Write Away: Lata Ji’s Eid Greeting Arrived Today!

Believe me, Good Magic does want to happen. It only needs the right sort of heart, a pure heart, for a match to be struck, a cosmic spark to ignite, and in exceptional cases a warm and enduring friendship vivaciously simmers and prances out of that mixture as if it were the beginning of everything. Not hardship, nor burden, the storybook of our lives is revised accordingly as it becomes an ounce weightier, basking in the glory of a new chapter, personified as so in the face of the friend whose world is waiting to be known by us.

Last year, I went to board a train from Birmingham to Winchester, a particularly long slog made all the more dreary because it turned up on the platform nearly an hour late in which time I was being mercilessly whipped about by icy rain and howling winds, my cheeks and ears transmogrifying their colour a shade closer to a recently-picked radish!

It was a fated journey. I met a stranger on a train, however it was destined not to end there, the story resisted being anything but a fleeting and forgetful wisp. Lata ji was an elderly lady of Asian descent who was sat all by herself by the rain-drenched window, her frail hands nervously crossed and clamped down on her handbag, and her tied-up bun flashing streaks of grey and silver that reminded me of my own Amma. Before I had even opened my mouth to ask her permission to take the seat next to her I already knew deep in my gut that by the time I stepped back onto the familiar Winchester platform neither of us would remain quite the same as when we had first boarded the train.

In this complicated age where the masses are daily letting themselves be hypnotised by the flickering and flicking of images on screens that fit neatly in the palm of their hands, channelling all attention to voraciously scooping up as much information as possible on the lives of other people and their movements, all I wanted to do was to sit and read. It was not to be so. Every force imaginable held me back from finding what I wanted. I struggled to reach for my novel in my bag that was unashamedly squashed by plastic containers of food and presents given to me by my affectionate relatives, and after wriggling and poking my fingers as far deep as I could possibly go, I gave up. I was making an enormous racket, fidgeting in my seat, and carelessly letting my elbow trespass over my seat so that it brushed against the lady next to me. How embarrassing was that?!

And that was when the match was struck! One knock of my elbow tapping on the elbow of the lady next to me, and there it was, a reason sprung in my heart to speak, to reach out to her, I had to, and in hindsight, I am tempted to say that perhaps I did not want to find my book after all. She was too much like my own Amma and I could not let her sit on a tediously dull and long train journey without some company.

She had no smarty pants phone. Neither did I. Already we were on the same platform! While the entire carriage of people were busily glued to their devices, only once breaking off from its spell to return to the outside world when the ticket master floated by, Lataji and I began our banter with that classic and universal British icebreaker, the subject of weather! A miserable grey, wet day, that gave the impression that train windows could weep buckets of tears too, the both of us fiercely condemned its gloomy antics and agreed that warmer and sunnier climes could not come any sooner! We told each other of our families, and since I had my camera I swelled up with excitement at the prospect of bringing my descriptions and anecdotes alive with the pictures I had taken. I frantically dug out my camera to show her all my relatives from Birmingham. I do not think she saw, or was conscious of, how I discreetly watched her eyes light up with the fire of new knowledge as I rolled through the digital reel of my camera. I do believe it was the first time that I had the pleasure of observing directly what wonderment my visual narrative world had on a reader. It was infinitely more rewarding than a million Facebook ‘Likes’. Exuberantly terrific and uplifting, I was inside a magical circumstance that ought to have been honoured, but I did not know how, so I walked deeper into the present, living and loving every moment of the conversation that I shared with this adorable old lady.

Our voices weaved through many subjects that ranged from our hobbies, jobs, famous books and their authors, the maritime history of the south of England, ancient tapestries and the romantic moors of Yorkshire. You see, she came from the north, I from the south, and yet our harmonious conversation was as if we had resumed it from where we left off many years ago. Beautiful evidence that geographic distance was a powerful illusion, we were talking away as if we came from a mapless world altogether.

I like remembering how we laughed together on that journey, we did not have to think about how to do that, they came naturally and freely, at times our chuckles made a big show of just how authentic they were as I became helpless and shed a tear or two of joy, disintegrating my eyeliner with triumph! We had been friends for a long time, in spirit, and it took this one journey on a train to finally satisfy the conventional sensory diet of our everyday eyes.

As I was nearing to Winchester we both knew well what we would ask of each other. I looked at her tiny phone, she looked at mine, and we decidedly grabbed for a pen and paper and exchanged addresses and numbers. I promised that I would write her letters and explained to her that I had a great many pen-pals around the world. At first she was surprised that someone of my more youthful generation still dabbled in epistolary modes of communication. I replied that I was born in the wrong time, and she laughed and patted me on the arm, although I suspect very much that she always knew that. She had decided, somewhere along in the journey, that I was too much of a lovable eccentric, the girl who defiantly chose to walk apart from the crowd, and that is why it was not that difficult for her to see why I still stocked letter-writing stationary on my desk and kept a diligent eye out for the post.

After a farewell tied in warm hugs and good wishes, as authentic as Amma’s, I jumped off the train and onto Winchester platform, waving fondly at Lata ji as her train pulled out of the station and made its way to Southampton. She was visiting a friend. A few days later I gave myself the chance to show Lataji that I was a woman of her word. I kept my promise and wrote her a letter, and at Christmas time she sent one back to me. You can read that story and sample her heartfelt letter in my WordPress blog ‘On The Matter Of A Red Letter Day Because Two Strangers On A Train Became Friends!

Though I am busy these days engaged in preparatory research work for my postgraduate degree for September, as well as, making the most of the summer holidays by trotting off on mini adventures with my mates, I returned home today and before I dumped my bags on the dining room chair I momentarily forgot how to breathe. I had spotted the tell-tale, bright red envelope glowing like a supergiant star from the far end of the table. I tussled with myself about what to do first. Should I freshen up or read the letter? I opted for a compromise. I drank a cup of water and then I sat down and carefully peeled open the rectangular piece of papery ruby.

