Thursday, March 04, 2010

Mothers and Candles

The 8th of March is the International Women's Day. I saw that activity in Al Sayd Club in Baghdad in T.V. in advance for that coming day. All those ladies singing and dancing and playing music. I would vote for her, she is stronge, clever, and beautiful. I took a novel and started to read.

It was 1991 and there was no electricity in Baghdad. The psychiatric clinic was lit with candles. Sahera and Saeed were waiting for their turn to the doctor when a woman came and talked to Sahera (Sahera is a common female name which means: a woman who stay awake at night) asking her about Saeed and whether he is her husband or brother .. or what?

Sahera annoyed from that woman questions decided to attack her with a question: “how many children do you have?” and as the woman told her frightened that she got four children, Sahera held her from her arms so that she didn’t escape and said: “I advise you to put them back to inside your womb urgently, and that you seal your womb with red wax, so that they don’t take them from you. And do not let anyone form them to go out, not now!”. She let go of the woman’s arm who escaped away from Sahera who’s turn to enter to the psychiatrist had come.
Mehdi Esa Alsaqr novel “A House Near Tigris River” had drowned me in its charm. I put the novel away and took Kaplan’s and Sadock’s text and searched for Otto Rank and read under his name:
“He developed a new theory which he called Birth Trauma. Anxiety is correlated with separation from the mother- specifically, with separation from the womb, the source of effortless gratification. This painful experience results in primal anxiety. Sleep and dreams symbolize the return to the womb”.
In the psychiatrists room, lit by three candles, all the three talked at the same time, Saheera was asked to go outside to leave Saeed alone with the psychiatrist. Saeed refused to talk. The eight pages describing the interview were so clever in describing the internal world of Saeed who was going away in memories then coming back to the psychiatrist who asks him to talk about what is bothering him. Saeed noticed the huge amount of papers on the table between him and that psychiatrist with that unlit cigarette in his hands. Saeed (a common Arabic name means: Happy) asked the psychiatrist to give him matches. Some few pages of the novel went in Saeed’s memories and the psychiatrist’s insistence. Finally Saeed got the matches; he lit a stick and set fire in the papers. The psychiatrist started shouting while trying to control the fire with his hands.
As he controlled the fire, Sahera and the psychiatrist assistant entered the room, the psychiatrist blamed Sahera for the fire that had burned part of his white shirt. Sahera complained: “But you didn’t let me speak!!! “. The psychiatrist saw Saheera now alone while Saeed waits outside. He blamed her for acting as if Saeed’s mom saying: “you are not old, so why do you make yourself a mother for a man you did not give birth to?”
The psychiatrist prescribed drugs and asked them to come later. That was it. The novel leaves you, at page 40 in this 200 pages novel, not knowing what is the relation between Sahera and Saeed and why is Saeed is trying to set fire in everything he see, and why is Sahera is married to a man since one week and she is still a virgin as Saeed said to the psychiatrist?
Forty pages of clever narration that leaves you thirsty for more and you have no choice but to continue.


tracy said...

Sami...This makes me really want to read this book...amazing! Thank you so much for the introduction...and for writing. i miss you . Lighting the papers on fire...i mean no disrespect, however, that's kind of funny, coming from my situation :)
Be well, be Happy,

saminkie said...

Hi Tracy, I miss you too. The novel is exciting. And I liked that scene when Saeed lit that fire in the psychiatrist's papers, I don't know why I felt a relief, as if revenging from something me myself... Novels help me to ventilate my fantasies...
Thank you for the visit Tracy,
Much Love and Respect.

Peace said...


it is good to find person that share the same interest of you and good to find person that reads some modern novels not only the classical.
this is novel seems beautiful I'll try to read it, if I have time, of course.

God bless you.

saminkie said...

Hello Peace,

Thank you for the encouragement and for the visit.