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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seemed like forever.

What if they were armed with a counteractive measure?!

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

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

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

The purple patch grew deeper.

The green line edged closer.

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

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

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

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

ACHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

YES!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Old Pictures, New Story: I Am SHERLOCKED! Out Of The Fishbowl And Into The… Plop, Plop!

If You were crafty enough to track down all my closest friends and family they would unashamedly reveal to You, unprompted, that if there is one celebrity on the telly that I have the most astronomic crush on it is the enigmatically charismatic Sir Benedict Cumberbatch, especially when he dons that dark-trench coat, lives in the messiest flat on this side of London by the highly recognisable address of 221b Baker Street, and acts the role of the prodigious consultant detective. The name I refer to is Sherlock Holmes and if You have not heard of him then I recommend a course of intense and unbroken viewing of all the episodes to date, and should Your tummy preach for food, ignore and carry on!

Endowed with superhuman powers of observation and lightning-sharp intellect that could quite possibly be classed as the most brilliant in the universe, our endearingly eccentric chap of piercing logic is also, alas, rather sadly inept when it comes to his interpersonal skills. He does not mean to, but nine-and-a-half out of ten times he unintentionally curves his speech and manners like a speeding boomerang aimed out to hit, thus offending the person in front! Only afterwards is he haunted by an extremely lamentable aftertaste, his gut knitted as it dawns on him that he had gone a tad too far!

But, despite the wonky edges around his persona, I cannot be budged or nudged away from marvelling at this lanky chap with dark starry eyes. He is an exceptional piece of perfection, yet indubitably, he is as vulnerable and capable of being hurt as any one of us. I think this bewildering composition of contrasts is a concise specification of how were are all made, and that is probably why every life ever lived in the history of time is worthy enough to be penned and archived and considered a masterpiece, for each life – each story – has something vital to contribute to our modest efforts to make sense of the human condition. A patchwork quilt of tinsel songs and hound cries and undeciphered mysteries, I am fascinated by characters and the way they draw us to scrabble out reflections of our own traits. If the phenomena of personality were to be driven out of from the face of the planet and replaced by zombified creatures then mark my words, the storyteller would be out of business in a jiffy, and eventually their numbers would be relented into a grim extinction.

I am Sherlocked! One of the crowning phrases of the BBC adaptation and only those that have followed it with dedication will know of what I mean. I shall, nevertheless, exude a try of explaining it to You. How to put it? Ah, yes. See, I am so happily intertwined and entangled with the brilliant BBC characterisation of Sherlock that I feel as if I am a hungry fish more than willing to be hooked onto the bait of the show and cheer on madly, even when this socially aloof man speaks such lines that wallop and spin the head round, an epic case of vertigo that I certainly do not wish to go away!

As the new season of the show begins shooting in London, I was curious to know what the latest update was on the man himself and peered into the official Facebook page and what a fiendish treat lay in wait for me! I may have conceded to being the fish forever wanting to be hooked onto his brooding coat, but it is reasonable for me to wrap up tonight’s blog post with the cheeky theory that Sir Sherlock is also hooked onto me. “I am Mazzylocked!” I can hear him exclaim as he swims round a cagey fishbowl and beady bubbles of air float up from his mouth.

Please do click on the Facebook link below to catch my hook! Does it not create the impression that he has been for so long the impoverished slave to the public image of intellectual perfection, and thus that he cannot bear this struggle of fins flapping in the watery cave of his bowl no more, until, and never quitting, he finally succeeded in plopping out of it and landing in as many hilarious pictures as there are years I have lived so far far… ♥♥♥

PLOP THY FINGERS ON THIS LINK OF PURE TIMELY AWESOMENESS: https://www.facebook.com/ModernSherlock/posts/978296875551703

The Fugitive Of Your Desire..

And such is my finesse that I wear a smug grin as I lean back, sip my tea… All the while, two daring detectives, are no where near to catching me…!

 

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016
Original Post & Image: ‘The Fugitive Of Your Desire’ © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2015

Old Pictures, New Story: How About I Put The Kettle On For You?

The winters in England can be brutishly cold, the winds serrated as like a dagger’s edge that is poised to slice through the slightest bit of skin it can see, and that is why it becomes extremely important that You ensure that when venturing outside You are wrapped up warm and in many layers so that You do not succumb to a nasty bout of frostbite. It is one of those horrid conditions that sends a pandemonium of panic into the victim affected which is understandable since as the skin changes colour and the sensation of touch diminishes away, one is forced to think of the worst. Limbs, without warning, fated to drop off due to poor or no blood circulation. Yikes!

But the savage sting and gnash of the freezing air did hardly made any headway in arresting our playful ways on that memorable day at the humble German markets, set up specifically in Winchester as part of the glittering festivities for Christmas time. Now, You must note that I cannot tolerate hours of shopping like my friend can, it bores and tires me out within minutes, unless of course the map to be navigated includes a few charming bookshops on route wherein I can indulge my ever voluptuous imagination to be drawn to scintillating synopses of new books! That sort of shopping is, as we Brits say, right up my street!

On the other hand, I have always found a cute charm in the little wooden cabins that pop up round by the Cathedral grounds at Christmas, they are a pleasure to explore on foot and I can spend a whole day gazing admiringly at the numerous splendidly handcrafted goods on offer. Typically, the enchanting array includes such wondrous things as like heavily aromatic wreathes of dried satsuma the colour of rustic autumnal leaves, beeswax candles that tempt the mind to eat them, and glass lanterns bejewelled in a mosaic of glass and mirror pieces. The whole place, once only grassy and watched on by the hushful walls of the Cathedral, suddenly transforms itself into an Aladdin’s cave, only that there is no canopy of a roof, and thus the many markets nestled with their intriguing trinkets are laid bare as much to eager-eyed collectors as to the swarming breath of icy winds. To shop here is not a luxury, it is an brave expedition to the Arctic and You were bound to return with something much more than You bargained for!

