Zulu Hogwarts: The Sugar In My Blood

Sugar In My Blood‘ is a poignant story based on the life of the late, Muniamma Naidoo & the Khan family of Verulam by South African author, Naufal Khan.

A heart-wrenching tale through her eyes as she documented life & the people around her during the colonial period of British occupation & apartheid South Africa.

Sugar In My Blood
Muniamma Naidoo, daughter of the Tugela Valley, Umvoti, Sugar Cane labourer, a slave to the British Raj, witness to the Cato Manor 1949 riots, a songstress but most of all my Devta.

A time that was painful but even in those moments there was some joy to be found.

Her story as shared through her journals dates back to the early 1900’s, which were unearthed after her death in 2006.

These journals bring to life of her early days in Glendale where she spent many years working the lush sugar cane fields and then becoming a house slave to a British family.

One of the many pages of her story that comes to life in this forthcoming book.

A humble journey of love, pain and deep-set religiosity during the avatar periods of Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai.

A brown girl with little schooling who made the most of her teen life, she learnt as much as she could through spoken history around the hearth of coal & wood that kept the family warm at night.

After her marriage to a boy from the city, she moved to Verulam where her life as a proud South African Indian woman began.

Her story from here on represents the journey of an Indian woman who dedicated her life to the well being of her family.

KwaZulu-Natal a tropical destination lies along the coast where it meets the warm Indian Ocean, famed for a rich historical background, tourism, culture and also magic.

The earth of this piece of land whispers the war cry of more than a thousand Zulu soldiers who stood their ground against the English and the Afrikaner Boer. The blood that was spilled over the centuries, the bones of these soldiers, women, children and their sangoma’s rustle in the wind these days.

They say if you remain still and let the the spirits talk to you, you will hear their tales. Some would drive you insane and others would want to possess you & sometimes they did.

After all, this is the Kingdom of the Zulu, where battles were fought on the order of the magical priests known as sangoma’s who have guided the Zulu royalty into victorious battles.

Then in the 1800’s another magical source landed on the shores of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coast. The brown skinned humans who made their way here to begin a new life away from a caste riddled societal India in hope they could just be people.

Today, Durban is a mini capital and home to over 1 million Indians who’s ancestors gave birth to green fields of sugar cane, this became the ‘Sugar in my blood.’

Sugar In My Blood by Naufal Khan
(L – R) BACK – Muniamma Naidoo, Dhanum Ramaye, Lily Ramaye Seated Moonsamy Naidoo, Muniamma’s Parents

No job was ever below Muniamma’s standard, from being a maid to the famed Pakco family then as a nanny to another intertwined along her journey with painful secrets, happy moments & everything in between.

“Muniamma Naidoo, a daughter of the Tugela Valley, a witness to the Cato Manor 1949 riots, a songstress but most of all she was my Goddess.” 

Naufal Khan

Here are two extracts from the book, the first extract deals with the Khan family and the second with the Naidoo’s. 

I felt like I was a victim of a partition, Pakistan where I lived on one side and India was a few doors away.

Naufal Khan

Pakistan: The Muslim side of my family

You see the thing is that I lived with my orthodox Muslim family from my father’s side. My parents lived in Phoenix township and due to my schooling I was left at my grandparents’ home as a matter of convenience.

It was decided I need to live with them and not with my mother’s parents (who lived a few doors away from them), as they were Hindu. My father wanted my upbringing to entail a Muslim background rather than that of my Hindu ancestry.

My parents made ends meet with just my father working at Rainbow Chickens as a bookkeeper & my mom was a housewife. My father did his absolute best to ensure we had the essentials for an education; he worked hard, very hard.

A rigorous schedule of school and then madrassah left me with little time after that but I would sneak a visit after lessons and then on weekends. I felt like I was a victim of a partition, Pakistan where I lived on one side and India was a few doors away.

Life was taxing at my age; I had to attend school at Mounthaven Primary, which I loved. My teacher was literally a god to me, – Miss P. Bagalu – she was the reason I woke up and rushed to get to school everyday. I loved her spirit and that energy she exuded as she taught us daily; she was the true definition of a guru, a teacher.

