Snow, A Christmas Tale



Christmas morning whispered into my ear.

I wriggled and turned on my back, and though my eyes were still kissed down tight with delicious sleep, I let myself rise. Sat on my bed, I stretched and grinned, a grin made of home and comfort and Amma’s old hands. I must have been smiling like that for a long time, because soon I felt the edges of my room wanting to come apart, releasing me and everything in it into the air.

My eyes flickered open.

Something had changed.

I glanced around the room. Even in the grey dimness I saw that an immense stillness had entered the heart of objects. My copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the brass figurine of Horus, the bells from Nepal, each and all, now gazed at me in perfect pause. When I picked up the bedside clock and pressed it against my ear its ticks came out muffled, as though it had lived its previous life somewhere on a deep seabed.

With a sharp turn I eyed the chink between the curtains.

And there I saw what my heart had desired all year long. I knew of that rareness that glittered between the drapes.

Overnight, the world had grown a skin forged of starlight.

Leaping up from my bed I rushed to the curtains and opened them wide.

Snow! It was snow!

As far as the eye can see.

It was so thick and fresh and crisp, that I was certain that the whole world was covered in it.

I must have jumped a few times in excitement, then darted out of my bedroom door, and ran down the stairs, missing three steps at a time, before dunking my feet into my Wellington boots and pulling on my duffel coat.

‘Moni, where do you think you are going?’ Amma had one hand on her chubby hip whilst in the other she held an open box of cornflakes.

‘Amma, please –‘

‘You can’t go like that!’ She waddled over to the wooden chair and from under her shawl she grabbed her red woolly scarf and flung it at me. ‘We don’t want you catching a cold now.’

I caught the scarf and swiftly wrapped it round my neck. ‘Thank you, Amma!’ I beamed a smile at her.

She shook her head, chuckled and swung back to prepare breakfast.

Sliding the latch off, which seemed to take forever, I finally pulled the door open.

The air was clarity itself, laced in ice and quiet, as if history had not found it yet. Chimney tops and the tips of the highest branch, and even the sky itself, all sparkled pristine white.

I drew a long breath in and stepped foot onto the garden path, the sharp crunch under my boot the loudest sound for miles. I took another step and this time I dug my boots down further. I was curious to know if my other world still existed, whether it remained in slumber underneath the white.

As I was about to walk on I discovered that I was not alone. A robin redbreast dipped and dived overhead. It finally perched its tubby little body on the snow-cloaked needle of the spruce tree at the bottom of the garden. He looked in my direction and started to chirp, and with each note a few flakes, like chippings of stars, scattered down below.

I giggled and hopped over to the tree, my woolly red scarf bouncing along, and only once did I glance over my shoulder, just so to admire my trail of deep-set footprints.

The robin sang its sweet song.

And the scarf and I twirled underneath him.

Two red voices in a new world.


Words & Image by Masufa (‘Mazzy’) Khatun | Winchester | UK 2016


The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 2: The Visitation

It was at this point in the tale that I, Mazzy, became personally involved in the events.

In the morning when I played back the message left on the machine I was at a loss for words. Sachi’s voice had never reached my ears in so tremulous a tone and the long gaps in between her speech was unnerving, to say the least.

Mazzy, that is all I can say right now… and I know that none of this makes much sense to you. It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but I have never ever seen Alex this shaken up. He is very frightened and insists only you can help. Please…. I know you are busy, but, still…. We need to meet. Oh – and there is something else, you are to bring your carpet bag! It’s very important that you do…” Sachi’s voice trailed off thereafter and if it had not been for the beep sounding with a loud and bold confirmation at the end I might have remained stood and dazed and transfixed by the disjointed manner of my friend’s words.

I sat down on my armchair of antiquity and glanced out of the window, my mind writhed in pondering, and at the same time hoping against hope that the unsettling obscurity of the mystery that had been placed before me would be shed upon it some light from somewhere. I waited a while and silenced my thoughts and it was then that it happened.

