Friday, September 12, 2014

Pay Attention To Your Pee And Poop

Dr. Mosin Jaffer from Miami is visiting us here in Sanford and giving a lecture on good health. It is early Sunday morning, just after fajr salaat, at the Sanford Husseini Islamic Center. Instead of the regular Quraan tafseer after the salaat, we get to hear Dr. Jaffer’s excellent and very useful exhortation on good health. He should know; he is an expert on these issues, specializing in Geriatric medicine and a senior medical associate at many local hospitals. The doctor talks about respecting our Allah-blessed remarkable bodies, eating good, wholesome foods, fruits and vegetables and for heaven’s sake, exercise; all good common sense stuff. It is another matter if the majority of us will heed any of this advise, for there is calorie busting, artery clogging neehaari for breakfast after he is done.

A very good indicator if you are properly hydrated and eating enough fiber in your diet is to keep an eye on your pee and poop, says the good doctor; there are immediate smiles and sniggers from the fifty odd audiences. No, really, he continues, look at your pee. If it is yellowish and not clear, you are dehydrated, drink plenty more water. If your poop sinks in the toilet water, you are not eating enough fiber, if it floats, you are fine. Hmmm, I make it a point to add this ritual to my things to do immediately after peeing and pooping. But the anticipation of enjoying Azeem’s fine neehaari simmering in the kitchen outside dips at this advise. Temporarily.

So I keep an eye out on my pee and poop for a few days; all looks well alhamd’Allah, we should all count our many blessings, however trivial. Or seemingly disgusting. But then I make a mistake of parting this advise to my soon to be fourteen year old daughter Maaha Zainab. We are driving for dinner of spicy chicken wings at La Fontana (you may be disappointed Dr. Jaffer, but don’t you worry Sir, I’ve been good and had nothing but fruits and vegetables the last five days!), not too far away from home here in Sanford. The immediate reaction is a predictable one; a hand flies up to cover a gaping mouth. Yuck! She squeals, how disgusting! Then she asks me a question that makes me nearly lose control of my car. What if the poop does not sink or float, but hangs in the middle? She is being cheeky, of course, but this quip begs a question lately much on my mind; how open should we parents here in the West be with our children, especially teenagers?

Very open, most child psychologist will tell you. And so I have tried to be that, most accessible. Maaha Zainab can and does confide, I hope, in most issues that confront teenagers. However, these adolescents face a very different world from mine at their age. I was never exposed to such candidness, never to retort in such a manner; there were solid drawn lines of behavior and speech; no blurry lines advocated today.

Our teenage lives in Arusha, Tanga or Dar were lost in more wholesome pursuits; of cricket and volleyball and bicycles, of mbooyu, mango or guava pickings, of Bollywood movies and as a consequence, bell-bottom fashions and the greatest impressions we could leave on the opposite sex. Clogged arteries and pee color or poop density were alien subjects, never even imagined.

It is these thoughts that occupy my mind as I make my way to HIC for magreeb salaat afterwards. The car stinks nasty from food odor we brought back for Zainab’s mom. Want a piece of very good advise? Eat the food fresh and hot at La Fontana, don’t bring it home in the car. The after-smell will most certainly remind you of someone who perhaps needs more fiber in their diet.

Khan Shah Rukh, The Truthful One

Ever since this Bollywood sensation gives an interview stating Islam has no association with terror, the social media goes into a manic frenzy. Every other person is on Facebook, repeating the video clip, over and over again, as if these are words from paradise, no less. The Indian media as well, they can't have enough. Aree, Shah Rukh Khan has decreed terror and Islam are not compatible

Aree Baba, the entire Muslim ulema, those qualified to part with such opinion have bellowed this fact until their throats have conked out.  No! The whole Muslim ummah, 1.5 billion strong, have been trying to convey the same message; yet negligible or no mention anywhere, not even in a lonely black and white print of a newspaper, something very few read in these electronic age.  

But no Sir, if Khan Shah Rukh, a hugely popular, good-looking Bollywood actor with banal, anemic-at-best actual acting skills says so; it must be Gospel. No matter the guy is not a practicing Muslim, no matter he has no formal (or otherwise) education on Islam, no matter he is a drunkard, no matter he is a womanizer, no matter he has bad breath and leading ladies have actually slapped him for blasting garlic fumes at them up close, no matter... 

After all, it is Khan Shah Rukh, the truthful one. He has a hairline that can turn Telly Savalas in his grave and six (or is it nine?) pack abs to earn such credentials, nai?

The Chief Minister’s Assassin – A novel

My novel (print version) has sold almost 430 copies so far, with fantastic reviews. Not bad, really. Those interested can now purchase a copy for US$20 (proceeds still benefit CAI’s worldwide orphanage projects). Only 200 odd copies left, will go fasta-fasta! You will enjoy a darn good yarn, I promise, and help out a very good cause as a bonus.

A copy can be ordered from:

Me in the USA –
Fatema Alibhai in Canada –
Sabira Somji in Dubai –
Nazir Merali in the UK –
Murtaza Bhimani in Tanzania –