Meanwhile Marmalade the sweet one, sitting in the lawn of her Pencil Cottage, could see part of the Street. The Shop ‘Chinese Pens’ was just outside her home. Once or twice the China man had come for a glass of water’ ‘May I have some water I need it for my Green Tea’ . ‘Ah Green Tea! Marmalade only knew the Black Tea. The British Tea or the Tea of England they called it, though tea leaves usually came from either Ceylon or now the country is called Sri Lanka, or Bangla Desh in the East of India, previously part of India, so much has changed in the world’. She did not know that a ‘pink tea’ also existed very close to India and Pakistan, in a land engaged in a ‘war for freedom’,Kashmir! Kashmiri people drank ‘pink tea with salt’ ‘yes, how do you make your green tea, is it green in color’ ‘No, no, it is light yellow in the beginning when the tea leaves are added to the plain boiling water, but some minutes later the color changes to orange brown. You can add cinnamon or ginger or fresh green grass’ if you wish…and …of course some sugar for taste. It is very good for digestion and good health and…ideas for writing’ ‘Orange, black, green, yellow, pink’ wow so many colors of tea, I could write a poem on it perhaps and become a famous Tea Poet’.
Oh , I heard of that, could you tell me more about this ideas for writing’ how does tea bring them on? I have to digest words at the most. I am made from orange peel’ and pulp’ ‘p and p’, hee,hee,hee, you know and some say it takes a lot of cutting peeling boiling filling rolling and singing’’
“From the ashes a fire shall be woken” J.R.Tolkien.
J.R.Tolkien’s poetic expression stirred the ashes in the sorrowful soul, blew them away a bit, beginning to awaken the saddened muse , shocked by the killing wave of Covid 19 which struck harshly, crashing like a hurricane and suffocating like thick smog.
November dragged into December and a word flashed somewhere on the screen, it glowed and caught the attention: Christmas Poems”. Wondering whether there was still time to submit I texted a short query to the Editor, listless halfhearted attempt on my part, I had read the name which was the main reason of my setting eyes on the introduction. “Hmm in Canada, so far away” was the first reaction but soon vanished as the truth dawned, everything and everyone was so far away, in these times,it’s OK I guessed. The response was unexpected, encouraging, hopeful, and friendly, it made me feel special for it said,” for you,there is” Christmas time is a time of new beginnings.
I had written some lines when I found myself in the land of my Literature study.I felt as if I was walking on the pages of history,stepping on cobbled streets passing by dimly lit lamp posts, gazing in awe at the high castle walls, imagining Robin Hood and his gang hiding in the nearby forests,hearing shouts and cries of Aye’ and smelling the odd aroma of wine and beer, knowing that these were the common people’s drinks. Literary activity,word research, reading stories,instilled in the veins, found more injections of unbelievable realism. I submitted the poem, I knew the editor would like it, and so came the reply,”This is surely going in this issue”.I smiled to myself though the heart felt heavy.
افلاک کی وسعت میں تںہا ہی رہنا ہے نہیں چاہیے تھا دوری کا گماں کرنا
In the boundless universe a star, destined to be alone, magneted, in orbit swimming, should not moan,in its safety zone.
(Translated my own Urdu verses)
And so finding myself traveling through the tropics to far off lands , the power of words pulled me,all the way to WordCity, magnificently holy, clad in a white gown,elegant in speech and style,gifted in merging meaningful sounds on paper. Am I in my home town,where pine trees grow and snow falls,where skies are real blue when clear, where quietude fills the atmosphere in the morning hours and smoke from coal fire in small braziers, surrounds the huge iron gates of training centers and boarding schools, providing some warmth to the guards on duty.
Summer days and nights are different, though, more serenity prevails.
White cold blanket covers the green and brown but cannot hide the beauty within for long. “There is not a particle of life that does not bear poetry within it” Gustave Flaubert wrote in his time, and the quote led to more poetry : Inspiration glowed, the golden rays sent warmth to the dying ashes,a spark flew and suddenly there was light all around,as if the sun had cut through the nimbus cover…I heard the joyful laughter, I laughed a little at the humor, I saw the blood on the hand cut by the broken cup, I sensed the sorrow and loneliness and then I felt the soft finger tips of expertly composed amazing words of Wordcity . With respect and wonder I share what the muse created:
Just on the other side, just a few thousand miles across the globe,across the oceans,across the prairies, it is cold, set to become colder, yet it is absurdly beautiful, poetry expressed in blue,on rugged rocks, on sentinel pines, here beauty and severity go together.
I felt cold but strangely calm.My heart felt lighter as acceptance of Divine Will became stronger.A door closed to open another, from the hot sandy lands to the cool snowy landscapes poetry began to hum a new peaceful song, sweet in togetherness, warm with cohort collective fire.