Now imagine how madly excited I must have seemed when out of all the many things that were seductively competing for our attentions my eyes should magnetically lock onto a bulky wooden barrel and atop rested two glass jars filled with teabags, sugar  and tiny sachets of milk. Though no map accompanied us, I could have sworn the exhilaration of my discovery was on par to that monumental moment when the bearer of the map finds themselves precisely on top of the point marked X! I had not set off to accrue treasure, but yet before us lay the basic molecules of tea preparation and hence, quite rightly, I went bonkers and, though I am no gymnast, my shoulders felt like initiating into a series wonky somersaults, a wobbly roly-poly, and a shaky cartwheel, just to top it off! Ask any friend of mine and they will quite heartily submit a testimony on Your request that tea really does do it for me! Giggle, giggle! If I could I would stash every variety of loose leaf tea in my buccaneering satchel before gallivanting off to the ice-clad North Pole, or trekking through the moist jungles of Peru, just so that I could enjoy that peace of mind that irrespective of where my shrivelled-up shoes cared to careen me, there would always be by my side that most beautiful reminder of the warm and cosy world of my home, that will indeed always be my home, wherever I trot and whoever I become.

Samka, let us imagine that we had the power to share out this delicious tea to the world!” Cheery and bright-eyed, I elegantly gestured to my friend to take the helm of the stall and pretend that she was indeed an all-benevolent dispenser of warm and sweet cups of tea. From the corner of my eye I glimpsed at the soothing hiss of steam that rose from the cups held tightly by people who had purchased one earlier, and I could interpret in their faces that it made the world a livelier place, manageable and simple and slow, when in possession of such a fine milky molten concoction of leaves!

Let’s do it!” She did not think twice about it, only that like a happy kangaroo she jumped behind the barrel and the next minute I know there she was, impersonating to be the most kindly tea lady in the world! Without my cue, she unclipped the levers of the glass jars and lifted them as if to say to the cold and weary traveller that he or she had come to the right place and that here we may not make You rich or guarantee You safe passage, however, we have something else and it will help You because when we make this tea we make it with all the Love that we have glowing inside the warm glove of our hearts.

Naturally, members of the public giggled at our little stunt but we are so used to pulling theatrical displays wherever we go that it became a pleasing sight to witness that nothing of ours goes to waste! Our antics will be remembered because they made people smile and, I do hope most of all, that whoever did smile will have remembered that worries can be made to go away and a fat smile can come to stay, if there is someone who will put the kettle on and ask, “How many sugars did You say?” ♥♥♥

To Sweeten The Deal

“… for a few moments the both of us were busy dishing out our favourite beverage in the world – tea of course – with complimentary sachets of sugar and milk, to help soften the bitter brew of life into runny maple syrup,  melting the worries of the big world into a cup of milky molten goodness...”

 

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016
Photography: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2014

A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery: What Came Next?

Hurrah, it is the long and lazy bank holiday weekend in England and the sun appears to be in on the festivities since it is doing a marvellous job at spritzing its way through all the leafy, applauding leaves of the trees on my street, pouring into my house as if it regarded this building as the heart of a jar, awaiting to be filled with gloopy, golden honey! Splendiferous, indeed!

Alas, I am still working today so I must soon shoot off, however, before I vanish from thy sight I thought that it would be fabulously befitting of my natural proclivities for injecting mystery into the air if I were to leave You with a teensy-weensy game, a mystery puzzle! Ah, I knew You would like that! Giggle, giggle!

In a recent sojourn to my local library I was astounded by WORDS! They were not words from the books of authors already published and stacked on the shelves ready to be borrowed and have hot tea spilled all over them – as I often do! Please do not say anything of this to the chief librarian! Ahem, ahem! Instead, these were words that had been penned by little children from nearby schools, and whose extracts had been taken out from stories that they had created in the classroom and then stuck on the walls of the library. As would be in alignment with Your logical presumption, yes, I was veritably astounded by this scrumptious display that once more confirmed that the youngest of minds often were the finest of writers.

However, one particular extract caught my attention like industrial superglue, and the magical fireflies in my gut began to whizz-pop-bang and that is why I took a photograph of it. My dearest and beloved Reader, might I invite You to partake in a little parlour game and have You guess what was the gist or, indeed, words that came after the sentence You see below?

I must truly dash now, but mark my words, I shall be thinking of You today with added interest! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥

A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery: What Came Next?

“… My dearest and beloved Reader, might I invite You to partake in a little parlour game and have You guess what was the gist or, indeed, words that came after the sentence You see…”

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

Episode 5 And A Bit: The Umpire Strikes Back!

My beloved Reader, it has come to my frazzled and most nervous attention that the two thespian actors, widely known for their frequent and loyal photographic services in my whimsical projects and who recently starred in the ambitious visual production of my story, ‘The Legend Of Corfe Castle’, were spotted early this morning in our majestic capital city of London and each had on their person a suspicious article swinging off their arms! CCTV cameras picked up a clear visual of the two ladies – a Ms Agnes and Ms Katie – casually approaching the front façade of The British Museum, a landmark reputed to stand as a forefront in world-class architectural sophistication and whose contents are filled with astounding artefacts of impressive educational merit.

When detectives finally could not bear the suspense for a moment longer, they stormed into the paved courtyard and stopped the aforementioned suspects in their tracks. Meanwhile, the head co-ordinator of the taskforce made an urgent request for reinforcements in case upon confrontation the ladies were to reach into their bags and pull out certain named chemical irritants. In five minutes flat, ice-creams vans were dutifully deployed on standby to cool the situation down if things got out of hand – literally!

