March 05, 2006

If only they both met…

I had two momentous turning points in my life in a spam of less than two years; my father’s death & my engagement to a wonderful woman I love dearly!

Death is generally a tabooed reality, it’s surreal eventuality is not the sort of subject that the average person would like to be constantly reminded of, alas... even when death occurs in the family, we tend to rush ourselves out of its bitter occurrence by any erratic means! Regardless of the emotional scar this may leave, or worse still, the emotional need that never get fulfilled or addressed for we have got it all but too wrong…

The fact that my father is dead doesn’t trouble me any longer per-se; what troubles most is the fact that I’m actually getting used to the reality of him being dead! I’m moving forward with my life with his legacy but not with him in person.

I seek comfort by vividly reminiscing his character, his wisdom, his sense of humor, his charismatic presence, his zealous attention to details and his overall comprehensive and –you guess it- alternative perspective on life. Mind you, a bit of romanticisms doesn’t do me any harm here, after all; its death we’re dealing with...

Instead of sinking myself to the traumatic wishful thoughts of him being still around, I like to think of what he would’ve done if he was in this or that position, what advise he might’ve given me over a certain incident, or what would he say about this person if he was to know him, the latter is bitter and touchy indeed:

My father never met my fiancée; I was introduced to her, got to know her and engaged to her after a year of his death, the year that separated both events was not really enough for me to comprehend the full impact of his death in my life. Yes it was -and still- business as usual when it comes to my daily proceedings, yet my mind was -and relatively still- preoccupied with all sorts of thoughts and concerns that ranged from the utmost imbecilic rationales to the most complicated of welfare matters... I felt vaguely unsettled at the time.

However, responsible manhood is about tackling the reoccurrence of unprecedented turning points in one’s life, and I accept that challenge, but part of me still fou
nd it bitter to accept that my father never knew my wife-to-be, and she will never have the chance to know him in person either, while they both comprised the entity I call family!

I like to believe that I knew my father well enough to know what he would’ve thought of my fiancée, not that his opinion would’ve influenced my own to the extend of negating it, but rather; it’s the underlying sense of acknowledgment from one’s parents that I was seeking by envisaging what my late father’s opinion would’ve been if he knew her!

On the other hand, my beloved fiancée, despite her young years (No, she’s not 14 most sheikhs don’t do that believe it or not!); she compassionately sensed the psychological gap or disconnect –if you like- whenever my father was spoken about or his legacy was extolled!

She passionately started building her own perception of him, not through still imagery portraying him or old home videos, but rather; she compiled all stories and accounts she heard of him, drawing relationships and apprehending the various aspects of his presence in each one’s life…

Her sincere attempt to fully capture my father’s legacy as she fathom the space he occupied in our lives meant that she understood this aspect of my past, hence better appreciating our -her and mine- present and brilliant future together.

I try to envisage myself getting to terms with the new reality I’m surrounded with, yet I cannot conceive it without my fiancée being part of it, partially because of her genuine appreciation and treasuring of my father’s lineage although she never met him, and for that I’m thankful to Allah and to her...

March 02, 2006

Hand-picked extracts from Arabic poems

My younger brother never fails to amaze me with intermittent outbursts of sheer novelty and unexpected insightfulness, he saw me sinking into a momentary depression as I was driving to the airport to catch my flight back to Saudi, and he handed me over with the following extract from a poem by Al-Imam Al-Shaf'i:
ما فى المقام لذى عقل وذى أدب من راحة، فدع الأوطان واغترب
سافر تجد عوضا عمن تفارقه وانصب فإن لذيذ العيش فى النصب
أنى رأيت وقوف الماء يفسده إن سال طاب وإن لم يجر لم يطب
الأسد لولا فراق الغاب ما افترست والسهم لولا فراق القوس لم يصب
والشمس لو وقفت فى الفلك دائمة لملها الناس من عجم ومن عرب
والتبر كالترب ملقى فى أماكنه والعود فى أرضه نوع من الحطب
فـإن تـغرب هذا عز مطلبه وأن تـغرب ذاك عز كالـذهب
And as I was trying to validate the authenticity of it; I came across the following, they were on the same webpage, and it’s by a scholar named Al-Tagha'iri:
حب السلامة يثنى عزم صاحبه عن المعالى، ويغرى المرء بالكسل
فإن جنحت إليه فاتخذ نفقا فى الأرض، أو سلما فى الجو فاعتزل
يرضى الذليل بخفض العيش مسكنة والعز عند رسيم الأينق الذلل
إن العلا حدثتنى وهى صادقة فيما تحدث أن العز فى النقل
لو أن فى شرف المأوى بلوغ منى لم تبرح الشمس يوما دارة الحمل