Friday, July 19, 2013

Of Spice and Spirit : The Anecdote .

The supermarket, one day before the holy month.
That is the place where you would like to be. Unless you are claustrophobic and hate the crowd. The moment I stepped into the place , I was instantly attracted by the colorful spices which occupied a significant spot in the market. I headed towards it and of course dragged my parents and my brother with me. We were in short of some essential spices, that is why they did not object and followed me.
Worldwide spices.
This is truly heavenly.
When my father asked the man in charge to scale some spices for us, the man kindly said “ self-service sir.” I rejoiced in the thought of getting a bit of everything; but of course it was absurd. What I did was even more absurd and juvenile. I took out my camera and snapped some shots of the vivid spices. A most cherished moment needs to be captured for sure.
I soon jumped on the red powders : both chili and paprika were needed at home. I asked father about whether or not we can get some curry . He refused first thinking I did not know how to use it ; but when I confirmed that I watched enough food programs to know the usage of curry, he agreed upon my request and I giggled like a little girl who has just gotten her cotton candy.
On the other side of the spot were different types of beans and lentils, something which cannot escape father’s gaze. He was an admirer of soups and with the holy month’s arrival, he would of course welcome all we can offer him. The lentil soup will be a dish he will brag about later on, as he cooks it by himself. He considered one type of lentils ; but was not quite sure about the way to cook it. His nature compels him to question one of the chefs behind the counter selling ready meals. The chef was Egyptian and knew perfectly how to handle such dishes. Devotedly , he instructs father who was by the end satisfied for the load of valuable information he received. He ran to my mother repeating what the chef told him and warning her about not adding salt at first. An advice coming directly from a chef.
 As we proceeded to the vegetable and fruits area, we remarked the existence of tomatoes and peach coming directly from our home country. The prices were at least four times doubled because these are now imported products; Nevertheless we were caught in a nostalgic moment and finally decided to move along to other sections.
I was undergoing a mental tumult trying to remember what I had forgotten exactly.
Two insanely frustrating feelings which I completely abhor are: not finding a particular object and fighting to remember something that fled my memory.
Aha ! The bright color of Tunisian tomatoes brought me back the image of pizza and I almost shouted “pizza herbs” . I asked permission from my parents to go back to the spices section and insisted that they do not leave the spot for the market was so spacious I feared we would waste time looking for each other.
I hurried back to the my destination and selected some fresh basil and pizza oregano. I was also attracted by the exquisitely definable smell of  “Za'atar” . There were two kinds. One from Lebanon and the other from Jordan. I could not honestly tell the difference and I selected the brighter color--that from Jordan. I have already drawn a plan for the Za'atar. A plan whose source of inspiration is rooted 8 years back in my past.
I was here, nearly by the same time of the year only Ramadhan came later on. My father managed to enroll me and my brothers in a summer school-- an experience the taste of which I never knew before that summer. I had left my friends in my country and was still newly exposed to the new cultures around me. I did not even master the language and could only manage my way out with what I captured from Egyptian and Syrian tv shows and programs. During breaks, the headmistress would call everybody to line up and ge
t their share of juice and newly-baked pastry. The smell of croissant with Za'ater would hit my nostrils and tickle my brain even before entering the school’s cafeteria. It was not everybody’s favorite. The other girls favored fancier toppings and fillings. I have to admit it was in my favor as they never ran out of my choice and I don’t have to be in the first lines to get what I desired.
A most affordable luxury.That was the only place where I had that kind of pastry.
Emerging from the memory which the herb woke in me, I realized I had to await my turn to hand the portions to the man in charge for the spices. He would put the price on them and I would ran back to my parents .
He was unmistakably Asian, perhaps from the Philippines; but I can never be sure. I am not Father. Father has spent over twenty years in this country and he would identify most of the nationalities here.
The man is of medium-height , all covered in white cloth. Hands gloved and hair carefully combed back. His speed was remarkable. He must have been here for a long period of time and had a lot of practice. He could name all the different spices and he definitely did not need a tag on them to recognize them.
 My stream of thoughts were broken when a woman on my right side , outrageous, was sighing repeatedly , trying to expose her impatience to the world. She then screamed “YALLA YALLA” and kept muttering words of complaint .  It was obvious she could barely speak proper English in the way she formed her next sentence “ MAKE IT QUICK” . Did I say ‘proper English’ ? I meant proper manners.
I was utterly disgusted by her tone . Not only she completely turned a blind eye on me by not recognizing that I was in the line before her ; but she also imposed her attitude and confirmed her disrespect by shoving the plastic bags in her hand onto a huge bag of beans separating her from the man in charge.
I felt I was standing under a rainy sky and that I was sinking in shame. The scene made me feel so uncomfortable and I imagined a whole scenario between the woman and I where I am mostly holding up to a mild face being all sarcastic about the necessity of clinging to fairness and justice while dealing with others--especially that we are at the threshold of a holy month. We need to compensate for our wrong doings and think about efficient ways of bettering ourselves.
However once the woman got her bags with prices tagged on them, she flew away like a furious dragon breathing out fire. I thought perhaps it was better that I did not talk to her. I knew girls like her. They fancy making scenes. They are impatient and claim not having much time ; but they surely have time for fights and screams. Another thought then hit me. Perhaps that is not her true nature. Perhaps she is just having a bad day and the poor man was just in the way. She jammed her anger against him. Anyone could have been the victim. But again, that is still an inappropriate conduct.
“Miss, miss” I lifted my head to see a hand stretched before me. My turn. I was still befuddled by what has just happened but I put on a large smile , a sympathetic one. I believe it delivered the message for me. “ Don’t let such people ruin your day. You have now a customer who is smiling to you.” The man smiled back and soon gave me back my herbs. I made sure I said “ thank you sir” before I took off hurriedly thinking I was late for my parents. I found them right where I left them. They were discussing the price of imported tomatoes we saw earlier. My dad stubbornly persisted they must be organic tomatoes. For him , that would be the only justification behind the high price. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mourning Reminiscence