Witnesses report that when the senior field officer asked the two suspects to drop their bags and to step away immediately, they chose not to comply. The officer repeated his commands, but this time he spoke through an old brassy gramophone horn that belonged to his granddad . Each woman gave a disarmingly wry smile that had the remarkable effect of confusing all the officers on the scene. It would appear that this cleverly engineered state of unfocused attention created an opportunistic time window for both ladies in which they were able to quickly dig into their bags and unleash upon the faces of the officers an attack of the most orangey oranges, each one shining ripe and bursting with exponential quantities of Vitamin C!

Both ladies were handcuffed, each to an officer, and then promptly scooted off in cars with wailing sirens and screeching tires, all the way down to the London Metropolitan Police HQ where they were detained securely inside separate interrogation chambers.

When questioned about their motives their answers were remarkably identical.

What is the purpose of your possession of suspicious quantities of oranges in your bag?

We were inspired to bring colour back into people’s cheeks…

Ergo, I have now successfully got myself stuck in a highly pickle situation. The entire Metropolitan force is in pursuit after me and I need somewhere to lay low. Any offers?

NB (No-Ball nota bene) To the proprietors of dodgy and ruinous castles who may wish to assist. Thank you, but no thank you!

Giggle, giggle!!! ♥♥♥ 

Episode 5 And A Bit: The Umpire Strikes Back!

“… Each woman gave a disarmingly wry smile that had the remarkable effect of confusing all the officers on the scene…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | British Museum | London | UK 2016

Old Pictures, New Story: Pocket Edition Magic!

The votes have been cast and my family and friends have decided, unanimously, that the spruced-up chap with the lion-heart, whom we see in the photograph below, should bravely step forward and take my hand! I say, what conspiracy is this?! Yet I shall be kindly upon them and grant amnesty to the innocence and naivety of their verdict, for little do they know that the days of Mr C.S. Lewis and the wearing of dignified tweed fibres have unfortunately relegated themselves to an endangered rank of style. And if still, miracle permitting, there is such a man whose wardrobe tastes are as ancient as the first bacterial life that bewitched into existence beneath the world’s blue oceans, then hurry man, relinquish thy silence and make Yourself known! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥ 

 
Every which way I turned the serpentine streets of London showed themselves to be the empires of frenzied footsteps made of scampering strangers, cramped spaces teeming with a living museum of the city’s diverse and complex human characters. I had only just sprung out from the underground tube and into the reassurance of familiar daylight when this rather dapper and stylishly suited gentleman appeared out of the corner of my eye! Donned in green tweed, monocle confidently propped up, festooned with a bushy moustache on a canvas of face generously rotund as like his equally portly belly, I was curious to know precisely what such a figure of dignified antiquity was viewing on his phone. Perhaps he was requesting that he should be sent back to his own time? Or, was he texting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, demanding to know where his pick-up car had gone to that was promised to him? What a delight that this eccentric chap should spark endless stories in my head and to remind me that even in the most chaotic and impersonal of places my eyes could still make out exquisite pockets of magic…” 

Meet Colonel Green Tweed!

Potential husband material? Well, that depends. Are we referring to the round-bellied one or to his handsome green tweed suit? I beg Your pardon, but why are You winking at me? ♥♥♥

 

Photograph & Journal Excerpt: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London Street Photography Series | Central London | UK 2014

 

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

Contrary to popular belief and perception, that what we call ‘Time’ does not actually or even remotely obey the course of a straight line. Time is a funny old business and one day in the distant future scientists will master the means to empirically substantiate that it is a property of existence composed of balletic proclivities that truly border on the voluminous and spectacular. Besides travelling ahead-ways, it can scoot up-ways, down-ways, side-ways, diagonal-ways, reverse-ways, and also, in-between-ways. Now, as human beings we are indeed constituted of rather restricted physical dimensions and that adds a veritable spanner in the works, for our perceptual faculties cannot cope with the infinite tributaries of time and thus if anyone strikes up the fancy to hop from one timeline to another they will surely come to a horrid impasse, as well as serve themselves up for ridicule from the conservative mainstream community!

A Muse is of a different matter altogether – literally!

She or he can blot out the monotonous terms and conditions always associated with the physical dimension, skipping the rule of linearity and crossing over to any timeline of their choice. They can in effect change the course of history. What I have omitted to tell You thus far is that though a Muse is destined to ignite the spark of inspiration into her Chosen One, her birth is not a spontaneous event. She did not arise from nothingness. She was inspired into creation by another Muse, and, once in a while, that Muse can take the form of a human

Rianna hurtled through space and time in the guise of a spinning ball of energy and carrying in her were the blueprints of all the adventures she had experienced with us. When she opened her eyes she found that she was no longer in the company of her four friends. Instead, an impressive beige-bricked, gothic bell tower doused in the glory of the warm autumn sunshine pealed the air with its rhythmic tolls of the bell. The tall spires of the astounding architecture around her seemed to want to touch the roof of the blue sky, and yet at the same time her attention was being amusingly diverted by the riverine flow of students cycling away through the narrow winding streets below. What a fetching chirp there was in their mutterings as they roamed to their respective Universities. She noticed groups of well-behaved students striding enthusiastically to their classes, although one or two of them indubitably shared an eccentric charisma about them and they loved to flash their hands about as they dabbled in talks on this and that! It was when she saw their attire that she was satisfied that she had arrived at the right time – in the right time! The young men were suited in fine tweeds with ties, whilst the girls wore heavy knit cardigans and long skirts, and hair that was either quite short or tied up in taut buns.

