I remember walking into my grandma’s, in the hot summers of Lebanon and find her sitting on her grey couch that resembles her grey outlook on her grey life, courtesy of a deceased husband leaving her in poverty, with 9 kids. Her nightgown would be drenched with sweat, uncomfortably stuck to her back, for lack of electricity. It has been out for a few hours and will not return for a more. She would spend the good part of the morning cleaning, cooking, complaining, cursing.
When I would visit I would find her seated in such a way indicating that she was about to get up, her limbs furthest apart from each other to minimize skin contact. She would be waiting for the noon call to prayer, sweat beads on her brow, rosary beads in her hand; mentioning God giving her patience.
As I walk in and kiss her forehead, I would ask how she is, and before the words would part my lips, almost expectedly and she would sharply reply “mkayfe!” – entertained
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In Mecca, around the days when the Prophet Mohammad was born, it was common for newborns to be sent to the desert away from their parents, each with a hired wet nurse, only to return to their families after the age of 2. The reason for this practice was because Mecca’s air was contaminated due to the large number of people who come for the annual pilgrimage (it still is), making children more susceptible to illnesses. Additionally, there were many accents and dialects intertwined with the local Arabic language due to the large number of merchants, traders and pilgrims in the area. Therefore families sent their newborns to live in a place of cleaner air, where they can learn a strong uninfluenced base of the Arabic language.
The practice of hiring help with the rearing of children is not new. Princes, nobility, the rich, and so forth, all hire trained professionals to help them raise their children, sometimes more than one. One would teach etiquette, another equestrianism, maybe fencing, and the likes.
Nowadays, all of a sudden, subconsciously at least, everybody thinks that their children are royalty, and the nannies are professionals, set to help their children adapt to the noble stature
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When a man has found his bride, and his wedding is due, he shall hear the phrase, “cut off the cat’s head from the first night.” This phrase will be repeated throughout the wedding preparation, which for most men start before he even meets a woman.
The story goes that a man has married a woman, and on their first night, referred to as night of entry, he found his young, innocent bride playing with her cat, instead of nervously preparing to tend to her new groom. So innocent, so naive! In a sudden rage to protect his masculinity and ensure that the bride will shudder at his every request he held the cat and cut of it’s head! It’s not clear whether the cutting was done using a blade or in his bare hands, but from that moment on, the bride walked like a watch* (a description used pertaining to predictability and precision).
Days came and went*, and the cat head cutter’s brother got married. And lo, his new wife happened to also play with a cat on her night of entry. This brother was of weaker character, so upon seeing his new wife playing with a cat, he started to playful stroke the cat along with his wife. In realizing the kindness of her husband, the wife rode on her husbands shoulders and dangled her legs* (another weird description to signify manipulation). She would steer him into doing everything she wished for, to a point that he ran helplessly to his brother pleading for his help. His brother advised him to go home and to cut off the cats head.
In a moment of rage he rushed home, snatched the poor cat from his conniving wife’s hands and cut off the darned head. Read the rest of this entry