Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ammo Kamil..

I was listening to a song of Abdel Haleem, when his kind face suddenly came to my mind ...Ammo Kamil was Sayeq el Bas , the looong Big yellow bus of my school..
I can almost remember how he looked at the time.. he had a beard and a Big belly.. he wasn’t very old .. but the nice thing I still remember about him is that he always had a smile on his face.. he was always in a good mood..
The main thing attached to ammo Kamil in my mind was Abdel Haleem.. Ammo Kamil Loved Abdel Haleem, he was a big fan of his ..and so there was always a song of his playing all the way home..
When the old Jaras used to ring, announcing the end of another school day, we used to run in the corridors heading for the outer gate.. I don’t remember we ever walked .. we always used to run.. we run going into class, we run going out to Saha in the breaks, we run going into school, we run coming out of it.. we never walked..
We step outside the school gate, and we see Ammo Kamil sitting behind the steering, in Basna, always parked in the same spot , a few steps away so as not to block the entrance.. and one of Abdel Haleem's song has already started to play..
Now the journey home would never start by getting on the Bas, we first had to make a little tour, buying Charaz and Semsemeyya and stuff.. and in summer there would be (Lekestek) too.. that’s how we used to pronounce it.. which was like frozen ice cream.. later talking to my sister, we figured out that maybe it was marked (lucky stick) but we never knew the meaning at the time.. just (lekistek) which had the most wonderful taste ever.. and what made it taste even better was that parents were always warning us against buying things from the (Arabana) , its not healthy, its full of germs .. etc .. etc.. of course we were never convinced.. nobody got sick eating something he or she bought from Arabana.. that’s why we said yes to them and kept buying what we like when they were not there, and the best time to do that was when leaving school ..
And after buying our favorite stuff, we then would climb into Ammo Kamil' Bas, while he waited for us ever so patiently .. again with a smile on his face.. and so the journey home begins..
I loved to sit next to the window.. eating my sweets, shring what I have with my friend next to me on the (kooshen) .. chatting and laughing.. and Abdel Haleem 's music filling the bus, mixed with the sounds of innocent laughter and sometimes mean wrestling in the back seat, where all the mean, older boys would sit, and love to start a fight once the bus starts to move .. of course it was always silly fights, but we tried hard to stay away from the mean (Wekkah) boys.. better keep to ourselves and enjoy the sweets and lekistek and charaz before we get home..
No matter how loud we were, Ammo Kamil kept his smile, no matter how many fights went on and got settled in the back on the same ride, Ammo Kamil kept his good mood.. and Abdel Haleem kept singing..
Was all this a 100 years ago?? Maybe..
Were we ever sitting in that Long Big Yellow school Bas?? I suppose ..
Have we once had this life full of childhood, innocence, smiles and Abdel Haleem tunes ?? we must've had that once.. ages ago..
I hope that the kind Ammo Kamil is still smiling.. in my mind he still is..

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Spring and the Cute Qitar..

