Platform Antiques: Mr Ant & I

A verbatim account lifted off from my recent entries in my travel journal:

The modern serpent, a rushing taut declaration of uncatchable steel, sent my gypsy locks into an electrical streak-burst of anarchy. I felt beyond myself. That is when I saw the little chap whizzing towards the vast canyon of my shadow. In my mind I imagined that Mr Ant, who was now scurrying bravely across the baked concrete platform, pausing for breath, and then by chance looking up, discovering that the orb of the sun had mysteriously blacked out. All of it gone. My form elevated to a sheltering eclipse from the heatwave that had for days clinched the English landscape to a halt. To think that a passing train was invested with that level of casual power so as to unleash noble service from my untied hair made me tickle with laughter, and my toes, forever leaning towards the horizon, skipped up and down on the earth. What huge fun this is! I have yet to step foot onto the mat of my destination and already I have offered myself up as an unfathomable adventure for a creature no one else cares to see, likewise he has unknowingly proportioned the same benevolence of magic into the preface of my journey…  ♥♥♥   

Words:  © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | In between cities | UK 2016

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The Dreaming Chapter 13: I, River

Mr Penton sat back in his leatherback black chair. His calm, scrutinising eyes were trained on his team of agents who were all busily punching away at their complicated keyboards, their faces lit up by the twitching graffiti of ghostly lights emanating from their screens in front. Mr Penton was present, and yet was not present in the room, for his mind, a vast cave-like realm as secret as the museum itself, toiled and twisted in thoughts that he had not spoken of to anyone. So lost was he in a wisp of memories that it took him away from the room, to somewhere else, a place peacefully absent from the raging kaleidoscope of blinking lights and clattering twirls of recording reels of tape.

A part of him must have somehow latched back onto the present, and he realised again where he was. Closing his eyes shut so that he may open them again and renew his focus on the task that lay before him, Mr Penton slowly, but deeply, rubbed his neck down with his hand, a discreet effort to keep haunting worries buried beneath him where no one would find them. Then he opened his eyes again with a sigh that sounded as if it were a breeze that had escaped from the centre of the earth. He tried to conceal his surprise at finding that he was not alone in his space. The assistant was stood facing him, expressionless, his hands behind his back. Mr Penton sat himself up straighter.

I am deeply sorry to disturb you, Sir.

Mr Penton found it highly amusing that his assistant should say that. “And what do you think you had disturbed?

The assistant did not bargain on having such an awkward question thrown at him and he stammered for an answer. “Erm, well, I th-thought, erm, you were, you….. 

Mr Penton shook his head in feigned exhaustion and smiled. “At ease, for goodness sake, man!” To that the assistant jolted his back straight and he became as straight as a ruler. “At ease does not mean tensing yourself up more than you were before.” Mr Penton gave up and leaned back on his chair again. The assistant loosened up, but only slightly. “So, what of the mission so far?

Agent King Kong –

Ah, yes, always was a fan of his work!” Suddenly Mr Penton remembered the time he trained the little monkey how to securely operate headset technology whilst swinging through trees of extraordinary height.

Yes, well, erm, Agent King Kong has been successful in diverting The Froggies away from the girl, however, based on the latest satellite imagery it appears that the enemy quartet has not only encountered a violent fall down a vertical terrain of significant gradient, but that they are now closer to two branches of the Krishna Gandaki River. This does not look good, Sir.

Mr Penton did not seem to be irritated or unnerved by the news. Instead, a slight curl rose at the end of his lips, an embryonic smile tinged with joy that was as elusive and untouchable as the floating mesh of fresh dawn fog. “At least the girl is safe”.

But, Sir – and I do beg your pardon if I seem to be talking out of turns here – but our priority is The Shaligram Ammonite!” Although the assistant had plenty more to add to his bubbling protest, he was stopped short by Mr Penton’s immediate change of expression, the old man’s eyes now chiselled into a piercing and questioning stare. The assistant frowned and briskly backed off. He was not sure what he had said and something told him that he would not be receiving a straightforward answer either. “I am, erm, I am sor-sorry, Sir.

Remembering where he was again, Mr Penton relaxed his eyes and face, and flexing his hands and fingers before interlocking them, the two index fingers like pillars pointing into his chin, he spoke with a measured authority that was spectacularly effective. “Let me be the one to worry about our priorities. You may return to your workstation, and keep me informed.

The assistant could not tell whether the old man was cross with him, or was he being reassuring. Either way, no words would come to him and he simply nodded before turning around and quietly gliding back to his seat.

For the next few minutes Mr Penton watched his crew attentively. He had to get up from his seat and wished not to distract anyone or arouse unhelpful interest in his movements. Relieved that all eyes were glued to the screens, Mr Penton carefully slid away from his seat and stood up. Once again he scanned around. No one was onto him. He crept towards the back of the room where the towering columns of mainframe computers whirred away, the huge rotating wheels gaped at him as if they were the eyes of mechanical spies, and a faint quiver shuddered across his shoulders. Undeterred, he remained to walk over to the back corner of the room. A mundane intersection of two walls, the heat of the machines had accumulated here to form an eerie micro-climate, an ignored and muggy and shadowy spot haired by thick, snaky wires trailing around, keen to trip anyone over. Peering out from behind the mainframe tower, taking care not to topple the ominous structure, he checked to see if everyone was working. All was well. He turned away and stepped backwards until his back was against the wall. He sighed, and then put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small, white envelope. He turned it in his fingers, over and over again. He debated with himself whether he should open it here or not. At last his indecisiveness came to a stop, not out of will, but out of the tiredness from overthinking. The envelope hung expectantly in the charged air, its sides firmly clipped between the fingers of each hand, and in his head he read the typed words on the front, his silent voice as crisp as when walking on thick snow. It read “The Shaligram Ammonite”. Mr Penton flipped the envelope over, opened the unsealed flap and gently pulled out a glossy, monochrome photograph. The cool surface reminded him of hopeful mornings. He could not tell how many times he had looked at her, and of how many times she had smiled back at him.

