The Best in People

For someone who always sees/assumes the best in people, Cairo can sometimes prove a bit disappointing. Yet occasionally, people rise beyond your wildest expectations and you get splendidly surprised.

In those occasions I feel overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the human spirit, by the Lord’s work and his mercy and grace that he channels through us. I am touched by the kindness of other kindred souls, and when that happens, I’m just rendered speechless at how good, un-petty and self-less we can sometimes opt to be.

I… We…. are so incredibly blessed. If only we realise the extent.

Half Lives

لا تجالس أنصاف العشاق ..
ولا تصادق أنصاف الأصدقاء ..
لا تقرا لـأنصاف الموهوبين ..
ولا تعش نصف حياة ..
لا تمت نصف موت ..
ولا تختبر نصف حل ..
لا تقف في منتصف الحقيقة ..
ولا تحلم نصف حلم ..
ولا تتعلق بنصف أمل ..

إذا صمتّ ، فـاصمت حتى النهاية ..
وإذا تكلمت ، فتكلّم حتى النهاية ..
لا تصمت كي تتكلم ولا تتكلم كي تصمت ..

إذا رضيت ..
فعبّر عن رضاك لا تصطنع نصف رضا ..
وإذا رفضت ..
فعبّر عن رفضك ، لأن نصف الرفض قبول ..

النصف !!!!
هو حياة لم تعشها ، وهو كلمة لم تقلها ، وهو ابتسامة أجّلتها ، وهو حب لم تصل إليه ، وهو صداقة لم تعرفها ..

النصف !!!!
هو ما يجعلك غريباً عن أقرب الناس إليك ، وهو ما يجعل أقرب الناس إليك غرباء عنك ..

النصف !!!!
هو أن تصل وأن لاتصل ، أن تعمل وأن لا تعمل ، أن تغيب وأن تحضر ..

النصف !!!!
هو أنت ، عندما لا تكون أنت ..
لأنك لم تعرف من أنت ..

النصف !!!
هو أن لا تعرف من أنت ..
ومن تحب ليس نصفك الآخر , هو أنت في مكان آخر في الوقت نفسه ..

نصف شربة لن تروي ظمأك ، ونصف وجبة لن تشبع جوعك ،
نصف طريق لن يوصلك إلى أي مكان ، ونصف فكرة لن تعطي لك نتيجة ..
النصف هو لحظة عجزك وأنت لست بعاجز ..
لأنك لست نصف إنسان !!
أنت إنسان ..
وجدت كي تعيش الحياة .. وليس كي تعيش نصف حياة

جبران خليل جبران

Hat-tip to Bassem Sabry!

Random Thought

Come to think of it, the true test of the extent to which you care about someone is your ability to be happy for their happiness. For the other end of the spectrum is too easy, it is basic human instinct, empathy and compassion with the wronged or hurt. It is only natural to be sad for someone else’s sadness, to share their grief or mood, to sympathise. You find yourself rising to a better version of you because circumstances are dire and you come to the rescue of friends, acquaintances or foes.

Yet to really know if someone is of significance to you, do you find it in you to be happy simply because good things have happened to them? Does your heart soar because they received and shared good news, because they’ve accomplished something, won something, were touched by the Lord’s infinite blessings? Does your mood get better? Do you laugh from the heart? Is your smile and congratulations sincere? Are you genuinely happy for them and proud of them? Then you do care my friend, for we are far more self centred a species to normally give a damn about the happiness of the other, anything above neutral is not usually worthy of attention, nor does it usually elicit joy.

On the Timelessness of Conversations

I think I’m living in a stereo loop cycle.

Do you ever feel that? That you are constantly living the same episode of your life over and over again. Kinda like reruns, only all the actors playing the characters change every time, the setting, the costumes, the time and the place. Yet you and the dialogue remain constant; timeless in your nature and disposition.

