Long years ago, on a particular day, I was wearing black. I did not realise it was Muharram till I saw an acquaintance dressed in the same colour.
In our house, when I was growing up, black was not the colour to wear, especially during Muharram. I remember once I wore a black tee; it had a dash of white in it. Ammi wanted to know why I was wearing it.
N was my best friend. She observed the full 40 days of Muharram. On that one day I wanted to ‘feel’ like her; of course, I could not. I would wonder what she was mourning for and why she was not mourning the way I understood it – a deep grief that took over one’s entire being.
It was a ritual and she would come and tell me about the delicious khichda (haleem) she had. I disliked khichda anyway in those days.
But our friendship endured (in fact, has endured) through all the years. I would wait for her to return from the majlis and then we’d go for our stroll or to the library or just sit around.
She is now in the
We never felt the need to question each other’s faith or lack of it.