On The Matter Of Planting Gardens Of Love & Exploding Vine Tomatoes!

I have quite the mind to assert that even the lively chirrups of the blue tits, chaffinches and the unrelenting social bumblebee that is the robin whose trills I can hear so clearly outside my room as I type these words are all indeed comfortably knowledgeable of that fact that today in college each student of mine stood not only with their shoes on, but that I saw mighty avalanches of bright gardens spring up from beneath their toes!

Words could never grasp the cosmic and deep joy that flutters in these veins of mine as I sit back tonight and attempt a sincere, albeit insufficient, contemplation of the amazing achievements demonstrated by each student in the fields of literature, arts and performing arts in the last ten years, and it would constitute a great folly if I were to make it out as if this was the end of an Act and therefore the cue for the curtain call since we have hardly even begun. There is more to the show and I shall pray, as I hope that You will too, that each one of these individuals, who had started out with rickety doubts and a lifetime marred by disparaging words and contorted expectations, have yet more lit-up stages to walk on so that once again they should thoroughly bedazzle the minds and hearts of unsuspecting audiences and uproot with effortless flair those hardened stalagmites of social stigma that still exist here in the so-called liberalised west. I shall do my very best to play my humble role in all this, invisible and backstage, and yet undeniably satisfying. I speak of the role of the Teacher, of course. ♥ 

Much merriment was the order of the day today in college, and some rather comedic scenes took place at lunchtime that had all of us in firm stitches! Would You be shocked and surprised if I were to confess that I was the little mischief-maker in all this? Perhaps You shall not. You have waded through numerous stories of mine by now that I would imagine that in Your mind You are as fixed in Your summation as a nail is to the wall, that the source of all hilarious anarchy at my college could only ever be the brainchild of Yours truly, this 158cm hobbit with the itchy garden fingers! Giggle, giggle!

Well, what happened? I shall not prolong any more this malice of dithering and press on!

So, I was sat around the table with my delectable students and we were chatting away at the speed of knots about what shenanigans we had chosen to immerse ourselves in the Easter holidays, and there I was munching on a sandwich, one filled with green pesto, mature cheddar cheese and a few small but plump vine tomatoes. So far, so good, is what You may say at this juncture.

Not quite!

What happened next was witnessed by many of my Blue Apple students, including Mr Tommy whom You had the pleasure of viewing in last night’s clip, so should You wish to verify the veracity of this statement someday, now You know exactly who to consult! Giggle, giggle!

I had become so delightfully engrossed in the conversation that I must have lost control of my autonomic system and bit zealously into the sandwich and as soon as the teeth dug into its bready fibres and through to the soft pulp of the red vine tomato, its sweet and squidgy juices shot out at the speed of light and squirted itself in multiple trajectories, hitting me in the right eye whilst the remaining and substantial portion of the red emission aimed itself precisely perpendicular and splattered all over Mr Malster’s face! Famed for consistently playing the role of women in all Blue Apple productions, Mr Malster naturally jerked back in his chair and instantly closed his eyes, and with a high shrill he rang out whilst laughing his head off, “Oh my, you got me! You got me! Your tomato attacked my face! Mazzy, what are you like?!

The entire lunch area broke out in bursts of noisy chuckles and giggles and I was in a complete and utter hysterical state, laughing so much that I cried streaks of tears and my eyeliner and mascara all came dripping down so that by the end I was no different in appearance from the jolly old farmer’s scarecrow! Giggle, giggle! Thank goodness the Principal was not around, that would have been rather awkward to say the least!

It was inevitable in my mind that to go back in the classroom would not end this saga of uncontrollable roaring peals of laughter, and I was neatly proven correct, for as we sat down and cleared our throats, somehow, and someone, brought to the bench the issue of how best to preserve emergency marmalade sandwiches under red felt hats, as is the habit of a certain bear from darkest Peru, and immediately all eyes fell on Mr Malster and his sticky face gleamed even more glitteringly under the light. I nearly choked at the ingenuity and wit and timeliness of the harmless teasing that was happening before me and our dear Mr Malster lapped it up with fond glee and amusement! He was off his trolley. that’s for sure!

It does not take an intelligent rocket scientist to figure out that we did not get any written work done in the last class of the Spring Term thanks to the ungovernable delinquency of one red vine tomato making an airborne strike at my student’s face without mercy! Oh, and for Your information, none of us were successful in tracing the outer casing, the shell, of the perpetuating tomato bomb, and I suspect that if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were still alive he would have put a prize on my bit of comical misfortune today, since it would have made the ideal muse on which to base another case whose investigation comprised of chasing a missing artefact! Hey, why are You laughing and calling all this codswallop?! Hush now, for goodness sake!