“One might, indeed, consider that the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir, but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères.”
 “On The Suffering Of The World”, Arthur Schopenhauer 

           It was a three hours road trip that permitted my arrival to a small hamlet situated in the north western side of the country. I was welcomed by a dreary weather: The frosty wind preyed on my physical condition whereas the heavy toll of rain made me sink deeper in my wrenching grief. From where I came, the beams of light were the only occupiers of the sky. Few steps separated me from my destiny. The only thing I knew was that my state of mind was shaken, and that I wished I could disappear. I secretly wished to be vaporized and be transformed into little water drops. An atrocious pang of futility devoured me as words disobeyed their natural formulation and I found myself utterly incapable of utterance. Words refused to be articulated when they were most required, desperately needed. I was not to linger longer in my unworthiness. I had to find her; but then I recalled that I have always wanted to pay her a visit. I reflected that my wishes were preordained to become reality; yet the Divine Design was set for me so as my first encounter with this place be morose and under the occurrence of a glum and unfortunate event. I beheld the set as bearing that sore memory. I despised it. Why had it not embraced me in prior circumstances? 
Right leg forward, I stepped into the house, dull and bleak. I could not possibly get lost as I was taken through a corridor the end of which I knew perfectly. The palpitations of my saddened heart were aggravated as I quickened my pace. A smell exacerbated all my senses; then voices stretched my pains to endlessness.  Sullen faces worsened my mental state. I had to sit like everybody else – Static with red and swollen eyes yet alarmed. My soul was agitated and deadened at the same time. The sound of ventilators disturbed the thread of thoughts I was endeavoring to arrange and rearrange – failures, successive disappointing failures. I mused that my presence could speak louder than my lips; but I could not count on it. Anxiety fed on me. I had to suppress it. I had to because she, herself, was consumed by an unbearably heavy misfortune.
            My anxious stillness was suddenly disturbed when a stranger came into the room calling my name and demanding my presence. My skin was iced; yet I tried to shutter my heart for, in spite of my overflowing sadness I could not render my company profligate or even worse, agonizing. The uncertainties of the future carelessly played with my feelings. They were almost mocking my misery. My fearful mind and fragile heart were at the grasp of a cynical future – a future for which I longed impatiently and yet dreaded terribly. Will this pain ever end?
I hurried to find my wretched friend in the most shocking state. Useless have been my attempts to imagine the horror of the situation. What I beheld was beyond the suffering of the world. I, instantly, questioned whether it is in the power of Man to endure being as such stricken and tormented. How immense must be her strength—her belief! Indeed, had not The Lost One implanted seeds of belief in the little girl’s soul, the latter would have collapsed, finding no sense in the blows of life. 
I shielded my words with the mighty aroma of patience. I whispered them in the tiny ears of my friend letting her know that her life is not in vain, that The Lost One would be torn if she ever hears the sobs of her little girl.
Patience will not be a crime to her eyes, tears, however, will. 

