Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My only New Year’s Resolution

It’s this time of year again with all the hope of a better year than the one before… again, and all the new year resolutions… again, and all the online articles and blog posts about how you did it wrong last year with the new year’s resolution but this year, it’s a winner, baby… again!
Most common resolutions I’ve seen (and made):new-years-resolutions
  1. Lose weight
  2. Be healthy
  3. Be happy
  4. Find a better job
  5. Be happy, dammit!
  6. Follow your dreams
  7. Find your passion
  8. Study more
  9. Work more
  10. Get married (yes I’ve seen it, and I sort of get it when a couple has been together for a couple of years and it just doesn’t get done!)
  11. Leave your spouse (seen it too, not an easy choice)
  12. Become more spiritual.
  13. Meditate.
My own personal favorites, that happen to be mine and very few other people’s:
  1. Write more (2014 was an all-time low for blogging at 9 posts –this makes 10 –and 4000 views) so I showed ’em!
  2. Study more.
  3. Become a better daughter/sister/aunt/sister-in-law/niece/etc.
  4. Do something daring.
  5. Learn to cycle.
  6. Learn the cello.
  7. Write a novel (that’s my favorite, I always kill all the characters in chapter 1) J
  8. Finish that story I got in a folder I call “old old old laptop” which just means it’s something I’ve had for a long time.
  9. Finish that other story in the folder called “stories” which has a few more other stories right next to it.
  10. Face my fears, again!
  11. Get in touch with my long lost friends.
  12. Drop all the sucky friends.
And because I’ve had so many resolutions for so long that are hardly ever achieved by plan, and usually by accident, I’ve decided to wade into the new year of 2015 unprepared, unplanned, un-disappointed, un-hopeful, with both feet firm on the ground… or not, who knows right?
Here’s what I know about 2015:
  1. Absolutely nothing!
I also know that I need to lose weight, write more, finish my stories, write a novel, learn to cycle, face my fears (and all those fears I never realized I had until life decided to throw a curve ball). Therefore, with no resolutions, and with the help historical data and objective self observations, I’ve decided to do one thing in 2015, and that is…
Drumroll please…

Follow Through

And to give myself a helpful hint:
Don’t bite off more than I can chew

So even if I decide to do nothing, and follow through, then I’ve done something. But, if I decide to become NASA’s next top rocket scientist, I’m following through on that too because it doesn’t really matter how terrible our lives are now, or even how wonderful. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t written a story this year, or haven’t learned to play the cello, or even if I gained another scary 10 kg. What matters is that I write 1 and only one story, if that’s what it means to not have a dozen incomplete stories in my old old old laptop folder and say at the end of the year that I want to finish it on the next.
Bridget Jones's New Year Resolutions

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Year I Was Too Busy to Live

It’s time for my yearly blog on the not so happy occasion of getting a year older and a year closer to the infamous 30. (P.S. my birthday was actually 6 days ago, that’s how busy I am)

I’ll keep this short. I haven’t really learned anything this year. I’ve been too busy working, and too busy studying, and too busy thinking about all the problems I face during working and studying to actually work effectively or study well. It’s like I’ve choked myself by being busy; biting more than I can chew and still trying to bite a little more. Sounds disgusting and gluttonous, except it really isn’t, at least not in that sense.

During this fine year, I was too busy to keep up with my friends, and I was too busy to do anything fun. I was so busy even that I think I sent the guy I liked hidden messages telling him I’m too busy for him, which sort of sucks, but anyway.

New year, new life. MBA should be over by the end of the month and I will actually be free! Of course, I try to pretend that the MBA is what’s ruining my life and keeping me busy except I know it’s not. I try to say that working too hard is ruining my life, which it is, but it’s not like the world would end if I work too hard or too little. I’m another cog in a horrible machine. Once ruined by burnout, I would be replaced… not much point in that either.