As I exchanged warm hugs with each of my fabulous students and wished them an Easter holiday filled with fantastical adventures and – how could I possibly omit – that they were to fully partake in the legitimate and elevated consumption of chocolate Easter eggs, I floated like a sunbeam painted of marmalade hues and turning around to face the rewarding scene of a classroom about to shut shop, I swear the air smelt of my garden after the rains, a sweet but grassy petrichor, and I do believe it was laced with the faintest notes of one very naughty red-vine tomato…  ♥♥♥  

On The Matter Of Planting Gardens Of Love & Exploding Vine Tomatoes!

Mr Benfield aka our resident ‘Romeo’ wished to show You, within the visible wavelength of colours, what happens when You never give up, when You keep on trying, when all You want is to plant Gardens of Love wherever Your two feet may stand… ♥♥♥

 

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

My Students’ Art Exhibition: Allotment At Night Time By Miss Alice

To not levy on You any more puzzlement of the comedic kind than You have already been exposed to, let me spell out from the outset that here in England when we talk about an ‘allotment’ we are referring to a patch of land that is hired for the aim of growing one’s own vegetables and fruit. I do not own such a piece of land since my garden is of an ample and generous size, although, there is more to tell of that story since at first the soil was horrendously dense and fraught with compressed bouts of rock – Winchester sits on a subterranean layer of white chalk – that made gardening rather impractical and unfeasible. After many years of hard and back-breaking labour on the garden by my Mumsy, Abba and myself, we finally succeeded in creating a more even-surfaced terrain whose soil had become conditioned to that more appropriate composition on which horticultural dreams could be cultivated in!

Now imagine my tremendous delight when my student, Miss Alice, chose to depict her local community allotment in the form of a silk screen painting?! PURE JOY rang out loud from the mysterious crater that is the dimple beside my wide smile, and I contemplated the unwavering intensity of my Faith in my students for their continual desire to surprise me with their unceasing panoply of artistic gifts and talents!

During the exhibition Miss Alice followed me around, pleading to have her photograph taken next to her miniature masterpiece, and what shall I say but what a formidable grasp of the unique enchantments of the night time had this young lady captured in her illustration! In only the economical and bold dichotomies of black and white, Miss Alice presents what almost resembles a magical moonscape of a scene of the allotment, a familiar working space yet one that has never been viewed in the depths of the nocturnal hours. Miss Alice used the palette of her dreamy imagination to conjure up what she felt she could see the garden look like in the hours when the whole world was fast asleep, and the result was staggeringly intriguing and spellbinding to the point that I declared out loud that her work was strongly reminiscent of Tove Jansson’s style of visual language, the famous writer and illustrator of the childhood classic, ‘The Moomins’!

I hugged and congratulated Miss Alice as huge tears collected in my eyes and she did not seem to want to let go either. What a monumental accomplishment shone before me, and from a lady who was, in my eyes, a far more superior artist than I could ever be because she had shown that fantastic dare to formulate a composition of her garden during those strange hours when the veil of night was thickly upon it, a time not associated with the life of flowers and fruits and vegetables, and also of such a peculiar time she chose that You are doubly taken aback because You cannot conceive so easily the idea of a gardener existing in the night. Gardening, in all its profound variety, is a form of caring and tending that too often people marry off with the clock of the day, not of the night. I am sure You shall agree with me on this point.

Miss Alice proves You wrong and she does it in such a way that You are euphoric and glad that she came along and opened Your eyes to the world that persists to throb with quiet but teeming activity in those moonscape hours when Your eyes are meant to be thoroughly shut! As I stood there gazing at Miss Alice’s amazing portrait of the allotment under the watchful eyes of silver-beaded stars, she had locked her arms around me and put her head on my shoulder and I, with a frog in my throat, chanted over and over again, “My darling, this amazing, absolutely amazing, you are amazing!” She blushed rose pink and thanked me. I was silent for many minutes as the revelation arrived home to me that a garden and a gardener never sleep, their existence is not solely defined by and nor subservient to the restrictions and whims of the daytime world. Ours was a dedication and consideration to Mother Nature that did not abide by the terms placed on the clock by the dictatorial hands of society.

My nightly ritual, if You must know, is a beautiful composition consisting of winding down my physical body, of sipping on warm camomile tea whose colour shares kinship with lemons and honey, prepared from dried herbs grown in my own garden. And just before I retire to bed, gently placing my book on the floor, I realise that I am still gardening, for my heart never leaves that place, it is stood out there, overlooking each and every patch, now breathing air as I do, and all the while the moonlit blackness and the moonscape ground beckon that a pure soul would come along and paint this scene of Good Magic as it unfolds, a symphony of sweet silence…  ♥♥♥  

Allotment At Night Time By Miss Alice

“… she had shown that fantastic dare to formulate a composition of her garden during those strange hours when the veil of night was thickly upon…”

 

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Discovery Centre Cityscape Gallery | Winchester | UK 2016

My Students’ Art Exhibition: Reading The Seasons By Mr Billy

A singular reason for why in a year You shall only discover at the most six or seven photographs of me is that whenever I stand in front of the lens I feel as though I am succumbing my own magical powers to a great injustice. The magical power that I speak of is that of the good kind and it is called the summons for Storytelling, the planting of words which the gardener hopes shall teach and inspire.

