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Chapter 2 A Peep into Aunt Cee’s WorldWhen you are past the age of twelve, the WOT (world out there) seems magical and unreachable, somewhat like Aunt Cee’s Morocco. Here we are, wading through the world’s most boring essay, and Aunt Cee is in Morocco... mesmerizing Morocco.The day began on such a dreary note; it doesn’t help that the skies continue to be pallid and murky. All I want to do is to curl up like a pretzel in my settee with Mary Matcher’s Murder Mystery. Instead, here I am, stuck with reams and reams on the Byzantine Empire! I know, back in their homes, Sandy and Rhea are sharing the same terrible plight.Naturally, my mind wanders to what Aunt Cee told us about magic. Hmm... well, right now, magic should be something that can permanently rescue young people from bonecrunching, brain-deadening homework, I somewhat bleakly think.Finally, it is 5 pm. My friends and I text each other in relief about having completed our assignments and mollifying our moms, and we plan to meet outside my place. We perch ourselves in our seats, eyes glued to Aunt Cee’s travel blog open on my computer screen.A wide blue expanse with rolling hills in the backdrop greets us, along with these words: Cee’s Travelogue—12.4.2013Mystical Sufism and Moroccan Music:“I asked about the Sufis in Morocco, and the guide informed me that they were there alright but hidden. After all, he argued, how do you tell who a real Sufi is—they, of all people, are quietest about their worship. The Sufi shrines are called Marabouts.Our guide, Anna, further informed me that there was a strong Sufi tradition in Meknes. “Eissawa music, mainly instrumental, was poetry written by a Sufi saint, El Hadi Bin Essa.” Anna also mentioned that “Gnawa music was actually slave music—Black Sudanese slaves, who were captured in chains and made to trudge across the cruel deserts, composed this music, while their suffering, longing, and loss lends to the mystical and sometimes haunting elements of the tunes.”Wow! Sandy and Rhea glance at me in envy, probably thinking about how awesome Aunt Cee is. I secretly puff up with pride at having such a rare creature in my family.“What’s a Sufi?” asks my unknowledgeable friend Rhea in a hushed voice.“You mean, who is a Sufi?” I retort.“Yah, okay,’’ Rhea snaps back, “Just ‘cause she’s your aunt, you’re all Miss Smart Alicia, huh? So, who is this Sufi then?”“A person who tries to reach God through meditation and divine music… somethin’ like that?” offers Sandy.“Bravo… brains!” I clap my hands.“Whatever” says Rhea irritably. Then, she wistfully adds, “African slaves making Moroccan music… oh, what a world out there… can’t we just go away?”“No chance,” I reply. “Well, at least we have a peep of the world through the blog”.“Isn’t’ this what you call armchair traveling?” asks Sandy.“Well, sitting in our chairs and seeing the world is not enough for me! Why can’t we just take-off?” Rhea insists.“Err, ‘cause we have exams and things like that.” It’s my turn to retort. “How’s that for exciting?”“Yeah, but we can take our notes. Why don’t we just go with Aunt Cee?”Rhea often sounds like a spoilt kid asking for a candy. Her father owns several packaging factories in the Gulf, and Rhea has seen it all—by which I mean, the trappings of success in our expatriate worlds.She is used to things going her way. The fact that she is rather pretty, with hair in ringlets framing a heart-shaped face, is of great help such endeavors.I shrug. No one gets their way with my headstrong aunt, not nieces nor privileged girls.“Oh no, my aunt is a lone traveler… no way will she have three hysterical kids tagging along.”“Hey, we are not kids,” says Sandy, miffed to the core. “And, we are not hysterical,’’ adds Rhea indignantly.Point taken. “Right,” I say and grin.Twelve going on thirteen is not being a kid, nope, no way!“Girls, remember Aunt Cee told us that magic is everywhere around us,” Sandy suddenly quips. She has a dreamy look in her eyes.I look at her, amused. She is probably imagining herself in a turquoise sarong, gliding from the blue seas, like a perfect ten, and within a few seconds, I see myself swinging lazily on a hammock, reading my fifth book on my Kindle.“Come on, let’s hold hands and imagine, really imagine…” Sandy says, extending her hands toward us.