Plan Z Rocks!

It didn’t quite go according to plan.

We three skidded into the ever elegant estate of Lainston House, breathless and wet and with worked up appetites. I lurched over the counter, resembling a sack of potatoes to be honest, and asked the lady if there were any tables free. Even as I spoke I could not help imagining in my mind my great big rhino-sized nostrils taking in the sweet scent of rose tea, gobbling down little sponge cakes so fast as to leave the waiters and waitresses completely gobsmacked, grinning with supreme satisfaction while the last of the crumbs on my lips and dimple catch the light, appearing I should think like stowaway stars.

The lady said ‘no’.  Half-term and a Saturday spelled full house. There was no room in the inn.

We were a bit gutted to say the least.

However, where a Plan A gets totally demolished a Plan Z grows in its place! We returned home and made our own afternoon tea special, a delightful medley of Azerbaijani tea served in fetching fine china with an eye-pleasing thick slice of walnut cake. And that was not to be all. The darkening dusk unfurled with it curiosity and wonder as we touched on topics from around the world, time fading as the present infused with stories of the past and of other distant lands. Ottoman Empires, Viking boats, Moroccan souks and magical amulets of bushy-tashed Maharajahs.

As I was saying, Plan Z…

Words & Pictures: ©Mazzy Khatun | UK 2018   

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When The Thermal Socks Came Out!

An unforgiving cold day, the chill glinting like steel tongues of knives and dark black ravens cawing and circling above trees stripped of leaves, a day when the flesh desired to sit by warm fires and drink steaming tea sweetened with last year’s honey, we three friends nevertheless stepped forth from the thresholds of our safe dens and met in town. In no time soon, our giggles and laughter mingled and our eyes twinkled like precious stones unearthed from faraway galaxies, and I discovered, like my good friend Mr. Camus had once said, ‘in the depths of winter, I found there was in me, an invincible summer.’ ♥

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | UK 2018

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Monochrome Series: Friends In High Places

I have friends in high places

Like the bear in the photo 

Climber he is of dense trunks and riotous branches

Trees are blotters of the sky

In Darkest Peru

He pads by night quietly over leaf litter

Seeking odd jars of marmalade

And sometimes his sensitive snout draws him to other places

Like England, Pret Cafe, our table

The acne-faced teenagers in the puffer jackets roll their eyes,

And they snigger, whisper

But he rolls his sleeves up nevertheless

And climbs and climbs and climbs some more

My bear doesn’t care

He knows that he is rising towards us

Like dawn and waves and the beginning of time

Did I tell you that I had friends in high places? 

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | UK 2018

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Monochrome Series: Rowdy Friends (incl. Paddington Bear)

Inspired by a recent exploration of the black-and-white photographic archives of George Lucas and Rian Johnson on the making of their respective Star Wars films, I took the plunge and began my own first ever serious experimentation with this distinct mode of seeing and cataloging the world. So accustomed to colour have I always been, as if it were the sole essence and definer of perception I was, to confess, a tad prickled by the prospect of omitting it completely from the frame. If light was the mother of optics then surely colour was the crowning blossom, that which the eye was designed to seek out and luxuriate in its infinite varieties.

I was wrong.

In my maiden foray into a world extracted of colour I learnt that far from this preconceived notion that I was about to eviscerate the very lifeblood from visual phenomena, I was instead met by a gasp of discovery. I had arrived in a world that spoke through contrast and lines and textures, where the self-administered hibernation of the visible spectrum of colour awoke in its place a new kind of interpretative fluency in the deeper dialects of nostalgia and reflection.

There are no rainbows in black-and-white because there is too much of its arc and wire, the raw and resolving and celebratory poetics of a creative Universe.

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | UK  2018    

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

The murk of the underworld and I lunged my hand down

Saw her faded orange

Skin scarred, bruised

I picked her

That evening magicked words

Into the crypt of her womb

Words that drew into the deep black

Smiling earth-bound flickers

Of the sun’s maternal flesh:

Light.

Light.

Light.  

 

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | 2017

Happy Halloween!Happy Halloween!Happy Halloween!

On An Otherworldly Day

Sands from the Saharan Desert, a world far far away, journeyed on the backs of forceful winds, eventually spraying itself over the skies of our British Isles, and in its wake softening our sun to a quiet yet resolute timbre of red.

Below, our feet still sought adventure in the grounds of Lainston House.