Under the photograph was a caption strung in tiny, neat typewritten letters.

Her name in full read, ‘Arundhati Mehta Penton’.

As if she were hidden in between the letters, Mr Penton smiled down tenderly. A grandfather’s smile.

*

Leaving the dense, forested worlds of the hills behind her, Arundhati trudged down the slope towards the village. The roar of the great rivers growing louder with her every step it was, however, when she was about half-way down the slope that she realised that the sound of the waters churning and lapping and breaking against the banks rang out not from the world outside. Power beyond power, more earthly than earth itself, the watery drum was beating against her own flesh, it came from inside her, from deep within the spiral canals of her ears. ♥♥♥  

The Dreaming Chapter 13

“… Mr Penton flipped the envelope over, opened the unsealed flap and gently pulled out a glossy, monochrome photograph. The cool surface reminded him of hopeful mornings. He could not tell how many times he had looked at her, and of how many times she had smiled back at him…”

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

 

The Dreaming: Chapter 10 The Return Of The King – Sorry – Ring, Ring!

Day blazed into brighter day, and Arundhati came to the Lantern Tree Grove, where the sharp luminosity of the noon sun overhead was proudly companioned and lit up by the presence of numerous and magnificent pendants of delicate pink drops. Lantern flowers. Each flower slanted its head towards the ground, as if addressing something that lay directly below it. It was why the people of these parts agreed that their shape resembled the papery canopy of a night-time lantern, the ones held up by the watchman as he went about making his rounds along the border of his village whilst people slept.

Unsure still of what bridge these lantern flowers served in her finding The Shaligram Ammonite, Arundhati could not escape from her delight in being surrounded by these fine specimens of Mother Nature. She was convinced that she had been born loving flowers from the moment she took her first breath, that she had the power to partition her inhalations so that half of it fed her lungs and the other was shielded from that duty so that it may be kept like a carpet of breeze reserved for carrying the scents of roses and jasmine to her nose. Of course the elders in the village, and her own Amma, on occasion, had laughed out hysterically upon hearing these strange ideas, for, they argued, how could anyone ever possibly remember if they shared a close bond with the floral world from the time of their birth? For Arundhati, these taunts never dealt her any serious blow, and she quite easily dismissed the scoffing ways of the world. As plucky as a bumblebee was to a rose, she, too, stuck to her beliefs in all weathers.

The Dreaming Chapter 10

“… She was convinced that she had been born loving flowers from the moment she took her first breath…”

She crept up slowly to the long wall of leafy shrub before coming to a standstill just inches away from the tinkling audience of lantern flowers. A strange and precautionary urge came over her to be weary and to look all about her. As far as she could tell, she was alone. But it was still hard for her to shake off that unsettling impression that she had been led here, and she soon imagined – which did little to ease her discomfort – that someone was out there, nearby, watching, spying and ticking her name off from their appointment’s diary with a sliver of smugness elasticated across their face. Just to be sure, she peered back up the path from which she had trudged down from. The tea house was firmly out of view now, and turning to face below, she saw the familiar dirt track leading a raggedy course down to the neighbouring village whose edge brushed against a mighty serpent of gushing water. Except it was not one singular vein of water. A short way along the bank and the river divided into two, the larger one running its course straight and out of view as it became engulfed under the over-arching branches of giant bristly conifers, whilst the smaller one, like an arm splintering off in rebellious defiance, wound its way north towards villages that Arundhati had never ventured into. The enormity of the task ahead of her suddenly turning to leaden weight and her feet seeming to grow heavy, Arundhati distracted herself and hurriedly turned round to face the lantern flowers again.

She came in closer to examine their form and realised that they were not enslaved by the whims of the winds. They moved as they pleased. Some of the lantern flowers nodded up and down, others shook their heads, and a few, let their heads touch the one next to it, as if they were talking about a pact or enthralling themselves in the latest schoolyard gossip. A flash of a fond memory trickled into Arundhati’s mind, the time of when she and a few friends of hers had met here after school, and how they had giggled and chuckled as they rushed to share out multi-coloured threads from an old pouch so that each would have the colours they wanted to string out their friendship bracelets. Arundhati’s shoulders jiggled as she smiled to herself, reaching out with the gentlest of touch, stroking the tips of the lantern flowers, half-hoping that they would chime as her fingers tapped and drifted through them, they telling her in unison that they had all indeed watched silently that day when she and her friends had gathered her for the marvellous swapping of threads. “You flowers soak in other people’s secrets, don’t you?” she whispered to one lantern flower. “Look how plump your pretty belly is, fattened up just like the yummy pickle jars in Amma’s cabinet!” She sighed and stepped back and scoured her eyes at all of them, daring to hold onto the chance that perhaps one of the lantern flowers would relent and prise open its fleshy petal body and shed light that would show her the way to the river that she saw in her vision back at the tea house, that vein of black water shown to flow close to the location of The Shaligram Ammonite.

