Dining With A Shopping Mystery (A Bittersweet Conclusion!)

How To Train Your Train: A Stupendously Timely Update! 14-03-2016

You see my dearest and most beloved Reader, sometimes circumstances are such that the Conductor might go amiss and the smartypants phones of one’s travelling companions conspire to dissent from serving their duty as navigational aids, and the journey henceforth prickled with unpredictable perils and way too many unfactored unknowns that You begin to wonder that far from enjoyment, one has simply let themselves in for a ride from which a safe return may not be guaranteed!

Oh do stop worrying for goodness sake, You know I cannot resist the temptation for building up crescendos of tension before the final splatter of the true news! And it is a rather nice and beastly news for that matter, for three things have happened this very morning that suggest to me that TRAINS are a pivotal part of MY STORY AND YOUR STORY, the one that shall connect me to someone rather special! Ahem, ahem!

First of all, I have just discovered that someone by the name of ‘Miska Khatun’ has flagged a Like for a comment of mine that I penned on the page of my favourite photographer who lives on this side of the galaxy. The comment was made early last year, so I am rather deliciously bamboozled as to why this chap or chapette has chosen to show interest in what I have to say about the world of ‘Porters’ at this point of time. How enormously fascinating!

Secondly, my favourite photographer on this side of the galaxy – or his admin – has hoisted up on his Instagram page an image of a poor lady cradling a child and who is totally petrified of a rushing train! We need to do something positive about this spot of unfortunate botheration!

Thirdly, the most magical gift I received I this morning, is that my beautiful and kindly friend, Agnes has at last sent me a menagerie of photographs from our London adventures in which she has very craftily captured my cheeky face and then has subsequently shown her friends and family back home in Poland! In a blink of an eye I have crossed borders it would seem! Giggle, giggle!

And, therefore, before I commence to enjoy this stunning sunny day here in England with my mates, I wish to reassure YOU – the man who is in a bit of quandary and whose true face I have yet to decipher – that when we meet, I shall be more than glad to give You a tour of London and I assure You that, though I am not a slave to the digital world with its menacing range of social media tools, I have on me the auspicious blessings of Destiny and my infallible book of marvellous navigational powers, my fabled but oh so very true ‘LONDON A-Z’… ♥♥♥

I raise a toast of tea to the curly-haired Photographer who once wrote to me to say that I was a born Storyteller,
Mazzy xxx

P.S. Yes, there are more voyages with friends to be had, watch this SPACE

How To Train Your Train!

Katie Sunshine and myself on board the London Waterloo to Winchester night train! Gosh, did we ladies make a racket in that carriage! Giggle, giggle!

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2016
Photography Kindly Sent By © Agnes | 2016

 

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On our final night in the intricate maze of the capital city of London, the hunger pangs had us grabbed by our starved tummies, a pleasing symptom – if not a rather annoying one at the time – that spelled out clearly and with ample credence that the three of us ladies had expended and exceeded our energies beyond our expectations while on this city break. Now the time had come to refill our bodies with the morsels of tasty grub and the warm elixir of tea! Ravenous, we sought food!

Ladies, we were supposed to arrive at The Real Greek restaurant for 5.30pm but, it seems like we are going to be a tad late, in fact, precisely half an hour late!” I informed my friends that we were about to forfeit our knack for punctuality, and yet it was spoken without the slightest angle of worry or grievance in my voice. So wrapped up we had been with sightseeing and, of course, plodding ourselves in cafes here and there, that we had lost all trace of our awareness of the fact that a pre-booked table was waiting for us in Covent Garden in the homely premises of The Real Greek Restaurant! Oops!

Mazzy, I know! But listen, I have to stop by in that shop over there, they sell the most fabulous skin products that agree with me. I have a hard time finding them anywhere else!” Katie looked at me desperately and I honestly thought that was unnecessary, for I knew she was as swift as lightning when it came to the business of buying purchases. I did not mind the slightest!

Of course, go ahead! We will wait for you out here!” With the announcement of my green-light decision, Katie sped off into the shop and rustled up those precious buys that had always proven to be as elusive as a blue moon when she had  formerly attempted to track them down in our local area.

The night drew in fast and the air took on an unnatural chill that had both myself and Agnes clutch onto our thick blanket scarves and we pressed on them harder against our throat and chest, hoping against hope that this added attention would prevent any more of the cold wind from invading our weather-beaten skin.

Now, remember that I had mentioned at the start of my storytelling series for the half-term holidays that I would take up on rebellion and sashay forward and backward along the timeline so that what You read would fit in neatly into the jigsaw of Your day? Well, prepare for such a moment to occur right about now.

In the absence of our dearest Katie, and to cushion our minds from the deviancy of the cold wind, Agnes and I reminded ourselves of that highly animated and thrilling conversation that had taken place early on in our adventures, right in the middle of Waterloo Station, when, and in replication to the temporary disbanded nature of the group as it was right now, Katie had disappeared to the loos and Agnes had begun to talk of her book! Yes, she had very generously brought a book with her that she was currently much immersed in, and I was profoundly touched that my darling friend, in all the excitable anticipation and preparation for this trip, had not erased it from her mind. She had remembered! Hurrah!

Tell me again about your book – about ‘The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow’ so that I do not forget its contents when I come to write this tale up in the future!” I rubbed my gloved hands together, blowing into them what little warm breath I could siphon out from, what I believed at that time to be, my incurably frozen lips and mouth.

Mazzy, I think you come to a point when you are fed up with reading the complicated books. The books for mature readers and the books people study from. I have lost interest of them lately. Agnes had recently completed her Masters and I could quite easily picture her weariness for the type of literature that was driven by the more systematic goals of the world. “Like you, I like a good adventure story, especially ones with mystery and suspense!” Presenting an eminently accurate character portrait of my own inclinations in the book world, Agnes may not have known it at the time, but the conviction of her passion for the book that shone so beautifully through her dark eyes, had already won me over to the point that I promised myself to read her picking as soon as I finished the other outstanding titles sat on my desk.

Tell me more about the narrative structure, how does it tug you along?” I had completely forgotten how cold it was out here, and that is no new thing for me when my mind is wonderfully led astray to other quarters of investigation! She recounted the primary events of the tale and since I did not have my journal in my hands I provide below of what I vividly remember from listening to my friend that night.

The story is set in Edwardian England and tells of a girl called Sophie who is left orphan and without income after her father dies, however her fortunes take a surprising turn when she lands a job at a prestigious shop for hats – a millinery by the name of Sinclair’s – based in the heart of London and whose owner is an enigmatic millionaire from New York. Sophie quickly makes friends with Billy and Lil and she feels that life at last is beginning to brighten up, opening up new prospects in both her professional and personal life. Alas, on the eve of the opening of this high-fashion boutique, a sharp and cunning thief has penetrated through the security and many things are stolen from the shop, including the most priceless item that was hoped to be the star attraction of the inauguration of the opening event – a diamond-encrusted clockwork sparrow! The immediate blame falls on Sophie and it is a race against time as she and her two loyal friends attempt to solve the true culprit behind this dastardly act of thievery ever committed on the streets of glamorous London!

The writer does an excellent job of making the plot spread out in different directions and the range of suspects keeps growing, then suddenly it comes together again! It is amazing!” And to that our frolicsome mate, Katie, reappeared and looking down at the watch, we realised how drastically late we were and yet not a wince of anxiety passed our faces! We were built that way, eternal optimists!

Pushing forward the heavy doors of The Real Greek Restaurant and stumbling in from the cold, I stepped forth with the bravado of the cavalry and explained to the manager that we had booked a table for 5.30pm.

But you are late! Why did you not inform us before…?” He was not very pleased at all, however I detected a little vulnerability in his voice and to that I tunnelled through and whizzed up my next reply with the artifice of the Artful Dodger himself!

Oh, well, I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that: We are not from here and tried our very best to find your establishment, unfortunately we got terribly lost somewhere back there, and now that I am here I am so so so happy to have found you..!” I winked my dimple smile at him and he melted in the manner of an ice-cube on a hot stove!

Ok, ok, your table is still here. Follow me…” He casually walked us to our table at the back of the room, a cosy spot with families and children sat around us, the laughter of life and the spirit of the evening in its most convivial form and it lit up the whitewashed walls of the quaint and warm eatery in which we took solace in the late hours. Thanks to Chiara – you remember our beautiful friend from Molly’s Den?! – we followed up her recommendation and it was indeed everything she made it out to be! We plonked down, satisfied and relieved, and enormously eager to taste the delicacies of the Mediterranean continent, to let it consummate our palate with victorious deliverance!

Our final night in the magnificent capital, London, overseer of countless brilliant writers of the centuries, and here we were, scoffing down our dishes in rapid zest, abandoning our ladylike etiquette to the wind, and then only to proceed to order a round of beverages. Before embarking on the trip, Chiara, with calculated poise, had used a spot of reverse psychology on me so that when the waiter asked me what I would like to drink, I said – and I strongly advise You to wear Your seat belt as I gather up the courage to say this, “I am going go for your house special, your famous Greek coffee served extra sweet, please!

The other two friends of mine stared at my face as if they had seen the visage of a morbid apparition float before their eyes. I caught their gaze and simply replied in an indifferent tone of voice, without making a huge festivity of oddness about it, “Oh, blame Chiara!” We all let out a chuckle and for this once, I suppose, I ought to comply with that famous adage ‘When in Rome..’, and that is exactly what I did!

As the night wore on outside, the bittersweet Greek coffee that arrived to our table in the tiniest cups imaginable, echoed stunningly the rich and dark mysteries of the unfathomable nocturnal hours, the leagues of untold knowledge we saw in towering kingdoms of books, and the coiling and convoluted narratives that belonged to a heroine out to restore and return to its true home a most priceless treasure of Time.  And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative, and then, in unison, we raised our three cups of wholesome coffee and let their ceramic sides touch and tinkle high above the centre of the table, advancing our motto with charisma and smiles:

To the forever power of books and friendship♥♥♥    

The Concluding Chapter!

“… And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative…”

The Concluding Chapter!

“… “To the forever power of books and friendship…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | The Real Greek In Covent Garden | London | UK 2016

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Paddington Bear And The Waterstone’s Connection: Whoever You Are, Thank You!

In the unspeakably boring arena of British politics, the habitually dullard of a man, The Chancellor Of The Exchequer, will once a year stomp out of Downing Street and with his expected pompous gait approach the teeming and flashing lens of the tabloid press and photographers just so that he may raise to the skies and model his bright leather red suitcase! What is this madness all about, I hear You say!

It is one of those self-conceited rituals of politics that I could not care less about. A symbolic representation pointing out that the budget for the incoming year has been negotiated and agreed upon, it was when I was younger and not as wise of the ways of the world as I am now, I would sit by the television dreaming up all sorts of lively and heart-warming contents secretly packed into the suitcase. If it was not invested with special powers why would armies of eager reporters fight their way through the maddening crowds to catch a glimpse of it?! I could not explain the strange phenomena in any other way and itching my finger against my scalp I passed the verdict that the red suitcase was a box of amazing dreams that helped people to feel jollier, and the chap in charge of carrying it was the only one who knew how to do that!

Reality, of course, did not quite correspond to my formative theories! Even to this day, when I hear of our parliamentary ministers defamed for their immoral and unacceptable expenditures, including the squandering of thousands and thousands of pounds paid in by the tax payer, indiscriminately flushed into building a palatial second home, or even a duck pond – it is true, believe me! – I roll about in bitter laughter as I am led to remember the untainted innocence of my childhood interpretations of the red suitcase.

BUT, I have never stopped believing in Good Magic. The supreme power of the Universe is a kindly one, watching my back as I attempt to fulfil my life’s mission to inspire joy, to bloom smiles into the lives of others, and to aid them to reach the shores of their Destiny. And You shall know when I am successful in my aspirations, because like Nanny McPhee’s philosophy, one must always vanish when the job is done right, and that means I, too, dissipate away from Your orbit so that I may help another.

Today, I thank the Force of Destiny, breathlessly and effusively, once more for endowing me the means by which to spark a Cheshire Cat grin on YOUR face! The story which I intend to present to You tonight will very promptly chase away those leaden clouds of glum sadness that haunt Your eyes down to the ground. I shall not stand for this gross misconduct of Your wayward agency of mind! Giggle, giggle!

Let us first return to my jaunty trots across London with my dearest friends Agnes and Katie. After an intensive screening of all the major facets of The British Library and, to be truthful we felt we could have spent a week inside this Babel of books, the three of us once again came together and converged our cranial jellies to decide on what to explore next! Not a dot of exhaustion in our muscles, we were roaring to eat more knowledge and feeling that our bags were crying out for a new book to go in it, we hopped over to the bookshop! Ah, here was the sauna kingdom of detoxifying words designed to breed new horizons of thought and to instil amazing expansions of the imagination!

We’ve got to do our thing, Mazzy! It is a bookshop and it wants to take a pose with us!” Katie barged into the bookshop and so did I, whilst Agnes with ladylike grace stepped into the premises with the countenance of Her Majesty!

