Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

I’m beginning to think that maybe Americans are a little weirder than everyone else (just a little) as far as mint is concerned. I was talking to two of my students about spices and cooking and asking them about how their own ethnic cuisines differ from the food they find in Pakistan (this is a great way to make people open their dictionary and find words by the way) and we started talking about spices and herbs. Well, we got to mint, and I mentioned how I loved a strong shot of mint in my coffee. (pow!) Well, apparently this is quite shocking to some people. And from the look I registered on my students’ faces, quite disgusting too. He he. They were appalled with the idea of putting mint in chocolate too.

“The only place that mint belongs,” one of my students said, “Is in toothpaste.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, “But it’s also good in chocolate, in coffee, in milkshakes, in chewing gum…”

-gasp-

They also thought I was nuts for drinking coffee flavored with both chocolate and peppermint simultaneously (with a dollop of halal marshmallow fluff on top!). Today, at class with another one of my students (German) I thought I’d drop a mint into my coffee and see what happened. Well, she was horrified by it too. He he. I enjoy shocking people, ain’t I a stinker? :p I swear, I’m the kind of guy that would show everybody their jar of pickled appendix (if they had let me keep it) whether they wanted to see it or not. I’m just a seven year-old at heart.

Oh yeah, and on the way home from work today I saw another great car sticker. This one said Cat Computer. I wonder what that was supposed to mean. That the guy’s cat is a computer? Or that he computes cats? I guess the world will never know.

Ah yes, and I almost ran over a malang too. In case you’re fortunate enough to not have malangs where you live, allow me to explain. A malang is a ‘holy man,’ despite that fact that there is no valid Islamic basis (or tradition) for these dudes. They never bathe, they wear dozens of tasbihs around their necks, they travel around begging and smoke marijuana to excess and in plain view. Malangs seem to be a direct knock-off of a type of Hindu holy men (sansi?) who do exactly the same things, except they don’t do it in the name of Islam. And as far as I know, they don’t jump out in front of your car and try to hail you down to demand money from you, Allah kay naam say…. (In the name of God…)

Talk about pro-active begging! It’s more like highway robbery. That’s what a malang did to me today, he stepped jauntily out in front of my car with his begging bowl in his hand, signaling me to pull over. Actually, it took me rather by surprise and I nearly turned him into an asphalt waffle. (street pizza, road kill, two-dimensional pedestrian, etc)

The weirdest part is, when I came home and told my mom about it, she told me the same thing happened to her! A malang tried to hail her down too. We compared notes, trying to see if it was the same one. Well, mine was deathly skinny, pretty young looking, wearing beads, with yards and yards of green satin wrapped around his head and trailing around his filthy shirts. All four of them. Oh yeah, and he only had one hand.

Well, my mom’s malang turned out to be a different one. Hers was a big guy, with a mop of exceedingly filthy hair, no green satin, and -ahem- no pants. Well, mine wasn’t wearing pants either. Apparently pants-free highway robbery is a common modus oparendi for malangs. They’re not as common as normal beggars, but they’re a lot more aggressive. Many people will avoid getting on their bad side because they’re supposed to be holy or something. Aniraz sez I should’ve run him over. It would serve him right for not wearing pants in public! Hmmph!

“Oh ye who believe! Turn to Allah in sincere repentance! It may be that our Lord will remit (and clean) you from you evil deeds and bring you into gardens beneath which rivers flow.” -The Holy Qur’an, 28:8

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