The Old Man And The Jigsaw

An old man of eighty five was he, that spine-curved hunchback Mr Jones
He lived his lonely years inside a tower block slewed of sluggish tones
Four ugly damp walls watched him as he grappled with his mouldy food of mash
No pension to speak of so he’d beg neighbours for some petty cash
His eyes smite by fogs of cataracts and cancer bludgeoned blossoms in his lung
Ears teased in rude bells of tinnitus and blisters blazed on his tongue
And ghastly gashes screamed all over the lining fabric of his chair
In spite of this he sat down and gazed at the box with the sincerest of care

The night outside filled with revellers who revolted in a drunken spree
Mr Jones, in his darken den, sought a moth-eaten jigsaw for company
Stroking the cover like an old acquaintance, or tune plucked out of memory
A chore it was to lift the lid, his struggle oil-slicked in drudgery

Inside scattered dormant the crumbed chaos of many a chipped part
He reached out shakily and yet did not know where to start
And so the world around him vanished as part by part the picture grew:
A tall lighthouse striped of ivory and red, a sea of sapphire blue
And three o’clock, four o’clock the night spun on and on
His rickety fingers trudged ahead, this old man of anon
Ah! A sandy shore and a harbour and swooping seagulls hunt for bread
Chuckling children laze with sweet treats, the smell of sea-salt is widespread

Only a few pieces to go, but the old man is stabbed by deafening pain
His wrinkled palm clutches up to his chest, his both eyes bulge out insane
Life seethes out its finality on the old man’s fingers cold
Wills the last piece into place and lets the whole scene unfold
A long sigh mingles with the room and crashing down came the chair
The neighbour hears from the floor below but he does not give the slightest care

A week had passed and the paper boy knows that something is terribly amiss
Calls the bobbies first but they send him away with an incredulous hiss
So the paper boy braves on alone, prises door open wide with a paperclip
Stomps in through to find a room, on floor an empty chair with rip
And over on the wooden table the boy caught sight of something – a jigsaw of an Arabian sea
And bobbing along waters sapphire blue, a celestial dhow carrying I and he…  ♥♥♥  

The Old Man And The Jigsaw

“… And over on the wooden table the boy caught sight of something – a jigsaw of an Arabian sea…”

 

Poetry: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016
Photography: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Guernsey | Channel Islands | 2014 

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Which One Is My Love Story?

The art of writing encompasses that impressive vastness that is equal to the range of continents. It comprises a multitude of forms and techniques just waiting to be explored and cultivated, and even challenged in the name of liberating experimentalism. It also involves that critical desire and willingness to put oneself in the shoes of others, no matter how discomforting or unsettling that may prove to be for the writer. When there is a lack of readiness from the author to withdraw from one’s usual zone of comfort the quality of characterisation will undoubtedly suffer in its authenticity and the resultant text will come across interminably staid, stilted and unengaging. Characterisation is the umbilical lifeblood of a compelling tale. So, it was today that in keeping that golden rule in my thoughts I cravingly sought to create a brief written piece geared to, as much comically as it would profoundly, challenge the limits of my ability to carve out fictional personalities and contexts that stupendously contrast with who I am. Could I act out on paper the roles of individuals who share not a speck of likeness to my own persona?

As You are an avid reader of my blogs may I be as bold as to presume that You would be more than happy to consent to participate in a teeny test? Yes! Ah, that is precisely the answer I was after! Thank You! Right, let us get down to literary business! I have formulated two scenarios below. Read them carefully, and more than once should it be necessary.

I have a sneaky question for You – oh please do keep thy roguish tempers in check, I am a teacher after all, what did You expect?! Giggle!

Which one of these scenarios is an authentic likeness to me and my existential world? And, therefore, which one would You not associate with me, no matter how much a bribed audience earnestly attempted to convince You?

If You can answer my question in a sporting jiffy, as fast as a rushing bullet train swishing through the pristine landscape of Japan, then I shall graciously accept that as a most touching compliment and a pivotal token of encouragement. It will imply that You know me all too well. Ah, yes, I suppose on the other hand – now I come to wonder about it – should I be worried by the fact that You have acquired such an intimate insight into my otherwise unfathomable character? Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥

 SCENARIO 1 [By the way, what say You of my Photoshop skills?]: 

 

Which One Is My Love Story?

A Digital Romance

 

SCENARIO 2:

Which One Is My Love Story?

An Unending Love

 

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

Old Pictures, New Stories: The Peculiar Case Of The Chewed Pharaoh!

I am not the least embarrassed. I love to talk out loud whenever I am inside the British Museum!