I am a natural teller of stories and were You to ask any friend or family member of mine, they would be quick to point out that “when Mazzy opens her gob she turns every little thing into the most astounding epic ever written!” It is not a learnt habit. I was born with the Gift, a tendency for conjoining language and imagination in creative ways. I have no intention of making money or fame from my pursuits, rather, it is a sacred blessing from whose fountain of healing waters I wish to touch the lives of as many souls as possible. That is the true source behind the boundless joy that dances inside the rivulets of my heart, and I know, unequivocally, that the entire theatrical troupe of the Universe supports me in my quest.

In this incarnation I have chosen to work as a teacher and my specialism lies in supporting and developing the potentials of adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Never is there a day that I return home complaining about my work. However, the traditional and age-old stigmatisation attached to people with learning difficulties has not completely departed from the minds of many people, even here in the so-called civilised and democratic west. In the past, when I was younger, it was a bit of a struggle living the job as I came under fire from relatives who would often harangue and bombard me with critical speeches on why a ‘genius’ would want to spend the prime years of her life slaving away in a profession that paid little and involved nothing more than keeping ‘mad people’ on track.

To be frank, I gave to them as good as I got! With hands on my hip I would retort fearlessly, “Someone else can be the doctor or the lawyer, my Destiny is on a different path”. That shut them up pretty nicely! We all have a part to play in this machinery of life, a web of intricate connections, and I do agree that certain parts of that web may pay better and lead onto a life of luxury or high status, yet my Sight sees with clarity rubbed out of all doubt, that if even a single node of that web was eliminated – if every dustbin collector or the cleaner vanished from the face of the planet, or if every judge or consultant surgeon were bumped off – then, the whole cog system is made upset, and everything eventually would fall apart. I see that bigger picture, and thus I am not fussed the slightest about status or income or image. What is the point in parading my face day in and day out when one day it shall be the feast for the creatures of the earth? What is the point of securing a palatial home, a supersonic car or muscles the size of puffy clouds when none of it will come to Your aid in Your twilight years? What is the point of these fleeting instances of nonsense, my dearest Reader?

My currency is in the Unseen. The invisible world exists, all around me, above me, below me, a fabric of intense longing that stretches through space and time and cuts across all the other Dimensions that scientists will one day confirm with You, and therein, through all this, lies the jewels that I try to narrate to You, and the Voice I have chosen is that of my humble craft of Storytelling.

And, it is only and only ever, my True Love for YOU, as eternal as the unseen rocks that live beneath this very earth on which You walk on and that I cannot see You do, at least from where I am, that can ever explain why Mr Billy, my adorable student, bursts out in a smile, a sweet mixture of divine innocence and happiness that can only come from making a stellar achievement. He requested that I show You his gloriously giant and vividly embellished painting of the community garden, and bless him, no matter how truant the weather, Mr Billy, like me, loves to tend to the communal garden and grow his own delicious fruit and vegetables and we have even swapped ideas in class!

I was moved to tears as Mr Billy, in his kindly tone of voice, commentated on the little details that scattered all over his mural-like piece of art, and he did not want to stop. He knew of the depth of my amazement and affection for what had been created and so leaned his head into my shoulder. I patted him on the cheek and told him he was a genius! He had made me rich, but the money that I had accrued could not be seen, an unfathomable denomination it was, and for which I can only but service You this portrait of a brilliant mind and daring soul. Mad are those who renounce the choice to view true genius from 360 degree perspective. I pity them, for they are the sufferers of the deficiency of ignorance. It does not need to be so, as the flower opens to converse with the expanses of a mesmerising outer world, so is there an equal chance that the eyelids of the affected could do so, too.

Meanwhile, the latest gardening update from my end is that as soon as the weather turns a little milder I shall endeavour, upon returning from work, to trot off into the garden! My knees firmly planted into the sumptuously mucky soil as I cheerfully get cracking on to let the earth breathe with the rhythmic motions of my handy trowel, I will be turning the sleeping clods over on themselves, then scattering farmhouse manure around the girth of rose bushes and weeding out and cutting back the crackled brown vines that have seen the worst of the winter frost. Oh, my beloved Reader, how I love Spring! It arouses forever in me the feeling that I am sat on the cusp of a new world, and my lap exudes in all this breathlessness a fragrant and fertile purpose: an aching enticement for strawberries, red and succulent, that have yet to be born…  ♥♥♥

 

Reading The Seasons!

“… And, it is only and only ever, my True Love for YOU, as eternal as the unseen rocks that live beneath this very earth on which You walk on, and that I cannot see You from where I am, that can ever explain why Mr Billy, my adorable student, bursts out in a smile…”

Reading The Seasons!

“… I patted him on the cheek and told him he was a genius…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Discovery Centre Cityscape Gallery | Winchester | UK 2016

“That’s A Wrap!”, Announced U.N. Owen – Sorry – UN(cle) Owen – Sorry – You ‘N’ Owen!

