Wednesday, June 13, 2012


A word that means nothing. I heard it first from someone on youtube- a teenage boy wearing a sea-blue tee-shirt, his arms raised in the air in exaggerated exasperation. And now my brain's taken it as a cue to replay that random insignificant act.

Also a word that means many things.
Nada, a mother of four, somewhere distant on my family tree. Eight floors separate us. If the world had separate divisions for thinkers and feelers, she would definitely be leading the Feelers. Might even be holding a banner with a big heart on it. When we greet each other, it's not the customary hugs and kiss in the air. She holds me close to her, draws in the air around me. She says "How are you?" like it's the first time the question's been asked, and scans my eyes like they're mini television screens.

Nada, the owner of a tongue dripping honey. We're sitting in the university's coffee-shop, a thick form between us. She's interviewing me on casual american dining for a market research, and apologizing politely at regular intervals. It's long and I have things left to do, but somehow I'm not bothered at all, because those nowhere as sweet as her take time away from me by force, so why not give it to a deserving person voluntarily?

Nada, a word of comfort in an uncomfortable year. Her rough long hair tamed into a plait, her big brown eyes filling the bigger face that sits on her seven-year old tiny body, feeling like it doesn't belong. I've moved into a new school, its hallways as unfamiliar and confusing to me as the people that fill it. Everything is a confusing blur- the games in physical education with rules I have no clue of, the identical blocks, the infinite rules I need to learn. But Nada is the clear constant, chattering incessantly by my side and expecting no entertainment in return. Which is relieving because I have none to offer. All she wants is to be listened to. On henna-ed hands, her older brother's philosophies on discipline, the different things she has to do to manage her hair and the handwritten letters to her grandmother in Yemen.

Nada. Us three girls sitting on conveniently-placed sofas in a store's men section, bored and waiting for our dad to finish deciding on which shirts to buy. We create an additional sister in our imagination, twin to Huda, complete with appearance and personality. Nada and Huda. She'd have the same straight and silky brown hair, big brown lashed eyes; wear the same clothes in different colours. Huda is giggling uncontrollably at the thought with sparkling eyes. She shyly begins to contribute: Nada will be the athletic twin and the more talkative one. She wouldn't be as good as her at school. We go on brain-storming, giving more life to our new sister, until it's finally time to leave and we both exchange a knowing look that needs no words to express itself: another her would be too much for our hearts to handle.


  1. Its amazing how words can mean many different things and provoke such strong memories, what a wonderful post.

  2. Beautiful post!

  3. This is such a sweet post, memories which mean so much,so brilliantly conveyed to others.

  4. Wonderful post! I only knew the one meaning for nada . . .nothing. Just goes to show that words shouldn't be taken for granted!

  5. ahhhhhhh! love it! I remember the day we started imagining Nada! The description of khala Nada is OMG!

  6. Nice posting I had no clue that word could mean so many things. I especially liked the part of Nada and Huda. :) Enjoyed reading your posting

  7. All the Nadas you this!


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