Madrassah Ashrafia

After school I had to rush straight into Islamic studies at Madrassah Ashrafia, I despised going to Madrassah – I honestly hated it.

Kids and some of the teachers treated my sisters & I differently since we had a Hindu mother and then the irony of it all was that my Muslim grandfather was a well-known Islamic scholar.

Islam seemed to be a frightening religion that I silently rebelled against in my head. I loved my ‘Apa Gulbenaaz’ who taught us everything she had to; she was a beautiful woman in her traditional hijab without a single strand of hair visible always tucked away beneath her scarf.

When she was in a good mood she used to dance a little and always loved sharing jokes with us. I missed her on the days she was ill, it meant the supplementary teacher or Hafiz would step in.

So back to disliking Islamic studies, everything that was indoctrinated to us children from that tender age was riddled with disturbing visuals of ‘Jahannam’ or Hell as we all know it.

I was told that when I die, I would have to tread on a single thread of gut that belonged to a sheep and if I faltered in my balance I would drop into the decrepit pits of fiery Hell where I would burn for eternity.

And, in order to ensure you have a strong thread to walk upon, it is my duty to have sheep slaughtered at Eid in my name to ensure I have a thread that can take me across safely.

We never slaughtered sheep annually in my name or anyone for that matter; we just couldn’t do it with the state of finances. My father worked days and nights to keep me in school and my 2 siblings with one more popping out a few years later.

Financially, we struggled but it was enough, just enough for us to live happily.

While I would pretend to be studying the Islamic texts, I would let my mind travel the weekend cooking shenanigans with my grandmother and my aunts Fathima and Naseema ‘chachi’ (aunt in Urdu). Those moments were educational treats apart from those tasty meals that were prepared.

As we cleaned the vegetables, I would be taught the Urdu word for each of them, which made it easy for me to understand when Dhadhi would speak. She never spoke much English or Afrikaans, it was always Urdu. 

I would wonder in my head if all those delicious lamb meals prepared by my master chef, Dhadhi Selima would count towards a stronger gut line in the afterlife.

I was fixated on whether I would land in the pits of fiery hell or cross the line to land of milk and honey and 40 virgins.

So, I had this continuous vision of my thread of gut being thin as a strand of hair and that I would definitely fall into the pit of Shaitaan or Lucifer. I was fucked according to this fantastical doctrine of Islam, it terrified me but there was nothing I could do about it.

Five Kalimahs or prayers were some of the initial teachings I needed to memorize daily as well as learning to read, write, and speak Urdu.

Then let us not forget the Holy Quran that is in Arabic, we had to study and learn how to read with perfection. Muslims pray 5 times a day and this was obligatory and there are a variety of prayers or surah’s that one needs to master. There’s a prayer or set of verses from before you eat your meal to one for you before you enter the toilet take a dump.

There were so many things to remember, my head felt like it was going to explode!

Dhadhi Selima & Dhadha Ebrahim Khan

My grandfather was not just any normal Muslim; he was in my eyes, a saint. I loved my Dhadha, Mr. E.A Khan immensely; he is my hero and my source of inspiration for so many things.

Dhadha was a Hafiz and the founder of the Madrassah Ashrafia which I attended, apart from that he dedicated his life to Islam. He spent many a nights writing books that eventually became the syllabus of our Islamic studies across the continent.

His work was impeccable and I was witness to some of the best works being crafted in front of me from ‘Deenyath’ to ‘Islamic History’ these were some of the books that I still remember and was so proud to have in my knapsack.

Students from the Madrassah were a strange lot to me, even at that age there would be a sense of cliques. The uppity type of boys who were fair-skinned had a sense of entitlement about their color; I would never mix with them. They reeked of trouble everyday either smoking or beating up someone.

They would hover around and when I would be spotted I knew there would be some fresh insult ready. I would walk past with my head down ignoring them most of the time but eventually I mustered up the courage or was it the anger that drove me to clap back?

