Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Even from faraway I look at the blueness and taste salt in my mouth.
Swoosh, swish, whoosh.
Sun in my eyes, sand in my hair, and this sea blanket.

I am sitting alone facing the sea, observing its moves with respect. Let's make conversation, it says. Someone yells what sounds like my name in the distance.
It's simple, this life. We complicate. I don't think there's any other place I'd rather be.
Gentle swish. Foamy. Agreeing with me?
Two women lying down on yellow, way beyond the waves, wearing glum expressions. Really, what happened to manners, polite ways and making the right impressions?
A fresh heave. And then a wave covers me with a roar.
My apologies


Marwa. Or preferably Ma-wa. A hill in Mecca, but also a girl's name. We squat down, staring at our toes. Letting wave after wave cloak us, talking about these and those.

A random empty potato chip packet makes its appearance. Out of the blue, quite literally. Poor sea, everybody assumes it's a litter-basket for free.


Mothers, mothers, all around. Mothers here, there, everywhere: A mother is laughing uncontrollably with her little girl as they throw bits of sand at each other. Another mother is holding her floating son with enough concentration to make something explode; matching terrified faces. And...there's another mother! "MAMA!" yells a minuscule boy in black swimming shorts, pointing out his drifting floatie. "There, there, Bader", back in his arms.

When I'm your mother, we'll come together here, wearing matching colours. Build sandcastles together, if you like that. Or just sit down if you turn out boring like me. Whatever you want. I'll hold you tight to myself and tell you I love you as much as the drops of the sea.

It doesn't matter how sandy I get because the waves clean.

Imagine if it was this simple getting rid of imperfections.
"Oh I sense some stubbornness, let me just wash it off here." I think I'd just build myself a little hut on the beach. Inconvenient.

Worth it if you get to stay lean.

We both stare at the dug-up bunches of sand in our open hands. Broken-sea-shell-infested sand. All of this, subhanAllah, where do they think it comes from? she says. Then a smooth, salty, delicate wave- a sea nod.




  1. I grew up near the beach in Southern California, and I miss so much the smell! And the sound of the seagulls! Your post made me miss it!

  2. I miss going to the beach! I thought living in a Muslim country (ie Dubai) it would be easier...but unfortunately it is not.

    1. Try Monday (women's day) at Jumeirah, or Wednesday at Mamzar

  3. A conversation with the beach: it's such a pretty idea :) The whole piece is pretty, my favourite bit is the paragraph that starts with 'When I'm your mother....'

    Awesome stuff ^^

  4. You have such a distinctive writing style, Jnana. I do miss the beach, we lived in California for 10 years, but I was working hard, teaching and really did not have the time to enjoy it as much as I should have, now it's 1200 miles away.

  5. Very lovely posting. I didn't get to visit the beach this year. When we finally had time to take breaks from work to go, the hurricanes and bad weather said otherwise. I have missed it. I love the smell of the salty air and hearing the crashing of the water as it hits the sand. Enjoyed reading your posting.

  6. I love the different perspectives and the way they all center around the beach. Wonderful writing!

  7. This is nice. I love the beach (or used to in my younger days) and absolutely love the idea of a conversation with the beach. What a great writing prompt too! I might have to try it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday.

  8. No place better than the beach!

  9. weeeeeeee...this made me nearly cry! :) i loooooove the end!

  10. I'm a Pices, a water girl o the end so you captured my essence. I love to have the beach by myself in November when the beach and I seem to sync and become as one.

  11. You have a wonderful gift for cobbling together bits and impressions.

  12. Firstly let me thank you for following my blog!

    I was hoping to visit your beany place some time ago, but I was away on a conference and was unable to do so.

    This post is like flashes of events. Small bright lights. Memories?

    I hope to read lots more lovely pieces soon insha'Allah!

    Hope you're well and smiling.
    take care.

  13. very touching!! I also loved the brotherly love post, your writing is getting deeper and deeper, its beautiful to read :)
    And that amazing feeling where you feel your troubles wash away with each wave! You're far too modest, looking forward to more :D

  14. Beautiful descriptions! This post makes me want to visit the seashore.

  15. This piece was refreshing even with the high emotions contained within. That balance, very difficult to achieve if forced, is essence of truth. May these lines be my bow of reverence to your skill.

  16. today i have learn something from you..:)
    thank you.

  17. Beautiful, I have no words for it :)


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