One Is Never Board – Sorry – Bored With Juicy Gossip!

Oh do stop feigning Your dislike for juicy gossip, the transparency of Your fibbing is as clear as the finest cut diamond! Admit it or not, but everyone loves to find themselves in the middle of a ping-pong ball style exchange of small talk, harmless banter about this and this! We do it naturally and even the bigwigs, the psychologists, would probably argue that there is an evolutionary advantage to engaging in such communicational interchange, from the benefits it offers in solidifying social bonds to enhancing one’s sense of self-worth. Taken to the extreme it is harmful practice, especially if the subject of your conversation overhears You and is hurt or belittled by the comments. This is tantamount to bullying which should never ever be tolerated. Plus, regular perniciously pitched words are in the end injurious to the one who dealt them, aggrandizing the perception of self-worth at the expense of others will surely always lead to a horrendous case of backfire karma. So, my advice to everyone is to learn to know the fine line between comedy and tragedy!

Ah, You do not know the difference between comedy and tragedy, the boundary that demarcates between light-hearted juicy gossip and the invasive contemptuous variety? Quit the sniffles and the worried expression, I shan’t abandon You in Your most crepuscular hour! Whilst on board the steam train, gently chortling through the wooded English countryside, I had the extremely privileged pleasure of sitting opposite my impish little friend, Alex, and he took it upon himself to demonstrate to You the definition of healthy juicy gossip! There is a slight glitch in his methods, for his speech becomes terribly inaudible when he does what he does with the slice of orange. We are, to date, still gossiping over how to remedy this fault and will get back to You at the earliest convenience…   :))

EPILOGUE: There are strict guidelines to be followed if One wishes to share juicy gossip with me, the most critical of the list being the offering of a freshly brewed cup of tea. It must be precisely prepared as stated on the package in which it came in otherwise I will have no choice but to have the Fat Controller kick You off the train! Ahem, ahem… :))

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/whittardofchelsea/photos/a.190987377641.160300.145872942641/10153603118472642/?type=1&theater

One Is Never Board – Sorry – Bored With Juicy Gossip!

“… Whilst on board the steam train, gently chortling through the wooded English countryside, I had the extremely privileged pleasure of sitting opposite my impish little friend, Alex, and he took it upon himself to demonstrate to You the definition of healthy juicy gossip…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Alresford – Alton | UK 2015

Charlie & Lizzie: Strike A Pose!

The medieval grey bricks of our most prized mausoleum of architectural splendour and history, Winchester Cathedral, was not to be let off the hook so lightly! Lizzie and Charlie pleaded to have their photograph taken against its lacklustre walls, naughtily submitting the defence that their performance act should be interpreted as a splinter restoration effort, albeit a hilarious one, whose effect is to offer a momentary respite from the building’s usual mood of sombre formality so that it may indulge in the frolics of a more, ahem ahem, contemporary nature! In short, my naughty friends wished to embellish an unhappening canvas of stone and I was soon in alliance with their appeal!

Out of respect for the distinguished royals and artists buried within the main hall I stipulated to my two young vivaciously-toed friends, who have no interest or knowledge in English history, that they are free to ‘respond’ to the space and architecture but that they must do so away from the central quarter of the Cathedral. In a flash they agreed and thus we headed out towards the back end of the site characterised by labyrinthine walls and archways that repeated and receded overhead into the distance.

“Mazzy, what would you like us to do? You are a fashion photographer!” Charlie bellowed.

As I had informed You in my last blog, I am a master of adaptation, a circus performer always quick to apply her reflexes to the demands of the feat at hand! I put on a pushy cockney London accent, pretended to be chewing gum and strutted around my mates as if this was not a historic site but my own bespoke studio! I transformed on the spot into a pompous perfectionist with swagger under my belt!

“Tha’ alcove behin’ ya – ge’ in ‘ere an’ show us sumin’ bootiful, blow me away, strike a pose!” Did I just grotesquely stereotype every fashion photographer to have ever lived? A few members of the public who had fortuitously chosen to walk past us stopped to watch, beaming smiles and sending my way a nod of something undefined – approval or puzzlement, who cares, for our little show in all its eccentric and silly glory was bringing a much-needed injection of colourful frills to the onlookers! Nothing is more gratifying for the circus performer than to have their audience fall under their spell, to leave in their hearts an impactful print of a memory of a fleeting moment that will never disappear by token of its sheer rebelliousness against the norms of convention!

Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, I present to You Winchester Cathedral as You’ve never seen it before… :))


EPILOGUE:  
On this day in history the American government sanctioned the release of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Thousands and thousands of innocent people perished instantly, buildings were destroyed, genetic mutations followed in the years afterwards; in essence a nation was left permanently scarred. I have travelled to Japan and it is a beautiful country of enigmatic contrasts of tradition and modernity. The land occupies a special place in my soul even though it has no visible ancestral link to my family tree. I spoke of trees yesterday and Destiny once again comes to my aid today in concretising to You the intimate relationship I share with the world of green guardians. I concede that the destructive military strike on Japan is an event never to be forgotten and with that in mind I shall always hope and pray that we can all make a genuine effort in our own lives to strike a pose – a Pose of Peace. Click on the link below to see the epitome of Peace, striking, posing, resembling a likeness to my own Vision… :))

LINK:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/1508050-japanese-bonsai-survived-hiroshima-bombing/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20150806news-bonsai&utm_campaign=Content&sf11725419=1

Lizzie & Charlie: Strike A Pose!

“Tha’ alcove behin’ ya – ge’ in ‘ere an’ show us sumin’ bootiful, blow me away, strike a pose!”

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

Only Those Who Believe In Magic Shall See It

Rimmed with steel undulating bars, two silver crescent seats wedged on either side with textured flooring that might have very well been filched from an unsuspecting industrial site, my Japanese mate’s highly energetic munchkin son, Alex, showcases his talent for impeccable immunity against dizziness brought on by excessive spins on the merry-go-round! Set against the tranquil setting of a gurgling river and sleepy branches of dangling willow trees, Alex’s relentless self-testing of how many revolutions he could achieve in a minute must have caused many a rock, leaf and fish to be forced into praying to the gods for the power to be personified so that they too could have a try on this exquisite piece of apparatus that cleverly combined movement without moving anywhere!

Having established the meritorious properties of this classical artefact of the universe of the playground, let us now move onto the real reason for my choosing to share this photograph with You. The Poster. Yes, the object held up by Alex! What is your opinion on its content? I should be most grateful if You could let me know, one way or another – and I am sure You will find a way! Oh, so sorry, say that again, I didn’t quite catch You? What Poster, You ask? Please forgive me, I ought to have briefed You that this is no ordinary Poster that You may find on the street billboards of Your city because, unlike the commercially-orientated think tank that would have been responsible for the design of such media, Alex’s Poster is a mix of Magical ingredients that You would not hear word of in the competitive halls of corporate organisations.

If You cannot see it, You do not believe in it.
If You believe in it, You shall see it.
And I believe that You do believe in it…  :))

EPILOGUE: Only just released is a poster of the fervently awaited new film by the King of Indian Cinema, Shah Rukh Khan, entitled ‘The Fan’ to be released on 15/4/16. A Tea-ser Poster that will whet the imaginations and drive enquiring questions at high-octane speed, how many similarities of context can You spot between the photograph of Alex that I took months before and the Victorious chap in the film poster? Ah, dismiss thou talk of coincidences, Magic simply walks with me… :))

LINK:   http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/shah-rukh-khans-fan-has-finally-arrived-first-poster-revealed/

 

Only Those Who Believe Shall See It

“… let us on now move onto the real reason for my choosing to share this photograph with You. The Poster. Yes, the object held up by Alex! What is your opinion on its content…?”

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

Trekking With Reina: Dreaming Of A Room Of Joy

Nothing spells tedium, boredom and weariness more effectively than a pitifully morose brick wall of grey stones! Surely the earthly cousins of ominous clouds of grey that the British are famous for having rants with and who must forever tolerate, our weather moods are as temperamentally unstable as a balloon whose mouth has been untied and let loose! Giggle, giggle! The comic value put aside, English castles are magnificent to look at when you step back, and even richer are the saucy and sinister tales that secretly live within them, etched across time and more than happy to be of service in feeding the insatiable appetite of the curious mind who seeks them out.

If my descriptions of the merits of a grey tin-toned wall leave much to be desired in this world then, dear readers, why on earth should my fellow trekker mate, Reina, wear such a naughty smile on her face? What has captured her attention with such ferocious grip that the dastardly grey beast of a wall is no longer able to exert its tiring force on her? I should like to think that she has spotted another wall elsewhere that is doused in all the colours of the rainbow, a paradise of Technicolor supremacy, in a nutshell, a Room of Joy! If her thoughts have indeed meandered to a place far removed from the backdrop on which she stands in, then it explains everything rather perfectly!