There was this one day, I had enough of their teasing and lost my cool, something that I rarely did. I turned around and howled out ‘Madarchod haraamzada cuzbin kutta!’ coupling that Urdu pearl of vulgarity with a tight smack to the boy closest to me.

I can still remember him losing his balance holding his fair-skinned cheek in absolute shock as it turned a few shades red. 

I then shoved it to the lot of them that it was MY grandfather ‘Khan Sahib’ who authored books we used during classes and that their intelligence would never match up anything close.

That shut them up good and solid for good, I was never picked on again.

“Haraamzada cuzbin kutta” was one of the nasty words I picked up when Dhadhi would be in a foul mood. She would have her blood pressure go up when she would listen to the news on the radio in the 80’s and each time De Klerk or some National Party member was mentioned she would start abusing them as if they would hear her. 

It was absolutely hilarious for me to listen to her curse, but it was a lesson on useful Urdu phrases that I should keep handy.

My Dhadha’s words were pearls of wisdom that every child had to study from in Madrassah. I didn’t know the full extent of his craft of words until much later in life but I knew he was very knowledgeable in Arabic and Urdu.

I knew I had a burden on my shoulders being the eldest grandson of Khan-sahib and so did my other two siblings. We did our very best at Madrassah even though he had passed on by then when I was about 7 years old. We kept the flag fying high, My siblings & I always ranked as the top 3 in the region.

But there was one problem with this – mixed heritage Hindu Muslims – in the eyes of J.K Rowling fans the three of us were Mud bloods.

My mother being of Hindu descent and my father Sunni Muslim this was a problem for society but my Dhadha and Dhadhi never discriminated or held that opinion. I had to endure the first cross, that being of mixed religions, I honestly never knew there was such a big thing about it – but it was.

The more of Madrassah that I had to attend each slow and painful year, I began to question the concept of Islam and whether it really was a peaceful religion.

There would be days I could not remember what I learnt from the day before or how to execute salaah properly, I felt completely useless at being a good Muslim especially with the fact that I am a half-blood, child of a ‘ghercomb’.  

Yes, that was what my mother was called, a derogatory term applied to someone who is from another religion.

Was all of this effort to attend Madrassah really worth the time? I felt a total contrast of opinion when my grandparents & family members tutored me at home.

My Dhadha and Dhadhi were deeply religious and super orthodox and Islam at home was loving and peaceful – totally different from the scary Islamic concepts I was taught at Madrassah Ashrafia.  

I can still recall the scent of lobaan wafting through our humble 3-bedroom council home in Mountview, Verulam.

We had daily routines of reading with our tasbeeh’s (prayer beads), which would ensure our passage to Jannat. I wasn’t too sure if I prayed enough being a ‘mud blood’ and whether I had extra prayers to do due to my mixed heritages. I never asked anyone about that, I was embarrassed by that fact as society made me feel this way.

I looked forward to going home everyday and spending time with Dhadhi while she read namaaz, I would sit on the bed and watch her from behind and listen to her hushed tone of reciting the prayers for salaah. 

After she would complete Salaah she would speak up in a high tone voice and announce, “Qul Fateha.”

That would signal me to stop my homework, pop on my ‘topi’ and hold my palms together as she read ‘fateha’ which is a prayer to give thanks.

Then we would sit together after Fateha at the end of namaaz, she would NEVER miss out on times for salaah. ‘Qazah’ namaaz was taboo for her and she would avoid having to read ‘Qazah’ namaaz.

I can still recall the disappointment in her face, as her eyes would well up with sparkling tears if she missed her namaaz times. I would wipe away her tears when she sat there depressed at her ‘failure’ of keeping to the times of namaaz. I felt her pain, we weren’t much different from each other.

Both of us were mental nutters with our conversations.

We spoke Urdu at home and everything was a practical lesson to enhance our Urdu speaking-ability, I loved being a Muslim at home, it was Makkah for me, Islam was beautiful there.

Dhadha worked at the International Propagation Centre for Islam (IPCI) in Durban town central, I’d wait anxiously for Dhadha to return home.