The Dreaming Chapter 10

“… She came in closer to examine their form and realised that they were not enslaved by the whims of the winds…”

She was lost in thought when it dawned on her that she was not alone. The dried leaves on the ground behind her sent out a muffled sound, a rustling of laborious footsteps accompanied by the creaking of mechanical parts. She shot round, just catching her breath in time, to find that a street vendor was stood in front of her. He was not a particularly old man, his face was angular, blackened by the unforgiving sun, his black hair was stuck to his skin by sweat, and he wore a holed vest mucked by dirt and splotches of grease and food, while his blue and white sarong was tied above his navel in a tight bun so that his extraordinarily dark, bony legs and protruding ankles helplessly peered from below, his feet finished off with a pair of stringy flip-flops. His hands were fastened to a cart draped in green cloth and arranged neatly on it, row by row, glittered a handsome crop of antique-tinged wood apple, spiky jackfruit, pomegranates whose cracked ends reminded her of lips prepared to kiss, and yellow persimmons secreted forth by the frothy laughter of the summer sunshine. The cart was held up by four large rubbery wheels positioned on each corner. Patches of brownish-red rust had attacked the axis and spokes, presumably accounting for the screeching sound earlier.

Oh, I am so sorry. I will move out your way, Uncle.” It was a very narrow point on the slope, and she felt terribly oafish that she was obstructing his right of way. Arundhati leaned as far back as she could against the lantern flowers, taking care not to squash any of them in the process, and then gestured the street vendor that he could now pass.

But, he did not.

A fly buzzed down and took the opportunity to forage on one of the jackfruits whose tough outer skin had somehow received a gash, exposing a glimmer of its sticky and sickly sweet interior flesh. Arundhati swore she could hear the fly siphoning the juicy blood of the fruit into its thorax and down into it abdomen. “Excuse me, Uncle, but there is a fly on your jackfruit. Look, over there, can you see it?” The man did not move, yet he had heard her, she knew that. Arundhati felt the hundred scrawling legs of cold fear shuffle up her arms and slither across the sides of her neck. She reached up for her binoculars, slowly and tactfully, all the while slanting her eyes to her right to better understand her escape route. Her feet were already trembling, obeying the desire to flee, and she prayed to herself that he had not caught her in the act of thinking through these thoughts.

Whatever it was that prompted him to snap out of his statue was anyone’s guess, for he abruptly let go of the cart handle and lazily walked round it so that he now was only a few paces in front of her. His eyes were as black and viscous as bat wings, she could not see their pupils. She shuddered. “Is anything the matter, Uncle?” A whip of anger scorched down her throat and into her stomach. She had not meant to speak to him, she was meant to have dashed for it.

A deathly silence, a staunch standoff of crackling electricity, ensued between the two of them. If only his face could break out with a recognisable expression then at least she would derive some relief that whatever it was that she faced now could be bargained with. Alas, the man’s face remained agonisingly wooden, indeed as wooden as the table of his cart. She forced her body now to loosen, the final preparation in its readiness for scrambling down the hill. She was going to run, run away from this phantom figure, this sinister man who seemed to not belong to anywhere.

But he took one step forward.

She had planned to run, instead she maintained her sight on the man and heard herself whisper with concentration, “Help me, Mr Roald Dahl…”.

The street vendor must have heard her whisper, and not only that, he knew exactly what those anomalous words meant, for he nodded decisively towards her binoculars. Quick as a flash, Arundhati tipped her head down and managed to just catch the last of the three red flashes. She gulped and when she looked back up at the man he was wearing a smile that was fantastically camouflaged. Fine flecks of crinkled skin had collected at the edge of his eyes. He was smiling with his eyes. He approved. Arundhati lifted the binoculars and expectantly brought them to rest against her own eyes.

A brief message had been sent to her. It was about the art of disguise, and as a way of example, Mr Roald Dahl was more than happy to oblige and share his own instance of rustling up a pukka disguise from his youthful days, one that prevented him from being caught red-handed by those who wanted nothing more than to see him in the principal’s office!

The Dreaming Chapter 10

“… A brief message had been sent to her. It was about the art of disguise…”

The message disappeared after a short while, and Arundhati taking the binoculars away from her face, crinkled her eyebrows into a knot and searched the ground below, as if the significance of the message would miraculously appear from the undergrowth and dissolve all her confusions and take them away far from here. Slowly her voice found her again and she croaked out the best she could, “Uncle, do you happen to work for The –

Before she could finish anymore of her sentence the man shoved his hand under the row of lighter fruits at the top of the cart and pulled out a block neatly wrapped in shiny paper with bold words lavishly penned across it. He offered it to Arundhati. Her mother had strictly forbidden her to accept goods from strangers, she had warned that it could land her in very serious trouble, the consequences fatal, even. Arundhati momentarily closed her eyes and asked for her mother’s forgiveness as she reluctantly opened her palms for the man to place the block in it. It was light and cool to the touch. It certainly was not fruit. When Arundhati drew her hand away from the man and peered at the item she was hit by more puzzlement than she could possibly take in one day!