I wish I could say I learned something, even without the constant reflection that takes me around in circles into my brain and back to that same starting point. I learned book stuff in the MBA. That was an addition. I learned that politics is everywhere no matter where or what you do for a living. I learned that nice people are usually weird but there are still nice people around. I keep losing my faith in humanity and getting it back again, but in the end humanity is what it is; flawed, and the world is an ugly place despite our constant attempts at being appalled by its ugliness without doing anything about it. Well, maybe I haven’t really learned that but a reminder is always nice.

So what’s my new year’s resolution based on my not so deep learnings? That’s actually the worst part about the new year. I won’t have the MBA excuse anymore, I have to think about all those things that I should do or else life is futile. I have to dodge all the marriage nagging from practically everyone (it really isn’t that I’m against it, there is just a horrible lack of adequate AND interested supply). I need to finally figure things out, which is what I’ve been trying to do for the past God knows how many years and never reaching an answer. I’ll probably come up with more big ideas that are like hot air balloons. At the end of the day, I am still me, my birthday is just another day when I get older, like all other days when one gets older (it’s called time passing), but this year, I haven’t grown wiser, just more used to life with all its downs and ups and downs that are actually ups.

Happy Birthday to me!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Real Depth

I wrote the entire last post as an introduction to this one, to present an idea of actual deep people that I have met and would have totally dismissed had I been following the bohemian depth thing. It is important to notice these people because they are everything the other ones aren’t.
Real people with real depth have opinions, but are eager to hear the opinions of other people as well. They might not go into deep passionate discussions, not because they are not passionate about what they believe in, but because they need to digest what the other person is saying first before dismissing it as something that doesn’t fit their framework, and they’re polite too.
Real people with real depth are interested in a large number of ideas, and are eager to learn. They don’t necessarily parade the latest books they’ve read and possibly haven’t understood, or the documentaries they’ve watched, but they form ideas and link them together in something more tangible. To them, the environment and the economy go hand in hand. Education and science, along with a higher standard of living and respecting the rules are indispensable. And yes, they ask questions that are not rhetorical. Imagine that!
Real people have various interests in music and movies, but they do not call them eargasms and they don’t care if what they like is not necessarily the most popular. They understand that different people have different tastes, and their tastes might not fall along the same lines as the collective.
Real people with depths have passions, contrary to the popular belief that they are cold, and they are eerily well informed about those things that trigger their passions, which puts them in positions to speak fervently, but only in the form of statements and not in the form of directions as to what is the best and what is substandard.
Real people are also not afraid of saying they don’t know, or that they are interested in something new, or that they do not agree with something without sounding at all ashamed or offensive. There is no passive aggressiveness to them. In fact, when they say they don’t know something, they will ask you to enlighten them so that they broaden their knowledge and their wisdom, which usually puts the other deep guys in a hotspot of having to say something meaningful.
Real people with actual depth don’t use sarcasm to display their higher IQ, instead, they listen with patience and comment with sincerity without making fun of anyone, even if the sarcasm is subtle. It is called respect. 
It is important to understand what we are becoming in our attempts to gain wisdom and knowledge, and in our attempts to display them as well. What is the message we are giving? What are we trying to achieve? Are we really being opinionated and individual or are we following the crowds that give us a sense of belonging when the mainstream doesn’t work anymore?

So ask yourself this, which camp do you belong to?

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Dude.. That’s deep!

A few years ago, opinions began to actually matter. The more opinionated you were, the better. The more dismissive in a romanticized sense you were of others habits and opinions, the better, you were a rebel then. The more books you claimed to have read and analyzed, the more poetry quotes you post on your facebook and twitter pages, the more underground music you listen to, the better.

Better what? Well depth of course! You’re living the bohemian life where everything is an emotional roller coaster, everyone is an artist or an appreciator of art, and the lingo is the same because only people with that level of depth deserve to exist and everyone else should be shunned out.

Well, my humble opinion says that is bullshit.

