The First Day of Spring

Today, after weeks of low temperatures caused by Siberian winds from the East, the snow finally gave in to the warmth of the March sun. From afar, the droplets from the melting snow on the roof seemed to be falling lazily onto the wooden railing on top the fence below.

As March 1st, the first day of spring, was just a few days ago, I wanted to capture this sign of the coming season so I got my camera to get a close-up of the droplets hitting the railing.  What looked like a calm trickle from a distance, turned out to be tiny explosions up close. Every time a drop hit the surface of the railing, it shattered into a thousand droplets spraying the surrounding air, creating a dazzling spectacle of small eruptions of water backlit by the brilliant afternoon sun.

Sunday Blues

The last time I visited this place, was fourteen years ago, almost to the date. Standing here by the edge of the river again, nothing seems to have changed. The trees, the rocks, the water, even the shrubs, they all look the same. The sound of running water and the wind rustling the leaves. The chill of the autumn air on a clear Sunday afternoon. The spruces standing guard along the far side of the river. It all seems exactly how it was, all those years ago, just like yesterday.

Fourteen long years of my life. So much has happened, and so many things have changed. Relocations domestic and abroad, children growing up, me getting older. Sadness, happiness, and sadness. High ambitions, hard work, and lucky accomplishments. Battles fought and victories celebrated. Disappointments small and big. Contentment, and realizations of the realities of life. Some people leaving, some entering, and then leaving again. Increasing distances between hearts as well as minds. Long awaited hellos, and sad goodbyes across vast oceans and layers upon layers of space and time.

It is strange, almost unreal, to think that fourteen years have passed. For me, it feels like a lifetime. For the river, it must be like the time it takes a tear to roll down a cheek. For the wind, a whisper in its ear. The trees have grown older, but all these years are but a short moment in their lifetime of never ending cycles of the seasons. For the rocks, I am not sure it would even register on their clock, as it must be a speck of time in their eternal life among the stars.

Standing by the water, reflecting, contemplating the passing of time, I realize that life will move on, and continue to change. It is inevitable. A fact. Until that last big change. Until then, it seems, I will keep my Sunday blues.

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak 2016

Eid-al-Fitr 2016

Once again, we have been fortunate to have experienced another Ramadan. A month of fasting, sacrifice, giving, piousness and self-discipline. We’ve been blessed with yet another chance to improve and put our dedication to test. Another opportunity to experience the essence of Ramadan and seek the immense spiritual treasure therein.

We’ve been given a new possibility to pursue benefits for both mind and body. And through socializing at iftar, prayers, and self-control by practicing good manners, we have made our best attempts to build a feeling of peace, tranquility and self-satisfaction that we hope will extend beyond this month.

May Allah accept our attempts in the month that has passed, and grant us the opportunity to improve our efforts in the future. I wish all Muslims a happy and blessed Eid al-Fitr!

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

As I am praying alone in my bedroom, the electricity suddenly goes out. Complete darkness. I cannot even see my feet where I am standing. I continue to pray, in utter darkness. A distant generator starts up. A dog is barking far away. The occasional car or truck passes by on the road just in front of the house.

I finish my prayer and just sit quietly on the prayer rug. It is warm, must be over 30°C in the room, more likely closer to 35. The darkness feels suffocating, and at the same time strangely calming. I know my way around the room. And I know my mobile phone is on the bedside table. It is charged so I can turn on the flashlight app. Still, a strange kind of panic is floating just below the surface of my heart. Suffocating. I need to get out!

I walk upstairs to the roof. Electricity is back, and I see lights in the buildings across the road from our house. The evening is clear, and a gentle breeze makes the weather just perfect to be outside. It is quiet but for the occasional vehicle driving past the house.

The sun is setting and the partly overcast sky shows a graduation from deep blue to orange. Beyond the houses across the road I see green fields stretching out into the hazy horizon. This calm and fresh evening is my last here in Jalalpur Jattan before I head back to Norway. A perfect evening setting the scene for a sad goodbye. And I wonder when I get to see this sight again.

Happy Constitution Day, Norway!

Fering av Norges nasjonaldag

Photo from my archives (2010). Crowd weaving their flags and cheering as the children’s parade walk by, in celebration of the Norwegian constitution day on May 17th at “slottsparken” (the Palace Park), near the Royal Palace, downtown Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Instagram @Sadphaze, http://ift.tt/1XwEJMN

Last of the Dreams (Part 3)

Last of the Dreams Part 3

Coming back from the ceremony, she feels tired. It is late and she has to get up early. Still, she does not feel like going to bed, on this, her last evening as a girl. Her younger cousins take turn to decorate her with Henna, they too tired from the evenings festivities.

As she closes her eyes a couple of hours before dawn, tucked in her bed, she holds her hand outside the covers for the henna to dry in the warm glow of the natural gas heater beside her bed. She quickly falls deeply asleep. And dreams. Her last dream as a girl. And as dawn breaks, the henna on her hands half dry and starting to crumble and flake off, her dream fades away.

Last of the Dreams | Last of the Dreams (Part 2)

Blood Moon

2015-09_Blood Moon

Super moon, blood moon, and a total lunar eclipse. All happening last night!
Last time anyone saw this sight,
was back in eighty two.

Many have opinions about this phenmenon, and say they’re right!
I choose to see it as a beautiful light,
and wonder if I will live to see it next time too.

Beyond the Stars

2015-08_Beyond the Stars

There are other worlds beyond the stars;
More tests of love are yet to come.

This vast space is not lifeless;
In it there are hundreds of other caravans.

Do not be content with the world of colour and smell;
There are other gardens, and other nests, too.

What is to worry if you have lost one residence?
There are other stations to sigh and cry for!

You are an eagle, born to soar;
You have other skies before you.

Do not get lost in this maze of day and night;
There is, for you, another space, another time.

Gone are the days when I was an isolate in the crowd;
Many here now are, confidants of mine.

Happy Pakistan independence day August 14th – Pakistan Zindabad!

Poem (in Urdu) by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, The Poet of the East, from Bal-I-Jibril (Gabriel’s Wing), 1908

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak

Lavender

Every year, as the month of Ramadan draws close, I feel like standing before a mountain to be climbed, wondering if I will have what it takes to make it all the way to the top. This year, with 20-hour days in the middle of the summer, that mountain seemed taller than ever.

Now, with only a day left of of fasting, reflecting back, I admit to myself that I didn’t take the ideal route to the top. In fact, it wasn’t even a particularly elegant one. Still, somehow, I feel I got there. And I pray that it counts.

May Allah accept our sacrifices in the month that has passed, and grant us the opportunity to improve our efforts in the future.

Have a blessed Eid al-Fitr celebration!