The wide and black wings of a crow lurched down from some indistinguishable perch in the trees and landed on its feet on the garden path. Recognised in the old western myths as the crone of all birds – the wise woman – I had desperately sought a sign from the Universe and it was thus delivered to me. The bird cawed and cawed. Though I was sat inside, shielded and safe, my eyes uncontrollably blinked away as the bird animatedly flapped its wings and jumped up and down as if it had demanded to be let in.

I cannot remember precisely what happened next, only that a bright white flash flew out and no longer was the bird there. But there was something else. I squinted at first and then as the brightness began to fade I found myself facing a beautiful woman made of night skin and whose eyes shone with the arcane glint of precious stones of onyx.

I leapt behind the armchair and dared not breathe in case I somehow displeased the creature.

She, in turn, laughed and laughed and would not stop! It was actually a rather jovial outburst as if she were making it known to me that she was joyous to have reached the place she had set out to find. I, on the other hand, had already deduced that my mystery visitor possessed more than just the mastery to shape-shift and as the air became charged with the tension of the unknown I felt that no more could I endure the wait. I proceeded to side-step from behind the armchair and risked life and limb as I tentatively opened my mouth to speak.

Who are you? What are you? Am I dreaming this?” With an insatiable taste for adventure, I was secretly hoping that this image was no disappointing figment of my imagination!

Again she roared the laughter of a lioness and then pursed her lips together and looked on me whilst her onyx eyes glittered and reflected the first stirrings of the dawn light air.

Oh Mazzy, you do have an exceptional way to amuse me! I have followed you for a while, you seem to be quite the natural in our ways”. She smiled and for the first time I saw a motherly warmth in her face, a majestic roundness of a new sun alit in the mural of the night. I suppose I had always known of her, a wise counsel who had chosen to take the shape of a crow and whose unmatched repository of knowledges of the seen and unseen worlds had aided me thus far.

Yes, yes… you do seem familiar to me”. I was surprised that my faculty of language was still decently preserved given the spectacular strangeness of the situation!

The Crone – that is what I have chosen to call her from now on in – stepped closer towards me and her voice changed, it was solemn and uttered in whispers. “I know of the message, Mazzy.”

I was glued to the spot and the entire world hushed to an impenetrable stillness. She let me have a moment to gather my thoughts before recommencing.

Mazzy, there is someone who needs your help.

I was confused at this point. “Surely with your masterful powers you would be far better suited to this quest. I am a mere mortal”.

No. You are a child of the seen and unseen worlds and it is only one of such constitution that has the ability to permeate through the veil of dark enchantments that has cloaked the castle for a thousand years”. A slight hint of a quiver in her voice, I was decided in my mind that this lady of fierce presence had already attempted to break through the dark magic but she had failed miserably.

Mazzy, only you and your friends can rescue her from an otherwise certain and wretched doom.

Who? Who am I to rescue?

She turned towards the rising sun and I could sense that the air, in moments soon, would be filled with a new story of olden origins, and my part in it all had just begun… ♥ 

What happened next? ♥♥♥

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 2: The Visitation

“… She, in turn, laughed and laughed and would not stop! It was actually a rather jovial outburst as if she were making it known to me that she was joyous to have reached the place she had set out to find…”

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 2: The Visitation

“… She turned towards the rising sun and I could sense that the air, in moments soon, would be filled with a new story of olden origins, and my part in it all had just begun…”


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

A Touch Of Magic – How To Make A Witchy Grandma Vanish, Marvellously!

If ever there was a bombastic reason for wiggling, jiggling and twitching the toes of my hobbity feet with triumphant zeal then I should like to announce that today must be it because it marks the very first day in the new year wherein the magnificent person I have photographed has chosen as their book of choice that stupendously finest of literary specimens taken from none other than the grotesquely delicious opus of my ultimate virtuoso of the pen, Mr Roald Dahl! Three cheers I insist: Hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray, HIP-HIP-HOORAY!!! Great Scott, I think I might have spat on the computer screen, yikes! Giggleeeeeeee!!!