I admit, the whole bohemian style of things was interesting at first. And there is some truth in it: underground music and good books along with a great cup of coffee and maybe some poetry is indeed beautiful. Visiting cultural places and having opinions about existential issues as well as political and cultural issues is important. But all this does not matter if it is fake, which unfortunately is lots of times.


So here is my tiny experience with this mad bohemian world that has come to exist in the groups of the 20 somethings I know. We start off by opinions on politics, and how the world should go, an what’s wrong with our countries, which is all fine and dandy having lived through a revolution, then it turns to music; underground music, classic oldies, Fayrouz & Ziad Rahbany who are a genre of music on their own, and this is fine too because usually the music is good until you start getting the pretenders and you start noticing: if you don’t like the new guys who are supposed to fall into the above genres then you don’t really belong. Next, we move on to the books and ideologies; everyone has a strong view on things, and starts discussing ideologies; anarchism and socialism and fascism and capitalism. The passion with which the ideas are being communicated gives one a sense of absoluteness: this cannot be wrong, these people must know what they are talking about. Then, we come to the books, which gave me the first hint of fallacy. You see, most of the new books are just that, new! They lose a lot of the essence for the sake of ideas that are not necessarily solid. Stories have been getting raving reviews while lacking character composition, scene composition, and plot, but because they are falling in that large bowl of bohemian depth everyone is so dying to dive into, they are considered masterpieces of art. The last measure of depth, and the second clue, is the cultural sites. I won’t claim to know so much of anything, but suddenly, old Cairo and down town Cairo have become places where young people flock to in order to live the bohemian depth. For me, since I enjoy the architecture and the stories spun from history, I expected those people knew where they were going or what they were doing, but unfortunately, it was the new “cool” as such settings adds to the look of depth they cherish so. That got me thinking; do I really like Fayrouz and underground music that much? I prefer Abdel Wahab with his very chic music and Bon Jovi with his in your face songs. I will still hate the contemporary books. I will try to learn of the places I visit before just admiring the sites like a tourist in my own country. And, as I like some of the underground music, some of them just suck!! Ideologies, much as I admire them, should be analyzed for pros and cons and discussed objectively with points on application, not dismissed and definitely not changes on the whims of the collective.

There is this movie called Almost Famous about the very young reporter who goes on tour with a rock band and meets this groupie girl who is mysterious and crazy and teaches him all sorts of new things in life, only to find out that she’s a silly lost teenagers with a crush on a band member who lives in her own imagination. If you’ve seen it, then it’s clear what I’m talking about. If not, I guess by now the idea is clear: My generation believes that culture is the new cool, without understanding the real meaning or price of being “a cultured” person. We are becoming groupies to this fallacy, with no depth at all really; more like an optical illusion made out of an elaborate lie.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Diaries of a workaholic

Hi my name is Dina and I’m a workaholic.

I wake up every morning to go to work. I set the alarm at 7:30 and end up snoozing 3 to 5 times until I actually get out of bed, and the first thought I have is “I don’t want to go to work today.” But it stays as a thought and eventually I get out of bed and do the morning rituals. I don’t do this because I lack sleep. I usually sleep my 8 hours give or take an hour or two. Sometimes, I’m awake before the alarm rings; I just can’t get out of bed. I’m usually thinking about my to do list throughout the morning rituals, and I’m usually overwhelmed. Lately, I have had to deal with unpleasant situations or people which make it even harder to know that I have to go through that horrible meeting with those obnoxious people. But it’s a living, and I’m a workaholic.

I arrive at work, drag my feet, turn on my machine and, as we say in Egypt, “Spray the water” (which is a metaphor for the first thing shop owners did in the 19th and early 20th century when they were open for business) and make coffee. I do the morning chats and depending on the energy I get, I start the day. A call here, an email there, a discussion on the side, and my daily computer crash, and we’re already rolling. The to do list gets bigger and I try so hard to check something off without adding 5 more in its wake. I do the runs between the different team members and the different teams; best part is the running about, I can never sit for so long at my desk anyway unless the sky would fall on my head if I didn’t. I remember that I forgot to eat, generally because I start to feel a bit dizzy, so I grab a chocolate bar, or coffee or something with lots of sugar. Let the sugar rush begin! It’s 6 pm already, which is a good thing because people should start leaving the office and the emails will be less and I just might get something done in the end. I live close to work so I don’t worry so much about traffic anymore, and I always have this one more thing to do, one last sheet, one last email, one more task, and before I know it, it’s 10-ish and my mom is freaking out.