I promise You there were not many books that escaped our wild and unhinged hands splaying and patting across them. We looked like a bunch of haggling ladies out to the Sunday market, determined to pick the best vegetables and freshest fruit from the stalls before anyone else could get their mitts on them! The collections around us, brilliant and so throbbing of opportunity, was not only indulged by eavesdropping on our curious conversations about the books themselves, we loudly vocalised our thoughts on topics as vast and diverse as the circumference of the Earth itself which shifted the place from a shop into a cafe cultured hub!

Putting the whole deal between Eyre and Bronte to one side, you guys need to see this, it is damn funny!” Katie had stumbled on a book all to do with Britishness, what makes someone distinctively British and not any other nationality. Well, whatever was inside it was specifically geared at me since out of the three of us I was the only British citizen in the wacky trio. Katie is Kenyan and Agnes is Polish.

Don’t keep me in suspense!” I rang out from the corner whilst Agnes had already marched up beside Katie and took one look and burst out, splitting her face with a fit of laughter that only made me rush up towards the two ladies to see what on earth was setting them off like this! Something had pumped laughter gas into their system and I had to know quick what it was!

Give it here, let me see!” Katie passed the book over to me and both my friends put in humungous effort to stop themselves from laughing anymore, allowing for that crucial pause to freeze the moment so to observe my reaction! Well, I honestly do not know how to break this to You, but the chapter heading of the page in question was clearly for adults and the first sentence, in a nutshell, explained that one of the ways one can differentiate between a European and a British person is that Europeans engage in plenty of you-know-what, whilst British people have, ahem ahem, hot water bottles!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”, we three exploded at that point! I sharply stopped in my tracks and challenged my friends on the spot, “I’ll have you ladies know that my hot water bottle is only for keeping me warm and nothing else and I have even been committed for bursting a few in my lifetime,  due to my criminal acts of pouring in way too much hot water!” At that we all curled up again and chuckled away, a a few disquiet stares shot at us from the customers of the bookshop, naturally!!

Katie did not beat around the bush, she bought the book! I was very gladdened by her decision because at some point I think I will ask her to lend me her copy so that I can better understand the extraordinary mannerisms of us British folk. I want to know more about the sacredness we attach to maintaining orderly queues for everything and saying sorry to each other with no cessation in sight from either person so that eventually a third party feels compel to join in just to break the repetition of the offending word! Giggle, giggle!

I bought a book too, and one that I have read before, but did not own in my collection back home. Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, one of my most cherished classical texts ever wherein the irresistably dark, untamed and fiercely passionate Heathcliffe must rank as one of those men of literature who I so dearly wish could turn into a real man so that I may marry him! There is one line in the book that is a glittering perfection of a realisation of how I feel for my own Soulmate who I am yet to meet in this life. Can You guess the sentence to which I refer to? I wonder…  

At last we came to the children’s section of the bookshop and this where our story comes magnificently full circle. I had not at this point taken any photographs of our madcap escapades inside the shop, though now I was adamant that something significant, infused with cosmic ripples, would flash before our eyes and that I am to photograph that for You.

PADDINGTON BEAR! His echoes never leave my side, and so very ecstatic are the waves of his Love when they kiss the shore of my heart. “Ladies, I know what I must photograph!

Katie screamed her socks off and Agnes opened her arms as if the bear was an old friend, her brother-in-law to be more precise, since everyone in these lands was by now thoroughly acquainted with my enduring love affair for the furry-pawed chap! Bless them all! Giggle, giggle!

You must choose something from here!” I was excited beyond measure because my local bookshop in Winchester did not sell these particular items of Paddington merchandise.

Paddington’s red suitcase, ok that is mine, I am holding that!” Katie marked out her territory with shining pride.

And I will choose this!” Agnes was delighted with her picking, it felt to her as if Paddy had penned something personally for her readership and no one else! Since she is the sister-in-law, harmless flirtatious activity is permitted on this occasion! Giggggggle!

As my two delectable friends closed in and displayed their proud keeps, the memory poured in of when I was a little girl sat in front of the television, dreaming up all sorts of beautiful possibilities lying hidden inside that red suitcase that belonged to the Chancellor of England. The Universe rippled its Force through my heart and into my tummy and though it was the half-term week I was absolutely confident that very soon this singular photograph that was taken in the bookshop was going to come in very useful indeed.

Tonight, it did!

All over the British news today, it has been reported that a ‘hero’ has been dotting about Waterstones’ bookshops, sliding inside certain books uplifting messages written on post-it notes and accompanied with a £5 note! Who or what is this hero of mine who has taken upon himself to beautifully besiege books with his life-affirming words?  If You open the link You will see one example of this amazing gesture of selfless generosity which someone has photographed against a Krishna-blue canvas of a starry sky studded with fairies and butterflies. What more fitting way to end tonight’s story than for me to reiterate those words I penned a few nights ago, “When we do this act of love selflessly for someone else, we will have known what it is to rise, to fly…” ♥♥♥

LINK: http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/28/someones-leaving-5-notes-in-books-at-waterstones-5722952/

Paddington's Notes

“… Who or what is this hero of mine who has taken upon himself to beautifully besiege books with his life-affirming words…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London | UK 2016 

 

Making Gravitational Waves In London: Down The Rabbit Hole To A BREAKDANCING World!

What staggering rival is there to any library in all of England than the one that stands with the mastery of holding the most comprehensive and coveted collection of texts and literary treasures found anywhere else on the British Isles. I am, of course, speaking of The British Library situated in St Pancras in London, and when I realised that the freedom of the half-term holidays was approaching near I decided to call upon my friends to arrange an extended break and expedition into the literary meccas that dot around the smoggy and tunnelled capital of our great nation.

They say that great minds think alike, but it is a phrase that ought to be expanded upon, for great curious eccentrics also think alike, for when I reached out to send an email to my trusty sisters and friends – Agnes and Katie – I discovered to my fondest glee that they had beaten me to the task, and since I am a rarity, a flickering shooting star even, in the realm of the virtual world as a function of my choice not to own a smarty pants phone, when I opened my inbox the two ladies had already begun a vibrant and bouncy conversational stream about a voyage into the heart of London to seek out the places where the most famous of books reside!

Imagine my thrill, my amazement, my glorious smile as I sat back in my seat, lost in something resembling a tropical cocktail of thankfulness and admiration to the whirring cogs of the Universe for listening to the Voice of my heart and soul. It felt as if there was a higher power that wished to see me take my little book project, whose humble beginnings sprouted from an armchair overlooking a winter’s garden, take a leap outside the circle of known contexts and to stretch out and touch the forefathers of my kind – the writers and their gold-leafed talents that spilled forth from their pens, but whose fountains lay buried in the cosmic and mysterious whirls of their imaginations. Though these great thinkers were no more, their legacies lived on and they called to me. And to them all, I answered.

Logic should not always be assumed to be the barometer by which to judge what is true and what is not. You see, my constant ravings about the pleasures of reading and the presence of books would suggest very strongly to the reasonable-minded individual that I had made not one, but several visitations to The British Library. You might picture me having sought out its labyrinthine reading rooms, reputed to house in total 1200 readers at any one time, as an extremely luxurious alternative to reading a book whilst laying down on the grass or leaning against a tree in my garden. Well, You would be daft and very wrong if that is what You thought was true! In my eyes, my garden and my armchair cannot be exceled in their value for lending comfort and enjoyment to my reading and writing antics. My home is my favourite place in the world to align the nib to the paper, or the eye to the printed word, why should I travel lengthy distances only to act in the very same way that I do back in my hobbit hole?!

However, our expedition to The British Library, site and custodian of 150 million items, was not meant for lounging about and reading our own books. The aim of the trip was to soak in the original manuscripts of some of the world’s brilliant minds, to stand close to the spirits of the ink which they wielded, their arcs and strokes and impressions that have been carefully preserved over time. I recognised that it would be the closest I will ever be to the physical resonances of their mortal form.

The sun shining down on all three of us as if reborn once more after the noisy aftermath of the Big Bang, Agnes, Katie and myself, all arm-in-arm and with the hugest smiles on our faces, jumped on the train for the hour ride into London and boy did we rattle on in the carriage like a posse of chirping birds! A few stares here and a giggle from over there, I think everyone was pretty amused in that carriage as the three of us began to chat away at the speed of knots and all the while sharing and enjoying the flask of tea which I had prepared from home and brought to the table to keep my companions nice and warm. It was a cold day, nippy to the bone, and the tea offered that winning respite to those over-shivering arms and legs!

Mazzy, that tea is delicious! Thank you so much, my love!” Agnes, I do believe, indulged in multiple helpings of my special brew. It is infallible my assertion that those who take one sip will not be able to resist a second! Giggle, giggle!

Mazzy, I want to do your nails, my sister!” Katie thoughtfully stared down at my tiny hobbity nails, so fluent in reading the well-being of plants and flowers in my garden, and she held them and said in her spirited Kenyan manner, “We will have a girly night at my house and we are going to paint your nails, my darling!” As everyone knows I am an incorruptible tomboy, however my lovely friend knew that deep inside, at the bottom of the rabbit hole, there was a girl who actually did not mind having her nails painted now and again. I must insert with stout here that I have no interest in the world of the fake nail trade, why would any woman want witchy claws, and oh help me Lord, just imagine all that brown garden mud packing and squeezing into them after a day weeding out the strawberry patch! No thanks, not for me!

Katie darlings, I will take up on the offer of nail painting but no more beyond that, I do not understand the business of claw nails!” She smiled heartily and the rest of the journey was fantastically lively, the entire carriage buzzed due to the entertaining and animated chinwag shared between the three of us!

Jumping off at the whitewashed arena of London Waterloo station, we decided the first part of our adventures would start with The British Library. Here came the first hats-off to the illogical world of Alice and a most laughable one it is! Katie had once entered the Library but could no longer remember how to direct us there and her smartphone lacked internet access so we turned to Agnes.

No, my love, this thing is being stupid as usual. The navigation is rubbish!” Agnes had a smartphone whose interface was all in Polish and I suspect it was created there, it lacked the facility of Google Maps. But here was the moment that further substantiated the common phenomenon of how my resourcefulness was the root of my heroism! Giggle, giggle!

Ladies, step away and let me handle this!” I put my hand in my bag, a Cheshire Cat grin yawned with beautification on my lips, and I saw my two friends stood there with bated breath! “TA-DA!” In my hand blazed a 15 year old copy of ‘London A-Z’ with complete maps of all the streets in London and underground lines. The girls burst out laughing and hugged me, for they knew that despite the ancientness of the artefact in my hand, made of paper and eligible for carbon dating, it was still as ever, reliable in times of need!

Mazzy, you are a star!” Katie grabbed me and would not let me go! I lathered in the praises and assured them that if ever there was an expert in the art of reading maps with flash-light speed, that hobbit would be me! Somehow I was suffused with a more intense impression than ever that now that we were all at the mercy of my map-reading services, I was more like Alice than I had ever imagined to be! An adventure could only be an adventure if one is made to believe that they are on the hunt for treasure – that of knowledge in our case – and the most priming of apparatus for sending one into that frame of mind is to be accompanied by a good old-fashion map! Smartphones, bugger off I say!

Stopping by at a café for a relaxing steaming cup of coconut hot chocolate and sandwiches, I laid out the floorplan of The British Library on the table and, realising soon enough that there was nothing that could be left out because all of it glimmered with tales to be told, we agreed that we would scout out the entire building. This was after all our London getaway and we were here to chill and learn!

And we entered with our hands on our hearts. Towers and towers of ageless texts bound in classic leather covers and reaching up to the skies, protected behind thick sheets of glass, I felt giddy with excitement. I was in book heaven!

The delicate nature of the original manuscripts held in the treasures collection and the light-sensitive technique of preservation implied that I was not allowed to photograph the Magna Carta, Leonardo de Vinci’s notebook, Shakespeare’s folios, Carroll’s writings of Alice and the Beatles’ lyrics, to name a few. To be honest with You, these are each grand masterpieces that deserve Your acquaintance, not Your click. I did just that and nearly spilled tears when polymath senior, Mr Vinci’s, handwriting in graceful strokes danced across the page and the beautiful accuracy and attention to detail in his schematic drawings glowed with the inventiveness of his imagination and yet was not disjointed from his knowledge of the engineering sciences. I implore to anyone whose love for books is on par with breath itself to at least make one pilgrimage in their lives to these sacred spaces to understand truly why a writer never dies.

Ladies, look what is over there!” I was presently jumping up and down, and shifting the gazes of both my friends, I declared that I had found the star exhibition that had brought me here! “It is me – it is Alice!” I gulped hard. I had already foreseen that it would be something here that would be of monumental significance to me and YOU at a later time.

Yes! ALICE! Let’s go, let’s go!” Katie rushed onwards like a steamer ship on nuclear power and Agnes and I tried to catch up, but to no avail. Beautiful and authentic manuscripts and older editions of passages from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland shimmered in their glassy cases, priceless jewels of the crown of the imagination and illogical, and I even spotted rare illustrations of parts of the tale drawn by the famously surreal brushstrokes of e. It was incredible that I was seeing so much newness to my pre-existent knowledge of Alice, it was meant by Destiny for me to come here with my friends and explore the originations of the story of a little girl who experienced both the big and small world, astute allegories to the relationship between the quantum level and classical mechanics that is currently the subject of physics. Was Carroll writing about me from another life? 