Wonka Chocolate Bar?! But, how will this help me find The –

The Dreaming Chapter 10

Wonka Chocolate Bar?! But, how will this help me find The –

Once again her sentences, her questions, were left mid-way, unfinished, drifting on the air. The man was retracing his steps back round the cart. He took hold of the handle, issued a subtle bow of the head, before trundling past her and then vanishing down below, the voiceless man and the screech of his mechanical accomplice both gone.

She had never heard of this brand of chocolate and had no desire to test it out on her palate, who knows what peculiar things were contained within it. She turned on her heels to face the watchful curtain of lantern flowers. “There, one more secret you are going to have to keep which I’m sure will fatten you all nicely!” She examined the bar and concluded that the neatness of its packaging and the sophistication of its printing could only mean that this came from another country, but her speculation only drilled more questions into her brain. Her ears picked up the distinct murmur and rumble of the two rivers down below. “Chocolate bars and rivers, what is the link?” A chiming rang out, sweet and high-pitched, like the twitter of a bird mixed in with the tinkle of a metal xylophone. She dismissively muttered, “Ah, so you lantern flowers do know how to make music!” The chime rang again. She raised her head and awkwardly poked at the lantern flowers, as expected they made no sound of such sort. When the chime rang again she realised that it vibrated her palm. The noise was coming from the chocolate bar!

Whether it was the right thing to do or not did not even cross her mind, and so her fingers scurried across to where the paper was joined together and proceeded to rip apart the layers, and there was so much of that to get through that she imagined that the final article buried deep inside it was most likely a fraction of the overall size of the package itself!

She could not believe her eyes when the last shred of wrapping swayed and fell like a feather down to the ground.

In her hand was a wafer-thin device. It was a phone.

It had a pretty cover depicting pinkish vines of flowers and for a second she thought she felt all the lantern flowers around her crane their necks in for a closer view.

The phone chimed again.

Arundhati licked her lips in anticipation and held her breath, before bringing the device to her ear and answering it.

It was the voice of a long-lost friend and the pink lantern flowers knew that before she did. ♥♥♥

The Dreaming Chapter 10

“… It was the voice of a long-lost friend and the lantern flowers knew that before she did…”

 

Photography & Words:  © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Hampshire | UK 2016
Photography & Words:  © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre |Great Missenden | Buckinghamshire | UK 2016

The Dreaming: Chapter 6 Veena-Oculars

Arundhati closed the door behind her and leant her whole body against its peeling teal paint, she was out of breath, although being in her room, a still lake of greyish darkness, helped to cool and comfort and steady her nerves. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh, a soundless prayer in which she sought her Mother Goddess, to whom she always prayed, asking to now look upon her and to give her the strength to embrace whatever it was that she was holding in her hands, hidden under paper and string.

Darkness drives the instinct to see the world with hands and that is what Arundhati began to do. She had not yet lit up the rusty kerosene lamp on the low, yellow-wood table to her right, and yet without meaning to, her fingers began to ripple over and wander around the course brown paper, eking out any hint as to what could be inside the package. It was not too heavy, and not too light, and furthermore, it was not an object that was perfectly square or oblong, there seemed to be breaks in the solidity of its form, a bit missing from the central part, otherwise it would indeed have been a more simple shape. What could it be, I wonder, she quizzed to herself. She cautiously edged closer to the yellow- wood table and bent down, placing the package beside her, then lit up the lamp. Slowly, the darkness was pushed away out of the room before all began to glow in an orange sea of light. It was now apparent that the kerosene lamp was not the only object stood on the yellow-wood table, there was beside it a framed picture, alive with lustrous colour and energy. It depicted the beautiful and smiling figure of her most beloved Mother Goddess, the four-armed Maa Saraswathi, emerging gloriously upright from the Book of Knowledge and behind her feet peeked out a magnificent peacock of deep blue, its handsome plumes of blue and green feathers fanned down onto the ground, and each was marked with a prying eye. What Arundhati particularly loved about this painting was that Maa Saraswathi wore her musical stringed instrument, her veena, as if it were a rucksack, strapped behind her back. It gave the distinct impression that the Goddess was about to embark on a great adventure in the cosmos.

Arundhati got up from the floor and sat on her rattan bed that leaned against the entire length of the wall on the right. After the bed there was not much more room left, it was a very cramped space, this attic, but still she felt that she had made good use of it. Books and books and more books crammed themselves on the rickety shelves of the bookcase that spanned against the left side of the room, and one of the shelves looked frightfully bent, for any time it could give way and her tomes, heavy and hard, would be helpless but to avalanche down to the floor with a bang.  She promised to see to it in the summer holidays, well, at least she would try!

Arundhati shuffled onto the bed and got comfortable. She cleared her throat and, carefully, oh so very carefully, untied the oat string. When all of it had come off, she thought she had felt the package breathe a sigh of relief, a floundering fish released from the net and into the oceanic hands of its true home. A gust of cool breeze sneaked into the room and stroked her ears, and she looked up, momentarily, in the direction of the window. It must be a sign that something incredibly fantastic is bound up inside the package, she told herself.

