It’s a Sunday tomorrow and while, for most families, weekends are about sleeping-in, in our house, we usually do the exact opposite: we’re up and about at sunrise. Now, what might a family do on a weekend morning that makes them readily give up the comfort of their beds? A morning walk, followed by a desi-style breakfast at an hour when the city is serene and peaceful.
It’s really part of those simple joys of life I treasure… and for that, I’m so grateful I’ve got a father who pushes his kids into such healthy activities. Every once in a while, usually before going to bed, we decide our morning plan and it goes like this: Abba wakes us for Fajr, announces we must be ready to roll by the time he’s back from the masjid (twenty to thirty minutes). Following that announcement, we offer our prayers and quickly changing into casual dress and joggers. Of course, there’s the occasional kid (usually Abeer, the “cookie-monster“) who puts up the “I don’t want to go, I want to sleep/I’ve had a long week/I have exams soon!” excuse but she’s soon won over. Sometimes, my mother’s the one most reluctant to leave but we all know she’s the happiest one in the car (no need to worry about breakfast!).
So by the time Abba’s back and the sun is beginning to peek over the horizon, we’ve got our plastic plates, cups, trays, water-cooler etc. all ready and it’s into the car. I always wonder what the security guards at our apartment gates wonder – it’s not a usual thing in Karachi for family to just go off on a trip at sunrise! But really, when there’s a fresh walk to look forward too, then breakfast in the car, who thinks twice about looking odd?
The stylish gazebo in the center of the park
There’s a nice park in our area of the city and it’s usually well maintained. In the spring, they have an annual flower show too, plus a bonsai garden to admire, lots of landscaping and greenery… and of course, a walking track! It’s really interesting to see the different kinds of people who are regulars at the park: businessmen and other elite, in groups, discussing politics or the market trends; ladies, young and old, some with ipods plugged in, others simply carrying rosary beads and doing dhikr; sometimes families with little children, enjoying a refreshing walk or playing on the swings; young men exercising or jogging several laps around the park.
Everything looks and feels so fresh that it’s hard not to feel completely rejuvenated after the monotonous routine of the preceding week. Plus, there’s that precious time with my family that I know I’ll look back at and miss terribly. Walking together, all sorts of crazy topics come up and of course, there’s always the charm of annoying, and being annoyed by, your sisters! A nudge here, a shove there, laughter, playful banter, teasing… there’s no substitute for it. And sometimes, during moments of silence, I do wonder how long I have this awesome chance to stay with them, us being all together like this? You forget time waits for no one and this will definitely come to a close one day, to move on a new place, a new life, changing scenery. Of course, Insha’Allah, that will have its own joys and wonders but what I have now, I must not forget to cherish it while it is still here.
Okay, enough with the emotion! So after two laps, we’re usually looking in the direction of the gates. But Abba likes to do a few stretches before we leave so I usually find a few quiet moments to myself on a park bench while my sisters go silly over the see-saws. Yeah, you’re wondering why I don’t go over to the see-saws myself! Well, I don’t think it would be quite acceptable for a twenty-four-year-old to be seen toppling over a see-saw… no, thank you. Heheh.
Back in the car, there’s a commotion over where to go. The what to eat part is known to all – that’s the reason we all got out of our beds in the first place! A desi style breakfast of crispy parathas, spicy omelette, sooji ka halwa (a semolina dessert) and of course – doodh patti (traditional, strong tea). And the best place to find all of this is the typical road-side dhaaba – a very humble outdoor eatery that usually caters to people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The food is simple, low-cost (in keeping with the customers) and very delicious, especially if you know where to go! What they lack in fine dining-ware is more than made up by the crispy deliciousness of their parathas, especially when had with curry or the halwa… and definitely when dunked in the piping hot tea!
We have ours in the car, on our laps, with protective newspapers and trays underneath. Munching away happily while the birds twitter around outside, is such an awesome feeling, Alhumdulillah. It’s hardly eight in the morning and we’re having a mouth-watering breakfast to jump-start the day. Soon, the cups have been drained (six in all – my father always has two!), the leftover parathas wrapped up in newspaper, the bill paid (costs as much as a KFC burger deal – for one person!) and it’s back to home.
Honestly, I’ve seen these breakfast plans do wonders for my family. Instead of sleeping after Fajr and waking up to a boring Sunday, we get a chance to get out and have fun together, even before the sun has begun to climb up the sky. That time we spend together, catching up, swapping stories and then eating together in the car, is worth missing out on an hour or two of sleep any Sunday! And I wonder about families that grow apart over the years, people hardly talking to each other, or not knowing what to do together, they would benefit so much from such simple activities. You don’t need to throw away lots of money on a club membership. You don’t need to somehow grab scraps of time to do something altogether. Rather, if you’re really motivated, you can find joy in the simplest of moments… go grab them while you can!
Note: I’ve got final exams starting next week but I’ll try to keep writing whenever I can, Insha’Allah. It’s all part of wanting to not miss out on relaxing activities like writing and sharing thoughts, as they come to mind. Plus, my sister thinks my blog is too ‘boring’… heh, which doesn’t bother me but yeah, writing more frequently will make sure people get to hear about all sorts of things – deep thought as well as light-hearted musings. Life is too short and time too precious to be wasted so make a dua for me and see you later, Insha’Allah.