Aug 31, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 17

Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.
(Read more about the 30-day Challenge)

Yes indeed, money has grown so fast between my hands the last two years that I can't find any traces of it now, all that's left is loans and debt. I long for the days when the 150$ I used to make at the end of each month from private tutoring were enough to make my day: I was a lot happier back then....

Aug 29, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you.
(Read more about the 30-day Challenge)
To start with today's challenge, let's try to define the character that shall give inspiration to the person I am today: he (supposedly it's a he) must be of an enormous value, an indescribable presence and an irreplaceable impact in his surrounding. He must possess the highest levels of morals there is, an incomparable amount of intelligence and wisdom, an utter height of compassion and the absolutely least portion of anger and hatred. He shall not be weak, never pessimist nor downbringing. He is a leader, a father and a husband. He is the true image of a man we all dream of. He holds the most exalted title of wits and intellect, while at the same time never condone his soft side. He must be a romantic person, a fair player in the field of husbandry and a role model to both his wife and his children.

I bet most of my personal friends already know where I'm heading, and to all of those who are still wondering if I'm only blabbing out a fictional character, this person existed indeed. And at the same time, to all those who know me well, and know my directions and opinions in life, they must also know how much I give credit to those who qualify the best. This person is no other than Mr. Muhammad, son of Abdullah, the prophet of Islam and the last messenger of the religion of god, Islam, or as I love to call it, the religion of ultimate acceptance, submittal and inner peace. (Wikipedia article here)

I'm in no way considering Muhammad as the prophet of Islam in this article, as much as I'm referring to his persona as being a simple human. In fact, if mastered well and given enough time, each of us humans can turn out to compete with that person's character: it's all a matter of finding the inner peace.

So this person, as each of us, was a teenager at some part of his life, he felt rather uncomfortable in his surrounding, constantly observing thieves, outrageous men, filthy women and an irrevocably unhealthy way of living. He saw the truth way earlier than his appointment as a messenger. And thus as a result of such a discomfort, he took enough time for himself to study the body and soul he possessed by both meditating, contemplating his surrounding, and always introverting to his inside, to the divine soul each of us has, thus figuring out way before his selection, the pure essence of being a Human.

His skills as an intelligent yet illiterate man helped him become the most successful merchant around his town, thus competing with others and eventually gaining everyone's respect, that beside being the most honest person in his community, by the words of his opponents, go figure. He married at the age of 25 a 40-yr old woman and their marriage lasted an amazing 25 years until she passed away, in which he remarkably never married to any other woman. Here are a few of facts we probably didn't know about this man:

  • His father died before his birth. His mother passed away when he was six yrs old
  • He had 2 sons from Khadija both of them which died in their childhood.
  • He was well known for his truthfulness and trustworthiness
  • Before Prophethood, he used to retreat to a cave up on the mountain Hira, where he used to meditate
  • He was subject to assassination attempts
  • He never ate alone. He invited others and then ate with them
  • He encouraged the washing of hands before and after eating food
  • He used to mend his clothes, repair his shoes and sweep the floor as well as do the household shopping (even during his married life)
  • He did not care about where he slept. Sometimes he slept on a skin, and even the floor
  • he Jews at the time were so impressed with his sense of justice that some came to him to solve cases, in which Muhammad decided them according to their own Jewish Law
And the list goes on...

One last fact I'd love to share here in this article, aside all that was mentioned above, Muhammad was the role model in romance and love. In fact, he was the one to introduce the concept of cuddling, the art of fondling, to do whatever is needed to make thy woman feel relaxed and content. Moreover, one of the few moments in my life I felt so delighted is when I knew that, even Mr. Muhammad the great, the warrior, the business man, has once fallen in love, to the point that at the age of around his fifties, a young woman whose name was Aisha, a teenager at the time but a great woman on the inside, was able to compete with the wits of this man, thus bringing unprecedented joy to his soul. During their engagement period, it was always a thrill for both whenever he dropped by to visit her. She actually kept waiting for him with excitement knowing how much they would have fun together. She used to make him chase her and run after her challenging him to keep up with her pace. She succeeded at such a young age to bring up the child that was still inside Muhammad. In fact, he admitted in an occasion that Aisha was the only woman he deeply loved on so many levels.

What more can I ask for in my search to an inspiration? This person is my sole idol until I become deceased...