Trekking With Reina: Old Castle Walls & Meandering Thoughts

“… I should like to think that she has spotted another wall elsewhere that is doused in all the colours of the rainbow, a paradise of Technicolor supremacy, in a nutshell, a Room of Joy…”

The final photograph to finish this short photo-diary of my summer re-union with Reina is quite the marvel of Quantum Entanglement – I do apologise to those who haven’t a clue in the world what this hefty jargon refers to! Let us just say that given the strange mechanics of this Universe, it is certain that Reina’s choice of book to read on the flight back home WILL resonate with the words or pictures that you may have posted today in the virtual world. Both ardent bibliophiles, Reina had me search a bookshop for a book that had been recommended to her concerning a story of two individuals separated by time and space, yet brought together by the magical workings of Quantum Mechanics! Sound familiar? Giggle, giggle! ‘A Tail – sorry – Tale For The Time Being’ by Ozeki was purchased on English soil, read on a plane, and presumably, the last page shall be turned at Reina’s house in Tokyo, Japan. Books conjure our imaginations to travel but I bet the thought never occurred to you that they too can do a spiffing job at being the best travelling companions one could ever wish for – minus the red-tape of passports and visas, wow, even better!

Ahem ahem, should you wish to lookup more information about Reina’s book which I know you WILL – the circular curtain of the red sun on the front cover already seems to be peeling off thanks to your invasive gaze – then you MUST do so from a Room of Joy. Link provided below. Happy reading, my beloved Follower… :))

Type or Click: https://roomofjoy.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/a-tale-for-the-time-being/

Trekking With Reina: A Book For The Journey Back

“… Books conjure our imaginations to travel but I bet the thought never occurred to you that they too can do a spiffing job at being the best travelling companions one could ever wish for…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |Summer Reunion Series | Southern Hampshire | UK 2015

 

Trekking With Reina: A Portrait With The Eyes Of Helios

Click once more on the photograph to have your screen inundated in the richness of yellow flowers, in celebration of finding long-lost friends… :))

Japan is in my soul. I cannot verbalise in any comprehensible degree how that came to be, but I am certain that my love for this faraway island nation of the east, of whose solemn, graceful and meditative natural beauty has kindled curiosity and inspiration into the hearts of artists and travellers since time immemorial, has lived in me as an enduring love story from as long as I can remember. I can express to you with undaunted candidness that I often find myself wondering whether in some other life I might have been a dweller, a pilgrim of mountain roads and bamboo forests, of this enchanting chain of archipelagos. Do we not all feel, one time or another, an unexplainable tug of the heart towards places that seem to have no outwardly connection to us?

My prelude was on Japan however the short story I present to you today is not set there, in fact, it is set closer to home. Meet Reina, a very good friend and sister of mine who hails from Tokyo, Japan. It was nearly ten years ago that Reina and I first met in my town where she had come to study at a local university. Many oceans away from her home, Reina was always the gutsy and indomitably plucky lady and she quickly found that she settled in comfortably, making many friends along the way – including me! As that famous British idiom goes that describes how well two people get along with each other, so it was that Reina and I ‘got on like a house on fire!’ Adventurers, bookworms, comediennes, and fiercely outspoken, the two of us are like battleships with a common purpose! When Reina had finished her studies she sadly returned back to Japan and, at a time when neither of us knew what Facebook was, we decided to stay in touch via emails and written letters. I remember hopping about with the bounce of a hysterical kangaroo whenever a letter would arrive from my good sister, the Japanese postal stamp glistening from the corner and I would inspect it as though it were a jewel encrusted in a meteorite! I know, how very odd of me, but genius minds are always breaking the rules, it is part and parcel of our constitution! Giggle, giggle!

Alas, many years ago my email system was compromised, including losing the details of her home address. We lost touch. It was a devastating blow, a tributary of friendship simply vanished into thin air. The years passed by although it did little to wither my memories of my sister and I prayed that someday we would be reunited again. Unlike the tale of Sachi whereupon detective work aided my progression to finding her thanks to one mutual friend, locating Reina proved to be more challenging. I was not acquainted with any of her other friends from University. BUT, I did not relinquish that precious bird whose name is Hope. The prayers of a good heart must always be heard, it is the terms and conditions on which this Universe operates on. One day, Facebook arrived into my sphere. To this day I am uninterested by it however, it has served me remarkably well in drawing me towards people that Destiny wishes me to remain eternally connected to. I remember laughing with ecstatic joy at the silliness when Reina sent me a ‘Friend Request’. How stupid is that phrase in the context of my story. True Friendships are not ‘added’, ‘requested’ or ‘deleted’ like you would to a mathematical sum! How naively insane is this superiorly superficial virtual world! Nevertheless, we found each other and, I hate to admit it, but thank you Facebook! Yuk, did I just say that?! Giggle, giggle! I am pleased to present to you, my dearest readers, this beautiful portrait of Reina, underscoring a grand summer reunion whose backdrop colour of yellow, the colour of Helios – the garment of the sun god of the ancients – reflects the epic magnitude of the happiness that blossomed inside my heart when I saw my sister again after a long stretch of ten years! I waited patiently in the knowledge that my prayers would be heard someday. It has been fulfilled.

