Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Bint's Pre-Rihla Perplexities

Salam, Salutations of Peace x x x

Yes I am very very blessed to be going!!! Party time in Camel-Land!!!

I don't even know where to begin with what is goin through my mind right now - but I believe one should start somewhere! And with the aid of sub-headings here is I:

Packing The Kitchen Sink

Well, for a start I am thinking about Tuesday and thinking it is so close-by but why have I not bothered packing things into the case? Then I think, aah my brother needs to get the suitcase out (since we packed all away from our Pakistan trip) - so I will ask him very soon to take one out. But what size? 20KG is all that is allowed and my mum is adamant on sending clothes for the poorer residents of Medina - good natured as she is, I don't realise why she can't give them to the local charity? But she argues that my suitcase needs to be "full".. as people who frequent Pakistan often, I am all too familiar with travelling with at least 30KG if not 50!

As for the clothes themselves... they need to be ironed! I want to just take out my clothes from that case and wear them! I hate ironing and can't justify why I should want to do that when away from home. Plus am I gonna be running around looking for an iron in my spare time or catching up on some rest? What a waste of time!

I suddenly remember that one of the dresses needs to be hemmed.. why haven't I still done that?

Drape, Drown and Disappear

I've brought a chador (piece of white cotton fabric 2yards long) to drape myself with - mum has kindly agreed to temporarily donate two of hers' aswell. Having been to Saudi before I was more happier with covering my face when we went for the Hajj: I actually used to wear a surgical mask as many pilgrims do because we went just a few days prior to the days of Hajj starting and thus had awful coughs for the next 3 weeks.

In Pakistan too, recently, I felt more comfortable that way when visiting the bazaars. And if I need to, I will cover my face whilst in Saudi. I don't wear the Niqaab (veil) as folk may have realised from the two dodgy images on the Beebs' site and I don't mainly wear the colour back either. However, as an individual, I am VERY conscious of my personal space: perhaps alot of women are(?) I'm unsure as I am not "alot of women" I am only me: Bint-eh Adam - the weird one.

But the only looming thought at the moment is: I hope others don't object to my 'part-time' veiling of the face decision. I mean my respected fellow women who wear the Niqaab everyday. I remember discussing this with a friend who is senior and she said I shouldn't really think about that, and just assess the situation and do what I feel comfortable with.

But the fact is that there have been certain situations / places in which I have felt SAFER wearing the chador: even when it's not covering my face. I hold true to the drape and drown philosophy, essentially I feel my persona drowning away from a crowdy world where folk stare in intimidating ways at the other.

I'll just have to go with that feeling, my gut instincts are there for a reason right?

Mega-Migraine Misery

Then I'm thinking about the air-flight.. what if the turbulence is really bad? What if I get a migraine?

Oh My GOD! What if I do get a migraine?!

Where will I get salted cucumbers and almonds from to relieve my headache? I'm just thinking: shall I pack some chopped cucumbers into a little lunchbox? Shall I just..

And if I do have a migraine, I will need to get into that hotel room asap and close the lights and artificial cooling-system and slap some olive oil into my hair and sleep. Yes you've got it: I shalt be packing some olive oil with me in case of emergencies! I know I sound like a freak but some say I'm actually quite "intuned" with myself ;-)

Then the migraine should be over in the next 5-10-15 hours depending upon how many of the triggering factors I am able to control ie: sight, smell, sound, temperature.. and if my bowels are really MY bowels they should conveniently help me or I should expect a bout of vomiting (which hasn't happened in a while) and thereafter I will have sound sleep; but will need a sip of boiled water every so often to get my water levels up to Bint-level again. And hopefully I should wake the next morning really refreshed with the pillow case soaked in oil.

And I'd be so embarrassed then, cos everyone would ask "How are you?" and "You better now?" and "Oh! She was the one with the migraine!" / "It was her!"

Ha aha ahaa - I know now I'm being silly right?

Studious Bint Staying Awake

That aside, my thoughts on the jam-packed classes are
but will I manage to stay awake, without a single yawn? I really will have to plan my time so carefully, so no second is wasted in hanging about. Idea: Any spare moment - Sleep!