           There are times when lips move but produce no sound, and the sole sound—that of pain is larger than the disappointment of loss and louder than the trumpets of victory. That time when the universe becomes entirely mute and your eyes become blind to the colors of life. When the soreness compels you to succumb to void and hence fall into the abyss of denial: you open your eyes upon hearing her voice and picturing her smile. You end up preserving her memory and carrying out her will. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scent of a Flower, Blood of a Wolf : Wolf's Rain REVIEW

         Useful notes: The post in named after the title of the seventeenth episode of Wolf's rain.
I recommend you play this song for a more sensational reading. [click]

         The ambiguous ending of Wolf’s Rain proved to hinder the viewers’ from reaching the satisfaction requisite at the end of each cherished animé. From to  , reviewers could not refrain from observing that the show offers a great disappointment especially on the level of the resolution . A show during which one can have no command on both brain and tears fails to meet the expectations of the viewers who longed for a less confusing end. What I also deduced is that the four RECAP episodes, which were by the way unaired in the US, have driven the viewers a bit contemptible. In fact, they entailed a rough reproach because the only new thing it introduced to the audience was an amazing song entitled “Tell Me What The Rain Knows” composed by the legendary Yoko Kanno and sung by the wonderful Maaya Sakamoto. The criticism mainly rebuked these four episodes which seem to have a sole aim: It is to stretch out the show to reach thirty episodes. For this reason, the viewer ends up growing weary. The idea of recapitulation, being superfluous and burdensome, is thus not much of a genius idea.
          Encountering such opinions, I had to pave a way to my own point of view.  Ever since I watched the animé in 2006, I felt bound to loosen the ties around my personal view concerning the show. The idea grew with me; but it has not been developed until recently for I was lacking both style and language to express it. My own explanation of the ending has fed on my beliefs and personal perspective of the world. Far from being disappointed, my tears were shed for the might of the message conveyed throughout the story.
          Paradise is ubiquitous. It resides inside of its believer. “Where I fly is hell [paradise], myself am hell [paradise] “to reformulate John Milton’s words from Paradise Lost.. Or should I say Paradise Resurrected?  It is true that the last episode is soaked in bleak pessimism: Lord Darcia’s misleading words constrain us to think that it is fruitless to nourish oneself with a sense of belonging in and an obligation towards the clan. According to him, one has but oneself to look after. The rest are but obstacles. It is needless to heed attention to what holds one back. Nonetheless, Lord Darcia’s speech did not influence me much because I knew the true source of those words. His callous-hearted nature, his unjustified cruelty and obviously well-deserved curse put him in the shadows when it comes to giving advice.  Reversing the spell foretells the necessity of belonging in order to preserve a sense of pride, and hence a strongly-entrenched identity. Lord Darcia has lost himself in the process of transformation: Being a noble classifies him in a precise category; but attaining the form of a wolf rejects him to an undisclosed position. A cursed half-lord half-wolf – who was doomed to lose the love of his life Amona — was driven to avenge her death by massacring what, is already threatened with extinction.  The wolves are a symbol of sacredness as they are the only ones capable of opening Rakuen. They gain an important level of holiness not for this matter only, but because being endangered goes back to the fact that they form a clan. 
The RECAP episodes are, to my fancy, a means to shed light on the thread linking the four wolves. Four episodes for four wolves.. Not a very bad idea, by the end. They serve as a reminder of what connects these creatures to each other. They depict their story from the very beginning to the end, almost like a bildugsroman putting emphasis on their social and psychological development. Eventually, they grew to be a kin, united for the same cause, guided towards one destination with one key to paradise and one destiny. Assembled, they form a well-knit community which is almost the rarest thing to be found. This state of perfectibility cannot, of course, be stained. That is why Kiba, the last survivor, does not kill Darcia as the latter unknowingly poisons himself with Chesa’s blood. Being loathed by the purest of creatures, he gets to be completely sacked out of paradise.
            Undoubtedly, evil cannot be entirely exterminated from the world. It can hide between the white flowers like a harmless “worm” with “no teeth for the present”; but “in time” it will “breed” “venom”. This metaphor, originally used by Shakespeare’s Macbeth brings out an undeniable truth in life: The chain of malice never ends. A sorrowing fact to admit; but it is only because the world needs to be balanced with both the good and evil forces existing in it.
The following is a construction of musings inspired by Lord Darcia’s statement.
There is neither perfect happiness, or joy, or life. This is because it [life] also does not contain perfect sadness, misery or death.