If the answers were yes, WHY? I mean what is it that we do such that over the span of a year I’ve managed to have the same conversation over and over again with at least 3 individuals. I’m leaning to the ego-centric explanation. Mankind is a selfish being with a God complex and who’s constantly on a power high. We need to feel needed, essential, all knowing, all powerful… practically divine. So we find a need that we manage to satisfy in humanity, then go out and literally hunt down people who seem to have that need.

Think about it, do your friends or acquaintances constantly have things in common, do you have a “type” so to speak? Do you attract that segment of society/ humanity? Or do you actively go after them? Do you go to great lengths or bear great ordeals to become part of their life? For them to see that you are a possible solution? For them to marvel in the magic you can perform, the insight that you can bestow upon them, the support and guidance you can offer them, the answers you can provide?

In reality, are you? Can you really make a positive impact in their lives? Have you before? Have you satisfied their need?

Lets assume you have, you’ve said the right thing, made the right moves, did the proper thing by them. Lets make an even grander assumption, lets assume you’ve solved those problems, I’m even going shed aside logic and better judgement and claim you’ve actually made a difference in their lives. Mabrouk!

Then what?

No really, not happy? Not satisfied? Need more? So we go hunting for more?

Yet we are missing something here, why do you care? Why do you want to feel that adrenaline rush or power high? Is it really about the moment? I beg to differ, bunch of us are obsessed with our mortality, so we seek to cheat death, to create some sort of legacy that outlive our feeble bodies. So we seek to make a difference in the lives of those around us, in the hope of … well really lets face it.. in the hope of being remembered.

Then you sit here years later wondering why you are living in a stereo repeat cycle.

Disclaimer: Views portrayed here merely reflect the size of the ego of the disoriented author, for by the same token, you could be the one with the need and in constant search for satisfying it, for fulfilment, for salvation. Only these two scenarios are not really different. It is merely a matter of perspective.

You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime. ~ John Grier

I guess there is some truth to his cynical remark. Now that I’m over my phase of wallowing in self pity over the 25th anniversary of my birth and all the unachieved targets for this era; I can afford to look at things and contemplate. I guess one always is a certain age at heart. In my case that age is probably 12. I fully embrace that fact that I’ll forever be immature, that I’ll never actually grow up.

It’s reflected in the tiniest of things, the over competitive nature and the need to turn everything into a competition, a bet, a race! Then of course, may the Lord help you if you’re playing, more so if by some sort of miracle (that’s it right there) I lose!

This extends to provide for a whole question everything attitude to life, indigenous in infants. Was quite tiresome at university to have to take everything we were being taught for granted. Not to mention, most professors found it offensive when I didn’t!

Plus of course when you have the mentality of a 5th grader you’re still in the self-righteous phase where you know everything and all other people are idiots, so when you fight you put your heart and soul into it, make heated impassioned arguments and feel justly disappointed when things don’t go your way. You still expect life to be fair  and complain all the time when it’s not.

You know what the best part of being a kid at heart is? It incorporates itself into every single detail of day to day life. You extract great pleasure from things as simple as Disney movies and video and board games. You study for the knowledge not the grades. You work for the fun of it, for your self actualization not caring about the money or the career path. You live truly believing that “In the long run we are all dead”… so you seize the day.

The Age of Discontent

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I guess Dickens said it best. Yet I can’t help but feel that we are living the age of discontent. Look around you at your friends, family, then look at the mirror. Ask yourself are you happy?

Recently it’s become epidemic, the overall level of boredom and discontent. Everybody is bored of life itself. It seems we live in the same circles, meeting the same people, going to the same places having the same discussions over and over and over again. A vicious cycle, a loop of melancholy and utter boredom. It’s become the normal complaint, the automated response to “how are you?” or “what have you been up to?”. “Nothing much happening” and “I’m BORED” have replaced “elhamdollelah” and “ahy mashya” as the two most popular answers.