I am not sure where to begin when describing our lovely Magsy – the smiley lady in the photograph! A soul whose warm brilliance adds teaspoons of lavender honey to anything and everything in her path, a remarkable fellow colleague and, above all, a MARVELLOUS friend whose mind and mine click like two pieces of a jigsaw and so well is the fit that one nearby would misconstrue that the sound of the click was no ordinary sound, it was more akin to a signal that something amazing was about to happen.

Both of us are notoriously bohemian in our outlook in life and are known to deploy hilarious pet names for all our students which, we discovered early on our careers, offered a fantastic curative effect for disagreeable students or those who had been afflicted by the zombification brought on by lack of sleep, it is then that our ingenious naming policy often recharges the pitiful state of the student back into the world of wakefulness! Oh yes, dear reader, Magsy and I can always be relied upon to formulate novel and creative strategies to reset the old brain cells of our students to their original manufacturer’s settings – no, by that I do not mean to say that we callously wipe their memories, only in so far that we sweep away the dust and cobwebs of sluggish cogs to get them running up again to their normal paces! I assure You it is painless! Ahem ahem!

I should wish never to fall into the trap of boasting about my expressive faculties, however, the notion of ‘formulation’ as I have expounded above brings me rather neatly to Magsy’s selection of a tome for this photographic post. ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ by Mr Dahl is a comedic short story that is every bit as inventive as it is nasty – but it is nastiness that the reader will immediately empathise with, gravitating towards the verdict that it is legitimate and therefore should be condoned! As a disclaimer – in case You begin to point Your stubby finger at me and accuse me as the naughty culprit behind Your devilish machinations that led You to stage the eventual disappearing act of that annoying twit of Your family – I should stress that whomsoever braves to read this book should under no circumstances attempt to recreate the magical formulation that was concocted by little George! There will be temptations at times in Your life to do so but that does not mean You should! You will get into an awful lot of trouble and mess and the most sensible and decent approach would be to take up a hobby to defuse Your battered nerves, cast Your attention elsewhere – for instance, why not take up knitting or ballet or the learning of how to make Your own tomato soup from scratch! Yes, this counsel is equally applicable to elder persons as it is to a giant 7ft body builder, no one should be ashamed of wearing a pink tutu sprinkled in fuchsia sequins no matter how macho You might purport to be! Giggle, giggle!

So, what is the story about? George’s maternal grandma is a certified old bat, an ugly hag that takes every opportunity to order the poor boy around and puts frightening thoughts in his mind such as that she tells him that she enjoys scoffing up horrible things and that she is a witch, possibly ‘Baba Yaga’ herself, a folkloric servant of the devil who hailed from the eastern block of Europe. Urgh, indeed! A life blighted by constant bossing, taunting, condemnation and bullying that casts a shadow over his days like a ravenous eclipse that refuses to budge, George reaches the end of his strained tether and sets about in motion a plot to ridding the offensive human article from the house by engineering a concoction made of the most unspeakable of ingredients found commonly in the home – engine oil and anti-freeze I remember vividly – which he intends to administer to Grandma on the pretext that it is her medicine! A smorgasbord of laughable mishaps follow, including the lucrative and exponential growth of farm animals, and in the end it is Grandma herself who unwittingly and in haste gulps the last version of the thick gloopy brown medicine that causes her to shrink so far down that she eventually vanishes from sight forever! Hurrah – oops, I was not meant to blurt that out! Giggle, wriggle!

Now You can appreciate why a systematic imitation of George’s approach to dealing with obnoxious and odious human subjects is not advised! Ahem ahem!