What is terrifically mind-boggling, and yet at the same time incredibly hilarious, about the English language is that a single word, if deprived of its sentence of context, can come to mean any number of things. A word is a branch in waiting, not a stump of deficiency. It is a willing and compact seed of potentiality and it falls on You to let it grow in directions beyond that initial husk of unseen worlds.

Take for example, the word WRAP.

Recently, my dream husband, the dangerously dashing and unfailingly just, Mr Poldark, was seen on telly where he concluded, with a high cheer that made me want to rush up and smooch his cheek, the phrase that is a relief to every director, “It’s a WRAP!” Now You must understand that my darling beau did not express his chuckling merriment because someone had passed him a woolly rug to wrap around his sumptuous frame! It was not like as if he was stranded in Narnia, held captive by the Ice Queen, and thrown into a cell whose devilish coldness made the inside of every freezer seem like a slice of the tropics! In the context of filming, “That’s a WRAP!”, is an informal signification of the completion of the film project and it implies that the actors could now sit back and take a chill pill. Oh no, no, no, You silly billy, no blanket wrap is ncessary when one indulges in a ‘chill pill’, it is another example of figurative speech to denote a time of relaxation! Gosh, what am I going to do with You?! Giggle, giggle!

There is another popular usage of WRAP and it will be extremely familiar to You if You worship with as much ardency as I do the stirring voice of Your Tumnus – sorry – tummy! Yes, You have guessed it correct, I speak of the EDIBLE WRAP! Here in England we are very much obsessed with our sandwiches, but in more contemporary times the vibrant influx of cultural cuisines from around the world has brought with it the concept of the wrap, which is basically a flat bread of some sort that neatly wraps around a delicious filling! When the lunchtime hunger pangs crusade on my belly with teeth as sharp as knives, a good old grilled veggie and hummus wrap does the trick to appease the annoying growls and groans! Highly unladylike, indeed! Giggle, giggle! Perhaps You would prefer a chicken and salad wrap, or a smoked salmon and cheese wrap if the calling of the sea is what tickles Your taste buds! All in all, a delicious edible wrap is a must for me at lunchtime, and it offers an excellent replenishment of energy reserves, especially after a busy class that often involves chasing up students and dodging swivel chairs that seem to have a life of their own!

But where am I going with all this? Do not dig Your head in the sand, I am getting there! Patience! Giggle, giggle, toes a-wriggle!

As per request by a well-wishing stranger that I discovered this morning, here in the virtual world, I am proud and exorbitantly happy to present to You the final part of the story, which, as irony would have it, is actually the beginning and it is all about a chap who loves his food to bits – especially wraps! I vowed to myself that I would not reveal these first two photographs, taken on that day of intersecting destinies, so soon, and instead opting to follow the vibrations of my sixth sense, I waited for that riper time that would eloquently slide my final segment into place, accurately and poetically.

Before I commence I should like You to bear in mind that ALL of this is TRUE, even though I realise that the connections that radiate out from it are wild and magical, to the point of shaking disbelief, but should You ever visit my local library You are more than welcome to investigate the veracity of my testimony by quizzing all the staff. Most of them saw me in there, sat with my journal and fountain pen, camera equipment splayed across the white bench, whilst the banners and bunting in the Children’s Department fluttered above my head.

On that day, quite early in the morning when the library felt like a whole different place since the jostle of crowds and chirpings of children were yet to find their way through the galleries and rooms, the very first person to arrive to see me with their book was UNCLE OWEN!

Now let us get one thing straight, this lovely and kindly and giant of a chap was once my student at college but after passing all his exams he has successfully moved on, and yes, I do miss him terribly! If You are despicably gullible enough to believe Owen is my biological Uncle then please, arrange a prompt appointment with Your psychiatrist! Honestly, why do I bother?! Chuckle, chuckle, train-whistle chuckle!

When I was first introduced to my gentle giant I immediately anchored my attentions on his name and the ginormous connection it had to Star Wars, for Luke Skywalker’s adopted Uncle on the sand dunes of Tatooine was indeed none other than a raggedy old man called Uncle Owen! The name stuck forever after I learnt that Owen, like myself, was a Stars Wars aficionado! What greater legitimacy than this for electing my pet name for this adorable chap who was always helpful and reassuring in class, offering moral support when his peers were low and quick to report issues when he saw them. What a super trouper, our Uncle Owen!

Uncle Owen! You are here! HURRAH! How are you, my darling?” I reached up to grab him and planted a kiss on his cheek and he bent down low for me, to which I am always wary of, for it must be a demanding and laborious feat for any 6ft 4” chap to hug a 5ft 1” hobbit like myself! He never kicks a fuss, Uncle Owen is more than happy to oblige me!

I’m good, Maz!” Uncle Owen never calls me ‘Mazzy’ for some strange reason, perhaps it is too girly in sound and he wishes to avoid seeming oversentimental! I am not fussy either, whenever I am referred to as ‘Maz’ I feel like a footballer, it has that sort of ring to it!