Pictures and Words by © Mazzy Khatun | 2017

 

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The Dreaming: Chapter 1 The Keen Mind Of Arundhati Mehta

Arundhati Mehta had a face as small and shy and quiet as the silver moon on a fair spring night. It was this reason why no one ever came remotely close in discovering that she was one of the most brilliant agents ever employed in the history of The British Secret Service. And by golly, she was awfully good at what she did because she did not see the world as others saw it. Instead, she observed it.

In a sleepy village nestled on the Churia Hills of Nepal, Arundhati lived with her old mother in a tiny house perched on a slope filled and squashed with many other houses like her own. Her house was the only one that had white-washed walls that gleamed fiercely under the noonday sun, as if it were a blazing pearl that had formed under the tuition of something mysterious, and that it was this very source of mysteriousness that had also chosen to carve this pearl into the shape of a square. A square of comfort, her home. This fascinated Arundhati to no end. She had noticed it first when she was a little girl, and though the house was of modest proportions and built of common materials, she always thought of it as rather special because of this very startling way it behaved under the light.

Arundhati was a keen observer of other things too. She had an unceasing passion for making silent studies of the whole of the natural world that lay before her, its giant undulating carpet of fantastic landmarks and living things always set her eyes darting in every direction. She seemed as if she were catching something with them, something in the air that no one else could see. On her way to school, for instance, she would take note of the murmuring greens that hummed and sang throughout the vast broadleaf forests and admire how they remained standing straight despite all the elements that came down upon them. The reassuring and magical and unspoken authority of these giant creatures were her personal treasures, she told herself,  and this year she had promised herself that she would go out of her way in the summer holidays and build a den from scratch. She imagined it would grow from under her favourite sakhua tree, a secret place where she could read her best books and write up her stories whilst listening out for the loud calls, and even glimpsing, the lightning-blue dives of the white-throated kingfisher as they spritzed through the furtive lairs of the forest.

Once or twice she had even spotted the wayward sloth bear making his sluggish way to who knows where. She was certain it was the same one because his shaggy black coat was extraordinarily long, so long that only a bear that could not possibly part from his proud hair could ever grow his furs to that enormous length! Oh, and as for the tricky task of jotting down the distinct markings that decorated the regal coat of the Bengal tiger, she had never dared to stay too long to find out. It was not so much that the fear of being eaten overpowered her natural love for discovery, more that when those big yellow eyes turned and gazed at her she felt as if that magnificent face would any time open its jaws and give her a good telling off, as like a teacher or parent would. That is why she carefully walked away and let the tiger go about its own business, but undoubtedly, she had always revered them. Their blood was made of heat, a direct walking descendant of the sun itself, she was sure of that.

But, it was without fail, that she would always get into a spot of trouble with the one person she loved the most in the world. Gazing for hours and hours at whatever came her way meant that she could be relied upon for forgetting to return home on time. Her mother – whom she affectionately called ‘Amma’ – prayed everyday that her daughter would come round her senses soon and realise that it was a naughty and devious thing to do to keep her waiting and letting all the delicious dishes, that she had so carefully prepared, get cold. Once cold it never tastes the way it should, her mother would protest in a huff, but alas, the words would simply float over Arundhati’s head and disappear. Time and again, Arundhati’s mother was forced to stand guard at the doorstep in the evening, her eyes scouring the lane back and forth, all in the hope that her unruly girl would pop out from the diminishing crowds of passing folk.

Arundhati was sat on the forest floor that day not far from her house, sketching away a most handsome bloom of white rhododendron heads when suddenly her Amma’s voice shattered through the silence like a storm, only it was familiar and reassuring.

Beti Arundhati!! Your dhal and bhaat are getting cold – AGAIN! When will you ever grow up?! Come on!!

Amma, I am coming!” But she was in no hurry at all, because her mother never really, truly got angry with her. Her threatening mannerisms, certainly scary to outsiders who did not know her, were actually showy acts manufactured to speed things up. Arundhati slowly got up from the ground and cleared away little bits of the forest world that had clung onto her clothing like orphan souls, shaking off stray leaves and smudgy soil from the back of her jeans, and gently picking off a spotty green and black beetle that had taken a liking to her right arm and laying it with care on a nearby branch.

Beti Arundhati!! Make a move on otherwise….” and then there was a silence in which Arundhati could hear her mother thinking, “… I will throw your letter in with the pile of dried wood that your Uncle Alok has just collected and it will burn nicely and you will never see it!