Rising out of the Bloomsbury area of London as if it were a descendent of the Great Sphinx itself, the walls are glowingly prestigious and its artefacts unparalleled in their diversity to touch expansively upon vast human timelines of history, culture and the arts. Besides the times when I lose myself between the covers of an addictive book and my Amma cannot nudge me out of its spell even as she threatens and charges at me with her radioactive flip-flops, I would state categorically that it is in the riveting fodder of curiosities only found within the kingdom of a museum that has such gripping hold on my carnivorous imagination that time and place become an inconsequential small print.

Ancient Egypt will always fare as my favourite gallery. Each artefact that I should come across, neatly and carefully propped up on a clean white podium or perhaps pinned behind the shrine of a glass cubicle, unfortunately has already been ransacked with more camera flashes than the collective number of all the lightning bolts ever to have criss-crossed through the smoggy skies of London in any recorded year.

I do like to have a good giggle when I spot that customary practice elicited by many visitors when they whip out their long fishing rods of self-promotion, known as ‘selfie sticks’ in the common tongue, and take highly contrived shots of themselves posing triumphantly with celebrity exhibits. What they do not know, and that I fondly contemplate, is that these selfies are fulfilling an ancient faith.

The grand narrative of these ancient people centred on the concept of resurrection. Countless catalogued funereal objects have been acquired and examined, gleaming in masterful detail and variety and proving that the ancient Egyptians were fiercely dedicated to ensuring that the journey to the afterlife was made as comfortable and refined as possible. Their ingenious techniques of preservation of the corpse, known as the process of mummification, revolved around the belief that if the soul was pure it would dutifully return to the body to live beyond the grave, in a heavenly and eternal life. In a big way, they were right and I can see that as lucidly as the sky on a bright summer’s day. The selfie revolution has inadvertently aroused the dead to come back to life, insofar in that brief moment of capture the selfie poser indeed does behave as though the inanimate statue next to them is live and well!

Ask any of my companions who brave a museum visit with me and they will outwardly report back to You that I have an excruciatingly hilarious habit of rocketing out fitful giggles as the selfie pundits get to work as they put an arm around a basalt statute of the pharaoh’s accountant, whilst beaming a smile rich in elastin straight into the eye of the camera. Sometimes I have been known to shout out “Bingo!” accompanied with the flicking of a cheeky wink at the statue! No, I do not wink at the poser! I have no intention in the world to be picked up by gorilla-grade security and humiliatingly thrown out of those hallowed corridors and onto the street! Ahem, ahem!

I cannot say that I am a fan or follower of the selfie craze. But, if on the agenda we are relating to the issue of the ancient artefacts of the Egyptian gallery, then I have before me an exceptional context in which I will quite happily agree to make a concession. Hands down I shall confess that these tiny bits of blinking metal, that perform the duties of a phone as well as a million other mind-boggling functions, have a staggering power to criminally stimulate some of the most absurd and farcical bouts of role-play ever imaginable in the name of selfie-hood, and yet their relished use in a gallery of stone pharaohs and key dignitaries of an ancient land, once haunted and preoccupied with the afterlife and resurrection, fascinatingly perpetuates a specific brand of magic. The magic of a prophecy fulfilled. The visitors may be faking it, however when I notice that arm wrapping round the pharaoh, half timidly and half amiably, or that hyperactive gang of students who jump next to Imhotep and eagerly gesture out the victory sign, I secretly exchange a smug grin with the statue. It is undoubtedly a unique theatrical stage, for after all, if I were to send You out to attempt to capture friendly selfies with the bald mannequins of your local shop, Your anomalous antics would most certainly be construed outrageous and unsavoury, landing You in the psychiatric ward in no time at all!

Nevertheless, I do not own a smarty pants phone so how am I to wake the snoring pharaoh from the stubborn slumber of a thousand years of deadness? Understandably, I feel that I ought to be able to achieve this since I am an ardent Egyptologist at heart. I, too, ought to perform this amazing magic of resurrection!

I do have a little something. A constructive rebellion.

The imagination of a Storyteller.

Not one single visitor in all my frequent explorations of the ancient Egyptian gallery at the British Museum has ever successfully come near to taking their selfie next to the pharaonic chap in the photograph below. How can they possibly? This mighty chap is a colossal giant and his head is several metres above floor level. Veneered in impressive brassy gold that appears to radiate in the freshness of the day it was built, the face is large and dignifiedly looks out towards the long corridor of the gallery, as if he were appointed by the gods to watch over the safety of this fortress of hard-won and hard-earned knowledge. The visitors do not pay him any attention because he offers no incentive for self-promotion. One would have to endure the possibility of severe injury if they were to concede to clambering up his body to accomplish a selfie with him!

People pass him by and no one deigns to look up, and those that do spend a scant few seconds in his shadow, do so impatiently, before racing onto a less startling but more accessible figure. I decidedly walk over to him, and with my hands in my jean pockets, I remember speaking out loud, “So those hungry rats staking out in the disused tunnels underneath London city finally got to your regal beard and chewed it off! You poor chap, did it hurt?