It is not necessary for me to submit to You an account of the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, however, there is another motive behind the photography which I offer to You tonight. For a long time I have felt in my belly that the final constituent of Einstein’s theory would be scientifically proven right and on 14-10-15 it was! The data scrutinised by the customary conveyor belt of scientific peer review process, the announcement was undisclosed to the world until recently and when I heard of it I suddenly comprehended what it must feel like to be a quantum particle that could occupy two states at the same time. The astounding news spread out to the world and I was surprised and yet I was not. I knew not and yet I knew. I was prepared to jump for joy, whilst all the time remained seated in composed vindication. The Universe had sang out a sweet “chirp” and I heard it and told it of my thanks for I had been blessed already with that sound, carried by its myriad winged messengers in the forms of the birds who visited my garden and had hopped by my side.

The gravitational wave was generated, and subsequently heard here on Earth, by two gigantic black holes, a pair of binary dervishes spinning around each other at half the speed of light until finally colliding to form One, and it is their union that sent out the ripple across the fabric of space and time. A BLACK HOLE is no different from a RABBIT HOLE in which I let myself fall through every day, a fearless plunge into the unknown, where logic is crude matter, and the overrated common sense so sleepily complied by the masses, is turned on its head to spectacular effect.

Each and every atomic particle in my body was present in the architecture of the smaller black hole, that rabbit hole of the cosmos. Could my preoccupations with pushing myself to the brink of the uncharted and unknown be a function of my former and ancient inanimate home? Sounds positively bizarre, I give You that!

So, in the spirit of authentic scientific enquiry, I chose to test out a theory. I know in my gut that if I am part of One then, as per the mechanics of quantum entanglement, no matter where I am in the world, my thought processes are tied to the thoughts of my other half. I know not who he is, or whether I shall ever have the blessing to meet him, however expect a second MAGICAL ripple in space and time the day that we are returned to each other.

Photography was strictly prohibited in the main galleries, as I explained earlier, however, in the Alice in Wonderland Shop adjacent to the exhibition space, the ripples in my Soul directed me to take three photographs pertaining to all things related to the heroine who shared too many uncanny resemblances to the world of my mind.

Katie ran amuck the shop as if it were a challenge to bag up as much as possible because the white rabbit’s silver pocket watch was counting down the seconds and soon it would all vanish! She chose a book as miniature as my own size filled with quotes from the original text and, with theatrical flair, poised herself with a cup of tea that spelled out my Faith that if I was part of One, then again I would be that someday. “Mazzy, this is you, right?” Katie nailed my life-long inclinations down to a tee!

I have to photograph you like this, you look utterly adorable!” I clicked down with immense joy, fully aware that my friend had just provided me was a mirror reflection of my own spirit!

Katie, that is not all. Flick through the pages, you must choose a page, like you always do!” A strong force pushed down on my belly, I was very cognisant of the fact that this would be a pivotal moment to reach out to You.

Katie could not make up her mind, so I left her to her own devices and caught up with Agnes.

Agnes, please do the honour of picking up a book for me!” She was more than willing to delve in, for her passion for all things Alice was as intense as my own, and in my veins I could sense that the Universe would be working its magic through her. And it did!

Mazzy, this is the one! I love the cover design!” I stood still. The redness of the robin’s breast that filled its square-shaped face shook the whitewashed décor of the room with the heat and pulsation of a million chirps orchestrated from the beginning of time! I was overcome with deep tenderness and pleased with her choice that I snapped it up and the smile never left my face for the rest of the day!

Returning back to Katie, my friend was none the closer to choosing a page so I helped her out a bit. In the end we each selected a page each. ‘Keep Your Sense Of Humour’ was my doing, the chap in the Krishna-blue garment and red shoes appeared to be pitifully attempting to execute some sort of BREAKDANCING routine – and there I was, all this time, poetically defining the dance of the cosmos in relation to the rituals of the Sufi and their wildly fervent spinning! Giggle, giggle! Katie chose the page entitled, ‘Remember Every Bad Day Will Come To An End’, and I suspect the first line from that page inspired YOU to resort to breakdancing Your woes away! Giggle, giggle!

If You and I are indubitably linked by the unseen fabrics and threads of quantum entanglements, then tonight it will be that all three of my photographs will have a bearing to You, and if it does and You feel that Your sanity is on the verge of being plundered by these crazy possibilities, then just remember, that there was a time when no one gave a toss about Einstein’s ideas. To give a toss about my words, is to extend out my way the greatest form of Love You can ever send to me, it is called Faith. I am Alice and I do believe I have Your Faith… ♥♥♥

Making Gravitational Waves In London: Down The Rabbit Hole To A Breakdancing World!

“… She chose a book as miniature as my own size, filled with quotes from the original text and, with theatrical flair, poised herself with a cup of tea that spelled out my Faith that if I was part of One, then again I would be that someday…”

Making Gravitational Waves In London: Down The Rabbit Hole To A Breakdancing World!

“… Agnes, please do the honour of picking up a book for me!” She was more than willing to delve in, for her passion for all things Alice was as intense as my own, and in my veins I could sense that the Universe would be working its magic through her. And it did…”

Making Gravitational Waves In London: Down The Rabbit Hole To A Breakdancing World!

“… Keep Your Sense Of Humour’ was my doing, the chap in the Krishna-blue garment and red shoes appeared to be pitifully attempting to execute some sort of BREAKDANCING routine – and there I was, all this time, poetically defining the dance of the cosmos in relation to the rituals of the Sufi and their wildly fervent spinning! Giggle, giggle!…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | British Library | London | UK 2016 

Why Mr Toad Whitewashed Himself As A Washerwoman!

Mazzy, do not think that I have forgotten. I have pencilled it in. Expect a book from me next week!” A beacon of resourceful action and of a kindly heart, my trusty friend of many years, Cathy, had with those words pursed her lips and straightened her back with a calm twinkle in her eye, here was a regal menagerie of gestures that made it as clear to me as I could ever hope that she had something positively ambrosial up her sleeves for our next meeting!

Well, what more can I add to that, save that I wish I could make time go faster! I want to know what you have in store for me, BUT – “ And here I emphasised the ‘but’ and let a pause of silence pass between us so that she would appreciate just how essential it was that she did not give away her choice of book to me so easily. “Don’t tell me what it is, I am a lover of surprises!

To make it evident to me that she had no business at that time to reveal the title of her book, Cathy looked away from my face and began to casually finger through her appointment’s diary and then replied, “No, I am not telling you anything!

Perfect!

Now, it would stand to good reason if I were to go ahead and sentence You with the moniker of utter nincompoop and clod of the finest muck if by now You have not yet figured out whether my heart belongs to the metal conveyor belts of the city or to the green pastures of the countryside! What? You say I am a city girl? That does it, bring Your head over hear and let me solemnise it with my dust pan and brush! Giggle, giggle!

Yes, I am and shall forever be a loyal belle of the countryside! Carrying hints of the ecological philosophies and life passions that enshrined and drove the great female writers of the past to put to paper their intimate relationship with the elements of the natural world – the likes of Beatrix Potter come to mind immediately – my imagination, takes on a life of its own when I take a stroll through the woods or by the river near my home. I cannot live a single day without taking interest in the voices of the natural world around me. Recently the sprightly-footed pied wagtail, normally the resident of the Scottish highlands, has been hopping and chirping away along the pavement and I, coming across them during my walks, am constantly surprised at how swiftly they move and whether they are aware of their perennially poised cheeky and upturned tail, a conceited flick of aristocracy that plainly is nothing of the sort, it is on contrary another stroke of genius imparted by evolution! Characters of the natural world lend themselves to appear to me as friends that have come alive from all the books I read as a child, and although that does sound rather odd and is bloated with idle fancies, since I am an old lady, I do believe I am old enough now to feel sure of who I am and not worry about the ridicule of the masses! It is an eccentric’s way!

I met up with Cathy yesterday and though I had completely forgotten to ask her for her book, a symptom of the fact that I have snapped up countless portraits during the holidays that I have lost track of who I have documented and who not, my friend was the sort of lady who employed subtle cleverness in all her dealings and I was not to be made an exception of! We spoke about the upcoming Blue Apple Theatre production with firework enthusiasm and in the midst of the conversation, like a hypnotist at their prime, Cathy gently placed her book next to her appointment’s diary whilst I was chuntering away quite happily! I did not notice! Oops!

Unexpectedly my eyes fell on the space on the table in front of her and WHAM-BHAM!

Oh my goodness, where did that come out from?!” I wanted to kick myself for not realising earlier that Cathy had not come alone, she had brought with her four very special friends from the English countryside! I have read ‘The Wind In The Willows’ twice in my life and hope to read it again in the summer, for it is a ritual of mine to read Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 masterpiece always, and always in the bountiful cradle of my garden in the lazy haze of sunshine that disperses itself all over at the onset of the cooler and quiet hours of evening time.

Mazzy, it is my copy from when I was a child and if I turn the cover you will believe me because… look… see it only cost £1.95 back then.” Not only did I admire the adorable jacket of the book tattered and creased and ripped in places, the faded green canvas reminded me of the hardy souls of ivy and grass that witnessed the comings and goings of all aspects of seasonal time. I smiled away and a sigh left my lips as I gazed at Cathy slide her hand lovingly across the front cover. It became distinctly clear to me now and not ever before, that after having archived dozens of people with their cherished tomes, that this stroking of the cover with the hands was something of a sign language, a physical intonation of the reader’s devotion to the memories attached to the book. It did not matter whether those hands belonged to a child or an older person, it was apparent that when a book was blessed in this way, the hands always seem to glow with a strange presence of warmth and wisdom. What a beautiful joining of one’s memories and the words contained inside the book, so powerfully bridged that it has the capacity to set ablaze our very palms in sacred light.

Cathy, thank you so very much! This is one of my all-time favourites and who can forget those four pukka chaps of the countryside and they are not even human!” My friend was delighted that the story meant a lot to me, as much as it did for her.

A prominent English classic in the genre of children’s literature, ‘The Wind In The Willows’ at its core sees Mr Grahame conceive a tale that was every bit adventurous as it was moralistic, and in which the value of true friendships was celebrated against the rustic backdrop of the Thames Valley set in the jolly, old English countryside. The twist was that the primary characters of the tale were played by four animals with anthropomorphic sentiments!

Mr Mole is a good-natured and sensible chap who feels he has spent far too much time cleaning away his underground hole and so he goes in search of something uniquely different and hence chances upon Mr Rat. No ordinary rodent, Mr Rat has a penchant for literature, and together the two friends take a boat ride towards Toad Hall to drop in and see their friend Mr Toad. Alas, Mr Toad, abundant in friendliness and cheery of spirit, is the most reckless daredevil the river world has ever known and loves to show-off his talents and possessions whenever he can! He is a fickle creature, his passions and interests constantly changing, and throughout the story he is seen to verify this point by his unrelenting hunting down of vehicles! Always stealing a new wheelie in disguise – including one attempt that saw him dressed as a washerwoman – so that he may replace what he believes to be his older and less sophisticated model – but unfortunately his itchy fingers get him in all sorts of run-ins and struggles with the police, and more than once he is thrown behind the slammer for his restless criminal activities!

But it is when Mr Badger, the wise and caring one, teams up with Mr Mole and Mr Rat, that morale is restored to the group, for he knows that Mr Toad drives him up the wall to speak, but never loses faith in the goodness of his friend and so attempts to put his green-fingered friend back on the straight and narrow. At first things go from bad to worse as Mr Toad escapes from the house arrest his friends have temporarily put upon him, only for him to land in a further spot of trouble with the authorities and this time things do turn horribly nasty. When Mr Toad does return home he discovers, to his anger and resentment that the friends who had always stood by him and watched his back, had been viciously evicted from Toad Hall by a gang of weasels. All four friends reunite and take decisive and courageous action to launch a surprise attack on the evil intruders using the handy knowledge that a secret tunnel exists and which runs under the hall where the weasels have made claim. The battle a success, Mr Toad finds to his great happiness that not only has he secured his beloved home back into his possession, but that he has won the respect once more of his good friends and they all live together till  the end of their days.

As You may have gathered the most interesting and complex character in the story is that of Mr Toad. From being the flashy and conceited swagger in the beginning, it is the series of misfortunes and hardships, sufferings in cold dank cells and verbal tussles encountered along the way and for which he alone is accountable, that creates the amazing curvature in his characterisation so that at the end we are agape with admiration and overwhelmed by a more quiet and humble Mr Toad. No longer is he worried about presenting to the world and his friends an gentleman of aristocratic tastes and airs, Mr Toad was always my firm favourite in the story because here, in the innocent guise of a riverside animal, one of life’s priceless lessons were laid out before us: We can all become who we were meant to be, more wholesome versions of our present selves, and for that to unfold it is often the case that it is necessary for us to be prodded in the right direction by someone else.