He would sometimes come bearing sweets or some fresh sheets of paper that he would use on the typewriter. I loves the smell of the paper, I had a love for writing and reading, little did I know it would lead me here to the world of words one day. That’s a story for another book. 🙂 

Dhadha was a tall giant, I would recognize his lanky figure as he walked from the distant hilltop of the main road of Jacaranda avenue. He used public transport to make his way home every day then walked 2 km’s from the main road to get home.

I would hover on the pavement in front of our home at around 5.30PM looking for him to appear in the distance and as soon as he appeared, I would run to him and would see this smile crack on his face.

I would wrap my arms around him and this smell of traditional Muslim scent of ‘Attar’ would invade my nostrils, with my eyes closed, I forgot all the taunts from the bullies at Madrassah. 

He would ask about his wife, “What’s my Selima doing?” I would argue with him, “No Dhadha, that’s my Dhadhi not your Selima!”

We would walk a tad bit slower now as I gave him the run down of my day and what Dhadhi is busy preparing for supper.

I loved my grandparents with such passion, I love them so much but I never felt good enough for them – I was a mud blood according to people. 

Magical Beings

No matter how many times I would hear the words, ‘ghercomb’ or ‘mandraji’ and many other interesting descriptions about my mixed bloodlines. I eventually grew a thick skin and nothing affected me the way it used to in the beginning. 

There was something special about being half and half – I could feel it in my bones. I could feel something fantastically magical around me and inside me.

I would only realize this later in life.

Dhadhi used to say there’s magic at home and when the time is right I would see, hear and feel it. I used to press her for more information, beg her to show me. What did she mean by it?

She would laugh with a squeaky bit with this broad smile showing off a gap tooth, her milky white skin would crack around her lips, with blue-grey eyes staring deeply into my hungry soul that wanted to know – what is this magic?

She said, “You have to be patient, have sabar, Dhadha will tell you more when he is not busy.”

Magic! Was my Dhadha a Dumbledore? Was Dhadhi a sorceress? Did we have magic wands somewhere at home? I had to know more.

I just had to be patient.

I was 9 years old when I would hear stories about my grandparents home that used to be spoken of in hushed tones. There was talk or should I say gossip of magical beings that visited at night and communed with some Dhadhi and Dhadha on divine affairs.

During our gardening sessions, I recall the day Dhadhi telling me about the couple that lived in our yard, I asked her innocently where are they as I never saw anyone else.

We didn’t have a cottage or a tin shack in the yard, the only thing close to another housing structure was the kennel that our beloved dog ‘Buster’ lived in.

She then pointed to the lush green leaves the Bombay mango trees that heaved with weight of the sweetest ripening mangos.

“That’s where they are, they live there up on the branches”, she said with that smile again. I just cracked up laughing about that revelation, she just looked at me smiling. She could notice the innocence in my giggle but her eyes just told me that she was being serious. 

As she carefully gave life to the dhania and mint plants by grounding them, I turned back and looked at the massive mango tree. The shiny, green leaves shimmered and the splinters of sunlight singed my skin.

The thoughts of these people living in a tree was stupid, the only things that hung around there was those damn monkeys. Magical beings in a fucking mango tree in our yard, boy was I confused!

Then as we finished up the gardening, Dhadhi explained that these beings were Djinns who looked after the family and have been with her and Dhadha for a very long time.

I longed to see these Djinns; these magical beings that she spoke of they had special gifts that they would use to help us when we needed it. I was afraid somewhat as everything I learnt at Madrassah was scary and destructive, I couldn’t begin imagine how terrible these two were.

She held my hand and took me back inside; it was Magrib namaaz time. There was always a curfew for us children to return to the house at Magrib for all intents and purposes we were told that Magrib was a bad time as the devil was about to cause mischief.

I was so sure that Dhadhi was in conversation with these special beings or something spiritual. Her breathing was almost deadly silent, her body rocked gently back and forth on the ‘musallah’ (prayer mat).

“Dhadhi”, I called out to her as she stared into space in meditation, mumbling verses as she rubbed each tasbeeh bead bringing her back to the conversation.