I shed tear after tear after tear of joy. My dearest Lata ji had sent me an Eid card. Its cover, in delicate and economical strokes, depicted an orange sun peering from between the fronds of sloping palm trees, below two shores flanked still waters while a girl braved a bridge, a yoke across her shoulder, and on each a wide basket of goods hung down. It magnificently summarised the essence of Arundhati’s spirit and the burden of the unknown that she must face on this journey. The beautiful letter that accompanied the card did little to deviate from the theme. Lata ji asks me of the varied challenges of my own life and she makes it clear that she is of the faith that I have the power to overcome them. To this day Lata ji has no access to my WordPress world and therefore she has no clue of what I have been up to of late. In light of that fact, I am awestruck, I am a miniature thunder of applause, I am breathlessly ecstatic and I am more things to which I cannot frame the words to because the computer will go positively bonkers if I keep doing that, but, I am truly satiated to the roof with invincible proof that the truest of friendships are a population of skilled mind readers.

I have yet to write to Lata ji to let her know that I had applied and have been accepted to study a postgraduate degree in Writing for Children, and that when September rolls in the storybook of my life is about to get happily weightier. Should I tell her or should I let her read my mind?

I think I will buy more First Class stamps tomorrow… ♥♥♥

Write Away: Lata Ji’s Eid Greeting Arrived Today!

“… I returned home today and before I dumped my bags on the dining room chair I momentarily forgot how to breathe. I had spotted the tell-tale, bright red envelope glowing like a supergiant star from the far end of the table…”

Write Away: Lata Ji’s Eid Greeting Arrived Today!

“… It magnificently summarised the essence of Arundhati’s spirit and the burden of the unknown that she must face on this journey…”

Write Away: Lata Ji’s Eid Greeting Arrived Today!

“… I am truly satiated to the roof with invincible proof that the truest of friendships are a population of skilled mind readers…

Write Away: Lata Ji’s Eid Greeting Arrived Today!

“… I shed tear after tear after tear of joy...”

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

Bank Holiday Mega Fun: Find A Famous Five!

It is absolutely imperative that if You wish to make this a legendary space odyssey then ensure that You administer the most flawless dosage of Your Jedi mind tricks to secure the co-operation of five of the most competent navigators in Your catchment area! A solid bit of stellar teamwork in the dough mix of Your story will help to consolidate its epic timbre. If You are unconvinced by the arguments of my case then do cast Your minds back and remember that our dear Han would not have gone far without the co-operation of his incomprehensible grunting carpet, Mr Wookie, who was a proper dab hand at chucking the right clunky spanners to his partner, and was also an impromptu tactile counsellor since the soft wall of his brown locks were always a formidable cushion for those feeling a little out of their depth! Now that is an ace partnership in action!

Last night I headed out to town with five of my closest mates whose beautiful and lively visages belie their true awesomeness, a hidden repository of talents belonging to that genre of science fiction – except this is not fiction! A Famous Five with more fierce bang in their engines than all the London fireworks put together and that have ever been set off to usher in the new year, each one of these ladies is a prestigious space cadet proudly in alliance with the Rebel Fleet! And we, buzzing with the delicious suspense of a new adventure, chose to meet and confer round a table inside one of our primary rebel bases here in Winchester which coincidentally, of course, is a public building that likes to moonlight itself as a venue known for its authentic Italian cuisine! Giggle, giggle!

If You have a knack for observant analysis, Your eyes will hone in on with immediate effect on Elsie’s hand supporting her other arm. To the untrained mind it appears so ordinary that You wish You could just pick up the laptop and dunk it in the fish bowl – sorry Banku! – however I might be able to desist You from going bonkers at this stage! Do not think that rest is what these fighters find relief in after a boring Monday morning lecture at the local University. There is serious work to be done, and that is why I have them often practising their overarm slings, tossing and pitching orange spheres whilst simultaneously steering an original Rebel Alliance Starfighter vessel through Winchester’s notorious one-way system. No, I am not making any of this up! Crikey, Your dullard scepticism should be classed as an illegal substance! Gigggggle!!!

Solidarity among Your mates is essential to achieving the ultimate Victory among the stars! Ouch, blimin’ betel nuts – oh, wait a mo, hellllllo, what do we have here…?

May the Force be with You!
Rebel Leader 15, Mazzy ♥♥♥

Bank Holiday Mega Fun: Find Five Of The Finest Compactable Space Cadets!

“… Solidarity among Your mates is essential to achieving the ultimate Victory among the stars…”

 

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

 

Bear Feet Need Not Always Be Bare!

In children’s books words are the deft-defying ambassadors of adventure, beauty, intrigue, delicious frightfulness and hope, the latter is as fantastically dogged and hard-nosed as a rhino who thinks he can beat anyone in the ring because he has just rummaged through a fresh bag of Haribos that has served to induce a huge energy surge in his legs! Whoopsee! Giggle, giggle!

So, with tea and cake in mind, but decidedly deferred till a little later in the day, Katie and I, who are both completely buffoon about books, skidded into Winchester’s only dedicated shop designed to cater for the appetites of those who cannot live without words, and we began to inhale, gulp and wash down the papery treasures neatly laid out in piles on various tables whose order somewhat defied logic. I prefer the exile of systematic pathways in such places, for books were meant to discover You as much as You are meant to discover them, an odd but comforting sentiment that is most effectively reinforced when there is an element of haphazardness in the layout of the fortress – a maze of sorts –  where You never quite know which literary mass will cross Your path. A bit like Life itself, since we never know who is walking round the corner, and  who on our path shall become ‘a star-cross Lover’, except I tend to take editorial liberties at such junctions, prodding Destiny to pen me something far more nicer than that of the tragic ending of Shakespeare’s masterpiece!

Well, today, of all days, a character born out of words swirled his fabulous attire of wonders in my path! Katie and I, in the middle of the bookshop, felt at once as if we were swept off our feet and placed in the very core of the capital itself! Whatever was it that made us believe that we had transported ourselves to one of the most bustling train stations of all of England?

Because and behold and be bewitched…

We had suddenly spotted a certain extremely cuddlesome, furry immigrant!

He told us that he came from Darkest Peru and that his Aunty Lucy had, with breaking heart, sent him to our world so that he may find a loving family and a new home.

A worrying marmalade habit he admitted to, this chap was in possession of the real artefact which he kept safely under his floppy hat in case of those nasty, disastrous moments of Code 5 emergencies!