Thank you, my love, for coming! How is work at the shop?” Much time had passed since I last spoke to him, and though I pop into his workplace whenever I walk down that street in town, lately my busy schedule had kept me away from popping my head round  to see him and the other friendly faces that work alongside him.

I’m doing well, Maz. Shane cracks me up sometimes!” We laughed and I agreed that when Shane was around one could never be too careful, that jester was always up to something devious!

We spoke at length about new films and the Batman Vs Superman combo due for release soon. With Uncle Owen I could happily unleash my high-octane tomboy side, a refreshing break from the whims and passions of the feminine brain!

And what might have you brought for me, Uncle Owen?” My eyes trained onto his rucksack and he began to rummage into its dark depths and how positively awesome would it have been if he had pulled out a sleek black and angular batarang of the Dark Knight himself and shot it through the air and flew off! Perhaps for another project in the future! Giggle, giggle!

Yet, Uncle Owen did not come empty handed. He had a book and, since I had not the faintest or the foggiest as to what it was, I tensed up once again as its cover edged its way to the brink of my line of sight!

Maz, for you I have got this! Jamie Oliver! I bought this from the charity shop!” He raised the book and I was stunned, for little did I realise that my galactic rebel fighter was keen on cooking!

Uncle Owen! This is amazing! I had assumed you would have packed a marvel hero comic or something to do with Star Wars!” I paused and held the hardback weight in my tiny hands before continuing, “But, no, you have surprised me big time! You like cookery books?

Yes, Maz! I want to learn to cook better and make healthy meals for myself”. Uncle Owen lived independently in his own flat but after a lifetime of scoffing down ready meals, this gentle giant had finally acknowledged that cooking from scratch was not as difficult as it would seem.

That is extraordinary and I think those cookery classes you took with us has really whet your appetite!” Do my students ever stop giving me reasons to admire them? No. Incessantly, tirelessly, here were fantastic individuals who strove to reach new frontiers. He did not know it, but right at that moment there was not much of a disparity between Uncle Owen and an astronaut. Cooking is uncharted territory for many men, as arcane and mysterious and a struggling puzzle to fathom on par with the hardest equations ever generated!

You do know that from now on in, whenever I run into you in the street, I will be asking you when the feast is on? I expect a whole class invitation to your flat when you have mastered Mr Jamie Oliver’s recipes!” I smiled wide and with plenty of fondness, and it made me swell and melt to watch how happy my words made Uncle Owen feel. This was why this book project was worth every sweat, time and penny!

To those of You who are not familiar with British celebrity chef, Mr Oliver, let me say that his is the aces, his preparations are no-nonsense and showcase a superb array of colours and textures, not least are they famous for their health-conscience properties! He is our nation’s favourite and has a delightful pet name of his own: THE NAKED CHEF! Once more, a play on figurative speech, You won’t be needing to pass a WRAP to him, he simply likes to be called that as a pointer to the beautiful simplicity of his recipes, minus all the pomp and self-conceited traits one would expect with a celebrity chef!

Yes, Maz, I will call you all over but first I have to practice”. He was a realist but with the heart of a dreamer.  “I am going to try and make stuffed peppers, they look nice!” He turned to the page and showed me what he meant.

I can’t wait for that day, Uncle Owen! It will be an honour to eat your food!” I wanted to wrap my arms around his oakish frame and tell him just how proud he made me feel, and that the reason why I was loyal to my role as a humble teacher was so that I could play a hand in transforming potentials into realities. I was a little teary in the eye, though it was important that I composed myself because in a second or two I would charge myself with the duty of taking his photograph and a shaky and weepy clicker is no good for that!

One last bear hug exchanged, he marched off to catch the train to Eastleigh to see a friend whilst I sat down once more on the bench, contemplating on how people can gift You the most pleasant surprises about themselves even after knowing them for many years. Just when You assumed that it was a wrap, it was not! What a revelation!

BUT, who would have thought that the name of UN(cle) Owen would prove to share a monumental and significant resonance with the enigmatic epistolary author of typewritten letters, U.N. Owen, that lured and drew ten strangers to a remote island? Even when I think about it now, I am thunderstuck, emitting waves of gratitude of such magnitude that it pierces through both sky and sea, and I am reinforced in my faith of the existence of Good Magic.

In approximately half an hour’s time two other friends would be meeting me in the very same spot, each with their book of the moment. Their names were Emily and Elsie.

And in my imagination I can see You ‘n’ Owen burst out in flavoursome cheer and joy, voices as fragrant as citrus zest and as kingly and wholesome as hummus, calling out at the top of Your lungs “That’s a WRAP!♥♥♥

That's A Wrap!

“Yes, Maz! I want to learn to cook better and make healthy meals for myself”.

 

That's A Wrap!

“Yes, Maz, I will call you all over but first I have to practice”. He was a realist but with the heart of a dreamer. “I am going to try and make stuffed peppers, they look nice!” He turned to the page and showed me what he meant.