“Jee beta?” she responded with a slight jump of fright as sometimes I was sure Dhadhi fell asleep during tasbeeh time.

“Dhadhi, when can I meet them, those things in the mango trees – the Djinns?”

I looked at her in hope I could meet them and they could answer some of the questions. I also wanted to ask them to give me something to help me remember everything in Madrassah.

She smiled again and placed her hand on my shoulder and said that when the time is right they will come visit me. I have to be patient. I eventually let her drift back into that space she elevated herself to when she sat with her prayer beads.

The synchronicity of her fingers on the prayer beads, the movement of her body rocking to and fro combined with hushed muttering of Islamic verses was making me sleepy. I was so sure one day Dhadhi would keel over and fall asleep on the prayer mat, she was a clown sometimes – actually most of the time. 

I took a walk outside to the mango tree and looked up to hopefully see these magical beings, I stared into the branches hoping that my chance to meet them was now.

I then wondered if I should be looking up because if I do and if the lady Djinn was wearing a hijab I would be looking right up there, I hope she had pants on, it would be rude of her to sit like that.

A sudden heavy gust of wind shook the tree, it was Magrib, and I rushed inside. It was never a good time to be outside, bad things happen; well that’s what I was told.

India: The Naidoo’s

I would hurry down the stairs to see my beloved Amma & hug her, I felt overwhelming love at the very instant the door opened and she would beam with a huge smile at my arrival. 

That scent of Amla or coconut oil which she applied to her hair would waft into my nostrils was comforting.

She was always elated to have her grandchildren around the house, she would have loved to have me stay with her too but alas my father had that strict rule imposed.

Sugar In My Blood by Naufal Khan
(L – R) BACK – Muniamma Naidoo, Dhanum Ramaye, Lily Ramaye Seated Moonsamy Naidoo, Muniamma’s parents

The love I felt at Amma’s home eased away my worries of Madrassah which seemed pointless to me.

I would rush into the house and throw my stuff on the couch and prepare to help Amma with the balance of chores that she had to get done for the day.

I loved those precious few hours I spent at her home before it got late.   I would only return to Pakistan after 6pm on most days as I wanted to always be the one to light the prayer lamp for Amma.

As the years passed, I took religious instruction from my ‘Amma’ on learning the Hindu religion and the medley of Gods that we had. This was my third educational activity after Madrassah.

I loved Hinduism and each single day I learnt a little more from Amma, we would sit in the lounge and read through sacred texts and she would explain to me every detail of each God.

Unlike the teachings of Islam which was a monotheistic godhead of Allah, Hinduism had a million activities related to each God and Goddess that which was never an effort for me to remember.

I mastered every lesson with Amma and procedures of every ritual and prayer with such enthusiasm. I felt the tranquility and peace that I could not find when being called a variety of terms from the bullies at Madrassah.

Amma’s home was simple yet full of rich history, we had towering libraries of books around the house. Each pile of books represented some task of learning more that I looked forward to.

The storytelling was never boring, Amma would animate the characters of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata so well as her thick, fat fingers would draw images in the air to explain more and then bring a collection of pictures and religious idols adding a dash of fun into her stories.

Holy Shit

Amma’s backyard was transformed into a quaint narrow garden, on the far end of the yard was the ‘Hanuman corner’ where, the monkey god who stood in proud splendor and the ‘jhunda’ towering into the sky.  I always wondered how a monkey could not be afraid of being so high up, I had to ask Thatha about that – he was a monkey himself sometimes.

But Amma used to call him a baboon, he was a cranky man.

Next to Lord Hanumanji’s abode, was the Amman stone and directly opposite was the outside Mandir that housed our lamp and all required items for my grandfather to invoke his Arul of Hanuman or Muruga.

The far end of the yard was Lord Shiva, the lingam sat in silence and seclusion from the others watching over our little abode of the many gods that kept me busy.

I would make sure I would clean up every corner of the yard and ensure that fresh ‘chomboo’s’ of water was placed at each deity, flowers and incense was lit for Hanumanji, the Amman stone, our outside Mandir doors were opened to air out.