Sounds terrible right? My friends are all mad at me, I work too much. My managers are telling me two things: get a life, or get a vacation, but I know that I’m just not ready for either.

The truth is, I get a fix out of it. That moment when I get something done, or help someone at work, or even send a status report; I end up feeling satisfied, even just a little bit. I don’t always enjoy it, but sometimes I do. I know it’s killing me, but I can’t help it. If I don’t go to work, I get a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve actually come to the conclusion that I hate weekends, but I don’t work on weekends as much as I can because I end up resenting myself and suffering from self-pity (as if I don’t already). That moment when I think I have to go home now because I can’t stay at work any longer is not because I miss home, it’s because I know deep down that I might OD and die or something. Going home has become a chore of its own, because then I will have to stop thinking about work (as if) and I have to engage in normal day to day activities. I have to remember that I have problems that I need to deal with or worry about, and that I have been too busy working to give them any room in my head. I have to be a part of a family and do my duty as such. I have to meet my friends and hang out to talk about boys and old bosses and how our parents still treat us like children. Again, please don’t get me wrong. I love my family and my friends. I feel blessed with a wonderful life and I am grateful. But somehow, it’s harder to be a normal person living a normal life than just being at work with all its glorious stink.


And for that fix, I have been doing my MBA! I’m still going through it, with all the assignments and projects and team meetings and classes. I love it; I’m learning, I’m meeting people, and I’m keeping busy. What is even more important than all that is that I get to always be thinking that I have more stuff to do. I will think about the next assignment instead of having to go get a medical checkup. I will complain about this team or that instead of wonder how big a space all those people who died actually left in the world. All the while, I’m learning, I’m adding lines on my resume to tell the world that I do stuff and I am not just a cog in some company’s wheel (because I’m actually a cog in several wheels at the same time; now THAT is multitasking), and I’m keeping that brain of mine that enjoys overloading itself with existential questions busy! Finally, if at a time I go through that list of people I call every time I feel like I miss my friends and no one answers, well who needs them, I’ll call someone from work and get a status instead!

The naked truth is this: I have had it drilled in my head at a very young age that there is always more that can be done. In the 10+ years I have known my dad, I actually knew him for a total of 2 years because he was always working. If I’m not working or studying, then I’m wondering why I exist, or why I’m alone or lonely, or why I feel like my chest will implode. When I’m working or studying, I’m not remembering the bad things, I’m not even remembering the good things which can be a blessing as well. When I’m working, I’m my job or my degree because I don’t have to think about broken cars and law suits and betrayals and lies.

I wonder if it’s hereditary; my dad was a workaholic, and when he wasn’t working he was making sure to keep busy with something! Some argue he worked himself to death; too much work, too much coffee, too much stress, too much cigarettes. Did he also feel empty? Did he feel overwhelmed? Did he hate his life outside of work? Was his family not enough for him? Was it too much? Did he just need that fix, regardless of anything else? I will never know.

At the end of the day, I work, therefore I am real. Everything else is just one of those exhausting dreams where monsters chase us and we wake up more weary than before we went to bed in the first place.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Some People are Cool

Some people are there when you need them, every single time.

Some people don’t answer the phone, but you always know they’ll call back.

Some people you can talk to about probably everything at any time and it never feels off or awkward.

Some people don’t change when their circumstances change, they stay open, don’t hold grudges, treat you now the same way they treated you 3 years ago, 10 years ago, 17 years ago when you first met them.

