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Monday, April 7, 2008

Food for the Soul

Yesterday was tough .. it is not out of my system yet .. but I guess it will take sometime.

I had a book signing event in a lovely compound in Sheikh Zayed on Thursday 3 April that was organized by "A New Book in the Market". One of the guests asked me to read outloud a certain part of my book ... I choked on tears twice as I read it ... I want to share it with you;

It was raining heavily and I do not like heavy rain. It was cloudy and grey and I do not like grey clouds. It was windy and cold and I do not like cold wind. I put a few drops of cranberry fragrance oil in my burner and lit the tiny candle underneath, took my laptop in my arms, sat on the sofa, threw a blanket over my legs, and got online. I decided to browse Egyptian blogs and bloggers to see who is writing what. I typed “Egypt” in the search box and I was redirected from one blog to the other until I found his page. I do not know what made me stop and read; his words emitted a sincere and genuine vibe that blended well with the warming scent of cranberry that filled the room.

He is a typical Egyptian guy – not my favorite – who has a typical Egyptian wife to whom he got married in a typical Egyptian way. They were leading a typical Egyptian life and they had no serious issues but for the every now and then character clashes between him and his wife. She had a free spirited genie locked within the bottle of the traditional Egyptian girl and she thought marriage will set the genie free. She pursued her love of nature in desert trips, safaris, and excursions, and he never understood her urges to sleep on the sand or to watch the sunrise from a boat. Nevertheless, they reached some sort of an agreement whereby she can have her breaks when he said that it was ok.

Gihan went blind; she lost her eyesight all of a sudden and the doctors said that it was a rare case. My eyes watered as I read Ahmed’s lines: “My 25 year old wife will never see the nature she loved again.” He went on describing how she got depressed, shut him out, wanted a divorce, wanted him to remarry, quit her job, isolated herself, neglected her friends, and just gave up on life. There were a lot of tears between his lines and there were a lot of tears running down my cheeks. I could not even begin to imagine walking the famous mile in her shoes, or in his shoes. On her birthday, he nearly forced her to get dressed to go out and, to spare her the discomfort of being around people, he took her for a long cruise in a felluca.

Gihan asked Ahmed to lend her his eyes; she wanted him to tell her what he saw. He began talking about the scenery and she began asking him detailed questions. She wanted him to describe the sky; its shades of blue, the birds, the clouds, and the buildings in the horizon. She needed to know the color of the sun at the moment and he understood that orange is not a solid color. She asked him to tell her what he saw in the water and he learned the power of reflections. Gihan was the one who lost her sight, yet she was the one who lent Ahmed her eyes. For the first time he saw what she saw in nature and for the first time they enjoyed nature’s beauty together.

His words came to a full stop and my day came to an end. Ahmed and Gihan were in my dreams all night, and when I woke up in the morning I did not jump out of bed. I did not run around the house trying to get myself in the car to go to the office. I sat in bed and smiled at my cats, slowly reached out to the curtains, pulled them away, opened my window, and watched the sunbeams smile back at me. Their light filled my room and their warmth filled my heart. I reached out to my cats and for the first time I felt their soft fur; before, I used to touch them but that day I felt the warmth and the beauty of something that is beyond words – something that I took for granted.

What else did I take for granted? Who else did I archive unintentionally? What other signs did I miss on the way? What more could I not see? What did I never have the time to do because I was so busy? Who did I never had the time to meet because I had other priorities? I got a cup of tea and sat back in bed and enjoyed a lovely new beginning to my morning. Eventually I got myself out of the house and drove to work; I decided to take a different route. I wanted to see new things and I reminded myself of how lucky I was to be able to look at such beauty. I am lucky to have the heart to enjoy it and I am blessed to be able to feel it. I am eternally grateful to Ahmed and Gehan – two people that I never met. The smile lasted that whole day, the day after, and many days that followed.

