I figured out what I did; so I will write this for anyone else who makes the same mistake.
after using chmod -R a-w <Dir>, I noticed that on invocation of ls all my files where highlighted and had x's in the permissions. I invoked chmod -R a-x to solve the problem ( and apparently to create a worse one). Apparently when you invoke the recursive -R on the directory it changes the permissions for the directory before changing permissions of its files. Additionally, without x permissions for the directory, you cannot access any of its files.
So do you see the solution yet? Here it is:
In a different directory invoke chmod a+x <Dir>;
then from <Dir>, chmod a-x ./*
(or from the other directory chmod a-x <Dir>/*)
Have a blessed day,