Tag Archives: Religion

Mashal Khan

16 Apr

A child was brought into the world
He was an inquisitive, open minded child.

How do I learn he said
You learn by asking questions they said

He went to school
and asked questions
What an intelligent boy they said
I am a smart boy he said
How do I learn about the world he said
You start by asking questions they said.

Then he went to college
This is a safe space they said
I’ve got lots of questions he said.

And he asked and asked until he passed
And off to university he went

Join the discussion and debate they said
Can I ask a question he said

So he asked
And the room turned silent
And on him they turned
And the silence turned to stone

You ask too many questions they said
And shoved him out the room
He’s a blasphemer they said
And pushed him to the ground

Please help me he said
But they stamped on his head
They stamped, stamped, stamped
Until he was dead, dead, dead.


I am not a Beauty

5 Jan

I am not a Beauty
I am a Beast
There is a sadness in the air
Like Zombies walking, there is no care
No respect for the living
Forgotten are the dying
Dignity is the word of the past
The last one hundred years changed so fast
The World decaying, Love will not last.

I am not a Beauty
I am a Beast

Respect for Elders

19 Jul


At the same occasion of the House blessing, something else was highlighted to me – that being, no matter how old we are, we still seem to bow down to the commands, requests and directives of our elders.

This feeling was compounded by my Sikh friend, aged 44 and a teacher at a Secondary/High school. He invited me into his home, I accepted. We were or are 2 people with common interests, independence and our own family units.

So, he called me in. He offered me a seat, which I accepted as I had already explained the physical symptoms of my back pain. But just when I was about to open the folding chair which was proffered, his older brother made an accusatory remark and commented that I should sit on the floor as a mark of respect to the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Holy Scripture) and to the others who were present, sitting cross legged on the floor. I was embarrassed and without further ado, I complied to the bidding of the elder. I sat on the floor, albeit in an uneasy and uncomfortable fashion.


Afterwards, my friend asked : “When my brother asked you to sit down, did you feel like a child?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“I’m sorry,” he said “I felt so embarrassed for you. My brother does that to people.”


We agreed that it wasn’t so much his brothers approach , but the attitude or response we provided in return. Even though I’m 44, it’s only now, in the last 3 years that I’ve attempted to speak my mind, be outspoken and assertive towards my own siblings. I keep telling them that I;m not 12 or 126 anymore. I have my own life, issues and challenges to face without being treated further like a child.

My friend and I conceded that the relationships and boundaries we have with our own Elders is a challenge in itself and a cultural attitude which needs to be addressed and the cycle broken.


A Single Blessing

5 Jul


I was invited to a housewarming party by a Sikh acquaintance. Well, actually, he’s not an “acquaintance”. He’s an old school friend but after our college years, we went our separate ways. We rekindled our friendship several years ago after bumping into each other on the street.

But I digress…The housewarming was really a low key event, and can only be described as a “blessing”. The holy Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib was placed on a low bookstand and we sat around it whilst verses were recited, chanted and absorbed.

It was embarrassing for me as I couldn’t understand the spoken word or even its meaning. I heard several words here and there that just about provide me with the general gist of the reading: it seemed that the recitations were about “bringing harmony, sweetness and peace” to the loves of those who live within and for those who visited the home.

Although I couldn’t understand, my spirits were lifted and felt a sense of belonging.

For all of 30 minutes, it offered up an opportunity to relax, meditate and reflect on past events. For me, not only was it a “blessing” for the house, but a blessing just to be invited to the occasion.


The Learned Kat

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

13 Feb

The Bearwood Bookworms decided that we should read ‘The Leopard’ by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa and Archibald Colquhoun (ISBN-10: 0099512157)
So, after making enquiries at the local library, and several phonecalls, the request was unsuccesful. I resorted to Amazon for my copy, and thought that £2.05 was a bargain for a difficult to find book.
I looked at the front cover, and was impressed by the design and layout. The smell, of the pages as I flicked through, was musty but acceptable. I read the first page and looked forward to a fictious piece of history…

Set in the Spring of 1860, the Prince of Salina, Fabrizio, rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own family. Then Garibaldi arrives, and the socio-political climate changes…

Although the story was very well written, a rich tapestry of detail, describing palaces, chambers, the appearances of characters and episodic events combined with the inner thoughts, anxieties and feelings of the main protagnist, I found the whole book laborious and irritating. Many critics have lauded it, calling it a “modern masterpiece” and a “classic tale” but I felt it was too concerned with the minutae of detail and not enough substantial content to allow the reader to be brought in and ‘feel’ or understand the core of the tale. The characters flit in and out and the plot does not really advance forward. It seems like the Prince is recollecting life events and how he felt at the time, but his passions and power over the local population holds him in high esteem although he himself feels indifferent. Somewhat symbolic and semi-autobiographical, it comes across as a pleasant romp through a turbulent political time of upheaval.

The only highlight or real sub-plot is the “love affair” between his nephew, Tancredi, and Angelica, the daughter of another rich landowner. It transpires that the landowner is really the descendant of a peasant, but the dynamics of that storyline is not explored. There is also an element of jealousy. scorn and bitterness when Fabrizios’ own daughter, Concetta, mistakenly believes that Tancredi is to ask for her hand in marriage.

The chapters are snapshots or presented as written tableaux of life at the time, but it ends at the early part of the 20th century when we are left with the three daughters of the famed Prince, who are now elderly Spinsters and living in a home filled with religious relics, some genuine, some fake.

I can’t imagine how ‘The Leopard’ has earned it’s reputation as a “classic” as it is a relatively unknown novel and was the only book Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa had published before he died.

The Learned Kat