Mr Dahl was a fabulous concocter of tales, he deviated from the literary traditions attached with children’s writers who tended to exult rose-tinted worlds. He always preferred to tell a gruesome story but with oodles of fun and comedy added, where boring and torpid and slumbersome moralistic preaching was lovingly shoved down the drain in favour of a brand of wicked inventiveness that made children heroes but not in the way that You might have expected or imagined in Your wildest dreams! Original thought at its most supreme! Salute to you, dear Sir!

Now, may I draw Your attention to Yourself! My pincer-like eyes have detected that You are giving off very telling signs that You have already begun to formulate the granny removal process at Your home! Honestly, what am I to think when it is blatantly clear that You have been stirring something suspicious inside a giant steely drum all the while Your face is frozen in a squirm of desperation – and I enquire, might it have failed miserably, for why is Your body covered in the same foul brown sludge as described in the book?! Please do assure me that Your grandma – the witch with wonky brown teeth of the eastern bloc – is simply taking a short and snappy but nevertheless cosy nap and that she is not conked out for eternity due to a sneaky slippage of that nasty dose of Your marvellous medicine.

Why are You staring at me so intently? Do refrain from asking me why, at this moment, I am firmly stuck with a mischievous grin as wide as the width of a hippo’s belly, perhaps I have indeed gone and done something supremely wicked and wickedly supreme, but whoever said that I would tell You the entire story?! Giggle, giggle!! ♥♥♥



A Touch Of Magic – How To Make A Witchy Grandma Vanish, Marvellously!

“… I am not sure where to begin when describing our lovely Magsy – the smiley lady in the photograph! A soul whose warm brilliance adds teaspoons of lavender honey to anything and everything in her path, a remarkable fellow colleague and, above all, a MARVELLOUS friend…”


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



A Garden Party With Alice: Wonderland Revisited!

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

The paragon of riddles, deceptively simple and simply deceptive, posed within the innocent pages of what the uninitiated eye would more than likely regard as just a children’s book, has had many a great scholar afflicted with nightly tosses and turns in their bed as their mind fails to deduce a satisfactory and logical answer to Mr Carroll’s crowning jewel of a sentence from his masterpiece, Alice In Wonderland.

A fellow Oxfordian, Carroll and I share more than just a love for the nonsense, eccentric, bohemian and the outrageous, for we are both comprehensive mirror images of each other by virtue of our comfortable and parallel dabbling with both literature and the visual arts, and it is in this very honour of the 125th anniversary of his illustrated text that I am proud to present to You a reworking and re-visitation of an adventure first penned on page and that was as swift as a hawk’s wing in its enrapturing of my imagination and senses as a little girl. I am quite prepared to concede that no better conjecture, as to the origins of my fanatical taste for tea, is there than that of the moment when Alice stumbled upon that famous Tea Party hosted by the Mad Hatter and his band of endearing misfits!

Now who could play my Alice, I wistfully pondered away to myself and to what part of the tale would my photographs allude to?  Well, I shan’t infuse any further bags of tension into Your teapot as You appear to have far too many of those floating away in there, anyone looking in would believe in an instant that they were peering into a grotty pond that is in desperate need of professional cleansing! Giggle, giggle!

Alright alright, I might have exaggerated on the point of the strenuousness endured in the scouting and search for a potential Alice because, well, if the truth be told, my Alice actually came to me! Just as the real Carroll based his Alice on his friend’s daughter, so it is so with my case and should You be of a persevering countenance – someone who has followed and read my tales so far without, ahem ahem, falling asleep – then You may recognise with a wham-bam that You have indeed met my little cheeky sprite before. In a previous piece I exposited to You that Little Miss A is designed with an insuppressibly excellent theatrical predisposition which would explain with crystal clarity why the both of us get along so very well!