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

“… When she opened her eyes she found that she was no longer in the company of her four friends. Instead, an impressive beige-bricked, gothic bell tower doused in the glory of the warm autumn sunshine pealed the air with its rhythmic tolls of the bell...”

No one seemed to notice her and she liked that. Mustering up all the fortitude she had left in her, she reassured with herself that she knew precisely where to go – an old English pub on the high street not far from where she was stood. She walked discreetly in its direction, careful not to rouse any kind of suspicion in case if that were to foster unnecessary complications in her path.

When she arrived outside the small building she was immediately swept up in the tasty and pungent aroma of fish and chips, and the fermented scent of the traditional English ale. Timidly she opened the oak door and stepped inside. The first thing she noticed was the rich dark wood, there was so much of it, timbered through the walls and beaming across the low ceilings. She felt she had entered the heart of a tree. On one side the modestly-sized counter was packed with students and professors engaged in sprightly intellectual discussions whilst downing handsome tankers of ale and the chap at the bar looked friendly enough to throw the odd cheeky comment that led to noisy uproars of laughter and claps. Rianna smiled away. She was always mesmerised by the warmth of human congeniality. She side-stepped away from the counter to observe that on the right-hand side were very tiny round wooden tables patterned with surfaces that resembled the design of a chessboard. She was intrigued and stroked the surface of one of these tables before resuming her search. She scanned each occupant of each chair but everyone appeared to be in happy spirits without a care in the world. Had she made a mistake and leapt into the wrong place, or time even?

And then she saw him.

In a dark corner, against the wall, a lonely man sat by a table. His body was hunched over and his arms were crossed down on the table so that his face was buried and hidden from the world. His grey tweed jacket was carelessly slung on the back of his chair, on the brink of tapering off the edge, and the rolled-up sleeves of his white shirt, stained on one side by ink that had not quite been washed out, indicated to her that he was suffering and that no one knew it. In front of him splayed out on the table with a sort of defeatist indifference were his notebook and fountain pen. As she came closer her heart felt a shuddering grievance to see that his notebook was completely empty. The words had deserted him and he, a heavy and companionless void, was shrinking away into the solid sands of the table. There was a spherical glass lamp above him and that too did not wish to keep company with the man. Its light was faint and faraway.

She came right beside him and knelt down so that her lips were in line with his ear. And she whispered, softly:

Hello…

He did not budge.

I hope you can hear me…”, she cleared her throat and glanced back over to the room just to ensure that no one could see her. “I want to tell you something. You see, there is a little girl – a good friend of yours – and she is not born yet and won’t be for a while, so you will not meet her in this life”.

The man fidgeted and scratched his ear. His head was still buried in the enclosure of his arms.

She will not not come from these parts. Her land of birth will be unlike the austere winters of England. Her first cries will be welcomed under the blazing orange sunshine of the bluest of skies, and in that month when she shall be born there will be the music of rain, its beats consummating with the lips of umbrellas and earth. But… “, and Rianna paused to smilingly reflect on the strange turnings of destiny, “… it is your shores in England that she will eventually come to make her home. This little friend has sent me here so that I can pass on her message to you”.

At that he slowly lifted his head from the table and stretched his eyes out before rubbing them rigorously with his hands. He was dazed and confused and began to dart his eyes all over the place because he thought he had heard someone speak to him.

He could not see Rianna.

But he felt her presence.

She looked at him with tender admiration. “I know you can hear me…

Who said that?” He was startled and gulped hard. He surveyed his cup of tea and promptly dismissed the insane idea that something so harmless could be responsible for what he deemed to be hallucinatory voices.

I am the free essence of her, the eternal aspect of her soul. I am her Spark.

He writhed a bit at first, mystified and then his breathing began to grow calmer and calmer, indeed from a distance he would have appeared to be a man immersed in the deepest of contemplative musings.

She wishes to know you better in the life that she will be born in. She wishes that you write beautiful stories and that you never shirk away from that endeavour because that is what you were meant to be. And if you so happen to desire to shake her hands in gratitude then put that in one of your stories. I am sure she will be pleased by it…

Who… what are you…?

Her form suddenly collapsed in on itself. It formed a tiny firefly of orange spark and it fluttered and swayed and dived before swimming towards the shores of his weary eyes where, with one last ecstatic brightening, she melted into them for eternity.

The round glass lamp above flickered once and then twice and then it came on, a steady and full-bodied illumination that drove out the shadows that had far too long haunted him in that cavernous corner. He picked up his fountain pen and pulled his notebook towards him. Taking a determined sip of his tea, he sat up straight and courageously soared his fountain pen over the snowy white sheet before landing the nib deep into its fine smooth flakes, and in them he scrawled the name of my Inspiration

What happened next? ♥♥♥

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

“… The round glass lamp above flickered once and then twice and then it came on, a steady and full-bodied illumination that drove out the shadows that had far too long haunted him in that corner…

 

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

Dining With A Shopping Mystery (A Bittersweet Conclusion!)

How To Train Your Train: A Stupendously Timely Update! 14-03-2016

You see my dearest and most beloved Reader, sometimes circumstances are such that the Conductor might go amiss and the smartypants phones of one’s travelling companions conspire to dissent from serving their duty as navigational aids, and the journey henceforth prickled with unpredictable perils and way too many unfactored unknowns that You begin to wonder that far from enjoyment, one has simply let themselves in for a ride from which a safe return may not be guaranteed!

Oh do stop worrying for goodness sake, You know I cannot resist the temptation for building up crescendos of tension before the final splatter of the true news! And it is a rather nice and beastly news for that matter, for three things have happened this very morning that suggest to me that TRAINS are a pivotal part of MY STORY AND YOUR STORY, the one that shall connect me to someone rather special! Ahem, ahem!