Arundhati turned the package over so that the two flaps of the paper that had been pressed down with transparent tape were visible. She did not want to ruin the paper, somehow all of it was important, and so with meticulous precision her nimble fingers got to work, peeling off the tape from both sides, little by little. Now she began unrolling the package, with each roll towards the right more of the paper streamed outwards the left. In all this time she did not breath, not for a moment, in case it were to distract her from the task, for she was adamant to absorb every iota of this moment, a moment that promised to unfurl a secret and reveal something gloriously new on the other side.

The last of the wrapping paper came off and fell to the floor.

In her hand was a black device with glass eyes. A pair of old aviator’s binoculars attached to a narrow leathery strap. Arundhati did not know what to think of the object, what it meant or, indeed, what to do with it. The flurry of questions rushing into her head did not at all hinder her curiosity. She brought the binoculars closer and noticed the slight peel of paint around the rim of the lens, as well as, after touching the haggardly strap, concluded that the wearer was an avid of explorer who did not go anywhere without this second pair of eyes. Right then, out of nowhere, a sudden longing came over her, she did not know why, but she knew for certain that had she met the owner of this device she would have found a good friend in him. They were alike, they saw the world alike. It was then that her eyes shifted back to the fallen wrapper on the floor, and there she saw peeping out of the last curl of the paper, a white piece of card with printed words. She could not believe that she had missed it in the first place, and bent over to pick it up.

Roald Dahl’s Binoculars”, she whispered. She repeated the caption again as if by doing so would provide her with additional information about their use. Nothing came to her. She had never heard of him in her life. However, she remarked to herself that here was a man whose surname sounded like her favourite dish as rustled up by Amma – dal curry! Yummy! She suddenly shook her head and smiled away before regaining composure, acknowledging that this was serious business, she ought to concentrate! She read the rest of the caption and discovered that he was a pilot, soon enough in her mind she painted a picture of him, high in the skies, flying his plane over strange lands while the enemy was intently on his tail. She wanted to live that life of adventure, too. She wanted to be like Mr Roald Dahl!

The Dreaming Chapter 6

In her hand was a black device with glass eyes. A pair of old aviator’s binoculars attached to a narrow leathery strap.

Another lazy cool breeze swished into her room and she looked over to the window. It had grown pitch black outside. She had lost her chance to use the binoculars today, and not only that, she was positively confounded by the object, how was this antique device supposed to help her track down the Shaligram Ammonite? How could one evening pump out so many questions for which she had not a single thread of an answer? Doubtful that the focus would work properly with the short-range targets in her room, Arundhati was about to look through the eyepiece and train her eyes on the books in front of her, when she spoke out loud into them, out of pure frustration. “How do I find the ammonite with a pair of shabby binoculars, you tell me?

A very tiny red light positioned in the centre of binoculars, which she swore was not there before, flashed three times before it stopped. She froze. What was that? She waited patiently for the light to flash again, but it did not. Arundhati shook the binoculars, she reasoned that it was possible the device was faulty, interpreting the refusal of another light show to happen at her request the proof of its malfunctioning. As she flung the binoculars on the bed she chided the device as if it were a person who had annoyed her. “You are not going to show me anything, are you!?” Suddenly, Mr Roald Dahl’s binoculars spoke again, three flashes of red sparked in the centre, and this time her heart lit up as well! She grasped the binoculars and placed the eyepieces against her own eyes, and she looked into them, and saw a message:

The Dreaming Chapter 6

She grasped the binoculars and placed the eyepieces against her own eyes, and she looked into them, and saw a message…

 

All of a sudden it all made sense.

The British Secret Service had chosen an ingenious way to communicate with Arundhati without risking detection! Mr Roald Dahl was an author, she deduced, and it would be by using his quotes that The British Secret Service would relay messages to her which would guide her to the location of the rare The Shaligram Ammonite before it fell into enemy hands.

So the Shaligram Ammonite is hidden in a very unlikely place…. and there’s a magic inside these walls and in the walls outside that will help me to find it.” Arundhati thought hard about this, leaning her head to one side and peering up, tossing many ideas in her overworked mind, as one does with an omelette first thing in the morning! No obvious answer came to surface, even after scratching her head for the tenth time in a row!

BETI ARUNDHATI! Dinner is ready – AGAIN!” Her mother was understandably furious, the poor lady had waited long enough. Arundhati skipped the part where she was going to freshen up her face, instead she determinedly flung the thin strap of the binoculars over her head and the device fell down her shoulders. Since it was a long strap, she adjusted herself so that the binoculars lay over her back. She walked over to the door, opened it and walked down the stairs, a new horizon growing inside her heart. Watching her glide down from the top of the stairs, her figure strapped in a garland of olden binoculars, some might have muttered to themselves that it was no one but Maa Saraswathi herself making her way down. ♥♥♥  

 

 Photography & Words:  © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre |Great Missenden | Buckinghamshire | UK 2016

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

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

She’s Off To Paddington’s London!