Mirroring the transformative poetry of the natural world, its cycle of changes, its boasting of unfeeling clashes of elements on our heads, and at other times, offering a sound and soothing warm source of peace and contentment, Grahame artfully weaves within the text the recurring notion that we are all embodiments of the seasons and with ample nourishment of the right kind, we have within us the sparkling potential to grow into what we were born with: A state of grounded humility whose joy is in the simple pleasure of lifting others up. When we do this act of love selflessly for someone else, we will have known what it is to rise, to fly…  ♥♥♥

LINK: Mr Toad seems to curtsy as he models his WHITE-WASHED washerwoman garments in a field hazed and speckled with wild yellow flowers. How on earth does he do it, how does our lovable rogue prevent a single stain from blotching his pretty dress from becoming MESSY?! Giggle, giggle!

https://images.rapgenius.com/45c9b6b4e06f5f4df5a89ca76d031164.1000x603x1.jpg

Mr Toad As Washerwoman!

“… It became distinctly clear to me now and not ever before, that after having archived dozens of people with their cherished tomes, that this stroking of the cover with the hands was something of a sign language, a physical intonation of the reader’s devotion to the memories attached to the book…”

 

Mr Toad As A Washerwoman

“… I wanted to kick myself for not realising earlier that Cathy had not come alone, she had brought with her four very special friends from the English countryside…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |UK 2016

The Art Of Weaving: A Geometric Window Into The Fabric Of The Universe

I do believe that the cause behind the shift in our conversation from the tongue-in-cheek nonsense of ‘borrowing husbands’ to the more absorbing topic of the timeless and popular fascination people still retain for the mystery and exoticism associated with expeditions into the deserts of Egypt, must have began after a passing comment was made about Greene’s stationed posts that took him across various parts of the globe. One thing had led to another and what more riveting a subject matter fell onto my lap than that of Ancient Egyptian history! Fanatical since childhood about visiting the land of pharaonic rulers who deemed themselves as mighty and important as the gods whom they worshiped and exalted in artistic mediums, when Ann began to unfold the events of her 1985 expedition to the sand swept desolation of the Valley of the Kings, the gentle boat rides she took embarking from Aswan and then coursing onwards to the capital of bustling Cairo, and the thick eerie atmospheres she sensed inside the pyramids of Giza, I was frozen in my seat! I should claim that even if the fire alarm had gone off, at least a good few seconds would have had to pass before I actually did come round to normality and take heed and move!

One of the few joys in the world that I am only too ecstatic to plunge into and trap myself in its clinging mesh is to sit and hear the tales of voyages that others have taken, for they carry a burning flame that adds one more stroke of light to my own, nourishing my hunger to pursue adventure!

I might have come to view things with a little more appreciation and depth if my blonde-haired and fair-skinned boy wasn’t rushing about everywhere! He is a lively one and most of the time we had to keep an eye out for him, making sure we did not lose him or have him snatched from us. All the locals were amazed by his colouration that all eyes turned on him. I was afraid at one point that someone was really going to grab him off our hands!” In the knowledge that all this was now safely in the past, she made light heart out of it and laughed, whilst I thought it was absolutely ironic that the inhabitants of a land jewelled in the splendours of remarkable ancient lineage were completely oblivious or indifferent to what was theirs, and instead, pursued to catch a glimpse of the foreign child! Reinforcing once again that we are all attracted to the temptations of the unknown and to that which is rare to the senses, the phenomenon of the exotic was indeed a perception stemmed in the relative!

At this point we had all lost track of time and the café staff were preparing to pack up their cutlery and plates and spoons so, rather reluctantly, since I dearly wished to hear more of her eastern adventures, I urged Ann to show us her book and, to my euphoric refreshment, my good friend had brought with her not a text of fiction, but of a non-fiction content, a manual to be precise!

Maz, you know that I love to weave and am a member of the local Embroiderer’s Guild, so it was only proper of me to bring to you today one of my favourite books on the subject!” Out popped a large and glossy cover splashed in Krishna blue and with a bowl of oranges in the corner and entitled, ‘The Best Of Weaver’s Summer Plus Winter’. She held it up as if it were invested with properties infinitely more dear to her than any diamond on earth, and the moonshine glinting behind her glasses told me aplenty of the content of the book, brimming with wisdom and technique for creating all sorts of spectacular geometric patterns that formed a myriad of exciting figures and shapes!

I have immersed and dabbled in the pastime of knitting a few years back and once I even dared so much as to borrow a few books that purported to lift the beginner to the ranks of fluent comprehension of what is, beyond a doubt, perplexing charts of abbreviated codes and jargon, alas it sent my brain into an abominable meltdown! Despite my polymathic cognitive habits, I appear to have specific weaknesses in decoding dry and abstract information, unless it is broken down into manageable chunks. When Ann passed the book over to me I got all terrifically excited, to think that this book could give rise to amazing pieces of fabric was a scrumptious fact to behold, yet my face dropped a few inches in that age-old despair as soon as I opened the covers, and the extra-terrestrial script of the weavers lexicon bored into my eyes like pokers tinged with fiery spite!

Oh Ann, I will leave all this technical malarkey in your safe hands! I can never seem to quite come to grips with these strange codes flying about the place. But, I do get an energising kick from looking over the photographs of what could come out of all this looming business. It is a beautiful art form and I am thoroughly envious of your talents!” I smiled at Ann and she, a very modest lady, never wanting to be seen in the limelight of stardom, explained that with persistent effort and patience I, too, could perhaps create something and it did not matter if it was as simple as a square patch! I timidly agreed but knew in my gut that this was her forte and not mine!

I returned to the front cover again and brushed my palm across the cover as if the book was an old friend of mine and then it occurred to me that the subtitle of the book contrasted summer and winter. I had an inkling the words described the crux of the design theme that ran through the pages of the book.

Well, all the designs in the book have two sides to them. A dark and a light side that you make using the thread palette they provide you and that produces a stimulating contrast! The season of summer and winter expresses that opposite relationship, it is a celebration of complimentary colours”. Ann could tell that I was eager to know more and then, out of the blue, she bent over and pulled out the gift that all this time was hid in her bag!

And here is one I made earlier!” Ann gently placed her grid fabric of tapestry across her shoulder as if modelling it but without any of the trappings of pretentious publicity. My jaw landed on the floor, I was blown away by the dazzling black and white ripples of thread, a patch of gravitational wave magic and encoded in its dry waves an image of a flapping penguin!

AMAZING!!!! This is an absolute cutie to look at! You are a woman of countless talents, I am forever discovering something new about you!” Gobsmacked by Ann’s devotion for spinning the yarn and, furthermore, her excellence in deciphering those arcane codes in the text, I had in my hands a charming and childlike microcosmic reflection of Einstein’s most recent case of theoretical rightness! Ah, I could not put a stopper on my effusive thanks for her adorning our meeting with such a moonlit canvas of stringed waves!

When I requested to Ann that she turn to her most frequented or favourite part of the book, she spent no time wrestling with her inner thoughts and briskly located the chapter. It was called ‘Summer & Winter Pick Up Tips’ and below, as suspected, glared with the busy shimmer of ants scurrying around the page, a mystifying mesh of things that simply did not make any sense to me, however I admired the title of the chapter because that is what I love to do the most, pick people up and show them what they are capable of doing beyond their boxed expectations. It goes without saying, there have been a few special people who have crossed my orbit and have done the same for me, picking me up and catapulting me as far as the moon and back! What fun that was and thank You!

Thank you so much, Ann, for whipping out the most fabulous piece of magic I have seen all day! You are a legend, my darling!”  I was awash in warm tones of blessedness and gratitude, for after all these years, not only was this reunion one that was resplendent with happy memories of the past, it was imbued with the solemnity and beauty that is only found in the love of friendships that have seen many years go past. Exchanging hearty hugs, we made a determined promise to ourselves that this time round we would not tolerate and leave long unacceptable years to pass before meeting again. I intend not to let that happen – and as I walked out of the café I assured myself that I would try my best to engineer more reunions between friends, bringing people together, it is such wholesome and good fun!

Now, last night, if you remember, I kept many of you guessing when I asked you if you could figure out what Ann had chosen for her book and of the nature of the gift that she had planned to show us so as to bring those inscrutable coded voices of her book alive with the textures and colours of the everyday world.

What a sour puss bunch, NONE of you got it right! What a bunch of shoddy amateurs, indeed! Giggle, giggle!

EXCEPT one chap, an enigmatic man with the mind of an espionage novel and a heart as passionate as the red raincoat of the lady on the front of Greene’s compendium of stories, and then we come to the aspect of his soul. Surely it must be weaved of Krishna-blue thread, a geometric window into the fabric of the Universe itself, and I have noticed that one thread is invariably gutsy, it is loose, it had to be, otherwise how would it have tied to my own… ♥♥♥  

 

The Art Of Weaving: A Window Into The Fabric Of The Universe

“Maz, you know that I love to weave and am a member of the local Embroiderer’s Guild, so it was only proper of me to bring to you today one of my favourite books on the subject!”

The Art Of Weaving: A Window Into The Fabric Of The Universe

… I admired the title of the chapter because that is what I love to do the most, pick people up and show them what they are capable of doing beyond their boxed expectations…”

The Art Of Weaving: A Window Into The Fabric Of The Universe

“… I was blown away by the dazzling black and white ripples of thread, a patch of gravitational wave magic and encoded in its dry waves an image of a flapping penguin…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |UK 2016

Janet & The Primary Additive Colours Of Light: Part One

I was running a tad bit late for my magnificent reunion with two very close friends of mine whom I have had the good fortune of knowing for several years and they were Janet and Ann. Now, when I reached the escalator, a proud and metallic steppe of ascension to the pre-arranged rendezvous point of the café, I did something that might have belittled the poor gizmo! Ignoring the privilege the machine must think it bestows on the user – aiding them to climb upwards without them affording any mechanical effort – I did the contrary and rebelled and leapt up, missing a few steps on each leap and completely sending the poor thing to a fit of self-gnawing bitterness! Disused and abused! Thank goodness I was not clad in a floating dress or wrapped in the fidgety business of a sari. Imagine if that escalator had some sort of artificial intelligence, I am certain it would have initiated a hostile strike at me, consisting most likely of willing itself to catch onto the hem of whatever I was wearing, then pulling my entire body towards one side that I should end up being a prisoner on those shifting sands of steel forever! Yikes, indeed!

With a bit of Indiana Jones adventurousness I managed to reach the top, unharmed, and soon enough a massive smile on my face sprouted out as I saw sat by the window my two good friends who have known me from the earliest days of my work at the college. I rushed up to them, threw my bags on the floor, and plopped a soppy kiss on both their cheeks! None of us had met up like this for years and years, and thanks to a bit of logistical tweaking I managed to finally bring this reunion together! Now that is what I mean when I speak of the stroke of Good Magic!

It is so wonderful to meet like this!! I can’t even remember the last time we were in a room together! I am so happy we are doing this!” Overjoyed in the company of faces that I had long wanted to bring together, I was failing pitifully in containing the rapture in my voice and the mirth in my toes!

Oh it is fantastic to see you all again!!” Ann could not wait to sit down proper and talk our hearts out!

It has been so long, but here we are!” Janet was chomping on a cheese scone and immediately those insatiable tea pangs launched a formidable crusade on my throat and seeing that Ann had not yet settled herself down I suggested we gallop over to the counter to acquire pleasant boons for our palate!

At the counter I took no for an answer and bought my dear Ann and myself two cups of strong English Breakfast tea and we were both delighted in the consensus that it could not be left at that and asked for a pot of extra hot water each! The conversations would be long and intense and jiving with news as colourful as the heart of a kaleidoscope, so obviously the mouth would fall prey to parched weakness and that is an unacceptable folly, especially if one is in a café and the remedial answer is only a few inches away from the table! We decided to prepare ourselves in advance! With the tea cups and the stainless steel teapot there soon came the taller secondary pot filled with hot water for those obligatory refills!

Alas, upon reaching our table and before Ann could even begin to talk, her teapot played truant and spilled a splash of tea around her saucer. The naughty thing had a top lid that stubbornly stayed slightly ajar, a mouth that wanted to breathe air but in doing so slushed out its precious contents indiscriminately all over the place!

I am afraid this café has a few of those loose metal characters. I have had the massive displeasure in the past of having entire pages of my journal washed in puddles of tea!” I giggled away as I spoke, and in my mind, once again, I could not quite figure out why I always forgot this significant detail pertaining to the wonky deficiencies inherent in the wares of this particular café. I guess I have so many happy memories of reunions in this very place that I am sentimentally attached and my loyalty fixed, both overpowering elements that conceivably proffer just enough veil to cover-up the memories of these recurrent mishaps, only to return to the light of awareness when another boo-boo strikes! Giggle, giggle!