Aug 28, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die
(Read more about the 30-day Challenge)
Join the Circus, even for a single day.
Photo courtesy of  Steve Taylor
Such an irrelevant errand I have today, having already launched my Bucket List mentioned up above. There must be enough errands and wishes for a whole lifetime already, but as far as I know Natheer, the list will keep growing on and on. Which gets me to my next question: looking back at the summit of my existential crisis, I can't but admire the way we are born with no expectations, no hopes and no dreams at all. This very fact turns out to evolve and alter with time that we reach a level where all the hours we spend breathing are mere anticipations with a fluctuant intensity of aspiration, until we eventually realize the universal divine wisdom in creating such a powerful human being, that happens to be futile all at the same time.

Stay Silent for a long time, starting with one day, up to one month
Anyways, in this article you'll find a very few of the tasks and wishes I'd love to make happen before passing away. Lots and lots will be added to the Bucket List later on. Feel free to dream along :)

Research my family tree
Travel with no Luggage at all.
Inspired by this challenge

Aug 27, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.
(Read more about the 30-day Challenge)

Enough Said...

Aug 24, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 13

Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

There is no room for doubt when trying to answer which is my favorite band of all time. Setting aside all the commercial aspect their fame gave them, or the fact that their music imposed their presence in the field of alternative style, I proudly am an old admirer, ever since their first single where actually very few knew of a band called "Coldplay". Back in those day there were still traces of Metallica and Nirvana fans, also mostly Pink Floyd people and surely the on-going wave of new pop singles. But I chose otherwise, in fact their music chose me.

Having spoke of it, how do you choose your favorite band? What are the criterion? Well personally, there is no other band, no other style that I can repeatedly and constantly listen to without ever getting bored nor feeling the itch to switch to the next track. Coldplay have been playing and composing now for more than TEN years, yes ten years, much longer than any other upcoming band at the time. And to my constant surprise, they always succeed in ameliorating their style to the next level, thus attracting a broader piece of good music tasters.

Frankly, one of the dream goals I've set to myself to achieve before dying was to attend a coldplay concert. Fingers Crossed :)

Aug 23, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 - A picture of something you love.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

"The best things in life are free"..

I wish I had the ability to shoot a slow motion footage of someone stepping foot at the end of a jump, especially the facial expressions. A total thrill I must admit, an easy sport that suits all ages and guaranteed to bring back a smile, even if it ended mistakenly with a fall on the side or the knees.. 

Aug 19, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

Indeed :) it's not a single person, a whole bunch of a Lebanese Salad, the above four when combined together can only make the earth shake and giggle. I never get that silly with anyone else, it HAS to be the four of them to totally enjoy the moment. Although these are enough to make me laugh and be happy, both of my other cousins, Marwan and Wissam were also the charm, even much more than we are now, but unfortunately chances were they had to travel to Australia at such a young age. If it weren't for those 3, I would've had a truly despicable time growing up. Thank you...

Eid at the Cemetery

So I stayed the whole night awake knowing that the slightest nap would take away the chance to visit the cemetery with my mother on Eid Al Fitr's morning, just like any other Muslim Family's tradition on this occasion. Regardless of my personal beliefs and projections on such "habits", it was nevertheless an occasion not-to-be-missed for me to spend with my dear mother especially after the distance between us she was telling me about in the last period of time. Camera in hand? check; and now we've hit the road.

Can you Imagine what I kept thinking all the time we spent there? I kept constantly monitoring all the mental thoughts "rivering" inside my head making all that noise that almost covered the loud chatters of the surrounding; thoughts that mostly were the child of the observations I made at the time, part of my recent on-going constellation of questions about our social behavior. It was time to take out my camera, which to my surprise, was near empty and allowed me only a few shots before its battery went totally dried out. It was my opportunity to know what to focus on, and in a matter of a few seconds of course. I was still intimidated by the visual confrontation with faces at the time of a current emotion, where it would obviously be rude to take a photograph, nevertheless I couldn't ignore the crocodile tears of the most, nor could I ever forget the groups of young veiled women on the sides of some tombs sipping their morning coffee as if Eid was only an occasion for them to meet once or twice a year.

During my on-going thoughts inside that vast prison, I had already made up a list of things "I Love" about the cemetery. So here goes the parody list first:
  • I love how half of the women come to the cemetery on the Eid morning all dressed up as if they were spending the night at Skybar
  • I love how the presence of dead people around the living forces an unbelievable serenity but at the same time can't shut the filthy mouths of some of the guys there.
  • I love how even the remembrance of the dead becomes so easily a business opportunity for those who sell tomb ornaments (originally should be picked up for free) and coffee sellers INSIDE the cemetery
  • I love how women bring their teenage girls all made up trying to show her up most probably trying to fetch her a groom.
  • I love how an ordinary man would be heading directly to his mother's (mostly) tomb where at the same time his eyes fall on another man's attractive wife and simply can't resist bending his head 180 degrees though he's 1 minute far from reciting the words of Allah
  • I love how the graph of morals and ethics supposedly forced by Islamic religion in a Muslim majority area is heading for an indescribable decline.
  • I love how all Syrian children around town become beggars, all of them being sick with incurable diseases such as blindness and paralysis, but to my and their surprise, the amount of 3000LBP (2$) is enough to cure any disease apparently and help them hop to our service.

