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The price of lockdown

The price of lockdown

Assalamu alaikum, good morning Auntie.’ My niece Siddiqa said cheerfully, as soon as she picked my call.

‘Wa alaikum Salam, wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu’ I replied before adding ‘how’s my Big Baby today?’

‘Alhamdulillah Auntie, I’m doing fine.’ She answered.

‘I can tell you are because you sound so cheerful. And that’s the reason I called, just to find out how you are coping with the lockdown. Now that we can’t visit one another, we have to rely on the phone to keep up with family. I hope the children aren’t giving you much trouble now that they are always home and demanding attention.’ I enquired.

‘No Auntie Bint. Except for their usual stuff, nothing extraordinary manifested as a result of their confinement at home. But the real lockdown headache is coming from an unexpected source: their father.’ She declared.

‘Do you really mean this?’ I asked. ‘I mean how can a full-grown adult give you more stress than three young children aged between five and one?’

‘Believe me that’s the truth Aunt. With the kids I’m busier and have to keep them busy too, with one activity or another, but we are all very happy and joyful in each other’s company. But with their father, it’s a different story. He spends the whole day brooding and hardly communicates.  But when he does communicate, it is to complain about one thing or another. In fact these days, he finds a reason to criticise almost everything he lays eyes on. From the clothes the kids are wearing, to the food stain on the wall that I needed to make sure was cleaned immediately.

In fact he has grown so dictatorial, since the lockdown, I’ve finally admitted to myself that I never really knew him. And now I know why people say absence makes the hearts grow fonder, to me absence is the saviour of marriages. In fact if I have to take Halilu’s attitude in the next two weeks Aunt, I will either go mad or opt for a divorce.’ Siddiqa announced.

‘Really, so things are that bad?’ I asked.

‘Yes they are Auntie. And it’s not just Halilu, I heard that several husbands have turned their homes into hell because they can no longer go to work or hangout with the boys, like they used to. My friend Halima’s husband is now a full-fledged couch potato. He does nothing but laze around the house to eat and leave the mess behind. He moves from the bed in the room to the parlour settee just doing nothing but fiddling with his phone. He says he’s totally bored but doesn’t raise a finger to help. Now Halima has an infant child and the house girl left after hearing about the virus. She said she didn’t want to get infected and simply quit. But all this travails do not make Da’u help around the house. He only makes things worse. As for Raqiba her own husband is always on his phone, in the room all the time. The moment she steps in, he’ll move over to the bathroom to continue his calls. She is convinced he is talking to his girlfriends now that the lockdown will not allow dates. He also doesn’t help at all but at least she has a house girl and he doesn’t go round screaming at her over every little thing.

So you see Aunt, this is how some of us are paying for the advent of Covid-19. Frankly I can’t wait for the lockdown to end. I just want Halilu to resume his normal life and leave me in peace.’ Siddiqa concluded.

‘I’m truly sorry to hear this my dear. But you have to do something about it. I’m sure that like the other two guys, your husband also spends a lot of time on his phone. Being on phone is still idling about and you know what they say about the idle mind being the devil’s workshop. That’s why he has the time and energy to be criticing you most of the time. Get him active by asking him to start a family ta’alim with the kids. Join them too if you can, so that twice daily, after breakfast and after dinner let him sit with all of you and coach the children in their Quran recitation, memorization and Hadith lessons. Encourage him to take it seriously, such that every morning he’ll wake up knowing he has this educational task ahead of him. I assure you he’ll change completely because he now has something that keeps him busy and makes him feel useful. He’ll no longer have time to notice things that irritate him and make him criticise you. Additionally he’ll find the peace of mind he has lost due to the lockdown confinement because the Holy Quran says “It’s in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find peace.” The twice daily ta’alim will surely help you all. And tell your friends to do the same with their husbands too, you’ll all see the difference, in Sha Allah.’ I advised.

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