Not to worry, Ann, you just stay put!” I expertly jumped out of my seat and executed my second serious of leaps, this time towards the tower of napkins at the far end of the café and slipping my hobbity hand under a dozen of them I scooped up a pile and flew back to the table! By then Ann had already brought out a few creased ‘Subway’ napkins from her other jolly saunters – and I remembered Brogan’s story at this point! – and I added to the war effort with a dabbing from my newly acquired pile. Wiped away clean, the table looked civilised once again and we sat down and began to have a most epic catch-up of all things that have passed since we last saw each other.

As we all know time is defiantly opposed to watching people indulging themselves in a spot of well-deserved and well-overdue fun and I could tell that we were running out of it quick so, without much ado, I summoned my two friends to let the cat out of the bag and place on the table the book they were eager to share with the world!

Well, Mazzy, you know how busy I can get so I like to read the odd short story and I have so many stocked away in the shelves, but I chose this one by Graham GREENE!” Out came a pocket-sized treasury of Greene’s ‘Twenty-One-Stories’ posed in a vintage edition whose jaded cover was a straight give-away that Janet had delved into this diminutive text more than once.

An English novelist of great repute whose works took little time in attracting the attentions of the cinematic arts and that subsequently spawned legendary film adaptations including Orson Welles’ ‘The Third Man’, Greene was a veritable globetrotter and even worked within the espionage world of British Intelligence, and therefore it comes as no shock to learn that many of the signature themes encountered in his stories are unsurprisingly lifted off from these multifaceted experiences that he had throughout his lifetime.

Greene was born not far from me in Hertfordshire, so he has always been the talk of the town”. Janet spoke of him with casual lucidity, and the fondness in her voice and the twinkle in her eye were like composite proofs that bellowed out a persuasive argument for why I ought to believe that she did indeed know the man in person – when, in fact, of course, she did not! Our Janet has a way with raconteur that deftly combines coherence and casualness in such a palpable mix that it encourages You to want to hear things that she might not have said!

Granted that she might not have had  that smouldering midnight tryst with our Mr Greene as one’s imagination would want to, yet what came next in her telling – the insertion of the typical ‘Janet wildcard’ move – nearly pushed me out of my seat with uncontrollable laughter!

So you want to know my favourite story in the collection? It has to be the one where the husband is borrowed!” A saucy giggle ensued from her lips and Ann and myself closed our eyes in fits of irrepressible hysterics!

Ahem, ahem, my dear Janet, are you trying to tell me something here in a roundabout way? Is there something about your past that we ought to know about?!” To not make a huge tease of the situation and let it pass unnoticed without a retort seemed like a waste of a golden opportunity!

Janet burst out laughing at my bawdy remarks, and then raised her hand to her mouth and bringing her index finger to touch her thumb she gesticulated the act of zipping her lips!

Oh my, my, you have been quite busy!” I turned my own lips inwards and rolled my head down whilst keeping my eyes fixed on Janet, all dramatic devices to accentuate saucy tension in the atmosphere in which shameful and immoral behaviour had been proven. It only served to spiral Janet into another round of chuckles! The truth is, Janet is one of the most principled and honourable people I know, she is the last person on earth who would go and do something naughty, however, everyone in our close-knit circles is all the too familiar with my constant poking of fun at her, forever fabricating lurid tales of her culpable acts just so that I could get a comical kick out of her! Yes, it works like a charm without fail! Giggle, giggle!

The mention of Greene’s rich archive of exploratory missions around the world brought us immaculately to turn our heads towards Ann and her literary picking, which I will say this much, was fantastically supplemented with a gift that left us both quite speechless. What was her book and what else did she bring with her to the table? I shan’t reveal the second morsel of this story tonight. Oh do hush now and stop stamping and hammering down Your shoes so noisily on the floor otherwise I won’t hesitate and land that duster brush on Your head and make a crater out of it! GIGGLE! I shall see whether You can read my mind tonight, and if You are indeed as intimately connected to the rhythms of the magical quantum Universe as I am then the both of us will find ourselves on the same page, as like the two lovers who are seen converged in a secret meeting on the front of Janet’s book.

Incidentally, if You blessed with an eye for Greene-style espionage and decryption, may I challenge You to a puzzle box? The illustration printed on the front cover of the book held by Janet articulates with economical efficiency and nostalgic FASHION the precise name of my shop, it is a hidden entity in the scene, implied solely through the undercover object of the Mary Poppin’s brolly held by the lady in RED. By Jove, are You telling me that this is not sufficient support for Your solving the puzzle that I have set before thee?! Have not my generous outpouring of clues unglued those brains cells from their hibernated state of conventional thinking?!

Silence in the court, please! Let me think…

Ah, yes, perhaps this will work! Right, do as I say. Concentrate on that Krishna-BLUE embellished top my good friend is wearing in the photograph, and if You have tucked under Your heart a bit of faith and patience about You, the name in question should materialise in seconds! ♥ 

My goodness, wipe that dull glaze of discombobulation off Your face, right this once! There is a legitimate explanation behind my instructions:

You see, I was the little hobbit who sold this pretty piece of fashion to my dear friend… ♥♥♥  

EXTENDED READING:  From Greene’s Twenty-One-Stories to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 21, here is as concise and accurate a description as any that I could excavate from the bard’s impeccable collection that brilliantly captures the admirable honesty and grounded character of the man that is my Soulmate. My gut tells me that he is not a poet of the world and since he never sees my face as much as he would like to and only meets my essence in the stories that I pen, his praises are devoted to my Storytelling Voice and therefore reflect the Eternal Truth of his Love. Ergo, he is truly my Poet… ♥♥♥ 

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/sonnets/sonnet_21.html

Janet & The Additive Colours Of Light: Part One

“… Out came a pocket-sized treasury of Greene’s ‘Twenty-One-Stories’ posed in a vintage edition whose jaded cover was a straight give-away that Janet had delved into this diminutive text more than once….”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2016

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

If You were a spy and were to hide around the corner from the doors of the Winchester Library then sooner or later I would indeed come into Your view, walking down the stone steps carrying more than just a smile of complete and blooming satisfaction, for clutched to my tiny chest there would a book, or if I was feeling extra ambitious, I might venture to form with my arms a determined embrace of struggling containment for many such books! The majority of people tend to adopt the more sensible and conventional approach of either stashing away their borrowed literary loot into their bags, or sliding them under their arm so that books get a very intimate whiff of one’s armpits! Yikes!

I suppose I must belong to that category of ardent book lovers who were born with the assumption that a book is a heart, a pulsating and throbbing living entity, whose arteries and capillaries and veins are not of liquidated matter, instead a primal mix of the writer’s soul and the tools of language and culture and the times form the grounding fibres for its creation. If the heart that sees the surgeon’s steel table is a mass of pink tissue the size of a fist that was dreamt up by God, the book is its equivalent made of the tissues of trees and the visions of a daring wielder of the pen. As a child I was naturally attuned to this idealisation of the book, a heart that was shaped like a square, and therefore I always felt the most comfortable, and comforted, when I carried my beloved book to my chest, arms crossed over its cover so that the title and cover became almost eclipsed from the eyes of the onlooker. I realised in those early years that the book was a sacred organ, an invisible heart, which yearned tirelessly to achieve the sanctum of a home, a warm chest of a human being in which it could happily call Home and lose the rigidity of its borders into the fleshy cave of the human hug forever.

Even to this day I could be spied trotting about the place with a book fastened to my chest, the vitality of my smile and the special sheen in my dimple all fed by my awareness that I was alive with the master companionship of not one but two resplendent hearts! You must try it in order to have any chance of taking stock of my words, but I advise that You apply Your experimentations with a book that is dear to You, rather than selecting something that You absolutely detest, for that will surely raise Your tempers! The last sticky dilemma I should want to deal with is Your ripping out pages from the book which could land You in some rather nasty hot pickle with Your local library! Giggle, giggle!

The ageless enigma and lure of the Word, its power to liberate and inspire, may not be the prime priority of the younger generation these days. The hypnotic captivity of the smartypants phone phenomenon edges ever closer to eradicating the once enduring magic of reading a book, however my book project seeks out to create little ripples of inspiration into the imaginations and tastes of my more youthful friends. By talking about books, sharing our favourite bits in the text and pointing out what could be changed, or that which still remains to this day a profound mystery, is precisely the social atmosphere I wished to create when I started on my project and You have already sampled brilliant evidence that the friends and family, at least within my Facebook universe, have begun to take these square-shaped hearts a little more seriously.

Over the half-term holidays I caught up with one such beautiful and adorable young friend of mine. Actually, she is more like a daughter to me since I have known Miss Jenny since she was an ice-cream guzzling munchkin!

I crept up slowly into the Children’s Library and it was much busier than usual as it was the holidays so my eyes had to work extra hard to pick her out from the bustling islands of families and friends gathered on the sofas and chairs. Suddenly she appeared into view, sat on the swivel chairs and gazing down on her i-Pad, a form of absolute absorption overtook her and I swear a still-life painter would have been more than glad with the arrangement, since Jenny did not let out even a twitch of a muscle! Well, not until I jumped on her and we swapped huge hugs!

You look positively radiant, my darling, and I sooooo love the startling intensity of those dark locks!” I remember Jenny at one time, not even barely close to reaching my shoulder, and today, before me, here she stood as strong and bold and as tall as a tree blessed with good enchantments! I was awestruck at her blossoming visage and the dance of life in her eyes!

Oh, Mazzy, thank you! I am happy to see you, too!” The spiritedness of her 16 year old aura brushed on me like a eager wave to the extent that we spent the next hour or so talking about life and friends and all things light-hearted! She even placed the i-pad into my hands and encouraged me to skip through the family albums. Jenny knew very well that my sensibilities still live in the olden times and the attraction of modern technologies did not amuse me so much, however I could see that she was smiling away in fond affection at my extraordinary ineptness at trying my best to get to grips with the touchscreen system! My stubby and hobbity garden fingers, so used to digging and planting and touching the softness of petals, was slightly out of its depth so that when I tapped at something the screen either froze because I unknowingly tapped far too many times in quick succession, or that I had not tapped down hard enough and nothing happened as a result! Yes, it was uproarious entertainment and You could have enjoyed it all for free if You were sat with us! Giggle, giggle!

Eventually we got down to the business of books, and as per custom, I never permit my muse to tell me in advance what they have chosen. An element of surprise is what I pursue, keeping the door open for Destiny to present to my senses, in unison, the book and the person together for the first time. It invariably intensifies the context with an air of fresh discovery whose significance I can always bet will have the effect of rippling out later in surprising and pleasing fashion.

As the moon escapes the scudding clouds of the night, so it was that Jenny’s book, one minute hidden from my sight, appeared out of her bag and this one I did know! She had chosen to bring with her the international bestseller and whose tale is set in one of humanity’s darkest era, during the Second World War, and it was called ‘The Book Thief’.

Mazzy, I got this fantastic book for Christmas from my mum. I put it on my Christmas list. A lot of my friends had it on their list too, and it was really interesting and fun to read it at the same time as them, we shared lots of ideas!” Jenny flicked through the pages as she spoke, as if telling the book itself that it ought to feel qualified for a merit for having made a terrific impression on her and on her friends.

Well, I saw the film of the book a few years back and have read the initial chapter with the intention of reading the whole book, however, I became side-tracked with another title and completely forgot to pick it up again!” A tad bit embarrassed by my goofy memory lapse, I nevertheless held no bars against my show of genuine amazement for Jenny’s choice, and it grew double-fold when I learnt that she was re-reading the entire story again! Now, for a book, that is a deep and unforgettable badge of honour!

I continued to dig my trowel of inquisitive searching further and asked her if there was any particular property or narrative frame that compelled her to like this book so much.

Mazzy, you know I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, which is kind of normal as I studied the dramatic arts and English Literature, and during then I began to love the darker plays, the tragic ones. I know it sounds really strange but I am always interested in the way Death is portrayed in Shakespeare and the thing about ‘The Book Thief’ is that from the very beginning it does something completely new with Death. It has a voice, it is the narrator of the story.” An incredible and astute eye for detecting the depiction of powerful metaphors that contrast Life and Death together, I was positively stunned by the depth of these solo literary investigations Jenny had undertaken! She had not read the pages in the manner of a passive ritual, our young lady had done what us polymaths do on a regular basis and that was of seeing the links between disparate texts where others often scanned over with cursory flight. Jenny had tunnelled her way deeper into the mines of the text and had uncovered at its core an unusual but refreshing take on the concept of Death.

At this juncture I think it would be appropriate to provide You with a snappy synopsis of ‘The Book Thief’, because I can see that You have that glazed look over Your eyes, a trance of one who has lost their way! Ahem, ahem!

Death is indeed the narrator of the story, a personified and humanised entity that is sick and tired of its job and more so now than ever, for we are in Nazi Germany. A 9 year old orphan girl, Liesel, is sent to live with her sweet-natured and accordion-playing foster father, and her bitter and sharp-tongued foster mother who is actually gentle at heart.

