Mulled Wine: The 123-Word Short Story Series

Presenting a bite-size morsel of storytelling magic that shall refrain from tipping over 123 words…

Mulled wine is a seasonal concoction popular in England and brewed of red wine or fruit juice which is mulled with festive spices such as cloves, grated nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel. On this particular day I purchased a little cup of the fruity variety whilst admiring the decorative opulence of the stall. Dwarfishly fat wooden barrels and huge brass cauldrons partnered with shiny long-necked ladles had me thoroughly entranced on the spot!

Mulled Wine

“Dwarfishly fat wooden barrels and huge brass cauldrons partnered with shiny long-necked ladles had me thoroughly entranced on the spot…”

 

It was a little after the queue had died down that I noticed something most curious. The lady vendor had frozen completely, enwrapped in some unreachable private thought – indeed, she was mulling over something and I can tell you for certain that it was not the contents in the pot…

Mulling Vendor

“The lady vendor had frozen completely, enwrapped in some unreachable private thought – indeed, she was mulling over something and I can tell you for certain that it was not the contents in the pot…”

 

Note. In English the infinitive verb of ‘to mull’ means to be in a state of deep thinking.

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Christmas Markets | UK 2014

The Robin: The 123-Word Short Story Series

Presenting a bite-size morsel of storytelling magic that shall refrain from tipping over 123 words…

Legend speaks of when Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross to die a tiny little robin, brown in colour and not particularly catching of eye, flew to his side and sang a song so warm and comforting. The blood of Christ burst onto the robin’s chest and henceforth it would carry the red jewel of Faith in every rebirth. Over time the world grew to forget the robin’s story, passing into shadow as most myths do. Today, walking amongst the trinkets of the Christmas markets, I fell upon a robin forged of metal. Despite away from its green woodland haven, this robin sang loud and sweet. On sale for 15 Euros, the red tag gracefully whispered into my ear, “15th, You rose…”

The Robin

“The blood of Christ burst onto the robin’s chest and henceforth it would carry the red jewel of Faith in every rebirth…. On sale for 15 Euros, the red tag gracefully whispered into my ear, “15th, You Rose…” “

 

 

Note. I was born on the 15th day of a summer month.

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Christmas Markets | UK 2014

 

 

Miss Little Red Riding Hood: The 123-Word Short Story Series

Presenting a bite-size morsel of storytelling magic that shall refrain from tipping over 123 words…

Little Miss Red Riding Hood had quite enough of dealing with hoggishly heinous wolfish cross-dressers on a daily basis. Read out by children every night, her story saw her pass through a dark forest only to arrive at Grandma’s quaint cottage, basket of berries in hand, to find a very naughty beastie in wait. Beginning to feel it as a chore, one night she decided she would undertake a daring climb out of the pages of all children’s books and explore the world beyond. The next morning was a cool crisp one so I made my way to the outdoor ice-rink and there, amongst the swanlike skaters, I saw her glide past me, hand outstretched as if she were still carrying her basket…

 

Little Miss Red Riding Hood

“… there, amongst the swanlike skaters, I saw her glide past me, hand outstretched as if she were still carrying her basket…”

 

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Christmas Markets | UK 2014

 

Mr Zakky At Play

Do what you may with my perspective on the matter but I am convinced that one of the most magical and captivating things one could take the time to observe would be of watching little people – the children and, yes, the adults too who still bear childlike minds – as when they are utterly and perfectly absorbed in the world of play. Notice how every ounce of their pint-sized form submits to the sumptuous ecstasies of the imagination, a place that eludes the hook of the naked eye but that which always serves as a goldmine of impossibilities conquerable for those that have the key to unlock its door. Play is not simply an educative or a recreational experience, it is in camouflaged guise the token beauty of living fully in the present. I consider it a privilege as special as catching the first birdsong of the day when I chance upon a child swept away by the gravitational pull of the thrill of the moment provided by the challenges of a game at hand. I am fortunate to live under a roof where my family are still very much loyal to board games even if goofy squabbles often ricochet between players over rules and hilarious accusations of cheating are flung at each other like a wet towel – it all adds to the absurdity, merit and fond love I share for the pleasures of play.   If you happen to pass by my house this Christmas, do knock and enter and not only will you be served the most refined of teas but behold as I devilishly demolish all that you thought you knew of the English language in a round of my personal favourite, Scrabble! Oh, dear, have I sent a shiver down your spine? Calm down you, I shan’t be that ruthless on a blundering novice!

Perhaps you find it an awfully fiddly business of living in the present, trapped instead in the turmoil of the past or the vagaries of the future. Well, then, get off your high horse and begin to learn from the ways of the little people, children and hobbits alike! As an example to illustrate my points with shininess to equal my Amma’s precious cutlery set, the photograph below should suffice. Mr Zakky is my naughty side-kick nephew from the northern shires of England and last Easter he spent a few days with me. At first he was naturally curious about my camera so I let him play with it – a brave move I know! – and, eventually, lo and behold, his attention and interest diverted to other things. The Playstation was one of them and boy was he fixed! Whilst he was busy giving my brother a good bashing in the game thanks to his impeccable choice of taking on the role of a big beasty ogre, I swooped in with the stealth and prowess of a cat and took this shot. I am fairly confident that one look at the sparkling singularity of focus enshrined in those onyx orbs of his eyes and you will begin to remember once again what it meant to live in the gift, the gift of the present…

 

 

Mr Zakky At Play

“I am fairly confident that one look at the singularity of focus enshrined in those onyx orbs of his eyes and you will begin to remember once again what it meant to live in the gift, the gift of the present… “

            

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2013

The Most Unlikeliest Love Story

On another one of my jolly old escapades into the antique markets I noticed a most unlikely pair propped behind a glass cabinet and immediately the mechanical cog wheels of my imagination set to work and words began to come through the gauze of my pen’s nib and onto my notebook with the fierce outpouring of a tap that has been released of its stiff neck. I do think that in this instance my own Destiny will favour such an alliance as the one presented in this strange but comforting photograph. The grandest, boldest and most unbreakable of bonds can sometimes be found in the places where no one dared to look…

 

“He was a fool born to click his fingers so that the world may laugh even in its darkest blackish winters. Their worries flung out into the wind for however a short a while brought stashes of riches into his soul, an invisible happening that could only be seen in the growing brightness of his red-red nose. Alas, my clownish fool, my travelling accordionist of pavements and cold starry skies, gave so much away but little did he receive. I watched him from above and one day, as he became too weary with unlove, I abandoned the Kingdom of Angels to walk the earth with him. The day is yet to arrive when he lays his eyes on me for the first time and I say, behold, his accordion shall know silence as he weeps tears of gratitude when he learns of his true identity. A surge in my chest shall follow and rise in the form of a sacred rose, whose blood will have been nourished by the dawn light and dusk sonnets of his red-red nose… ” – Mazzy        

 

The Most Unlikeliest Love Story

“The grandest, boldest and most unbreakable of bonds can sometimes be found in the places where no one dared to look…”

 

 

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2014

There Is A Place…

On a cold autumn evening about two weeks ago I took my usual stroll through the Cathedral grounds of my city, the air clean and crispy and enticing twilight hues descending upon me like some giant embellished divan from the world of Arabian Nights. This is the very Cathedral in which one of the most influential authors of my life is buried. Her name is Jane Austen. The chances are you have heard of her talents even though perhaps you may have never picked up any of her novels. As much as she was a most fascinating writer of social observation and wit, her pen was just as dazzlingly astute in capturing the nuances and complexities of the human heart. I should think that thoughts of her on this particular evening and of the years spent studying her in school would be the most likeliest explanation for the words that spilled forth from my own heart as I stepped under the ever sheltering Light of the Victorian lamppost. Like she did in life, I, too, pray that someday I shall be able to share my pen and notebook with someone that knows my heart better than I do. Likewise, I am compelled to express that the Cathedral grounds has always felt incomplete to me because I know it is a place that was meant to be shared with another presence. Yes, dear friends, it has been a long wait but a wait that is worthwhile, honest and pure. It has no other sustenance other than the small flickering tongue of a flame as luminous as the one housed inside the old lamppost. It is my Faith and what more is Faith than the unmovable belief in something unseen, unheard, unmet…

 

“There is a place in this world that refuses to be recognised as a place until You and I are seen together under this Light…” – Mazzy

 

There Is A Place...

