The Cerelac effect

MSN conversation:

An ex: Hi ya 3assal. – Winking emoticon
Amnesiac: Yes hello.
An ex: How is job hunting going?
Amnesiac: There is a project which I might be joining, depending on funding.
An ex: Project eih?!? You’re going to open a mobile shop wala eih? Ha ha.
Amnesiac: Not yet.
An ex: What about human rights?? You’re not going to work in them anymore?
Amnesiac: It is a human rights project in a human rights organisation.
An ex: Mesh fahem 7aga khaales. [I don’t understand a bloody thing.]
Amnesiac: Eshta. [Marvellous] – Amnesiac puts foot through screen.

This conversation invoked the ‘Cerelac’ effect in me. When I was seven, my Mum decided that she really couldn’t live without Marks and Spencer and we moved back to the UK after we had been in Egypt for a year or so and my Arabic was just beginning to get good (ensuring that I forgot everything within a month). I had developed a taste for Cerelac while we were in Cairo, and was devastated to learn that its creamy reassuring fattiness wasn’t available in the UK. Either that or my mother had paid our supermarket to hide their stocks of it.

Anyway I pined for Ceralac with the intensity of a convict’s wife frenziedly knitting jumpers for her man, and upon our return to Egypt grabbed the first packet of Cerelac I saw between my sweaty palms like a crazed Crack addict. I got home and prepared a bowl of the stuff while the angels sang in the heavens and small fluffy birds tap-danced in the clouds, and then…first spoonful. Nothing much. Yes, sweet, but saccharine sweet…And watery…And just not as nice as I remembered it…And actually annoying, and how could I not see that we had nothing in common anyway?!?

Stalker update
After a lull, my friend the moustachioed stalker has returned with a new tactic: missed calls at ungodly hours. As a counter-attack I got the Pig to call the number stalker guy calls me from, using my phone so as to make this man (who is of limited intelligence) think that I sold my landline to someone and then killed myself out of sheer longing for him and his moustache – so that he will stop calling, though I think that even my expiring would not deter him. So the Pig rang, and informed the male voice which answered – in the Pig’s best gangster voice – that someone keeps giving him missed from this number, and 2elet 2adab and he should stop etc etc. To which the voice responded that he has never rung this number, and that “asly saa3at a7’oyia 7amada beye7’od el mobile.” [“Sometimes my brother 7amada borrows my mobile.”]

If I must have a stalker can I not have one with a bit of class? Not only does he have a bad moustache and wear green MC Hammer-style slacks, but he also has to borrow his brother’s mobile no doubt because he has run out of credit. Talk about bee2a! [‘Environment’ – literal translation is fun.] I have come to the conclusion that stalkers are like cars, and attest to one’s social status. I have a Fiat 128 stalker. Other, minor Z-list celebrities have stalkers who shower them with gifts, and leave dog poo on the doorsteps of people who criticise the object of their affections. For the love of God I admit full responsibility for the former boyfriends – who are nice people and all but suited me about as much as a leopard-print flared catsuit does. Must similarly unsuitable men be thrust upon me in the form of unsolicited stalkers?

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8 Responses to The Cerelac effect

  1. Jester says:

    I still open my nephew’s Cerelac box every once in a while for a whiff…nostalgia’s a bitch!

    Oh, and sorry about the phone calls, my older brother Khamis told me. I just wanted to fall asleep to your breathing…

    Ps. I shaved the moustache.

    See you soon ; )

  2. N says:

    is it just me or does anyone else think that 7amada could be a ficticious character that your stalker blamed so as to avoid confrontation? asl the sentence “ana 3omry ma etasalt bil nemra di” is such a cliche…

  3. Amnesiac says:

    Jester: You may have shaved your moustache but you still have appalling taste in trousers :-p

    N: God only knows, and I couldn’t care less as long as the annoying little turd stops calling. Good luck mate with the move back to Cairo btw.

  4. gayyash says:

    “asly saa3at a7’oyia 7amada beye7’od el mobile.”

    this is brilliant, bordering on beautiful. especially if it actually was the guy and he was making an asinine excuse.

    when i was in high school the phone rang and when i picked up it was a woman. i said “meen ma3aya”, she said “inta meen”. i said “7adretek elli talba…”. a brief giggle was then followed by “ana jacqueline” in a voice too sultry for my adolescent hormones. i hung up and told my dad about it. he told me i was an idiot for not carrying on the conversation. guys have it easier i think. i also met a very strange young man in a microbus in fayyum once who told me about how he gets to know women by calling random numbers. he said it works and even told me examples of things to say. he also asked if i would give him phone numbers of girls i knew. i said ‘3ashan te3akes-hom?”. he said “mana mish 7a2ool ana gebt el nemra menein.”

  5. Forsoothsayer says:

    yeah u told me about that microbus guy :) men! they must hate us (some of them).

    if the pig has got a ganster voice, i’d pay the big bucks to hear it! total fiat stalker. i told you hair dye!

  6. Amnesiac says:

    Gayyash there are plenty of Jacquelines – listen to this: I have a friend, let’s call him Abaza. Abaza’s friend Mohsin used Abaza’s mobile to call a girl. Two months later Abaza gets a call from this girl, who, not finding Mohsin makes do with Abaza. Abaza plus friend went out on a double date with this girl and a mate of hers – to City Stars. Shameless!

    Love did not take its course however because both parties decided that the opposing team was either too bedan or too fat.

    Forsooth: The best thing about the Pig’s gangster voice is that he really gets into character and accompanies it with scowls – curled lip and everything – despite the fact that this is clearly entirely superfluous to requirements, and actually looks rather odd when you are sitting in a coffee shop.

    I told you that dying my hair a dark colour makes me look Russian, and odd, and not only repels weirdos and stalkers, but in fact all men with functioning vision.

  7. Sand-E Sez says:

    I love that the photo makes the box look like it was taken ages ago.
    I’ve heard the cerelac addiction story a million times before. Everyone was addicted to it at some point! You think they sprinkle a little opium in there to keep the kiddies craving more? It would explain it all no? ages later you’ve recovered and no longer jonesing for it… withdrawal symptoms are long faded but you remember how good it made u feel at one time and you taste it. Buttt its baby food and re-evaluating the goop with a mature experienced pallet you think…. WTF?! what was I on…
    and that my friend is when I imagine the deep dark sinister echo of THE head Cerelac formula guy rings out and fills the room with creepy surround sound laughter.

  8. Carmen says:

    I lived on Cerelac and Nido. I had my grandmother send me them every year, along with basboosa. She always thought I was a little bit nuts.

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