Liesel is illiterate and craves to learn how to read and write. The backdrop of her tiny world is a country that is in the suffocating grip of one of the most heinous and vicious atrocities of humanity, a black night that seeps through the streets and that sees the artistic voice of Jewish authors thrown into flaming fires, but the little German girl is determined not to be silenced into this prison of oppression. That night she saves a book from the flickering tongues of evil decimation. Her foster father learns of the great risk that she took in doing this and he is naturally outraged because he does not want anything to hurt her or take her away from him. Yet, what comes out of this act of bravery was not expected by anyone. Liesel and her foster father make a promise that they will together learn how to read, and to read to one another they would. As long as they had the words to read and the pen to write their own stories, none of the morbid chaos that sneered around them would penetrate or deter them from harbouring in their heart the Light of Hope and Freedom. The renewed zest for life and the acknowledgement that no force exists on earth to strip one’s power over their choice of thinking, the family grow strong and resilient through the tool of language, and to the extent that they choose to tread on a hazardous path when they permit sanctuary to a young Jewish man in their basement. He is another pivotal character who enhances Liesel’s confidence to strive for the pen and book and to make something of it. Perhaps the most profound influence of the written word comes in the form of the little boy Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, who, with his blonde hair and blue eyes and intellectual competency, is a prime candidate selected to join the Nazi youth programme. Instead of happily teaming up with the country’s inhumane agenda, he defiantly rejects it all and runs away. Rudy is far too much entwined in admiration for Liesel’s passion for saving people and books. He wants to see her become a writer and when possible he spends as much time with her as possible, never quite revealing to her how much he is in love with her, although he is always after a kiss!

Oh Mazzy, I love that part the best! When Rudy is lying motionless over the rubble of buildings torn down by the horrible bombings and Liesel by his side, shaking him to come back to life and he doesn’t and then she kisses him and oh….” Like all great Shakespearean fanatics, our Jenny, too, had a recognisable penchant for wallowing in the lingering miseries of unrequited love.

That scene propelled me to the brink of tears, too. But you know as well as I do that in a way Rudy does not really die, not his Spirit. His Love endures and fuels Liesel on a life-time path to write and write and she takes it with her even after she migrates far away from her homeland, even after she is married and has had children of her own. She never forgets the love of those who helped her in her darkest night. Am I right?”  To that Jenny smiled and nodded, quietly and sincerely. I think she could sense it very well that at some point in the future I would be reaching out to read the entire book for myself and that gladdened her.

Putting the book to one side, Jenny showed me her fantastic pencil illustrations of female faces and there I was, a happy victim stunned and breathless on the seat! Praising the skilled and confident artistry of the strokes she had etched on the paper, I was in true awe of my young friend. Today I was gifted twice, for both the written word and the arcs of the drawn line in her sketchbook allied in unison, to echo the message that a true artist was defined by its source – not the destination – of their motivation, and that was the heart.

So, You see, The Book Thief was not a kleptomaniac with a loopy obsession for books. She was a little girl who simply fell in love with the written word, who saw each one as a bordered world of borderless possibilities weaved out of reincarnated trees and the air and the rain and the vision of a darer of brilliant dreams. It is a square-shaped heart of all these accumulations, and now You know why I am never alone when my arms are in embrace with my leafy good friend, its pages pressed passionately against the covers of my own flesh as I walk down that cobbled street… ♥♥♥

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/TheBookThiefMovie/photos/pb.483199805062138.-2207520000.1456168133./645346475514136/?type=3&theater

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“Mazzy, I got this fantastic book for Christmas from my mum. I put it on my Christmas list. A lot of my friends had it on their list too, and it was really interesting and fun to read it at the same time as them, we shared lots of ideas!”

 

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… I know it sounds really strange but I am always interested in the way Death is portrayed in Shakespeare and the thing about ‘The Book Thief’ is that from the very beginning it does something completely new with Death. It has a voice, it is the narrator of the story…”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… Jenny had tunnelled her way deeper into the mines of the text and had uncovered at its core an unusual but refreshing take on the concept of Death…”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… “Oh Mazzy, I love that part the best! When Rudy is lying motionless over the rubble of buildings torn down by horrible bombings and Liesel by his side, shaking him to come back to life and he doesn’t and then she kisses him and oh….”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… She had not read the pages in the manner of a passive ritual, our young lady had done what us polymaths do on a regular basis and that was of seeing the links between disparate texts…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Discovery Centre | UK 2016

Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry – Hear?

An Update That Sings Of LOVE By The SEA! 21-02-16

I have returned to the virtual world tonight after a hearty feast with my other hobbit family members and to what incalculable astonishment that I discover that my good friend, Miss Hannah, has determinedly kept to her word and sent me what is no less than a chest of rare jewels unearthed from the depths of the sea!

I was once again lovingly jabbed, poked and nudged towards that point where tears of magnificent joy spill forth, for I now have a priceless photograph of our dear old Grandpa Pete with his enormous ears, he is now a man enjoying celebrity fame throughout the land thanks to my story arousing ripples of scintillating interest on Facebook!

There is more! It was destined for me to receive an AMAZING twist to the story that picks up all my words and places them neatly by a beautiful and windswept shore by the sea. Let me explain. I had been away from the virtual world for quite a while and thus this morning there was that fraction of a second before pressing down on the keys on the laptop in which I was unsure as to how to begin. Ah, but, the ghoulish nothingness was a fleeting tease. Suddenly, the flow of writing awakened, tiny gravitational waves shimmered through my fingertips and I could hear the music of the sea and the scent of brine collecting on the shore, all the while the drawing in of fishermen’s boats were the only eyes, inanimate and mute, that happened to see that solitary man on the shore looking forlornly out at the orange sun.

Well, my name is Mazzy Hobbit and have I ever told You that MAGIC FOLLOWS ME WHEREVER I WALK? ♥♥♥

I shan’t let that solitary man by the shore be blighted by such awful feelings of aloneness! My most beloved reader – yes, that is YOU – I have some extremely nice news that shall make You feel as if You were by the sea with me and the entire crew of Grandpa Pete’s family! You sea – sorry – see, Grandpa Pete HAS read my story and wishes to be photographed with his two little tinky-toothed misters, so watch this space in the future! Yay!!! Furthermore, I am attaching below two screenshots from the very lengthy and totally hilarious email conversations that took place moments ago between Hannah and myself!

Tonight, I raise my cup of tea – yes I am back on track!! –  to toast my faith in True Love,  two pilgrims born with the oath to search for one another and be with each other even as far into as the olden chapters of life. If I do find my very own ‘Grandpa Pete’ I shall indeed be paddling in the sea to my heart’s content and I promise You that I shall not be requiring a life jacket! Big ears make for amazing fins…! ♥♥♥

For you, Grandpa Pete! And for YOU, my mystery Mr !
In-FIN-ities of Love, Mazzy xxx

Grandpa Pete Update 1

Screenshot 1: My ravishing friend, Hannah, with the real BFG, Grandpa Pete!

 

Grandpa Pete Update 2

Screenshot 2: No need for intensive safety precautions involving reflective life-jackets. Why would You? You have Grandpa Pete’s ginormous ears, for crying out loud! Giggle, giggle!

********************************************************************

The first half-term holidays of the year has been a gloriously bustling, positively hectic and sumptuously restless one in which I have been as busy as a beaver, skidding and swerving and scooting about in my characteristic flamboyant style to catch up with as many of my mates as possible before the week was out! And, we all know quite very well, that when fun takes up room across the expanses of one’s clockwork timetable the days start to vanish even quicker than normal! Fervent apologies if my absence from the virtual world caused a stupendous kerfuffle in Your heart. At least You are in a more tenable position to agree now that absence does indeed make that sour puss of a heart grow fondant – yikes – I meant to say fonder! Gigggggle! ♥ 

I will risk it and confess that I had found myself dithering a little before commencing to write what I am writing right now – ah, could that possibly be the mother of all alliterations! – since so many tiny and sparkly adventures have surrounded me in the last week or so, that I succumbed to my own self-inflicted plague of indecisiveness! Do I proceed with chronological formality or shall I leave it to the luck of the draw and pick one randomly from the hat?! I suppose when all else fails, there is always that trusty sixth sense of mine, which I do believe is suggesting that I adopt a helter-skelter approach in my selection of stories to present to You! Therefore, I do wish to beg Your pardon if the bombardments of my storytelling submissions in the next few weeks appear to jump to and fro along the timeline, but in all honesty, I am certain that our elusive all-in-one companion and enemy whom we call ‘Time’, shan’t mind my taking such creative discretions, plus it also implies that You will always be forced to acknowledge that there could be surprising twists waiting round the corner for a story that may not have quite reached completion. I might execute my cheeky and itchy fingers to toy with the mischief of the reverse gear and return to something earlier, and with smug adeptness, add a tail to the tale that You thought was done and dusted! Giggle, giggle!

So let us begin at not-quite-at-the-beginning!

Though I was travelling around a fair bit over the half-term week and not always for bookish purposes, the fates must have pardoned me for a day and I was fortunate enough to spend a part of it at my pleasant hobbit hole of a home! An old mate of mine, Miss Hannah, who is actually far more youthful in age than I, and her wickedly wonderful troupe of the most cheekiest munchkins ever to come out of Oz itself, Mr Josh and Mr Isaac, humbled me with their presence at my home!

Bless my good friend, Hannah, for immediately fretting over what she thought was the dire straits of the century, for the baby buggy was gigantic in comparison to my doorway, but I soon soothed her nerves that there was nothing here worthy of serious botheration, and without beating round the bush, so to speak, I bent down and with my hobbity hands, held onto the front bottom rail and hoisted Mr Isaac’s mobile throne into the cube-sized lobby area of my house. It was a squashy fit but with careful negotiation of the wheels round the narrow walls I finally managed to tug it forward and in we all were in the dining room! Yay!

Ah, my darling, what a pleasure to see you after such a long time! Gosh, when was the last time you were in college, seems like centuries ago to me!” I was ecstatic to have Hannah over, but it was not a second that had passed that I reached out for Mr Isaac’s most adorable chubby cheeks, and I made it known to his mumsy and to him that I wanted to eat them! Yes, with that mop of glowing red hair and then to have it stunningly accessorised by cheeks that were made of the rosiest and pudgiest goodness, You had no choice but to come out in the open and admit that You were willing to risk it and let go of all those years of hard-earned professional maturity for the sheer acquisition of those bulbous wonders that dropped down from that little gent’s face like a vine from the gods! I tickled them and he smiled away to which I would add that as a result I have permanently lost a few fleshy pounds from my own heart, the tissue simply melted away into oblivion when that tiny chap grinned away and bared his half-formed set of tinky-winky teeth!

Settle yourselves down and I will make you a cup of tea!” I hopped over into the kitchen, ready to distil that beverage of the gods to my good friend!

That would be lovely!” Hannah replied, whilst, of course, she was tussling with Mr Isaac’s harness!

And that is when the disaster of disasters struck me down with a fiery knife whose pain is still raw and of great annoyance! What, You ask? The worst thing that could ever blight one’s noble desire to display a hobbity welcome to my house is the catastrophic tragedy of when the pantry is exhausted of its supplies of tea!! Yes, these wintry days have done the gorgeous job of aggravating my cravings for tea to such heights that I had lost sight of the fact that when something of grandeur is consumed continuously it ought to be replenished, and that is what I precisely forgot to do!

I am so very sorry, honey, and I can’t believe I have to break the news to you like this, but I am out of tea!” I resorted to plan B and announced that I had other speciality teas in my stock, though I had already suspected that all of it would sound to her no different from unintelligible signals sent from an alien civilisation!

Oh, don’t worry about it, Maz!” Thank goodness Hannah knew how to recover from my dastardly blow of disappointment!

Biting the bullet as if my life depended on it, I offered her an alternative from my brother’s stash, one that is an arch nemesis to my palate, “I do have coffee!” Top brand Nestle Azera fine coffee, and barista authenticated, the pot shone out from the shelf with enough brutal pompous and self-conceited swag that I felt like taking it out into the garden, laying it down in a box and to then jeer away as I defiantly plant mushroom spores inside it for that is how home-grown fungi are cultivated!

Yes, that would be perfect! Thanks, Maz!” At least my host was appeased and that was the most important thing any hobbit could wish for when a visitor makes the effort to pop round for a chinwag!

Armed with our respective cups of coffee and green tea, I turned my attentions to the slightly older gentleman, Mr Josh, and quizzed him about how his classes were going and who were his favourite teachers. The ones who take fancy dress for seriously, of course! He was rather taken aback when I told him that the primary school he attended was the same one I went to all those years back. I had hoped that at least one teacher from my own time was still in employment in that school, forever chuntering away in front a class of noisy children, however, what little logic I have in my brain prodded me with the stoker of realism and reminded me that the history of my school years sat way off in the distant past and there would be little chance of anyone still remaining there from that era. I was right. Still, one must ask, especially if Your mind is as jumpy with curiosity beans as mine!

After much hearty banter I asked the two little dignified chaps what books they had brought with them and, my goodness me, I was in for a veritable TREAT!