 


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

 

Does The Question ‘What On EARTH Is Shakespeare’ Mean We Have To Consult An Atlas?

The ever entertaining court jesters of my class and winning star players of The Blue Apple Theatre Company, the superlatively valiant Sir Lawrie and the heroically virtuous Sir Tommy, proudly presented before my attention today such a literary El Dorado that I felt that they had comprehensively outwitted and upstaged the grandeur and fame once enjoyed by the early Americas explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh himself! What doth I speak of, You ask?

Well, surely it would be disastrously absurd of me to commit the error of recounting my tale without You first reaching out for a lustrous cup of tea?! Stop dilly-dallying and please initiate the march into the kitchen at once, fill up the kettle, await its mellifluous train whistle and then proceed to waterfall it into thy gourd of warm refreshment! Are we done? Smashing – no, no, not in the literal sense of the word! Honestly! Giggle, giggle!

If You have yet to catch on the fact that England is, as we speak, preparing nationwide to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the greatest bard and iambic pentameter scribbler famed for his glittering works of stunning ingenuity in the English language, Mr William Shakespeare, then You are an abominable idiot of the first grade! The faun-like master of the pen is a beloved favourite of my two trusty knights of Camelot whom You can see smiling away in the photograph, in fact they do so to the extent that their cheeks could be seen wobbling under the joyful tension of their outstretched muscles! I will not burrow under the soil, instead I shall go ahead and confess the truth, which may come as a jolting surprise to You, and that is that these two chaps are substantially more knowledgeable about the timeline of the conjurer of fine sonnets and plays than I am. I do not lie! Oh do stop choking on that biscuit!

Shakespeare is so popular around these parts that I suspect his plays will be re-enacted with unceasing vigour even as far into the future as when we shall no longer be inhabitants of our home planet, instead Macbeth will be seen toiling and wallowing in the mud of his guilt and Hamlet haunted by the ghost of his father on stages set up on a terraformed rock millions of light years away from the small enclosure that is our present solar system!

A literary pioneer of soliloquies and who transformed their function by deviating from the traditional role of them serving the reader with facts, Shakespeare set the precedent for allowing his characters to SPEAK ALOUD their mind and heart, irrespective of whether there was anyone present to hear them out, so that we as a reader were invited to enjoy a more richer and vibrant internal world that existed behind the faces of his actors.

Influencing fantastic writers like Hardy and Dickens, Mr Shakey Boo – as I like to refer to him – is an immortal legacy whose words have proven time and time again that they are endowed with stubborn invincibility. I do not think that an era will ever come to be that does not make at least a passing tributary nod to his spectacular opus of works. He is why we have come to believe in words like ‘eternal’ and ‘forever’.

The fanfare of my praises for Mr Shakey Boo could go on all night but then I would be jeopardising my chances in telling You that two of my most loveliest students, whom I taught today, wished for You to see their favourite book which they kindly brought into class, specially for You! Mirroring the nested rhythm that constructs the famous set of the Russian doll, here the two knightly Sirs display a book about books! Opening up as wide as the mythological water serpent, Hydra, this beginners guide to the entire universe of Shakespeare is deceptively simple to look at from the outside, however, turn over its hardback cover and the pages concertina out at You like the papery soul of a vociferous accordion, and so many of us had to volunteer to stand in front of the classroom to hold onto a part of the river of its pages and we came to a point where we all agreed that a bigger classroom was in order! I shall speak to the Principal about our ambitious whims! Giggle, giggle!

As the room buzzed in the fireflies of our laughter because we had found ourselves locked in the struggle to contain the flying reams of page after page, I felt we had plunged into the arena of mythology, fighting a monstrous foe, wrestling with a great flood of information pouring out at us, left, middle and centre!  There was the distinct impression that Mr Shakey Boo did not want to rest, he preferred to be in the spotlight of our discussions and what better way to ensure that his intentions were played out to the full than to cleverly engage all of us in a cheeky combat involving timelines that seemed to be animated by the power of his words, and that easily overwhelmed our measly attempts at self-containment and order. In the end we managed to close the larger-than-life book and the photograph You see below was taken immediately after, which would explain perfectly why my two chaps are plastered with the smile of impossible achievement on their faces! Whoever said that Shakespeare is deceased should brave a trip to my class and open this book: When the zig-zag origami of facts whacks out and whips You in the face You shall concede, like we had done so, that the writer of Sonnet 116 is indeed as fixed in determination as the constancy shown by the Pole Star!

Before I part ways from the pen tonight I should like to emphasise that the title of the book, ‘What On Earth? Shakespeare’, had a few of us slightly on the stumped side. Since I possess a Matilda brain I reflected on the extraordinary strangeness of the title and, looking back, I consider myself rather lucky that I am a member of the human species, for if an alien from another planet had landed in our classroom I am pretty sure it would have requested that I fetch him an atlas cataloguing our sparkling blue and green world so that I may teach him which earthen landmark was called ‘Shakespeare’! Oh my, what deliriously good fun that would have been…!!!! ♥♥♥

What On EARTH Is Shakespeare?