The other day leaving home, I was welcomed by brightly colorful sight .. the sky was bright blue.. the grass was really green ..and a certain scent of freshly born leaves filled the air.. how enchanting..
On the way to work I keep my eyes on the new green leaves .. trying to save enough (green) in my heart and my mind's eye..
I sat in my seat not wishing to engage in any kind of the usual morning conversation.. I wanted all my attention focused on the beautiful colors I missed for so long..
It seems that the Spring did finally decide to visit.. after such a long absence..
It sure can transfer one from a mood of gloominess to a more optimistic one..
Yet again, the cheerful colors took me back to Baghdadna.. to childhood..and to a certain cartoon I used to watch when I was little.. and I was amazed of how long ago it was saved in my memory to come to my mind today..
It was about a cute smiling Qitar - train.. The cute Qitar had a kind smiling face, yes indeed , it had a face.. with innocent childish eyes and a smile that was "on" all through the cartoon.. the Qitar was late .. we see the passengers waiting.. and the man in the station checking his watch over and over.. getting worried.. this particular Qitar was never late.. so what has happened??!!
We then find out that the sweet cute Qitar was late cause he met with the Spring on his way.. and so it had to stop for a little while to smell the wonderful roses, and enjoy the warm weather and just for a short while be happy to just be there with the long missing spring around.. the passengers that the cute Qitar had on board were getting nervious , they r late for their jobs.. for their appointments.. but the Qitar reminded them while smelling the sweet scents of spring (this snapshot I remember so vividly) that its Spring time.. ofcourse we have to stop for a while to enjoy the beauty.. and so the passengers then take the advice and start to enjoy the beauty around them..
What a sweet sweet cartoon.. how v innocent.. just like the way we were .. it was quite normal back then that the Qitar has a face.. it was quite convincing that once spring was there the world has to stop still and hold its breath to look at all the beauty around us..
The man sitting next to me cleared his throat as he was getting ready to get off.. he distracted me from enjoying my trip back with my ever nostalgic memories..
Oh how far away I was for just a few minutes.. how happy I felt for just a short time.. just to re live once again a memory of a smiling Qitar celebrating the arrival of spring.. to remember the innocence and beauty of a world we once had , very long ago yet always seems like yesterday in our beloved Baghdad..
Oh how great is the loss.. how deep is the wound..
A smiling Qitar existed only back then.. and there..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The memories in this post have been on my mind for so long, but with the hectic life I have been leading lately I did not have time to write it down. Then, 3eeraqimedic wrote her post and I was reminded of my trip home from school , but again I did not have to write.. so its been delayed for quite some time..
My parents never approved of me walking home..i never understood their fear at the time.. whats wrong with coming home (meshee)?!.. the school wasn’t really far, well ok not that close.. the walk home took me about 30 minutes.. which was a long walk for me at that age.. my school was in an alley that led to the main street, a beautiful crowded noisy, broad street.. I would leave the school and walk to the main street.. filled with excitement and so very proud of myself.. im going home (meshee), which certainly makes me a big girl.. I was 8 or 9 at the time.. I would hang my (Aleeja – that was quite in style at the time !!) heavy with all my books on one shoulder, my hand holding it from falling , the other hand holding my (yomeyya – I think it was 1 Derham at the time.. wooow..!!) tightly..
Once I leave the alley, there used to be a Patisserie shop (not anymore of course).. the wonderful scent of fresh cake would be hanging in the air, attracting me towards the shop like magnet.. (Halaweyyat gold star) it was called – just before they decided to change all names into Arabic.. I would go in, fascinated by the whole experience, buying myself a piece of cake.. I still remember the small space, with me standing in front of the colored lines of square and rectangular cakes.. vanilla and fruit aroma filling the shop.. the (big) boy behind the glass counter following my eyes as they wonder from one colored piece to the other.. they even had cakes decorated with (green !!) cream, don’t know why (or how as a matter of fact!!) I would always go for the green one.. pale mint green.. I can still remember the taste of it.. sweet and creamy.. mmm.. like melted ice cream.. the (big boy) starts to get bored .. as it takes me forever to decide which one to pick.. the pink also looked tasty .. the white was never my favorite..the square ones were tempting.. they looked bigger .. but my eyes would always go back to the green one.. rectangular though it was, which makes it smaller.. well .. ok.. I ll have the green one.. and so I open my small hand , now clammy from tightly clutching the Derham.. and pay for my cake was 15 fils a piece ..!!!! big boy would hand it over half wrapped in a paper napkin.. I take it with great joy.. I thank him and turn to leave.. lucky him .. it must be the nicest thing in the world to work in this cake paradise..
I start my journey back home, walking ever so slowly so as not to drop the cake..i start eating it with such care.. it tasted so good.. I would like to stand an look at the flowers in the flower shop.. but the walk is still long and I shouldn’t be late.. oh and I would love to stop for a little and look at the nice pharmacists .. a man and his wife (I think) working in the famous pharmacy on the block.. still remember their faces..
I walk in a world of my own.. happy with my cake.. never bothered by the crowds and the loud horns.. it would be sunny and the weather is just great.. the sky used to be so a postcard.. a blue that existed only there, and then.. in Baghdad.. I walk and walk ..and cross the side pavement of the Baghdad fair.. it looked so huge to me then.. my parents used to take us there every year.. and we would go home carrying all sorts of gifts and nice things.. when I reach the colored design of Mataam Farooq, I would then cross the road to the public hadiqa, and im finally in our neighborhood ..
When I arrive at home.. I feel so filled with achievement and satisfaction.. im old enough to go home Meshee.. im a grown up now.. I even buy my own favorite cake.. from my own money ..(yomeyya)..
A scented small shop, a pale green cake, and a walk home .. that’s all it took to make me happy then.. how lucky we were.. how happy and peaceful life was..
We never thought at the time how sad we shall be when we look back years and years later..
We never realized..