Chipped though he was, he at last knew he was not forgotten. The air just in front of his gnawed beard quivered. I would like to believe in my imagination that a sigh of relief had passed between the lips of my golden pharaoh… ♥♥♥

Old Pictures, New Stories: The Entertaining Case Of The Curse Of The Chewed Pharaoh!

“… I would like to believe in my imagination that a sigh of relief had passed between the lips of my golden pharaoh...”

 

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016
Photography: Originally Posted As ‘A Jolly Good Easter Holiday In Paddington’s London [1]’ © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories – Saatchi Website | Spring Reunion Series | London | UK 2015

My Morning Visitor ♥ 🐾 ♥

I am an early riser. I like to get up from bed at the same time as the sun rises above the woodland horizon over out in the east. Gently I fling open my windows to take in as much of the stirring newness of the morning air as I can, while admiring that inimitable and personal quietness veiling through the world, as if it were whispering into my ears that the tranquil unsounding only belonged to me and no one else.

Our home is close to the enchanting English countryside, but we still live in the town and that is why I reserve our fertile and beautiful garden as a room in itself – albeit a roofless and breathing room – to which I feel the greatest connection to. It is my most cherished part of my home. So, care to imagine how my eyes widened and mouth fell agape when, this morning whilst I was busily brushing my teeth, that I should chance upon my first ever sighting of a fox in our back garden! Furtively prowling down the bosky path that cut through the middle of the garden, this magnificent Mr Foxy wore a ravishing reddish-brown furry coat, he had a set of pointy ears that stuck out of his inquisitive face and from which a dignified and sharp nose protruded, and a buoyant tail bobbed from behind him which I noticed possessed a tip as white as snow. When he turned round and stared at me, the vigorousness of the black that dwelled in his eyes came at me without warning. I, in that moment, could not have received a more lucid testimony to his wild origins. This was a creature of stealth, famed equally for his notorious pestilence as he was for his cunning trickery, an untameable and opportunistic predator, and the bane of all farmers everywhere.

When his eyes locked onto mine this morning all thoughts of my civilised life vanished. I am not quite sure why or how he managed to expel out of me all those measly pressing concerns of the day. The entire unfolding of the morning had paused itself, or so it seemed, leaving a strange duet in mid-air purified from all reason and utterly wordless.

Mr Foxy stared.

I stared back.

He stared back some more.

The time was precisely 6.09am (BST) and I do not know what fancy caught the grip of my imagination but I wished desperately that by making note of the time I would somehow coerce a satellite to orbit over that patch of sky precisely below my garden so that someone would have the means to document this unshakeably curious encounter!

With toothbrush stranded inside my mouth I was about to rush away from the window to fetch my camera, but Mr Foxy had already leapt miles in front of my plotting thoughts and had made a swift dash down the path, casually brushing his bushy tail past the watchful figurine of Mr Peter Rabbit before disappearing into the dense shrubbery amassed at the far end of the garden. I was terribly fizzled when my squinting eyes could no longer make out his alluring coat of reddish-brown. He had melted into the mess of green swathes.

Fumbling with the backdoor lock I stepped into the cool climate of early morning silence, only sliced clean as a company of adorable sparrows and finches hurriedly flew out of the leafy nestles of my green gage plum tree. I dashed down to the bottom of the garden and when I got there I found that there was not a single morsel of a sign to say that just moments ago a most fascinating and stunning creature, a child of raw wilderness, had fleetingly appeared before my eager pupils.

The mystery that was left in the wake of my departing and handsome stranger did not simply just linger in the air, it only ripened itself and amplified. I inspected the reinforced fencing and could not for the life of me figure out how my surprise visitor had even made entry into our garden in the first place. Judging by the tall height of the wooden planks that bordered every side of the garden there was no chance of an animal like a fox to jump over it – even the neighbour’s cat cannot pull that feat! I scratched my chin in deep thought and walked back to the house. The sky had already brightened by many magnitudes without my realising it. The houses began to be drenched in dawn sunshine. I, however, was still in the pitch dark as to the question of his visitation. It did not cause discomfort, rather it poured into my heart an uncustomary light of delicious tension, as if it were that my four-legged fellow symbolised the sanctity of abiding by that code of readership whereby chapters of a story are never skipped and then returned to, but followed patiently in the order as given by the author. All that I could do was joyfully accept that this first sighting of Mr Foxy in the plush paradise of my garden constituted the thrilling words of a new chapter.

Alas, I have no photograph to show You of my transient visitor. I reckon he was astute enough to know that if he were photographed the unalloyed mystique of his appeal would not be the same. It would be sobbingly diminished. What a clever chap, I must say! However, what I do have for You, in place of his portraiture, is a dandelion seed head. On first inspection it does not pop out any differently to all the other dandelion seed heads in my garden and I would not hold it against You if You were to think nothing of it.