Some people smile when they see you, even if the topic is sour or if they are sad or down or upset, or if you are sad or down or upset, and that smile is never out of place.

Some people are kind of moody, but then again that fades next to your mood swings, so it’s fine really.

Some people can gossip about everything and anything, make fun of you to your face, don’t need to ask for subtitles, and know more about hair products and make up than you ever will.

Some people read you like an open book, understand your flirts when the person you’re flirting with is totally oblivious, and say that he’s stupid for not getting it, even though you are a geek after all and geeks suck at flirting.

Some people can tell you that you look fat without actually telling you that you look fat and you will never feel horrible about it, not even in retrospect.

Some people are just way too decent in the way they act and the way they talk, it makes you feel like you’re in a PG-13 movie.

Some people have a very sour comeback to other people, or at least they did. I don’t think they still do it, but you know deep down they can.

Some people make you feel like you haven’t grown a day over 12, and that they haven’t grown a day over 12, despite sounding very much their age.

Some people amaze you by actually caring!!! And it always always shows in the little things.

Some people read your stupid blog without tagging them in it or posting it on their wall or asking them to. Some people say they like it too J

Some people are all the above and are wise as well.

And sometimes, talking to those some people in that once in a blue moon event, you always feel like the conversation ended smack in the middle with so much left unsaid. To be continued when they, or you, pick up the phone again in a year or so.

Makes you happy that some people are in your life, even if it is once a year that you talk to them or something.

Some people are just 1 very special person: Mostafa Esmat Sheba (who despite me calling him Sheba lately is known in my house as Mostafa Esmat).


I have a message to some people:

Please don’t allow me to keep you at arm’s length, or to drift, or to think twice before calling you in my next car accident (God forbid).

Please don’t let the world get too much for you that you stop smiling as much as you do.

Please know that you are an important person in existence.

Please take note of the happy moments in life, no matter how few, and of the bad moments because that’s when you make your best jokes.

Please stay honest, with yourself and with everyone else (even though you can be so vague sometimes, you should work on that!)

Please hold on to yourself for me because it’s handy to have someone like you to remind me of who I am, and you know how I have a terrible habit of losing sight of things and people.

Oh, and please don’t wear pink shorts ever again!

Till your birthday (which is probably the next time we’ll talk)

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Monday, May 12, 2014

A Haphazard Bundle of Inconsistent Qualities

“For thirty years now I have been studying my fellow–men. I do not know very much about them. I should certainly hesitate to engage a servant on his face, and yet I suppose it is on the face that for the most part we judge the persons we meet. We draw our conclusions from the shape of the jaw, the look in the eyes, the contour of the mouth. I wonder if we are more often right than wrong. Why novels and plays are so often untrue to life is because their authors, perhaps of necessity, make their characters all of a piece. They cannot afford to make them self–contradictory, for then they become incomprehensible, and yet self–contradictory is what most of us are. We are a haphazard bundle of inconsistent qualities. In books on logic they will tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air; but in that mixture of incongruities that makes up the self yellow may very well be a horse and cart and gratitude the middle of next week. I shrug my shoulders when people tell me that their first impressions of a person are always right. I think they must have small insight or great vanity. For my own part I find that the longer I know people the more they puzzle me: my oldest friends are just those of whom I can say that I don’t know the first thing about them.”
--Excerpt from A Friend In Need By W. Somerset Maugham

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stray Thoughts: Love and Frienship

Some people spend their whole lives trying to figure out two things; love and friendship. Love is that thing which everyone seems to feel but no one can really describe, it's like saying something is blue; who am I to tell that the images two people send to their brains and their brains interpret them as blue are identical? It's all a matter of perception really. As to friendship, it used to be who would play with you in the park, then it became who would sit next to you in class,or who you would spend the longest hours on the phone with. It matures to who would cover for your mischefs, and to who would tolerate you and turn a blind eye to your flaws. It finally becomes who would look into your soul and not wince in disapproval. If love feels like reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, friendship is the torch you carry to light your way.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Of Lady Moon and Master Sea – Eternity Ends

This is a sequel to Of Lady Moon and Master Sea

The seas raged all over the realm of earth. It was as if the moon did not control the tides anymore. Whole cities were submerged and destruction filled the lands. Meanwhile, the moon was always covered in thin mist, always blurry. If a man looked up to it, he would think he was looking at it through a veil of his tears.