Seriously, some people just don't understand how bad it is. I think my social-life should be pretty much non-existent. And I'd hardly have met new people as I will be sleeping all the while ;-) Joking aside, I hope that I'm not referred to as someone whose always in bed.. often we hear of pilgrims who are resting quite a bit in their hotels and some people really do make a big deal out of it.

It is as if we must be super human who stay awake 20 hours per day. I refuse to do that because I believe that my tiredness is from the Giver of all. I know I sound awful, but I also know that I have been on sick-leave for over 17 months and that my system has suffered a big setback. It won't help to over-exert myself beyond my Binty-limits!

Studying will be interesting. I hope I am able to sustain the concentration levels. I'm hoping to pack some high-energy fruit bars to snack on.. Will need to ask the organisers if I'm allowed to eat and drink in the class.. or at least drink. If I don't get my water on time that will kick another migraine and will mean missing the next day :-(

Cosy Cushions For Comfort

I feel really really bad as I am packing my cushion to take so I can rest my hand and arm on it, and also to rest my knees or back against. Is Bint just falling to bits?

I need to change my sitting position quite often whilst sitting on the floor because I get alot of stiffness in the knees. As someone whose had a poor back for over eight years - how will I survive sitting on the floor?

And my writing speed - it's like that of a kid! My pain is so spontaneous, I can go through a whole day without pain on some days and on other days, I have pain starting in the darker hours of the morn right until the next evening. I intend to take a pencil to write with and perhaps a pen or two - need to remember the sharpener, don't want to have to ask the chef for the kitchen knife to sharpen it!

Bints' Stationary Store

Speaking of the stationary department, I was hoping to pack my stapler. Us teachers we have all the stationary you can think of (and no joke I was thinking of taking some flip-chart paper!) But I don't think I will in case I knock someone with it! But yes, getting back to the stapler, well what can I say. I have this cool stapler that I've used in my teaching and I really wanna take it incase we are given extra notes.

So what is holding me back: well, its got cute cartoon stickers on it.. you know, the ones you look at and say "aaaah" yeah those type :-/
I may be ostracised for having a childish stapler - plus lots folk don't like images and if people borrow the stapler - they better not peel em off! And they better not break it! The number of times I've seen broken staplers is beyond belief! How on earth do people wreck em?!

Oh and I need to take my yellow and even pink / lime green sticky notes!

Groovy Group Dynamics

I know two words that we were taught to lurve: group dynamics :-/ though most teachers don't like too much dynamism in their classes of merry students, especially when students are so polar from one another.. throw in the next two words: personality clashes! And what do you get? A teacher with a real big headache!

Many of us have seen group dynamics in whatever capacities. On the one hand there are issues with possible personality clashes as we are all different and we have differing ways of looking at the world. We are people of experience - and no doubt we have all had some very diverse ones! I am hoping to post my theory (Pink Hippo one soon) to reassure myself that life is possible with strangers :-) and also I guess this is where Shaykh Hamza's 'Purification of the Heart' will aid me!

I may be seen as an anti-social geek but I think we need to remember that groups are also wandering places for egos :-/ And God Almighty help us all if anyone clashes with mine.

Things are really crazy at the moment. I probably sound like a goon - some truth in that ;-)

But I believe that hopefully I will be able to tackle some of these thoughts prior to going and also address where they stem from. This trip seems to be alot heavier than it appears on the outset. It is not only about going to seek Knowledge. And it is not only about visiting the Holy Lands and the grandness that they encompass. It is another episode in my life, and one which requires a certain amount of committment, dedication and seriousness from me; and by highlighting all my anxieties about it: I am hoping to free myself of the unneccessary baggage of obstacles which may prevent me from partaking fully. I am hoping that it will provide at least some answers that I seek, and help re-address the many perplexing questions about this life that have re-surfaced in my world.

This is a trivial puzzling entry - a more serious one is yet to follow.

Please Also Read:

Official Rihla Website

What is the Rihla? By Sidi Nazim Baksh & also Here

The Rihla Blog 2005
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