A letter! Arundhati knew exactly who that would be from! She no longer thought it wise to be as slothful as the sloth bear, there was something at home, waiting, something that needed her urgent attention. She jumped onto the path that led the way to her house. But unknown to her, Arundhati’s hurried paces caused her to step on the tail of a sleeping Bengal tiger that had taken rest in between the dense fronds of concealing bracken. The creature let out a yelp and then felt terribly embarrassed. When it turned to face the path to see what had hit him there was nothing there, only that something had moved fast, leaving an impressive trail of sand and dust. ♥♥♥

The Dreaming: Chapter 1 The Keen Mind Of Arundhati Mehta

“… Arundhati was sat on the forest floor that day not far from her house, sketching away a most handsome bloom of white rhododendron heads…”

The Dreaming: Chapter 1 The Keen Mind Of Arundhati Mehta

“… She imagined it would grow from under her favourite sakhua tree, a secret place where she could read her best books and write up her stories…”

The Dreaming: Chapter 1 The Keen Mind Of Arundhati Mehta

“… and gently picking off a spotty green and black beetle that had taken a liking to her right arm and laying it with care on a nearby branch…”

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

Mazzy’s Rebel Alliance Crew, Recipe For Bogey Mischief Stew!

Welcome to Mazzy’s fantastical Rebel Alliance crew
A veritable recipe for unpalatable mischief stew
A night remembered, for when ordered tea at the bar in lieu
Bladder burst open laughing upon hearing the bartender’s curfew
For tea, especially, was strictly served before 5pm and no later was due
No concession allowed even as I recited tales of the bogey I blew!

 A most insufferable battle was under way in a remote sector of the Alpha Centauri System, one in which we found ourselves hanging on a thread for dear life after the proton torpedo unit of our ship had become massively clogged up with sludgy bombardments of lavender and lime jelly. Things had turned terribly messy, but I think it was when the highly venerated vending machine, famous for dispensing Haribos and packets of popcorn, started to spew out offensive jets of purple sludge that even the most optimistic of us were brought down and took on morbid thoughts. We were as sure as anything that this was to be the abysmal death of the last of the most decorated members of the Alliance!

In all the frenzied madness my voice fidgeted for attention but drowned in the noise, akin to a drip of water overshadowed by the boastful growl of a thunderclap, and no matter how loudly I spoke none of my team members could hear me. It was imperative that I calmed everyone down and I had do it soon otherwise, forget about the enemy striking us down, it would be the deeds of our own misdirection that would be the demise of us!

As if I was detached from the scene and no longer one of the crew, my exasperated eyes now only scanned the faces of my peers with a sort of exhausted apathy, and I quickly shot a glance out of the thick-pane of the window and saw to my bloated dismay the nuclear jelly reactor of the enemy vessel intensifying its concentration of reserves. My guess was that they had lost interest in this game of teaser-style thumping of viscous slimy particles at our ship and were now prepared to wipe us out completely. Cosmic creepers, jeepers sweepers!

My little head surveyed the deck at frantic speed and even at the last tethers of hope my gut was prodding me with handy advice. Alas, I in my sickening state could hear nothing, and I must say with the panic hitting the rooftop there was no chance of anyone hearing anyone else out, even if it were an orchestra of elephants trumpeting out notes on the fullest volume possible its cacophony would not stir the eardrums.

When my head goes fuzzy with umpteen strands of crisis scenarios brewing in them I tend to let out steam in the most diabolical way imaginable. I sneeze! And with it the nasal passages are cleared and swept of their pea-green conglomeration of mucus, or as we Brits like to call it, the bogey! It is of course an act of great service to that part of the body that always seems to receive much less credit than it really ought to deserve. An unflattering filtration and venting system, the nose and its vertical caverns is a marvel of evolutionary invention and the beau to every handkerchief that ever was embroidered!

We need to make mischief stew!” I muttered to myself and then clicked my fingers and suddenly the pandemonium on the deck did not appear as bad and dire as it was at first. A solution, in the most literal sense of the word, had risen up in my nose and herein was our only chance at defeating that nasty ship over yonder!

As my anxiety inflated so did the pre-sneeze motions, it was growing bigger and bigger and bigger, and like a speeding dart, I jumped into my seat in the middle and stood up and clanged and clashed my sneakers against the control panel that was blatantly malfunctioning as above it many sparks were flickering on and off like a miniature fireworks display.