It has been months since Master Sea and Lady Moon met. On every full moon, she would go down to the realm of earth, on that far away beach where no creature ever dared tread, and she would walk. She would walk close to the sea but not daring have the water touch her, feeling his rage, knowing that he must see her, and hoping that maybe if she walks far enough, he would come. She would walk until dawn, and risk showing herself to Lady Sun, who would shine brighter in celebration of Lady Moon’s dismay. Month after month, she descended to meet him, but Master Sea never came. Eventually she stopped walking the nights for him, she stopped walking the nights at all. But still, every month when her cycle is whole, the Lady Moon went to where they met. Her face, once radiant, has become pale. Her tears, once moonstones, have turned into mist, and the night that is her hair has been starless ever since. He has abandoned her. Eternity has passed as a witness of their love, eternity must be over.

The wind whispered to him, telling him of her plight that he surely knew, asking him for mercy, but he was deep in those dark corners at the bottom of his realm, too far to hear the whispers of the wind. Lady Sun shone brighter, eating at him, taking little pieces of him into the clouds and making the wind blow them away to rain deep inside the realm of earth, but he was too deep in his realm to notice, and she knew that no matter what, Master Sea would never allow her to see him as Lady Moon did. And so she burned at the world.

The universe was going into chaos, conclave was called into order.

The observer sat at the head of the table, waiting for the masters and ladies of the realms to come. His face has never displayed concern, not even when stars are born and die, not even when planets are consumed, not when entire species disappear with no trace. He observed everything, and everything followed the wish of the Creator. The order in the chaos was never broken, except now.

The wind blew in first, he never liked to be called master. He said he was a servant of the universe and the Creator, and master of none. Master Earth came second, the ground shaking with each step. The wind greeted him and blew through his leaves. Then, Lady Moon crept in. she shed no light and spoke no words. She was covered in mist. The moonflowers on Master Earth’s surface have not even felt her presence. “My lady, your flowers have missed you,” he said as he offered her his hand with a moon flower in gloom. Lady Moon stared at the flower in with unseeing eyes. It may have been an eternity before a tiny shadow of a smile grew on her face, and the flower started to bloom. Lady Sun came next, radiating so much heat that the leaves on Master Earth were withering. He glared at her and looked to the observer. “You had best dim your lovely light my lady. Remember, this is conclave,” said the observer. For a second, Master Earth thought she would laugh at the observer, but she conceded with a shadow of a smirk. She took her seat opposite Lady Moon, her eyes blazing at the pale lady Moon who sat quietly and said nothing. They sat, waiting for Master Sea to come. They waited silently, nervously, but Lady Moon was oblivious, staring into nothing, until the waves could be heard.

Master Sea came in with the flood at his heels. The masters and ladies greeted him, all except Lady Moon who stared at him, there was no hiding her love. He ignored them and sat down, returning love with ambivalence. “The conclave is now in session,” said the observer.

“Master Sea, you have been neglecting your duties and your realm is in chaos. The species are out of control, the seas and oceans are flooding Master Earth’s shores. You are no longer heeding to Lady Moon’s functions.

“Lady Moon, you have lost your strength and the power over your realm. The entire night sky has dimmed. Stars are dying more rapidly and the constellations are losing shape.

“Lady Sun, you have been scorching the realm of earth. Your influence on Master Sea’s realm and the wind and causing it to rain in deserts. You are burning the crops that you should help grow.

“Masters and ladies, you are breaking the eternal order. Explain yourselves.”

