Sunday, December 09, 2007

Velo: An Egyptian Tale

I read a lot. I write a lot. But rarely do I get impressed or intrigued by what other people write these days. Got out of bed early in the morning, a bit frustrated that even on my weekend I am waking up early, yet the beautiful weather filled me with joy. Suddenly I found myself in Zamalek and soon enough I was inside the bookshop buying new books. I bought 2 books and was looking for 3 more but not to my amazement they were out of stock, or at least that's what they told me. I heard not from long ago that Amr Khaled -whom I will talk about later in this post- wrote a book and it is out.

I guess the book chose me just like Tingo told Amr (only the people who read the book would understand what I just said).

Anyway I am out and back in my car, going back home. Somehow there was a cosmetic smile deep within me. Maybe it was the good sun, or the fact that waking up early on a Saturday wasn't that bad after all, maybe it was Velo, I don't know, I was happy and enjoying which was more than enough. Arrived under my house and parked the car. I was supposed to go up and sleep so I can wake up fresh for the Manchester United game, but instead I went straight to the ahwa, which is also home; a certain force was pushing me to go have my morning shisha and pulling me from going up to my warm bed. It felt good. Smiles covered the faces of people around me. Ordered my shisha and my tea. I had the 3 books with me, but it was Velo that I wanted. The cute name maybe, or the nice enigmatic design that sends an unspoken message of an unknown quest internally and spiritually, the fact that it is a book written by someone I know. All this poured the intensity required before having a nice stuffed meal. It is not often when you get to read a book for someone you already know, met and heard him sing. 2 hours passed and it felt like 2 minutes. Shisha after shisha, juice after tea, people passing by, phone calls from random people, inspiration was in the air and I was enchanted with the mystical beauty of the treasure in my hands. I cannot remember the last time I felt excited while reading something in 'English'. Apart from some of the blogs I browse it is very hard really to identify with the last time I was 'in need' while reading something. "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain comes to my mind, as it kept me wanting more every time I flipped through its magical pages. Wanting to know more, and curious to find out the unknown.

Velo provided me with that magnetism.

Very disturbed was I when I discovered that I need to stop reading and go home to make calls and arrangements for the match. Time passed by quickly and as I was going out to meet the most beautiful girl in my life and watch the undisputed champions of England play; still didn't all that stop me from taking Velo along. The match finished and another one started, heaps of people marched in and out, lots of talks took place, a round of cards was happening, and Velo was beside me preciously and anxiously just like Aladdin's lamp; waiting for me to rub it. I ate a lot of stuff the night before, thus triggering my stomach to produce those vibrations that means I need to unleash the dragons and missiles within me. I ran to the bathroom with the book in my hand and couldn't believe that finally I am getting the privacy I've been longing for to read the book, even if it was just for ten minutes. I was happier than Aladdin after he rubbed his lamp. I went home that night and as much as I wanted to finish the book, as much as my eyes and body felt just like Amr in his first night in jail. (Again only those who read the book would get that)

Sunday morning and back to the work life we all thrive in and for. After waking up I made sure that I'll leave the house with the book in my hands. Normally I am much occupied at work, with lots of meetings, roaming, and presentations - Busy Bee! I just had a feeling that it would be a quite one. Maybe I was hoping for it deep inside as I wanted to finish the book.

And so I did.

My story with Amr is a very funny one. Just like Velo used to come to him, Amr used to appear in my life from time to time, unexpected, and unplanned. I used to be with Amr in school till I was 5, before I travel abroad and come back to another school. Days pass by and back in our early teens, the talk of rock and heavy metal was somehow popular, and talk about a group of guys who play in my ex school was transferred. I didn't get the chance to listen to them, or wasn't actually interested to listen to that band in particular. I didn't care. I had enough bands in my school who kept me happy. Days fly this time and I travel to study abroad, again, and then transfer back here to the university I graduated from, and there I got to know Karim who is mentioned in the ahwa post written last year. He happened to be in the band with Amr. Karim was more of a vampire, who only wears black and isolates himself from the beauty of life. I am sure I mentioned that before to you people. Anyway, this is when I involved Karim in our happy ahwa life, which he later disbanded because he wanted to hook up with more ladies, and felt that ahwa is a waste of time...but clubbing isnt.

Back in 2000 as I began to know Karim, he invited me to go and listen to his band 'Apocalypse' which was to my surprise, the same band I heard about early in my teens. I went to watch them at one of the most disgraceful hotels I came across in my life. That night, I discovered that not only did he live as a vampire, but his whole band and every other underground band in Egypt. I felt disgusted and ashamed. Everyone wearing black with hideous ghost-looking figures. Amr looked older than any of the band mates, maybe it was his weight or facial hair that none of them possessed, anyway he was singing and rocking hard. I was enjoying every moment and started singing along to tunes I've never heard before. When I saw Amr that day, I remembered his face, not from school, but from our very own Gezira Club. We never had talked before that night at Toshka Hotel. And we never really talked after that for all that matters. Even when we talked, it was more of a Hi/Bye phrase. News of Amr used to be delivered to me just like news being spread on networking sites as Facebook nowadays. I heard of his fight against addiction. His writings that he submitted to AUC when he was a kid. I heard of the cartoons he drew and the fact that he is no longer playing with Karim's band. I heard of the universities he went to and the ones he walked out on. Heard of the weight he lost and the random trips to England and France he had when he was 16. The half Egyptian/half Brit he was dating when he was 17 and the long stay in Ireland he had to take when he was a bit older. I heard of Bad Apple from random people. News and pictures of Amr was knocking on my door all the time now. Suddenly a guy I know turns to be their official photographer. Maha's brother turns to be their drummer. Facebook invitations to their concerts. Flipping through different magazines to find Amr contributing in them. There is always someone who randomly comes and mention something. If it is about the band, or about the music, or about school and old days, there is always a lead taking me to Amr.

Thank you for the experience. Thank you for the journey. You have a talent. I am sure you were told that already, but it is always good to hear it again - I know how it feels. What I really like about your writing is that you like to explain, identify, and elaborate...and you do it in detail. You do it till the smallest detail that others would never notice or find important. And above all, you are doing all that while sharing an experience. A real one. And this is what makes it striking. This is why I like it. And this is the way I like it. You are writing for fun and it is clear you enjoy doing so. You already know you can do it and you do not need to prove anything to anyone. Keep on writing. I am sure that what you did will be of significance for a long time. I already know some people who have been writing books for some time now, myself included, and 'Velo' will always stand, not for being the first, but for being truly inspiring to everyone, from people who already are involved in writing to others who never wrote and never will. I wouldn't be surprised if this book tickled people to start writing anecdotes,diaries, editorials, blogs and even books.

As you mentioned somewhere early in your book when talking about meditation:

You go to pure awareness; and then you become it.

Amr, Mario, Pekii, Bad Apple, whatever you like to call yourself with: Keep it up, and long live the Rock!


Blogger Amr said...

Thanks man.
im deeply moved
didnt see that one coming
and hell yeah it feels good!
much appreciated
im sending the link to this review to the book's group on facebook
Amr Khaled

Sunday, January 13, 2008 3:09:00 AM  
Anonymous crista said...

i just LOVE that book! not only the things he is telling us about but also how he is telling it!!! i couldn't belive, that he wrote about exactely those things, which are important for me in my life! i really thougt the same thing: this book chose me! thank you very much amr khaled!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 2:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Cora said...

Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate what you're doing here!

Friday, October 22, 2010 7:58:00 AM  
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