Mahadev was adorned with his three stripes with Nandeeshwara staring at his beloved Lord as he sat in deep meditation.

The weekends were so much fun, I would hurry over on a Saturday morning or stay over on Friday nights with my grandparents as Thatha would be home most of the time too. His routine was a noisy one, of going to the famous Verulam market on Saturday mornings to get every vegetable under the sun for Amma to cook.

He was a loud character that was tall and heavy set built with a mean temper that we were used to, but I never got used to him slapping Amma sometimes.

And normally on Saturdays, when he returns from his market run, he would make sure he comes home with minimum two buckets of fresh cow dung from Uncle Suren’s farm.

The cow is considered to equate to the Goddess Mother for her life giving abilities, she provides us with milk that is used to create butter ghee and the cow’s excrement is also regarded as pure.

This was the fun part for us grandkids, with the sun at its peak and pelting down sweltering summer heat, we would haul the fresh cow dung and splatter the foul smelling shit around and then proceed to massage this into the concrete floor making sure we cover every bit of the yard in it with our hands.

This was so much fun apart from the funky smell that permeated around it was comforting to know that the Gods would be pleased to watch us sanctify the yard with shit.

I really wondered if they appreciated the foul smelling shit of an animal, YEUGH! The harsh sun would do the rest of the work for us as it dried as fast as we worked on rubbing it in.

Thatha would stand over us or sometimes pitch in so we can get the yard ready for afternoon prayers. The smell of cow shit was actually so normal for me it was a comforting smell of achievement for me doing a good job of the backyard being cleansed with shit. The irony LOL!

While this happened Amma would be busy preparing a series of dishes from Italian to traditional South Indian foods for us to enjoy at the end of the day.  And each meal we had went hand in hand with a story of the Gods or of the days gone by in their days that would accompany our meal.

I was always reminded day in & out by my father or my Dhadhi to not consume non-halal food especially when I visited ‘India.’

But this was my grandparents & Amma’s food was just too tasty to ignore! So I had to make up a pact with Amma & Thata and never to admit that the food she prepared wasn’t halaal sometimes.

I didn’t mind, I never felt guilt of the lie as this was my Amma, her food was made with love and more prayers than that of just being Halaal.

When A Monkey Steals My Thatha (Grandfather) In The Backyard

“Boya, you know how Thatha looks like a monkey when he get Hanuman trance, she would ask me. I would nod yes while munching on freshly fried bhajia’s prepared from leaves off the tree in the garden, darting my attention to her and then to the television occasionally with the radio tuned into Lotus FM blaring in the background.

I knew Lord Hanuman was special, the avatar of Lord Mahadev he was – the force was strong with him!

Lord Hanuman was nothing like the monkeys in Verulam. Fuck it, I hated them, they pissed all over, stole the golden red mangoes from our trees and also some of the best paw paws from Amma’s garden, I would sit with a sling and a pile of stones ready to sting them if they got close to it.

I would never be able to win with these blue-balled motherfuckers, as soon as I released the shot from my sling, I would have one of them already striking back with a mango or sometime screeching and threats to attack me.

And when they reached Lord Hanuman’s corner in the backyard, they knew that was their immunity idol. I would have to leave them alone as they feasted on the daily offering of bananas and other fresh fruit that Amma would make me leave at the sanctum.

I did not want to upset Hanumanji by striking his stupid cousins that gave me more work. It seemed a sense of calm would overcome these monkeys when they reach Hanuman’s corner and they would quietly sit and enjoy the offerings and then scatter once everything has been devoured.

When she captured my attention again she went on to explain the significance of the Hanuman Chalisa and why it was important to memorize the chalisa.

“There is magic in the chalisa of Hanuman, he will protect you always, Boya”, said Amma. MAGIC! Amma had just captured my attention one hundred percent. I switched off the television and jumped back on the couch.

“Amma tell me more about the magic”, I was now interested fully in her conversation forgetting the fiery burn of the chillies that she added generously to the bhajia’s.

Amma smiled again explaining to me that Hanuman’s chalisa has immense power to protect those who recite the Chalisa with love.

