The revolutionary

Take the mask off

And toss underhand

And you’ve nailed it!”

~ David Kanigan, 2015

Art by Banksy, The Flower Bomber.

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Pleasure Principle

“As soon as I hear my wife stirring, I put the little Bialetti espresso pot on the stove and I make her a pot of espresso. I froth milk and I deliver it to her in bed. And she’s usually sitting up, rubbing her eyes, and she invariably says, “Thank you.” She thinks I’m doing her a big favor and I suppose I am, or a small favor, but I think I get more pleasure from doing it than she does in having the coffee.”

~ Ron Padgett, How the Poet Ron Padgett Spends his Sundays.

Inspired by all four of our children at different times saying, “Mom, if a person knows how to do it themselves then they should do/make it.”

my answer, and I hope it sticks, “The difference between being roommates and being ( lovers, friends, family) is that we get to enjoy doing for them what they otherwise can do for themselves. We get to experience the pleasure of holding one of their hands up as we nestle a hot cup of tea in it with our other hand. We get to tuck them in at night. We get to hand them a warm towel as they extend their steamy hand from behind the shower curtain. You might actually secretly hope they forgot to take one so you can get to delight in that moment they ask and the other moment you hand it to them. Nothing makes me more content than when one of you rests their head, or feet on my lap. My pleasure in that is way more than yours. If I put my head on your lap you’ll feel it. I hope you do!

Oh, and the ultimate delight, kissing you all over, when you’re still warm like dough that was left to rise for hours, defenseless, half in dreamland half awake.

I might act surprised, but I secretly can’t wait for the next time one of you girls says, “Mom, can you brush my hair for me, please!”

The difference is the Pleasure Principle. I wish you this pleasure in life!”

~ sawsan

Photo by Katia Chausheva

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“it’s magical”

“How can I write this as a family statement when the whole world is taking it as a personal loss? How can I begin to feel alone when millions are grieving with us at the moment? I want to assure everyone that this is not a loss, it is a gain. It’s a gain of the things he taught us, and now we shall finally begin to truly implement it and evolve. Yet I want to try to fill in the things that people don’t already know.
It’s unbelievable for us but I would put it in Irrfan’s words, “it’s magical” whether he is there or not there, and that’s what he loved, he never loved one dimensional reality. The only thing I have a grudge against him is: he has spoiled me for life. His strive for perfection doesn’t let me settle for ordinary in any thing. There was a rhythm which he always saw in everything, even in cacophony and chaos, so I have learnt to sing and dance to the music of that rhythm, even with my tone-deaf voice and two left feet. Funnily, our life was a masterclass in acting, so when the dramatic entry of the “uninvited guests” happened, I had by then learnt, to see a harmony in the cacophony. The doctor’s reports were like scripts which I wanted to perfect, so I never miss any detail that he sought for in his performance.
We met some amazing people in this journey and the list is endless, but there are some whom I have to mention, our oncologist Dr. Nitesh Rohtogi (Max hospital Saket) who held our hand in the beginning, Dr. Dan Krell (UK), Dr. Shidravi (UK), my heartbeat and my lantern in the dark Dr. Sevanti Limaye (Kokilaben hospital). It’s difficult to explain what a wondrous, beautiful, overwhelming, painful and exciting this journey has been. I find this 2 and 1/2 years to have been an interlude, which had it’s own beginning, middle and culmination with Irrfan helming the role of the orchestra conductor, separate from the 35 years of our companionship, ours was not a marriage, it was a union.
I see my little family, in a boat, with both my sons Babil and Ayaan, paddling it forward, with Irrfan guiding them “wahan nahi, yahan se modo” but since life is not cinema and there are no retakes, I sincerely wish my children sail this boat safely with their father’s guidance in mind and rockabye through the storm. I asked my children, if possible, they could sum up a lesson taught by their father that has been important to them.
Babil: “Learn to surrender to the dance of uncertainty and trust your faith in the universe.”
Ayaan: “Learn to control your mind and to not let it control you.”
Tears will flow as we will plant a raat ki rani tree, his favourite, to the place where you have put him to rest after a victorious journey. It takes time but it will bloom and the fragrance will spread and touch all the souls whom I won’t call them fans but family for years to come.” 