But, then again, there are things called stories and they have the power to conduct magic into whatever they touch.

When Mr Foxy made his abrupt haste down the garden path his reddish-brown body brushed past the dandelion seed head. At that breakneck speed it would have been reasonable to think that all the fine feathery parachutes that cloistered closely to form the recognisable globe of the young dandelion plant would have dramatically come apart and scattered into the anonymity of the air around it.

It did not. He left no trace of himself in the things that ought to have been affected by the slightest of his movements. Why would he? He is a clever fox. He knew perfectly well that I was a Storyteller and now that You have come to the end of these words You, too, have caught a fleeting glimpse of my morning enigma, a dawn peep of a desired autumn… ♥♥♥    

 

Morning Visitor

“… He left no trace of himself in the things that ought to have been affected by the slightest of his movements…”

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

Lay All Your Love On Me!

The Tree Man, his weighed down scabbard of upright rule and forged of cragged bark
Stout were his swaying boughs, gladiatorial, now none to give him mark
His fate he thought was loneliness, a perpetual ink hatched by wings of raven fiend
And when midnight mined its darkest jewels, he wished upon his trunk She leaned…

She is I, the desert Nile dream at dawn, a nubile dhow filled of seedling heaps
My physique distils spheres of honey onto shadows vined of matted creeps
And where my bare element of feet raze the skyline of grass to flat
Souls beneath the kiln of earth, I hear, beg me to be sat

The big barren Tree Man fell into his last wilting well of woe
Plagues of screaming malice slithered through his rotting toe
Stop!” whispered I and crept under his hard bough, my gazelle kohl poised to tame
Laid down my complex flesh, a Nubian basilica, shuddered his roots into fuchsia flame

On the scorch of his sword green sea, he breathed my sensuality with pinkish offerings
A gift of himself, too long unshared, the corpus of his sufferings
And when new morn came at last and the lively limbs of urchins rushed out to play
None saw the shining shrine of the hollow spot where the dusk owls had seen us lay… ♥♥♥

Lay All Your Love On Me!

Laid down my complex flesh, a Nubian basilica, shuddered his roots into fuchsia flame…

Lay All Your Love On Me!

On the scorch of his sword green sea, he breathed my sensuality with pinkish offerings...”

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Abbey Gardens | Winchester | UK 2016

Etiquette To Follow In Playground Evasion!

I do possess that tempting option of hopping over the settee and hiding myself behind its Kevlar cloak of upholstery so that I do not have to come forward with, what might be reasonably construed as, nonsense knowledge! Too late I suppose, since now I have muttered about it! Come to think of it I actually do not mind the slightest. Is my babbling causing You to grow massive and foul pustules on Your patience? Alright, here goes!

There is perhaps no finer index of my childlike heart – oi, who yelled ‘immature’ from the audience?!?! – than that of the fact that I have, after much trial and error, compiled a list of the most essential etiquette one should follow if ever being pursued by a dogged and masterful detective who corners and stumbles You into the local children’s playground! Do not splutter, cough and scoff at the mention of the venue. On the contrary, it is a capital place for effective concealment and by the end of this article I shall have You persuaded in my defence! What appears as nonsense discourse may just someday save Your life! Yikes!

First of all, if there is a real risk that he may trap and catch You by deception. To evade that predicament You must volunteer to do that very thing – be caught! Let me explain. The majority of children’s playgrounds found in the southern part of England have, among the many leisurely apparatus, one that is a mocking imitation of the sticky web dish once devised and woven by that monstrously evil black spider, Shelob, from ‘Lord of the Rings’. Far from its original hideous purpose, the large webs often seen erected in the average playground delivers a fantastic workout of the upper arms and lower legs, all achieved quite easily and without one’s conscious awareness, for as soon as You stand in its impressive shadow You are overtaken by the sudden and overwhelming desire to climb up its ropes and pull the silliest faces through the gaps. Its architecture stimulates momentary madness, which You would never be so willing to elicit anywhere else. Yet, here is the winning element that makes it all so elementary! Listen and learn, and for goodness sake, stop fidgeting! When anything remotely resembling the charismatic handsomeness that is Mr Sherlock Cumberbatch attempts to sniff You out in the playground, his famous head obligatorily donned in a tweed deerstalker’s hat and a wooden smokeless smoking pipe locked between his pursed lips, then do not run on first account! Replace common sense with the illogical and proceed to scale up the nearest webbed apparatus and pretend that You have been caught in its fibrous trap. Smile away as if You were being prompted to pose for the camera in the school year photo, fake it to the best of Your ability. Statistically speaking, nine times out of ten You will be successful in throwing him off the scent! He will not catch You, but bear in mind that this only holds out true if You are willing to be caught in the net! End of first etiquette of playground evasion.