First of all, I have just discovered that someone by the name of ‘Miska Khatun’ has flagged a Like for a comment of mine that I penned on the page of my favourite photographer who lives on this side of the galaxy. The comment was made early last year, so I am rather deliciously bamboozled as to why this chap or chapette has chosen to show interest in what I have to say about the world of ‘Porters’ at this point of time. How enormously fascinating!

Secondly, my favourite photographer on this side of the galaxy – or his admin – has hoisted up on his Instagram page an image of a poor lady cradling a child and who is totally petrified of a rushing train! We need to do something positive about this spot of unfortunate botheration!

Thirdly, the most magical gift I received I this morning, is that my beautiful and kindly friend, Agnes has at last sent me a menagerie of photographs from our London adventures in which she has very craftily captured my cheeky face and then has subsequently shown her friends and family back home in Poland! In a blink of an eye I have crossed borders it would seem! Giggle, giggle!

And, therefore, before I commence to enjoy this stunning sunny day here in England with my mates, I wish to reassure YOU – the man who is in a bit of quandary and whose true face I have yet to decipher – that when we meet, I shall be more than glad to give You a tour of London and I assure You that, though I am not a slave to the digital world with its menacing range of social media tools, I have on me the auspicious blessings of Destiny and my infallible book of marvellous navigational powers, my fabled but oh so very true ‘LONDON A-Z’… ♥♥♥

I raise a toast of tea to the curly-haired Photographer who once wrote to me to say that I was a born Storyteller,
Mazzy xxx

P.S. Yes, there are more voyages with friends to be had, watch this SPACE

How To Train Your Train!

Katie Sunshine and myself on board the London Waterloo to Winchester night train! Gosh, did we ladies make a racket in that carriage! Giggle, giggle!

Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2016
Photography Kindly Sent By © Agnes | 2016

 

***************************************************************

On our final night in the intricate maze of the capital city of London, the hunger pangs had us grabbed by our starved tummies, a pleasing symptom – if not a rather annoying one at the time – that spelled out clearly and with ample credence that the three of us ladies had expended and exceeded our energies beyond our expectations while on this city break. Now the time had come to refill our bodies with the morsels of tasty grub and the warm elixir of tea! Ravenous, we sought food!

Ladies, we were supposed to arrive at The Real Greek restaurant for 5.30pm but, it seems like we are going to be a tad late, in fact, precisely half an hour late!” I informed my friends that we were about to forfeit our knack for punctuality, and yet it was spoken without the slightest angle of worry or grievance in my voice. So wrapped up we had been with sightseeing and, of course, plodding ourselves in cafes here and there, that we had lost all trace of our awareness of the fact that a pre-booked table was waiting for us in Covent Garden in the homely premises of The Real Greek Restaurant! Oops!

Mazzy, I know! But listen, I have to stop by in that shop over there, they sell the most fabulous skin products that agree with me. I have a hard time finding them anywhere else!” Katie looked at me desperately and I honestly thought that was unnecessary, for I knew she was as swift as lightning when it came to the business of buying purchases. I did not mind the slightest!

Of course, go ahead! We will wait for you out here!” With the announcement of my green-light decision, Katie sped off into the shop and rustled up those precious buys that had always proven to be as elusive as a blue moon when she had  formerly attempted to track them down in our local area.

The night drew in fast and the air took on an unnatural chill that had both myself and Agnes clutch onto our thick blanket scarves and we pressed on them harder against our throat and chest, hoping against hope that this added attention would prevent any more of the cold wind from invading our weather-beaten skin.

Now, remember that I had mentioned at the start of my storytelling series for the half-term holidays that I would take up on rebellion and sashay forward and backward along the timeline so that what You read would fit in neatly into the jigsaw of Your day? Well, prepare for such a moment to occur right about now.

In the absence of our dearest Katie, and to cushion our minds from the deviancy of the cold wind, Agnes and I reminded ourselves of that highly animated and thrilling conversation that had taken place early on in our adventures, right in the middle of Waterloo Station, when, and in replication to the temporary disbanded nature of the group as it was right now, Katie had disappeared to the loos and Agnes had begun to talk of her book! Yes, she had very generously brought a book with her that she was currently much immersed in, and I was profoundly touched that my darling friend, in all the excitable anticipation and preparation for this trip, had not erased it from her mind. She had remembered! Hurrah!

Tell me again about your book – about ‘The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow’ so that I do not forget its contents when I come to write this tale up in the future!” I rubbed my gloved hands together, blowing into them what little warm breath I could siphon out from, what I believed at that time to be, my incurably frozen lips and mouth.

Mazzy, I think you come to a point when you are fed up with reading the complicated books. The books for mature readers and the books people study from. I have lost interest of them lately. Agnes had recently completed her Masters and I could quite easily picture her weariness for the type of literature that was driven by the more systematic goals of the world. “Like you, I like a good adventure story, especially ones with mystery and suspense!” Presenting an eminently accurate character portrait of my own inclinations in the book world, Agnes may not have known it at the time, but the conviction of her passion for the book that shone so beautifully through her dark eyes, had already won me over to the point that I promised myself to read her picking as soon as I finished the other outstanding titles sat on my desk.

Tell me more about the narrative structure, how does it tug you along?” I had completely forgotten how cold it was out here, and that is no new thing for me when my mind is wonderfully led astray to other quarters of investigation! She recounted the primary events of the tale and since I did not have my journal in my hands I provide below of what I vividly remember from listening to my friend that night.