Permit me to end my words on a lighter, comical note! Reina knows very well that I am completely loopy about incense, my senses enslaved to the cacophony of fragrances out there in the natural world, all ingrained solidly in my blood courtesy of my passion for gardening and the great outdoors. Well, whilst enjoying a hearty meal at the restaurant she whisked out a wrapped box. As you may very well guess I was uncontrollably excited and rushed at it at a speed to rival light itself! Inside was the most exquisite padded box, unintelligible Japanese script glistened on the surface and I had Reina translate them to me. A sudden stab of dismay hit me as I wished to myself how extraordinary it would be if I knew how to speak and read fluently the tongue native to those enchanting floating worlds! Carefully I opened the box to reveal tracing paper and a little card of the name of the manufacturer. So primly presented, I loathed to dislodging anymore, but Reina looked on expectantly so I gave in! Lifting the protective papers off, my jaw fell to the ground as my eyes fell under the enchantments of the contents: a series of neatly wrapped cylinders, each with a sticker on top and aligned accurately with the others. Jokingly I exclaimed, “ Reina, you know I do not smoke and never will so, on what occasion did you think it right to gift me a box of Cuban cigars?” We burst out giggling and the waitress flashed a puzzled look before proceeding on with her duties. In each cylinder was a tightly packed collection of incense sticks, swiftly I took one out and sniffed it. It was Eaglewood…

P.S. I dreamt last night of another reunion with an unmet but long-lost friend of mine and he had braved the arduous journey to my home. Destiny, oh my, you do know how to surprise me… :))

Trekking With Reina: A Portrait With The Eyes Of Helios

“… I am pleased to present to you, my dearest readers, this beautiful portrait of Reina, underscoring a grand summer reunion whose backdrop colour of yellow, the colour of Helios – the garment of the sun god of the ancients – reflects the epic magnitude of the happiness that blossomed inside my heart when I saw my sister again after a long stretch of ten years…”


Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |Summer Reunion Series | Southern Hampshire | UK 2015

Winchester – Tokyo: A Reunion Of Two Cities [I]

Herewith follows the beginning of my photographic quest for this year: the search for loved ones separated by the unseen and unsparing hands of time and place… : ))

Nearly a decade had sneakily slipped past without ever seeing my good Japanese friend and sister, Sachi, and her little sparkle-eyed boy, Alex, that my mind was decisively made up and that there were no two ways about it – a reunion there shall be and I would make it happen one way or another! I planted the firm resolution in my heart at the start of the year that I would once again see them but, alas and alack, it would be an accomplishment of no easy stock for I had lost all contact details thanks to the devastating loss of my old email accounts and address books of yesteryears. You see, dear reader, I knew Sachi from a time when I had no Facebook and I know she had never opened an account because the prospect of having one never appealed to her in the slightest. However, I refused to let the absence of a trail cloak and cloud my visions of a happy reunion. When I channel my energies into a goal I set to it with every pea-sized atom of my pint-sized heart and soul! Thus began an epic detective story consisting of following haphazard leads and clues, some of them took me to a dead end cul-de-sac although, that hardly posed any grand sort of bother on my nerves as it simply meant that I had to turn around and re-orient my wits and nose on an alternative trail.

Finally, the glow-worm light which I had desperately sought tentatively appeared at the end of the tunnel! I had an email address in my hand and not a moment was wasted, I tell you! With swift haste, I found myself in front of the computer, tap-tap-tapping away at the keys as if my fingertips were the parched lips of a desert nomad and the buttons, glistening, akin to oases whom to travellers shimmered with the allure of thirst-quenching jewels. A telegram style message was quickly composed. I was well aware that a lengthy letter written with devotion and careful effort might boomerang back onto my face if the email did not send properly so, I preferred to err on the side of caution this time and post something whose disappearance into oblivion would not cause that much of a stir or annoyance under my skin!

Within 24 hours news of the happiest kind was returned to me!!! The message had reached my friend and she had written back with no less surprise and awe as that of my own! Perhaps the magnitude of my achievement could only be described as when one, after endless hurdles and torments, finishes writing the last word in the masterpiece of their life! Might reaching the summit of a majestic mountain feel like this? I would be terribly surprised if it were anything besides! I swear I knew how to fly for a moment or two as my eyes eagerly slurped in the warm and kind expressions that had always been very much characteristic of Sachi’s style of writing and, which in turn, excellently mirrored her sincere and generous nature.

