The Thirtysomething Single

Photo credit: Tanzila Ahmed

The phone rang, waking me from deep morning slumber. Naturally, I don’t pick up, though when I see the number my heart skips a beat.

It’s my college roommate. She never calls me. In the past decade since graduating, our lives took very different paths. The only times I hear from her are for celebrations or deaths. She called me for her engagement, marriage, baby one, and baby two. What else could be left – it must be sobering news.

Sure enough, a text message follows: “Give me a call as soon as possible.”

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I Want “More”

Lil D & Dilshad

Lil D & Dilshad

Love, Inshallah welcomes back guest columnist Dilshad Ali for Mother’s Day.

You ever have those moments where your love for your children surges up like a tidal wave, drowning you in overwhelming warmth and sweetness? It could be the most mundane thing, but in that moment, your love for your child is so clear and pure and strong that it almost hurts.

It happens when Hamza comes home from school yelling “Mama!” because he is so excited to see me and tell me about something that happened that day. Shoes full of mulch from the playground, fingers dirty, his nose needing cleaning – he’s a stinky bugger. But his eagerness to find mefills me with a surge of love.

Or, the other day when Amal was doing her homework and I was working on my laptop, she says to me, “Mamma, when I grow up, you’ll have a room in my house. And, if I’m rich, I’m going to give you a servant.”

I asked her, “What about bhai? (Lil D) If he’s still living with me, then what?”

“He will live with me too. And I’ll have a drawer full of beads and a drawer full of twirlers just for him.”

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Unexpected prayer

“Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.”


I picked up Love, InshAllah with unfair expectations. I hoped that it would give me – a 30-year old woman – some solace in my continued plight of singlehood.

Perhaps I secretly believed that one of the stories would inspire me to do something different and, magically, I would be engaged within six months.  (Yes, I know, patience is not one of my strengths).

But, part of my expectations also had to do with how the two words in the title are reflected in my life: love and InshAllah. InshAllah, to me, is a prayer. Although it is literally translated as God willing, it is more of a request than a statement.  To me, InshAllah means, “God, only You can make this happen.”

Working with domestic violence victims in my twenties gave me a serious dose of reality.  I was torn between the Bollywood fantasy I saw in films and the horror stories of the women I worked with.
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