today, for always

what day is it?
it’s today

it’s only today
everyday is today

even the mighty earth
rotates in honour of today

it is always today
whatever vows you fulfill
you can only do so today

however intensely you love
it can be felt…today

if you must forgive, even forget
yes, today!

celebrate, be mesmerised by today
observe today not by the hours
but by its events

it has not flowed from yesterday
today is embedded within you
carry it as a gift, not a burden
to discard in favour of tomorrow

what day is it?

how many todays will you have?

***

inspired by a question someone asked me “what day is it?”
to which I had cheekily replied “it’s today
:)

Posted in inSpire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

against the moon

as though the tide
was against the moon’s pull
she stood her ground
in defiance to those
who said she never could
even gravity bowed before her
allowed her to fly, just a little

and how, she wondered,
when the moon has little of its own
how can it exert such a force 
that whole oceans succumb?

**

you do not need to be in a position of power
to influence the ways of the world

***

the littlest of things count…

Posted in inSpire, naTure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

My Birth Place, a Dedication

Beyond a single palm tree
Whispers a world of mystery
Of potholes and jinns
From šīn to sins 

 ~A dedication to Mombasa, my birth place~
***
Photo credit: Sunny Bindra
Check out sunnysunwords Instagram account for more breathtaking photos
***

šīn is a letter of the Arabic alphabet

Posted in inSpire, verseLite | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

so many borders

time after time we decimate
a land, sketching
lines, invisible but impregnable
and a people who were
once indistinguishable
are now immigrants
if they continue to wander
across to the other side
permission to graze
for the grass does look greener
even their herds
have acquired nationalities
a people who crisscrossed lands
whose cultures were independently identical
now stopped in their tracks
by the wall of nationalism
what do they comprehend
of decisions taken in far away cities
of five-year development plans
when the only future they can see
is the end of this day
if they would be so fortunate

so many borders
such little land

This poem was inspired partly by the book I am currently reading The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad and partly by the post so little, so many. I believe that the most fascinating people in a country are those who live around her borders. This is dedicated to those who are separated by borders, both visible and intangible.

Posted in mindSpeak | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

New York Evenings

Today I am sharing this delightful piece of writing by my daughter Alya Kassam
You will find more of her work here

New York Evenings

1-xCFGlFGGH0zb9J222l_Z2w

Writer’s note: 
“This was a piece I wrote for my English assignment. The question asked me to imagine I’m on the street, turn my eyes slowly from left to right and describe what I saw. This was a bit of a challenge for me considering I mostly write to express, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing this. I’ve never been to New York, so this piece is entirely from my imagination.”

***

It’s an early evening in Manhattan and the city is as busy as it ever was. I’m standing at a junction about to go, but I decide to have a look around. I’m looking to my extreme left and there’s a window of a coffee shop. The setting gives off a calming ambiance. It’s busy, but not crowded. The furniture is vintage, but has a sophisticated touch. The lighting is bright, illuminating the expressions on each and every customer’s face. There’s a couple that’s engaged in an excited conversation. Her eyes are lit with excitement and her smile is from ear to ear. I can’t see the expression of the man, but he’s leaning back, and it looks like he’s laughing. On the table to their side is a brunette girl who looks like she’s in her early twenties. She is sipping coffee and stealing glances at them, possibly envious of what they have. There is an old couple with a younger man, possibly in his late twenties. He must be their son. The old lady’s expression is calm. She has a gentle smile as she listens to the young man talk. The old man is more active in the conversation, laughing heartily at something the younger man says. I see the waiters bringing cakes and coffee mugs to the tables and collecting their tips. They have no time for facial expressions.

I proceed to look straight. The sky is a faded blue and the sun has gone below the horizon. The cars are driving at a medium speed. There are yellow cabs, silver cars and several motorcyclists. The street lights have started to switch on, showing the different shops in the street. There is a bar, where the cars are starting to park and the men are walking into, hoping to enjoy a fun Saturday night. It appears to be busy, from the looks of the number of people walking in. It looks like a dentistry with dull white lights which have switched off. A man in a lab coat steps out, probably the dentist, who is done for the day. He removes the lab coat, places it inside a car and walks straight to the bar. A large purple sign is flashing. It says “Bounce!” which is a warehouse filled with trampolines for children. I can see parents taking their children home while they beg their mothers to stay for longer as their fathers ask them to be quiet. There is a young lady in a trench coat who is standing opposite me. She brings out a violin and begins to play. She could be famous or she could be close to homeless. But her eyes close and she lets the strings do all the work. I can see she is quite passionate about her music.

Towards the right of the street is a fast food restaurant selling pizzas. Many workers are taking boxes of pizzas and putting them in their motorbikes as they drive off into the evening. Teenagers are laughing and entering the shop, hoping to enjoy a good night with delicious food. But to my extreme right, I find a music shop, whose lights are still on. There isn’t a single customer; the only person in the shop is the faithful salesman. I can see the classic vinyl records, which are framed. Stacks of old CDs are placed on the racks. I spot a section with many musical instruments. I can see a shiny black grand piano and a large golden saxophone. A large selection of guitars are placed on their stands, from the small brown acoustics, to the large black electric guitars. Stacked down are ukuleles, violins and cellos in open cases. The wooden material looks untouched, carved to perfection. The salesman sighs — out of disappointment, I presume — switches off the lights and locks up. He spots me looking, then turns around and heads on his way and I do the same.

