Thursday, March 17, 2016


I always wonder if my memory is a blessing or a curse, being able to remember every tiny detail in almost everything that happened in my life. Even when sometimes I hate remembering certain situations, I would still not give away my memory; my most precious asset if I may say.

I love stories, whether they are being written or filmed. Every story is based on another true story or the work of fiction that someone might see fitting to their own life. I love music because it is beautiful how it can shift your mood from happiness to despair and vice versa. I don’t know if the person who is singing gets the credit or should it be the lyricist, or even that man standing playing his guitar.

In 1995, I got introduced to The Smashing Pumpkins and it didn’t take long to announce that they are my favourite band. Soon after, I fell in love with their lead singer, Billy Corgan. When you love a celebrity, you decide to know to know everything about them, from their favourite food to colour, how they were brought up by their parents and which side they prefer to sleep on. Reading more about Billy, I discovered he is a Piscean just like me. Born on the 17th of March, I started celebrating his birthday every year, just by thinking of him. I wish I could have called or sent a card but the impossible seemed more realistic than doing that. When social media was born in the post 2000s-era, I was able to send Billy my wishes every year, not knowing if he would ever check them or not.

It was a Thursday late night in 2006 when I received a call to join my friend and his girlfriend on a felucca ride. They had a lot of people with them and I felt so out of place. They came from Alexandria to ‘crash a wedding’ – yes, ‘Wedding Crashers’ the movie was the big thing back then – and some people decided to act stupid accordingly. I was bored out of my world and couldn’t wait for the boat to reach the deck. The dawn was almost over and the sun was about to shine on us. As we approached, I was smoking a cigarette and in the middle of that disgusting act, I decided that this is it. I just threw that last cigarette in the Nile, where millions of cigarettes and toxics lie, and put an almost-full pack of cigarettes under my seat and got up to leave those weird people.

It was Friday 17th of March, little before 6 a.m., when I smoked my last cigarette. It took me a couple of years later to realise that my anniversary celebration matches Billy’s birthday. It was just another smile on my face – oh how the world operates.

It started with a text message on Saturday night, those dreadful hours when you want the clock to stop ticking so you don’t think of waking up early for work. The chat prolonged till the next day and a date has been set. I got home, showered and put on a sweatshirt with the MTV (Music Television) logo in the centre (what was I thinking? – maybe I wanted to look hip), grey jeans and my Asics shoes. I picked her up and I knew then that my life will never be the same again. Sunday, 17th of March 2013.

Today, Billy turns 49, I haven’t had a cigarette for 10 years and 3 years passed since the day I took my wife on our very first date. I am sitting here, wearing those Asics shoes and wondering with a smile on my face...oh how the world operates.


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