“There is a place in this world that refuses to be recognised as a place until You and I are seen together under this Light… “

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2O14

 

O-Range Vision!

Ladies and gentlemen and dear little ones – which includes aged hobbits and the butter-fingered borrowing Clock family – you did not possibly expect me to stay hushed on the subject of the 8th dimensionality matrix of the space-time continuum, the one where that very brainy chap with the fuzzy hair and redwood pipe was so close to announcing but did not quite get round to it?! Well, it is strongly advised at this point that you put the kettle on and take a seat for I am about to deliver a crash course on the topic and a landing mat – inclusive – since even I must pull the reign on my naughty ways sometimes and let not mysteries brew for too long!

Okay, so you have not complied with the aforementioned instructions for preparing the tea but I am of concrete conviction that at a time later in the day when you do bubble up the water and take occupation of that seat your thoughts will return to my words and I suppose a smile and a “Damn her, how does she do it?!” exclamation may just be bellowed below under the breath. Oh come, come, you know you love it!

Right! 8th dimensionality! Shove the rocket science under the carpet because it really is not as incomprehensible as you might think. Look at the clock on the wall and fix your eyes on the number ‘8’. Poised like an hour glass beauty or indeed a deserted snowman whose arms have been filched and hat blown away by the wind but, today, I am not interested in the stories that flow from its vertical pose. I would like you, if you will, knock the snowman over on his side. Ah, now what do we have here? The infinity sign or, if your mind has the proclivity for more sensual imaginations then you may very well see two snakes coiled together and making passionate love. Either way, both are perfectly recognisable in the symbol. There is another meaning – isn’t there always!? It is the one that I humbly offer you in the photograph with zesty anticipation that you should regard it with a twitch of amusement but not without the impression that you have received a slight poking into your existing beliefs about the dimensional patchwork of our universe.  The dimension to which I wish to bring your attention to is the dimension of VISIONS. Turn an ‘8’ on its side and we have a pair of eyes or binoculars and I do not mean the eyes and optical aids that you see around you in the everyday world. The sort of vision in question is quite a special one that everyone on earth who has ever lived had at one time or another the power to wield. Young children and Zen Buddhists, for example are masters of this channel of Sight because of the purity that glows untainted in their hearts.

It is a sensory faculty governed by a deep connection to the spiritual pulse of the universe and those that possess it will always surely transform their gift to bring happiness into the world. Eyes beyond eyes, this dimension of vision pays no heed to the existing laws of physics, enabling Sight that can travel through the matter of the flesh and peek into the souls of people. In other instances, such eyes can reflect the healing rays of sunshine that enters into it, sending them back out onto those that need the caress of Light in their own lives. Ultimately, it has the power to bring hateful hearts together, to unify nations, to bring peace to a soul torn by the torment of unseen storms. I, thus, in keeping with my rebelliously sunny disposition, have crowned this magical phenomenon ‘O-Range Vision’. Dear reader, I do sense that you shall never ever be able to see oranges in the same way again. Look at me, I cannot refrain myself from smiling to myself! It is as if I have sneaked into the classroom of your soul and rewritten the routine strings of formulae that used to hang heavy on your blackboard. Change should be welcomed now and again in life!

So, there you have it! The 8th dimensionality matrix and there within the property of O-Range Vision! To consolidate my words with a juicy slice of photographic evidence, I provide below a very elegant case of O-Range Visioning at work! One of the prime signs of someone who has been taken under the care of an O-Range Vision practitioner is that they will show what will appear as the strange pursing and puckering of the lips almost identical to when one bites into a very sharp segment of orange! You would think that the person has lost all their teeth to produce such an effect of the tight joining of the lips! Fear not, it is only the seal of orangey eyes at their business!