New beginnings are always loaded with many contradictory feelings; hope, fear, optimism, doubt, resolution, skepticism, comfort, hesitation, and determination. The skeletons in the closet and collective experiences are a threat to new beginnings. Regret, or the fear of regret, weighs heavily on our hearts as we try to embrace the sunshine. We remember when we were last burnt or when we were last hurt, and we subconsciously look at our scars. Memories of how deep and how painful they were rush back to our heads, and with an involuntary movement we clench our fists as though we are holding on to the past. Something inside of us refuses to let go and that very same thing resists the change – the new beginning.

The tree will shed its old dry corrupted infected leaves and will grow new soft fresh green leaves. I will slow down and enjoy the drive rather than the destination. I will take off my masks, let my hair down, face the sun, smile, and breathe. I will borrow Gihan’s eyes and, from now onwards, I will use them to carefully watch what I used to carelessly look at; to deeply look at what I used to superficially see; to simply see what I simply never saw. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. It comes in to us at midnight very clean. It is perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands and hopes we've learnt something from yesterday." --John Wayne


Anonymous said...

Man,I read the first line of this entry, and thought it would have a VERY different scope.

It's very hard for me to grasp that the country is virtually on fire, and your entry is about book signing. If you can't put up something related to the strike / deaths in Mahalla or the arrests - if that's not the scope of your blog / your interests / your intention, then out of respect for those involved, I think you should hold your peace.


Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Anonymous ... Despair is a sin

My publisher is in prison and there is enough negativity in the air ... being more negative will not help ... there is light at the end of the tunnel

Thank you for stopping by

Anonymous said...

well let me start by my agreement with you about " being more negative will not help " as I was going to reply like this..you know actually I came here and was afraid that your new blog is about the current events in Egypt, cause what I loved first about your blog was its not only about " attracting headlines " not trying to act as a newspaper telling news out of feeling, in fact your feeling in writing make me love your blog even though Iam not interested in reading Egyptian blogs " being honest " lol ummm its just of some bad exprience I got with bloggers in media...however let me talk about how wonderful what I just read...the story is just amazing, catchy but for only who look behind lines and its clear you are one of them...we all can have the same sympathy feeling when we see someone who lost some ability like eyes or hands...but this feeling inspire some people to write something wonderful as what you wrote...while some other people just say " thank god we are not like this! " It hurt me sometimes when I read this words in eyes of people while looking at someone who can't walk for example...even more than it can hurt him...I wrote one story long time ago about a midget girl I met...who was so so amazing person..full of life and happiness like no normal human can be..I don't know where this girl can be now...but as what this story of gihan and ahmed give to you...I think this girl too give me that feeling which can never fade...
" If oneday you can't smile..don't cry or tear to give, If only your heart still with you...never die, you will live... " he was tottaly right... :)
ummm what I have to say at the end...oh yea...love u marwa :P lol guess what! its marwa lover again here! ;) surprise at the end! lol love ya ;)

Marwa Rakha said...

hey you:) this marwa lover thing is becoming creepy .. people think I am sending myself love notes:)

Anonymous said...

و بعدين بقي فيكم يا مروة و حبيب مروة

ماتفتحوش عينينا . . احنا لسه كتاكيت علي مواضيع الحب و الغرام

wink wink

اللهو الخفي

Mo'men said...

when I read that from your book, I was not impressed, yet I was scared ..

I mean the last thing you need before you get married "very soon ISA" is to be reminded of how low, unoriginal, and selfish you are !!

I want to feedback you on your book, but not on the comments page:)


Marwa Rakha said...

يا لهو يا خفى بتنكشنى ليه؟

Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Mo'men:)

Art ... any form of art is a mirror of the soul ... when you look at a painting you see the inside of you and when you read a post/book you see your reflection ... fear is OK .. fear of the unkown is ok .. fear of not living up to your own expectations is also ok ... good luck sweets and I am sure you will be a great husband:)

email me .. marwarakha@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

و انا اطول انكشك؟

دا يبقي شرف كبير

علي رأي المثل

ما حبك الا ما نكشك


اللهو الخفي

Prince said...

hi marwa..sorry! :s its me that( marwa lover ) prince, your old reader, think it was a silly joke and I found the best way to aplogize for it was to have the courage to post by my own blogger account and tell you who I'm and say sorry for the mistake and mess I made here in your blog...I decided this after what you wrote and after looking at the anonymous infection I made to others here...
actually I know that most of times being anonymous waste the value of the comment..and I fall in this here..
and who think you may send love notes to yourself is certainly doesn't know you well and never understand the language of your honest words..
again sorry for the joke..and hope you accept my real apology.