Funny thing is that while you’d hear of this before, now it seems it’s all I ever hear. In any group, varying crowds, it seems to be the consensus. As if interest or intrigue is an artificial high which to reach you have to take increasing amounts of the drug, whatever that drug may be. So simple fun activities no longer cut it, you are in constant need for newer bigger better never-before-attempted adrenaline inducing activities.

Then if you are not bored, you are unhappy, you are taking every opportunity to whine and complain to anyone who’d listen or read about your job, life, relationship and family. I’ve yet to hear someone claim to be happy with his/her job or what they do. You’d meet someone new, ask them what they do for a living, then if insane you can venture a “mabsout?”. I’m willing to handover green cash to anybody who’s ever heard that being answered with an affirmative.

Also people are incapable of relationship happiness in this era, for as AEB so eloquently put it “irrespective of your relationship status, it’s a source of complaint, and a different relationship status is always coveted.”

Ah I guess after all I’m a discontent member of this discontent age of which I dare speak and dare not complain.

The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)

The Little Prince is French aviator Antoine de Sainte Exubrey’s most widely discussed novel. Deemed a children’s novel due to it’s simplicity and ease of read; The Little Prince in fact holds within it a deeper and more adult philosophy.

I had read this as a child but had not read it since, a bunch of friends were meeting to discuss the book in celebration of CBC’s second anniversary. Their discussion of the book was thoroughly enjoyable and stirred within me the desire to reread it. Meanwhile just sitting there listening to them talk I couldn’t help but start thinking about the book, about the real meaning behind that little prince who travels the globe before landing on earth and meeting different unique varieties of humans and animals.

Littleprince.JPG

The book struck me as it’s author’s will and final testimony; his legacy that he’s chosen to pass on to the generations to come. The author is rumored to have committed suicide and this is his last complete published book. Some theories argue that the entire story was just the hallucination of a man left alone in the desert for too long, but I disagree. I believe that this book is a summarized and simplified version of his life; of life in general.

In order to make his point even more obvious he chose that almost naive way of writing; he stripped down life to it’s very basics such that a sole characteristic or emotion was isolated and attributed to a character. He offers you love (the rose), friendship (the fox), greed, pride and dedication. He shares his views regarding each one through the eyes of that little prince. He tells us of his contempt of all that is bad in the world and all the misconceptions. He tries (as the little prince) to understand the world and change it. At the end he fails and decides to take his life by going to the snake. I’m open to discussing what the snake symbolises… death… despair… etc.. As the author himself had decided to take his own life perhaps.

All in all a read recommended for all. I shall venture a re-read soon.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I’m not one for the self help books, they provoke me, and I find them very slow paced and extremely irritating. As a result I’ve passed on the whole John Gray mania and on a less romantic note the infamous Steven Covey.

Accordingly I wasn’t that excited when my BC announced that a friend was giving a 5 day crash work shop on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Desire to see them got me to go. I sat there listening to a lot of stuff that I would otherwise have cast aside as common sense etc…

Then I stopped and took an honest look at myself and realized that for the past week or so, I’ve been reacting, as if the entire world was out of my hand and I was just reacting to it all.. damage control so to speak.

I was told that when faced with an external stimuli I could choose how to react… and no matter what the results were.. there are always lessons learned.

So here is my take-away of this week:

  • NEVER EVER indulge in a fight between friends… good intentions or not… sometimes you just can’t win…. and in this case even when one of them wins.. I lose.
  • I give up way too easily
  • I don’t fully understand the value of things/ people until I’m on the edge of losing them/it or have lost it/them already.
  • There is no such thing as a selfless relationship, you’re always in it for something.. even if that thing isn’t material… and not recognized by the other party.
  • Individuals weave in and out of each other’s lives… consistency is a thing of the past.. at best you can aspire to have had a positive impact on the lives you’ve been blessed enough to touch.
  • You always… always have a choice!