O-Range Vision!

“One of the prime signs of someone who has been taken under the care of an O-Range Vision practitioner is that they will show what will appear as the strange pursing and puckering of the lips almost identical to when one bites into a very sharp segment of orange…!”

 

Before I put my quill down on the table I ought to clarify that in nearly all circumstances, the services of an O-Range Vision soul is never forced upon anyone. We are summoned by the person and by that part of their heart that wishes to remember that they too once had the gift to make the world a happier and magical place…

 

Why, just look at that! That nefarious crooked witch of burdensome vanity ‘Baba Yaga’, albeit donned in her best, has her lips tightly pursed too but there is still so much work that needs to be done in her heart. Baba Yaga, do not worry yourself into a prune my dear, I have not given up on you just yet…!        

 

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2014

A Tiger In Piccadilly Circus!

Ladies and gentlemen and children, my second instalment from the city that sees ceaseless commotion churned by both wheel and foot – the capital of my country, London – is a typically comical offering but one not without its endowment of wisdom and, more significantly, a voice whose words when listened to will be of towering personal significance. Those with Sight, the Einsteins and Roald Dahls of this world, always wore a third monocle of deep perceptive vision that enabled them to go beyond the ‘event horizon’ of conventional seeing, catching in through their net of pupil and cornea the most marvellous gifts of knowledge. Quite often Destiny or, if you’re more inclined to scientific vocabulary, the fabric of space-time, is actually on our side. Its design is preoccupied with the pledge to guide the Seeker on their quest. Those born with Sight find this channel of communication comes quite naturally to them, without effort or conscious control. I am one of them – although most people on first hearing such incredulous claims tend to simply laugh it off, hardly surprising I must add. I confess it used to be a crushing fall to my spirits in my younger days when the person in front would give out a light chuckle and pass off my story as yet another cheeky act delivered to enliven the mood of the moment. I stopped minding what people used to think a long time ago. I cannot claim to know who I am, I don’t think any of us will ever know – we are all mysteries to ourselves. However I cannot emphasise enough how much I admire those that have Faith in me and in my Sight – the Sight wherein Signs flock as like sheep do to the shepherd.

To those whom I have written personally in the past, either under one of your posts or in an email, please cast your mind back to the moment when I affectionately told you of how I often think that I must have at some point in my childhood run away with the circus. Yes, the colourful and riotous and positively oddball universe of the strange and wonderful, the circus is one of my favourite places where I energetically whisk my imaginative self to and enter under a canopy where rules were meant to be pleated like the concertina of an accordion and freedom abounds to juggle with ideas and thoughts and concepts in ways not endorsed by boring old linear strategies. Consider its use to be in the same vein as that of Sherlock Holmes’ ‘Thought Palace’.  So, dear reader, if I have ever mentioned the word ‘circus’ to you then you must read on for Destiny had ordained that you were to converse with me in preparation for what I am about to show you in my photograph. To those new to my world, I greet you hello and whisper in your ear, ‘CIRCUS’! Great, now you are in the hood too!

The great Piccadilly Circus of London is where I found myself today. One of the world’s most iconic road junctions, the electronic billboard is studded in decorative neon lights and commercial signs that twinkle and slide away every second and in a random manner so that you are never sure what will come next. I, being the country girl, once stepping out from the underground tube and into the fresh daylight am always fixed on the spot as I try to take in the showy antics engineered by the media moguls. I am more fascinated by the colours than the products being advertised and more often than not take to flights of fancy of how super cool it would be if I could steal the entire board, squeeze it into my rucksack and take it back to my class so that I can use it as an alternative to the monotonously-faced black or white-board. Someday, perhaps! Oh do stop chuckling to yourself! Anyway, I stood there in the full blaze of the sun and putting aside the thoughts of the most diabolically but good-hearted heist to one side, I wondered what would it all look like if I were to steal the colour away from its face? I do believe I have never seen Piccadilly Circus in monochrome! Switching off the lights from the colour channels, what would Piccadilly Circus say to me? I remained stood there for a while more before my hands automatically began to make the settings on Lumiere, my camera, and I held it up and waited and waited and waited. Tourists were practically encroaching on my lungs and the vendor behind me was shouting for all of England but, I remained undeterred and stock-still. Something of mighty importance was about to happen and I could feel it shoot through the cortex of my bones like an electrical eel in search of something to sting!

