Thursday 26 June 2008

God's a busy man

Excuse the absence. I have a good excuse though. My babanne (father's mum AKA 'nan') was taken ill the other evening. She had a high temperature caused by an infection. The family rallied as the doctor warned us to prepare ourselves for the worst.

As we sat in my nan's apartment considering the options, it was tragic to watch this woman, the Queen of our family, fighting for her life. This woman, who pulled a broken family together with her own hands, was now so completely helpless.

The decision was made to get her into hospital as soon as possible. Though the trauma of getting her down 3 flights of stairs and across town was a risk, the potential benefits were too great.

My uncle called the Turkish ambulance service but they told him "we can't send you an ambulance because you're not screaming" (note, if you need an ambulance, scream. If you can't because you're, say, unconscious, get someone else to scream for you. 10 Lira should do it). So the only other option was to call the local private hospital, who'll give you an ambulance tour of middle-Anatolia if the price is right.

The sirens were our cue to prepare the house. Sofas were pushed aside as the ambulance crew eased nan onto an inflatable stretcher. Then it was a case of all the men in the family making light work of getting nan down the stairs and off to hospital.

As we sat outside Casualty smoking, we knew this was not going to have a happy ending. I called my family in the UK and told them to get ready for a short notice flight to Turkey.

That night, no one got much sleep as we waited for the inevitable phone call.

The next morning I went to the hospital to see how she was doing.

I couldn't believe my eyes. She was better than I've seen her this whole year. Talking, laughing, joking. And today she's even better. She's clearly not ready to go yet.

At times like these, people rally together. More so than I've seen in the UK. The Turkish sense of community is something to behold. People come out of the woodwork to help you out. At the very least they call and offer their help.

It's also at times like this that the Turkish language gets peppered with phrases requesting the assistance of Allah. Especially when talking with the elderly, Turks have a whole arsenal of things God can offer.

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a list of the most common:
  1. Allah korusun - May God protect you
  2. Allah iyilik versin - May God bring you good things
  3. Allah saglik versin - May God bring you health
  4. Allah kolaylik versin - May God may it easy for you
  5. Allah kabul etsin - May God accept it
  6. Allah rahatlik versin - May God make you comfortable
  7. Allah bereket versin - May God bring you wealth
  8. Allah emanet olsun - May God protect you ...again
  9. Allah gecinden versin - May God bring you many more years
  10. Allah gostermesin - May God never show you
God can also be used to fight your battles. With phrases like:
  1. Allah cezasını versin - May God punish you.
  2. Allah kahretsin- Damn it!
  3. Allah belanı versin - This is the show stopper. If uttered, it often leads to a whole string of other phrases protecting everyone in the room. It means may God punish you but in an absolute way. A way that has no recovery or cure.
These are only a tiny fraction of the things God is often asked to do but it's important to know these phrases. They are not always said by heavily religious people but more used as part of everyday language. In the same way the English might use 'for God's sake' or 'Jesus Christ!' or even something as simple as 'get well soon'.

So, babanne, Allah saglik versin.

1 comment:

Salty Miss Jill said...

I'm glad to hear your babanne has recovered and is thriving. :) Tough,those old Turkish ladies!
My favorite Allah phrase is simply 'Allah-lah-lah' in response to someone making a blunder.