I know I wrote about the coronavirus in my previous blog but still, I need to talk about this dudu again; its impact to all our lives is too monumental to be left alone. Imagine, it has about 25% of the world’s population under lockdown! By Allah, I’ll talk and gossip about it until it disappears, just like our honorable and wise President Trump has assured the nation; it’ll go away. Disappear. Yes, uh-huh.
I’m finished with my dose of amusement on Facebook for the morning, mostly forwards and silly stuff people post that is sometimes amusing. I’m done with my run, the push-ups the sit-ups, the leg-raises, the planks, the squats and all the other ‘up’s’ that ‘experts’ peddle on the www. I should not be carrying a single ounce of fat after all these workouts over the years. Huffing and puffing, I looked at myself in the mirror earlier; I am certain I abhor gravity more than anything else in life.
Disgusted, I resume where I’ve left off in my next novel that I’m struggling to write. It is eerily quiet, in and outside my house. The ladies are asleep, dead to the world. There is not a soul outside, no dogs being walked, no delivery trucks, no lawns mowed, no children playing or running around, all garages shuttered…the only thing I hear is the hum of the air-conditioner compressor kicking in to ward off the rapidly rising heat and humidity outside. Is the world dead? I get a WA message and CNN, when I turn it on, is berating our dear President. Again. No, the dunya is very much alive.
Suddenly, I remember Mullah Mchungu, my aging/ailing sometimes mentor, mostly nemeses in Dar. Due to time constraints, I did not visit him during my recent visit there. Feeling guilty, I dial his number on an impulse.
Mzee kalala, Answers Hameesi, the Mullah’s long-term aide and confidant, without formalities. Nani wewe?
I identify myself and tell Hameesi to let the Mullah know I called.
Ah, Kaka Kisukaali, shikamoo, subeeri.
I can hear the Mullah’s sleepy, cantankerous voice in the background as Hameesi announces my call and then Mullah’s dentures click into place and the sucking of air through them. He attacks.
Kisukaali, saala ghadheera, you ass, you were in Dar and did not come meet me.? Where are your manners…
I apologize and calm him down. I make small talk and ask how the corona dudu curse was affecting his life?
My life? I’m loving it! How’s it affecting yours? Don’t like it, do you? His dentures rattle as he snickers. Finally, you guys feel the pain of isolation, like I do all these years my children dumped me in this apartment to die. I love to watch you Westerners agonize over the empty shelves of toilet paper. Disgusting bunch of people, fighting over something that cleans filth of your behinds. Saala ghadheera, you used water all your life to clean up when living here and now you come to blows over toilet paper! I love it! I hope it disappears altogether, so even the White House and the Congressmen have to resort to a lota. Wouldn’t that be a riot?!
As usual, the Mullah convulses into guffaws that end up in prolonged hacking. It’s useless arguing with him, so I stay quiet. I just want to ensure he is doing okay since Alireza, his son, living in Orlando, is frugal in his parental duties towards his father.
How does it feel Kisukaali, not being able to fly all over the world, hmmm? Emirates will not take you anywhere, even if you paid them enough to charter their A320 aircraft, will they? Even if you had the moola and they did agree, where would you go? You are claustrophobic, no? Hehehehe… Suffocating already? Now the playing fields are getting somewhat equal. Bohoot acha lagta hai, very, very nice. He sounds like Amjad Khan reciting the famous dialogues from the movie Sholay. Now, perhaps, our cruel world will feel how it is to be caged up. Somewhat? I pray we feel the pain of the people of Kashmir and Gaza and the West Bank and Yemen. Now we know what it feels when missiles rain down from the sky. I hope the Chinese feel the agony they inflict on the Uighurs and learn from it. I love it! Allah’s wrath may be slow to come, but…
I try and steer the old man away from the talk of gloom and doom by talking about my recent travels in Africa and especially Dar, his hometown.
Yeah, yeah, I read your Blogs, Kisukaali, all of them, in detail. Everybody knows each factor of your life, from the time you wake up to the time you start snoring. Spare me. Tell me about the navi and jooni masjid in Sanford; how is the battle coming along?
Although I fume at the insult, the sudden change in subject distracts me for a few seconds. I tell him all is well, both centers are shut due to the coronavirus problem. There are no events at all, no prayers, nothing. There is a pause as he says nothing; all I can hear is his heavy breathing and the clicking of his ghastly dentures.
Really? I hear that some idiots are still going to pray at the navi masjid Al-Hayy, disregarding and defying the orders to shut down by the authorities?
O no, I want nothing to do with this discussion. I, too, have heard of such rumors. A small group of worshippers who believe that salaat at the mosque is all-important, that a masjid cannot be shut down or abandoned, are defying the city, state, federal dictate not to accumulate for worship. But who am I to be the judge, especially in regards to the worship of Allah. To each his own. I recite my salaat at home and keep away from both centers. So I dilly-dally on my response and do not raise to the Mullah’s bait for gossip.
You are great Kisukaali, super. A brilliant diplomat without much of a spine. I know you know about the open defiance these few are up to. But you don’t want to call a spade a spade because you are a coward.
That’s it. He’s gone too far. Blood rushes to my head and I am about to give the old man a piece of my spicy mind, I don’t care if he’s my elder. I open my mouth but he beats me to it.
Hold your breath, young man. I know I’ve made you mad. That’s okay, I don’t really care. This is the problem with us. We have a group of people in our community who are excellent smartasses. They stupidly believe they are taxed with protecting Islam, no matter what. They want to defy the authorities, their marjas and prove they are the only pious ones alive. Brilliant nincompoops. Now you know what our Imam (a) is up against when he does appear, Kisukaali? These few pious will simply dishonor his order and continue on with their deadly ignorance. Jamaani, what is the matter with you guys! It is not the corona dudu we should be worried about, it’s you, people!
Mullah Mchungu lets out a disgusting expletive in Kiswahili and hangs up, leaving me befuddled, seething.