..by the time we reached Mina after Muzdalifah, it was almost dawn...we found our tent soon enough, H 14...and it became apparent when most of our tent members showed up, that there was just not enough room for all of us...it was too tight a squeeze...for a moment, nerves frayed...a momentary furore amid all the suggestions, and pakmat was promptly elected penghulu...when you are slight of built but big of voice, you will be easily noticed.....in our disagreement, we agreed to push the canvas walls and lined them with our baggages...and slept like sardines - criss-crossed...a really closed-knit group, I thought..
...its easier to interact with the forced proximity...and I soon learnt that on the day my roommate died, a lady pilgrim died a day earlier..and her husband was that quiet man who would sometimes sat alone outside the tent, pullling upon a cigarette...and I commented in my heart for his smoking ways...I did not know he was suffering his wife's loss...but later, when I got to know him better, also named Pak Mat, I extended my hand and asked for his and His forgiveness...please forgive my erring thoughts...
..Pak Mat, pulling upon a cigarette..
...one night we had a tahlil for the late Tokwan and Pak Mat's late wife...halfway I could see tears welling in his eyes, as he tried to follow the tahlil...couldn't....walked to outside the tent...and sat alone by himself as we continued...there is no God but Allah...there is no God but Allah..there is no God but Allah..there is no God but Allah..
..there was also not enough toilets...they were built on the septic-tanks and you walked up five steps to get to the door, that is after you queued up for anything from ten to fifteen minutes...but the ladies were worse-off...their queues were longer, along with their time waiting...which sometimes resulted in some cutting in into the men's queue...and some males protested, with the husband coming to the defence of the wife with a show of fists...which led to brief fisticuffs..
..for some there was little of that virtue called patience...they just could not wait or made adjustments...so it was into these bottles...and pakmat took in the sight and the stench one morning, marvelling at the various shades of yellow and the bottles lining the walls...
..waiting for the bus back to Makkah..