I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind. I want you to understand exactly what you are getting: You are getting a Man* who for some time now has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest other people.
*_a woman, in the text with respect to the original _Joan Didion, “In the Islands”, emphasize added
_A refreshing and quite place, that once you enter in, you’re lulled and inspired, and you left, circumcised and circonspect.
“The places you walked in once, you pass through them, as they pass though your mind, you take with you each time some dust of wonders, at the soul of your shoes, and leave there a little of your life”_kalimelo
Primo, I embraced religion, or more precisely I would say quite so as people say, I entered in religion tip-toe-in_not like a thief, stealthy entering a church, loin-sans-fault, that is, (because there is no such church clergycal meaning in Islam,) but rather, an empty mosque, with just a few straw-stressed mats spred on a bare floor, whitewashed limestones walls, and domed-ceiling, and a minaret enclosed aside, with nothing to steal from, doors open to the winds, and always a welcome shelter for a night errant passer-by. Then, that I was painfully straight walking, to join the bunch of kids sitting on the floor, a round the Taleeb, after I had received a warmful greetings; a Falaqat_which consists of a series of strikes on the soles of my little angel feet, with a riding crop, cut from an olive tree; it was a well-spred practice then, a sort of mnemonic method, that a Taleeb, an Arab teacher, used ago in Algiers of Old, for teaching young pupils Quran, to correct them from the missing words, or even a nifty character from verses, they forgot while they were learning the Quran, by rote.
However, as much effective it was, so that I didn’t forget any of it after that; neither the numbers of Falaqats, nor the number of chapters of the Holy Quran; which are Sixty two chapters and with more than a million arabic characters. After that, I grasped some meanings of what we call it a sense of a sin; for being forgetful, I felt guilty of stealing my self moments of escape, and having a wandering mind. And of not being a thief, like the “Saint.” Or Arsin Lupin, the Gentleman Thief
Secondo_Just after that, followed an experience that I lived down to the skin, and it was all the same, ardently burning too, of instant pain, presently; a circumcision, with pumps and circumstances, that had left on my little body, a lasting trace, and of being circumspect of all things, left me skeptical for the longest of my life. Trust nobody.
Solemnity obliged, the day preceding the event, we went shopping together, my father and I, with in a shopping list in hand ; a Gondura, a sort of white traditional gown, with Chechia_a cap, and Babooshs shoes, then followed, a visit to the barber shop for a hair cut, and in the evening, when back home, a ritual coin of Henna and fist wrap that my grandma put on my hand palm, and tied it up with a scarf around. The soirée was entertained by the Zorna group and dancers, a music band with drums and pipes, accompanied by the strident Yuyus, shrills of the Moselmeen women. That is, each step is a ceremonial of its own, and most of all, it was intended to divert me from thinking about the tomorrow’s awaiting event.
Grandma kept it tidy and gorgeous, an elevated little 3×3 feet-square garden, in the middle of the courtyard, the kind of ryad, a patio you find usually inside the houses in Morocco, and Spain, which was a lounge inside doors with its charming landscape and secrets, where luscious Cyclamens, Geraniums, Begonias, and likes, that disputed the exiguous space, with a gorgeous jasmine vine, wisterias, where its secrecy was kept tight-waterproof together, although the flagrant presence of a brass bowl, finely chiseled, with a couple of other terra-cotta bowls, on top of the border of the small wall, at reach of hands, but then, put there for an intended purpose. Tither, the little hands of kids like us, and adults can reach them as well, those hand of insouciant kids would be grown up by then, nevertheless they will be acquainted with the rituals soon.
Tersio_The ritual, a family secret heirloom, that I have a dull suspicion of the existence about it, for a quite sometime now, that I recall, that my grandma was somehow the accomplice of my grandpa, in the way that she kept it, and feigned to ignore, even though, as it really existed. My grandfather who was the author of thousand circumcised kids, still, he remained above suspicion in their eyes, and of mine too, a saint with his jovial charisma of always. He professed circumcisions, and was faith healer of repute, from father to son, since passed generations. They were gifted with blessings; that they healed even animals, and concocted potions with medicinal plants for the relief of the poor; it was said that one of the earlier great-grandfather was a disciple follower of the great Averroes, Avicenna or some great savant in the time of Al Andalusia, in Medieval Spain, that’s how they got the knowledge of things. The problem with saints, the moment of being annoyed, that is you can’ show it, but while still embarrassed, when they talk, it is considered as the intrinsic Truth as is, what they say, and that you have to take it as granted.
I was confident in fairy tales, that my grandmas recounted me by night, until I felt asleep, dreams, thus I took it for granted, until the day of a circumcision ceremony during of which I sneaked a peek, a little by chance, and more by curiosity, to what was going on under the white bedsheet that was thrown on the lap of the would-be circumcised boy, to cover the scene from the sights of the little cousin, who was candid enough, and all smiles to everybody; he didn’t even paid attention to what was going on under the white bed sheet, without knowing that he was at the very moment ready to be circumcised; thence, I discovered that my grandfather was the mystery instigator, under my own eyes scrutiny, I kept wide open, and the secret was then in to the open, too. I was terrified, suddenly my groin felt the burning cut of a razor, at the same time, the band that was playing joyfully the Zorna an instant before, stopped a moment to a complete silence. A word: “boqalettes” was highly uttered; game is over, the terracotta bowls full of water, that two young men were holding high, while standing aside of the man who was siting there on a chair and holding on his lap the little cousin all the time, while my grandfather sneaked furtively a just a while under the sheet; the bowls were thrown to the ground, broken in thousand shafts, at the same time, as the boys uttered “boqalettes,” the circumcision was done, the music to resume forth, and the brass bowl with some dirth in it, on top the little cut of intimate innocence, went handed over the heads in a flight directly to the Garden of Small things. It joined the multitude neglegeable quantities of little things, subjects of passing pains, already forgotten, in a place worth of poetry, and watercolor paintings of the Orientalist’s Era, otherwise.
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