I Am Sherlocked!

“… Replace common sense with the illogical and proceed to scale up the nearest webbed apparatus and pretend that You have been caught in its fibrous trap…”

In the fantastic aviary of British phrases, a firm favourite of the bookish-minded is ‘to gain on the swings and lose on the roundabouts’ whose definition means that there are actions or options available in any given situation and yet by taking them there will result no overall gain or loss. I should like to passionately disagree on the veracity of this age-old line, especially if the circumstances in question pertain to the issue of dodging the greatest detective in a children’s playground. Mr Sherlock Cumberbatch is of a mind whose cogs of reason and intuition are in constant cyclical motion, whose cognitive theatrics are arguably the descendants of the orbital movements observed on the mighty stage of the cosmos, and of course, these are also akin to the closer-to-home circular spins of the standard playground roundabout! To outwit the detective on a roundabout, first lure him on the circular platform and then jump off and grip the bars to spin them in abrupt and alternating directions of clockwise and anti-clockwise. Like a piece of video footage that jumps back and forth, the poor detective will very quickly find himself bereft of a sense of direction and freeze on the spot, just enough time to buy for a vital sprint out of the playground. Should a roundabout be unavailable or in use by little people, a swing will serve You just as well. I shall tell You how. Mr Sherlock Cumberbatch has amassed quite the following in the martial arts world, he is known to have fought many ruffians in illegal boxing contests in the smoky streets of Victorian London, and thus the man is a formidable opponent in any ring. What he is less familiar with are the swings of a children’s playground. They come across as hardly menacing in the eyes of a seasoned fighter, yet if once sat on and a decent momentum is built, a bit of proper timing and target practice could deliver a full-bodied swing as the legs thrust forward and towards the assailant, dealing a colossal blow to the jaw, dislocating the chief bones of the skull and succumbing the victim to bedridden status for at least half a year! Swing in full action to foster inaction! End of second etiquette of playground evasion.

I Am Sherlocked!

“… Swing in full action to foster inaction…”

Finally, and my personal favourite, if it should be that the kissable Sherlock Cumberbatch darts at You like a bullet because he has spotted Your whereabouts in the playground then prepare to stand under the nearest cherry blossom tree and, just to be on the safe side, undertake a preliminary survey of the grass under its boughs to ensure there are ample scatterings of blossoms layered on the grass. If all checks are passed satisfactorily, proceed to maintain an unearthly level of coolness and raise Your hands up into the air and fervidly beseech to the CEO of Photoshop that You and Your surroundings be converted, on the pronto, into an archaic scene shining in the pastime hues of sepia monotone. Done with enough conviction and Your request will be processed and thus for a split second or so the entire world will be washed out of its normal palette of colours to be replaced with a glorious monotonic scheme. To our pursuing detective who is not sufficiently versed in the slightest with regards to the principles of Photoshop, You will have the splendid opportunity to watch him beat his own head as he fruitlessly tries to squirm out of the epic mystery of it all. He will most likely erroneously conclude that he has suffered an unfortunate and untimely infliction of colour blindness and call upon his medic side-kick, Dr Watson, for aid. Whilst he searches for succour You can enjoy the leeway open for a quick getaway! Since it is a rarity, I suggest You pause for a few seconds and indulgently absorb the moment as the eminent thinker before You is deluded into thinking he is turning a blind eye on his own case. When You have had enough, leg it! End of the third and final etiquette of playground evasion.

One exemption does exist, as is so in all great things.

I do not wish to run from him. I rather be caught red-handed and be swung in his arms, any day of the week, since my love for the unimaginably singular detective is superbly and flawlessly blind! Yes, oh god yes, I was and shall always be irreversibly Sherlocked!  ♥♥♥

I Am Sherlocked!

“… If all checks are passed satisfactorily, proceed to maintain an unearthly level of coolness and raise Your hands up into the air and fervidly beseech to the CEO of Photoshop that You and Your surroundings be converted, on the pronto, into an archaic scene shining in the pastime hues of sepia monotone…”

 

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

Country Roads, Take Me Home, To A Place Where I Belong…

Once upon a recent time there lived an ever so petite hobbit lady whose vertical axis spanned 158cm, which was probably the best explanation for why microscopes were invented in the first place, however what was imperative to remember in her case was that the top part of that axis – her head – was devotedly and splendidly in communion with all things imaginative. She loved to bide her days by conjuring up stories whose contents pulled a clean punch at the rules of order and logic, favouring instead to toy with the possibilities that only in dreams we allow ourselves to mingle with.

It was on an ordinary day, just another number staring out of the calendar, on which she discovered to her skipping delight that she had been accepted into University to study the art of writing. She had always wished in her heart to do something like this, and now, as a consequence of a succession of astonishing and fated encounters and correspondences, she was about to embark on a new journey and this time her footfalls would be made across the white expanses of papery lands.

