The Wrong Person at the Wrong Place.

I was reading the newspaper this morning when an unusual article grabbed my attention. It was about 30 teenagers in their school uniforms attacking two police officers after they asked a girl to pick up a piece of litter. The officers were on sick leave with bruising, bite wounds and knee injuries. This incident happened in London of course.

As mean as it might sound, I was so proud of the kids. “Well done!” was the first thing that popped into my mind. I’ve always despised how some people use their authorities to manipulate others in a very ugly way. It’s more like “I’m in control, you have to do whatever I ask you to do” behavior rather than asking people to do the right thing for their own good.

Throughout my entire life I’ve witnessed that kind of behavior in almost every stage I’ve passed. Especially in school, given the fact that I’ve been to a government school, most of our teachers came from a different type of community, a different sector, a different background. And they somehow used their position as teachers to let out their anger on some other issues on us. For example, in middle school we had a very religious science teacher, she used to pick on me every single day, asked me questions that I couldn’t answer just so I’d be standing up the whole session, and say unnecessary comments which were unrelated to what she was teaching at all, just because I was open minded and she didn’t like the way I dressed or danced during break hours.

If I open my very dusty box of school memories I’ll have to write a whole book about all what we went through. But I’ll jump to another stage now; University of Bahrain. Back then it was the only university in Bahrain, so Bahrainis had no choice if they couldn’t afford studying abroad. After studying abroad for one year, I transferred to UOB where all my friends and my whole generation were studying. I didn’t find that bad use of authority in the professors this time. Their professors were careless and useless to do that. But that behavior was STRONGLY applied in their management, their administration staff, and most importantly: the security guards. Imagine some uneducated young boys and girls who had the power to control some cool good looking boys and girls? Of course they would use that power. It’s more like a chance to take revenge. Life did not give them the chance to be a part of that “cool” community groups and they had the chance to control where those “cool people” parked their cars, what they wore and where they sat.

I once was on my way to a Maths lecture when one of those security ladies stopped me. She was pregnant, bored, annoyed, and every expression on her face expressed how much she hated her life. She literally kicked me out of the university and said: “6el3y barra3”!!!. She was claiming that my skirt was see-through. Why on earth would I wear a see-through skirt to university? Where every single Bahraini loser was. And I gave her that very angry look that spoke without me speaking: “Who do you think you are?” My eyes said !. And I told her that I am not willing to miss my lecture for a stupid reason which wasn’t even true. I walked away and left her standing in the middle of the hall way. I don’t remember what happened next, but I don’t remember seeing her face again !

In my former working place, my manager used the fact that he was in charge, or in other words, the person who had my career in his hands, to take advantage of me. He used to order me to write his MBA essays. And I couldn’t object, because me objecting meant forgetting to ask for leave. And I couldn’t even complain, because in that jungle, if you complained you were kicked out.

I was in Heathrow Airport last week leaving London to Bahrain. I was passing through the departure gate, where Anglo Indian immigration officers stood there and screamed: “ANY LIQUIDS?”. However, for the past few years there was this rule that you can’t pass that gate with more than one luggage. But this time everyone was passing with more than one, I was glad that they had cancelled the rule. I had two pieces of luggage with me, and my air sickness syrup medicine was inside one of them. I opened the luggage to put my medicine in a clear plastic bag (as required) when one of the Anglo Indian immigration officers came to me. He looked really bored and he was in the mood to fight. In Bahraini we call it “metsabbeb”. He asked: “What is this?” I said: “My medicine. Do I still have to go in with one luggage?” He said: “Yes”. His colleague gave him a confused look. And I looked around to find people passing through with more than one piece of luggage. It was then when I realized that he was playing around with me.

I was late and the lady who checked me in asked me to go to the gate immediately. So all I wanted was to get in there fast in order not to miss my flight. And for that I had to swallow my anger. He asked me to open my bag again, he saw the medicine, I took it back, I closed my bag to remember that my passport was inside and I was going to need it at that moment, I opened my bag again and he was still there giving me orders. Shockingly his Anglo Indian colleague asked him to stop it. “You’re making it harder for her.” she said. But he ignored her and asked me to put the bag in the metal basket where the bag had to fit. I did that without even raising my head or looking at his face, I was too angry to do so. The bag fit but it got stuck. He watched me as I struggled to remove my bag out of the basket and he just stood there doing nothing. I wish I could live that scene again in a movie world, where I could slap the guy and run fast through the gate without anyone stopping me. The flight got delayed anyway.

The bad use of authority is a very broad serious issue that should get more attention from authorities of all kinds. Whether it was governmental, educational, organizational, social, parental, or political authority. We are all responsible in a way to provide justice by using our powers correctly. Unfortunately, the world is full of bad ethics, and there is only one way to avoid the wrong use of authority, which is: “The right person at the right place.” Impossible isn’t it?


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That Awkward Box..

I’ve always thought of elevators as a form of public transportation. It moves you from one point to another & picks up whoever comes its way, which creates a very awkward atmosphere. Or am I the only one who thinks of being with 2 or 3 strangers in a very small closed place as awkward?

When our offices moved to another building, our department was on the 7th floor. So those awkward moments reached its peak (I used to work on the first floor before). Sometimes I found myself with total strangers, standing face to face, I looked around, my eyes would roll, I looked at my nails, stared at my shoes, and everyone would be looking at the small “screen” that shows which floor we were on, as if the left would move faster if we all stared at it. And sometimes I found myself with people I barely knew, and had to come up with conversations, very very general conversation, like the weather, or the…weather !!

I was watching my very favorite show a few minutes ago, Ally McBeal. And she was in the elevator with her roommate when suddenly a guy she liked came in, & the roommate left. And there they were alone in the elevator, at that very awkward moment the music of Jeopardy came out of no where. I laughed so hard that the bowl of cereal I was holding almost fell out of my hand. The very right music at the very right moment.

What is even more awkward is when the elevator is full but yet people manage to find you an empty spot where you can squeeze yourself. So when its time for someone from the very other end to come down, we all have to evacuate the elevator in order for this one person to leave. And while getting back in the door just HAS to close on someone’s shoulders! I personally avoid packed elevators but sometimes I find it rude not to get in because it somehow stopped at that floor for me! Or not to turn down some very sweet people who move & offer space !

The funniest thing is when you get in the elevator & accompany people who know each other but you don’t know them. You’d hear their jokes & try so hard not to laugh. Or know the answer of a question they asked & you’d have to stay quiet. Obviously they all know that you’re hearing their conversation but you still have to act as if you’re not !

If you go through the details of things that might happen in those very few minutes you spend in the elevator you’d find it non ending; when someone who stinks gets in & you must control your face expressions, when a delivery guy gets in & your starving, when you get in talking on your cell phone & the signal goes down & you find yourself talking to no one, when you forget to press on the floor button or you don’t offer pressing it for other people, when you leave at the wrong floor (very embarrassing), when a child keeps staring at you all the way, when your having a conversation with someone out of the elevator & the door starts closing & he’s still talking, when the door closes on you or before you go in/out, and the list could go on !

My advice is, TAKE THE STAIRS lol. Have a good day & remember me in the elevator 🙂

March 4th 08

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

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.

50 things that really matter..

1) Love.
2) Friendship.
3) Faith.
4) Health.
5) Small chats with strangers.
6) Green Tea.
7) Books.
8) Peace.
9) Music.
10) Travelling.
11) Crazy moments.
12) Family.
13) Religion.
14) Dreams.
15) Details.
16) Shopping.
17) Summer.
18) Inspiration.
19) Body Treatments.
20) Giving.
21) Dresses.
22) Positivity.
23) Opening up.
24) F.R.E.I.N.D.S the TV show.
25) Pictures.
26) E-mails.
27) Vitamin C supplement.
28) Rubber Duckies.
29) Boxes.
30) Laser.
31) London.
32) Diaries.
33) To do lists.
34) History.
35) Rooms.
36) Exercising.
37) Compliments.
38) Nature.
39) Saturdays.
40) Mugs.
41) Creativity.
42) Satisfaction/ appreciation.
43) Holding on.
44) Freedom.
45) Reputation.
46) Tidiness.
47) Management.
48) Colors.
49) Smiles.
50) Hair dryers.