Now for the real "I Love" list:
  • I love how distant family members who constantly seem to avoid bumping into each other are forced to meet at the steps of their deceased's tomb.
  • I love how the city never sleeps on the night of Eid: watching the Foul and Hummus Shop preparing for the next morning was enough to restore some of the Eid aroma I had long lost.
  • I love the genuine tears that drop from the eyes of most of the people holding their Qurans bowing down in respect in front of almighty Allah in respect and deep humility
Honestly? I come to a point where comparing both lists is actually meaningless. I can't believe we've come to such a point...

As far as photography is concerned, I recall the last time I stepped foot in the cemetery (which was also my first), a phone camera was the only camera I had ever held, and I still remember the shots. Today, it's the same spot, same location, newer camera, more guts and courage. Considering the significance of today's morning, I could not summon enough nerve to stand up in front of people and shoot them in their face, nor could I keep footage of some of the topics I mentioned above. Let's hope my next cemetery visit can be much more fruitful (which is normally fixed two and a half months after this Eid).

Happy Eid everyone...

Aug 18, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 9

Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)
Photo Courtesy of Karim Zock
She is indeed the most person that helped me go through obstacles of life, even though they were only 2 years, but I had witnessed an enormous and indescribable amount of support and unconditional help, in all its measures. I can't forget the day I was sick of being an expatriate alone in KSA right on the edge of breaking down in tears; She, as always, was there to forget what had had been with her at the moment and simply focus all her senses and intuition in the prospect of leading me through the dilemma. I also cannot forget all the times I mistreated myself, let it be an eating disorder or simply not taking any pills or not visiting the doctor when I must've. She was my guiding angel ever since I knew her. No other non-family person could ever insist on my paying attention to myself and constantly, no matter what, stay aware that I should take care and stay safe. Her strength and wits are what kept surprising me around the clock, there were no fragility at times when being decisive is needed the most. I can only admire such a human being and I am fully aware of what an extraordinary Ora surrounds this young girl for an eternity to come. I'm sure she'll have a remarkable future for she's no less than any famous female idol in the history...

Aug 16, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 8

Day 08 - A picture that makes you laugh.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

Among all the chaos in our surrounding, I have to admit, I NEVER laughed so hard at a photo like I did at this one. I spent the whole 10 minutes giggling while preparing that photo and in the end it was simply a blast over the internet =D Btw Ranin El Chaar was awesome that night. And Mayada was awesomer to have the high spirit and allow me use this photo.

Aug 14, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 7

Day 07 - A picture of your most treasured item.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

I never believed in mage and wizardry, nor did I ever fall for voodoo and acts of sorcery. Wishes to me are a sign of weakness and tokens were only for decorative purposes, that was before I received my precious royal card... Ever since that moment, I became little prince Nathy, whenever I wanted to be, wherever I needed to be that prince. I was prince for one at least, for one who saw the real me, who touched me deep enough to, at least once, have felt that there's something enormous inside that skin. Ever since I held that card it never left my pocket. It's not the ink, never the paper, it's that tiny part of a soul securely contained in that piece of cardboard for ages to come... I would never feel underrated, underestimated, or simply out of luck as long as I remember I am holding a royal card, a gift from the most precious human being ever. And yes, makes me smile each and every time it does its magic :)

Aug 13, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 6

Day 06 - A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

Peter Pan, for one day only..
No comment this time, I'll leave the interpretation to yourselves.