And, incidentally, it was being found on a London train station that had inspired his rather exceedingly strange but affectionately poised name.

I speak of Paddington, of course!

I do have every right in the universe to whack You on the head with my Poppins umbrella should You have not correctly guessed the figure in question from the first clue alone! Ahem, ahem!

Katie and I jumped with strawberry-flavoured joy to see our dear old Paddy, a modest little bear, lost and unwanted in one of the largest cities in the world, and yet who eventually comes to realise that there was more to him than he had expected. A life of horrid rejection and loneliness is turned on its head thanks to a discovery more splendid than finding gold or diamonds or the lost world of Atlantis! A family to match the colour and bohemianism and outgoing spirit as his own, when the Browns open their doors and arms to the orphan bear, he promptly returns to being his happy self that at times he himself notices that it becomes incredibly tricky to tell the difference between love, marmalade and the sunrise! It was all the same to him because true happiness does that to a bear!

Katie, it is a Sign! We’ve found a rare Paddy Bear, look at those waterproof red wellies he’s got on!” The words blabbed out of my mouth at a speed of knots and if You remember we were in a bookshop, temples of respectable silence, that my rattling of the vocal chords stirred a few heads out of their trances to poke stares at me. I must say none of it was hostile, there were smiles of agreement and a few fond smirks that acknowledged that it was perfectly acceptable for two grown women to be thoroughly passionate about a children’s book character! That is Winchester for You! Giggle, giggle!

May I remind You that Paddy Bear in the film DOES NOT wear any sturdy footwear throughout his time on screen which was a little let down for those of us who had grown up with the books, though it must be said, his pudgy paws all exposed allowed me to admire them in a way I had never done so in the past. He does have the most adorable set of feet, dear Reader, and no matter the grossness of the terrains he must clamber and climb I can never imagine those little digits of his – no not numbers – to ever be smote with stinky feet! It is a bare – sorry – bear thing to be endowed with such stench-busting traits!

Mazzy darling, take the photograph!” Katie was on all stations go! An auspicious acquisition, a bear with no bare feet, equipped with hardy footwear and ready to take on the barbaric temperaments of the British weather system, my friend urged me not to hesitate a second more and I gladly obliged her legitimate whim and took the shot!

The moral of this short tale, as short as the hero in it and the heroine who wrote it, is that time NEVER stands still and nor does Destiny, with a dinky self-sprinkle of Faith in oneself, You never know of all the places You will go. If You do not believe me then ask Yourself, why are YOU reading my words?

Words have the power to hold Your hands even if the weather to be walked under is wet and windy, and by reading this story – that happens to be about a story – tonight You have travelled a little closer to my Home, courtesy of a pair of Wellington boots blessed by the colours that You have already REaD of in the breast of the winter robin and in the strokes of Lata ji’s pen…  ♥♥♥

LINK [A big giver but never did he ask from anyone for a pair of Wellington boots!] https://www.facebook.com/PaddingtonBear/photos/a.157585777634955.33066.125079994218867/1002772773116247/?type=3&theater   

 

Bear Feet Need Not Always Be Bare!

“… Words have the power to hold Your hands even if the weather to be walked under is wet and windy, and by reading this story about a story tonight You have travelled a little closer to my Home, courtesy of a pair of Wellington boots…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester| UK 2015

 

 

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 19: On The Matter Of A Rain-Dear That Tells The Time!

The swell of excitable electrical charges have bubbled up in everyone’s hearts as we draw closer to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when I shall be spending my time with my cheery family, doing constructive nothingness and playing games all day, tired feet pleasantly to be upheld by jelly-belly bean bags we have dotted around the living room and to eat but rich truffles and mince pies and candied cake! I thought today would be such a day but, to my even fonder delight, my students from college called me up and made a cheeky demand that I join them for a tea time spell in our favourite café in town before I retired home! How could I resist?! I jumped out of the house, bags of presents in tow, and caught up with them all!

When I got there I was greeted with loud Victorious shouts and some of the elderly folks who were unwittingly sat nearby momentarily saw their fragile hearts leap out of their chests to plummet, kamikaze style, into the tea cup in front of them! Poor chaps, I did not mean for my presence to startle them out of the complacency of their peace, but my students are famously known to create unrestrained and extravagant shows of their enthusiasm for my Force! Giggle, giggle!

An AMAZING time was had, and my teapot saw many refills that it began to think of itself as a warm Assamese ocean, miniature in size and bordered by a stainless steel shore that shared a riverine passage to a land known as a tea cup! I was so absorbed with the festive atmosphere alit by the beautiful souls of these pure-hearted individuals, my adorable students, that the thought of taking a photograph only struck me at the last minute before I distributed out my farewells!

What have I to share with You?

Mr Ben flaunting his expertise in impersonating a RAIN DEAR – sorry – REIN DEER!

When one orders food from the counter, the waiters issue wooden spoons with numbers painted in red on the bowl section of the utensil which is then lodged inside tiny glass bottles that You take to Your table so that whatever You have ordered from the menu is delivered to the right person. Mr Ben and one of his peers were assigned the numbers ‘7’ and ‘6’ respectively. He simply could not contain himself, the mischief molecules in his system are extraordinarily high, and thus he reached out to pick both spoons and then proceeded to stick them on each side of his head!

Hey presto, a RAIN DEAR – sorry – a REIN DEER endowed with a pair of wooden antlers!

Ah, just admire that sparky smile on his giggling face! Many things there are in this world but somethings are of such magical buoyancy that when they make me tremendously happy I defy gravity itself and float, float and float…

At the time of writing this piece, tonight, a salient icon of enigma and puzzles, Mr Sherlock demonstrates that he and I share a psionic connection, for he too has FLAGGED up the numbers ‘7’ and ‘6’ on his pocket watch! Please click on the link below and pay particular attention to the wording in the caption. Might every Sherlock FAN in every city in the world, all awake at the same time, be causing that gentle breeze in the air where You are, enough to tickle and flutter into Technicolor life, rainbow jigsaws of the sky… ♥♥♥     

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/ModernSherlock/photos/a.181867198528012.40626.118473861534013/905217102859681/?type=3&theater

 

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 19: On The Matter Of A Rain-Dear That Tells The Time!