Posted in guestSpeak | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

His Final Lesson

In the beginning there was rhythm
rhythm founded a relationship between sounds
sounds created the moods of melodies
melodies nurtured expression through words
words aroused the singer to dance

And that, my friend, that is
what music is
a cosmic language
a meeting and a farewell
a recognition of souls

And now, my friend, tell me
which part of creation is devoid of music
watch grains of sand dance in the barren desert
hear the pitch within an abandoned sea shell
waves crash against a cliff, mismatched cymbals
within the whistling wind, a flute-bearer softly teases
it started with a steady beat of the heart
each thought exudes vibrations
even blood flows with its own song

As you recite scriptures with a poetic lilt
tell me, my friend, do you still doubt
this Creation is but a musical composition?

And the final silence is essentially
an unheard sound….

***

Yet another poem about music. This one I needed to write as a dedication to our music teacher, our Guruji who suddenly left us on Monday 2nd May, 2016.

Less than 18 hours before his demise, he was at my house giving us a lesson. You can imagine how astounded my daughter and I are to hear he is no more. He brought us into the world of Indian Classical music. A musician, a story teller, a guide and much more, he left us too early. We shall miss him…deeply.

He had over 1,800 students and gave countless lessons. It was a privilege that my daughter and I had the honor of his final lesson. I know in my heart he held out for that final lesson.

May he Rest in Music

***

Posted in inSpire, meDia, spiriTuality | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

melting point of music

music is the melting point
at which you cannot distinguish
religions, faiths, beliefs
or non-belief

Equilibrium!

The first 2 1/2 minutes of this video will show you what I have said in verse

Raag Ahir Bhairav is a devotional raag
My music teacher shared this video with us
to show 
how seamlessly we can flow
between different sounds of worship

Posted in meDia, spiriTuality, verseLite | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

the compass of God

the compass of God
always points inwards
unwavering like the north star
an infinite intimate cosmos

Imam Ali Quote

13th Rajab ~ the birth date of Imam Ali

Posted in spiriTuality, verseLite | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Doors

IMG_20160321_114753IMG_20160321_104142

IMG_20160321_113631

IMG_20160321_115043

IMG_20160321_113637

IMG_20160321_114838

IMG_20160321_114923

You strive to get to the other side of doors
But what if….
What if you are on the other side

?

***

All these photos were taken by…me!
Due to the diversity, you may be thinking I collected them over a period of time.
But no, I noticed all these doors in one place, took only an hour!
How wonderfully inspiring life is if you observe your environment.

Posted in inSpire, verseLite | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Big Ideas, Little Country

I recently wrote in my poem Against the Moon:

you do not need to be in a position of power
to influence the ways of the world 

Last night I came across an excellent and important message which I would like to share. Take a few minutes to watch:

 

It seems like we, our leaders have been focusing in the wrong direction.
Big ideas from a little country.
Worth remembering Bhutan For Life and Earth For Life, whenever you hear about them please do lend your support in whatever form you are able to.

In conclusion, a couplet from my poem Disequlibrium, the Price of Civilization:

You presume the silence of nature to be subjugation
Have you never witnessed a woman scorned?

Posted in inSpire, meDia, naTure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Finite, a Circle

Revering the beads
As we whisper, counting 
Sacred names, the greatest of words
Immersed in each rotation
(Or dreaming through it)
We forget that real power
Lies in the thread
That holds the beads together
Allows them to flow over our fingers
Just a fragile thread
Finite, a circle of infiniteness

Posted in spiriTuality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

beyond the grave

what does it matter
what lies beyond the grave
what does matter
is whether your deeds
will weigh you down
or uplift you

Posted in spiriTuality, verseLite | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

No Ordinary Lion

Mohawk1

No ordinary lion
Nature crowned his mane
The colour of night
Halo around a sunset

Born victorious
None could challenge him
At the pinnacle of his rage

Yet when death ambushed him
Was Mohawk even aware
He was fighting a battle?

No time for a final roar

Just a crown
The colour of night
Halo around a sunset

***

On March 30, Mohawk a beloved & iconic lion, a resident of the Nairobi National Park was shot dead by the Kenya Wildlife Service, his supposed guardians. As you can see from the photo by Paras Chandaria, Mohawk was a black maned lion, an alpha lion. And though I have named Mohawk in my poem, there have been reports of other lion(s) killed while wandering out of the park. Mohawk represents all these beautiful creatures whose lives are threatened or lost. 

Nairobi National Park is the only wildlife park found within a city. Sometimes though I do wonder which place is the more civilized, which creation the more evolved…

Our heritage, the wildlife and the park, are at stake. Please do take a moment to read more about it and sign this petition 

Posted in naTure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments