The goal of the Khans’ excursion was to travel 5 European countries in 5 days, and boy oh boy were they determined to accomplish it. On the third day, they visited Milan, Italy. And it was beautiful. Duriba remembers the tall buildings, intricate art, and great food. She remembers it being amazing.
*We interrupt this program with a brief message: Duriba is getting tired of writing in the third person so she will switch over to first person in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...0*
So basically one day we were walking through what my limited vocabulary can only describe as a decorate arch, and I noticed two men exclaiming “Salam” (a saying Muslims use to greet one another which translates to “peace be upon you”) to me. Because I don’t observe hijab, I was kind of confused to as of how these men identified me as a Muslim. “Walaikum asSalam!” I responded. They smiled as I approached them. “How could you tell that I was Muslim?” I asked. They pointed to my outfit, an Abaiyah or middle eastern gown. I nodded understandingly.
At this point, my sister and parents approached us and joined the conversation. The men explained that they came from Kenya and sold custom made bracelets in tourist areas. Without warning, they started tying their bracelets of woven rainbow string around all of our wrists. When we protested, they joyously laughed and exclaimed “haq ul Muslim!” or “the duty of the muslims to one another.” I remember being extremely confused as I watched them use fingernail clippers to tighten the bracelets.
Within seconds, they demanded my Dad pay them. It was so hilarious to watch their expressions change instantly, and I laughed super hard as my poor dad itched his head and pulled euros out of his wallet and handed them over.
The next day at breakfast, all of us laughed at the bizarre encounter. A few days into our trip, everyone slowly begin snipping their bracelets but for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to do it. This weird attachment to the bracelet persisted for almost three years: through presentations, other family vacations, weddings, parties, and even my high school graduation and first year of college. My mom and sister teased me and urged me to take it off because to be honest, it got kind of gross looking lol. But I just couldn’t.
In hindsight it sounds a little elementary, but I always told myself that no matter how much me or my life changed, one thing would always be constant and 100% in my control: this little rainbow string. I think a part of me was always waiting for the perfect life changing moment to snip it off.
About two days ago, I was getting tea with some friends and when I reached to mix milk into my cup, I looked at my wrist and I was horrified. I have no idea how it happened, but the bracelet just...fell apart. I was extremely shocked, and when I pointed at it with my mouth open, nobody else understood. “I don’t get it..” Maryam stated. “Let’s just hot glue it back together?” Nabeela suggested. At the time, Saood was returning from the restroom and as soon as he saw my face and the way I was holding my wrist and gaping at it, he gasped. Finally someone understood!
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I wrote a bunch of paragraphs about a random rainbow string, but I promise there is a lesson: no matter how hard you try to keep things in your control, they never truly are, even if they have been for ages. So instead of waiting and planning for the perfect moment to do that thing you’ve been wanting to, just let God and destiny take care of it.
Looking back at the time it feel off, I’m kind of glad. It fell off in a blissful moment spent among friends, being affectionately roasted. I don’t think I could've ever planned a better moment. Actually it would be cool if it fell off when I got into law school. But like God. Do your thing, man.