“… He simply could not contain himself, the mischief molecules in his system are extraordinarily high, and thus he reached out to pick both spoons and then proceeded to stick them on each side of his head…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester| UK 2015

 

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 15: On The Matter Of The Awesome Proton Beam Retaliation Against L’Oréal’s “You’re Worth it!” Campaign!

The sumptuously thick pastries of mince pies dusted with minute sprinkles of sugar glistened before us as did the seductive aroma of freshly siphoned mulled wine laced with its conjugal slice of citrus heaven – a smile of soaked orange – and I was made to feel like I had touched the first clouds of festive heaven because after a very long time I was in the company of two of my very, merry, berry best friends! Christmas time is a roost of a goldmine in my eyes, not for the presents or the shopping frenzy, but for the delicious imminence of reunions and when such meetings occur, especially if they have been agonisingly overdue, anyone looking upon our gatherings will inevitably conclude that they have been quite generously blessed to witness a hobbitina – yes, that would be me – wildly dancing in the throes of jumping joyfulness, as if I had stumbled across the greatest treasure ever come into possession! I love to bring friends together, to catch-up on time that has passed without having seen each other, to share interesting and funny and tender stories with the edifying licence of facial and gestural trimmings that no amount of social media could ever replicate.

So, let me tell You of who I had the ineffable pleasure of hanging out with in the last few days!

You have met Agnes before in my previous stories where we diligently and excitedly explored islands beyond the mainland of England. A Polish beauty in heart, a linguist in aspiration and a face as adorably radiant so as to comply beyond satisfactory levels with the stringent prerequisites of cuteness required by all of Santa’s elfin helpers! Giggle, giggle!

My other very good friend is Chiara who grew up in Michigan and is of German heritage. Since she has lived in America for most of her life, her definition of the word “naughty” was obviously more saucy and bawdy than the more child-friendly original that we British have preserved, hence every time I used the word in her presence – which is very common for a teacher of course –  she would lift an eyebrow worryingly, and only the Lord Almighty knows what thoughts of deepest concern must have shaken her from within to see a respectable lady like myself on occasion blurt out a word that is highly rude in the rudimentary ears of an American! Giggle, giggle! Thankfully, she trusted me enough to muster up a vortex of courage to investigate further what on earth was going on in my head. I laughed out so loud when she told me of her hilarious confusions that I had to make a rapid beeline for the loo! My bladder duties were on the verge of its biggest compromise but I managed to recompose myself, and thus I began to infuse her on the matter of how this particular word had an altogether more harmless meaning within the kingdom of British vocabulary! Whenever we now meet the first thing I say with proud affirmation, as if announcing the battle cry to advance troops to a newly opened shop dedicated to the selling of Haribos is, “Chiara, you have been a very naughty girl!” She giggles and blushes and obliges me oh so neatly by agreeing that she has indeed been a naughty poppet! It is all classic humour between us girls and I do not think that it will ever fade away, even in the days when we will be sprouting silvery hairs on our head and whizzing round the streets with our granny trolleys loaded with our respective granddad husbands! Giggle, giggle!

As You can gather by now we three ladies are endowed with the force-field prowess to deflect the gremlins of dullness from any party suffering from the hex of boredom, simply put, we know how to create shenanigans that lift the spirits and re-paint smiles on faces that have become close to forgetting what such a thing is! Tonight I offer such a sassy portrait of my two beloved chums, with a sleight of hand element thrown in for good measure and I am sure that by now You will want to know eagerly what I mean by that!

Since I am of tomboy construction, one of the most irritating adverts that plummets my telly now and again into a self-destructive buckling up and sizzle is that of the notoriously hideous L’Oréal hair product campaign. Celebrity women with CGI hair and CGI face paste the screen with their locks claiming that the brand could make Your hair look like something that (unfortunately) came out of the Disney windpipe! Hideous and enormously sleep-inducing, my inventive mind wished to combat the sulphuric acidity of these promotions of ultimate deception, deceivingly storm-trooped out of the Dark Side of the West’s capitalistic nature.

From under my sleeve I whip out a comical twist of my own!

Do not let a pink shampoo bottle decide whether “You are worth it!” – or not, for that matter! In other words, dear Reader, do not let the ownership of any sort of external material object become the barometer by which You judge whether You are a worthy giant, human or hobbit. I might have saved money, day and night, for a new camera, yet do not for a second be fooled into assuming that my identity and status rests with this device. It does not. I can live without it. But I cannot live without my imagination.
The things in life that ought to matter are the things that are invested with the magical persistence to exist as echoes in the river of eternity. That which can be packaged or price-tagged and for which the men and women of this world are willing to plunder and ambush are the fleeting illusions of a floating world. Their worth is defined on the competitive plane and the Soul does not speak such a language.

Love and Friendship, two very modestly small words but when they find You in life they angelically remould the world so that it grows inwards, a slow imploding blossom, comfortably smaller, a world whose borders are canvased by the person or people in front of You. I have Faith that You shall see the integrity of these thoughts of mine brilliantly captured in the photograph that I present to You, where the smooth, flowing locks of these maiden friends of mine send out a cheeky but noble proton beam of retaliation against the monster machine of corporative bewitchment, a gentle bit of advertising on our part that sparkles with defiance the message that some things in this short life of ours are worth the battle because, at the end of Eternity, they are “worth it”… ♥♥♥

LINK [Chewie Rallies To Our Cause!]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U9fEv1ld8A

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 15: On The Matter Of The Awesome Proton Beam Retaliation Against L’Oréal’s “You’re Worth it!” Campaign!

“… Love and Friendship, two very modestly small words but when they find You in life they angelically remould the world so that it grows inwards, a slow imploding blossom, comfortably smaller, a world whose borders are canvased by the person or people in front of You…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester| UK 2015

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 13: On The Matter Of Counting Down To ‘The Force Awakens’ And The Curious Case Of My Honourable Bald-Scalped Friend, Sir Thomas!

Only the last piddling dregs of hours remain before the intergalactic touchdown of ‘The Force Awakens’ is unlocked and unleashed into UK cinemas, and even here, in the midget-proportioned abode of Winchester, a fantastical and hugely anticipated midnight screening has been organised by my brother to which we are at this very moment pacing the room with electrical sizzles tingling on the ends of our fingers and toes! This is going to be one very, berry, merry epic night and that is why I scooted over to the laptop to post this slice of cheekiness at an earlier time, engineered thanks to my ALLIANCE with Destiny and that I wish to share with You before I take to the cinematic skies of a galaxy far, far away!

Canons – sorry – cannons based on advanced blaster laser technology, Light-sabers that lovingly express a firm nod of affection to Arthurian combat, characters that hail from distant worlds but whose odysseys we can all relate to and the all-pervasive and sacred sense of Destiny and the Force coursing through the narrative like a master of prescient knowledge, the only ingredient arguably  missing from this fantastical canvas of sci-film mythology is, of course, the speak of tea – or coffee for those plagued with a confused constitution! Giggle, giggle!

It was not long ago that a certain unmet “honourable friend” of mine here on WordPress had begun a rather dramatic and colourful conversational thread with me that had been stimulated as a result of his response to a news piece that concerned a historical war scene: a tense and hair-raising battle out at sea between the British and the Spanish hundreds of years ago. Canon – sorry – cannon fire went ballistic and the Spanish ship had sunk along with its hoard of treasures, and it was the re-discovery of this loot in the submerged remains of the wreckage that prompted international reportage. In the conversational stream that followed between myself and my “honourable friend”, he was most kind enough to lay down a segment of his family history, stating that his lineage had once seen a certain ‘Sir Thomas’ – no, not ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’, that is another steamy story, remember? – and that this chap had fled from the British and the House of Lords because the situation had turned insufferably ‘hot’, heading to a galaxy far far away, in other words, he hopped over that little pond called the Atlantic to set up a new life in the Americas.

Where am I going with this convoluted discussion?

It has made HEAD-LINE NEWS today in British politics, on a day that is but a few hours away from the dramatization of a maritime scuffle of cannons and artifice taken to whole new intergalactic level, that it follows that here in the HOUSE OF LORDS where everyone is addressed as an “honourable friend”, the Prime Minister went head-to-head with a sheepish opponent, a scene that could have easily outwit the best SOAPS ON TELLY!

BUT, that is NOT what has me transfixed!

What has me in a loopy fit of joy and raucous giggles is that among all this hullaballoo, a NUTMEG-TINTED and beautifully BALD-SCALPED chap has his face twice honed in and whose smooth head is of the perfect curvature and surface sheen to fry an egg IF the weather was hot enough here in Britain and, yet, alas, we haven’t the foggiest idea as to who and why he receives this strange dosage of attention?!

I know!

The flighty spirit of Sir Thomas consented to a cameo, lavishing us with a homecoming to his roots and with nutmeg tan in tow to instil a NEW HOPE that the weather is not always so bad on the other side of the pond!

Are You feeling grotesquely discombobulated? I advise an extra strong cup of tea to help settle Your nerves down and if that is no consolation then may I be as audacious enough to submit the following photograph of my “honourable friend” Samka, who has very kindly volunteered to apply a remedial face-lift to the baldy and shiny RED BAUBLE, gently letting them hang on the branches of the CHRISTMAS TREE so as to not let them lose face! Ah, I just pray that she will hold back from squeezing them too hard with the Force of her hands! To come this far and then for things to suddenly go “POP” would be an awful way for You to have Your BUBBLE BURST! Giggle, giggle!

Oh no, wait, on second thoughts, “POP” is an AMERICAN SOUND that translates into “Father”. Could the baldy chap in the House of Lords, our Sir Thomas wannabe, be contemplating defection to the ‘DARK SIDE’?! Yikes!

MARY – sorry – May the Force be with You, my “honourable friend”!
Mazzy xxx

LINK: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-makes-star-wars-joke-during-prime-ministers-questions-a6775401.html

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 13: On The Matter Of Counting Down To ‘The Force Awakens’ And The Curious Case Of My Honourable Bald-Scalped Friend, Sir Thomas!

“Ah, I just pray that she will hold back from squeezing them too hard with the Force of her hands! To come this far and then for things to suddenly go “POP” would be an awful way for You to have Your BUBBLE BURST! Giggle, giggle!”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Sparsholt Countryside| Hampshire | UK 2015

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 12: On The Matter Of A Red Letter Day Because Two Strangers On A Train Became Friends!

Permit me to cast Your sieve-like memory back to the autumn half-term holidays when I had embarked on that very long train voyage up to the Middle Lands to see my family, yes that’s right – that triptych of naughtiest Hobbits whom I interviewed intensively – in the second largest city in England: Birmingham. Well, I never did get round to telling You that the return journey was a most fortuitous one, and that despite the grotesque ailment of a battering case of bad weather and a delayed departure,  I was once again divinely blessed by Good Magic. Is it not an instance of Good Magic when a life-long friendship blossoms itself in the most unlikeliest of places on earth, and more so should we not ascribe greater magical significance to such a friendship that I speak of, for it did not actually forge itself in one particular place but in many places at the same time? After all, when one is on route aboard a chugging train no more is there legitimacy in rooting a location to whatever happens inside the train. You cannot say, “We sat together in Oxford” or “We spoke of the weather in Basingstoke”. Instead, I think it is more natural to abort the concept of fixed places altogether and substitute it with something like, “We had a good laugh together WHILST we were on the train to Winchester”. Therefore, by token of the fluidity of the perception of place, when one is sat on a train, that good laugh becomes in our retelling a beautiful echo because our perception and its associated language stretches the laugh out from the point of departure right down to the destination. “We laughed so very loud on that journey that the conductor told us to keep it down!” Is that not a wonderful thought? A moment shared on a trip receives the coronation of infinitude! And so it was to be that on that day a brilliant friendship was to arise, and its birth I shall always remember as an echo from Birmingham down to the southern shires of my home county.

Go and prepare a nice brew of steaming tea and return promptly so that I may explain in less teasing obscurity what really did happen in that two-and-a-half hour descent back down to the south of England; as for the tea, I theorise that the wisp of its fragrance will satisfyingly augment the mood of enchantment that shall follow in the wake of my words.