2020 ended on a tragic note an eternal separation a family broken.Oh Almighty Creator you know best the wisdom of life’s ending,the coming and passing away of the soul, the body merging with earth deep down. Those closest to the departing soul find tears sliding down the cheeks uncontrolled or silently hugging comforting each other, failing to understand the unknown timing, the unbelievable happening, today? tonight? tomorrow? What is this virus all over the world? Death striking everywhere, are these the days of judgement, trials and tests, the sudden calamities, the pain, the temporary separation as we all have to go in the span of time. Or humanity has fallen so low as to match with the enemies of the holy heavens and are being punished?
So many questions arise as we do not have the knowledge nor acquire it nor is there any right guidance offered nor will there be any messenger as the last one has come and left…but wait what do I see in the clouds what does the light show taking shape in the early morning sky?
There is hope as I look at the light getting brighter. I see a name of high respect, my heart and soul feels peace, yet I too am a mortal
The poet Dr Allama Iqbal wrote in his poem “The Philosophy of Grief”
“Grief is not distress, but is the soul’s silent song Which is locked in the embrace of existence’ harp In the depths of this world we part to reunite But we cry considering temporary parting as permanent”
But as we are humans we feel grief all our lives. May the Almighty forgive and bless all with mercy.
At first there was pandemic panic, a state of semi shock unseen dangers unknown fears , the world under attack, some said God’s Wrath has struck because humanity had almost disappeared, innocent people were being suppressed raped and children bombed and killed, murderous deaths were rampant.Justice was denied delayed and ignored. The Corona virus spreading like wildfire sent people reeling falling breathless dying on the
streets taking cover inside houses.Little did they know how long they would have to stay in lock down.
Then Covid -19 in loud silence put its foot down..STOP Just Stop. The world stopped moving, the Earth,feeling lighter, continued to revolve,began to breathe, heavy smog cleared to reveal beautiful majestic mountain ranges and snow covered peaks in the Himalayan Regions and Northern Areas.
Did mankind show change in attitudes of pride and fearlessness? Perhaps not so much. Enjoyment pleasure filled activities hatred racism deception all seemed immune to Covid 19.
Earth’s trembling decreased.
I felt staying inside the house was more peaceful. I saw the early morning dawn break into glorious rays of bright light.I felt divinity around me. I felt the silence the stillness the quietude.
Walking on a road like this has always brought peace to the soul.Whenever there are moments of stress, I take refuge among the trees.This is a road leading to our ancestral village Sabz Pir near the main city of Sialkot.The Jammu and Kashmir border is not far.
This is the beauty of Northern Pakistan.Pine forests are plenty but not enough.
Spending time among these peaceful forests calms and soothes the soul.
Home has always been sweet and safe. Home is the best sanctuary.Our ancestors honored the home as a sacred space which provided protection and peace. We too can reawaken this sense of spirit on our home, turning it into a sanctuary which can heal the body, calm the mind and soothe the soul. It’s simply a refuge, a sanctuary, a place that hugs us when we walk through the door. May the world be a peaceful sanctuary for the humanity Amen.
With all the beauty around my present sanctuary is here…Alhamdolilah.
March 20, a date marked as the beginning of the pandemic lock down.It meant that everyone should stay indoors as outside were unseen deadly virus particles for which there is no vaccine nor medicine.Strangely within days many local medicines were reported as curing the fever cough but for breathing complications the affected needed to be hospitalized.
For me there was not much to worry about as the last three or four years life was a kind of lock down safe haven with peace and comfort away from the main humdrum of city life.
I knew my hobbies would help me pass the time.I decided to begin the long pending Quranic lessons on line.May Allah help to complete the study amen.
Family Tree also took shape more than 83 members joined the group and all four brothers families came together.Masha allah.
what happened to my Muse the writer in me became ill.Lost all inspiration after a few days.Initially wrote some poems and a couple of articles and that was all.
Analyzing the situation I found that whatever I was writing was not really beneficial for the common people.
My decision: Move away to write something worth reading
Only the Power of the Master can change the world.The world belongs to Him and we too are to serve pray and obey Him….
“La howla wala quwata illa billa.”O My Guardian Angel help me to see the right way and help me to do good,while there is time.”
Allah created a beautiful world and handed it as a supreme gift to mankind but Alas! Mankind perhaps has tried to be Man King. This is a constantly changing world, migration displacement,wars,freedom,protests,human rights violations, racism? Writing about Life, gratitude, family, beyond the normal and remembrance of the Supreme Creator, the purpose of this Blog has moved on in the form of stories,poems and anecdotes.
As miracles happen all the time, and nature speaks to us let us be grateful listeners and gather joyful learning memories that may sustain our spirits as we look back and read later on.
March the 20th marks the beginning of our lock down period.The following days were strange, fearful,anxious, scary and panic filled at times yet not intensely isolated due to the presence of digital contraptions,we were connected with the world, but the world was not connected with us.
In January we had sold our troubling car, it had given its lifetime service to our family.Walking to the nearby market for groceries was already the practice as if God was preparing us for the coming event.The only marked difference was that the atmosphere inside the house had an aroma of dettol disinfectant. Taking off shoes just inside the main entrance had become a forced conscious habit, previously totally ignored. Home felt like a neat clean home, as the slogan became common, “as safe as houses, as sweet as home” With children married and living a retired life we were already in semi isolation and with the giving away of our personal car we were in a state of quarantine, though a willing one.
The holy month of fasting was peaceful and gave profound opportunity of prayer and meditation.
A grandson turned 14 and the occasion became the first “whatsapp” birthday-no hugs no gifts no cake, sad joy in safe distance.
For days I tried to write but I did not have the energy to tap my thoughts on the screen and preserve the strange moments. Today is the 12 of June 2020 , Day 72 of lock down, my soul and spirit has almost accepted the life of restriction, precaution and to do with whatever is available.
Another Pandemic Covid 19 gift for us is a pet African Grey Parrot which belongs to my daughter’s family. They went for a three week trip to USA when they returned the Corona virus had dug its claws and so Captain Parrot stayed on with us.
More to share,soon. Insha allah. Stay Safe Dear Friends.
What a beautiful challenge Tina Ji. I hope and pray that All my Lens Artist Friends are well and safe.May the world soon be free of this deadly virus and our dear precious planet be restored with all freshness nourishment and richness of all kinds for all life.amen
Water in all its forms is a profound blessing, when I discovered the challenge I immediately thought of ‘rain’. We live in the hilly Northern Areas of Pakistan where we have plenty of rain throughout the year. The concept of swimming is more in a man made water reservoir or a canal than a proper swimming pool which is a luxury in our society. That leaves the blessing of rain which is fully enjoyed by children specially in the hot weather.
The first image is of children happily getting wet in the lane just outside our house in Rawalpindi City. I took the shot from the terrace and asked them to smile – my grand children sharing the fun with the neighbor’s kids.
Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet. Bob Marley
The following images are of a roadside car wash. On way to the city of Sialkot we stopped to get a quick spray for our jeep.My husband and I sat inside the vehicle. It was a rare occasion to hear the powerful sound of the water touching the solid iron body.
Last Year while returning from the Capital city of Islamabad we encountered a severe rain storm. The solid metaled roads did not disturb the traffic, but the heavy downpour made the drive cool and colorful. I clicked the mobile camera as we passed the main road. Sharing some results of that dark rainy night. It has become a ‘Night to Remember’ for we have not been able to make a trip to the capital since March due to the lock down.
Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain,
there would be no life. John Updike
With profound gratitude to Almighty Allah for All His Blessings
‘Distance’ a concept close to my heart and soul, often the subject of my poetic expressions touched the strings of the silent harp. In a time of forced distancing for survival one realizes the values of spaces in togetherness. I felt quite ‘distanced ‘ from My Lens -Artists Friends for reasons unavoidable, but I thought I must make an effort to join the link and lessen the virtual distance, wish well’ to my friends far away and send prayers of ‘ stay safe and stay protected’
My photographs from the archived albums are linked by one of my poems on ‘Distance’, I wrote these lines when my son left for UK for further studies and later to Denmark.
I never felt the distance before nor sensed the silence in the room
When love is true and distances long, no absence can ever break the bond;
And now I know, how love of nature divine is, unfettered pure and fine,
How one so close, can be so far away, no one can show, no one can wait
To stop and pat and wipe your tears away;
And now I know how Allah blesses us with His uncountable gifts Why faith and peace is strong,
my dear, in distant land, you are with me, each day, short or long
Time moved on and time moves on
Time is just and fair, I know… I wake up with a start,
You are forever in my heart, your helmet heavy in your hand,
I see you, standing there.
May Allah bless All Children and keep them safe well fed and protected from all evil. amen.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
The Reflective Action Approach in life is the wisest as it leads to amicable solutions of common problems.It creates options suggestions and a variety of possibilities for design, structure and creative planning.
Reflections in photography show the opposite matching view which appears enigmatic attractive and sometimes much better than the original.
I found photographs with reflections in my albums and folders, taken by my son while on short trips to Frankfurt, Germany. Further discovery was of some shots which I took on occasional rainy days, in 2016 in Lake View Lanes area in Bani Gala, a village 15 kms from Islamabad.
The photographs reflect images made by rain water as we live far away from any sea or the ocean. Islamabad lies at the foot of Margalla Hills, a smaller range leading to the majestic mighty Karakoram Mountains in the Northern Areas.
Reflections from Frankfurt
Reflections from England
In front of the Jubilee Campus Library Nottingham University England in 2003.
Reflections from Bani Gala by the River Korang Islamabad PAKISTAN