That 158cm girl that never grew is me, but You knew that way before I even got started!

Ladies, I AM IN!!!” I shouted my lungs out and if only I could have had a rooftop and a violin I swear I would not have hesitated, for I would have gone on to burst into a musical, leaping from roof to roof to sing the rhapsody of my joy out to all four corners of, ahem ahem, Winchester! Oh do cut out that insufferable and theatrical bit of whimpering! You know as well as I do that if I am to bellow any louder just for the sole purpose of making certain that You hear me, from wherever You might be chomping down Your mouldy lettuce leaves, then it would have obviously required Your exceptional co-operation insofar You would have to import to my house an old brass gramophone horn from which I could roar out my message! All that fuss, You say?! Exactly!

Mazzy!!!! I am so happy for you!!! I knew you could do it!” Agnes flung her arms around me and squeezed me tight. I now know fully well what it must feel like to be in the unclasping embrace of a hungry boa constrictor! What strange fun to think that one’s joy could lead to instantaneous epiphanies worthy of any respectable wildlife documentary!

One second there I was hesitatingly accepting that I was in the strangulating grip of a mighty predator, and my strained bleats of happiness the mimicry of a tiny marsupial clinging to dear life, and then, the next moment I was suddenly shoved into the rather rough and tumble scenario of the poor spectator in whose hands the ball had somehow fallen and now half a dozen giant rugby players were storming in to get it! Why do I refer to this blustery analogy? A simple enough reason if only You knew her. You see, Katie was there too!

WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! Go Mazzy!!!!” Katie caved her entire arms around my neck so that I no longer could see the sky and my vision went blurry as the last remaining globules of oxygen in my pint-sized lungs lurched out of me! I was all hot-wired to be blacked-out!

Oh blimin’ heck, I can’t breathe!” I went from being a round dough ball to a flat pastry sheet and all courtesy of the rolling pin effect of my fabulous friends!

And then I remembered about the odd workings underlying the multiverse of happiness and to my enormous relief I soon realised that though both my mates had me clenched in a squishy embrace, I was more alive than ever! Pay attention that the heavenly strawberry sticky jam found in between two slices of Victorian sponge cake is never ever seen complaining about its restrained predicament, precisely for the reason that it is in between the companionship of those two essential and contrasting slices that it derives its enjoyment of being a substance of purpose. I was in a sticky situation too, fidgeting in between the wrestling hugs of my two good mates, but it was the most nicest sort of unbreathable jollity and, if the truth be known, I was incredibly ecstatic with my news that I forgot to inhale and exhale as normally one would, and I suppose that is what the purest of joys does to us. We become so wrapped up in the moment that we are more than willing to dismiss the necessities associated with survival off the pitch and to the backbench!

I do not know how I finally found myself cut loose from their chain of arms but eventually I did and a terrific idea whooshed out of my brains that if I did not share it I would be on course for internal implosion. Highly disgusting bit of trouble!

I don’t know about you ladies, but I feel like partying!” I wriggled my nostrils, a trademark indication that we had to anoint the occasion of my good news with something recklessly inappropriate!

Swinging in the children’s park!” Katie hit jackpot!

Let’s do it!” Agnes must have carefully observed in the past that I suffered from the uncurbed tendency to wriggle my shoulders when the excitement got the better of me, for she was giving hers a thorough workout as she mouthed the auspicious words!

An unanimous agreement reached, the three of us wasted not a second more and broke through the red gates of Abbey Gardens! The ducks on the banks by the river went into shock at the approach of us harridans wearing wicked smiles, fearfully diving back into the water, some even capsizing their heads to leave their feathery bottoms bobbing about in the dire hope that we would not see them! We meant them no harm, of course!

We raced to the swings, alas, they were already in use by legitimate occupants whose ages were around three decades younger than ours!

We’ll wait it out! Let’s head out to the bench over there!” I may not be the most mature of people however when the resource of patience is required I am on the case! We sat ourselves down and admired the spray of pink blossoms on the trees when all of a sudden a little girl of 16 months came up to me. Snot trickling down her nose as if they were two unclosed taps, this adorable child was called Evie and she brought me gifts that she had lovingly picked up from the grass. They included a teeny piece of granite stone that seemed as if it had once been embedded in a great wall, a piece of twig and a curled leaf. We spoke to their parents for a long time and all the while I was pleasantly surprised to see that here was a little angel who somehow knew I was the bearer of good news. I have safely kept little Evie’s gifts in my bag, adamantly believing them to be a sign of good and promising wishes handed down to me from Destiny itself.

Wasn’t she so cute!?” Katie hugged herself.

Oh my god Mazzy, she likes you!” Agnes could see that I had turned awfully broody.

