I think I may have said before that Ahmed has a huge family, thirteen brothers and sisters not to mention countless cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents.
These days, Ahmed’s Grananna is almost unrecognisable as the once proud and capable matriarch that ruled the family with a firm but loving hand. Grannanna is a petite figure, never without the Turkish traditional dress of headscarf and bloomers, however, sadly lost within her own world of memories these days. At one time, she clearly was the strongest family influence, and has helped to raise countless children across three generations within her immediate and extended family. There will be no sunny retirement home for her I’m delighted to say. She will remain an integral part of the family and receive the same tender care that she has provided for her kinfolk over the years.
Today Grannanna was Ahmed’s responsibility and he decided to bring her along with us to the wholesaler. I should mention that Grannanna for some reason has taken an instant disliking to me and every time our paths cross, she shouts “fahise, oruspu!” at me. Now my Turkish is in no way fluent but I know enough to know that she isn’t admiring my shoes. Added to the verbal insults, she always does the spitting thing. Ahmed finds this highly amusing and when I ask him why she’s upset with me, thinking it maybe because I am living in sin with her favourite grandson; it’s apparently because I expose my arms.
After another day spent stacking shelves (once a shelf stacker ….), I had nipped back to the apartment for a quick shower and Ahmed had driven back to the apartment to collect me with Grananna riding shotgun.
Ahmed rather unwisely and a tad irresponsibly, had left Grananna sat in the car alone whilst he attempted to hurry me up. Bracing myself for another verbal onslaught and the annoying spitting thing, me and my buff arms marched out to the car. Unfortunately, Grananna was no longer in the car or anywhere in the immediate vicinity. After quite a few curses, Ahmed drove the car around the neighbourhood trying to track down his errant grandmother.
Two hours later and countless phone calls to various family members, we were none the wiser. It was getting darker now and the beach front bars were beginning to get busier. I was a little worried to be honest and suggested we walk along the sea front to see if she’d taken a shortcut home.
Suddenly I noticed this little wizened old soul sat all alone alongside a glass of raki in the busiest bar. Her face shone with happiness whilst topless bar boys danced around her. She clapped along and joked with them as if they were her grandsons and for a short while I could see a shadow of her former self. Ahmed was less than impressed and quickly paid her bar bill. Waving goodbye to her new-found friends she reluctantly allowed herself to be led away by her favourite grandson, her adventure already forgotten by the time she had fastened her seatbelt.
Ahmed on the other hand is still a little traumatized and has assured me he will be saying extra prayers at the Mosque this week. Families – don’t you just love them?