I will let you in on a secret, well it’s not so much of a secret but more of a new fetish, a new obsession I am developing…

Just like a hypochondriac, whenever he hears or reads about an illness and its symptoms, he automatically starts imagining them in his body, he checks his pulse, listens to his heart beat, checks his lymph nodes and measures his temperature...

I am the same, but my new object, my new fixation is Walls.

I am totally obsessed with walls.

Every time I pass by one, I stop and study it. I look at its width, height, thickness, the material it is made of...

I examine the mass of concrete, the bricks, the stones...Its color, its texture...I check if it is newly built or old...

Then I look for cues, hints and signs - any writing on the wall, any graffiti, poster, even the imprints of the mason's spatula - any expression of a human hand that may have touched it.

Then I look at the cracks, fissures, holes, gaps, if any - and imagine what lies behind it...

Then I survey the immediate surroundings...

Is there anything to find at the bottom of the wall, anything lying on the ground...a blade of grass, a flower, an empty bottle, a piece of an old worn out cloth...

Sometimes, I am taken by the details and I linger on longer than what is deemed socially acceptable or normal...

I stand there and imagine what goes on behind this wall, and then my thoughts take me further, and I ask myself questions. Who lives behind those walls, what are they like, what is their story...?

For some odd reason, I always assume that someone lives behind this wall which is not always the case. Sometimes it is just a barren desolate land filled with garbage...But I still believe that it is inhabited.

I am sure some seek refuge behind those walls...and in my mind it is always at night.

Then, I play a mind game. I say to myself, who is really behind a wall, the onlooker or the one who lives on the other side ?

Who is freer, the onlooker or the one behind it ?

When you come to think of it, it is not that clear cut...not to me anyways...not anymore.

I was caught with my new fetish the other day.

A nosy neighbor who has nothing to do but stand on her balcony all day, stood there, observing me...

I noticed her from the corner of my eye, she stood there, with her arms folded against her chest, like a policeman about to catch someone red handed.

I was just walking past the wall in my neighborhood and the urge took me again, I was inspecting it once more, hoping someone would have a left a sign, a trail, a new element that I can add to my repertoire of fetishistic cues...

So naturally, I stopped by and examined it again.

I noticed a new crack and a new blade of grass and more garbage thrown in front of it...

I was a little disappointed. I had nothing new to report or add to my curious obsession.

And as I bent forward, hoping to catch something that I may have missed...I heard her voice from across the balcony, across the street, landing on me.

“An shoo am betfatshee - What are you looking for?“ she said in an imperious voice.

“I lost something and maybe I will find it here.” I replied with the tone of someone caught with... her back against a wall.

She shrugged her shoulders, “Ya haram, (poor one) and you think if anyone found anything you lost, they will leave it there for your return?”

“I guess not, I was just hoping...”

“Eh yalla, keep on hoping“ was her final say, before she haughtily turned her back and disappeared inside, leaving a dark shadow behind...like a wall.

Painting: Iraqi artist, Mohammed Fareed.


Anonymous said…
hypochondriac not psycho somatic
a couple of days ago i missused the term psycho somatic I should have used hypochondriac

strange coinky dink
Anonymous said…
Instead of daydreaming like a timid, wistful old woman lost to hope...CLIMB the "walls" like the child you were...

Children don't give a fuck about what "people" around will think or say...when they desire something, they go their own way to get it...and no "wall" under the sun or the star-lit sky is high enough to stop them...

Resurrect "Little Layla" from the deepest recesses of your soul, and you shall triumph :-)

I blow you a kiss.
i put my signature under what young lioness said..while measuring walls, this was the same thing which passed through my mind.

meanwhile, i remember one of our own (malayalam) writer muhammad basheer's short story, 'mathilukal'(meaning, walls)which has somewhat parallel emotions as in this post.

while rallying with you for the liberation of that great land of tigris and euphrates, i also keep in mind about the atrocities of saddam and his bath party, though nothing of those would justify americans rape and invasion of this country, whatsoever.

rajeeve chelanat
Anonymous said…
Could your neighbor just mind her own business or, if she was truly worried about your state, haul her ass off the friggin balcony and down into the street to help you find what you had apparently "lost" ???

Is she paralytic by any chance ???

Or was she "annoyed" at you because the noise of your steps had interrupted her blissful eternal Arab snooze ??? !!!

The mind boggles...
Anonymous said…
"i also keep in mind the atrocities of saddam and his baath party"

Yeah, "keep in mind" the Zionist nursery-school poem on "Ogre Saddam", good boy...

But please don't come and recite it to us, 'cause we are too old and too aware of the historical facts beyond the victors' revisionistic Propaganda to appreciate such naiveties.
Anonymous said…
Love it, absolutely love it!!
Thanks again dear Layla and a Happy, Healthy an Prosperous New Year to you and yours.
Anonymous said…
Layla I love your little eccentricities you describe...dont change for anyone...ever!

May 2008 bring you happiness in all its forms and dimensions. Amen

Anonymous said…
You need two additions to your possessions to assist in your quest for knowledge. A sharp object would allow you to conduct what is known as Moh's hardness test, and a small container of acid, with an eyedropper, would allow you to ascertain if the walls are sandstone, or limestone. Believe it, or not, they can look very similar, but limestone bubbles when acid is dropped on it; sandstone doesn't.

The nature of the plants also gives clues as to the acidity/alkalinity of the surroundings.

