Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Escaping Sleep

Zharif yawned for the umpteenth time that day. “Why am I so sleepy?” has been a question he has been asking a lot lately. He doesn’t like it, being sleepy all the time. He never has the energy to do anything, even the things he likes doing, like reading.

He takes a sip of the coffee that has been sitting there on the table for several minutes now. It’s his second cup today, but the sleepiness prevails over the caffeine. Zharif sighs. When will he ever be able to finish reading this book? It’s been close to three weeks now.

He takes the closed book from the table and studies its cover yet again. No god but God by Reza Aslan. The Origin, Evolution, and Future of Islam. Updated Edition. International Bestseller. “Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined .. a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.” - THE NEW YORK TIMES. A picture of the ka’abah, with people in the thousands circumambulating it provides the graphic to the cover.

Damn you Reza Aslan. Damn you and your well-written, thoroughly researched piece of work. Zharif smiles to himself. He wonders when he’ll be able to write something quite as spectacular as this book. It’s definitely opened his eyes to so much about his own religion, not only in the spiritual sense, but also its historical development. And he’s only just two-thirds of the way through it. Damn you Reza Aslan.

“Eh, Zharif!” Zharif looks up to see who might be the one calling him in this very very hipster café. Ah, an old school friend.

“Eh, Bijan! Hang buat apa kat sini?” Zharif speaks for the first time since ordering his second cup of coffee more than an hour ago, and only the third time he spoke throughout the day. They shook hands.

“Saja aku mai bawak awek aku.” Bijan gestures to a hijab-clad girl examining the chalkboard menu on the wall behind the counter. “Hang mai sorang ka?”

Zharif was used to this question. “Biasa la, aku camni ja.” He fakes a laugh he has faked countless times before.

“Hang dok belajaq lagi ka lani?” Bijan continues the small-talk template he has come to be familiar with.

“Yeah, dekat sini ja, USM. Aku dok buat Law. Baru masuk third year. Hang pun dok belajaq lagi ka?” He gets on with it.

“Ha, aku dok buat Engineering kat Transkrian. Third year gak. Awek aku budak Farmasi kat sini. First year baru.” The girl seems to be examining the menu still.

“Oh, okay.” Here comes the awkward silence.

“Hang dok baca buku apa tu?” Bijan’s question takes him by surprise. Zharif forgot he was still holding the book.

“Oh. Ni. Aaa, No god but God, by Reza Aslan.” Zharif reads off the front page, as if he forgot what was written there.

“Reza Aslan. Macam pernah dengaq ja nama tu.”

“Ha, dia lecturer kat US. Time 9/11 tu dia ada banyak la masuk debate tentang Islam.” He never expected a school friend to take an interest into his own interests.

“Oh, dia tu! Dia yang syiah tu kan?”

“Er, ya.”

“Dia kawen ngan orang Kristian tu kan?”

“Rasanya ya lah kot.” He didn’t like the direction this was going.

“Aku taw dia. Aku pernah tengok dia kat Facebook. Ustaz aku pun ada sebut pasai dia sekali kot rasanya. Dia tu kira nak sesatkan orang ja dengan ajaran liberal dia. Dahla bini pun orang Kristian, ada hati nak ajaq orang Islam pasai Islam. Hang dok baca buku dia tu dok ikut ajaran dia apa?”

“Eh, mana ada.” He tried his best to keep a straight face.

“Haha, melawak ajalah! Hang ni dok buat cuak bleh. Hang baguih, baca buku. Taw betoi-betoi apa ajaran sesat dia bawak. Camtu baru bleh nampak tang mana dia sesat kan? Orang Melayu kita kena lagi banyak membaca la aku rasa. Sembang ja kata budaya membaca la apa la. Last skali ceklet angin gak, kan?” Bijan said with a grin. Zharif could only muster a smile and a shrug.

“Bey, jom pegi tempat lain. Kedai ni takde.” The girl appeared beside Bijan tugging his arm, not taking notice of Zharif’s existence.

“Okay bey.” Bijan turned to Zharif. “Okaylah bro, aku chow dulu. Jumpak lagi nanti bila-bila.” Bijan thrust out his hand and Zharif shaked it.

“Jumpak lagi.” Zharif stood and waited for the two to exit the café before taking a seat.

Zharif stared at his book for a few seconds, shrugged, took another sip of his coffee (did it taste worse than before?) and continued reading with a smile on his face. His sleepiness seems to have left him.

3 comments: said...

i think your story should be in the literature for secondary school . :) :)

it is seriously good.


Unknown said...

True story ;)

Ikasaharman said...

this is really nice