Baba’s new sense to the things of the world were unrivaled. He liked every part of him to be a part of everything that went through him or around him. I particularly liked the way he dressed now. His brown shoes which suffered a few wrinkles from the moisture of the years shone each time he came to pick me up in the morning for school. His self-ascribed uniform was a short-sleeved white shirt and blue-black pair of polyester trousers deeply starched with ironed edges that would remain standing after a hug from an elephant. Even though his teeth had been stained from regular bouts of chewing cola the one gold tooth he had now made it all look perfect to me. Baba broadly showed me all the 32 when he asked me how I and everyone else in the family was doing and if we had a good night. After school, mostly on the pay-days, he would drive by Aunty Memuna’s sandwich shop to treat himself and I to sandwiches. When they came, he would say loudly “b-ismi-llāh-ir-raḥmān-ir-raḥīm “, take a sniff, admire the sandwich before he would take a bite. And when he did, his eyes closed, he allowed all the thousands of taste buds on his tongue to work, to bring to him what each portion of the morsel tasted like. Aunty Memuna and I would wait for his first bite, like he had trained himself, he could tell exactly what surprise Aunty Memuna had in the sandwich which always left her in amazing laughter and extra sandwiches at no cost. And this was only a tiny thing Baba could do. Once Madam Franca, my French teacher, joined us for a lift to town. Baba told Madam the name of the perfume she used and what the inspiration elements for the perfume were. Baba told me after Madame alighted with surprise and smiles on her face at her junction that Madame had resprayed the perfume on her to musk a certain smell. Baba said the smell was something for adults to discuss.
That evening when I told Mama about Madam Franca, she said Baba’s new life made him see the world in a different way. So, I asked him the next morning what it was he saw. Baba smiled and said I followed the light that has always been in me. He told me the world is such a beautiful place if we allow it to be. The next time we went to Aunty Memuna’s, I asked her to surprise me too. I did it just as Baba did, prayed, sniffed, though I failed to smell something at all. Baba watched me as I took my first bite grinning. Aunty Memuna watched me in anticipation. Everything tasted the same to me the tomatoes, salad, meat and bread were the same. Baba pat me on my shoulder and said it takes time Ali It takes time.