The Ruler


In the later summer of the early 80’s in a hospital that everybody I know was born in, in a city in the Gulf, I was born to an angry woman. Thinking that my mother’s labour would last the good 20 hours she spent giving birth to my older sibling, my father decided to run a few errands. It was in that precise moment of my father’s absence and my mother’s anger, that I came screaming into this world, or so is what they told me. Although I always imagined otherwise.

As with everyone born in that hospital, or as with everyone I know, or as with everyone born in the gulf, or as with everyone living there or … a ruler is set before the new born, and the new born is expected to live all his/her life bound by the ruler. Like all rulers, it is straight and simple.

It is bestowed upon us; a path, along with a set of rules and milestones that everyone must go through. The ruler will also be used as a measuring tool that others would use if at any point one would take a step outside the ruler. It will also be used as a spanking tool to make sure one get back on the path.

The path is as follows: Get born, play at home under the watchful eye of a nanny, go to school and study, make friends that your parents approve of, graduate, go to an American University (inbred or imported), to become a doctor, an engineer, or business (usually left for the lazy, creative, artistic, charitable or sporty), find a well paying job or join the family business, make money, get married to a fertile, educated, bride of your mother’s choosing, who is of your nationality and has walked her correct path of the ruler, in a wedding ceremony of no less than 250 invites, at a venue that is no less that a 5 star hotel calibre, father children that are named Mohammad, Ahmad, or Mahmoud, and put the ruler before them to follow and make sure they follow it.

And so, given the path set before me, I always assumed that my life would play exactly like a Nido ad, plus the sound track. As I ended the path of my ruler and expected to pass it on to my children, I look back realize how straight, simple and redundant it was.


3 responses »

  1. Would add that everybody expects you to follow the child you have with another to be his/her friend then a one after and a one after. Suddenly you are a father/mother of many and you complain about how can you raise them well (that is financially). Your ruler will pass to your eldest who start teaching his/her brothers and sister to follow it

  2. It doesn’t necessarily go as such at all times.. the “must follow” rule does not apply to everyone. Some of us break the ruler more often .. with some strength and willingness, we don’t all follow the pattern our parents want for us.. as I always say.. There comes a time in life where you have to raise your own parents.. that is you force them to accept the fact that you broke the ruler :p

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