Master Sea stared into the void and gave no answer. Lady Sun started ranting about how it was her right to shine the way she liked, she had always been giving life and she would continue to do so. But then she agreed that she had been taking it too far and conceded to going back to normal. The observer looked to Lady Moon, who was still quiet and distant. She finally spoke, her voice barely a whisper. “I have nothing to say for myself, Observer. You all know my plight, and for me, eternity is over. I wish to be destroyed.” Conclave was quiet, no one dared speak. The lovers who reside in Master Earth’s heart began to cry, the flowers were dying. Everything that lived on the realm of earth was heartbroken. As the observer was about to speak, Master Sea said, “I will flood the realm of earth. Master Earth, I beg your pardon. You have been nothing but gracious to me, but it has to be done. If the Lady Moon wishes to be destroyed, then I have the same wish for myself. My only request, if she accepts, is that our ends bring us together. If she moves closer to your realm, Master Earth, I will have no choice but to concede to her power and flood it. Your realm will be gone by the time she crashes into mine. I would appreciate the few moments I would have with her at the end of eternity when as if they were all that has ever been.”

Master Sea knelt by Lady Moon, showing his love for the one and only time to the ladies and masters of the realm, “my Lady Moon, I beg your forgiveness. I have been blinded by your love and crazed by my desire for you. I have never meant to cause you harm, I would rather annihilate myself and the universe a thousand times over. But my heart is dark, and the darkness consumed me. Eternity is indeed over, but it has never been because my love for you faltered, it is because our time has finally come to exist together, and it would be for eternity, even if eternity is but a moment.”

Master Sea opened his hands, they were filled with moonstones. The moonflowers were blooming for the last time on Master Earth’s realm. The room was filling up with silver radiance as Lady Moon’s face lit up, and above them, the void was alight with stars. “Lady Moon,” said the observer, “do you accept?”

“I do,” she replied. He nodded. It was time for the world to end.in_the_shadow_of_the_broken_moon_by_justv23-d4xqocq

On a desolate beach, the sea was roaring, the moon was full, huge, filling up the night sky with silvery light. The sky was filled with stars. Even though the wind was raging mad all over the world, it was nothing but a light a breeze on that beach. A beautiful girl in a white frock that blew in the breeze walked slowly, letting her feet and the hem of her frock be kissed by the waves. The night in her hair twinkled with a million million stars, and her smile cast light shining deep into the darkness of the sea. Master Sea stood, shifting his feet. He has waited for eternity, and now eternity was over and another was to begin; an eternity of scarce moments that would feed his soul once and for all. He watched her come near, feeling her feet as his waves engulf them, for the first time, even though he was flooding the earth, he was calm. The rage was gone. He can finally touch her. In a moment, they would both perish, but eternity was now. He knelt by her feet but she pulled him up and held his hand. They kissed while the moon was crashing into the sea behind them. They kissed… as the world was no more.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Salonat on the Field

I owe it to my journalistic duty (note to self: buy a Fedora) to report on the actual happenings of my first Salonat experience (the Egyptian term for arranged marriage meetings). I’ve already done an analysis of the situation back in 2011 and my friend’s comeback to the idea just a few weeks after, which makes this my third encounter with the idea, and hopefully my last.

First of all, I would like to set the stage:


The prospective bride (Me):

I am a 27 year old workaholic who stays at work till 10:00 pm and says she enjoys it; her own managers are telling her to get a life. I am an engineer (lot of good that does me) and annoyingly book smart, potentially a know-it-all-goody-two-shoes, who is a self-diagnosed crazy person with very high standards in men that almost resemble the geek girl version of a Disney prince (I have actually published that too as a checklist!) and a couple of really bad relationships deeming me a very untrusting person.


