An Imamat Day Picnic in Canada’s Capital on Father’s Day

By Nurin Merchant

Happy Father’s Day Card for my Dad.

Ottawa, Sunday June 17, 2012; sunny, 30 degrees C. Our day commenced at Chapters in the South Keys Mall on Bank Street. But just before then, I had presented my dad with an artistic card for Father’s day and a nicely packed gift box that was a little too heavy for handkerchiefs, which he always carries with him – a good habit, and I have seen him offering his to others who have badly been in need of it in certain situations such as runny noses! In the box was: not a shirt, not a handkerchief nor a tie. A belt – a reversible one, and a good brand-name too – Nautica. He was surprised and so happy that he might have bought me a book that I wanted from Chapters to read at the picnic. But I insisted on spending my own money; after all, it was Dad’s day. So, I picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which I devoured in four days and we decided it was time for breakfast. It was already 10:15, and our stomachs were empty. He didn’t want anything fancy because Ismaili picnics, anywhere for that matter, have the best chefs in the world. No one can beat us, I dare say very confidently and we were soon to find that out once again. We stopped at the ubiquitous Tim Hortons for  bagels and coffee – an iced cappuccino for me –  and off we drove to the Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, the setting for Imamat Day picnics for the past few years.

Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is home to the majestic Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. Photo: Maki and Associates/Moriyama and Teshima Architects.

Did we need that Tim Hortons? Not really because when we arrived at the site, freshly made Bhajias (flat and spicy fried potatoes) were there for the taking along with chai. A lovely day it turned out to be for all those who were at the picnic. Wonderful weather, music and geets, dancing, games, great conversations, friendly farm animals, horse carriage rides, picturesque setting, shaded areas and a place to read my book! And the chefs prepared the lunch – barbecued chicken, succulent beef ribs, salads, chutney, corn, relishes, and there were popsicles and fruit. Unbeatable, when you are served by friendly and smiling volunteers. Not realizing that our cameras were not charged, we had to revert to the iPhone and Blackberry for photos. Here they are – the photos may not be the best but the picnic certainly was. Well, the celebration of Imamat Day brings joy and happiness to the heart of every Ismaili, and Mawlana Hazar Imam will complete his 55 years of Imamat on July 11th. We all celebrated the picnic with that thought foremost in our mind, and I think we are among the luckiest people on the face of this earth because of the Imam’s love, affection and care for all his murids. Enjoy the photos and Ottawa’s celebration of the 2012 Jamati Imamat Day Picnic on Father’s Day.

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OC Transpo articulated bus used to shuttle jamati members to and from the picnic. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Most had bought their tickets in advance – those arriving at the site without a ticket would purchase them at this table – Ameera Jaffer (left) and Aliza Moledina. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Fried bhajia and chai were served to the early birds at the picnic. (left to right) Zul Rajan and wife Nasim, Gulshan and husband Diamond Dedhar. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Brothers! Zeenat (left) and Umed Charania. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Horse-pulled wagon filled with eager passengers, beginning their journey around the perimeters of Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Family and friends enjoying the picnic in a shade. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Azim Hooda dressed in a white cricket outfit of the long time ago…Photo: Malik Merchant

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Cricket – a super fast delivery coming up! Photo: Malik Merchant

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DJ coordinating the geets and music. Photo: Malik Merchant

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Abdulmalik Thawer and grandchild. Photo: Malik Merchant

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A male and female turkey (formally called ‘Toms’ and ‘Hens’, respectively) looking after their ‘poults’, the proper term for baby turkeys. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Tent set up to provide a cool and shady place for jamati members to sit and enjoy their food and live music. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Left to right – Zahir Moloo and wife Nasim, both currently in Nairobi, Ottawa ITREB Chairperson Azmina and husband Esmail Merani, and Ottawa’s current Mukhi Nazib Moledina. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Efficiency – a long food serving section. Photo: Malik Merchant

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Fully satisfied with the food – beef ribs was their unanimous favourite. Left to right – Behzad Khuwaja (age 12, grade 6), Alzhar Walji (12, 6) and Rahim Jivraj (10, 5). Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Pure comfort…Mansur Amlani, Madat Jamal and the Sunderjis. Photo: Malik Merchant

