Posted on July 24, 2012



Tomorrow I am going to put pen to paper and write to my dad. I will tell him how crazy he was the last time I was home. Actually, he has been crazy all my life, maybe all his own life and I am going to tell him that. I am going to tell him how wrong he was too. So wrong about everything. He was wrong about me. He used to drum it to my ear everyday for twenty years that I will never make it. He would tell me after any or no provocation “you bastard will never make it in life’. Sometimes he would add something like ‘continue on this pedestal and you will be dead before your 25th birthday’. He was wrong on both counts and I have to rub it in his face. Yesterday I clocked 25 and I am well and alive on planet earth. So tomorrow, I am going to write him and tell him how crazy he was the last time I was home and how wrong he was too.

I know for certain some people will discourage me from writing that kind of letter. Not the least of them is Kemi my childhood friend. She always tells me I shouldn’t hate my dad (like she has any idea who my dad really is). One day like that, we had a very hot argument. I was provoked by her lecture so I told in her anger what has always been in my heart.

“You know I could kill my dad if I could lay my hand on a gun” Before I could finish she flipped like I had said something so bad (Had I?).

“What! Are you crazy? You are becoming so bitter. Haba, stop saying rubbish like that. You are a Muslim for God’s sake!”

“I will say whatever I want to say. And I am dead serious too. I will fucking kill my fucking dad if I had a…”

“And you will rot in hell for that”

That statement reminded me of my dad’s daily prophesies to me while growing up. That bastard would tell me almost every morning that I was going to end up in poverty, jail and hell (in that order). So I gave my friend the answer I have always wanted to give my dad.

‘I would rather end up in hell with Pharaoh as roomie than stay in paradise with dad.’

She left angrily after that. I don’t really blame my friend for her opinion. She has never understood me when it comes to my dysfunctional family and I don’t think she will ever do. How could she? She is from those kind of family where the mother returns from work and prepares lunch for her children before they return from school. The kind of family where the father sits with the children at night and tells them Ali and the Angel. The same father who will always return from trips with expensive gift for all the children.  You know that kind of family, the one the children never once saw their parents exchange hot words let alone fight.

Before I made acquaintance with Kemi when I was seven I had always thought family was meant to be like mine; typically dysfunctional and existing devoid of love and harmony. The first time I followed her home, my world was shattered. Could this be paradise? I was thinking. Everything was different. Her mum came out and gave us a hug.

‘How was Madrassah?’ She asked beaming with smile.

‘Fine, mum. This is my friend, Ruqayyah.’

‘Welcome. Please sit down Ruqayyah’ And so I sat.

The perfect mother went inside and brought me a Six Alive (My dad’s favorite drink he shared with no one).

‘Dear, is this the Ruqayyah you told me explains Fiqh to you?’

‘Yes, Mum. She is the best. Knows Fiqh in and out.’

‘Thank you, my daughter’ The perfect mother said to me. I was immeasurably embarrassed and delighted (and predictably blushing)

But that also surprised the shit out of me; what kind of parents remembers such inconsequential details about their child’s activities? The immaculate dad also came and treated us to paradise level ice cream (My dad never brought home anything, you see). Like I said, everything was out of this world (or rather my world).  Since that day I started seeing my family in a new perspective; I started realizing what I was missing.

My dad beat me nearly to a coma that same day. I slipped while carrying his tea to his room.

‘You devil! Why did you have to throw away half of my tea?’ Not half actually just a small drop or two

‘I slipped, sir’ (One must end each sentence with ‘sir’ when addressing him.)

‘You are dead, you bastard….’

So, he continued but I was no longer listening. I was thinking about the bastard part. Dad had always called me a bastard and that always hurt me more than anything. Even if I was a bastard, it was none of my fault let alone that I am not a bastard (although sometimes I wish I was). If not that my dad is a crazy person there would not have been any controversy over my legitimacy. My mother was originally married to my dad’s elder brother. Four months after marriage, the elder brother died in mysterious circumstances. Three months after, the bastard appropriated all of his brother’s properties including mum to himself. Mum claimed that he practically forced himself on her. Seven months later, I was born. To my dad, I looked more like his elder brother than I did him. But, you see, that was simply crazy.

(To be continued. This is the second draft of the first part. Please tell me how I’m doing so far)