Article Topics Needed

These lack-of-inspiration moments occur to me more than any person you've ever met (or will, in fact). So here I am once again, asking for topics to write about on my column. Almost every Monday an idea just pops to to my mind out of nowhere but I'm trying to stop procrastinating and so far, staring at the blank MS Word sheet didn't do any good to me.

Generally, I feel passionate about writing topics related to society; things like local issues, etc.. though I can't seem to think of anything right now. Your help will be appreciated.

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[Excerpt] ولدت هناك، ولدت هنا

I've never been interested in reading in Arabic since 06 when I read more than 100 stories for an international competition and won (then headed to Dubai for the awarding ceremony. It was fantastic!) . I guess I didn't because I hated being forced to by my teacher although she apparently did for my own benefit. Aside from the that, English speaks loud and clear to me. Arabic, on the other hand, have never kept my interest.

After having started reading ولدت هناك، ولدت هنا by مريد البرغوثي I can take back all my previous assumptions back. Even though I haven't even reached halfway through, I can assure you that I'm hooked already.

Here's a little spoiler for you guys;

"أقول هذه الأشجار قتلى. وهناك، في مكانين مختلفين، في اللحظة ذاتها، فلاح فارغ الكفين وجندي ممتلئ زهوا. وهناك في غرفة الليل ذاته، فلاح فلسطيني يحدق في السقف، وجندي إسرائيلي يحتفل"

"بقعة في الهواء المعلق التي نتأرجج فيها الآن هي غربتنا نحن السبعة عن هذه الأرض. إنها إرادتنا المعطلة، وهي محاولتنا المشوبة بالشجاعة والخوف معا لفرض إرادتنا بالتحايل والمكر. فقاعة الهواء هذه هي الاحتلال الصلب ذاته. هي التشرد الفلسطيني في هواء بلاد الآخرين. نلجأ من أرضنا إلى هواء الدنيا. نحن نغرق في الأعالي. نغرق إلى فوق. رحم الله سلفادور دالي الذي لن تخطر له هذه الصورة بعد موته. وهذه البقعة الهوائية العبثية هي أسلوب محمود في أن لا يهزمه أي أمر أو يرغمه أي عائق على إعادتنا فاشلين. هنا يصبح بالانخفاض أمنية من يعلو كما علونا في تلك اللحظة. بريئة جدتي وهي تدعو لي في طفولتي وشبابي، "روح يا مريد يا ابن سكينة بنتي الله يعلي مراتبك" أو "الله يعلي مقامك بين الناس"، لم يصبح لي مقام "عال" بين الناس يا جدتي ولم ترتفع مراتبي في بلادي إلا بفضل هذا الوحش المعدني الأخرس. ألكثرة ما دعوت لي بالعلو استجابت لك السماء هكذا ساخرة منك ومني؟ أريد أن يهبط بي مقامي يا جدتي، أن أنزل عن "سموي" هذا ، أن ألامس الطين والتراب مرة أخرى لأسترد صفة المسافر العادي. الاحتلال هو لحظات الوحشة هذه بين أرض البشر وسمائهم"

[Book Review] Daddy-Long-Legs

Daddy-Long-Legs, largely known to us as صاحب الظل الطويل . When I knew it was an actual novel, I borrowed it from my friend the same day because who can miss such a chance? Turned out, it's a famous classic written by Jean Webbster back in 1912.

Back in the days, I used to ADORE the cartoon show so much that I had many dreams revolving the mystery identity that is Daddy-Long-Legs. And in each time, someone from real life appeared to be him. I was forever indulged in finding who this mysterious long man was. Because, apparently Judy was in love with him as much as I was myself.

However, the book is a bit different. It is divided into two part, the first is of a narration of the incident when a trustee of the orphanage that Judy was in, came forward and offered to send her specifically to college. The second part, which is the whole half of the story is a bunch of letters sent from Judy to the trustee whom she calls Daddy-Long-Legs. She saw his long shadow when she was asked to have a word with her teacher about her future. The trustee's condition was that she writes to him, telling about her academical progress, without expecting a reply back. That she write him once every month without the knowledge of him real name, etc.

Even though she was asked not to, she still required about his real name in most of her letters, his descriptions but there was no answer back. Although there was some good gestures here and there when he sent flowers or have his secretary reply or give her permission to do several things. Meanwhile, she met Jervis, her friend Julie's uncle repeatedly. All along, she wrote to Daddy explaining every encounter and confessing about her love. It grew frustrating at times because I already know Jervis is Daddy himself and it was kind of awkward.

Either ways, at the end, Daddy agreed to meet her when he was sick and it turned out he was Jervis himself all along. The book came to an end at this point which made me curious to know more in the sequel, Dear Enemy.

Keeping the fact that it's a classic, an easy language was used to provide a high-schooler flowing way of talking and some humorous parts were added. This was a total bonus in making it a fast and enjoyable read. My rating: 8.5/10

The Tate Britain

As published on Oman Observer today, December 15th.

Visiting the Tate Britain exhibition at Sayyid Faisal bin Ali Museum was the highlight of my week. It was all about ‘The Art Of Seeing Nature Masterpieces from Tate Britain’ which is a very famous museum and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage took part in spreading this magnificent art by transporting six valuable paintings that date back to 300 years.

We were greeted by a cheerful Omani man who took great pleasure in giving us the basic history of the museum which was first opened by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said in January 2008. Then an enthusiastic Omani woman toured us around and gave quite an insightful information about each painting and advised us into noticing the tiny details lingering in each of the paintings.

