Harry and Hakeem are friends. They have been for years and even though it is often times unbelievable that they share different religious, political and societal beliefs, these two have what you would call an enviable friendship. Harry never misses a church activity/service, while Hakeem is such a believer that his ankle length pants is why he is often called Habliq (Hakeem Tesbliq).
Now skip religion, Harry parties harder than you can imagine and of course with a head lighter than his partying abilities, Hakeem is the ‘go to’ guy most Friday nights when Harry is often too wasted to find his way back home. Yes, Hakeem seems a sweet soul but boy is his soul actually darker that his well-groomed beards. Not for a death sentence would Hakeem forgive a wrong and for years Harry has made it a point of duty to teach Hakeem the erring in humanity and the divinity in forgiveness.
Not to get you lost in the lives of these two, let us make it a bit more introspective. What would our lives have been like without diversity? As a Nation we have the best of both worlds as we get to celebrate both ‘Christmas’ and ‘Salah’ holidays giving us various opportunities to let our hair down and do all of the amazingly fun things we cannot do while sitting behind our computer screens. In other words, diversity is indeed a salient part of our existence.
For some the Salah break is time to visit all the Muslim friends on their contact list for a chance to get free food, drinks and oh let’s not forget the free meat. Well, if this is who you are then it is fine, but what isn’t fine is eating without taking a second to actually say a prayer of appreciation for the fact that this little spice in form of your Muslim friend has defined your holiday this season.
It is time to look around you, while whoring from door to door for free meat, also identify that one person who holds an important place in your heart and also shares entirely different beliefs from yours. That one friend who believes in giving to beggars even when you think they are all fraudsters, that one friend who thinks sex before marriage is okay even when your mother’s voice says otherwise, that one friend who thinks karma is a myth even when you can see them get ditched by the bitch (karma) over and over again, that one friend who is just cluelessly and unapologetically happy even when you think life is more than being smiley and chirpy.
Look around for these uniquely diverse minds that have been a part of your life, appreciate them too this season. It could just be a phone call or a spared thought. Trust me, on the larger scale it is this diversity that makes us get holidays…because if we were a one- religion kind of Country, Friday this week and Monday next weekwould have been the usual, with long hours spent behind a screen.
So while you are having all that fun, while you are taking that rest, while you are giving and receiving all the pampering you can find, remember that people are behind all of that and sometimes in life, people are a source of your happiness as much as you could be a source of theirs. Although we are taught to find happiness in our selves which is absolutely right, I also think there is a lot of Happiness yet untapped in diversity…Find that Happiness today and just embrace it.
The Hakeem to your Harry is who I speak of, that one person you know who is just different from you…in thoughts, beliefs, behaviour, language and even in physical attributes. Yes! You can appreciate that crippled man along the road who just always holds a broom, he is the reason the roads aren’t so dirty sometimes so appreciate him with a smile, it could go a long way.
Finding the Happiness in diversity and appreciating it would not cost a thing. A smile, a spared thought, a hello, a text anything, depending on how deep you intend to make it…It wouldn’t hurt you…so just do it!
By Maureen Alasa
NB –Share your thoughts, join the conversation on Instagram @heartslips or by tweeting at me @mzmaure or on facebook at www.facebook.com/MaureenAlasa