This impossible existence of wholesomeness drives one insane.
It compels us to strive In order to reach the perfect state. 
Then, inevitably, we drift away when we meet with reality. 
Not so pleasant. Do we keep deluding ourselves? 
Is it our nature to wretch and prefer to be confined in a dream,
A boundless dream?
Nothing is enough for us. We dream of the impossible. 
We admit its impossibility and yet we live to reach it. 
We breathe in our despair and exhale all hopes for change. 
It is utterly ludicrous to build a future upon mere fantasies and to construct plans based on unrealistic visions.
How discreditable it is to be so remote from the world.                               
                   Oh world of reveries, ensnare us not in your spider web.
We have a present to live fully, to ponder thoroughly upon our futile existence for it should be fructified and prettified. 
Goodbye Hyacinth garden.            
        I reckon you and I cannot be unified. 
Long-sought Rakuen, keep calling me.           
         I have not abandoned the quest.  
 The luring moon will be always there to remind me of you. 
It will draw my path and lead me to infinity 
where all ends and all lives.

They say there’s no such place… as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there’s nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it’s always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that… Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me… It says, “Search for Paradise.

Why do humans always look to the sky? Why do you try so hard to fly when you don’t have any wings?

I particularly liked a comment on YouTube which I find relative to my topic and worth sharing.
“  As humans we are always trying to find our purpose in life and hoping that what we do here on earth is not in vain. We continue searching for "ourselves" and living our lives in hopes that one day we might find a paradise. We all hope to be able live in a world where there is no worries and there is no pain and we can finally be free...but sometimes you begin to think if "paradise" is just a fairy tale. Like Quent said,"The thing about fairy tales is . . . there's always some truth in 'em."   ”

Monday, May 28, 2012

From Lines To Rhymes : Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum

Down steadily down it crept.
The pendulum hanging from a crescent pit
A death-condemned, in there stepped
Like a heap of spirits out of frenzy knit.

Down – steadily down it crept.
The man shivering, shrieked and fell.
For hours or days maybe slept;
But still remained in that one cell.

Down unceasingly towards  descent.
How much he wished it ceased to sink;
But it swept and swept
Till his sanity is wrecked
Till the axe almost dwelt
In the poor man’s chest.