The six paintings were drawn using the method of Oil on Canvas by prolific painters who were born or working in Britain: (1) Thomas Gainsborough — Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream, (2) George Stubbs — Mares and Foals in a River Landscape, (3) John Constable — The Grove, Hampstead, (4) Joseph Mallord William Turner — The Golden Bough, (5) Sir John Everett Millais — Dew-Drenched Furze, (6) John Singer Sargent — The Mountains of Moab.

My favourite painting was ‘Mares and Foals in a River’; first exhibited in 1763-1768 and is probably the oldest one at the museum. The idea that the animals (who are said to be from the Arab stock and was a great deal in Britain back then) were drawn first instead of the background is an ingenious one; also, George Stubbs applied his knowledge in anatomy and dissection on the animals’ specific details starting from its very hair and ending with every muscle shown on the body, making it one of the flawless drawings out there.

Second favourite was the Dew-Drenched Furze, first exhibited in 1889-1890. John Everett Millais painted this amazing drawing of nature that includes different plants in such a way that it doesn’t lead the eye to a central point, but allows it to wander in the other areas. It represents the unknown distance to a man through the colour levels used in order to portray an almost perfect 3 dimensional figure of a lake.

The great bond between Oman and Britain enabled us to have this one-of-a-kind opportunity and we’re forever grateful for the mere fact. Pay the museum a visit; you’ll be wowed with the incredible historic painting.

All Sorts Of Updates

Process of reviving the blog: Activated.

Here's what I've been up to today; We payed the Tate Britain museum a visit as a school field trip and it was very interesting and informative. I got to see 6 historic paintings that dates back 300 years ago. You could know more about that on my Wednesday's column if you're interested.

Currently reading; Daddy-Long-Legs. Yes! It's an actual book which I haven't known about before. It's quite entertaining reading all those long letters from Judy Abbott to the man who sent her to college. All this bring back a rush of childhood memories when I used to dream about the mysterious long man.

Upcoming events; I can't really wait for the national day holiday, a mere of 11 days from now because, maybe, and I stress on the 'maybe' part; I might go to KSA and perform 3umra. Praying for my long-awaited wish to come true, inshAllah.

Untitled Post

I'm sick of checking my blogger account, as if I'm waiting to read a comment or two when there's absolutely nothing in it that deserves commenting. I'd be honest if I said that Twitter took Blogger's place for me but I have a good excuse for it: My PC crashed two weeks ago, my brother's laptop battery has gone mad and I hate working on Dad's PC or sister's laptop. My phone acts as a great way of tweeting but sadly to say, it's really hard to write a blog post through it.

I've been on a roller-coaster lately given the school work and the numerous quizzes I have to take. Although I'm extremely grateful for the national day events that kind of decreased the stress a bit. Attending the Students Parade has to be the most important highlight of the past couple of weeks along with the Fireworks championship, plus my siblings' school celebration. I wish I had the time to upload the pictures I took during those occasions but as always, I'd do what I'm good at; procrastinate.

Muharam's 5-long-holiday was okay; full of laziness, unscheduled routines and a bit of reading here and there. I'd wanted to tag along with my family to Dubai but the whole packing dilemma pulled me back. What can I do? I'm just lazy like that. Holidays aside, school starts tomorrow. Like people my age, as much as I hate going, I know I'd have to at the end of the day. Let's just keep our fingers crossed for it to be enjoyable. No, scratch that. For it to end as soon as it started.

Speaking of school, I literally haven't written for a while now and I missed it epically. Hearing a Lebanese accent the other day made me realize how out-of-it I've grown to be and especially reminded me of completing my latest story, Hiatus Lane. When? Can't make any promises so stay tuned anytime soon from now on.

My Mother

'My Mother' is a poem written by an Omani poet called Fauzia Ali Khalifa Al-Maskary who happens to be a relative of my friend and we did an analysis of her poem today at class. The fact that an Omani wrote something worth teaching in Lit class makes me feel proud beyond belief.

My Mother

Among those I hold most dear
You, mother, are just in all spheres
First with love unstinted and clear
First with joy and lots of cheers
The cheers, although familiar
Nevertheless, very sincere.

You are the sweet scent from heaven
A spring in the middle of the desert
You are a star that brightens my dark nights
A lovely tree that gives all good
You are a gift from God
A paradise without a limit
Your heart is the vessel of love and consolation
You are the warmth in a cold winter night.

Among the angels God has created
You are the one to us most suited
A well of joy, a no fancy ploy
Straight clean heart giving the best
Mother, dear mother, your love is always the finest.

I feel your tender eyes
Cast on me when I used to cry
To me then they were a pair of pearls
And I was happy they were mine
Mother, it was simply divine.

I remember too the warmth of your lips
As you bent down to kiss me goodnight
It felt like all the pains of the day
Just vanished out of sight
I reach to touch the same spot
And I can swear I still feel the same comfort
Mother, you are truly a magnificent sort.

What about those fingers
Gently stroking my hair
Giving me peace beyond compare
Lifting my spirit from all despair
My soul was floating in the air
Filled with ecstasy of love so rare
Mother, so much you gave me
So much I took from thee
Such love, I believe
No one could ever give.

As I go through the path of life
Mother, you are always there
To shelter me from my inner fears
To shower me with love I hold so dear
Mother, I declare you are the most sincere.

Firm at time times you may have been
You taught me all and more still
Striving to lift me above difficult hills
To a life of joy, happiness and goodwill
With your live my heart fills.

Mother, how can I ever find words of praise
To fit all your beautiful traits
Perhaps I should simple say with mighty grace
Thank you all for the days.

I found it poignant and deep in meaning yet I admire the simple words used. Metaphors were used frequently to give it a special vibe in order to describe the poet's mother or any mom, in fact.