The second bedazzlement of a Dahl treasure to hit the shores of my project, Mr Josh, expertly drew out from somewhere in the depths of his jacket the priceless jewel of the crown, THE BFG! Hurrah, indeed! Ears the size of an African elephant and legs as lanky as a maypole, our Big Friendly Giant is not Your typical nasty and mean gobbler of sleeping and unsuspecting children – or ‘chiddlers’ as Mr Dahl inventively put it – no, he is quite the contrary! One of a kind, a dispenser of nice dreams and a pretty ace whizzpopper – and together with his best friend, the fearless and resourceful bookworm, Sophie, the duo put to halt the devilish plans of the other giants intent on invading England to swallow all the children up! Horrid brutes, indeed! The story is in essence a hats-off to the golden treatise that the best of friendships, the legendary ones I mean to say, often occur in the most extraordinary ways and between the most unlikeliest of characters! Giggle, giggle!

I LOVE this book, mister!” My face shone up like a moon that had just stormed into the brightest daylight! “I have read it and I can tell you now that you are in for a treat! Tell me why you chose this book?

Mr Josh shuffled in his seat a bit before preparing to answer me, and it was a formidable account of stellar reasoning that had me in stitches of laughter!

The BFG reminds me of Grandpa Pete! He has big floppy ears and is always being silly!” Mr Josh was smiling away and all his naughty teeth could be seen, glowing with heartfelt pride. He obviously loved his old grandpa a lot and the insinuation that he made that this doting chap had a mischievous demeanour in likeness to the literary giant made it all the more attractive to me to know him better! Without any prompt from my part, Hannah cut in with the marvellous agreement! Tummy-tickling giggles exploded between us!

Yep, Grandpa Pete is definitely The BFG! But he is not the only one with the big ears, is he, Josh?!” Her teasing observations made Mr Josh chuckle even more, and unashamedly he agreed with his mumsy, and I must say at this point I was eager to meet the real BFG! How I wish I could click my fingers and summon these unseen people whom are the subject of fond references!

Mr Josh, do you know that later in the year there will be an AMAZING film coming out of the book and you have to definitely catch it!” Of course, our dear Mr Josh already knew this information, he had obviously done his homework to a tee! I could tell he was thrilled by the prospect of seeing the entire story come alive before his eyes, for he shuffled about once more in  his seat and the cute smile now resembled something of the superlative dimensions of the smile that made the Cheshire Cat an overnight sensation!

A trying exercise to not spill the beans as far as the plot was concerned, I once again assured our dear Mr Josh that he had chosen wisely and that here was a book – a story of a triumphant friendship – that will forever remain with him in the corridors of memory. He beamed another toothless grin and nodded in faith that indeed it would come to that. Like a spark flicking above my head and that no one could see, the most famous quote of the book for a moment flashed above me and one that I think I could never ever be swayed from abandoning. It is the cornerstone and fabric of my inner Universe: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.

But, my beloved reader, the tale hardly nears anywhere close to a wrap here! I knew it fully well that it would be the fidgety young gentleman in his mobile throne that would upstage my book knowledge and upturn it down the cliff of utter shame!

Mr Isaac, dare I say, what do you have there?” Naturally I was tickling those pudgy cheeks whilst speaking to him and I could not keep a straight face for a single moment as I fixed my eyes at him because he was going beyond the call of duty and eating his dummy! Yes, not sucking, but eating! Surely related to the Fleshlumpeater giant, our bundle of cute rebellion, had indeed brought a book that was chewy friendly and it was entitled, ‘Stomp And Roar’. Containing within was a story told in short verses accompanied with bright cheery illustrations and friendly dinosaurs that have no qualm in letting out their singing voices and musical talents in the public arena of the park! What I found particularly special was that the side bar on each page was embedded with a list of soundbites which when played delivered a phenomenal sample of jovial audios! How did You guess, yes, we went berserk with this new toy and plunged our stubby fingers down on the buttons, hoping to make a symphony out of the suite of sounds, although thank goodness The BFG was not in our circle, his oversized ears would have gone as livid and red as a punnet of strawberries with our little cochlear-jarring trial and error moves at music-making! Giggle, giggle! ♥  

Having run the barrel dry of our cups, the four of us made our way into my heavenly patch of paradise, my garden, and the afternoon sunshine basked us all with plenty of light, the spirit of Mr Dahl as it were, blessing my motives with an extra tinge of magic that was always a nice thing to have on Your side!

I was truly impressed by the two misters in their undefeatable enthusiasm to show off their books. We did run into a spot of funny business with Mr Isaac at one point, he became so hungry for his dummy that he forgot about the book! A little teamwork from us and we managed to gently draw him back on track! Giggle, giggle! I am sure You will agree with me when I say that this fine gentleman with the voracious appetite for dummies and the edges of books is in fact powered with enough cuteness in his face that You will not want to give him back to his mumsy! I was so tempted to steal him and make him mine forever! As for Mr Josh, he took to the task like a bird to the air, and I nearly choked on my own voice when he revealed to me that his favourite page was the one that contained Blake’s distinctive illustration of The BFG himself, ears as plentiful as the diameter of a satellite dish and whose face was caring and gently, the kindest that one could ever imagine for a giant in a faraway land, and all because this image reminded him of the lovable child-at-heart chap back home, his dear Grandpa Pete!

I suppose if You are of constituted of the same eccentric bricks of brain jelly as I am then You will want me to provide You with an update to this story with none other than a word or two – or even a picture – of our roguish Grandpa Pete! I will get on the case immediately, and though I cannot promise You anything, I can, at least promise You this: I will try and try I will…  ♥♥♥

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… The second bedazzlement of a Dahl treasure to hit the shores of my project, Mr Josh, expertly drew out from somewhere in the depths of his jacket the priceless jewel of the crown, THE BFG…”

 

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… Ears the size of an African elephant and legs as lanky as a maypole, our Big Friendly Giant is not Your typical nasty and mean gobbler of sleeping and unsuspecting children…”

 

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… The story is in essence a hats-off to the golden treatise that the best of friendships, the legendary ones I mean to say, often occur in the most extraordinary ways and between the most unlikeliest of characters…”

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… The BFG reminds me of Grandpa Pete! He has big floppy ears and is always being silly…”

 

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… Surely related to the Fleshlumpeater giant, our bundle of cute rebellion, had indeed brought a book that was chewy-friendly and it was entitled, ‘Stomp And Roar’…”

Stomp & Roar: Is That Music I Here – Sorry – Ear – Sorry - Hear!

“… What I found particularly special was the side bar on each page was embedded with a list of soundbites which when played delivered a phenomenal sample of jovial audios…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016

 

How ‘Kebab Girl’ Met ‘Kebab Boy’: A Valentine Treat For You!

Her jet-black hair trailing down to her waist like a vertical night, on her head was flopped the cutest woollen hat, a bright and vivacious and startlingly delicious dome of orange that I had ever seen! Her porcelain skin glowed pristine white by the window light, a luminous star of snowflake that tugged in memories of days spent walking through a country lane on a glistening winter’s day. Meet Brogan, my softly-spoken and utterly sweet friend, who was eager to participate in my book project and thus we arranged to meet up in our usual corner of comfort inside the Winchester Library for a casual chatter and to follow it up with, of course, the shoot.

Stepping aside from her hectic University schedule without the slightest bit of unease or trouble, my darling Brogan was delighted at this rare invitation. Looking forward to speak out to her heart’s content about a book that had seen her fully immersed in its pages to the point that it had become an unputdownable object, Brogan sat down casually in her chair, but it was her widening smile that planted the hunch in my heart that she had brought with her more than a book. There was more, a gift – a goldmine of a tale – from her own life, and so grateful I would feel by listening to it that I would dedicate a prime portion of my storytelling canvas, initially assigned for Brogan’s book, to this other story instead.

Once again I rubbed my hands together, clenched my teeth down and breathed out long and hard. By now I had grown accustomed to losing myself in the joy of the not-knowing phase, those few and fleeting seconds before the book was slid out of the bag that were crucial and priceless. Those anticipatory seconds ought to receive some sort of an honorary farewell because I know only too well that once the book came out I would tread further forward, into a new world of old stories, of insights and awareness that I had never before come across of my friend.

As someone who is immediately attracted by the voice of colours, when Brogan took her book out I took an instant liking to the concoction of its paints that veneered across the front cover. To lay eyes on the colour teal is to float between the realm of the sea and the sky and the forest, it is an exceptional hue of blue that bristles with the secrecy of red and the earthen magic of green. I could marry this colour if it were possible! Giggle, giggle! A side profile of a figure lay in the centre of the cover, whose brain was littered with words spoken by the inner critic of the mind, seductively snaked in a red ribbon and on this was written the title of the book and the name of its celebrity author. This was no piece of fiction – the trend shown by every other friend that I had documented so far – and my attention spiked and piqued to the roof and I was fuelled to the full in want for starting my scrumptious inquisition!

Brogan, my darling, once again someone comes along with a book that I have not heard of! I am beginning to draw the conclusion that, in light of my extensive bookworm habits, there must be a force out there intent on ensuring that I come to meet books that I am meant to shake hands with for the first time!” I sat back in my chair rather content with my theory.

Mazzy, you would enjoy reading this. It has helped me to see the mind in a different way. Things make sense now.” Brogan’s smile told me with unassailable lucidity that she had really gleaned much from her readings of the text and I could almost make out the aura of the book’s winning content shimmering on the surface of her onyx eyes.

Ruby Wax, a major celebrity of broadcasting and the arena of British television, recently completed her studies in mindfulness – a practice of the mind that fosters living in the present moment – at Oxford University and out of that experience she chose to express her commitment to sharing her discovery with others through the vehicle of a book. Titled ‘A Sane New World, Taming The Mind’, Brogan explained to me that Ruby’s experience with the black dog of depression was in part exacerbated by the incessant and raucous babblings of her mind’s internal critic. A constant dark source of negative self-assessments, the inner faultfinder had marred much of Ruby’s life and relationships, and only after dedicating a genuine study in the area coerced her to realise at last that one could indeed master the cogwheels of one’s own mind, and that consequently mindfulness was one such path available to her.

It is really well-research, Mazzy and it has helped me, I can read it again if I wanted to.” Brogan wore a smile of simple satisfaction, the nicest evidence any book could gift a person of its enduring presence that reaches out far beyond the pages and cover alone. I did not verbalise it at the time, but I wished that I could have added into my conversation with Brogan about how amazing it would have been if Ruby could have taken up a second course that explored the brains of eccentrics and geniuses. As like a cheeky shadow that defies the imprisonment of comprehension, an understanding of the workings of my own brain remains a mystery to myself. I am not sure if I would want to crack the code that I am, I rather let someone else do it! There is a definitive element of fun in that, wouldn’t You say?! Giggle, giggle!

And this is where the plot fantastically thickens into double cream! I wish to extend a congratulatory applaud to that part of the brain responsible for making us go off on a happy tangent to something completely unrelated and off topic to what was originally on the agenda. That is what happened exactly. Brogan’s book opened the gateway for her to recite to me her tales of her school years and then onto current years and the tricky business that was of adjusting to University life. However, in the midst of choppy waters, Destiny had something else in store for my young friend.

Taming the mind was one thing, taming the heart another, a dimension that was not to be the province of manuals and study. Behind the window of Brogan’s book that promoted the concept of the sane mind lay a mischievous love story that took place one insane November night. Would You like to hear about? Of course You do, if You lean anymore towards me with those enlarged ears I may have to whack You with the fly-squatter! Giggle, giggle!

Shall I begin?

The rain whipped up into a frenzy of sharp blades and the cold night air merciless on the skin, on that fateful November darkness all that busied on Brogan’s mind was the hunger that had suddenly clenched her tummy tight and she determinedly began to ready herself to grab a quick-fix burger from ‘Subway’ on Southgate Street, Winchester. An interesting premises only for me insofar that next door, around the corner, was a flat whose rooms were once penned into the twists of great detective story by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! Can You guess the name of that beloved detective of mine? Giggle, giggle!

Ahem, ahem, I better return to Brogan’s story! Apologies for the digression, it is a symptom of the staggering polymathic habits of my mind!

Where were we? Ah, yes! Brogan was a stone’s throw away from subduing the manic onset of hunger, however, it was thwarted by the overpowering doggedness of her friend who made it very clear that the best way to alleviate the disgruntled state of one’s tummy was to launch into the kebab shop on Stockbridge Road and gorge one of their meaty creations! Brogan was reluctant to go with her friend, she ached for a ‘Subway’ burger, and so began a tug-of-war series of comical argumentations. Brogan insisted to me at this point that she gave in to her friend’s demands because only for the sheer reason that she had no more energy left in her to sustain her legal fight for the burger! Off to the kebab house it was!

The two girls rushed inside to the kebab joint and the pungent smell of chips and rich strips of meat had them entranced, though not quite completely under the spell of the food, for Brogan noticed in the corner a young man with his skateboard. He was with his friend who seemed to be interested in the same hobby. She felt a tingle and then a spark for the young gentleman and her tomboy spirit re-enlivened inside her heart, the days as a skateboarder when she was a young girl flashed into her mind and, knowing fully well it would be improper, she was overcome by the desire to approach him. She decided she would risk it. Telling her friend to go over to him and give her number, Brogan looked away and said that she would be in the taxi waiting for her.