The story is set in Edwardian England and tells of a girl called Sophie who is left orphan and without income after her father dies, however her fortunes take a surprising turn when she lands a job at a prestigious shop for hats – a millinery by the name of Sinclair’s – based in the heart of London and whose owner is an enigmatic millionaire from New York. Sophie quickly makes friends with Billy and Lil and she feels that life at last is beginning to brighten up, opening up new prospects in both her professional and personal life. Alas, on the eve of the opening of this high-fashion boutique, a sharp and cunning thief has penetrated through the security and many things are stolen from the shop, including the most priceless item that was hoped to be the star attraction of the inauguration of the opening event – a diamond-encrusted clockwork sparrow! The immediate blame falls on Sophie and it is a race against time as she and her two loyal friends attempt to solve the true culprit behind this dastardly act of thievery ever committed on the streets of glamorous London!

The writer does an excellent job of making the plot spread out in different directions and the range of suspects keeps growing, then suddenly it comes together again! It is amazing!” And to that our frolicsome mate, Katie, reappeared and looking down at the watch, we realised how drastically late we were and yet not a wince of anxiety passed our faces! We were built that way, eternal optimists!

Pushing forward the heavy doors of The Real Greek Restaurant and stumbling in from the cold, I stepped forth with the bravado of the cavalry and explained to the manager that we had booked a table for 5.30pm.

But you are late! Why did you not inform us before…?” He was not very pleased at all, however I detected a little vulnerability in his voice and to that I tunnelled through and whizzed up my next reply with the artifice of the Artful Dodger himself!

Oh, well, I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that: We are not from here and tried our very best to find your establishment, unfortunately we got terribly lost somewhere back there, and now that I am here I am so so so happy to have found you..!” I winked my dimple smile at him and he melted in the manner of an ice-cube on a hot stove!

Ok, ok, your table is still here. Follow me…” He casually walked us to our table at the back of the room, a cosy spot with families and children sat around us, the laughter of life and the spirit of the evening in its most convivial form and it lit up the whitewashed walls of the quaint and warm eatery in which we took solace in the late hours. Thanks to Chiara – you remember our beautiful friend from Molly’s Den?! – we followed up her recommendation and it was indeed everything she made it out to be! We plonked down, satisfied and relieved, and enormously eager to taste the delicacies of the Mediterranean continent, to let it consummate our palate with victorious deliverance!

Our final night in the magnificent capital, London, overseer of countless brilliant writers of the centuries, and here we were, scoffing down our dishes in rapid zest, abandoning our ladylike etiquette to the wind, and then only to proceed to order a round of beverages. Before embarking on the trip, Chiara, with calculated poise, had used a spot of reverse psychology on me so that when the waiter asked me what I would like to drink, I said – and I strongly advise You to wear Your seat belt as I gather up the courage to say this, “I am going go for your house special, your famous Greek coffee served extra sweet, please!

The other two friends of mine stared at my face as if they had seen the visage of a morbid apparition float before their eyes. I caught their gaze and simply replied in an indifferent tone of voice, without making a huge festivity of oddness about it, “Oh, blame Chiara!” We all let out a chuckle and for this once, I suppose, I ought to comply with that famous adage ‘When in Rome..’, and that is exactly what I did!

As the night wore on outside, the bittersweet Greek coffee that arrived to our table in the tiniest cups imaginable, echoed stunningly the rich and dark mysteries of the unfathomable nocturnal hours, the leagues of untold knowledge we saw in towering kingdoms of books, and the coiling and convoluted narratives that belonged to a heroine out to restore and return to its true home a most priceless treasure of Time.  And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative, and then, in unison, we raised our three cups of wholesome coffee and let their ceramic sides touch and tinkle high above the centre of the table, advancing our motto with charisma and smiles:

To the forever power of books and friendship♥♥♥    

The Concluding Chapter!

“… And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative…”

The Concluding Chapter!

“… “To the forever power of books and friendship…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | The Real Greek In Covent Garden | London | UK 2016

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

If You were a spy and were to hide around the corner from the doors of the Winchester Library then sooner or later I would indeed come into Your view, walking down the stone steps carrying more than just a smile of complete and blooming satisfaction, for clutched to my tiny chest there would a book, or if I was feeling extra ambitious, I might venture to form with my arms a determined embrace of struggling containment for many such books! The majority of people tend to adopt the more sensible and conventional approach of either stashing away their borrowed literary loot into their bags, or sliding them under their arm so that books get a very intimate whiff of one’s armpits! Yikes!

I suppose I must belong to that category of ardent book lovers who were born with the assumption that a book is a heart, a pulsating and throbbing living entity, whose arteries and capillaries and veins are not of liquidated matter, instead a primal mix of the writer’s soul and the tools of language and culture and the times form the grounding fibres for its creation. If the heart that sees the surgeon’s steel table is a mass of pink tissue the size of a fist that was dreamt up by God, the book is its equivalent made of the tissues of trees and the visions of a daring wielder of the pen. As a child I was naturally attuned to this idealisation of the book, a heart that was shaped like a square, and therefore I always felt the most comfortable, and comforted, when I carried my beloved book to my chest, arms crossed over its cover so that the title and cover became almost eclipsed from the eyes of the onlooker. I realised in those early years that the book was a sacred organ, an invisible heart, which yearned tirelessly to achieve the sanctum of a home, a warm chest of a human being in which it could happily call Home and lose the rigidity of its borders into the fleshy cave of the human hug forever.

Even to this day I could be spied trotting about the place with a book fastened to my chest, the vitality of my smile and the special sheen in my dimple all fed by my awareness that I was alive with the master companionship of not one but two resplendent hearts! You must try it in order to have any chance of taking stock of my words, but I advise that You apply Your experimentations with a book that is dear to You, rather than selecting something that You absolutely detest, for that will surely raise Your tempers! The last sticky dilemma I should want to deal with is Your ripping out pages from the book which could land You in some rather nasty hot pickle with Your local library! Giggle, giggle!

