Back to the roots.
To the very beginning…
Living the Midani Essence in Istanbul - Al Midan
I have been away for a while now…
You do know that I have had to adapt to a new version of Istanbul.
An unbelievably welcoming Istanbul.
I am literally asked to sing my stories while dancing my way in this amazing city of Life and Energy. And as of late, it has become the City of Surprises.
My dearest Rose,
The story has it that she was to have a coffee with a Midani today and she felt so excited.
She just couldn’t believe it she was going to speak to someone coming from the very heart of Damascus. Moreover, from the very neighborhood of Al Midan.
“I have so many thoughts on my mind.
I wonder what his perception is upon Life at large. Upon Damascenes.
Does he have any war scars? How and when did he leave Dimashq? And why is he here in Istanbul, not another place?
How would he describe our mother town? What about Al Midan?
How is the Damascene mother, since mine is a European?
I am dying to learn how he perceives Al Midanis in comparison with the rest of the Damascenes. How about Damascenes versus Syrians?
I believe the first question I am going to ask him is: "Are you a Damascene or a Syrian?"
What about Love? How is Love for a Midani of the new generation? Does he believe in Love?
How does he perceive the Egyptian Bazaar, which I simply adore, in comparison with the souqs in Damascus?
As for Turkey and Turks, what was his very first impression when he got in touch with them?
And after all is said and done, how much ardently and intensely does he miss Damascus, as we all do …?”
A rainbow of galloping questions flooding the mind
"I recall he is a green-eyed. Yet, we shall see. I don’t remember his face very clearly.
What I do remember is his hands wrapping the essences of Vanilla, Müguet, and Flower of Istanbul in the Spices Bazaar. As for the perfumes of Damascus, I do believe we surely are to indulge Her fragrant stories this very evening."
"Are you a Damascene or a Syrian?"
"I am a Shami, not just a Damascene."
Al Shwam are the Damascenes descendants of the old neighborhoods set up within the walls of the ancient Citadel of Damascus. These are very ancient neighborhoods, whose tradition and reputation transcend thousands of years in accordance with the oral tradition. Whereas everything might be debatable, one's love for Al-Sham isn't.
"How is the Damascene mother?"
"Ideal. Not perfect. Ideal."
"If you knocked on a Damascene's door and told them you were hungry, they'd offer you food."
Damascus - the Mother source
" What about Love. Is there Love in Al Midan?"
"Yes, there is. Al Mawadne are hot-blooded."
(Imagine that! You seem quite balanced and tempered. That is, at first sight, of course.)
"Do you like Turkey?"
"Yes, I do. I do believe Turks are welcoming and stand by you, especially in times of crisis."
"What do you miss most about Damascus?"
"Her water of roses or her drinking water?"
"Her water. The water of Fije. The heavenly Mayet al Fije. I presume you do remember the fact that there is a sabil - a water spring in each district so that everybody can quench their thirst."
"Yes. I DO."
"Damascus has plenty of clear, pure water in it, though, and this is enough, of itself, to make an Arab think it beautiful and blessed. Water is scarce in blistered Syria. We run railways by our large cities in America; in Syria they curve the roads so as to make them run by the meagre little puddles they call “fountains,” and which are not found oftener on a journey than every four hours. But the “rivers” of Pharpar and Abana of Scripture (mere creeks,) run through Damascus, and so every house and every garden have their sparkling fountains and rivulets of water. With her forest of foliage and her abundance of water, Damascus must be a wonder of wonders to the Bedouin from the deserts. Damascus is simply an oasis — that is what it is. For four thousand years its waters have not gone dry or its fertility failed. Now we can understand why the city has existed so long. It could not die. So long as its waters remain to it away out there in the midst of that howling desert, so long will Damascus live to bless the sight of the tired and thirsty wayfarer.
“Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of spring, blooming as thine own rose-bud, and fragrant as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, pearl of the East!” (The Innocents Abroad - Mark Twain)
"What is Damascus to you?"
"Everything. Kul shey'. My friends. My family. My Home."
Al Midan is Family
The petals have always been reunited by the Rose of Damascus
The Fragrance of Home
Photo Credit: Pinterest & Damascene Rose