Sunday, June 24, 2007

Om Abbas

Om Abbas was our Farrasha in my old work in Baghdad..
She was not old .. maybe in her late or mid thirties.. a widow, always in black (long black dress + black socks and thick black Foota) .. She was in charge of the Tea ceremony in our Daera, along with her other duties such as cleaning , taking files up and down the Daera floors..
She was very poor, but very proud and honest.. she had 2 adult sons, who brought her nothing but misery and sadness, coming to work with a pale face and red eyes from crying because of their reckless and bad behavior, one of them even used to beat her, she being so thin and petite..
She used to have a big bag of nylon in which she brought us hot Sammoon, the famous (Sammoon Hajari), we used to race when we first smell the Chai being done (Yetkhaddar), in fact now when I look back it was always very burnt or shall we say over bolied (mahroogh) I don’t why were we so keen to drink it , afterwards she would start her round, giving each her or his tea as required (with sugar, without sugar, light tea, Verry drak tea, etc..) .. me and my colleague - friends would gather around one of the desks and exchange the latest gossip, the latest engagements heard of of any staff member (announced + not announced) , sipping Om Abbas's Chai along with the hot Sammoon we have snatched from her bag earlier.. it was my favorite hour of the day.. sometimes on of us would bring a treat, a home made cake, or a box of sweets, etc.. ev thing was joyful at the time..afterwards.. we would each start working on her tasks and so the working day begins..
When I think back , I feel maybe it was a hundred years away.. was I really there ? did all the memories that r still so live in my mind, did they really exist? I feel its hard to tell.. we had so much fun.. I used to love my job ..meeting all kinds of people..all sorts of personalities..i had great friends.. it was another life back then..
As the day goes by, we start to feel hungry , and so , a funny protest starts ev where, Om Abbas, how can u not go and buy me a Falafel Sandwitch? Om Abbas, cant u see im so hungry I will faint? Om Abbas? I had so many (Chayat) today I will pass out if I don’t eat something.. and so on.. and the poor Om Abbas would try hard to tell us that she will be missed and then reproached for going out without leave (she was to sit all day on a chair in the corridor, in case anyone calls her out or needs her to do something).. and we would use all our convincing methods to make her go buy us whatever we want.. poor good Om Abbas.. she was such a kind lady.. we treated her like one of us, we would go visit her if she got sick (yes we did!) and help her as much as we can.. she used to say to us (u r all Banatee..) ..and she took so much pride in that.. she used to share her problems with us , her fears, her worries.. and we would listen in compassion and try to help solving them..
Years after I left, I heard she almost lost her sight.. the news brought me such sadness.. I wished she would get well..she was another symbol of the time we left behind and still cherished so much.. the time that we can never have back, when we once had a life..


3eeraqimedic said...

Oh the Um Abasses, yes I am sure we all remember somene like that, I remember the elderly patients we used to call the birds, the lady who took care of the female doctors in the residence making meals, keeping the place inhabitable, listening to the stories when we came back, waking us up in the middle of the night for something or someone,the little ladies who helped keep the whole place running smoothly from offices to schools to hospitals, working hard to support families, paid little but always grateful, kind and helpful and caring for us working girls.
They were and always are the backbone of Iraq.
Another lovely post.
Hope you have heard some good news by now.

Yasmin (Blanche) said...

3eeraqi Medic,
Indeed they are..
many thanks for yr warm so happy that someone else shares similar memories..
No news at all frm my cousin..Absolutely nthing ..
PS: by the way, im becoming addicted to yr posts of (the other U), pls keep the posts more frequent..

Little Penguin said...

ياسمين.. آني بعد ما أجي لهنا..

كل ما أجي ينقبض قلبي لعدة أسباب

أولاً.. شمعنة ما لحكت عالعصر الذهبي مال العراق؟ يعني جانت الظروف صعبة و الحياة متعبة بس جان العراق عراق و جانت الوادم عدهه قلوب.. اني من ورة ما توفت أمي الله يرحمهه و يرحم موتاكم بعد ما شفت لا أم عباس و لا قوري الجاي المتهدر و لا الصمون و لا و لا

ثانياً.. هجي قصص صحيح ترجع ذكريات حلوة و أيام ما تنّسي.. بس كأنما دتحطين ملح عالجرح.. يعني اني فد عندي أمل و لا يزال عندي أمل أنه ينهض العراق من هالكبوة و ترجع بغداد عش السعادة.. بس هجي قصص الحقيقة ما تساعد.. يعني اقراهه و لازمتني العبرة هلكد ما مؤثرة.. بس.. صعبة يا ست ياسمين.. هضيمة.. احنه نتذكر و نتأمل و بهالأثناء عشرة و عشرين يرحون بسيارة مفخخة..

الله يكومهه لأم عباس بالسلامة و يحرس الجميع بالعراق.. بحق محمدٍ و آل محمد

هسه أرفع الزحمة عندي امتحان سوسيولوجي بعد أقل من ثمن ساعات.. اندعيلي

Yasmin (Blanche) said...

Sabah El Kher Little Penguin,

sweet sweet style u have.. Thank u so much for yr kind words..But Please u have to promise me to keep visiting ..
blv me what i write is not meant to bring sadness.. these memories r like a refuge i turn to in my Ghurba to seek calmness ..and i also write it down cause i dont want to forget ..
u see thats what its all about .. noomee heloo is sweet-bitter..
Ya Rabbi Allah yewafqak and u get the highest mark in Sociology and all other exams..but i thought u finished ??!!
take care..and Ameen to yr sincere prayers.. alf ameen..

A&Eiraqi said...

Dear Yasmin
Um Abbas, Abu Shawqi, Um Safaa and many others.
In every place there was one of them, poor, nice and we do the best to help him, maybe helping them or doing soemthing to someone made us feel worthy and this is something I'm struggling to feel nowadays.
I miss them all
Allah kereem

Yasmin (Blanche) said...

thanks for re- visiting..
i know exactly what u mean.. i too blv that not only these simple ppl brought happiness to us with their kindness and warmth, but ev one else we dealt with and chose to keep him in our list of memory..
its just that being away frm home, this what makes things harder to we turn to our tresure of memories.. and our hearts gloe for a second or 2 when we remeber them..
take care..