And then the shutter button was pressed! Why? I do not know. I only know that it had to be pressed and thus, it was pressed.

Ladies and Gentlemen and Children, behold the spectacle of Destiny! I give you a tiger on a bus in the middle of Piccadilly Circus!

The poor stripy fellow stuck in the world’s most urbanite jungle, he seeks the OPEN wild for there, somewhere, lies his true HAPPINESS – and, as I had alluded to previously, the story of my circus was always going to be crucial for, today, it has come to join onto your own story. The circus has indeed come round full circle…

There's  A Tiger In Piccadilly Circus!

“Ladies and Gentlemen and Children, behold the spectacle of Destiny! I give you a tiger on a bus in the middle of Piccadilly Circus!
The poor stripy fellow stuck in the world’s most urbanite jungle, he seeks the OPEN wild for there, somewhere, lies his true HAPPINESS…”

 

Postscript: ‘Baba Yaga’, you batty old witch, do something authentically noble for once my dear and release yourself, and your posse from Vogue, so that no longer are you the victims of the unsightly curse of the ‘chicken legs’! No need to take Slavic legends so literally…!

 

This is Mazzy of Bee-Bee-See News reporting from London! Cold tea? You must be out of your mind…!     

 

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London | UK 2014

“Fancy That Of….” : Reporting From The Capital

I know very well that I am clocking up the years which often proves to be the calculating culprit behind my little memory lapses so, I do beg your pardon dear reader should this question clang and clamour and rattle against your better side for the 3132th time but, do YOU believe in Destiny…?

Whilst you cartwheel your brain cells along the poser that I have requested of you let me brief and besiege every iota of composure you might have had before veering my way – for the male readers my deepest sympathies for your inability to multi-task but stop whining my unknown sir and pull your socks up! I can now begin! As many of you may have surmised by now, my heart is irreversibly conjugated to the airs and delights of the countryside. Seas of green, peasant birds regaling their pompous okra-thin tails on single tracks, narrow and squidgy with mud, rolling vales, clouds of dense woodland, the oblivious sedentary livestock of sheep and cows and, of course the lack of mobile phone reception, are all badges of ‘likes’ that I wear proudly on my chest in my showmanship of pride for the wilderness of the less travelled worlds that throb in the rhythms and rhymes of Mother Nature’s bosom. Here is the ivy-spangled poetry that I shall never be able to recreate.

Then why on earth am I tip-toeing across the city of London with rockets of mischief whizzing in my eyes? Why am I writing of and from one of the most hectic metropolitan hubs of our planet?! Well, as an unmovable adventurer I must be prepared for all quests, even those that do not align comfortably with my rustic tastes. After all, I ask you, how could we ever possibly designate anything worthy of the title ‘adventure’ if there was no delicious risk of it to propel us out of our comfort zones? Oh yes! I have caught the nod of agreement from you and, oh my, how you despise this definition of adventure because, there is a goal – a dream – bubbling away in your arteries which you pray for every second but it would seem that everyday what you yearn for moves a step away from you. Do not be so deceived, the mind can play tricks on you!

So why is the country girl in London? Because I believe that even in the most chaotic and alienating places, there is Love and it thrums its warm recognition of who I am with an embrace that I feel no one can see but only I. Take for example the photograph I submit below of a quaint and tiny independent shop lovingly made up to celebrate all things British, a paragon to the loyalties that people abide to round the clock in my country – namely tea, biscuits and, erm, more tea! Shopping has never been a pastime of much interest for me, however, the shop itself is a different matter. Ones that ooze with character, charm, history and buried secrets never fail to magnetise my feet towards their doors and into their dim-lit but boundlessly curious interiors and sellers that exude knowledge that has the mustiness of old library books.