A late summer garden party at my house was to take place and even the apples on the myriad trees that casually line our wooden fences rejoiced at the prospect, glowing in deep ambers, pale greens and flirtatious pinks, and it would be a terrible sin to not to mention specifically of the burst of flowers here and there – a veritable applause of soft petals that were only too happy to display their farewell song of the summer that had been and now is in the past. Perhaps I brag but I do not wished to be atoned for it but the truth is, my garden could quite easily have been that beautiful garden which Carroll’s Alice, with burning curiosity, gnawing anguish and hopeless despair, spied on through a keyhole after tumbling down the rabbit hole. Oh how to open that door?! Giggle, giggle!

When Little Miss A arrived on the scene a giant lightbulb flashed and kept flashing and would not stop – and indeed I let it flash on and on as I knew someone from another planet would benefit from my photonic activities,  for I would surely appear to them as a giggling twinkle in their night-sky! So sorry, I have deviated at the expense of Your limited patience! Ah yes, I had found my Alice! I shall not say anymore but do have a peek Yourself at the short photo-diary I submit below and You will most certainly agree that a phenomenal triangulation of elements – a MAGICAL stroke of Destiny – made it strongly conducive to treat this as THE opportunity to revisit a masterful tale, paying humble tribute to my literary idol, Carroll, whilst lending comical and loving legitimacy to why being an Eccentric in life is unanimously very, merry, berry FUN…!!!

As You have done for me so I do for You, my Good Reader… :)) :)) :))
Look after Yourself, extend a helping hand whenever You can and know that Your 5ft 1 Alice shall return to her class and to You very shortly!

Your Greatest Puzzle,
Mazzy xxx

To Solve A Riddle

“No matter where I go I seem to have acquired a peculiar but noble habit of plunging children’s minds into the most twisted and frolicsome fountain of conundrums whose problems defy solutions! As a teacher I believe it is paramount that my little ones should come to learn that it is quite acceptable to be, at times in life, deficient of straight answers. We should honour the Mystery for its own sake – and of course, in exchange, my camera always gets to be blessed with the brilliance of the overworked brain, its resultant tableaux of adorable and contorted expressions…!”

The White Rabbit Minus A Pocket Watch

“Alice works her way through the overgrowth and maze of footpaths and finally steals upon The White Rabbit! But, alas, his silver pocket watch is absent from his possessions! Whatever became of it…?”

Some Things Are Not What They Seem!

“I forgot to tell Alice that here, in my garden, nothing is what it seems. The obvious is an extinct concept in Mazzy’s Wonderland, driven out by its own burgeoning regularity and consistency. The passionate frills of this red flower contain the soul of an ancient flamenco gypsy and whomsoever nears towards her scent is soon overwhelmed, followed by blissful drowsiness and whose final consequence is to afflict the nosy child with constant bouts of daydreaming in class…”

Muddy Shoes Means Happy Girl!

“Alice, Little Miss A and I are of the same ilk: Should we be asked to don the attire of a lady we will gladly agree but our hearts are made of the stuff of adventures and no where is there a more fitting place to express this trait with diligent continuity than our feet and so, we hail in unison, to the sturdy and robust armoury proffered by the power of sneakers who promise to forever and faithfully carry us forward…!”

The Doorway To My Home

“In the footsteps of Alice, Little Miss A, too, enjoys the singular Victorious moment when the key is found and the door to my Home is finally opened! I wonder, dear Reader, are You wild, courageous and chaotically passionate enough to solve my puzzles and find me beyond this very ordinary but indubitably SPECIAL door…?”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Garden Party | 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… :))



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

Inside My Onyx Eyes

No servant of darkness is born yet to blacken locks of despair over my skies
My world with you is the laughter of God and safe it resounds in these onyx eyes…

Inside My Onyx Eyes

“… My world with you is the laughter of God and safe it resounds in these onyx eyes… “

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Guernsey Museum | Guernsey | Channel Islands 2014

In Words: Wishing You A Magical Christmas… :))

On this festive night I would be a most embarrassing blunder to myself and to my eccentric ways if I were not to present you with something to make you miss a heartbeat and to carry a smile of hope and promise up the stairs and into bed! So I thought long and hard about gifting you all with something that reflects the magic of the shared experience of storytelling you and I have had over the miles in the last year or so. Correct me if I am wrong but, through the magical bridge of words and the canvas of photography I am hopeful that I have entered your heart and imagination to leave such a signature aura that whenever you should come across my name you bear the Faith that a ray of marmalade sunshine is about to cleave open any stubborn cave of darkness or grey cloud that may have been looming over you.