“… The ever entertaining court jesters of my class and winning star players of The Blue Apple Theatre Company, the superlatively valiant Sir Lawrie and the heroically virtuous Sir Tommy, proudly presented before my attention today such a literary El Dorado…”

 

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

Small Town, Big Heart

There is not a chance in the world that You can outwit the magnetic congeniality of my small town of Winchester. Once You become a resident of her nest You will find it an impossible task of epic dimensions to escape detection, recognition and affection from another friendly face as You make Your way from one end of the town centre to the other. At this point if You are considering inventing an invisibility cloak then I suggest You desert that idea, it has futility written all over it, a highly unprofitable venture that will lead You to a dead end, and even such an end is a comically bright one because it will most likely consist of a street party of Wintonian residents awaiting for Your arrival! Giggle, giggle!

As opposed to the big metropolitan cities of the world, Winchester prides on a super proficient built-in conspiratorial mechanism that will always bring a friend to cross Your path and once that happens You will naturally follow on through the etiquette procedure of exchanging a juicy chat mingled with the proverbial British tendency to comment on the weather, before finally confirming a proper tea session at which dates and times and venues will rapidly yo-yo between You and the other person.

So, who did I manage to bump into today? If You have been excruciatingly patient up and until now with my writings then You will be on the ball and recognise some of the faces in the photograph – yes, they are of my lovable students! I am blessed to be living today in Winchester, a place that I always feel is looking out for me by its constant dedication to nudging goodness in my way, and nothing blossoms more springtide joy in my heart than to be in the presence of such pure souls. I know You must be smiling too… :))

EPILOGUE: Oh for he, WHO who believed in my previous post with unconditional zeal, what do You say about the three signs displayed on the poster canvas of the students’ clothes: New York City, an Eagle and the word, Mountain? I have no interest at this current time to voyage over to the Americas however the eccentric neuronal tracks in my brain instantaneously made a connection. Eagle Mountain forms part of the Catskill Mountain range located in the state of New York. I cannot stop myself from drawing the conclusion that here is a message from Destiny addressed to me: There was once a blue-skinned Krishna, famed for lifting up the entire body of Mount Govardhan to protect the weary villagers from the banging climatic wrath of Indra, God of rain and lightning; then there was the little ‘nat-khat’ Alex holding up a poster of the Unseen; and now, because You believed in me, I see You with pristine clarity, carrying Your own inner mountains in some far-off distant land. Does it make You feel one step closer to me now that You are aware that I know WHO You are… :))

LINK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Mountain_(Ulster_County,_New_York)

Small Town, Big Heart

“… I am blessed to be living today in Winchester, a place that I always feel is looking out for me by its constant dedication to nudging goodness in my way, and nothing blossoms more spring-tide joy in my heart than to be in the presence of such pure souls…”

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

Storytelling In Pictures: A Special Ed Art Exhibition

Ladies, Gentlemen and Children I have the great pleasure of presenting to You
The last of our gifted students with her palette of wonders, a crowning debut
Bright and happy colours are the dews that drip from her paintbrush
She’s a shy little lady, why, just glance at that scarlet blush!
She brings a message to You all, “Live like the eighth colour of a rainbow”
Bring joy to others in any way You can, don’t be a grumpy rhino!
And when Life gives You Oranges, cook up some marmalade jam for all
While telling stories round campfires, let the forest be Your dance hall…

EPILOGUE: Today marks International Tiger Day, a collective effort to raise awareness of one of the most majestic creatures of our planet yet whose survival at present is endangered by the ever continuing conflict between humans and wild tigers as both fiercely compete for habitation and resources. The tiger has been poetically esteemed as an animal of cunning prowess, a fearless hunter and a vivid demonstration of the inimitable artistic palette of Mother Nature. Born under the star sign of Leo, I am naturally drawn to the cats of the wild and could it be sheer coincidence or another neat proof of harmony that one of my most beloved of sentinels of the forest happens to be blessed in plentiful brushstrokes of the most hypnotic application of marmalade jam… :))

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/ashmoleanmuseum/posts/10153535717258442

Storytelling In Pictures: A Special Ed Art Exhbition

“… She brings a message to You all, “Live like the eighth colour of a rainbow”
Bring joy to others in any way You can, don’t be a grumpy rhino…”

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

Proud Teachers Off To Watch Shakespeare – A Special Ed Production!

