The nights’ silence and my dreams were disrupted by the sound of my father. “Ayesha! Sofia! Get out of bed please and call your Mama.” The urgency in his voice had me springing out of bed and throwing on a gown and headscarf, I flew down the stairs. Ayesha was already at the front entrance, and we ran together to get my Uncle.
As we stood banging on the door to my Uncle’s home, I felt the chill in the air and a strange foreboding. It was 2 am and the neighbourhood was silent, disturbed by us yelling and knocking at the door. A sleepy uncle eventually answered the door, looking tired and grumpy. “Girls, what is going on? It’s 2 am!” “Has your Dad suffered another bout of heartburn after gorging himself with all that Haleem? If he has, I will kill him myself!”
We stood there not knowing how to answer as we had no clue as to why we had run to my uncle’s shouting for him to open the door. Ayesha recovered first and mumbled, “Dad asked to call you over now. He sounded very serious and urgent.”
My mind began to race as I realised that in all the commotion, I had not heard my mother. We had not stopped to check on them. The urgency in my Dad’s voice had got us both running into the night without thinking about anything else. A sinking feeling filled my stomach.
Whilst my uncle went to grab a jacket, Ayesha and I made a beeline for our home. I felt my heart race as we entered, and a sense of doom pervaded the atmosphere.
Just as we raced up the stairs toward my parent’s bedroom, I steeled myself, expecting the worst. I looked at Ayesha and saw that she shared my thoughts.
Suddenly, mom came through the door like a juggernaut, “Baboo, Baboo, I’m here. What is wrong? Heartburn, again?” My Dad appeared, looking a little green around the gills and slightly bewildered. Ayesha grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight.
“Baboo, what is it? Please talk to me. Are you ill?” My Dad turned and pointed, and our collective stares fell on the Wi-Fi router that he was pointing at. Words seemed to escape him at that moment. Exasperated, my mother looked at him and asked, “Please say something. What is the matter with you?”
My Uncle made an entrance then, taking in the scene, he seemed irritated, “Baboo, it is 2 am and you have woken us all to show us that the Wi-Fi router is not working? Are you crazy, bro?”
But Dad’s face was telling a different story as the pain seemed to contort his usually calm and serene face. Something was seriously wrong!
Before I could utter a word, my uncle half carried and half dragged my father to the car, screaming out to my mother to alert the hospital that there a patient in distress was coming in.
Mum seemed to falter as she was confused, but she suddenly spun into action and ran to the telephone. With a worried voice, she called and informed the hospital just as my uncle sped out of the driveway.
With the call over, the gravity of the situation hit home, and the pent-up fear and tears came gushing forth. Mum fell onto the couch and sobbed as Ayesha and I tried to console her whilst feeling her pain and anxiety.
The hours passed slowly as we sat waiting anxiously for news of my Dad’s condition or his return with my Uncle. We prayed silently, hoping for the best. It was time for Suhoor but none of us felt like eating. My grandparents were perturbed when they realised that my father was not at the table and after a short explanation we all prayed the Fajr prayer. Nana made a fervent dua to Allah for cure and ease for my father and patience for us through this calamity that seemed to befall us.
Finally, we heard the gravel crunch as my Uncle drove through the gates and into the driveway. We almost threw ourselves out the door in our haste to see if all was well with my Dad.
My Uncle, stony-faced, entered with my Dad following him, head bowed.
With gritted teeth, my uncle said, “Next time he tells you to call me in the early hours of the morning, don’t wake me up! Just, please call the ambulance first and let me know about his condition later!”
Dad looked very embarrassed but much better than he had earlier. Just then, my uncle grabbed him in a bear-hug and laughed his big, hearty laugh. He explained that Dad had suffered bad indigestion which the doctor said felt very much like a heart attack.
We take our health for granted and only when illness strikes do, we realise the importance of taking care of ourselves. Our bodies are an amaanah and blessing from Allah which we should appreciate and treat with care.
“Everything good that happens to you (O Man) is from God, everything bad that happens to you is from your own actions”. (Quran 4:79).