Keep up the good work. I am always pleased to see people developing an interest in Earth Science.
Layla Anwar said…
young lioness,

seems your youth is a major stumbling block in understanding what this post is all about.

Yalla, good luck when you grow up.
Layla Anwar said…
rajeeve chelanat,

I believe "adult" has addressed some of your regurgitated lies about Saddam Hussein.
You mentioned on the other thread, that you wish to translate some of my works- Fair enough. But please, do bear in mind that you will not be receiving any of the usual "party lines" from me. And if you do decide to translate anyways - then I will ask you to safeguard author's copyrights, by providing tne name and author of this blog.

Layla Anwar said…
Hello S,

Long time no see...
I think you must have understood what the whole post is about.
Walls- Physical walls, homes, lack of them,
Separation Walls. Iraq, Palestine,
Political Walls,
Social Walls,
Cultural Walls
And human walls.

Bless you and yours and my very best for 2008
Layla Anwar said…
mind boggled,

Hi, you will find a reply to your query in my thread addressed to S.
Layla Anwar said…
Hello N,

Thank you and same to you. All the best for 2008.
Layla Anwar said…
Lord, fuck off.
Anonymous said…
Now is that any way to talk to your Lord, especially as in your next post I see that you are becoming so English. You hate everybody equally. Congratulations, you have finally become a true Goddess. How could you possibly go wrong with me guiding and encouraging you? You are even dreaming of the sea, which definitely is more the trait of a nation of pirates, like the English.

Empire-building was the stupid idea of a Scottish King, getting far too big and stupid ideas, just like a man, while under his predecessor, Queen Elizabeth, we were such excellent pirates. Pirating is a profitable business, and endless fun for all, while empire building is such a costly business and so prone to dismal failure.

Blessings upon you my Goddess. In you I am well pleased.
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,

Believe me, I had understood perfectly well.

In case you missed it, I am as much of a "metaphor addict" as you are ;-)

Sorry for the "timid, wistful, old": all three were provocative and none will be true at least for the next 3 decades :-)

And sorry for the strident, irritating noise of my agonizing optimism trying pathetically to clutch at some shred of a "hold" on the glass-smooth Wall of Despair...

"Grow up" I can't...not one fraction of an instant more than the age I was when I watched Baghdad fall...

Keep up the wonderful work.

Layla Anwar said…
young lioness,

please yourself,
But do remember, cubs can't hunt.
Anonymous said…
You are right...as usual.

I'll see what I can do to retain the vitality when it comes to flow onto me...before it ebbs away...far, far away again...

For sure, I don't want to die a slave of Destiny.

Take care of yourself.
Dear Layla,

I havent taken any of your postings, except, the one "Dont interrupt me.." which happened to come to me as a e-mail from one of your friend. In the future,in case any of your postings which I find relevant and 'postable' I would inform you prior, get your permission before posting and will acknowledge your name and blog in my post. That goes without asking.

Now, regarding your and (adult's) misconception that I am on the side of victor or that cruel bastard of yankee regime, my reply is a big NO. I am not for them, and have never been. I know about these western societies, and the vulgar lefts and rights in US (as you yourself said rightly)both, licking the heels of the republican devil, and also the eunech of a United Nations. I know about them Layla and adult..

What I said about Saddam and Baath, has been what I learned from people like Robert Fisk and Edward Said and from various other counter-establishment medias of which I am a regular and ardent 'browser' and if you were a Keralite, you could have followed my blogs which are mainly directed against the US and Brit imperialism and their invasion.

I have nothing to offer than salute the brave people of Iraq who are giving the butchers a hard time.

Once more saluting you and your nation,
dear layla

there was a small mistake in my last comment. the said email (dont interrupt me.) came from one of 'my' friend, not yours.

apologies for that mistake

and one more thing for your info. i had the chance(rather the first one) to introduce 2 articles from Baghdad Burning and translate and post(riverbendblog)in Malayalam blogosphere. no news from that brave girl for long. i am in touch with dahr jamail too.
Anonymous said…
"What I said about Saddam and Baath, has been what I learned from people like Robert Fisk and Edward Said"

Yalla, keep on learning from the WANKERS, good pubescent boy...

But, again, don't come and ejaculate your ignorant, prejudiced, fairy-tale "Orientalist" PROPAGANDA acquisitions onto here, 'cause we are decent people and this is a respectable blog.

That being said, we DO appreciate your good points on the overall picture and wish you to find the inspiration to thouroughly free yourself up and become a truly independent and honest thinker.

Best wishes.

so you mean that you are decent and others (orientalists, wankers and what not!) are not. good habibi, sleep on your blissful ignorance and sweet dreams.

and did i ever said that this blog is bad or vicious..Layla would be the better one to say on that..i admire her opinions (though not all..)and ever more her writing.

and about 'your' appreciating good points and overall picture, as if i care for that :-)..come on

and, i dont want her blog to be filled with our tit-for-tats..i stop..once and for all..if u wish more, my gmail is always open for you.

Anonymous said…
രാജീവ് ചേലനാട്ട്
just wants to show the world that he's been sleeping on his "blissful ignorance and sweet dreams" since his birth...
Anonymous said…
Rajeeve Chelana,

I take back my words of encouragement.

You obviously are not interested in the pursuite of knowledge.

Good luck with your anti-revolutionary, politically correct centre-left passivism.


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