“El Donya Talgaya fe Kobaya”

That was the nick of a brilliant friend of mine on msn. Not being able to resist.. the following conversation ensued:

Moi: Despite the obvious greatness of the posed philosophy who’s depth is wasted on the shallow minded, care to explain?

Dahlia (name potentially artificial) : ya3ny el donya mesh dayman ba2ya; el haga elly momken tebsetak lelahza ‘el talgaya’ hatro7 eventually ‘tesee7’

Dahlia: bas el lahza el sa3eeda dee is wat u remember; its the essence

Moi: ahah! it would already have cooled my ice tea in this godforsaken weather.. so it would have served it’s holier purpose!

Moi: COOL; I love the philosophy of it all.. you should blog it

Dahlia: lol. be my guest 2 use it, but e7faz el trademark

Moi: akeeeeed; what would you like your deepthroat name to be?

Dahlia: lol….dahlia

A flood going to waste…

A nick on my msn list, of a friend a lot like me… I must admit, I feel the same way, like a flood going to waste. Arrogant as that notion may be. It’s a shame that we fail to appreciate what others appreciate.. and are only remotely pleased when achieving the near impossible… Unrealistic targets, growing farther by the second; with near to non-existing chances of success.

The overwhelming desire to rock the world, like you know only you can. Then something terrible happens, and everything gets jolted back into perspective, but it isn’t long till perspective is lost again. No matter how hard you try, no matter how mature, how grounded.

Not liking who you are, and striving to be a different you, a better/bigger new and improved version of you. Hoping someday the gnawing sensation at the pit of your stomach would go away. That you’d be good enough for you, good enough to please.. to impress… to extract awe.

I want to live up to the potential that only I seem to know exists, cause everybody else is only too willing to compromise.. to settle for the version of me that they are getting.

But you know.. its not always this bad; sometimes you really are in a situation when you are challenged.. and it feels spectacular..the adrenaline pumping, the deadline coming up.. feeling that you’ve actually done something..

it’s irreplaceable

I wish for you a lifetime full of challenges.. full of accomplishments, full of new highs and no lows…

All that I would wish for someone like us..

Juka’s Theory of Significance

Rule 1: Don’t worry about the small things.

Rule 2: All things are small things.

Rule 3: Look at the big picture.

Rule 4: Its darkest before the light.

Rule 5: When all else fails, do what you were supposed to do from the beginning, look to the Lord for help.

Rule 6: There are no such things as friends, there are intimate acquaintances, and less intimate acquaintances and all the people you know move in these cycles. (Everyone else is just an acquaintance waiting to happen).

Rule 7: Have high expectations but also be prepared for dire consequences. Then no matter what happens be accepting.

Rule 8: When confronted with a problem… breathe, count to 10, then self implode.

Rule 9: Don’t compromise before a marriage, cause you definitely will be compromising after it.

Rule 10: Nothing matters, no bloody thing on the planet is worth crying over, getting upset over or loosing your temper.

Rule 11: Newton was wrong, every action has a reaction. (The opposite and equal part is highly debatable).

Finally remember, “marrara” transfer operations are costly, so belra7a 3aliha la tetfe2e3.

If you could be…

My friends and I play this game quite often, decided to bring you guys into it. Kinda like spin the bottle, but a more intellectual version. We spin and whoever it points to asks a question and we take turns answering these questions. Questions often span from “Do you believe in evolution?” to “Coke or Pepsi?”.

Anyways your question for the day is:

“If you could be anybody in any era; who would you be? what would you be doing? why did you pick that person?”

Looking forward to hearing your answers, will share some of ours in the comments 🙂

OK, here goes:

Dega wanted to be a gladiator, fighting for his life, glory and the love of the queen 🙂

Kyra wanted to be British royalty.

Shico wanted to be a high priestess in ancient Egypt.

I just might say I’m surprised at our answers, I really expected something along the lines of “I wanna be a rockstar”.

