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Aaisha’s Ramadaan diaries, Day 25: On sisters and road trips

Day 25: Road trips and sisters

On Thursday I set out on a three-hour road trip with my mum and sisters towards Schagen (near Nelspruit) in Mpumalanga to fetch my grandparents to come and spend Eid with us in Jo’burg.

I wouldn’t say that I love road trips (because I’m not always a fan of the physical aspect of it) but I do enjoy the excitement of knowing that you’re going somewhere, and the overall experience of it – relishing in the company of those you’re traveling with, the clarity of mind that comes with just being alone in the quiet with the road and your thoughts for periods of time, and the inevitable playlist-choice arguments (forever a war between Zain Bhika and Maher Zain, in our case).

As I’ve mentioned before, I have four younger sisters. This means that our house is never quiet – ever – and therefore neither is our travel time. Whether it’s long-haul flights or a few hours in the car together, you’re guaranteed an eventful experience. Sometimes we get along, sometimes we sing together (which we are terrible at), sometimes we get into heated discussions about ridiculous things, and sometimes we get close to killing each other.

But one of the things I am always the most grateful for is the fact that I have them to count as my sisters. They are each one of the greatest gifts my parents (and God, obvs) have given me. I always have company, I always have a friend, I always have someone who will understand me and listen to me. And I have my go-tos: when I need advice on a matching scarf or which filter looks best, it’s Aneesa or Maimuna (20 and 10). If I wanna discuss how annoying I find white feminism, my 15-year-old Yumna is always ready to commiserate with me. And when I want to talk Bones (one of my favourite TV shows) or pull a prank on one of the others, 12-year-old Basheera is my girl. Of course, they aren’t limited to these things only, but it’s always a luxury to feel spoilt for choice about things. Going on holiday with them is the best, because I’m never bored. I am endlessly amused – and lucky enough to always have a photographer on hand.

We spent just Thursday afternoon and evening there, heading back to Jo’burg on Friday. I always love visiting my granny’s farm – I spent so much time there when I was younger, and now am lucky if I get away there twice a year. I would spend hours and hours running around with my sister (I had just one in those days) and our cousins outside in the veld, playing on the swings, and taking walks down to the Crocodile River with my uncles or grandparents. Now that I’m older, I appreciate it for different reasons – of course, the family aspect, always – but the open space, the quiet in comparison to the craziness of the city, and the time away to just walk, wonder, and reflect.

I’m still a city girl at the end of the day, and as much as I love being away, I love going home. Next week is going to be a busy and blessed week – my sister is turning 21, I’m graduating, and of course it’s the blessed day of Eid. And I’m really glad that my grandparents – may they be spared, and whom I love very much – are going to be with us for it!

This is a special Ramadaan series by our fave Muslim reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel. For Day 24’s musings, click here.

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