Aug 12, 2012

Shoot As You Walk - The Unforgettable One

Enough of the challenge posts already. Yesterday's Shoot as you walk was simply unbelievable. I must admit I missed the big groups and the humongous number of people gathering at certain times of the year in the shoot, most of them being newbies to the activity, and simply strolling down the streets I thought I knew well. It seemed to me that I mostly didn't know my town as much as I thought.
Photo Courtesy of my dear friend Karim Zock
The night was beyond awesome, especially that Ramadan is coming to an end and Eid Al Fitr holiday is right at the corner. Parents and newly-weds filled the alleys of old markets looking for the greatest bargains of all, to prove to themselves that their country still allows them to buy decent low priced-clothes at least once a year for their deprived children, or for the groom to buy "the" gift for his fiancee with the amount of money he had saved ever since they got engaged. 5000LBP (3$) shoes are everywhere to the point that you could simply faint form the smell of shoes here and there. Streets were filled with the sight of hung pieces of clothing and sweaty faces screaming to sell their merchandise; great sales management I see here :)
Photo Courtesy of my friend Nour Kabbara
Photo Courtesy of my friend Rim Rafei
I must confess that I opted to give away my gear for those who need it. I saw in Ymn's night photographs a great potential, disturbed only by the natural ghostly effect created by the obvious natural movement of the hand, and therefore she clearly needed a Tripod. I handed it out to here but to my idiocy I forgot to give her the basic brief on how to use it! My other friend had already stated a while back that he had the eye for photography, nevertheless this time he had no camera, need I say anymore? And I swear I was much much happier than if I used my gear the normal way and leaving the joy only to myself.
Photo Courtesy of my friend Ymn Merehbi

Photo Courtesy of my friend Karim Zock
The night ended sooner than I expected, it may have been the enthusiasm that was killing time at that rate. Fellow photographers needed to divide either into those who would like to have the traditional "Suhur" together at a nearby restaurant, or those who wanted to wrap the night up and go home. Ever since it was already past midnight, the majority of the girls decided it's time to leave and go back, though the atmosphere grows in you the need to stay awake until dawn. I lead those few to the town center and made sure they knew their way back, especially that there were a few that came from outside of town. It was time for me to slowly head back home and hit the bed after a pretty damn hectic day.
Photo Courtesy of my friend Nour Kabbara
Photo Courtesy of my friend Mohamad Zock
I love how we the participants rush every single time back home to view our night's hunt, pick the ones we most like, maybe try and post process a few, eventually adding the signature and finally posting them on Facebook. Here's where the real fun begins. You spend the whole evening looking through your own viewfinder, chasing light, screaming at people to stay away, bumping into objects while slowly stepping back to reach the shot you want, but at the end of the night you won't feed the photographer's hunger in you until someone criticizes and picks out for you the ones that outstood the whole album. On the other hand and as always, you get to like, share and comment on what your friends had brought in. This exact way of sharing and spreading the photos is the real essence of the We Love Tripoli's Page who, at the end of the process of posting all the albums, recapitulates every entry onto a single album for the whole community of We Love Tripoli to view and be amazed, just like we were.

Photo Courtesy of my friend Karim Zock

Photo Courtesy of my friend Rim Rafei
Photo Courtesy of my friend Mourad Ayyach

Aug 11, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 5

Day 05 - A picture of one of your favorite memories.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

Sorry about that watermark, it's a trial as you noticed. Won't happen again
Now for the photo, I was saved by the bell since a "favorite memory" is simply impossible, whereas there are lots and LOTS of favorite memories, yes with an "S". I simply lack the words that would match all those memories... All salutes go to Jana, Marwan, Wissam and of course my brother Najd for making it the most awesome childhood ever. I can still remember every skin cut, every bruise, every tear and every laugh. Too bad we've grown old on such activities and photographs, but I believe it's never too late.

Aug 10, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 4

Day 04 - A picture of your favorite night
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

One of the most favorite nights would obviously (at least obviously to me) a night alone in the street with the camera in hand and the tripod tied to my back bag on a highway probably or a deserted street taking long exposure photographs. And they mean to me of course. But having thought of today's quest thoroughly, I came to a conclusion that the most favorite night was the one I spent on grass in the middle of the street. Can't find the right words to describe what level of awareness that scene helped me reach, but it utterly left an impact so strong that now I have a refuge on hand that doesn't need any camera.

It was frustration that was eating me that night, frustration of my inefficiency to solve my problems, frustration of all the surrounding, and the frustration of certain personal confusion that were bumping over inside my mind. I found no other way but to ride my bicycle and head towards the spot that awaits me, and that night I knew I needed to rest on green grass, even if it were midnight. Personal advice? Never sleep on grass at summer wearing anything that exposes any skin, yup it itches, A LOT!

Aug 9, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 3

Day 03 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show.
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

The Legendary Mork and Mindy
Many of you would instantly think of the vintage "Friends" or maybe the recent "House" series, and don't get me wrong I'm utterly attached to that era/kind of series. But, Mork and Mindy has a totally different taste. This was the first series/show I watched apart from the ones on Disney Channel. This show has shaped some aspects of my teenage years, and really helped me question more, and love the fact that life is way beyond the walls of a country, or a society. That omnipresent innocence is what caught my attention and kept me stuck to the actors and the whole storyline. I grew up watching so many other shows but this one was the most pleasant to me as of becoming an adult. "Mork and Mindy" so magically puts on the table the extraordinary relationship between man and woman having no common interests, no specific goals, no sexual aspirations, no tricks no nothing. Mork was simply lost in this world away from his planet and Mindy was kind enough to host him and foster him with all his childish behavior and the apparent process of growing up into an adult.