I cannot wait for the summer holidays when I shall have more spare time on my hands to compose new stories and poems for You. I am as busy as a bumblebee on skates at the moment, although I confess it could only be my special knowledge of Your love for my eccentric words that brings me here to the virtual world, however briefly, just so that I can have pleasure of making You smile, again and again and again. I know when you smile, it feels like having two hearts thud behind the bastion of my chest… ♥ 

Let’s go! Let’s go!” Alright, alright I better fill You in
For why this munchkin bears a marmalade grin
She’s off to see Grandma in London – the city that’s second home to Darkest Peru
Summer holidays have begun for this little sprite, a three foot kangaroo
Tonight travelling on the Underground Tube, not a ship – c’mon, use your wit!
I hope she won’t have to sit next to a snotty teen with one smelly armpit!
Oh I do envy my sweet pixie for heading to stations on which brown paws have walked
Where a red hat has bobbed, flipped down escalators hence news that’s still talked!
I have earnestly asked her that should she see him, my stowaway bear, do not mockingly laugh
Simply tell him we’ll meet someday and kindly ask him for an autograph…! ♥♥♥

She's Off To Paddington's London!

She’s off to see Grandma in London – the city that’s second home to Darkest Peru…

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Summer Garden Party | Winchester | UK 2015/16

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

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 territories of my heart, a real part of me that I had somehow neglected as I was swept up in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. No doubt it was that the photography had aroused the awakening of a new confidence in returning to the wonderment of the pen, to make companionship with the beauty and exploratory power of the written word.

I have worked extremely hard in the last few years, once again holding down two jobs so that I may raise the funds needed for a new venture that I hope will address my unending love story with the arts which I once bore in my heart as a child. It is with the utmost radiance of joy that I am proud to announce to You that I am returning to University once again, as a postgraduate student, to study a MA in Writing. I received my unconditional offer of a place today and You would not be far off the mark if You were to say that right now I could only be jiggling my shoulders with the jollifying wobbles of a jumbo-sized  platter of strawberry jelly! Giggle!

My ‘prospective mentor’ is a new University, a broad and heavy oaken door that has been kept slightly ajar for me and the warm light cast out from the other side shines with the embellishing possibilities of a land that I once knew. Now it awaits my footsteps to softly crunch through its carpet of exquisite snow. By the old Victorian lamp post a new chapter is desperate to be realised into life. 

I was busy celebrating with my mates today and when we made a mad dash for the swings and slides in the children’s park they forced to turn their smarty pants phones on meWhat a shocking conspiracy that was for me, however, since today is indeed a special day for me I will allow for You to catch a rare glimmer of this 158cm fairy in a group shot, taken by my utterly-bubbly friend, Katie! 

And, finally, a very merry berry special dedication I must extend to that one person who, for me, shall always be the third person as referred to in the quote. I respect You with such sincere intensity that perhaps You shall never truly know just how much You mean to me, always… ♥♥♥

Quote: https://www.facebook.com/WomenWhoRunWithTheMoon/photos/a.330772373686457.73119.330491697047858/1015798558517165/?type=3&theater                  

Beyond the infinity of everything,
Mazzy 🌟🌟🌟

Celebration In The Park!

“… I was busy celebrating with my mates today and when we made a mad dash for the swings and slides in the children’s park they forced to turn their smarty pants phones on me…

 

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

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

I shall not say much only that today the magical stroke of Destiny led me to a thoroughly vibrant and constructive meeting that oozed with the fireflies of new possibilities. The conversation, animated and bouncy, showed no sign of stopping and the both of us could have potentially babbled on till the end of the day, however my prospective mentor had a train to catch to London and I could see that my paper cup in front of me had devastatingly become denuded of tea. The more I drank, the less there remained and that is how eventually I saw the bottom of the cup. It is one of those mysteries that consistently has the upper hand over me all the time, blunting my powers of logic to an undesirable blockhead! No, I was not giggling there! Alright, perhaps a bit! In light of these terribly subduing conditions, we hesitatingly called it a day and went our separate ways.

Let us just say that the coming year may see a new twist of lime in my quirky catalogue of endeavours! Ah, is that a fatty bombatty bag of Haribos You so cunningly extend out towards me? I do apologise tremendously, but I choose to purse my lips and pray that my eyes shall suffice in telling You that bribery and corruption were never my cup of tea, and thus I still shan’t reveal to You a morsel or crumb or smidgen! Not yet, anyway. Patience, patience, my dear Reader! Giggle! ♥♥♥

My First Book

A book of the heart which even to this day, 30 odd years on, when its pages are flicked against my nose a plethora of memories like colourful circus acts soar out from its centre and embrace me in a warm protective hug. It is the lingering presence of the dream of a man who wished his daughter to be a storyteller of her own someday...”

 

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |Winchester | UK 2016   Photography & Words: Originally Posted In ‘My First Book: A 30 Year Old Tale’ | © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | My Garden | Winchester | UK 2016  

Re-Visioning The Multiverse Hypothesis Chapter One: The Wall

Alice lived with her old grandma in a tiny stone cottage nestled deep in the green rolling hills of the English countryside. It was so incredibly far out from anywhere that when wayfarers, that consisting of family and friends, came to visit they would always complain that they were very tired from their journey because somewhere along the way the road signs had inexplicably disappeared, and that they were prevented from falling back on the satellite navigation system because that, too, produced a horrid crackling sound before it failed completely! Alice was never dissuaded or disheartened by these livid anecdotes, in fact, she thought to herself that to live in the middle of nowhere only made her home that extra special, as if it were pushed out of the earth by magic and only those who sincerely desired to find it, would do so in the end.