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Otla Rabieyya..

What made me remember el Otla el Rabieya ?? don’t know.. just another flash back.. is it the weather? Is it the date??
It seems so long ago.. so far away..
When the nightmare of Mid Year Exam ends, the wonderful dreamy days of el Otla starts.. 14 lovely days of freedom, laziness and absolutely No studying.. the weather would usually be fantastic.. still chilly, but it feels like spring..
I remember watching the sun every day once I wake up.. looking out the window.. praying that the sun would be there sending its warmth so as to announce another perfect day of Otla.. I would wake up late, have a long and late breakfast.. Fried eggs would be So favored on these days.. another cup of tea would be so appreciated.. chatting with mama about anything and everything.. of course mama would be up early, finished her breakfast with dad hours ago..and so she would be in the kitchen waiting for me (or us) to wake up , so as to sit with us while eating our Late breakfast.. it sounds like ages ago.. oh it was o much fun..
Being home in the morning was such a special experience.. the sounds that we hear are so old yet so new to us.. Abo el Ghaz with his different musical instruments.. Abo el Nafot with his distinguished tunes !! sounds we never hear usually cause we would b at school or university ..
After breakfast its time for Ghahwa, with lots of Hel in it.. I used to make such special Ghahwa they say.. the taste was great.. I still remember myself making coffee in our kitchen.. the scent was amazing.. i Love ghahwa.. another thing which I stopped making or having now.. don’t know why.. I mean Ghahwa we can find everywhere.. but I stopped drinking it like I used to.. I suppose it stopped tasting the same for me .. like everything else..
Then it would be time for Tarma .. the sun would be pouring its lovely ray over our Tarma.. and so I wouldn’t miss an hour there , with my book in my lap.. sometimes on the Marjooha that we have there.. sometimes on one of Karasee el Nylon.. I used to feel an inner peace like no other then.. Hadiqtna in front of me.. with its beautiful roses.. all kinds.. different colors.. and my special favorite flower.. el Narjis.. oh how I Adore its lovely refreshing perfume.. in Otla , all the Absal I have planted (that was the only thing I helped planting with my own hands) would either be blossoming, or fully opened.. all around Hadiqtna.. fragile white flowers, filling the air with the most beautiful scent ever..
I told u.. in Otla, everything would be filled with color and beauty and serenity .. the world would be a magical one.. a perfect world..
Theer was nothing much going on in my days of Otla, in fact maybe nothing.. but the thrill was there even before it starts.. preparing the books I intend to read once I finish exams, preparing my favorite kinds of Nastala and Charazat.. its all part of the fun.. when I remember Betna now I feel it was in another world.. or maybe what I have in my mind is not real but something I have seen in a dream.. was I there in reality? Did I really once sit in the Marjooha reading ??
Sometimes it gets so hard to differentiate dream from reality..
But I suppose I Was there once.. and Betna was there once..
Unfortunately not any more..