June 28, 2006

They met before we did

When my Aunt (my father's sister) met my fiancée's grandmother (her father's mother) for the first time during our engagement "party", there was an elusive sense of familiarity between them that was thrusting through both minds.

They both went home & started scratching their heads to aggregate their rusty memories with the underlying question; "Where do I know this woman from?"


My aunt had an advantage that all her old photos where archived neatly in albums by her daughter, (i think) corresponding to probable consecutive dates.

So she started flicking through the photos relentlessly, imagine the challenge: matching a decades-old face with what’s left of it today after she aged!


Despite the fact that my fiancée's grandmother is a distinctly looking reddish brunette (is that the word?), she's even nicknamed (by her self) " تيتا الحمرا " (The red Grandma).

My aunt search came to an end when she found the picture that captured herself, Grandma & another Lebanese woman during a social gathering sat on Sofa at my Aunt's old house in Al-Muhajirin old district of Amman.

She phoned me up oozing with excitement, telling me that she now remembers my fiancée’s grandma, though they only had a single encounter with each other (at which the picture was taken back in the fifties), they both left a deep impact upon each other that only needed a little catalyst for it to surface onto the present.

My fiancée & I bought a frame in which we placed a duplicate of the picture, and we presented it to grandma, it goes without saying that this made her day, being the person she is who's obsessed with old photos and the memories it bears!


The trigger was powerful enough for her to vividly remember my aunt the photo & the event itself; to such details as to the colour of the psychedelic-looking sofa they were setting on, the story behind the light jacket (that belonged to my Aunt) she was wearing “for the purpose of the photo only” (to cover her bare arms), the occasion at which the picture was taken at and a quick biography of the Lebanese woman who was also in the picture... That was amusingly entertaining.

Further, she mentioned that at the same gathering, my late father’s x-wife was present as a little kid, who was also a good friend of my father-in-law as they used to play together when they were young!


The astonishment from such junctures in our social fabric; can never wear-off! You’ll always be dazzled by how people are related or know each other.

On a side note, I hate pictures; I literally hate to document memories by taking pictures that "captures" them, I like my memories crudely raw & floating in my mind the way I want to remember them!

If they were worth remembering, they'll probably stick (whether good or bad), I hate the surrealistic surge that photos brings to my consciousness with an overwhelming force.


I don't recall staring at any of my late father's photos for more than few seconds ever since he passed away! It just sounds unnatural really when compared to say, how aroma trigger certain memories, or the sight of someone who looks awfully familiar to a dead relative.

3 comments:

Qwaider قويدر said...

Enjoyed reading this one. I too have the same kind of feelings towards older generations. I love to sit and enjoy their stories ever since I was a little kid.

As they say, women are an intricate web way before the World wide web was invented.
Very touching basem

Photos are an Amazing thing. Although I respect your view on keeping the memories in your head and the way you remember them. But one day you will see the value of photos. and wish you had more.

Ba3dain habeebi ... seeb el documenting of the memories to me ... Mashi?? that's copyrighted :)

Anonymous said...

Jordan must outlaw torture: UN rapporteur

AMMAN (AFP) - UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak has urged Jordan to criminalise torture and close special courts that protect police and intelligence offenders.

"I feel there is a general impunity in relation to torture in the country. Impunity is a major reason for why torture happens," Nowak told a news conference after a two-day fact-finding mission in Jordan.

"Torture must be made a crime," he said, adding that he will file a report with his recommendations to the UN's reformed Human Rights Council -- of which Jordan is a vice chair -- and the UN General Assembly.

Nowak singled out the detention facilities in Amman of the General Intelligence Deparment (GID) and the Central Investigation Department (CID) of the Public Security Forces as "notorious" torture centres.

"I have enough evidence to conclude that in those two places torture is practised systematically," said Nowak who visited the GID and CID detention facilities as well as three prisons south of Amman.

Nowak complained that officials at the GID and CID obstructed his fact-finding mission "in violation of the terms of reference of the visit agreed upon by the Jordanian government".

He said he was denied the right to take pictures and have a private interview with detainees at the GID, while officials tried to hide evidence at the CID.

Nowak also charged that police, prison and intelligence officials get away with mistreating detainees because if charged they are prosecuted in "special courts" rather that in ordinary tribunals.

"The special police and intelligence courts must be closed," he said.

He also recommended the closure of the Jafer prison, an isolated desert penitentiary 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Amman, where he said beatings were "systematic" although he added that he did not believe that was part of a "systematic policy of torture" on the part of the Jordanian authorities.


06/29/2006 11:14

Anonymous said...

WOW, Abu Samra

Lovely story, I enjoyed reading this one.

I think you and your fiancée are making a nice couple.....

Guess who I am I?