Shall I begin?

Ah, yes, delayed departure and bad weather!

My first priority upon entering the partly occupied carriage was to flag down the nearest seat and take residence on it, my mind sharply focused on the delight that would greet my heart as I briskly open my thermal flask to take a swish and slurp of my warm tea so thus to relieve the exhaustion that had succumbed my little legs after waiting for nearly an hour for my train. I spotted a seat to the right, on the aisle, and by the window sat an elderly Asian lady, white streaks of hair among moonlit silver that curved upwards from the head, tightly spun in a bun and her face was gentle, fragile even, with thick black-rimmed glasses. She sat timidly with her hands folded across and her tiny handbag underneath. I could tell that she was not a gypsy traveller like I and that wherever she was headed it was her first time and this was probably why I KNEW that I had to sit next to her.

Excuse me, is this seat taken?” I pointed to the seat next to her, I always do that when asking people if the space beside them is free, somewhere in my thoughts I have engraved the rule that under such circumstances the words spoken would have no effect unless a visual cue, a clarifying gesture, was added into the exchange.

In an extraordinarily gentle voice, somewhere between pillows and marshmallows, the elderly lady replied, “Yes, yes, you can sit here”. I dumped my bits and pieces, taking care not to put her in any discomfort and thanked her profusely for her kindness.

A two-and-a-half-hour journey from the middle of England to the southern shires and pretty much everyone else in the carriage was on their Smartphones. I do not have such a trifle distraction to stop me from seeing the Magic around me and that is why what happened next would not have happened had I been swept away by the modern craze for phones that claim to be smart but, in all honesty, were designed to dumb down the Magic in all of us.

I still have the Magic.

I turned towards the elderly lady and threw in the proverbial British comment about the grisly weather. She agreed that it was nasty out there, and so it began…

By the time I had reached my stop Lata ji knew the names of all my family members as did I of hers, I told her I was from Bangladesh and she informed me that her homeland was in Gujarat in India, I had offered her tea and sweets and she loved that, I replayed the photographs I had shot of my Birmingham adventures from my camera and gave her a premiere recitation of my tales to which she laughed heartily, we spoke of Diwali and I promised that I would send her a card to reach her on time, I learnt that our views on religion and spirituality were exactly the same and we spoke of books at every turn of the conversation with particular zesty affection for Tagore, Ghalib, Kabir, Mira Bhai and Dickens!

Winchester was here and I assured Lata ji that she ought to wait two more stops before hers would arrive and that she need not worry, it was the last one on the line so there was no way in the world she could get it wrong! She smiled with an understated beauty and I was only a few impulses away from taking the lens cap off and taking a portrait of this radiant lady, however this was not the time for photography. It was a time for bowing down in veneration and humility in front of the Compassionate Magic of God and Destiny as it PRESENTED to me the PRESENT of the PRESENT. In a flash as bright and lively as the yellow and white fireworks flickering into the night of a chilly winter sky, my Spirit soared towards my Allah and I thanked Him that this had truly been a year of remarkable GOOD MAGIC. A year shimmering in the Light of AMAZING REUNIONS and DESTINED UNIONS, I salute to my Creator!

The platform banner read ‘Winchester’ and I hesitantly stood up, collected my belongings and exchanged last farewells with my dear Lata ji, but that would simply not do justice and I dropped everything again and reached out to hug a wonderful human being, planting a kiss on her cheek and she did the same to me, too. I felt at that moment that God had blessed me with two mothers, two sets of arms to cradle my cheeky naughty face, and I in turn had two ladies for whom I would go to the ends of the earth to gift them my own handmade cup of tea.

I watched the train pull out of the station and could no longer see the devotional face of Lata ji. I smiled to myself and took a deep breath of air into my lungs, an acceptance speech without the stilts of words, paying homage to Destiny and its mysterious and exceptional adeptness to weave conditions that do not make any sense at the time, sometimes at our annoyance, only to be later enlightened by the true reasons for their orchestrations. Just imagine, had my train arrived on time and if the weather was sunny as honey there would have been no Lata ji and a lack of an ice-breaker based on the British principle that bad weather makes for good conversation!

As Diwali approached – the Festival of Lights – I sat down by my desk and wrote out a letter to my friend, Lata ji, which coincidentally was written on a card that I had bought from The Louvre Museum in Paris. The cover depicted an open antique map of the world, a symbol of my adventurous nature and a compendious globetrotting articulation of how Lata ji and I had met – on the dazzling unknown patterns of the open road…  

GUESS WHAT?

Today, 15-12-15, became a personal RED LETTER day for me. Sent by jolly old second class post which would account for why it arrived a few days after it was penned, the envelope shone with a portly-bellied and utterly adorable Mr Robin perched as a guardian in the top corner and as soon as I laid eyes on the porcelain delicate handwriting addressed to me I knew who my sender was! With bated breath, excitedly and anxiously, I rushed to open my red gem and inside, whichever way I read or looked, True Friendship pulsated in JOY-JOY-JOY that was as as Red as my beloved robin’s chubby breast. A wreath Ring bowed with red ribbon was stencil cut on the cover but Lata ji had added her own creative touches of the red stickered ‘Merry Christmas’ and a single red star, as if she had somehow read my recent writings on my starry role in storytelling. This lady has no internet access but, glory to God, witness the power of TRUE FRIENDSHIP as it transcends the barriers of conventional time and space. I shan’t say any further about what she wrote, for I present to You her words, let this remarkable friend of mine speak for herself!

Please retrieve Your Admiral Telescopes, You shall be needing them if You are keen to know what was penned by this lovely soul. As an end note to this post I should like to remind You once again that anyone can make ‘friends’ on Facebook but True Friendship will always find its beginnings in the most strangest of places and unlikeliest of moments, defying the tests of time and space and convention. It is a thing far more powerful than Love, for True Friendship is ALWAYS two-sided otherwise it does not meet the criteria; it is a calm and undemanding relationship that even years may pass before contact is made again and the silence in between is never for once regretted, rather it is sacred and infused with the scent of an eternal Spring. Friends allow each other spaces to grow and develop and to be the very, merry, berry best that they can ever be…

Victory to True Friendship! ♥♥♥  

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 12: On The Matter Of A Red Letter Day Because Two Strangers On A Train Became Friends!