LADIES!” No one paid the slightest bit of attention to me since they were too busy racking their sizzled brains and fiddling with their individual panels, still somewhat assured that the right press of a button would release enough of something to weaken the annoyingly tight defences of the enemy vessel. I was about to repeat my addressing the team, “LA – “, when the compressed pressure stored at the top of my nose gave way and I blew HARD!

ACHOOOOOO!!” A gale force of nasal winds burst out of my nostrils, sending the draping locks of all my beautiful crew members to rise and fly and undulate as one would expect in a glamorous shampoo advert! But, what really caught everyone’s attention was the fact that not only dry winds exuded from these nostrils of mine, for with these fantastic winds came a superior inundation of green snot, some as hard as dried concrete, and others as gooey as semolina soup! I had only sneezed once, however, the contents of my nose decisively chose to divide out and splatter itself on the faces of each member of my crew. No one was spared! I had not bet on this outcome and shrugging my shoulders, breathlessly, sent everyone a sincere and apologetic smirk.

Sorry…” Silence fell in the room like a slab of stone into a bathtub of water.

No one moved a muscle. Would I be irreparably condemned by my peers for breaching decorum in the most disgustful manner ever possible? I gulped hard and tried to swallow and I do believe, since every ear-nose-throat specialist will avow – that traces of the snot mixture slid down my gullet! It was not nice, and I know that I do not need to say it in order for You to believe it!

Elsie stood up, her eyes not tearing away from my gaze, and my heart sank to see that her pretty fairy wreath on her head was mercilessly doused in my nasal fluids. I pursed my lips and screwed my eyes and wished that somebody could teleport me off this ship.

She raised her hands and then brought them today. CLAP! Oh my lord, she was clapping and then a most angelic smile gleamed off her face!

Emily stood up, and she clapped whilst wiggling her hips!

Gemma leapt off her seat and when she did a fat blob of bogey dripped off from her chin and slobbered down to the floor as if it were a gush spewed out by a waterfall! She began clapping, too!

Agnes pushed her chair back, wiped a wall of crusty snot off her eyelashes and then proceeded to clap before passing a wink at me!  

 Chiara shook her hair and bubbles of green slime flew all over the control panels in front of her, and then she raised her hands above her head and clapped in slow and emphatic beats. It was not a rock concert but her style of applause would have fooled You into believing that she was at the front row gawping and salivating at the sight of her favourite band!

Charlie thrust her chest forward, hands on her hips and putting on a remarkable Wonder Woman stance, she nodded decisively before bursting into strawberry giggles followed by a round of high frequent claps!

Kayleigh’s red hair had turned green, uniformly coated in my internal bacterial juices, and she flicked a ringlet of her curls with pride and with a reasserted stare clapped triumphantly!

Tasha went berserk! Oh, and yes, she did clap!

MISCHIEF STEW!” We shouted out loud and made a beeline to the nuclear reactor of our ship, a downward tunnel of metal whose lower echelons glowed in incandescent shimmering reminiscent of the northern lights. Stood all of us around the ring of the reactor tunnel, I pulled out of my pocket a tiny bottle of Amma’s ground black pepper and sumptuously opened the lid. All eyes were on me. My face peeped out a knowing smile which set alight a similar smile in my crew members. Dismissing the need for a countdown and without warning, I shook the bottle and the grainy contents spurted into the air like dust mites and hovering there for a while they came down and we let it stream down into our nasal passages.

Immediately our noses itched! Then they seriously itched! Our eyes flickered and the attacking sneeze reflex began quickly to build up and our tummies trembled, the body not knowing when it would eject the punchy blow.

But it happened and it happened at the same time, an orchestra without the auspices of a conductor, timed in perfection only thanks to the regularity of basic biology!

ACHOOOOOOOOOOO!” The catastrophic burst of green matter and energy expulsed out of our delicate noses and then shot down the vast cavity of the reactor tunnel, splicing through the fancy lights without any regard as like an outlawed vendetta of bogey fibres whose aim was to steal down that tunnel and cause havoc at the other end. Finally the bogey collected itself at the triangulation sensor that was towed to the end of the ship. An automated gizmo, when the bogey cargo made contact with the sensor board it was immediately jettisoned in the direction of the enemy vessel. A neon green line trailed the vacuum of silent space and we watched from the window, tense and admittedly unsure even to this point as to whether our bogey balls would be potent enough to bring down the machinery of our foul nemesis.

It seemed like forever.

What if they were armed with a counteractive measure?!

We waited and waited, and saw the line of pea-green approach the target closer and closer, and yet not close enough. I needed the loo, the suspense was surely worse than death!