The ageless enigma and lure of the Word, its power to liberate and inspire, may not be the prime priority of the younger generation these days. The hypnotic captivity of the smartypants phone phenomenon edges ever closer to eradicating the once enduring magic of reading a book, however my book project seeks out to create little ripples of inspiration into the imaginations and tastes of my more youthful friends. By talking about books, sharing our favourite bits in the text and pointing out what could be changed, or that which still remains to this day a profound mystery, is precisely the social atmosphere I wished to create when I started on my project and You have already sampled brilliant evidence that the friends and family, at least within my Facebook universe, have begun to take these square-shaped hearts a little more seriously.

Over the half-term holidays I caught up with one such beautiful and adorable young friend of mine. Actually, she is more like a daughter to me since I have known Miss Jenny since she was an ice-cream guzzling munchkin!

I crept up slowly into the Children’s Library and it was much busier than usual as it was the holidays so my eyes had to work extra hard to pick her out from the bustling islands of families and friends gathered on the sofas and chairs. Suddenly she appeared into view, sat on the swivel chairs and gazing down on her i-Pad, a form of absolute absorption overtook her and I swear a still-life painter would have been more than glad with the arrangement, since Jenny did not let out even a twitch of a muscle! Well, not until I jumped on her and we swapped huge hugs!

You look positively radiant, my darling, and I sooooo love the startling intensity of those dark locks!” I remember Jenny at one time, not even barely close to reaching my shoulder, and today, before me, here she stood as strong and bold and as tall as a tree blessed with good enchantments! I was awestruck at her blossoming visage and the dance of life in her eyes!

Oh, Mazzy, thank you! I am happy to see you, too!” The spiritedness of her 16 year old aura brushed on me like a eager wave to the extent that we spent the next hour or so talking about life and friends and all things light-hearted! She even placed the i-pad into my hands and encouraged me to skip through the family albums. Jenny knew very well that my sensibilities still live in the olden times and the attraction of modern technologies did not amuse me so much, however I could see that she was smiling away in fond affection at my extraordinary ineptness at trying my best to get to grips with the touchscreen system! My stubby and hobbity garden fingers, so used to digging and planting and touching the softness of petals, was slightly out of its depth so that when I tapped at something the screen either froze because I unknowingly tapped far too many times in quick succession, or that I had not tapped down hard enough and nothing happened as a result! Yes, it was uproarious entertainment and You could have enjoyed it all for free if You were sat with us! Giggle, giggle!

Eventually we got down to the business of books, and as per custom, I never permit my muse to tell me in advance what they have chosen. An element of surprise is what I pursue, keeping the door open for Destiny to present to my senses, in unison, the book and the person together for the first time. It invariably intensifies the context with an air of fresh discovery whose significance I can always bet will have the effect of rippling out later in surprising and pleasing fashion.

As the moon escapes the scudding clouds of the night, so it was that Jenny’s book, one minute hidden from my sight, appeared out of her bag and this one I did know! She had chosen to bring with her the international bestseller and whose tale is set in one of humanity’s darkest era, during the Second World War, and it was called ‘The Book Thief’.

Mazzy, I got this fantastic book for Christmas from my mum. I put it on my Christmas list. A lot of my friends had it on their list too, and it was really interesting and fun to read it at the same time as them, we shared lots of ideas!” Jenny flicked through the pages as she spoke, as if telling the book itself that it ought to feel qualified for a merit for having made a terrific impression on her and on her friends.

Well, I saw the film of the book a few years back and have read the initial chapter with the intention of reading the whole book, however, I became side-tracked with another title and completely forgot to pick it up again!” A tad bit embarrassed by my goofy memory lapse, I nevertheless held no bars against my show of genuine amazement for Jenny’s choice, and it grew double-fold when I learnt that she was re-reading the entire story again! Now, for a book, that is a deep and unforgettable badge of honour!

I continued to dig my trowel of inquisitive searching further and asked her if there was any particular property or narrative frame that compelled her to like this book so much.

Mazzy, you know I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, which is kind of normal as I studied the dramatic arts and English Literature, and during then I began to love the darker plays, the tragic ones. I know it sounds really strange but I am always interested in the way Death is portrayed in Shakespeare and the thing about ‘The Book Thief’ is that from the very beginning it does something completely new with Death. It has a voice, it is the narrator of the story.” An incredible and astute eye for detecting the depiction of powerful metaphors that contrast Life and Death together, I was positively stunned by the depth of these solo literary investigations Jenny had undertaken! She had not read the pages in the manner of a passive ritual, our young lady had done what us polymaths do on a regular basis and that was of seeing the links between disparate texts where others often scanned over with cursory flight. Jenny had tunnelled her way deeper into the mines of the text and had uncovered at its core an unusual but refreshing take on the concept of Death.

At this juncture I think it would be appropriate to provide You with a snappy synopsis of ‘The Book Thief’, because I can see that You have that glazed look over Your eyes, a trance of one who has lost their way! Ahem, ahem!

Death is indeed the narrator of the story, a personified and humanised entity that is sick and tired of its job and more so now than ever, for we are in Nazi Germany. A 9 year old orphan girl, Liesel, is sent to live with her sweet-natured and accordion-playing foster father, and her bitter and sharp-tongued foster mother who is actually gentle at heart.

