Monday, January 17, 2022

Saddam’s Great Iraq – 2

There are no hard and fast timings for meals. I have seen people enjoying various meals, drinks and saltish items in restaurants from 6:00 AM to 1:00 AM. The restaurants’ staff works in shifts but there is no break in entertainment services for the people. Some of the meals that differ from those in our country are:-

Iraqi Bread called SammoonA- Breakfast:

(a) Grams cooked with rice eaten with Sammoon (slightly hard bread) as the most popular breakfast.

(b) Full wheat bread roasted in vegetable oil and saturated with sugar solution in water.

(c) Raw cream with Sammoon and jam.

(d) Tikkahs with Sammoon.

B- Lunch:

Simple Iraqi Bread(a) A dish of chicken wings and necks with bread or Sammoon, including a dish of boiled rice.

(b) Saltish cookies inside Sammoon.

(c) Roasted chicken called ‘Dejaj Mashvi’.

C- Dinner:

(a) Meat chips with Sammoon.

(b) Rice, bread, meat and vegetables piled in succession in a big tray presented before a group of guests during invited feasts.

(c) Fried vegetables with bread or Sammoon.

(d) As an occasional special dish, vegetable leave rolls filled with cooked spiced rice. These rice rolls are generally decorated in a tray.

D- Miscellaneous:

(a) Sweets in Iraq are curious as compared to those in the Sub-Continent. It is difficult to describe them. They are almost hundred percent different sweets in shape, size and taste, and these are in large variety.

(b) Vegetables seeds coated with salt and baked on fire are enjoyed by Iraqis. They have very good practice of chewing up the inside material of the seed and disposing off the outer cover or shell at very quick speed. I tried to copy them, but only took a lot of time to move the outer cover out. Badly unsuccessful, I never tried it again. Off and on I would open it with my hand and eat up the inner matter.

By now, I could speak a few broken sentences in Arabic. At least I could make the restaurant staff understand what I wanted. At the end of the meals I could understand the cash demand for charges. Above all I could myself count the currency notes and coins out of my pocket whereas in the beginning I used to put my purse before the counter incharge asking him to take out the charges of meals by gestures only. Most of the Iraqis disliked English, and at the same time encouraged outsiders in an effort to express themselves in Arabic. They are really very nice human beings. They greet others with blessings tens of times during the day. And when translated those sentences were found to be filled with different extremely good wishes for others. Here are some of the examples:-

1- May God help you!

2- May God bless you!

3- May God give you strength!

4- May God bless your mother and father!

5- May God have pity on your mother and father!

They will address others with very nice words like, My Eyes, My Heart, My Love, My Beloved, etc. Very young kids in front of their house gate many times greeted me with, ‘How are you uncle’. I got very astonished in the beginning to see kids hardly able to have learnt speaking, so nicely greeting the adults.

All that does not mean that Iraqis do not have a boiling point. When they are brought to it, then it appears that everything will end in disaster. Normally they are soft spoken. They will make every effort to ascertain that they are not misunderstood and they don’t offend anybody.

Calling by person’s exact name is perfect habit with Iraqis. No decorations like ‘Sahib’ or ‘Janab’ are spoken. If for example the name is Mehmood, they will address the person as Mehmood.

On meeting each other ‘Asalam-o-Alekum’ is rarely exchanged. They generally greet each other as ‘Saba Al-Khair’ or ‘Masa Al-Khair’. But generally greeting language from one end to the other throughout the country is ‘Allah-e-Saadaq’ (May God help you) for one man and ‘Allah-e-Saadookum’ for more people. While departing they will say ‘Fi Aman Allah’ (May God protect you) and he will be returned with the same good wishes by one or more people.

On TV all Arabic dramas come from Egypt, Syria and Jordon. Standard of performance of roles was found to be very high. Perfect care was taken to play very intricate situations with astonishing success, to the entire satisfaction of the viewers. Major part of songs was, of course, Iraqi. Iraqis sing impressively. Renowned Egyptian artists are really far ahead of Iraqis in singing. Deceased Abdul Hakeem and another singer simply stunned the listeners, even those not knowing Arabic. I have never been equally calmed by any song in any other language in my life so far. Both of these singers died rather young. There art itself spoke that they were not going to live longer. And so it happened. Listening their songs besides myself, people appeared to be leaving their bodies soulless whereas their souls seemed to be meandering in another very different world. Their songs really affected like magic. I also listened to Abddu of Saudi Arabia. A young boy of about 23 years of age is a magnet on TV that would not let anybody go, unless he finishes.

To be continued…


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Category: Travel

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