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A young man performing mixed martial arts stunts; from backflips to round-offs to front flips to hand stands. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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A stream trickling into a pond, surrounded by marshy plants and flowers. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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The beautiful pond filled with fish and frogs. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Paan. Photo: Malik Merchant

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A wagon pulled by two beautiful horses, taking jamati members for a tour of the farm. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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A small child with a keen interest in one of the gentle giants. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Jordan Boodhwani, age 7, on a tree. Photo: Malik Merchant

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A curious goat in the barn. Also found in the barn was a male stud-horse by the name of Malcolm, a large pot belly pig, and a cow. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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A hot day – children cooling down! Photo: Malik Merchant

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A green frog bathing in the sun by the perimeter of the pond. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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School of fish found in the pond. The large one is approximately six years old. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

School of fish found in the pond. The large one is approximately six years old. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Ottawa Ismaili Council President Zainab Sovani and Rozmina Hirji, both seated at left, with family members and friends. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Ladies enjoying their lunch – facing camera from left to right Naznin Meghji, daughter Aliya, and Nazmina Ladhani. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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A bright red fire truck. Surrounded by both children and firefighters, we could not determine if it was present in case of an emergency, or for education and exploring. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Nazira and Ramzan Lakhani from Montreal at a quiet location at the farm. Photo: Malik Merchant

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Joy and happiness. Left to right – Amit Khoja, Al-Karim Rattani, former Mukhi Nashir Abdulla, and current Mukhi Nazib Moledina. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Table with personality – name it and they have it – tattoos, smiles, athleticism…and food. Photo: Malik Merchant

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Spacious cabin found on the farm grounds, used for various functions and events. Photo: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Volleyball. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Swings and soccer. Photo: Malik Merchant

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Two jamati members can be seen from a distance, practicing their coordination in preparation for a three-legged race. Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

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Hula hoop staying up for Imara Khuwaja. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Great friends seated together. Clockwise from left – Umed Charania, Amin Kassam, Mussa Kachra, Shuli Kachra, Guli Walji and Firoz Hasham. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Everyone’s day – a senior citizen at the picnic. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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A view of the picnic site. Photo: Malik Merchant.

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Finally…volunteers, the pride of the Ismaili community sit down for the delicious lunch. Photo: Malik Mechant

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Nurin enjoying a good read – The Hunger Games  – that she acquired from Chapters before the picnic. Photo: Malik Merchant

Date posted: Friday, June 22, 2012.

Copyright: Nurin Merchant. June 2012.

Note: A high resolution image of your photo will be sent to you upon request at no charge Please write to: simerg@aol.com, subject: Ottawa picnic photo.

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Father and daughter

About the writer: Nurin Merchant has just completed her second year at the University of Guelph where she is studying for an Honours Degree in Biological Science. She likes taking photos and is also a talented visual artist. A selection of her art work is exhibited on this website. She also contributed narratives and photos of Salt Lake City, the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park which she visited in 2011. Please see the following links:

1. Our Incredible ‘Yellowstone’ Holiday: Part III – The Yellowstone Caldera and Geysers of the Old Faithful Basin
2. Our Incredible ‘Yellowstone’ Holiday: Part II – Wild Life Safari at Grand Teton National Park
3. Our Incredible ‘Yellowstone’ Holiday – Part I: Salt Lake City
4. Nurin Merchant: “The Nature of Prayer” and “Show Jumping”

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10 thoughts on “An Imamat Day Picnic in Canada’s Capital on Father’s Day

  1. OMG – i was just flipping through quickly and noticed my brother Hanif, niece Meg and nephew Saj! Well done! ” Wish I had been there”

  2. Your continued articles are definitely bringing communual connections and will help create a strong and united community as we continue reading your articles.

    Bahadur Aklarakhia
    Toronto

  3. Nurin and Abdul Malik, You are both very important to me and I have read your previous post of Salt Lake. This item gives me a lot of inspiration to write and also to teach to do so about my eldest brother’s 90th birthday we had in May. Somehow not having blackberry, or iphone and generally not an IT expert I am waiting for friend who took photos in Birmingham to help me. Sadly, by the time I write an article and post it, as Malik has twisted my arm to do so, by the first target date, it will not have even begun! However, many Happy Returns of the Day approaching very soon, with love, fan of http://www.simerg.com

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. You articulated very well my own feelings about the day with your writing and pictures. We certainly were blessed…..what more could we ask.

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