Archive for January, 2015

January 25th 2015

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Filmwise: Watching, reading and writing.

A lesson..

At a Boris Bikes station en route to work, there were three teenagers, two boys and a girl.

“We only have enough for two bikes!” the older boy said, shaking his head at the prepaid card.

The younger boy, his slight frame hidden beneath a dark blue bomber jacket, was all too aware of the accusation in the eyes of his friend – “you didn’t recharge the card, knowing fully well that there will be three of us on this outing,” or something to that effect, I imagined.

With the recognition dawning on me for all sorts of misreadings of this middle-aged male watching three teenagers talk about bicycles, I added more steps to my speed and quickly turned a corner.

A few minutes later, two bikes peddled by. The girl and the older boy were cruising at a leisurely pace.

While the boy wore a face of satisfaction, perhaps deeming this to be good lesson for his young mate, the girl kept turning her head, searching for someone.

Glancing back, I found their third gang member walking on his own. Meeting her eyes, he waved to the girl on the bike. She smiled and turned, letting the wind run through her blond hair.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

January 18th 2015

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
Filmwise: Reading and writing.
Holding a script conference at my place was not an option, so we headed to the local branch of a restaurant chain, where staff wouldn’t mind us hogging one of the least popular tables for hours on end.
“No Main Course!”
“Yes, no problem; you can have some snacks, instead of a main course,” the charming Hungarian waitress confirmed.
“This is nice!” said the thirty-something woman to the man, as he took off his heavy overcoat and scarf, and dropped them on the seat next to him. She draped her grey coat on the back of the chair. The other man sat next to her, and they began to talk with the ease and lazy pitch that comes with familiarity and a mutual sense of comfort in being in one another’s company.
We were well into scene ten, when my eyes wandered off the tablet screen to the bar counter nearby. There was a chap in a similar age to the three friends at the table; he was clearly on his own, but somehow enjoying his own company, not appearing to feel awkward flying solo at this decidedly groups-only congregation.
He, with combed back dark hair, intelligent eyes, and smart, yet inexpensive, clothes, seemed to be plugged into the convivial energy of the room, watching, without staring, this group of friends celebrating a birthday with cake and a fireworks-like candle, and that three-generations of an Asian family, with the grandparents doting over their granddaughter, and by the window, with eyes reflecting a small candle’s flame placed on their table, a couple deeply involved in a discourse of the heart,  and the two teenage girls too busy texting to talk to each other across the table.
At scene 20, another young lady joined the group nearest to me, and the attention of the two men seemed to be diverted from the topic of conversation – a new blockbuster from a Swedish author, I think.
Their new company was evidently more prepared for a night out, what with the figure-hugging black dress, blood-red lipstick and work-of-art-type shoes that looked spectacular, but would probably be sheer agony by the end of the night.
As the men and the new addition to the table became progressively more animated, the other woman became more and more quiet.
At scene 38, I could see the group stepping out into the January night, with the black dress lady subtly shifting her attention from the chap walking to her left to the other on her right. Through the glass, I could see the other woman walking a step or two behind the three, her figure as despondent as her features.
Moving my eyes back to the bar, the man was still there, nursing a solitary glass of beer.
If Cupid had somehow allowed the two that elusive eye contact in the middle of this  cacophony of messages, thoughts and feelings carried in gazes and smiles… would he and she have hit it off? I wonder.
Peace and love,
Ja’far

January 11th 2015

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Filmwise: Mostly reading.

“May God Damn Thee,” the middle-aged woman, with a distinctly Caireen accent, quoted the Quran.
The bespectacled old man seated next to her nodded in agreement, and looked again at the photo of the two terrorists who’d attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in the front page of the international edition of an Egyptian daily.
My long glass of steaming hot tea arrived. Attached to their stem, the mint leaves looked like a tree that had blossomed through the dark brown beverage.
A few minutes later, the couple were joined by two teenagers, who were related – the shape of their eyes and lips were identical.
The old man put the paper down and insisted that the two order something. “A piece of Baklawa with tea won’t make you fat,” he told the girl.
Clearing the plates, and placing a lamb kebab sandwich before the boy, the thirty-something handsome waiter in white shirt and black waistcoat appeared to linger, glancing down at the front-page of the newspaper.
“What monsters these people have become?” the old man said, putting into words his wife’s thoughts.
“Yes, sir; what annoys me is no one mentions how many Muslims are victims of these same terrorists!” he said, in a Syrian accent.
“My brother and his family are now refugees in Lebanon, because of this lot, and of course because of the thugs of the regime.”
“Indeed; no matter what you tell these people that this is not the real Islam, they don’t listen; by Allah, I tell you!” said the woman in agreement.
Three new customers arrived, letting in the piercing cold draft from the Edgware Road to cut right through my fingers as I had the last bite of the sweet Kanafa.
“May God Damn Thee,” repeated the woman, as she looked at the printed image of the terrorists a second before they shot the police officer Ahmad Merabet near the Charlie Hebdo building.*
Peace and love,
Ja‘far
*Short Story inspired by real events.

January 4th 2015

Sunday, January 4th, 2015
Filmwise: Writing.

“All they need to do is go past Japan, and they will be in the final stage!” said the man, smiling through a trimmed goatee.

His interlocutor was stopped short of declaring his doubts by the arrival of the plate of freshly fried falafel that the waitress placed next to the piping hot disks of Lebanese bread.
In between mouthfuls of seemingly delicious humous-dipped lamb shawarma pieces, the man in the elegant blazer was trying hard to make a case for his team’s chances in a tournament the name of which escaped me.
“They score one goal, and it’s…,” he wiped his palms against each other, as if dusting them off of any doubts the team may have along with the flour residue from the bread basket. “Khalas; it would be over!”
Perhaps noticing that his share of the Baba Ghanoush dish (baked aubergines with onions, tomatoes and various spices) was fast dwindling from the flat small dish, he looked like he delayed his prognosis for round two of the said tournament; he made a generously filled sandwich first.
“Yes, but the Japanese have a great defence; a tall order for you to score!” the man finally retorted, probably with an eye on the fast-receding supplies on the table.
“Well, let me tell you something,” he whispered, as if fearing that supporters of the other teams in the tournament may be within earshot.
As the mostly one-sided conversation continued, a couple were seated not five feet from the two.
On hearing the whispered predictions for the games, the woman looked at her husband  with a touch of mischief, and confided something to him.
Going by the man’s reaction – he wasn’t in agreement, I wondered whether she was also making a case for her team.
“Your take-away is ready, sir,” the waitress politely called for me.
Peace and love,
Ja’far