Gran needed weekend company and I was keen to drive – anywhere – even if it was down Main Reef Road towards Azaadville, maintaining the ridiculous 8okm/h limit while dodging cars that should’ve been pensioned off to scrap heaps when the Nats were still in power and taxis who use their hazards as indicators (whats it gonna be mfwetu, swerve to the left, swerve to the right? tata ma chance eh? I always a enjoy a good game of Life Lotto).
Ex-Sig. once told me about the perfect drive, where clutch, engine, human and road come together in zen flawlessness. I thought of that moment of universal balance as Billy Corgan asked me to tell him tell him what I’m after so that he could get there faster. Spinning Killers, Peppers, Pumpkins and Live, my quintessential music to drive by, I experienced that one complete union of Drive. It didn’t matter where I was going, just that I was getting there.
The Azaadville weekend’s opening salvo was my gran’s delightful six-rounds of “Why haven’t you found any one to marry? Why are you so fussy? You missed out on [insert crazy x here] and Ayesha’s nephew and etc and etc. Amina-mummy saw you at the walimah and said you’re looking old and must just settle down now. How do your friends and cousins find husbands and you don’t? Why doesn’t your mother tell you anything?” My kevlar failed me against the hail of gujerati-laced bullets.
The possible methods of madness as discussed with Speedy led me to duck and seek refuge upstairs where I found myself looking over at the dome of the darul-uloom. The lighting of it is a recent addition and the embellishment gives off the green of a nuclear-aftermath, rendering Azaadville’s usual blink-and-miss quality null.
And then the battle of the muezzins begins for Asr, the four voices rousing the locals to supplication. Even with a mosque a few doors away in Homestead Park, I missed the energy of the plural azaan in Azaadville.
In classic ‘Ville Saturday Night fashion, supper had to be from Spicy’s at the corner of Taj and Azaad. Watching the denizens cruise by while i waited for the order of chicken tikka, I noticed how the Azaadville stare is an entity in its own right and can never quite be replicated in any other town.
Dawsons, the 24-hour convenience cafe is another new addition to the sleepy hamlet. Cool a concept as it is, I wonder which of the hassle-deens (an inside joke from my family’s days as purveyors of hazeldine and clover milk) wake up at 3am with munchies, niqaabi’s with a leaning towards Peter Tosh perhaps.?Naoozubillah, I’m wicked. No wonder no one will marry me. ha ha.
None of my friends are around this fine Saturday night and I fill time by filling a sheesha, apple and mint, which succeeds only in rounding off my already thrilling evening with a yuck-ick-vomity-headache.
Sleep. Wake. Sunday. I’m striking little lines through seconds until I hit the high-tar back to the city. It’s lunch, goodbye gran, I love you but I have to go hide in my head whenever you start talking.
A quick visit to my buddy Batman before I leave reminds me that all hope is not lost for the ‘Ville and the pod-people haven’t completely annihilated all forms of intelligent life.
Main Reef road is not as taxi-ridden on Sundays and I play only the occasional round of minibus dodge-em.
The tar and Billy sing, “I hear your winter, I hear your rain, I’ve failed your summer ways and I feel no pain….”