I sat back in my armchair, a sigh of relief let loose off my chest and I knew exactly what had to proceed now. I was to go and visit them. Ticket and camera packed, I set off on a most scrumptious adventure over the miles, the likes of which I confidently propose no decent bourbon biscuit or prestigious Victorian sandwich cake has ever heard of! My dear friends, I shall be presenting to you in days to come a few of the fondest photographic montages I have ever had the pleasure and blessing of chronicling in the time since I have paired myself with the lens and pen.

Today’s offering will have your eyes see our spark plug chap, Alex, creating a buzz and attraction in his stead because this little one is well endowed with an excellent creative licence in his pocket! Constantly poking me from the back and cracking jokes at each other, Alex and I got along like a house on fire! Poor Sachi, at times, had a hard time telling apart who the child was and who was the 36 year old teacher!

The photographs in today’s collection tell the hilarious story of our time in a soap shop where I encouraged the assistants to put on a good show for our little man and, since I am a scientist who always enjoys a spectacular chemical reaction, I told them to ensure that there be plenty for the eyes to indulge in! Off they went to work – a teacher’s charm always a handy piece of kit to have – and thus, in went the ice crystals and the ‘bath bombs’ and ALAKAZAM!!! A simple stainless steel bowl transmogrified into a cauldron! How amazing is that?! Ahem ahem, sorry I tend to get carried away when a science trick goes according to the dictates of the Periodic Table!!

Our second haunt that day was at the good old pottery café where Alex slapped on an apron and began painting away on a pre-made figure of a ceramic lizard! I do recall quite affectionately that he pretty much exhausted all the colours provided on the palette – and quite rightfully so for we couldn’t possibly paint a lizard in its normal scheme of colours could we, that would be an inadmissible balderdash! I provided the glass of orange juice, as you can see stood propped by the side: a signature of my Orange Vision, denoting the colour of happiness and joy at feeling blessed to be alive and present in the company of people that many assumed I had lost forever. Dear reader, it does not have to be so.  If you can be courageous enough for your heart and faith to grow a mane as deep orange as a lion’s locks then watch how Destiny stands on your side – like my glass of sweetest OJ – and behold as what was once lost is found once more…

Winchester - Tokyo: A Reunion Of Two Cities [I]

“… Alex slapped on an apron and began painting away on a pre-made figure of a ceramic lizard! I do recall quite affectionately that he pretty much exhausted all the colours provided on the palette – and quite rightfully so for we couldn’t possibly paint a lizard in its normal scheme of colours could we, that would be an inadmissible balderdash…!”

Photographs & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winter Reunion Series | 2015

Soulmates: You Live In The Care That I Show

It is said by the wise that some souls, by divine decree, were breathed into existence as inseparable pairs, connected across the ages and carrying within them a blazing and incorruptible will to find each other. The calling to seek Completeness is felt in snatches, flashes and echoes from the moment of birth, throughout life and, if unrequited, at the time of death too. So immersed the individual may become in the convolutions of their current life that the image or scent of the Beloved, who is always omnipresent in the fabric of their aura and heartbeat, becomes as rare a sensation as the sudden burst of jasmine blossoms quivering on the wings of a fleeting summer breeze. I am, however, not such an individual. I have forever felt the presence of absence of my Beloved to whom I was joined to the moment all things became and I will continue to do so long after the last stars have died away into the mouthless black sea of the universe. My words may resound with incredulity to your ears, dear reader, since we are all participants in a modern world but, I, perhaps more than you, often stand in disbelief at my own reflection on these matters. I am a woman trained in the methods and principles of Science yet I share a counterpart of my life in the unobservable embrace of Faith. My Faith is a deep and holy river.

 

You Live In The Care That I Show

“The world is a garden and I am a gardener, watering the flowers that come to me with the nourishing hands of a Mother…”

 

For the meanwhile, a vigil I must keep for the one that I Love, turning his absence into a life-affirming passion that I pour into my artistry and in my desire to help others. I do not know if I shall be reunited with my Beloved in this life but blessed I am for what I have and there is still so much that I must do. The world is a garden and I am a gardener, watering the flowers that come to me with the nourishing hands of a Mother coupled with a smile that could only have dawned because somewhere in another part of the sky my Beloved has made it his crescent moon…

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | 19th Century Japanese Fold-Out Fan | Pitt River’s Museum | Oxford University | Oxford 2014