Marwa Rakha said...

emm .. so it's you afterall:) ... no worries Walid .. no harm done:)

Anonymous said...

excellent blog, if my brother was not sleeping in the same room i was gonna clap loud.

Marwa Rakha said...

This is so sweet anonymous:) Thank you

Anonymous said...

Words expressed are a food for some souls...

I admire ur words,ur way of expression..its like im actually having a conversation with u,very honest and 'nude'.

Im very curious about reading ur new book "the poison tree"..(ill run out n get it now!!) just tht little extract,not only intrigued me but i actually read it more than a couple of times over and over nd over again.

Ahmed and Gehan's story was so beautiful,i wish we could "OPEN UP" more peoples eyes.dont u?

I(think) im a writer but i havent found my 'outlet of expression' yet..it could be fear thats holding me back.

This is something i wrote(Forgotten*)just thought mayb u cud check it out...i consider it a form of soul-food..

Im officially a fan of ur blogspot.
Im hooked on ur writing.
God bless u:)



Forgotten are the days where the dark was lighter..
The days where the trust used to quickly fade..
The days where I protect myself from me,from u.

Lost are the days spring was winter ..
And everything said was true

Gone are the days of solitude
The winds are about to change

Our love has hurricaned away from the world
And taken our souls with it.

Where we’ll be kept safe till the day we bond as one.

The swaying trees swing to the beat of the growing grass…
Synchronizing with the flow of the wind…

The river sends love across its banks…
Leaving the flowers,
Nourished with passion..

Petals fall shameless..
filling the earth with empathy

Perfection forms as it all blossoms…
Encircling us ..

The soft scent of the flowers…
Filling the air…
As u and I bond as one.

The winds listen,
The trees sing…
The grass grows still.

And the once painful memory is never reminisced.

The darkness surrounding the light,
The long,late fights,
Never again reminisced.
The painful memories erased now,
Those days cannot be missed.

A broken rose,
Petals rotten.

Those were once the days,
Now forgotten.

The sun gathers its rays…
Directing them to warm only us..

Two souls are one…
The breeze picks up and gathers the seeds
Watered with love,
Created with passion,
Warmed with care..
And Returns with a piece of our souls..
Moulded into a miracle.
Never to be forgotten.

Carry on the legacy,
Teach the love,
as every winter turns to spring
every dark turns to light..

Believe in the freedom,
Liberty will break chains..
Send the love with all ur words..
Tell our story ..

Celebrate life the way things cannot be forgotten.




Marwa Rakha said...

Naso0omiii .. you write beautifully ... very sensitive and very moving ... are you published?

Anonymous said...

what do u mean?
blog or book?
both ways no..lol
ive written hundreds of 'pieces' not even sure if theyre poems,songs or writings.They each have little stories inside them,i always intend on giving my reader a chance to escape from their world to taste what mine is like.
Id love to publish something,but i have no idea where to start what to do?Sort of lost here...
Im glad u like 'forgotten'..

How did u start out? ..(the journey of writing???)


gothic beauty said...

Dear marwa

amazing work, very inspiring .

your words inspired me to look diffrently to a new day thanks to u, ahmed and gihan i'm willing to look at the sun beams and try to see them smiling at me rather than burning me.

thank u:)

gothic beauty

Marwa Rakha said...

Nasooomiii .. you can start by a blog .. it is very nice ot get people's reaction and impression about your writings:)

Then you can go for a book and I could help introduce you to my publisher:)

Good luck hun x

Marwa Rakha said...

I love your name Gothic Beauty:) ... I am glad you found Ahmed & Gihan's story inspiring ... I am certain that there was a reason behind me stumbling on that blog and losing it ... I hope I understood the reason right:)