It took me months to learn the Chalisa but it was worth it, Amma helped me every step of the way ensuring I enunciated the Sanskriti perfectly, rounding off here and sharp tones of peaks there.

Jai Bajrang Bali!

Some of the screams would arise from the packed crowd of visitors in the back yard. Thatha was fierce and his chest heaved with a deep growl, his mouth would fill up with air and he looked just like Sri Hanumanji.

I was never afraid of Thatha and his trance; I stood right next to Amma waiting for blessings and also to help her. Amma would be ready for him, the growing sounds of the bhajan group behind me rhythmically noisy, sounded very far away for me as Thatha’s ferocious screams filled the air with echoes into the valley below the garden of Mount View, Verulam.

He crouched very low as his face brushed close to the fiery smoke of the camphor from the clay pot. This is the exact moment when Thatha left his body and the Arul (spirit) of Sri Hanumanji took over.

As he roared and bellowed, I could feel the vibration in my chest, Thatha’s eyes are fixated on the Lingam of Mahadev across the yard and as he stood up, he pivots around to face the clay statue of Sri Hanumanji adorned beautifully. I knew I did a great job as always with Amma for this annual affair.

Offerings of prasadam fit for a king would be spread out at the Hanuman corner with everything prepared by Amma. I would giggle inside thinking of the fact that just yesterday I was smearing generous amounts of cow shit all over here and now there’s this amazing spread of prasadam all over the same floor. I found it so strange but never questioned this much as elders know best. I was yet to learn that everything from the cow was sacred.

The ‘roht’ was particularly special and one of my very favorite treats; I can almost savor the taste right now as I type this. It was a very important preparation for this prayer, Amma would tie her mouth with a cloth and we would have to leave her alone in silence as she prepared this special offering. It was made with love for the monkey god; well everything Amma did was prepared with love.

I can recall that sacred act without having to think of what to say next as it was a very sacred annual veneration to Lord Hanuman; and one of the major highlights of Jacaranda Avenue.

People from all over Verulam and other townships would converge at our humble residence in Jacaranda Avenue for this day when Thatha gives himself over to Lord Hanuman.

I started to wonder if I recited it enough if that would give me the strength to climb the jhunda like Thatha did when he entered his state of trance.

But never mind, I have to memorize magical verses… Jai Hanuman gyan gun sagar, Jai Kapis tihun lok ujagar, Ram doot atulit bal dhama, Anjani-putra Pavan sut nama

“Victory to Hanuman who is the ocean of Wisdom and Virtues, Victory to the king of Monkeys who is illuminating three worlds “You are the messenger of Rama (to Sita), You are the abode of incomparable power. You are also called by the names of ‘Anjani Putra’ (Son of Anjana) and ‘Pavana suta’ (son of wind god)”

As the bhajan group sang in immense fervor deafening the chirping birds, my mind wandered again. I proudly reminisced of my time cleaning Hanuman Corner, which I named in the backyard, I would imagine flying like Hanuman, growing a tail that could set cities on fire, my mind would wander sometimes like this.

I loved creating pictures in my head; it was an escape from my dark worries.

Like good secrets I had bad ones too – but Lord Hanuman, Muruga, Shiva, Vinayagar & Allah would help me, I know they would.

About the author: Naufal Khan is the founding editor of IndianSpice, a passion for digital first publishing. keeps the thread of identity South African first, Indian by descent alive by sharing the best of South African Indian trending news & diaspora content.

This book will be his second published literary work. ‘Sugar In My Blood‘ will be available in 2019 contact Naufal here

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Book Extract: A Deal with Mother Kali the first book by Naufal Khan

A Deal with Mother Kali by Naufal Khan

Terms used in this forthcoming book

Hogwarts: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, commonly shortened to Hogwarts, is a fictional British school of magic for students aged eleven to eighteen, and is the primary setting for the first six books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

One comment

  1. Shenaz Abdul Wahab

    Interesting article and very truthfully written….I wonder how it will be received. I would definitely buy it…am very interested to know how the author turned out…religious wise. But I am blown away that Amma kept a journal….I would be far more interested to read that.

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