The blood-red façade of the shop below was an instant hit for me since it is the colour I associate with the factory of the heart and it is also the beloved flower emblematic of my nation, the English rose. Do not get too settled with these explanations for they are simply the tip of the iceberg! It is the phrase, “Fancy that of London” which I would request you to turn your attention to. Does it sound like an odd phrase to your ear bones? Well, that would be no surprise. This is British colloquial for you, dear reader. Here, we say “fancy that…” to express surprise and awe over something or someone. For example, “fancy that he should declare his love for me in front of the children in class” translates as “the idiot is the most lovable idiot in the world because he saved his declaration of love for me until the day I’d be surrounded by 1010 innocent children and in front of whom aggressively retorting with a rejection would mean dealing with 1010 sad faces and thus, I’d have no choice but to say ‘yes’ – and oh what a cunning rascal he is!” So, there you are! Fancy that! So, in the context of our shop, the phrase can be interpreted as an exciting eulogy of the capital of my country, London.

Fancy That Of London

“The blood-red façade of the shop was an instant hit for me since it is the colour I associate with the factory of the heart and it is also the beloved flower emblematic of my nation, the English rose…”

 

DESTINY, you ask? Whomsoever reads this post today will have written about or received a ‘capital’ today. No, I do not mean the business of capital letters but, the capital of countries and since the photograph depicts a shop I will, in addition, allow for capital as in when used to refer to financial assets. If you are a Facebook or Twitter user, look at your post and the comments of people beneath it. You or someone, has done as I have described above. Perhaps, as examples, they might be: ‘Fancy that of money?’, or, ‘Fancy that of Rome?’ Look closely, dear reader: do my words hold the test of your scrutiny? If you have none of these accounts then try and remember if you partook in a talk of cities today.

There is a Bonus Round! Should your ‘capital’ have a strong link to the location or phrases in my previous post – about the sunshine island of Guernsey – then YOU AND I ARE MOSTLY CERTAINLY CONNECTED. Why are you smiling….? Fancy that….!

Word of caution: ‘Baba Yaga’, the nasty old witch, will have her own answer for this one but the first syllable of the city that was uttered in her post or comments will be very telling of her heart – another British colloquial!

This is Mazzy of Bee-Bee-See News reporting from London! Put the kettle on, people…!

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London | UK 2014

Rain: Sunshine In Disguise

It is gushing down with kamikaze-style rainfall this morning as though it has never rained before, imbuing the impression that the wet spectacle before us is the cathartic release of the cumulation of centuries of pent-up desire to consummate with the earth. Most of my friends have entered the obligatory conclave of complaints about the rotten brutish antics of the British weather but, however desperately I try to see their line of reasoning, I am hopelessly enamoured by the rain. I think the collective memories of my ancestors, people who soared to high spirits when the monsoon trickled down their skin in harmony with their pulses have left their indelible passions in my own heart so much so that when I look out of my window on a blustery soggy day, he quickly becomes a saucy man wearing a leaden top-hat and an invisible moustache that brushes leafless branches helter-skelter and I am not the slightest disappointed or disheartened. Instead, a secret thrill rushes to my cheek before stealing into my chest, a vault that tends to be guarded very well on most occasions apart from when the talk is of the rain. Impossibilities are torn to shreds, for, as opposed to all those who look out and see an abomination of the sulkiest grey, I am the only one amongst them, jewelled with a smile on my face, who reads a love letter gleaming inside the heart of every raindrop and it is my spirits now that soar as fast as my ancestors had done before me. I would be quite happy for you to leave with the understanding that each time the skies over England bursts its banks, there is a little girl who takes it as her golden ticket on a steam train, skimming over the oceans and heading out to a land of eternal sunshine…

The Sunshine In Disguise

“… each time the skies over England bursts its banks, there is a little girl who takes it as her golden ticket on a steam train, skimming over the oceans and heading out to a land of eternal sunshine… “

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Guernsey | 2014