I frowned with a dreamy smile on my face as Evie and her parents waved goodbye to us and strolled out of the park. It did not matter that I had no daughter of my own, what was infinitely more significant for me was that the Universe had its own unfathomable way of ensuring that the part of my heart that was a maternal womb would always be filled with tokens of pure love from little people, wherever I was in the world. Love was not biology, it was a constant.

She is an angel. I know it...” I tenderly gazed at my friends and smiled assuredly.

Mazzy, get your camera out!” When Katie discharges orders I am convinced that even the Prime Minster in Downing Street jolts out his leather chair with a start!

With pleasure, my darling, but may I ask what brought this sudden desire to be photographed?” I plundered my bag whilst my curious poser hung in the air like an over-sized question mark.

Agnes exchanged conspiratorial glances with Katie. I tensed up a little.

Mazzy….” Katie began to lean slowly on her back and one of her legs began to rise.

The camera now poised to shoot, I was muddled by what I saw and yet in equal parts I was sure that the two of them were up to something that would seal this day as the beginning of a new and fabulously adventurous chapter!

Katie’s right leg now raised above the bench, stretched and pointed, I distractedly twiddled with my camera and remarked, “Yes, I know hobbits have hairy legs, Katie! I vow that I will wax my legs more often!” I grunted in feigned indignation. Before I could slice in edgeways with another word, Agnes determinedly grabbed Katie’s uplifted leg, and both imagining it to be an acoustic guitar, my two friends burst out singing the simple and nostalgic lyrics to a song that has always been embossed in my dreams ever since I was as small a girl as our bearer of good tidings, Princess Evie:

Country roads, take me home, to a place, where I belong…♥♥♥

Celebration In The Park!

“… Agnes determinedly grabbed Katie’s uplifted leg, and imagining it to be an acoustic guitar, both my friends burst out singing the simple and nostalgic lyrics to a song that has always been embossed in my dreams ever since I was as small a girl as our bearer of good tidings, Princess Evie…”

Celebration In The Park!

We’ll wait it out! Let’s head out to the bench over there!

Celebration In The Park!

“… I soon realised that though both my mates had me clenched in a squishy embrace, I was more alive than ever...”

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

 

A Pot Of Lavender, A Jar Of Jelly, A Postcard & A Snail!

Straight after my teaching duties I was ambushed and pushed into the car and strapped into the baby seat, or so it felt like so, and we scooted off to the village of Alresford for a spot of wholesome and light refreshment. I need not spell out what those edible particulars were, but I suspect even Your breadth of imaginative prowess will not be of that sharp calibre as to correctly guess that one of the sweet and delectable goodies I chose was a proper novice on my palate! In keeping with the fact that our luncheon was at a farm completely devoted to all things purplish lavender, I would be no less than an unforgivable fool if I were not to opt for a slice of that moist cake concocted out of dark chocolate and lavender! Please refrain from scoffing at my anecdotal confession, if there was a context in which I do not distil fibs than it is on this very matter of good, sweet things! I never lie about my partnership with food, especially if its coagulating ingredients include the supportive participation of chocolate! Giggle!

Now, my beloved Reader, if Your memory is as catchy as the tune that You sing in those spare and unnoticed moments, then You may recall that I have been to this quaint wooden barn house before in a previous adventure. To describe it using the mere adjectives of beautiful and rustic does not seem to do it the proper justice that it so urgently deserves. You must someday visit this spellbinding place and when you enter it, You, too, will begin to believe that the souls of trees can inhabit rooms, since throughout the interior architecture the walls have been boldly threaded with brown beams of muscular wood, and the unpolished and simple tables upon which handmade crafts and gardening tools and homemade jellies are displayed on impress upon the imagination that they must have once been the furnishings of the dwarves and hobbits who lived in Tolkien’s vast landscape of Middle Earth.

All four of us cheerful friends took our seats and made a veritable time of it, sharing countless stories of the things we had gotten up to and our plans for the exciting futures ahead, and meanwhile amid the air of unstoppable banter I downed an entire pot of cherry blossom green tea whose delicate floral fragrance I can still bring to mind as if it were here, right in front of my laptop! It is a most delicious tea and, therefore, I strongly advise You to try it, for if You do not then I am partial to conclude that You have not fully lived! Do not be shortchanged by Your own rigid complacency!

Eventually it was the waitress who was to be our saviour, for we had utterly lost track of time. Hours and hours had passed since the four of us had made ourselves comfy in those cottagey chairs and were it not for the bill making its way to us we might have never left! I am not sure if that would have been an abominable quandary, I rather fancy it in there!