Aug 8, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 2

Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you have been close with recently
(Read more about the 30-Day Challenge)

As unexpected as it may sound, this day's challenge kept my brain thinking all day long to find something suitable enough for it to call achieved. Among all the people that I shared feelings, problems, advice with, among all the closest to my heart, among all the friends and family, I chose Georges, that tiny smiling creature who's oh so younger than me. Why? Simply because the challenge explicitly specified "recently", which made things a lot easier for me.

Actually it was yesterday at night that I met him, and we stayed for more than one and a half hours discussing my issues and a recent story he went through. Although I showed so much opposition and rejection to his advice, in fact his words were true and honest, it was me that was fragile and weak preventing myself from fixing my problems. Please welcome, Georges Rattel, the genius of this millenium.

Aug 7, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge - Day 1

Day 01 - A picture of yourself with fifteen facts. (actually I pleasantly got 20 facts)
(Read more about the 30-day Challenge)

And here are the 20 facts that I came up with:

1- I never weighed more than 65KG, and my average weight is a steady 60KG
2- I was once a programming addict, a total computer geek, and an introvert book nerd.
3- I believe most people (if not all of them) live a lie and don't truly know who they are, yes, even yourself
4- I believe not in the religions of today, for all of them are plain businesses and encourage bigotry. I only believe that religion is the kindness we brought to this world.
5- My first camera was a canon (yes a canon) Powershot A480, worth 200$ at the time, which I had had saved the money for probably several months earlier.
6- My dream car is a black Mini Cooper S
7- I cry, a lot, sometimes
8- I often munch on my lips' tissues and love the taste of blood
9- I have a secret bucket list (things to do before I die), and I write diaries
10- I don't know how to swim
11- I love gaming (console gaming) more than anything
12- I hate my university specialty, thus my job
13- I LOVE the smell of coffee but can never hide my disgust of the aweful taste
14- I am my own monitor, punisher, rewarder, etc..
15- I fondly love to cook on the sole condition that you don't criticize the taste!

here are a few more:
16- I love to constantly and blindly give and offer help with no expectations in return, though a thank you is always appreciated
17- I dream of changing who I am and finding the real man I constantly see in the mirror
18- I have a kind of a OCD called the Compulsive hoarding disease, though I'm curing myself out of it.
19- I've been hospitalized once (at age 6) for kidney infection, and never broke any bone in my body my whole life
20- One day I will become a prime minister. Yup, this is a fact.

My 30 Day Challenge - Prologue

Just as I promised a close friend recently, and of course having promised myself in the first place, here goes my 30-day challenge, a road to self discovery whilst breaking ego and paving the way to getting covered with humility. Each and every single day I'll be posting a new photo in accordance to that day's challenge rule, Photo will be posted on Facebook while the full description will be here on my Blog, where it should originally be. Now remember, I'm not exposing anything here for the sake of entertaining anyone. If you ever get bored please show all kind of respect to the person going through this challenge.

First of all i'll be reciting the rules corresponding to each day according to that challenge:

Day 01 - A picture of yourself with fifteen facts.
Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you have been close with recently.
Day 03 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show.
Day 04 - A picture of your night.
Day 05 - A picture of one of your favorite memories.
Day 06 - A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day.
Day 07 - A picture of your most treasured item.
Day 08 - A picture that makes you laugh.
Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.
Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with.
Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.
Day 12 - A picture of something you love.
Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.
Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.
Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die.
Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you.
Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.
Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Day 19 - A picture of you when you were little.
Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.
Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget.
Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at.
Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book.
Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change.
Day 25 - A picture of your day.
Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you.
Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member.
Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of.
Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile.
Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss.

She already advised me to prepare probably the first few challenges in advance to constantly keep space for creativity. I thought that this might be cheating and therefore there is no preparing for me. Clicking on each day should transfer you to that post immediately. Fingers crossed :)

Aug 2, 2012

Dervishes on Stage

Rushing from the Poetry night in one of Mina's old alleys to the Safadi Cultural Center in downtown, we thought we'd missed on the most extraordinary part of the Soufi Dance Concert ever since we were 40 minutes late. The auditorium was amazingly FULL, all booked. Some VIP personnel were filling the first two rows and photographers (both photo and video) were filling the stair steps, one of them was a friend I recognized instantly. I was kind of stuck in a corner due to the amount angles being covered by all the video cameras recording the concert, but a damn excellent corner it was! I'll leave you with the photos.