I was born in Bagdad, nicknamed “city of peace”,
even though it has known little of it.
When I was very small,
my innocent daily ritual was to play.
Playing with other children, with my brother and sister.
When I got older, it became my daily ritual
to listen to a story before bedtime,
told by my father or mother.
Later, the ritual changed and I read books myself.
When the war between Iran and Iraq broke out,
it was a daily ritual
to hide in the bunker during the bomb alarm.
This ritual lasted for eight years.
The biggest part of my childhood.
As I got older
I developed the ritual
to escape from daily reality,
by plunging into my fantasy.
That way, I forgot the fear
and the power the dictator wielded over us,
which in itself was some kind of ritual.
Also during the first Gulf War
I held on to this ritual of fear and caution.
Afterwards I started my theatre studies,
which again changed my ritual.
My daily reality was different
now that I associated it with art.
When the last war, the one between Iraq and the U.S. was over,
I realised that my reality was far from normal.
This realisation breached my daily rituals.
I then decided to leave my reality,
and look for another reality
where I could build new daily rituals.
One of those new daily rituals
is the retrieval of memories,
thinking about my family.
I remember the tea flavoured with cardamom
that my mother made for me in the morning.
I remember the bread that was baked in the clay oven.
I remember the dates we picked in the garden.