My answer for today: Queen Rania of Jordan – cause well, I gotta admit from where I’m standing it does look like she’s got it all + I have this obsession with making an impact on the world, and I believe she really is.

My Kyra

Update: Ahem! Sou brought to my attention that this post may prove depressing to current students. So everybody younger than 21 steer clear 🙂

She was different. I couldn’t quite place it but something was definitely amiss. She had a vacant glaze where before her eyes had shone with energy reflective of her inner glow. She was going places. She had such intelligence, wit and charm. Yet today, she looked rather wasted.

I questioned her, she kept reassuring me that she was fine, but I knew better. Finally she looked me straight in the eye and said:

“It’s just I’ve suddenly realized I’m not all that. I’m not as great as I always believed myself to be”.

I finally got it. My little princess had gotten an unhealthy dose of reality and it had left her reeling. Life does that to you. It lets you grow up merry-go-lucky; dreaming of the days yet to come. Every pebble a treasure every star a distant dream. Then you graduate university, bursting with potential, ambition, ideas and energy. Only to have reality slam you in the face, cause it ain’t that easy. Oh I wish it were.

To all those out there who feel reality has let them down; it’s too early to give up on the fight. You shouldn’t lose your rosy perception. Lift your chin up and smile if for no other reason but to spite it. It will all be good. You’ll see.

If the name Kyra doesn’t ring a bell…click here.

Things I don’t get

I don’t get it, I really don’t. How the multitude of the massess can live in such a perpetual state of insecurity. No matter how good we are as actors, how well we wear our masks. Despite our different means of hiding it, humor, ego. Its all the same. At the very end, under it all, we are shaky little individuals.

I don’t get how we can be dissappointed that other people don’t see us as we see ourselves. Its only natural. Its an issue of perception. There was this story they used to tell us as children about the 3 blind men and the elephant. I guess it still applies. Time, place, circumstances, hell even the weather, alter how you see others and how they see themselves and you. Yet I, am as guilty as the next person, for when told something I don’t totally concur with I probably would argue and make a fuss.

I don’t get how you can fully know a person is fond of you, or that you are entirely in favour and yet be upset or dissappointed in the way they see you. I mean does it really matter. There is no score, it isn’t a game, you can’t win and loose. You’ve already hit the jackpot, you have found what we all seek…. acceptance. Yet you could be bugged by the fact that those who accept don’t share your image of yourself. Something like that hurts. Why, I shall never understand.

Anyways.

Back to School Blues

Inspired by all my favourite university students. 

I open my eyes
I’m not dead yet
Disappointed
Yet what the heck
I slink out of bed
Live the day
Like any other day

Meet people
That I don’t see
Ghastly
Don’t listen to what I hear
Couldn’t care less
Live the day
Like any other day

All the same
That cursed routine
Damned
To an eternity
Like this
Live the day
Like any other day

Worth it?
Hardly.
No where to go
Taken for granted
Sick of it all
Live this day
Like any other day

Heading to oblivion
No matter what
Doomed
To the same job
Same life as them
Perhaps I’ll die this day
Unlike any other day

Drama Queen

A friend of mine once told me that I seem to have a “thing” for unrequited love. He claimed that all the good stuff I write always gravitates around that single theme. He was worried about me. I thought he was being absurd. These days I’m starting to be convinced he may be right.

This year one of the contestants on a reality music based show (who some people love, others hate, and some will call me an airhead for knowing it existed) told one of his co-contestants that he loved her once, that she had led him on, that he had been shocked when he found out she was committed.. etc.. Sort of a love-confession-gone-sour. While the idea in itself I have nothing against, I wasn’t too wild about the way he did it.. his choice of words.. songs.. timing etc.. (Click here for the actual confession).

Nevertheless the whole idea hit home in the worst way. Triggered up that melodramatic within and hence the following:

For all there was, for all there could have been and for all that never will be. Cheers.

Song of the day: James Blunt – Goodbye

Post updated: segment removed.