Come on, come on…!” I think everyone said these words in their own way in those few dreary eternal seconds.

A purple cloud began to accumulate in the centre of the enemy vessel. A retaliating procedure was put into initiation. Would our bogey go to waste after all?

The purple patch grew deeper.

The green line edged closer.

The purple patch brightened up a notch before a hatch opened in its centre. The killer jelly was orientated into position.

I could not take it anymore. I wished to be out there and help push that bogey stream so that it reached its target quicker, for at present it was mimicking the race track records held by the average garden snail! Panic-stricken, I dug my hand into my pocket and pulled out the bottle of ground black pepper and sprinkled the remaining grains into the air and I ate it, I ate the air!

MAZZY!?” Elsie screamed. Everyone turned to me, open-eyed and grabbed me by the elbow. My eyes flickered rapidly and I began to suck the air through my mouth, haphazardly, while my nose plunged into the infernal itch I had ever encountered.

Sneeze, Mazzy, SNEEZE!” They were all actively provoking me to let the goods out of the bag!

ACHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

The exceptional propulsion of the sneeze pushed me back against the wall and the entire ship accelerated forward and as it did the green bogey line in space was thrust magnificently onward before splattering against their ship. In moments the core electronics of the enemy vessel endured a massive energy failure before a cawing shriek of metal resounded, or so we thought, as in space it is common lore that sounds cannot travel through it. Sparks fizzed and small lightning bolts jabbed around the vessel like daggers controlled by invisible hands. I wanted to see what other contortions they would let us the pleasure of witnessing, however, it appeared that the cumulative bogey collections of prime Rebel Alliance fighters was too much bogey for one day and they must have chickened out, for they had vanished, shooting out of range thanks presumably to that little hyperdrive button. It was a most uncouth and vulgar and humiliating way to lose out on an interstellar arm wrestle! Squawk, squawk!

We fell on one another in relief! Laughing at our amazing victory, I acknowledged we had survived the lethality of what could have been our last battle and thanked my crew members from the heart.

Mazzy’s Rebel Alliance Crew, Recipe For Bogey Mischief Stew!

“… We fell on one another in relief! Laughing at our amazing victory…”

We need to celebrate and give our noses a well-earned break!” Elsie always came up with the most majestic ideas!

I cleared my throat and my eyes playfully hopped from face to face as I slowly made out the words, “Mos Eisley Cantina!

YES!

I sat on the captain’s seat and in my so-solid British accent instructed, “Set course for Mos Eisley and make it at the double!

Mazzy’s Rebel Alliance Crew, Recipe For Bogey Mischief Stew!

Set course for Mos Eisley and make it at the double!

When we arrived at Mos Eisely Cantina, bustling from wall to wall with Friday night revellers from all corners of the galaxy, we scooted into the ladies room first and with bog roll wiped away any last traces of nasal gunge and hid away our Rebel Alliance badges before enthusiastically queuing up at the bar. Cool jazz strummed through the cosy interior like honeysuckle dripping of music and we were ready to make a night of it!

What happened next was infinitely more dastardly than fighting any number of nasty anonymous alien enemies in the depths of uncharted space. My lips were unfathomably parched. Yes, I desired a cup of tea! But, oh my goodness, but! Had I known that the supreme beverage of tea was not served at the bar after 5pm I would have most definitely put a bogey-drenched sock in the mouths of those alien baddies a little sooner! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥ 

 

Photography, Poem & Words: © Masufa Khatun |Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | 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

“We Meet Again! Mooowahahaha!!”

At a writer’s discussion today we launched into a chat about our most silliest and funniest poems. I particularly liked this one of mine and have amended the last sentence for an improved flow of rhythm…

MI6 have just confirmed that the short stripy one You see
Is in fact an employee of the British Intelligence Agency!
Oh my goodness gracious me, he had us all fooled yesterday
Stubby hands known to have detained criminals, as far as India’s Bombay
But like all our Brit Bobbies, he captured his witless prey with a smile
Hence his older offending brother gives in to this unique arresting style
Do not become complacent for there is one more thief around – a plump plum on the loose
Approach her with caution or risk falling for Amma Goose…!! ♥♥♥

Undercover Bobby Captures Mastermind! Mumsy Still On Loose!

“… MI6 have just confirmed that the short stripy one you see, Is in fact an employee of the British Intelligence Agency...”

Photography & Poetry: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | International Amma Day | Spring Re-Union Series | Winchester | UK 2015