Before setting off for Winchester, each of us chose to buy a little something as a memento of our time together at the Lavender Farm and I suppose, with a playful sigh leaving my lips, that our selections are probably the best example of a hint You shall ever receive in getting a gist of our characters. Whilst my friends purchased goods that could be said to be quite agreeable with a feminine and sophisticated sensibility, I, on the other hand could not hold back the pincers of my mischievous personality! I bought an iron-cast figurine of a snail fixed on a huge pebble! He stares out of his shell with the most adorable pair of eyes and two antennas that want nothing more than to shake Your hand! The rationale behind the purchase, You ask me? I shall purge You of the terrible infliction of confusion that has both Your eyebrows in a twist so taut as to make lemons and limes fall on their knees in shame! You see, my Amma positively detests the sight of these slimy creatures who have made a worldwide pact to gobble up through the vegetable patch and leave bogey trails across some of the low-lying flowers and alpines in our garden. If she happens to see one she tends to rush out at them and squishes them down with her flip-flops. I may have fought in many galactic battles, yet never can I quite muster up that brand of impervious indifference to the little inhabitants of my garden so as to pulverise them out of existence. Instead, should I see one of these shell-bodied slow coaches I quickly pick it and fling it over the fence. Amma cannot reconcile in her thoughts how I can be so passionately devoted to the task of gardening and, at the same time, exude merciful acts of rescue to something that I ought to treat as an enemy. I tell her that it is one of the many mysteries of Your 158cm daughter and that is why she loves me the way she does!

Alas, when I arrived home with my heavyweight gift my devilish plotting deflated like a balloon suffering from the worst case of clinical flatulence possible! Mumsy did not storm at me with her flip-flops, instead she picked up Sir Sebastian the Snail and cradled him as if it were her baby! She was over the moon with her present and there I was in complete crushing bewilderment. My cheeky calculations for implementing maternal psychological detonation had gone awry! Oops!

Amma!!  Aren’t you angry with me?!

I needed more paving stones to cover up the earth to stop the weeds from growing. This will do perfectly! Thank you, Shona Moni!

Outwitted by my own Mumsy! Noooo!!! On second thoughts, that is never a bad thing for a 37-year old girl that refuses to grow up! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥

A Pot Of Lavender, A Jar Of Jelly, A Postcard & A Snail!

“… All four of us cheerful friends took our seats and made a veritable time of it, sharing countless stories of the things we had gotten up to and our plans for the exciting futures ahead...”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Long Barn Lavender Farm| Alresford | UK 2016   

 

Old Pictures, New Story: A New Chapter Knock-Knocks!

Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories

An A-MAZ-ING Update! 20-05-16

Up and until now, in my 37 years, I have been academically trained in the hard sciences and never once placed my hairy foot in the faculty of the arts. Around 15 years ago I came out top in the student year with the fabulous award of a BSc Psychology, and then, after accruing my own funds from holding down two jobs, I enrolled and earned another distinction for completing my postgraduate studies in MSc Science and Society. I thoroughly enjoyed the pursuit of learning new skills and knowledge in both domains, and furthermore, each proved to be incalculably priceless in my professional capacity for teaching mainstream and special needs students at college.

Over the last few years, after the serendipitous and yet undeniably destined encounter with the artistic language of photography, a formidable murmur of renewed passions began to stir and coil in the uncharted…

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The Fairy Poetess Of St Catherine’s Hill

Stilling quietness of eventide hushes the day’s din and its sinewy spine silks down
Atop stone forts of yesteryears, now grass-glossed away from town
And creaking rampart of wood pushed, her hand springwater of peony moon
Fairy poetess of the Shire and whose full coral lips faithfully adorned in tune
She plucks at white starry clematis, ponders are they kin to cream tufts of snow
Her blouse quavers in the breeze and clings to yellow limbs of yarrow
And kissed her cheeks the wing blade of the brown argus of a thousand orange eyes
She squeals in giggling joy and ascends feet towards the shrine of skies
Bulk bodies of white cows and a few sheep lumber back down the gorge of grassy mound
She waves them good evening before arriving at summit’s ground
Rolling the whale mass of her night hair in a ballerina’s bun
She lays herself down flat and gazes longingly at the fainting sun
And from carob leather satchel takes out her wand of pen and hand-stitched writing book
On spice souk of her chest she rests them and then her imagination shook
Her face a burst birth of blossom, a molten origami of imperial will
Above a meteor monsoon flesh-flashed as she wrote a poem about St Catherine’s Hill… ♥♥♥

The Fairy Poetess Of St Catherine’s Hill

… She plucks at white starry clematis, ponders are they kin to cream tufts of snow…

The Fairy Poetess Of St Catherine’s Hill

“… Her blouse quavers in the breeze and clings to yellow limbs of yarrow...”

The Fairy Poetess Of St Catherine’s Hill

“… She squeals in giggling joy and ascends feet towards the shrine of skies…”

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | St Catherine’s Hill | Winchester | UK 2016