Moments before the spectacular, spectacular production of my playwright guru, Mr Shakespeare
Performed by our Special Ed students at the Theatre Royal, to end this fine academic year
Us teachers gathered round, pat each other on the back for a job very well done
And every student thus shines, certified star each and each a Number One!
Asperger’s, Autism, Down’s Syndrome none did stop those chaps from rising to the stage
Hope is not bird in a house, it is a primary phoenix, an Orange sonata in blaze
And in the small print stir the wavelengths of Krishna, the TARDIS and the green fruits of knowledge
See, our prestigious acting company is called ‘The Blue Apple Theatre’ – magical, You’ll acknowledge…

EPILOGUE & NEWS: Did I KAT-those tractor thieves, whose rampant naughtiness fizzing in their fingers has led many a farmer to toss and turn tonight, blighted by worry about how they will cope without the power horse of their industry? Well, it turned out that one of those tractors belonged to a certain male Doctor who has mastered the art of, what was thought to be previously believed impossible – Time-Travel! He is quite an old chap these days but I find him terribly alluring so what could I do but invest some of my Magic into a highly-structured search and retrieval plan. After a few scrambles with the villains, one of whom has permanently lost their wig thanks to the Sonic Screwdiver’s precision laser technology, the pair of us successfully relocated the tractors to their original home. More are still to be found but we have decided to leave that for another day! Click on the link below for what the good Doctor treated me to: a crime-busting, time-travelling blue teapot garlanded with a ring of hearty biscuits! Yummy, yummy in my tummy!!! Giggle, giggle…  :))

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/200262213319293/photos/a.919488111396696.1073741826.200262213319293/1023702484308591/?type=1&theater

Proud Teachers Off To Watch Shakespeare – A Special Ed Production!

“… Us teachers gathered round, pat each other on the back for a job very well done
And every student thus shines, certified star each and each a Number One…!”

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

School Is Out!

Before he whizzed out of class a portrait did I snap up of the ever determined Mr Footie
Victoriously passing all tests I fanned at him, unquestionably he deserves a cookie
Which I did bestow on him and on all my other stellar Special Ed chaps
And to You, my admirable reader, I implore You dish out the jubilant claps!
What You may not have gathered was the risky business of taking this shot
For I am 5ft 1 and Mr Footie is 7ft – as tall as the mast of a yacht!
So how did I achieve this eye-to-eye composition You annoyingly ask me?
To answer You must release the flotsam of the mind’s conventional debris
I am a Red Fairy of Bengal, born with wings that flutter stardust
They heave me towards the blue sky, farewell to the earth’s crust!
When gifts of this unorthodox kind are under one’s sleeves
No height is unconquerable, I can float above tree leaves
Oh, and like all my portrait offerings I am present in the frame
Invisible to the eye but as luminescent as a flamenco flame
I live in the faces of those that I admire most in my life’s story
Gaze thoughtfully and You shall see my echo, ‘tis really no mystery!
Backdrop of emerald greens, a twinkle in the eye, warm honey smile poised to the left side
Via the conduit of my student I send You a comforting glance – Love from Your guiding Bride…

BREAKING NEWS – BREAKING NEWS – BREAKING NEWS: C-A-T me if You can! Well, the peeping cats at Lick Observatory will join alliance with the just announced Breakthrough Listen Project, a revitalization of the scientific study and search for intelligent life in the Universe! The pursuit of the Unseen – I would imagine You are already underway with Your own version of this project… :))

LINK:  http://astronomynow.com/2015/07/21/lick-observatory-joins-search-for-intelligent-life-in-the-universe/

School Is Out!

“… Backdrop of emerald greens, a twinkle in the eye, warm honey smile poised to the left side
Via the conduit of my student I send You a comforting glance – Love from Your guiding bride… “

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

C-A-T Me If You Can!

Pen hoisted between the enchanted corridors of nimble gifted fingers
Proudly my student displays a casting of You and I, a fragrance that still lingers
Crosshatched colour technique applied she did, thus face of netted tea-rose pink
Two cats embroiled in affectionate embraces, white fur of the softest mink
But what pursuits, what chases, what sweet attempts You cast to entice me to follow You
Yes, we will have endured many storms before reality gives us our cue
Ah, I can see now from afar the puzzlement that ripples through Your solemn face
Breathlessly You pose, “How do her Special Ed students possess an advanced knowledge base?”
What substance is this chain, this link, this connection that crosses Space and Time?
Whose craft has led a mirror between us, causing our words and pictures to rhyme
For the present, let us admire the art of You and I incarnated as two cats, O my beloved man
And someday I shall explain everything to You but first C-A-T me if You can…!

EPILOGUE: No News to report today, but something extraordinary came my way tonight as I was just about to post this blog onto my website. Addressing to the man who is my fond stranger beyond vast seas, the one who has begun to appreciate the true meaning of Faith as the heartfelt belief in the goodness of the Unseen, my invisibility of face torments and yet renews his Spirit and for that matter I pray he will click on the link below. I shan’t attach a flowery explanative note, simply, look upon this photograph and see me as You have always seen me in Your dreams… :))

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/The.Eternal.Sunshine.Page/photos/a.138494749517237.20600.138480696185309/985429008157136/?type=1&theater

C-A-T Me If You Can!

“… For the present, let us admire the art of You and I incarnated as two cats, O my beloved man
And someday I shall explain everything to You but first C-A-T me if You can…”

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