Moments later her friend jumped into the taxi and her face had swollen up with excitement and a cheerful sort of madness, she was bursting to hand out the fantastic news. “Did you know what he said when I gave him your number?!

Brogan, feeling tender and slightly faint, replied, “Oh god, what did he say?

He asked me if the number belonged to you, the girl with the beautiful tattoo on her leg!!!” The friend was on the verge of bouncing out of the moving vehicle, she had worked herself into a twister of commotion!

He noticed my tattoo! Oh my god!” What a nice feeling it was, she thought, that her mystery gentleman had remembered the small details about her and that, like her, he too was aroused by her presence.

As the taxi sped into the night, Brogan’s phone buzzed out of the blue and she reached out to hold it and read the message. The words, short and to the point, shuddered the very soft foundations of her heartbeat, reawakening it to the frightening and equally adventurous prospect that this could the commencement of a new chapter that entwined her name with another.

Hey there ‘Kebab Girl’, how are you?” This chap had a cheeky sense of humour and she liked that very much. The power of the kebab pulsating in her tummy, Brogan swiftly typed in a reply, brief but with enough charge and character to set the ball rolling!

Hello ‘Kebab Boy’, I am good!

And so it was that Mr Leo and Miss Brogan eventually mustered up the courage to meet and they hit it off straightaway, and even to this day they laugh about it, their warm giggles laced with the nostalgia of old couples who when they look back lovingly they appreciate that it was the smallest of things that were the miniature masterminds that led up to that pivotal first time when two eyes, stranger’s eyes, met. This is how whole worlds change without anyone else knowing about, and how the most meaningful of histories are the ones that never make it to the books…

Coincidentally, on my way home today, Mr Robin once more jumped in front of me on the pavement and, alas, there was no one around to witness what was becoming a regular rendezvous with my feathered friend, but I paused and admired him nevertheless. I wish I could have knelt down and have him hop into my snow white palm, to stroke his red coat and relate to him that all this time in my life I regarded kebabs as greasy batons of ugliness, but thanks to Brogan’s story, I finally consoled myself and accepted that even a silly foodstuff as a dodgy looking kebab could become Destiny’s instrument to bring one closer to their skater gentleman! Hey, Mr, does the restaurant You wander in and out of everyday have kebabs on their menu? Just asking! Giggle, giggle!

Ketchirp, ketchirp”, my Mr Robin tweeted with a sweet accent of honey and moss, and then he leapt up to the top of the wooden fence, wriggled his bottom, and proceeded to dart and fly. I do believe his intentions were fixed in the direction of my garden… ♥♥♥

How ‘Kebab Girl’ Met ‘Kebab Boy’

“… To lay eyes on the colour teal is to float between the realm of the sea and the sky and the forest, it is an exceptional hue of blue that bristles with the secrets of red and the earthen magic of green…”

How ‘Kebab Girl’ Met ‘Kebab Boy’

“… Her jet-black hair trailing down to her waist like a vertical night, on her head was flopped the cutest woollen hat, a bright and vivacious and startlingly delicious dome of orange that I had ever seen…”

How ‘Kebab Girl’ Met ‘Kebab Boy’

“… Brogan’s book opened the gateway for her to recite to me her tales of her school years and then onto the current years and the tricky business that was of adjusting to University life. However, in the midst of choppy waters, Destiny had something else in store for my young friend…”

How ‘Kebab Girl’ Met ‘Kebab Boy’

“… I wished that I could have added into my conversation with Brogan about how amazing it would have been if Ruby could have taken up a second course that explored the brains of eccentrics and geniuses…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016

Gravitational Waves & Love That Bears Out Even To The Edge Of Doom: Einstein Meets Shakespeare!

A JOYFUL, JOYFUL, JOYFUL Update 12-02-2016

I have not much time this morning, for I must set off to work soon, however I would implode like a neutron star if I were not to share with You just one of the many comments that have been sent my way in response to last night’s tale wherein I crafted a hitherto unseen bridge between Mr Einstein and Mr Shakespeare, and quite rightfully to host the proceedings was the positively and lovable Sir Lawrie!

Whilst I was asleep my very good friend of Nordic lands, Siggi, read my storytelling piece and kindly submitted a comment that had me nearly in tears of joy this morning! Just look at the ripples of that emoticon smile that seems to flow on forever! What a blessing to be buoyed in life with friends and family who share an intimate and genuine admiration for my Vision. I hope that by my sharing of these words, You, too, will be inspired to help others in any way You can, small or large it does not matter one bit.

You may carelessly throw what seems to the eye an ordinary pebble into a pond that no one cares to think twice about, but who knows, truly, to whom Your ripples will touch and change forever… ♥♥♥

Wishing You a JOYFUL day!
Infinities of Love, Mazzy xxx     

 

A Joyful Response!

“… Whilst I was asleep my very good friend of Nordic lands, Siggi, read my storytelling piece and kindly submitted a comment that had me nearly in tears of joy this morning…”

Words & Screenshot: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016  

*******************************************************************
It is a gigantic and monumental day on two accounts and I have chosen, by virtue of my deliciously oddball tendency for polymathic thoughts, that I shall proceed to happily tie the two seemingly disparate fields into one wild meadow of joyful wholeness. Actually, I know I will be able to achieve this synthesis of ideas since I have long detected that the yearning to touch the fundamental building blocks of the Universe is a visionary quest that is craved by both physicists and poets. I sit somewhere in the middle, churning in the syrupy echoes radiating from each corner to create a satisfying brew, as when milk and water and teabag liqueur combine into one miniature ocean and with such precision it happens that You forget that they ever existed as separate entities.

So, it all began this morning when I woke up and I felt a very nice feeling in my tummy and  I drew closer to my window and spotted a fat-breasted red robin who had swooped down from the skies and made a quiet landing in my garden. The warm and fresh sunshine of the cold February day bathed his little body, a healing embrace in which I sensed that something great was afoot. As I began to prepare for my brisk walk to work I was drawn to the laptop and after opening it and logging in I was dazzled by the news that a scientific conference was to take place later in the day in which an update would be shared with the public on the status of investigations attempting to detect the last aspect of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Would he be proven right again on the controversial issue of whether the curvature dynamics of the fabric of Space-Time is of such property that were a massive gravitational incident take place in its net, would it react and generate giant interstellar ripples outwards in every direction, as one would normally observe if a stone were to be thrown into a pond?

Einstein had devised his theory nearly 100 years ago and after its publication, decades of hardworking scientists and engineers entered a collaborative pact and poured out their sweat and passion into perfecting technological instruments sensitive enough to pick up the theoretical ripples. Speculation began to arise that only something as awesome as black hole collisions or explosions would kick-star the ripple effect. The last unproven aspect of Einstein’s life’s work, the stunning irony was that Mr Einstein himself was not a fan of accepting the existence of black holes, although I find them scintillating characters and far from destructive. Perhaps it is my poetical eye that favours them, for they do remind me of a Sufi dervish passionately whirling and spinning away, ego dissolved in its centre to an incomprehensible singularity, and all this dancing taking place in the black Kaaba cloth of the Universe!

I made up my mind that I could not leave the house without Tweeting what my sixth sense told me. I felt birdsong in my fingers and in my mind I saw the ripples spreading out like a huge ring of smiles whilst a teardrop of ecstatic annihilation lay at its heart. I re-typed a sentence that I had written earlier for my Prince of Darkness story and left it at that, however, I was buzzing with the certitude that an AMAZING discovery of epic proportions was on its way to our ears!

When I swished into my classroom I noticed immediately that Sir Lawrie, one of my most adorable students, had a rather special surprise for me. In his hands he held the most hefty and massive book of Shakespeare’s complete works I had ever laid eyes on! The hardcover was a tempting and leathery canvas of wine red with the title embossed in an authoritative font that glistened like gold, the heartbeat of the solar sun itself.

My goodness, Lawrie, did you carry this all the way for us? It is so very heavy! Tell me you took the bus to bring it to us?” I was overjoyed by the generosity of his spirit and yet I was worried that he may have trudged a long way with a cumbersome weight on his back.

Mazzy, I walked and anything for you!” Sir Lawrie beamed out his signature smile and his eyes, with cute timidity, disappeared into the folds of his adorable face.

Oh, Lawrie, you have to be careful. This book is very heavy and I do not want you to hurt your back!” I took a long sigh and looked at him with tender admiration. “However, thank you, my dear, for being so kind and thoughtful to want to share your great treasure with the class. You are a sweety!” And to that Lawrie’s face sparked out an even brighter smile than the first one. I am sure somewhere in the world an iceberg must have melted itself into a milky smoothie!

As we all sat down in our respective seats I pondered on the phenomenal heaviness of the book and interpreted a significant connection between what I had felt in my gut earlier and what was presented before me now by my student. It must mean something, and that something was to make history.

Suddenly, outside the classroom, a bird shrilled and sang out loud and everyone in the room giggled and strained their heads to catch the chirpy tiny chap responsible for the intriguing song. Twice more we were interrupted by his chirping and tweeting and even I began to invest a more focused search for what it was, alas, I could not catch sight of our winged singer. It was almost as if the bird was invisible, undetectable to the eye, elusive and mysterious. Had Mr Robin from my garden followed me to work? I smiled to myself and imagined that it was indeed a magical visitation and who cares that I could not see him, his song encapsulated everything that I would ever need to know about the entire nature of his essence.

Sir Lawrie proudly told the class of his love for Shakespeare’s Sonnets and that is when my heart rang out in remembrance for my favourite sonnet, number 116. I had already decided to myself that I would ask Sir Lawrie if he could locate Sonnet 116 in his treasure chest of a book and that if I may take a portrait of him holding it up. He is a chap who never fails in letting himself blaze with gusto in front of my lens, and that should not come as a shocking surprise to anyone who knows him, the young man is one of the crème-de-la-crème of acting talents for The Blue Apple Theatre!

As he held the book up to the page of interest I re-read the entire passage of Sonnet 116 and every single line of poetical outburst was signifying to me once again that sacred message of True Love, that here was a formidable force undeterred by the passing arrow of time, not a flimsy material prone to deterioration along a fleeting timeline of weeks and months, rather it was the stuff of Eternity and so powerful the Faith in its core that it ‘bears out even to the edge of doom’. I thanked Sir Lawrie and as the class came to a finish I had already felt in the fibres of my being that upon reaching home I would hear the news that I had always known.

Scientific history was made! The L-shaped observatory that is the LIGO detection equipment had on 14/9/15 detected the first ever gravitational wave ripples coursing through the fabric of Space-Time and today, after the normal and strenuous peer-review process of scientific scrutiny, it was announced to the world that at last Einstein’s last aspect of his Theory of General Relatively was firmly established with sound scientific data – literally!

I floated with inviolable joy as I read on to learn that the entire scientific community involved in the project had labelled the perceptible data package underlying the historic claim as a “chirp”, a click of a birdsong sung by the Universe, and it was a song not sung by one but two orbiting black holes, swirling and spinning at accelerated rates, like two Sufi dervishes, a pair of divine lovers who were dancing closer and closer to each other. Around 1.2 billion years ago, the two large black holes, one larger than the other, in a fraction of a second, collided and merged to become as One. Their union spurt out an extraordinary shock wave of energy that was equivalent to three solar masses, transferring into the surrounding fabric of Space-Time and stimulating a succession of ripples that spread out in every direction at the speed of light.

Shakespeare penned his idealisation of True Love as something that would ‘bear out at the edge of doom’ and what could be more catastrophic in our physical universe than the merciless jaws of a giant black hole. Today I heard, despite the perplexing enormity of the physical chaos and destructiveness that occurred over a billion years ago, somewhere deep in space and before a time that I took on human form, the gentle birdsong of True Love that had fought and escaped so to reach our ears. Einstein was right!

Echoed, echoed, echoed, did the chirpy song of Mr Robin in my garden today, and the unseen bird outside my classroom today, and the song of an olden Love story somewhere deep in the Kaaba fabric of Space-Time, also today… ♥♥♥

LINK:   https://www.theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/live/2016/feb/11/gravitational-wave-announcement-latest-physics-einstein-ligo-black-holes-live?page=with:block-56bcaee7e4b0e04c43d738fe#block-56bcaee7e4b0e04c43d738fe

Gravitational Waves & Love That Bears Out Even To The Edge Of Doom: Einstein Meets Shakespeare!

“… ‘Mazzy, I walked and anything for you!’ Sir Lawrie beamed out his signature smile and his eyes, with cute timidity, disappeared into the folds of his adorable face’…”

Gravitational Waves & Love That Bears Out Even To The Edge Of Doom: Einstein Meets Shakespeare!

“… I had already decided to myself that I would ask Sir Lawrie if he could locate Sonnet 116 in his treasure chest of a book and that if I may take a portrait of him holding it up. He is a chap who never fails in letting himself blaze with gusto in front of my lens…”

Gravitational Waves & Love That Bears Out Even To The Edge Of Doom: Einstein Meets Shakespeare!

“… Shakespeare penned his idealisation of True Love as something that would ‘bear out at the edge of doom’ and what could be more catastrophic in our physical universe than the merciless jaws of a giant black hole…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016