Liesel is illiterate and craves to learn how to read and write. The backdrop of her tiny world is a country that is in the suffocating grip of one of the most heinous and vicious atrocities of humanity, a black night that seeps through the streets and that sees the artistic voice of Jewish authors thrown into flaming fires, but the little German girl is determined not to be silenced into this prison of oppression. That night she saves a book from the flickering tongues of evil decimation. Her foster father learns of the great risk that she took in doing this and he is naturally outraged because he does not want anything to hurt her or take her away from him. Yet, what comes out of this act of bravery was not expected by anyone. Liesel and her foster father make a promise that they will together learn how to read, and to read to one another they would. As long as they had the words to read and the pen to write their own stories, none of the morbid chaos that sneered around them would penetrate or deter them from harbouring in their heart the Light of Hope and Freedom. The renewed zest for life and the acknowledgement that no force exists on earth to strip one’s power over their choice of thinking, the family grow strong and resilient through the tool of language, and to the extent that they choose to tread on a hazardous path when they permit sanctuary to a young Jewish man in their basement. He is another pivotal character who enhances Liesel’s confidence to strive for the pen and book and to make something of it. Perhaps the most profound influence of the written word comes in the form of the little boy Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, who, with his blonde hair and blue eyes and intellectual competency, is a prime candidate selected to join the Nazi youth programme. Instead of happily teaming up with the country’s inhumane agenda, he defiantly rejects it all and runs away. Rudy is far too much entwined in admiration for Liesel’s passion for saving people and books. He wants to see her become a writer and when possible he spends as much time with her as possible, never quite revealing to her how much he is in love with her, although he is always after a kiss!

Oh Mazzy, I love that part the best! When Rudy is lying motionless over the rubble of buildings torn down by the horrible bombings and Liesel by his side, shaking him to come back to life and he doesn’t and then she kisses him and oh….” Like all great Shakespearean fanatics, our Jenny, too, had a recognisable penchant for wallowing in the lingering miseries of unrequited love.

That scene propelled me to the brink of tears, too. But you know as well as I do that in a way Rudy does not really die, not his Spirit. His Love endures and fuels Liesel on a life-time path to write and write and she takes it with her even after she migrates far away from her homeland, even after she is married and has had children of her own. She never forgets the love of those who helped her in her darkest night. Am I right?”  To that Jenny smiled and nodded, quietly and sincerely. I think she could sense it very well that at some point in the future I would be reaching out to read the entire book for myself and that gladdened her.

Putting the book to one side, Jenny showed me her fantastic pencil illustrations of female faces and there I was, a happy victim stunned and breathless on the seat! Praising the skilled and confident artistry of the strokes she had etched on the paper, I was in true awe of my young friend. Today I was gifted twice, for both the written word and the arcs of the drawn line in her sketchbook allied in unison, to echo the message that a true artist was defined by its source – not the destination – of their motivation, and that was the heart.

So, You see, The Book Thief was not a kleptomaniac with a loopy obsession for books. She was a little girl who simply fell in love with the written word, who saw each one as a bordered world of borderless possibilities weaved out of reincarnated trees and the air and the rain and the vision of a darer of brilliant dreams. It is a square-shaped heart of all these accumulations, and now You know why I am never alone when my arms are in embrace with my leafy good friend, its pages pressed passionately against the covers of my own flesh as I walk down that cobbled street… ♥♥♥

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/TheBookThiefMovie/photos/pb.483199805062138.-2207520000.1456168133./645346475514136/?type=3&theater

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“Mazzy, I got this fantastic book for Christmas from my mum. I put it on my Christmas list. A lot of my friends had it on their list too, and it was really interesting and fun to read it at the same time as them, we shared lots of ideas!”

 

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… I know it sounds really strange but I am always interested in the way Death is portrayed in Shakespeare and the thing about ‘The Book Thief’ is that from the very beginning it does something completely new with Death. It has a voice, it is the narrator of the story…”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… Jenny had tunnelled her way deeper into the mines of the text and had uncovered at its core an unusual but refreshing take on the concept of Death…”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… “Oh Mazzy, I love that part the best! When Rudy is lying motionless over the rubble of buildings torn down by horrible bombings and Liesel by his side, shaking him to come back to life and he doesn’t and then she kisses him and oh….”

My Chestful Of Books: On Freedom & Friendship

“… She had not read the pages in the manner of a passive ritual, our young lady had done what us polymaths do on a regular basis and that was of seeing the links between disparate texts…”


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

I Adore The Secrecy Of Fog

Poetry Fest is still running strong here at Hobbit HQ, Winchester, and all the better as it means that I have legitimate grounds on which to argue in my defence that the camera is taking a well- earned break, allowing the gypsy poetess inside to take to a phenomenal phoenix flight with her fantabulous fizzy toolkit of jiggling words! Giggle, giggle! Today’s offering concerns that amazing of nature’s starlets, I mean to say the seductive allure that one can find embodied in the gauzy and shifty canvas of early morning fog. Such potency for hypnotic powers, the fog has always transfixed me on the spot and if looked at with enough careful attention I do believe it has a certain impressive capacity to create a poet out of anyone! ♥♥♥

LINK:  Things will either appear enigmatically beautiful or intriguingly suspicious inside the dense nebula of morning fog, and, I hasten to add, no one is spared, not even accident-prone bears from Darkest Peru! So please do not jump to the conclusion that just because he has elected to send Your way a ‘hard stare’ that he is out to get You in trouble, allow time for the fog to brew up into the vanishing ether so that our little friend can have the rightful chance to show everyone what a truly fine chap he really is! ♥♥♥

https://www.facebook.com/PaddingtonBear/photos/a.157585777634955.33066.125079994218867/1019004551493069/?type=3&theater

I Adore The Secrecy Of The Fog

“… Such potency for hypnotic powers, the fog has always transfixed me on the spot, and if looked at with enough careful attention I do believe it has a certain impressive capacity to create a poet out of anyone…”

Image, Words & Poetry: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016