“… I PRESENT to You her words, let this remarkable friend of mine speak for herself… “

 

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 12: On The Matter Of A Red Letter Day Because Two Strangers On A Train Became Friends!

“…. A wreath ring bowed with red ribbon was stencil cut on the cover but Lata ji had added her own creative touches of the red stickered ‘Merry Christmas’ and a single red star…”

 

Christmas Month Puzzle Box 12: On The Matter Of A Red Letter Day Because Two Strangers On A Train Became Friends!

“… the envelope shone with a portly-bellied and utterly adorable Mr Robin perched as a guardian in the top corner…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | My Home|Winchester | UK 2015

Tune Into Joy – An Ode To Maya Angelou!

I know why the Free Bird sings
With a joyous thrill
Of a True Love unmet
But longed for still
And Alex’s T-Shirt caught his tune
He wishes to meet me, with tea and spoon
‘V’-shaped wings flap out on both sides
An ‘X’ in the middle to show Winchester hides
On this distant hill
By the windowsill
For I am the Free Bird, I joyfully sing
Even in the depths of night, my Pen lingering

To my Eternal Love… ♥ ♥ ♥ 

"... And Alex’s T-Shirt caught his tune He wishes to meet me, with tea and spoon ‘V’-shaped wings flap out on both sides An ‘X’ in the middle to show Winchester hides..."

“… And Alex’s T-Shirt caught his tune
He wishes to meet me, with tea and spoon
‘V’-shaped wings flap out on both sides
An ‘X’ in the middle to show Winchester hides…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2015

A Trip To Long Barn Lavender Farm With Agnes & Suzi!

As is the sparkling tenacity of the humble spider to thrust out glittering and webbed lifelines to create the opportunity of acquiring new fruits, so it is that I believe the natural world, with pristine elegance, flings its invisible webs onto me, tying onto and pulling in my beating heart towards it so that I may lose myself in the ceaseless bounties of its sensual wonders. Having parted from my car many, many years ago and in its stead choosing to walk, plus complimented with my love for gardening, I am an excitable witness to the extraordinary ballet of the changing seasons. Often jumping up and down with the sprightly eagerness of a little girl as I rush about to announce to everyone that I have spotted the delicate petals of the first white snowdrop flower, the hopeful symbol of the cessation of winter and the dawn humming of spring, I have always been fascinated by the connection I share with Mother Nature. How to tell You of the countless times of how the observation of the hoppy red-breasted robin or the deep crimson eyes of holly berries put a merry skip in my step, desperate to put into words of what was seen into my diary entry for the day, how could one ever be tired of the natural world?! Lambs being born, chestnuts swaying in crisp autumn air and the heady scent of bonfires in November, I cannot be kept away from the stunning drama that continuously weaves in front of me when I step out of my front door. Magic is never more than an arm’s length away, if only – yes, if only – You are acrobatic of mind and willing to believe in it.

To this end, I invite You to my latest short-as-a-short-biscuit adventure! Can You guess the loudness of the fanfare that shook my ears to a happy jelly when my friend, Suzi, told me that she was going to take me and our mutual mate, Agnes, down to the Long Barn Lavender Farm in Alresford for a snippy pampering break away from our busy lives! Indeed, I WAS IN SEVEN HEAVEN!!!

Traditionally renowned for its medicinal properties as a calming herbal sedative, aiding restful sleep and soothing the nerves of those feeling a tad bit frayed, Lavender is one of my favourite flowers in the botanical world and I am pleased to say that I grow two varieties in my own garden from which I concoct handmade lavender and camomile teas, a perfect brew to be enjoyed iced in the summer or as a steamy beverage for when the long, cold, winter nights draw in, a perfect tipple just before bedtime. Should You ever come and visit me in my house I promise to host You with these delicious specimens – and will even pop a hand-sewn tiny sachet of lavender flowers in Your pocket to invoke calmness in times of difficulty.

It is a mild and tranquil fragrance and a most beloved friend in the floral kingdom. When we arrived I could make out its pleasant scent even before my visual faculties had a chance to make contact, as if the soul of something sublime and mysterious and yet familiar had leapt out of its physical cage to greet me! Wreaths of heart-shaped bundles of the flower and wide fields of its purple canopies opened up its pages before me, a profoundly exotic impression. I grew its relative in modest amounts back home, but here on the farm it was different. A Mecca of swaying purple heads, each a little pupil of scent that vied for my attention. I was humbled, terribly and beautifully humbled.

That is exactly the reason why, with majestic application of discipline, I refused to photograph any of the lavender flowers. Photography cannot impart the ecstasy that binds the olfactory domain, it must be felt in person otherwise You risk losing its authenticity to an unfair demotion. All three of us simply breathed in the sweetness of the earthly-bound purple clouds and vibrantly chatted over lavender tea, conveniently stratified with moist rich raspberry and lemon drizzle cake whilst wistfully looking out over fields and fields of floral spells that surely, in such vast quantities, I imagined to have the power to enchant an eternal sleep of peace for whomsoever fell into her heavenly scented bosom.

HOWEVER, photography was not strictly dismissed!

