Ask Shaden & Titi

Reflections from the Turkish series Ask-i Memnu- عن العشق الممنوع

Posted in Emotions, Men, Relationships by Shaden and Titi on October 8, 2010

Lately I have been following this Turkish series called Aski-Memnu (العشق الممنوع), and this could be the first Turkish series that I follow attentively. To be honest I don’t really watch television that much, but this series in particular got my attention in a rather surprising way.
Ask-I Memnu is simply about a girl named Samar, a beautiful girl in her twenties, who gets married to Adnan bay, a wealthy widower in his fifties whose wife died and who has 2 kids, a little boy and a teenage girl. On getting married to Adnan, Samar is introduced to Adnan’s two children Nihal and Murad, and to his nephew, Mohannad, who is also in his twenties, and whom Adnan vowed to take care of after the death of his both parents.

Now as soon as Samar enters the house of Adnan bay as his wife, family members observe her as the intruder, and while she tries to show love and affection for the children and impose some kind of control over the household, Samar’s life gets more complicated, and more depressing, with her mother trying to take advantage of this marriage to benefit of her son in law’s money.
There always has to be some kind of savior of these kind of situation, and who would be better than Mohannad, Adnan’s nephew, a handsome guy, who enjoys his uncle’s wealth and replaces his women in his life as fast as he replaces cars. Despite Mohannad’s hostility to Samar at the beginning, and his continuous warnings to his uncle about the greed of his wife and her mother Fayrouz, he is later proven mistaken. As soon as Muhannad figures Samar’s good intentions and her eagerness to care of the all the family members, he begins to feel differently about her.
Mohannad starts to think deeply about Samar, whom after a while starts to exchange same sensations, which ignites a relation that takes them both to the ecstatic world of sensual love. A relation that excites them both at the very beginning, but are rather threatened by being discovered and exposed, with both being secretly in love and engaging themselves in a forbidden affair.
With things getting complicated, and both trying to find a solution for their affair, Mohannad finally decides to get engaged to his cousin Nihal, which saddens Samar who decided to end her life after Adnan was told about her affair with Mohannad. After that Mohannad leaves the house for good, feeling sad about Samar’s death and rather ashamed about his deception to his uncle.

Shaden and I talked about the series the other day, and we reached the same conclusions about it. We tend to think that this series is highly realistic. Despite being tragic but most of what happened or have been said is true, and regardless of any slight dramatic additions or treatments on the original script, this story resembles our life to a great extent.

It was amazing to see how complicated and inexplicable our feelings as humans can be, and our huge fault in judging others. How great love is, and its fallacy in making some feel less selfish and self-centered. How lost we can be in the delusions of love and how afraid of society’s reaction we can be.

Without having to talk about Samar’s life before her marriage to Adnan, and since our blog concerns love and relation issues mainly, we thought we could narrow the discussion to the point where the idea of love is not exactly as people can imagine.

Samar tried to start a new life with her getting married to Adnan, by recovering the lost love of a father somehow, given that her father died from a heart attack, on fighting with his mother who cheated on him constantly, which led to Samar hating her mother for what happened to her father. Regardless of the money issue which caused a lot of damage in the marriage stability of Samar and her sister’s life.

After getting married, on being faced with much hostility by the family, and pressured by her mother’s greed, Samar’s need for love and affection grew humongously, to finally find it in the arms of Mohannad, which was met with much resistance at the beginning being forbidden, but which she surrendered to, and no one would say no to. What got us in this whole relation is Mohannad’s manner in dealing with his love for Samar.
It was Mohannad who first approached Samar, he was the one who imposed himself on her, he and his physical charm, which she wasn’t able to refuse. Despite Samar’s deep love for him, and suggesting to run away to gather to end their agony to live in secret, he refused 3 times, and chickened out in each time they tried.

He would ask her to stay away from him, only to fight with her if he knew she got closer to her husband, and when it was too unbearable for him, he got engaged to his cousin, which only caused Samar to be more tortured. In the end, and after Samar’s suicide, it becomes rather clear that he was more concerned about him being ashamed with himself and him deceiving his uncle, much more than feeling sad over Samar’s death.

Shaden and I shared the following thoughts of the issue.

Shaden: we weren’t surprised that muhannad didn’t like it when samar told him she wants to get a divorce from her uncle to be with him.

Titi: why didnt he like it ?

Shaden: because that’s not what he wanted. he didn’t think of marriage or “until death do us part”. He was acting on his basic instincts without trying to understand them. He wanted sex, and did what he needed to get that. He loved her but never thought about marrying her, and the last thing he wanted is for his uncle to find out about their little love affair. It wasn’t worth getting in trouble with his uncle, who raised him up and took care of him, at the same time, he couldn’t stop himself.

Titi: exactly….Let me ask you something, since we dont want to judge anyone. He loved her, but wouldn’t you say that he was afraid of the social pressure, which discourage him for running away from her?

Shaden: yea, hmmm. Look, no one wants to be an outcast, but no one should give himself the right to make the other loves him/her and keep lying about where they think it’s going.He wasn’t honest about his intentions, he didn’t like that she wanted to get a divorce, he didn’t like that she wanted to tell his uncle. He never told her the whole truth, which was that he never intended to be with her, as in a relationship or marriage, and that although he’s the one who slept with her, he actually thinks she’s a “slut”, and would never marry someone like her, which is of course a contradiction to his obvious strong feelings of love and attraction. When she died, he felt sorry for her. that’s all he felt. not love, not loss of a soul mate, just sorrow, for a girl who died because of his selfishness.

Titi: he never let her feel she is a slut

Shaden: he told her that Nihal is better than her,because he was Nihal’s first love

Titi: maybe in a moment of anger

Shaden: nope, whatever it really doesn’t matter whether being in anger or calm, you wouldn’t forgive such a comment

Titi: you wouldnt

Shaden: he told her he’s going to marry Nihal because he can’t break her heart, Nihal’s heart,that Nihal would die if he left her all implying that Samar is used to this sort of shit

Titi: but…wait a minute, wouldnt u say that he already thought that she can get om with her life anyway, since she is married to his uncle, regardless. I am not defending him…But this is how I thought of it the borders of this relation are suffocating both

Shaden: no, he knew about those borders, but he made a concious decision to eleminate them when and if he felt like it. He had no integrity, he would say something then do the opposite. she was just as bad, always reacting to him, and to those around her

Titi: but you cant blame her

Shaden: her mom, her husband, the kids, the maids, the nanny

Titi: because she was her mom’s victim,yes, so she needed love and affection and Mohannad came just in time to rescue her.

Shaden: I don’t see how he gave her love or affection, all i remember is her telling him that he keeps running away from her, which implies abandonment, the opposite of love and affection, and those were her words that he leaved her when he pleased and came back when he pleased also.

We believe that after all this time, people are still the same, they haven’t changed not one bit, share us your thoughts and tell us what you think.

This story was based on a novel that was written in 1900, for a Turkish naturalist writer,