~ Sutapa Sikdar of her husband Irrfan Khan 1967-2020

Photo source

I’m a big fan, and especially loved him in Life of Pi, and The Lunch Box

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As annoying as it may sound!

“Please don’t have a nice day.
Have a day that matters.
Have a day that’s true.
Have a day that’s direct.
Have a day that’s honest.

A nice day? Mm-mmm, you’ll be miserable. Have a day that means something.”

~ Harriet Lauler, Shirley MacLaine, in The Last Word, 2017.

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Cabbage, anyone?

© Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty

A Palestinian mother entertains her children with makeshift masks made of cabbage as she cooks in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on April 16, 2020.

Photo: source. Thank you Esam.

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Real Story!

Been out of my coffee for 7 days. We have both been out of the house to multiple grocery stores. But I’m not compromising, not replacing my coffee.

My coffee can only be bought at Nordstrom’s Cafè and is only sold as beans. You pay for it, they ask you how you brew your coffee, they adjust the dial on their coffee grinder to ‘French Press’ setting. French Press grind is very coarse. Not powdery, more like coarse sea-salt, or Fleur de Sel. I was a Nordstrom employee for years. I’d buy it every few weeks on my lunch break, and it sat in my desk drawer the rest of the day, a reminder of my favorite time of the day every time I opened the drawer, morning coffee, and You! Something worth waking up to, worth leaving dreamland for, words and coffee!

I wake up, walk to the bathroom, shuffle-walking, not to keep quiet, but because I can only shuffle-walk when I first wake up. Then shuffle to the pantry to take my allergy pill, and self- anoint with Flonase.

Nordstrom’s House Blend;

Ethically sourced from the world’s premier coffee-growing regions, this dark-roast blend features hints of bittersweet chocolate and stone fruit. Cupping notes:

Roast: dark.

Flavor: bittersweet chocolate.

Body: heavy, syrupy.

Aroma: rich, almond.

And they always have the seasonal single-source coffee that they get in small batches. Perfection is achieved in a 50/50 mix of House Blend and one of their seasonal blends, something buttery, velvety, medium roast.

Being a proud Arab Palestinian, there’s always Cardamom Arabic coffee in the pantry. For guests, there’s the Marhaba coffee, the one-shot of coffee we serve to welcome guests in. For us, the not-sweetened shots with dessert, to rinse your palate in between bites of sweet and prepare your taste buds for sugar all over again. Every bite a new bite. Every kiss a first kiss.

I shuffle to the kitchen and put some water to boil in Dallah, or Rakwe, or Jezve, on the gas stove-top. Why the old fashioned way you ask? Because it’s my favorite time of the day and I like it silent, hardly the sound of the flame whispers. And it feels just right in the predawn dark.

If I was making my regular coffee, it’d go something like this,

But now it’s only Cardamom-Arabic coffee, and it goes like Mahmoud Darwish says here,

“Gently place one spoonful of the ground coffee, electrified with the aroma of cardamom, on the rippling surface of the hot water, then stir slowly, first clockwise, then up and down. Add the second spoonful and stir up and down, then counterclockwise. Now add the third. Between spoonfuls, take the pot away from the fire and bring it back. For the final touch, dip the spoon in the melting powder, fill and raise it a little over the pot, then let it drop back. Repeat this several times until the water boils again and a small mass of blond coffee remains on the surface, rippling and ready to sink. Don’t let it sink. Turn off the heat, and pay no heed to the rockets. Take the coffee to the narrow corridor and pour it lovingly and with a sure hand into a little white cup: dark-colored cups spoil the freedom of the coffee. Observe the paths of the steam and the tent of rising aroma.”

The world slowed down in the past 5 weeks. My world slowed down further since I ran out of my Nordstrom coffee. Bliss!

Top photo: Morning cardamom coffee 4/16/2020. Bottom photo: Coffee in Dalleh: Pinterest.

Nordstrom is a high-end department store.  It has it’s own restaurants and Cafes.

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Reaching my edges!

“When you reach your edge, soften. Soften until you slip through the constraints and can create a new rhythm, a new route, a new release. Water is soft yet powerful.
Reach your edge, and soften.”

~ Victoria Erickson

Photo: Kitchen window, rainy day, Hibiscus bloom.

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