vitumbua, sit back, relax and read this incident.
So, I’ve just finished magreeb/eesha salat at the Khoja mosque here in Dar es Salaam and am feeling mighty proud of myself. It’s my sixty-fourth birthday today, you see, and I easily skipped 3,200 times in well under an hour earlier. Not a bad record at my tender young age, nai? Alhamd’Allah. So, I feel good, just like I do after a 5/6-mile run at home in the US. Except running outside here in Dar in this soupy weather is inviting a sure heat stroke. And the Hayat gym at the Khoja complex is very frugal (forced to be, I guess) with the consumption of power – the air conditioner units stay deader than a year-old corpse without flesh, six feet under at the graveyard not too far away from here. So, the gym is muggier in than out. Skipping rope is the next best thing, something that I can do from the comfort of my 10th-floor apartment, with a refreshing breeze from the nearby Indian Ocean cooling my sweaty torso.
The after workout feel-good effect lingers with me as I order and pay for dismal tasting shawarma near the mosque vicinity and take it home to consume while I watch a good, albeit gory, TV serials that I left halfway last night. Why, I feel so good, I think I strutter like the local Dar residents do, dragging the lower half of my leather slippers on the street pavements, making a horrible grating noise that can loosen the most steadfast dentures. I stare back brazenly at people who look at me oddly, as if I am a mshenzi. It’s another matter if it was an African stuttering because they can pull it off like pros. A middle-aged Asian trying it probably looks like a comically mshenzi performance. But I don’t care. I feel good and it’s my birthday, nai?
Except Allah mia brings me down to earth fasta-fasta. Two m’buus, deadly African mosquitos, plump but agile, and stealthy, may Allah curse them until the day of reckoning, somehow enter my kurta and make themselves comfortable. They behave themselves exceptionally well, better than the best students at the local madrassa here in Dar. It is not until I am eating the tasteless shawarma and staring at Pablo Escobar make mincemeat of his enemies that these m’buus decide to launch a seemingly coordinated attack. And what an attack it is! Sweet Jesus (a), son of Mary, these seemingly insignificant doodoos have me in the agony of a scratching frenzy for hours on end. The welts that the scratching leave on my legs and feet begin weeping for me in the morning and last well into the weight session at the gym. But I do have some satisfaction in the end. I find these two m’buus, may Allah curse them until the day of reckoning, digesting my blood on the dining table. What audacity! Suck my blood and begin regurgitating it in front of me! No Sir. A smart slap each and they are history, a trace of my sacred blood splattered on the shiny table surface. They are heavy, bloated with my sweet blood, and can’t evade the crushing hit. Away with the m’buus. Escobar is not the only one who can shed usurped blood.
I am at my prayer mat the next time I stand in front of Allah and promise Him with a resolute zeal that I’ll never strut again, ever. Never show pride, never take His bestowed blessing of good health for granted. And always respect the powerful m’buu, may Allah curse them until the day of reckoning, at all times.
Lions, cheetahs, leopards, etc. are scary beasts all right, but they are hundreds of miles away, in Ngorongoro or Serengeti. And they would scare me, yes. Yet I am now more petrified by a seemingly lowly m’buu.
I made a very silly booboo in my last Blog. The Commander of the Faithful was born on Rajab 13, not Shaban 13, catching the error too late for correction. There followed an avalanche of emails correcting, reprimanding, and educating me, all good-natured of course. Yes, my madrassa teacher would be absolutely, devastatingly disappointed in me.
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