What was most charming about her home, Alice thought, was not what was inside the stony cottage, but what lay outside it. Her grandma had taught her, since she was a little girl, to love the world around her, and that one way of doing this was to get in the habit of planting nice and good things in it so that nice and good things would want, more than anything else, to grow out from it and show the skies, in their wild and pretty displays of colours and seeds and fruits and flowers, just how much they appreciated the wonderment of a helping pair of human hands.

Alice tended her garden tirelessly, from dawn to dusk, and it did not take long for the large patch of dull and untilled earth to become a paradise of beautiful flowers and fruit trees on whose branches birds sang in the summer, and in the winter white snowflakes would laden upon them for respite. The garden was indeed a dream come true, and her grandma hugged her whenever the two of them stood outside. The old lady had weak and trembling hands and so she could not prune the rose bushes, or pick delicious green gage plums from its high boughs, or shovel manure over the strawberry beds like she once used to, however, she felt a joyful aliveness whenever Alice would rush up to her in eager zest to show what she had accomplished in the garden. And what saw always gave her a new lease of life. A garden never dies if there was always someone there to look after it, and for her that was a nice and comforting thought.

One day grandma felt more tired than usual and decided that she ought to take a nap, even though it was still in the middle of the day. Alice made sure she was comfortable in bed and left the door slightly ajar so that she could hear better should her grandma need anything. She crept downstairs and thought how she could bide her time, for she had read all her books and written enough stories for one day and there was no more chores left in the kitchen. She looked out of the window and saw the garden, bright and happy, and wasted not a moment longer. Slinking her feet into her mud-kissed trekking shoes – she was a passionate adventurer – she jumped outside and began to skip down the paved path that ran straight down the centre of the garden. A yellow butterfly fluttered past her pale cheeks and a great big bumblebee nearly stung her because she was so close to bumping into it! She laughed and apologised. These were her friends and sometimes she acknowledged that she could get carried away and run into things when she did not mean to!

In the middle of the garden her heart whispered her to stop and to twirl round and round, and if anyone had been watching from above, it would have been quite reasonable of them to mistake her for a pirouetting rose, the rose of all roses. For Alice, there was no doubt about it that this tiny world of hers was the best world ever!

Have You ever noticed that the world does blur quite a bit when You twirl away, and yet would You not agree that some things around You still possessed the power to steal Your attention whilst in that twirl? For Alice it almost felt like that the tall stone and brick wall at the end of the garden had appeared from nowhere and was now beckoning her to approach it. She assured herself that this bricked wall must have always been a part of this garden, however, since her attentions had persistently been taken up by the many plants that she had lovingly tended to and whose growing blooms now watched her in adoration, the wall presented itself as more like a mystery, a new adventure, and so she was bewitched, drawn to go closer to it.

The wall was very high and it was made of rugged stones that were capped at the top with layered brickwork the colour of cinnamon and nutmeg. Winding locks of green ivy weaved through its surface and she made effort to trace their origins down to the ground below but could not find any, as if the agedness of the wall was so great that it caused the hard material to grow out an old man’s beard! There was no door or keyhole by which she could investigate what, if anything indeed, lay beyond it. There was a faint chance that she would hear anything, and yet she tried to bring her ears closer and then leant them against the cold stones, straining hard to see if she could pick up anything. There was no sound. Then she went to either side of the wall to see if there was an opening in these corners but what she found there was only angry, spiky bushes, which, if she tried to crawl through she would most definitely be hurt and that would make her grandma upset. She crossed the idea out of her mind. Her curiosity had piqued far too much now. There must be something else that she could do!

The bedroom window!

She rushed back inside the cottage and flew up the stairs before dashing to her bedroom windowsill and parted the half-drawn curtains. Alas, the wall still posed a towering barrier and nothing beyond it could be seen. Now she was absolutely adamant that the wall was never this huge!

Disheartened by the lack of success, she went back into the garden and stood in front of the wall and put her hands on her hips and thought very, very hard. That is when she looked down at her shoes. An idea popped in her head. It was a risky one but it was much more doable than perilously dragging oneself through a bush of stinging nettles and thorny twigs.

She was all too aware that the wall was a tremendously big one and she was only but a pea in comparison and that meant there was no chance in the world that she could punch her way through it. However, she argued, the wall need not be spoiled, for if it were impossible to go through it, and even more impossible to go round it, then, there was only one more way to it – to climb over it!

She made out a series of terrace-like grooves, steps that led You higher and higher to the top. The trickiest part was getting a foothold on that first terrace. If she could manage that then the rest would be easy and, hopefully, without slipping off, she would reach the summit and finally see what unseen things lurked on the other side. She spent a few moments calculating how fast she would have to run to the wall and from what distance in order to achieve the desired propulsion of her leg muscles that would enable her to reach out for that first terraced groove.

In her mind firmly agreed on what she had to pull off, Alice walked backwards along the path and then determinedly paused. Her eyes focused on her intended target, she let out a deep breath and then sprinted like a strong and ferocious cheetah in chase on the wild plains of the savannah. When she was about a metre away from the groove she bent her knees and leapt up, her arms stretched out, and for a second she thought she was fated to bash against the wall, however, her calculations saved the day, for she neatly caught the edge of the first groove and pulled her body up and crouched on it. Elation spread and sparkled through her veins, and she was now on fire! Turning to face the next groove above her she raised her hands and gripped it, once again pulling her body weight up and then letting her right leg tilt and hook itself above the slab, acting as a lever, before shoving her entire body forward.

