Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This is not a metaphor for obstacles and I will not go on a rant about how we can face our obstacles and life hiccups… I really do want to talk about hiccups… literally…

I came across this piece of factoid on the Internet “A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 6 years” and my mind immediately went back to the time my dear maternal grandmother, Tata, told me a story about her father, Abdel Rahman El Taji.

My great grandfather had an apprentice who helped him with his business of exporting Jaffa Oranges to Europe, a long time ago. This apprentice developed a bad case of the hiccups which lasted for 6 months and he was unable to get rid of them. The poor man sought doctors and tried everything but his efforts were in vain. My great grandfather felt very bad for him but did not know what to do.

One day he accused his loyal apprentice of stealing. The apprentice pleaded with my grandfather to check his books and was begging him so much to the extent that he forgot about his nuisance; the hiccups. He was so distraught and I am sure my great grandfather felt so bad for pointing a finger at his loyal worker and friend but he really had good intentions.

While the man was pleading, my great grandfather put his arm around his apprentice and said, “So have your hiccups stopped yet?” When the poor man finally realized what my Great Sido was trying to do, he laughed out loud and stopped for a minute to check whether or not the trick had worked….. Surprisingly, it did.

And this was why many times, my grandmother or mother used to sneak up on us when we get a hiccup attack and scare us… Good for the heart… gets the blood pumping… it worked more often than not… I also remember doing it to my baby sister and my kids… I also play tricks like this on my husband… hide behind doors and jump him. Loads of fun!

Once I played a trick on a friend of mine at university… We were sitting down at the dinner table at a Persian restaurant when she started to hiccup… and badly. It was obviously frustrating her so I thought I would try my Great Sido’s trick and so I slowly opened my mouth, widened my eyes and pretended to be mortified at seeing a spider on her left shoulder. She jumped and screamed and I felt so bad for having done that to her…. But when I calmed her down, I told her that I was only doing it in an attempt to stop her hiccups…

It did the trick, but half an hour later, her hiccups began again and I honestly did not want to put her through the whole ordeal so I advised her to drink some water or eat a piece of bread.

Now, my husband has a better trick for what you can do to help a friend with this… Ask your friend to drink a glass of water while his/her head is bent forward and plug both his/her ears… it does the trick…. Try it… hope it works for you!


Birdie said...

I so enjoy the stories of your grandparents!

A spoonful of sugar gets rid of hiccups too.

Tabouleh said...

awww Barbara... thank you and I am so glad you do... I should go and ask my grandmother for more on my next visit in 2.5 weeks...
I heard a spoonful of sugar does the trick as well... but I never tried it... will do... thanks for that!