The prospective groom:

A 33 year old banker who lives in Maadi, probably comes from a nice family, and whose father is a banker as well. (yes it’s a one-liner)

The circumstances:

I’ve been going back and forth with my mother about this for a while now. So far, I’ve been lucky enough (or maybe manipulative enough) to have my mother reject all the other prospective clients, sorry I mean grooms, without my interference based on her own set of standards, which are basically him being an engineer and from a good family. I have to explain that she is under the preconceived notion that engineers are smarter than other people, and I have made no attempt to remedy her perception since it works to my favor. As a disclaimer, I have seen my share of stupid engineers, and so from my perspective, a person coming from an engineering background only guarantees minor enhancements in cognitive abilities and nothing else. So finally, with her worried that I am becoming an old spinster at the age of 27, she has agreed to let go of her standards with respect to the engineering background and set up this meeting (while claiming that I’m only 26.)


The events of the encounter:

I was late… very late actually, to my mother’s utter shame. They had been waiting for almost an hour and she had to go ahead and meet them before my arrival. The party consisted of his mother, his aunt, and the groom to be (or not), in addition to the missing link, I mean the common link. As much as I would like to say that he was an alpha male jerk who was trying to make a poor display of his testosterone (like some guy a friend was trying to set me up with, both of them learned their mistake in half an hour or less), he was actually nice! I was expecting an anti-feminist-ugly-stupid-creep who would criticize me and attempt to tell me his version of how he sees my life. I got a normal guy, who was actually interested in learning about my work and my interests. He was noticeably shorter than me, a bit more on the traditional side, not the funniest or the most interesting. There was no love at first sight, or even admiration at first sight, but the conversation was pleasant. He was an average Joe, and there is nothing more to say there, and nothing wrong with it either.

All in all, we stayed about an hour. He was good at trying to avoid the awkward silences, and we talked for the entire duration. I didn’t linger on the conversation, didn’t think about it, or him, afterwards, and I can honestly say I didn’t feel anything about the whole situation; just someone I met, talked to, and walked away. The missing link said some things in the middle in a feeble attempt at trying to be funny, but only ended up putting everyone present at awkward situations. But the lesson was learned, or would be learned in the aftermath.


The aftermath:

I gave my mother the above feedback so that she can convey it to the missing link. Apparently, it wasn’t that simple. How was I to know that having polite conversation gave the impression that I’m interested? That “if they’re talking” then “they’ll get married in a fortnight!” The mechanics of the arranged marriage system escape me, and escape my mother as well. She got on the phone with the obnoxious lady and told her my feedback. The obnoxious lady wasn’t convinced so my mom resorted to the only negative thing I had actually said about the guy: he was too short! The obnoxious, and quite stupid lady, while promising that she wouldn’t tell his family that, conveyed the message and got back to my mother to tell her the events of the conversation, which of course included the short comment. By the end of her call with my mom she dropped an “oh by the way, why did your daughter get so fat?”


The conclusion:

I made it clear to my mother it was not to happen again, simply because I am not the type of girl who believes that having pleasant conversation is equivalent to being ready for marriage. I think my mom, knowing that a lot of my friends are guys, knows that I will not be impressed by a guy I meet on neutral ground, having the backup of his family who are gathering ammunition to fight back rejection. Isn’t that half of the equation? You meet someone and get a 50% chance of either rejecting or being rejected. Again, common sense most probably doesn’t apply to the arranged marriage mechanics, but at least I made it clear that it isn’t for me, and definitely snapped back an “I told you so” about the result of the rejection.; At the end of the day, it’s a judgment match; one team is judging the other. To come out of something like that with a pros and cons list, all very shallow and subjective, shows how this system does not work, at least not for me.


The silver lining:

My mom is happy that I did it. Apparently she doesn’t feel like I’m a freak of nature anymore since I wasn’t rejected. I think I have convinced her, for now, that the arranged marriage thing is not the way forward. The cherry on top is that now she knows that obnoxious women, like the missing link, should not be a part of her circle, much less present us with her suggestions about possible grooms, and ways to look, act, and dress to please (yes, it’s very 7th century) while she knows absolutely nothing about me. I’d take my mom telling me to “find someone” over “let’s do salonat” any day.

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