The next level was no groove. It was the summit of the stone wall itself. She looked back at the cottage and the garden and already, somehow, the scenery had turned a different hue, as if mingled with mist and forgetfulness. The song of birds had quietened a tad, or perhaps, she wondered, that at this altitude the sounds of the world below did not reach the ears with as much volume. She suddenly thought of her grandma and looked down at her watch and she could have sworn that the hands were moving as slow as a gooey slug taking a slimy stroll in the garden after a raining day! It was all rather strange but exciting at the same time and that is why she needed to explore more!

When her fingers grasped the top and she pulled herself over she nearly fell because a rush of triumphant victory can make anyone giddy. Steadying herself, she sat down and looked over the wall for the very first time and joy surged and sluiced in her lungs! Below her shimmered another garden and what was beautiful and bizarre about it was that it looked exactly like hers!

Re-Visioning The Multiverse Hypothesis Chapter One: The Wall

“… The wall was very high and it was made of rugged stones that were capped at the top with layered brickwork the colour of cinnamon and nutmeg…”

But something was very different too. She felt it in her bones. She carefully got down the wall and by force of intuition looked down at her watch. Lost for words and thought, she was taken aback by what she saw and nearly stumbled over and fell into the nearby bush. All three hands of her watch had lifted off from the central axis and were excitedly spinning and spiralling and gyrating around it. Time was confused, or was it dancing?

She chose to go forward precisely because she was delighted to learn that what she had just climbed over was no ordinary wall…  ♥♥♥    

Re-Visioning The Multiverse Hypothesis Chapter One: The Wall

“… Steadying herself, she sat down and looked over the wall for the very first time and joy surged and sluiced in her lungs! Below her shimmered another garden and what was beautiful and bizarre about it was that it looked exactly like hers…”

 

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

Mon Etalon Péruvienne, Anternor! (My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor!)

Diary 7: Mon Etalon Péruvienne, Anternor! (My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor!)

Aah…your accent is… so…so… clear and…erm… beautiful. I understand every word you saying. I can listen and listen you know…”, the broken English was shyly spoken with a detectable hint of breathless eagerness, our delightfully congenial and warm spirited hotel receptionist, the wonderful Mr Anternor from Peru, plunged instantly under my spell!

Always acting with routine formality when he served the other customers, in my presence he adorably thrust his chest out and beamed smiles so wide that I would urge climate scientists to consider his ebullient nature as one of the fundamental causes of the growing meltdown of icebergs at the two poles of the planet!

So tell me, where are you from? You speak is so so so…..mmmmm. Not like Americans, I can never understand what they say!” Anternor’s shoulders were in the throes of a subtle sway, this chap was decisively smitten by my voice and my eloquence of speech and I rewarded him with a teasing pause in which time the black of his pupils grew larger.

I am very touched by your compliments, thank you so very much! I am from England, a small town with a formidable regal history, it is called Winchester”, I simply loved how time and time again I was given the opportunity to widen the audience of acquaintances who come to know about my tiny city in which I grew up in.

Aah, never been there. I been to Oxford and London. London, very expensive! Next time, I go to your town to see you, ok?”  Mr Anternor’s enthusiasm was truly inspiring, what a darling of a man! He did not come across as the creepy sort that most of You might have jumped to the conclusion to at this point. Far from it, Mr Anternor’s character shone with the honeyed nostalgia of the friendliness of strangers one tends to find in the countryside. For me, he was a fellow kindred spirit, complimenting my own connecting nature and, evidencing confirmation once again that even in the greatest of cities, irrespective  of their impersonal and alienating maps, You are bound to make at least one good mate! I found mine in Mr Anternor, my Peruvian stallion!

Of course, of course, it will be an amazing pleasure to welcome you to Winchester! Do come and see me, I shall be waiting!” And to these words Mr Anternor lifted off the ground a few inches, he had received the best commission of the day!

Thank you, thank you. You know, your voice…. I….I think very nice…” He was definitely Peruvian, for he felt no shame at all in being a man and at the same time expressing what he felt at heart without offending the lady. He mastered it with style, class, and sincerity.

I seriously did want to give him a huge bear hug and to tell him that he ought to sit down and rest with a cup of tea! I had tired him far too much! But it was what he said next that brought to crystal light the true reason that lay behind this comical exchange of dialogue.

“Your voice beautiful…. calm…. clear… peaceful…. I think you must be…. er……. er doctor, right…?”

I knew in my heart, before the conversation had taken root, that he had already painted my soul in the picture of a healer.

Well, I am a kind of doctor….

I swear Anternor’s eyes had walked out of their alcoves. Cautiously they floated closer to my face, they wished to capture the entirety of what I had reserved to reveal to him, so as to complete my preceding truncated sentence.

I am a Teacher…

Anternor’s face lit up like the moon…   :))

My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor

“… Far from it, Mr Anternor’s character shone with the honeyed nostalgia of the friendliness of strangers one tends to find in the countryside. For me, he was a fellow kindred spirit…”

EPILOGUE: This transcript is NOT a work of fiction. If You are plagued by disbelief then may I suggest You get in touch with my brother and sister, Ab and Jen Jens. They were stood in the lobby the whole time, impatiently! Giggle, giggle!

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Our Hotel | Paris | France 2015