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)

Sorry

Sorry

Sorry. Deeply and profoundly sorry.

For the times I say it, but not strongly enough. For the times I should say it, and I don’t. And especially for the times I do not even realize I should have said it.

Sorry. For all those times and many more.

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.

Shooting Star

2015-09_Shooting-Star

I am going to dream about a shooting star.

A shooting star that is always so bright. A shooting star that is so far, yet so very and dearly close that I can even see its light shining down on me, and feel its warmth in my heart.

This shooting star is always there even when I cannot see it. Brings me happiness when it appears, even for a tiny moment, and leaves me with the wish of seeing it again.

I am going to dream about that shooting star, that comes from places I do not know,  places to which I do not belong, and sometimes I am fearful to explore, and it follows an undefined destination out there in the sky, to which only the stars belong.

That shooting star brightens the darkest nights, the toughest days, even the regular days. MY shooting star that only I see, only I feel, but I can never have.

Sometimes I do not see it, and I wonder where it is hiding. And then, it is just there right in front of me, so close, but yet again so far, so unreachable.

One day I dreamed I actually had it, it was so real that I naively believed it. And then I was told by my star, loud and clear, that it was all just an illusion, and right then, with much pain, I realized the truth: There are no bridges from here to the stars.

[silent reader]

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!

Eclipse

Eclipse

As the moon starts to cut into the bright yellow disc of the sun, I realize what is about to happen. In a few moments, the light will be gone.

As the moon positions itself on top of the sun, almost fully covering it, my heart feels heavy. What if there was no way to feel the warmth of the sun on my face? To be able to close my eyes and feel the light, too intense even behind shut eyelids? The warm sensation taking my mind away, freeing it for a moment from the sadness that fills my heart.

And then it is over. The moon is gone, the sun shining as bright as ever. My spirits rejuvenated, I head back to work, filled with enough energy to keep me going for another day.

Last of the Dreams (part 2)

2015-03_Last of the Dreams part 2

She has celebrated numerous henna ceremonies before, but her own ceremony is nothing like she has imagined. It seems that chaos is everywhere. And although the whole world seems to be happy, she knows many to be superficial smiles. Worn only for the evening as a gesture of good will. As she sits with her husband-to-be, and receives countless best wishes together with large amounts of oil applied to her hair, she thinks back on her life. And one by one her dreams pass by in her mind.

Last of the Dreams | Last of the Dreams (Part 3)

Last of the Dreams

Henna ritual

Finally, the long-awaited time arrived. She had been dreaming about this moment since she was young, imagining how it would be, when it would happen and where. For the bride, who is soon to depart from her childhood home,  the day of the Henna ritual is long and exhausting, but a day where she is closer to her family than she has ever been before. Like waves bringing an untied boat close to shore before carrying it far out to sea.

Last of the Dreams (Part 2) | Last of the Dreams (Part 3)