My dear friend, thus, I gift you a garland of words tonight. Using all the word tablets of my Scrabble game, I have composed an interlinking montage of words that have made appearances in my poetry and discourse over the year. Here is a entire wonderful circus of tender and fiery and mysterious images and my soul KNOWS that many will strike a deep resonance within your own soul as if a phoenix has alighted your sky with fireworks that spell out your most secret dreams. These are words in which you and I have met in without even standing in the same room. If it is the case that ALL the words settle into your heart like an old friend who has returned home to you then, it is Destiny’s expression of the prophecy that we shall indeed meet someday – boil the kettle and do keep the teapot warm I say…!!!

From my heart to yours, wishing you a magical Christmas…
Infinities of Love,
Mazzy :))

Wishing You A Magical Christmas...

“From my heart to yours, wishing you a magical Christmas… “

Note: To non-Hindi speakers, ‘Chand’ and ‘Noor’ translate as ‘Moon’ and ‘Light’ respectively. 
Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | My Home | Winchester UK 2014



Mr Snowman Requests : Tales From My Christmas Tree

To the uninitiated, ‘tis a land of green pine needles studded with globules of lights however, dangle and sway an assortment of characters with more to them than meets the eye…


Mr Snowman Requests

“Madam, I am well aware that I am a snowman and that warm things harm me but it would make me terribly happy if you would be the Light in my Lamp so that I may know why birds sing at dawn and why the old smile at dusk…” – Mr Snowman to Mazzy



Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | My Christmas Tree At Home | UK 2014

Miss Little Red Riding Hood: The 123-Word Short Story Series

Presenting a bite-size morsel of storytelling magic that shall refrain from tipping over 123 words…

Little Miss Red Riding Hood had quite enough of dealing with hoggishly heinous wolfish cross-dressers on a daily basis. Read out by children every night, her story saw her pass through a dark forest only to arrive at Grandma’s quaint cottage, basket of berries in hand, to find a very naughty beastie in wait. Beginning to feel it as a chore, one night she decided she would undertake a daring climb out of the pages of all children’s books and explore the world beyond. The next morning was a cool crisp one so I made my way to the outdoor ice-rink and there, amongst the swanlike skaters, I saw her glide past me, hand outstretched as if she were still carrying her basket…


Little Miss Red Riding Hood

“… there, amongst the swanlike skaters, I saw her glide past me, hand outstretched as if she were still carrying her basket…”



Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Christmas Markets | UK 2014


I Rose: A Short Story About Faith

Lamentable circumstances can fall into our unsuspecting laps at any point in our lives, either with a sudden lightning streak bolt or, with a slow brewing scheme that might have slipped our attention at first but only to shriek into our faces later when it has festered to a noticeable size and it is too late. Bad things happen and such are these things that they are well versed in how to disable and paralyse the sunny disposition of even the most optimistic of spirits, wringing inner peace inside out until anyone passing by the person in question would find great difficulty in differentiating between the dark blob in front of them and a mummified prune!