Whilst I was at Long Barn my aura was drawn to the energies of a few intriguing features that I believe are strongly of relevance or correlation to my beloved Reader. There is one particular Reader I wish to dedicate this story to, whom I saw in my dream last night – he handed me a gift that was messily but lovingly wrapped in purple, it was followed by a warm and wholesome hug that saw me waking up this morning with a smile that tasted accurately of the beauties of all the four seasons. For You today, allow me to profuse Your tired and weary Soul with the healing needles of a treasured purple flower… :)) :)) :))

Your Eternal Seamstress Of Pen & Flowers,
Mazzy xxx

“Ask a sincere gardener the magical ingredients that lie behind the wonderful theatre of lushness and growth that sees seeds turn into flowers and they will speak of the basic potions of Light, water and food, but then will edge closer and touch Your arm and, in an assured whisper, reveal that those things simply lend height and girth; only Friendship, the truest and unweatherable kind, will add an impossibly incomprehensible depth of colour, the God-hand whom painters tirelessly seek…”   

“It is absurd a misconception that one needs muscles – sorry – mussels to ride my favourite wheel-eyed invention, and for those of You suffering an abominable ‘total black out’ at the mind’s horizon, may I ardently suggest that, like the quirky example I am, You ought to pack Your bags and go off trotting, though by that I do not mean shifting from country to country. To see in Orange Vision You must brave new worlds, some of the most perilous frontiers do not exist on maps, they perniciously inhabit within us…”

“It is absurd a misconception that one needs muscles – sorry – mussels to ride my favourite wheel-eyed invention, and for those of You suffering an abominable ‘total black out’ at the mind’s horizon, may I ardently suggest that, like the quirky example I am, You ought to pack Your bags and go off trotting, though by that I do not mean shifting from country to country. To see in Orange Vision You must brave new worlds, some of the most perilous frontiers do not exist on maps, they perniciously inhabit within us…”  

“Like the festive mistletoe under which a kiss wanted is a kiss granted, inside the farm’s wooden-beamed barn, I secretly smiled under the lightbulb and wished that my Soulmate could leap through space and time and meet me at this spot. Dear ‘Paddington’, should You be reading this know that we do not have to wait for Christmas to exchange a kiss, any light fixture would be happily obliging to act as an intermediary, a hanging ball of sweet Orange marmalade to watch us as we bind lips together…”

“Like the festive mistletoe under which a kiss wanted is a kiss granted, inside the farm’s wooden-beamed barn, I secretly smiled under the lightbulb and wished that my Soulmate could leap through space and time and meet me at this spot. Dear ‘Paddington’, should You be reading this know that we do not have to wait for Christmas to exchange a kiss, any light fixture would be happily obliging to act as an intermediary, a hanging ball of sweet Orange marmalade to watch us as we bind lips together…”  

“I bought two items from the barn shop: Scented candles are a staple property of the ambience of my home in the long winter months, I light them from early evening until bedtime, often writing by their Light and whenever my eyes catch sight of its thin wispy flame I am reminded, with poetic fluency, that even in the most impenetrable depth of night, children of the Sun are by my side to guide my writing hand through the snow forests of white paper. The second of the items I saw in a dream, given to me by a Loving hand – he was terrible at wrapping but it was his inadequacy and effort that made it altogether more priceless…”

“I bought two items from the barn shop: Scented candles are a staple property of the ambience of my home in the long winter months, I light them from early evening until bedtime, often writing by their Light and whenever my eyes catch sight of its thin wispy flame I am reminded, with poetic fluency, that even in the most impenetrable depth of night, children of the Sun are by my side to guide my writing hand through the snow forests of white paper. The second of the items I saw in a dream, given to me by a Loving hand – he was terrible at wrapping but it was his inadequacy and effort that made it altogether more priceless…” 

“And, here is that mystery object which was concealed inside the wrapping. A square tea coaster bearing the charming illustration of someone whom I have an undying affection for rests on my bookshelf; I shall reserve Your own interpretative faculties to absorb the timelessness of the message…”

“And, here is that mystery object which was concealed inside the wrapping. A square tea coaster bearing the charming illustration of someone whom I have an undying affection for rests on my bookshelf; I shall reserve Your own interpretative faculties to absorb the timelessness of the message…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Long Barn Lavender Farm | Alresford | UK 2015

To Annette: A Bit Of Idol Worship!

I secured the vow to myself long ago that if the camera was indeed to be my accomplice in life, in tow with the pen, that I would deploy this magical piece of gizmo to celebrate the stories of the people who inhabit or, by happenstance, enter my universe. Never to promote or popularise my own face, in time my humble camera soon became the teacher of selfless action, a non-intrusive means to perform the spiritual exercise of abstaining from at least one of the indulgences of the ego. What followed was a double sense of blessing as it soon came upon me that I levitated with immeasurable joy whenever the opportunity arose to recite and archive, in pictures and words, the story of those dear to me, and, of course, not in any degree less so for those souls that, by fated force, crossed my path in the journey.

A most treasured, dearest friend and Fairy Godmother, Annette, is one such soul whom my camera has defiantly promised to always seek, for Annette is a goldmine for painting the sort of portraiture that overthrows the slightest slivers of despair or sadness away from the mind of the viewer. Annette never ceases to amaze me with her infectious sense of humour, firework charisma and incandescent optimism. In short, and to my pride and joy, she is my idol, a figure that awes and inspires and I pray that even when I reach her golden age I am able to carry that same magnitude of citrusy zest for life and share it with others, as she has done so for me.

If You ever feel the need to shake hands with the person responsible for putting the edge into my cheeky eccentricity and who sealed my Destiny as the 5ft 1 hobbitina that happily suffers from an irreversible bout of eternal optimism then, here is your saintly culprit: Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, please give a round of an applause to my Star Idol, Annette… :)) :)) :))


LINK TO PAST ARTICLE:
http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Photography-A-Portrait-Of-A-Star-Meet-My-Friend-Annette/511979/2051432/view

"... Annette never ceases to amaze me with her infectious sense of humour, firework charisma and incandescent optimism..."

“… Annette never ceases to amaze me with her infectious sense of humour, firework charisma and incandescent optimism…”

"... she is my idol, a figure that awes and inspires and I pray that even when I reach her golden age I am able to carry that same magnitude of citrusy zest for life and share it with others, as she has done so for me..."

“… she is my idol, a figure that awes and inspires and I pray that even when I reach her golden age I am able to carry that same magnitude of citrusy zest for life and share it with others, as she has done so for me…”

"... I secured the vow to myself long ago that if the camera was indeed to be my accomplice in life, in tow with the pen, that I would deploy this magical piece of gizmo to celebrate the stories of the people who inhabit or, by happenstance, enter my universe..."

“… I secured the vow to myself long ago that if the camera was indeed to be my accomplice in life, in tow with the pen, that I would deploy this magical piece of gizmo to celebrate the stories of the people who inhabit or, by happenstance, enter my universe…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2015