To my grandfather baba Hassan who passed away all of a sudden last week..

My very dear grandfather baba Hassan:

Its been a week since you left, and we still find it hard to accept the fact that your gone. I cant imagine going to your house and not seeing you on that chair complaining about not seeing enough of me every time you see me: “wainech entey? min zeman machefnach, matyeena”..

The day you left was a perfect day, it was too perfect that I was certain something bad was going to happen by the end of it. We were all spending the holiday in Qatar. And I was talking to Lulu about you while having breakfast that very same day. I was telling her about my childhood years when I used to spend the whole summer at your house. I used to wake up at 7 am to find breakfast ready in the kitchen, your famous eggs and a big thermos of tea with milk. I remember all the details; the display of the mugs, upside down on a round metal tray covered with a towel, your brown radio, the taste of the eggs, the smell of the “kamach” , the sounds of your chirping birds that you used to pet and keep in huge cages in the backyard.

I will never forget our last meeting as long as I live. I came to you and kissed you, something that I don’t usually do. And you welcomed me very warmly as I hadn’t seen you for a whole month before that. You asked where I’d been all this time, and you asked about my lost suitcase. I told you how busy I had been and that I had completely emptied my schedule that day just to spend the day at your house. You were very happy and glad to hear that. You then asked me to go and check out your new car, I was heading outside to see it but you said: “Don’t go outside, its cold, just look at it from the window.”

I’m sorry that I couldn’t come to the graveyard to say goodbye. I didn’t want that last meeting I just told you about to be replaced with another one where I would see you but you wouldn’t see me, or I’d talk and you wouldn’t listen. But I heard that your face was more beautiful than ever, and that you were smiling. They said that the graveyard was so crowded of men who were racing to carry your body to the grave. And that the moment they buried you, a huge flock of pigeons flew all over your grave. Which can only be explained with your passion for birds.

People from all over the country came to us crying; men & women, young & old, rich & poor. Your warm heart that welcomed everyone made them all mourn your death.

I’m very proud to be your eldest granddaughter, I always loved the fact that I was the one who made you a grandfather. You left and left behind so many special memories that I will always treasure. We’ll all miss you, and miss your presence on our weekly Friday night gatherings.

May you rest in peace,
Your daughter,
Nazli Tawfeeqi
28/1/2008

Journal..Jan 14th 08

Last week we have received a notice that we must evacuate our offices by no longer than Jan 15th. And since our new offices at Bahrain Financial Harbor are not ready yet, we are going to move to Batelco building next door temporarily.

I’ve been working in Gulf Finance House for one year and 2 months. Our department (Investment Placement) was in a different building from where all other departments were. It was located at Arig building, an insurance company. Five minutes away from where the rest are (at al Salam Tower), but we never go there, I only remember being there 3 or 4 times maybe. Which I think is very unhealthy for the bank itself, because we never get to mingle with other employees. And yet, it gave us a warm cozy atmosphere as our whole department worked on one floor separated from the whole bank. And no matter how much we hated each other, we had to deal with it because we had no one else.

I’ve been sharing an office with my friend/colleague Asma. A closed office, away from all the open cubicles. Everyone was jealous as we had our privacy. Especially that Asma and I were friends since college, which made it a lot easier for both of us to deal with the stressful environment around us. I couldn’t ask for a better colleague, we shared so much at this office, our food, our secrets, gossips, tears and laughter. I was one of the very first people who knew about her pregnancy, and I was there through the whole 9 months till Hala was born. She laughs now when I remind her of the mood swings and the morning sickness she used to get.

Those lovely moments at this office were also shared with a third person. He is an IPT officer but he used to spend time in our office more than in his own. A thin, short, white, petite guy called Fahad. We only met him since we started working here but he became more like a brother to us. He comes every morning with his newspaper and a Harvard mug and sits on his chair (a chair in our office that he likes to call his). All his conversations with Asma were gossip sharing. But when it came to me, all we did was pick on or/make fun of each other. It was such an entertainment for Asma to watch us fight everyday. Besides his sarcastic personality, he is a sweet heart from the inside. If I’d ask him to get me Vitamin C or a certain newspaper he’d gladly do it 😉

One of the most things that I’m going to miss in this building is the security guards. I’m used to their daily morning greetings and how they make me start my day with a smile. One of them used to always laugh when he saw me taking the stairs on my way out, he said that I’m the only one in this building who uses the stairs. And sometimes he said: Only going down, why not go up? Lol.. He challenged me to take the stairs on my way up too and I did sometimes.
I’m spending my very last moments at this office now alone. Asma is on a sick leave and Fahad left. But right before he left he passed by and said: Enjoy your last day at this office. And it hit me, no more gossip, no more privacy, no more gatherings. I spent everyday of my life the past year in this office, and I’m feeling sad now that we are packing and moving to another place. And I’m getting fearful thoughts of how It is going to be like in there. Another Goodbye to go through.