Scene After Jumma PrayersSaturday, February 25, 2017
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As soon as I grab my slippers, I struggle to find space to place them outside of the prayer area. Like me, a lot of people leave before the dua ends. I don't know why I do that. Add myself to the crowd walking out of God's Place. I know why they do it though. Most of them are on a short break from work. Whereas my work day ended two hours ago. I shouldn't be in a hurry, but I am.
The kids are the most fun to watch as their tiny bodies sprint past the crowd of people older than them. The older ones walk slow, which is weird because they were so adamant on getting out before the dua even ended. We do get out. I keep staring at people's footwear and hair. My own hair is falling, and i'm wearing borrowed slippers. My own boots are too rugged and hard-to-take-off to go to the mosque in. I see pink slippers and I smile.
At the gate of the mosque. The beggars stand asking for alms. I am always surprised when I see them standing outside the mosque like this. Its Friday, and I do admit a lot of people are in a charitable mood considering how Friday is a holy day, but I'm always left confused. Human beings standing on the concrete stairs leading to God's home, asking other Humans to help them, as these Humans come rushing out of God's home; not asking God.
The absurdity of being human so blaringly visible.
I can now see why the kids were rushing out. They were not escaping us adults. They were outrunning each other. There's this new candy man standing outside. He is selling this weird new concentrated cotton candy that he molds into a beautiful flower on a stick. The kids gather round his bike to buy the mesmerizing new flower-candy. I keep staring too. I want it but I have no money in my pocket. I leave me wallet at home when I go to prayers. My wallet and my phones.
The parking lot around the shop soon fills with youngsters. Its rare to see older people loitering there after prayers. If there is an older man, he is surrounded by his kids who keep asking him for money to buy things. The shops are open and the fires' stand has got its oil bubbling. The air smells sweet and of old stale-yet-savory frying oil. There's also whiffs of perfumes passing me by in forms of people. Their perfumes smelling like their pockets; a contrast of cheap and not too expensive. Its a middle class neighborhood so it makes sense.
I walk past the small graveyard. That's the place where young high schoolers and college kids group up after prayers. Their talks mostly revolve around picking up one kid in the group and making fun of him. I don't like listening to them so I stand by our car and wait for everyone in the family to come out of the mosque. It also gives me some time to soak the sun and people watch some more. I also get to look at all the rare fancy cars around the mosque. There's usually one land cruiser that everyone in the lot stares at till it it goes away. I'm one of those starers.
A baby starts wailing and i'm shook out from my inferiority complex of waiting by a Toyota. A tall large man is walking this five year old kid who is crying and crying. I think he's saying balloon, through the tear soaked nostrils and mouth. His father, i assume, is telling him to look around and see how no one else is crying. Then he calmly lifts his loud kid up. And walk away, with a calm smile on his face as the boy keep crying out for a Balloon.
Soon, bhai comes and he laughs at the loudness of the kid, I smile too. It is funny. And cute.
The sun shades behind the car window as I sit inside and we go home. Our servant brought some corn kernel that i happily take some of. Soon we'll be home, and well fed and I'll go to sleep. I'll forget I am supposed to offer the daily prayers us Muslims are supposed to offer.
I will continue living in the absurdity of the mundane and forget about the smiles I saw this Friday, only to analyze more faces as I go for the weekly prayer next week.