My own life has seen a patchwork of gruesome and unfortunate attacks made on my Faith, a tiny but nevertheless bright flame that burns high within the forest of my soul. I can still vividly remember moments of isolation and rejection at school when I was singled out, by a few, on the basis of my skin colour and shipwrecked as it were on a deserted island, questioning the legitimacy of my identity. But, dear reader, I rose. In my teenage years, many girls pestered me to be like them, to develop tastes in fashion and make-up and that to see that I had no boyfriend was equivalent to the bubonic plague and, therefore, I needed to be ‘cured’. I shall not lie, it was a vicious battleground of cut-throat existence that serves to make me laugh when I reminiscence about it now. Did I give in to those girls? Nah, of course not! I was far too enthralled about the possibility of joining the local amateur astronomy club, spying on local neighbours with binoculars because I had  strong reason to believe that they were defectors of the KGB and, marching off onto nature trails in my garden because in those times this oasis of unexplored greenery was my answer to the Amazon forest! As for the lack of boyfriend, the neat irony is that it was the boys that respected me the most and sought my knowledge on trains and Star Wars with enough enthusiasm to send a hot air balloon into space! Oh the wormy purple jealousy that rushed to the faces of those girls and so one day I turned around and told them in my casual candid style that they should not worry for the one I Love shan’t walk into the pages of my book until much, much later. Of course they thought my words taxingly strange however it was retorts of this sort that were to be the building blocks of a new-found respect for my eccentric mannerisms. Yes, dear reader, once again, I rose.

Do not fall into the fallacy that bad energies retire after repeated beatings from the unconventional deflecting tactics of the quirky mind! Not at all, dear reader. There is a ‘Baba Yaga’ witch out there who will always be on my case, the epitome of cruel badness, vowed to snuff out the light in my lamp with her dastardly spells as was so palpably present in the bully crowds that I had run into in my earlier years. She is the antithesis of what I am and stand for. We are all born with a shadow in life and destiny has assigned mine to take the form of a nasty old witch. If she were to morph into human form I would imagine she would be cunning enough to transform herself into a beautiful young lady, admired by a starstruck entourage of men and women alike. The sole indicator of her true self would be her parasitic thirst for adoration and adulation. Do take special caution if you happen to stumble upon such a fair maiden, she could be the offensive character to which I refer to!

On Halloween a most curious thing took place. I had foreseen that ‘Baba Yaga’ was hatching a plan of pure vileness to strike at my chest and rip out my beloved flame from within the encasement of my soul. Like the many times before, I sighed and shook my head in pity. When would she stop? So much in the way of sympathy arose for my ill-wisher that I wanted to seek her out and tell her that she need not be afraid of my Light. She was most welcome to sit under it. Wishful thinking one might say because as soon as these conciliatory thoughts took shape the witch disfigured into a more grotesquely ugly form – and believe me I was adamant that she had already capped the summit of ugliness! Boy, how mistaken was I! Without relent, the witch sent out her incantations, speeding through the air over thousands of miles, knocking the odd crow off-course and blowing out two telecommunications satellites before finally, like a slithering reticular python, her words slid through my window and under my bed covers until it rested on my chest. Yes, dear reader, I was fast asleep! Alas! My Light flickered inside, perhaps it knew that its time had come for all things are said to meet an end one day.

But it was not to be.

Just as the evil words had sharpened their pincers, ready to prise open my chest, something – or rather – someone had weaved a little magic of their own, summoning a protective shield made of the most beautiful ceramic around my tiny body. Where my heart and my Light should be was, instead, an ornate and opulent and sumptuously painted rose found nowhere on earth. The malevolent spell crashed against its solid petals and went bouncing off with such colossal force that it travelled backwards over the same course that it had taken to fly to me and, with a dash of poetic justice, splattered all over her ugly face! Humiliated beyond reckoning, she had not quite thrown in the towel yet and muttered the promise under her breath that she would take me down the next time.

I Rose

“… someone had weaved a little magic of their own, summoning a protective shield made of the most beautiful ceramic around my tiny body. Where my heart and my Light should be was, instead, an ornate and opulent and sumptuously painted rose found nowhere on earth…”


I woke up with a start. I rose. The room was still and silent. Rubbing my chest, I looked out of the window into the blackness of the night and saw the silver crescent moon floating above the trees. He was smiling and spoke with the sweet lightness of swan feathers, “Thank you for having the Faith in my Light to help you this once…”



Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2014