Saturday, 24 March 2018

a rose is a rose is a rose, the aleph review

god gave us memory so that we might have roses in december
we made gulkand for the first time in the house in bani gala. the trio of rose bushes in our little but flourishing garden were alive with blooms and thorns. the petals had been used to perfume homemade strawberry jam and steeped in boiling water with fresh lemongrass or green tea as a tisane. our cat zubeida has a penchant for roses and she too feasted on the petals. despite all this, the roses kept giving. it is baba’s memories of his mother’s preserves and a profusion rose petals that led to the first jar of the gulkand. trial, memory and recipes from the virtual world informed. rose petals combined with coarse sugar were crushed using a mortar and pestle and placed in a glass jar. the jar was left in direct sunlight to trap the heat of the sun. this greenhouse effect warmed the contents, encouraging the roses to release their essential oils. it also melted the sugar, the syrup of which is essential to keep the roses from spoiling.

this is an excerpt from my essay titled 'a rose is a rose is a rose' which recently appeared in the aleph review. the aleph review is an annual anthology published by broken leg publication, lahore, pakistan. it is a print only publication and due to copyright reasons, i am unable to share more than an excerpt. for those of you who are based in pakistan, the aleph review can be bought at saeed book bank and london books in islamabad and liberty books in lahore and karachi. it is for those who love art and literature so please do head out and buy it.  

Monday, 8 January 2018

goodbye twenty-seventeen

christmas lights on regent street, london
december arrives with certainty, irrespective of the tempo of the year. it cares not whether there are loose ends or unfinished business. i have come to love the closing days of the year. the turn of the seasons is a time to gather thought. it is to hold the past, present and future in hand (momentarily).

i was never one for winter. even on days of utmost brightness, i was aware that darkness would come early, culminating in the winter solstice. but following the shifts of the earth and trying to understand the seasons has changed this for me. i am drawn to winter solstice festivals and particularly love the persian ritual of shab-e-yalda when mithra, the angel of light was said to be born. it recognises the triumph of love, knowledge and light over evil. the longest and darkest night is seen out with storytelling, poetry and food with loved ones. i stretch this philosophy across december so that omair and i make the most of it feasting with friends and family.