“Death, oh  death! Come to me”, he cried.
“Peace I’ve been denied.
I am a restless mind, the impatient kind.
Death, oh death! Come to me”, he cried.

Then reason he gained ;
“Glistening pit with my own blood stained?
By the name of Horror, I will not faint
Or dread your angles of iron made. “

He glared into the ceiling.
Hell it was seeming.
No escape, no fleeing.
In tears he burst weeping.

A thousand deaths; but not this one.
He was rushing to the end, and nothing could be done.
A long shrill scream, his last breaths outran.

Then screams other than his, he heard.
Trumpets like thunder which did sunder
The fiery walls pressing him under
The pendulum now existing even in his asylum,
In his dreams and his nightmarish delirium.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Masquerade: Mark Twain’s The adventures of Huckleberry Finn REVIEW

“ I never knowed how clothes could change a body before.
Dear Huck,
Haven’t you been introduced to the best clothing? In your moments of peacefulness on Jackson’s Island – that “deserted stretch of land in the middle of the river- or on that place you call home, the raft. Haven’t you worn that precious piece when you were all naked in the nature celebrating your freedom? Have you known only weeping as an externalization of your emotions?
Smiling - for or for no reason and as long as it is beaming from the heart- is the best accessory anyone can have. It is an ornament. It is a gift from the inner self to the rest of the world that you can always offer; and it always shines back to you.
Between the temporary satisfaction and the bitter loneliness that follows it; have you never given a place to it? Have you never given your heart anything besides that wish to die? Or have you been cruel to yourself just like you have been harsh on criticizing society? Shall I now be addressing Twain, the creator of Huckleberry and the one who “told the truth”?
 What a hideous truth! What a distorted image of childhood!
Void of that smile.. That beautiful smile.. That innocent smile.
Why have you enwrapped yourself with this black veil of cold emotions?
Death in every imagined story you tell to people or are those desires? Longing for a family.. Then reality crushes it and it is destroyed. All goes back to demise by the end.
Your childhood has been killed too even though you have been mentally growing throughout your long adventures. You have been taken by the stream of the Mississippi river but also by the stream of experience. You have grown accustomed to cruelty but at the same time introvert with the way you keep silent on what your eyes meets and senses feel. At the same time, you are entrusting us as readers to decipher your silence which speaks louder than words.
What shocks the eye makes the tongue speechless and saddens the heart . You do not prefer to be naked at this stage and reveal your true feelings; but rather hide behind that well-forged gate of hushed musings and unbearable lonesomeness.
Nonetheless, you cannot fake it. Dear Huck, you cannot fake it.
You have failed in dressing up and acting as a girl. Even though, you are a “mighty good” trickster, the lady knew you are but a fraud. You can but be yourself, you can be but bare naked to the truth that you will have to endure dangers alone. You will have to know the true nature of people.
 Unmask them. Look beyond their surfaces to their rigid soulless beings and aimless lives.
Empty mob.
 Huck.. That disguise was worthless and so are appearances. They are phony. They are deceiving. They are valueless in front of the potency of that very smile I have been strangling you with since the beginning. I reckon you are estranged to it.
 That’s what would make me “ashamed of the human race”.
So, try it. Wear it.
 You too dear reader, wear it. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

زوبعة في داخلي .

My body is shaking and my self-control is shrinking.
All I can do is to write about it.
My pen, my miserable comrade, forgive me for I have overused you, abused you and you still let my fingers embrace you. Let me not ill-use you and fall deeper in despair..anew..with you.
إنّي قد أغرقتُ نفسي في مشاعري و أغلقتُ على قلبي أبواب عقلي.. حيث المصيرُ المحتّمُ هو أنهارٌ من دمٍ معطّرٍ تفيض من عيونٍ جافّةٍ كانت قد عشِقت الأملَ و لم تشهد سوى الألمَ.
الانكسار و الألم فالموت.
لم أشأ لنفسي الوقوع في هذه الشّباك و لم أخلها شبيهة بشباك العنكبوت.
قد ألصقت فكري بحقيقةٍ تخيّلتها و أحرقت كياني شوقا لتحقّقها .
آمال .. بل أوهام .. ثمّ خرابٌ تمنّيتُه سراب  .
و طيفُكَ حولي ليس بسراب .

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I Write : REVIEW ~ The Paradise Within

George Orwell, in his “Why I write” published in 1946, announces the derives by which any writer is pushed to translate his musings into ink on paper.
One may have the urge to “be remembered” and to “seem clever” at once. For that, the urge is called “Sheer Egoism”. One can also write just for the sake of a good prose and for the love of congruity. The lines are, therefore, a mere reflection of a definite perception of the external beauty. An example to this “Aesthetic Enthusiasm”, is the poem “A Valentine to _ _ _ “by the American poet Edgar Allan Poe. Its composition is challenging as he inserted the name of the valentine within the lines: The first letter of the first line is the first letter of the mysterious lady’s name. The second letter of the second line is the second letter of the valentine and so on. The poem, hereafter, becomes a puzzle that mirrors the poet’s genius and his idiosyncratic concern for beauty, sounds and rhythms. As for the third desire which may form a pulse for writing is the historical motive. It consists of “storing historical facts for the purpose of prosperity”, to paraphrase Orwell’s words. The fourth and the last one is the political purpose. No book, according to Orwell, is void of a political stance. He declares “the opinion that art has nothing to do with politics is in itself a political attitude. “
What I suggest is another momentum thanks to which I both inhaled and exhaled literature. One tends to let out one’s decaying past, one’s precious yet lost memories or even one’s hopes for the future, in lines. I, for instance, engrave my thoughts on paper even though I know it will probably not be read. If you are actually reading this then it means I have shown it to you; and I know that somehow you agree with what I am saying. My derive is not unique. For this reason, “sheer egoism” is not my motive. As for history, I need to admit that I scorn platitude and I am more lenient to imagination. Politics on the other hand is a net in which I wish not to be ensnared.
I call my impulse “The search of the paradise within”. It is an approach to the ghastly corners of my psyche with a genial smile. A pithily wrought verse does not express what I truly feel; but it is rather an attempt to it. One does not always need reasons to be happy. Power lies in the fact that you might endure the heavy burden of the whole humanity but still manage to draw a smile for the mere sake of smiling. Thus, you are defying the malice and miseries of life. It is a search for peace and this is my sole definition for it.
When I am in a conflict with myself.. When I am too steeped in remorse or when I am worried about a dear to me, I fail to sense that peace. My sensations taste like bitterness and I strain myself to writing. Writing becomes a best friend who welcomes all your confessions. It is similar to an act of momentary purification during which my mind is cleansed from morosity. I try to direct my focus to rather existential question just to belittle my inquietude. I call it sometimes “cheating on myself”. However, in some cases it ends with a failure.
I find myself plunging in a wider sea. I cease to see the light. I seize melancholia, my eternal blight. In the search of the paradise within one is liable to stumble upon inferno instead. Past errors even if corrected carve a hole in your memory. Black ravens roam over your heart. It is gradually metamorphosed into a graveyard of dead memories, dead hopes, dead aspirations, dead trust in one’s self. From it, comes self-loathing: These are the dark corridors of my within. I acknowledge that these last lines adhere to the previous idea and I consider it as an experimental writing. Here is then the conclusion: If one thinks one is delighted, it becomes truth. If one thinks one is doomed, it is inescapable that one will be forever doomed.
The mind is the beating heart of the psyche.
If you convince yourself you are hopeless, then you will be soaked in despair. Otherwise, you will still find hope in hopelessness and grow inspiration even with seeds of angst.
All for the sake of that paradise within.

[ What I want my inner paradise to look like ]