Tag Archives: Beauty

Afghanistan, In Praise of Your Propriety: A Story In Picturesque Verse and Photography

Kabul, Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan

My account of wanderings in Afghanistan and my many colourful conversations with my Afghan friends, detailing their lives and surroundings. Photos courtesy of my dear friends in the bold and beautiful land of AFGHANISTAN and from one of my visits to Pakistan.

Oh, Land of Majesty!
I call you Mother Brother Friend
You called me to your end
Lifted me in flight
Granted my eyes a grand sight

Oh, Bamiyan!
Wondrous reaches of spectacular peaks
The sky spread in praise doth speaks
There the remains of the silent Buddha’s great seat

Oh, Kabul!
How your parakeets do chatter
As the tanks and passersby do scatter
You keep aloof of the whole matter

Oh, Blue Mosque of Mazar!
How many doves there are Cooing and flocking
The whole world left stalking

Oh, Badakhshan!
The whole Universe cannot possibly contain
The beauty that you possess and maintain
Even the stars compete in vain

Oh, Nation of Lions!
The eyes of jealousy surround you I do see
Bombarding with wars of frivolity upon thee

Oh, Afghanistan!
How unjustly you so bleed!
War racketeers my ears do heed
What doth keep you strong

Oh, Marvelous Steed!

© 2015 Rebecca Martin

My decision to finally take a leap of faith and travel to Afghanistan, was after many years of trepidation and warning from friends and family. Due to the country’s turmoil for the past decade, many were concerned for my safety, and understandably so. Security is a never-ending and very real issue for Afghans and non Afghans alike. This in mind, I’ve always had precise intuition that lead me to the conclusion that it was ‘meant to be’.

Images © 2015 Niazmina

I was unable to witness all of Afghanistan due to the security issue, what I did see was rough and rugged beauty, without a doubt. The mountains were beckoning and bold. Rivers and lakes surround to refresh your soul, while it seems the rest of you is greeted with heat and parched ground. The discrepancies in weather are most clever, leaving the sub-arctic northeastern reaches at odds with the drought-ridden southwestern regions.

Village Children Images © 2015 Niazmina

I had never before encountered a village or it’s inhabitants but had an idea of what it might be like. I can’t say that I was too far off in my assumption that it would be a lot like camping, boiling your water for the luxury of a hot shower, toilets virtually non-existent, defecating outdoors (a given) interesting cooking methods and hospitality. The hospitality of Afghans is their pride and honor. It outweighs any downside to village living and is so endearing one finds themselves adapting to the lifestyle rather quickly.

The family I was staying with while in Afghanistan had just shifted homes from Pakistan. Their home wasn't complete, this was the kitchen at the time. Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Quroot (or Qoroot) is a reconstituted dairy product. It was traditionally a by-product of butter made from sheep or goat milk. The residual buttermilk remaining after churning of the butter is soured further by keeping it at room temperature for a few days, treated with salt, and then boiled. The precipitated casein is filtered through cheesecloth, pressed to remove liquid, and shaped into balls. The product is thus a very sour cottage cheese. Quroot is hard and can be eaten raw. It is typically served with cooked Afghan dishes such as Ashak, Mantu, and Qeshla Qoroot, among others. Info Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_cuisine#Quroot Images © 2015 Niazmina
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The family home wasn’t complete, this was the kitchen at the time. Images © 2015 Niazmina
Afghan Boys Images © 2015 Niazmina

My arrival at this particular village was welcomed with smiles and laughter from the village children and adults. I was sheltered, feasted, cherished, warmly received and treated as an honored guest. I became family, a distant relative. Daughter. Sister. I was enveloped with love and had much fun watching and learning their culture and traditions. The girls  from various homes would come each morning and stay until dusk or later, offering to do my hair and make up, smiling and attempting to communicate through various means. At times causing bursts of uncontrollable laughter at our many failed attempts to understand one another. Speech wasn’t necessary amidst smiles and laughter. One of the sisters loved doing my make up for me. Each morning I would awake, wash my face and draw my eyebrows in or apply under eye concealer so that I wouldn’t look like a downtrodden traveler. This routine I was wishing to do in secret, as I was the only one doing so and felt somewhat vain. I must have sparked some hidden creative talent within one of the girls, as she insisted she apply full make up for me whenever she caught me mid-coverage. I was pleasantly surprised to see the finished product in the mirror. Absolutely artistic display of perfection!

Village Life Images © 2015 Niazmina

I will never forget the warm, genuine hearts of the Afghans I met. Their care was genuine. Their smiles were broad. Their laughter touched the soul. Their stories were inviting. Their innovativeness motivating. Everybody in the village was generous and lovely. All spent time visiting me and caring for my every need. I suffered from giardiasis (an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite that’s found worldwide, especially in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water. Marked by abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea and bouts of watery diarrhea) so everybody’s patience was surely tested with my subsequent complaints and discomfort.

I was excited to try on an Afghan Burqa. A burqa (Urdu: بُرقع‎), (Arabic pronunciation: [ˈbʊrqʊʕ, ˈbʊrqɑʕ]a (also transliterated]burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu' from Arabic: برقع‎ burquʻ or burqaʻ), also known as chadri or paranja in Central Asia) is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover their bodies when in public. Info Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
I was excited to try on an Afghan Burqa. A burqa (Urdu: بُرقع‎), (Arabic pronunciation: [ˈbʊrqʊʕ, ˈbʊrqɑʕ]a (also transliterated]burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu’ from Arabic: برقع‎ burquʻ or burqaʻ), also known as chadri or paranja in Central Asia) is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover their bodies when in public. Info Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa Images © 2015 Niazmina
I was far from perfecting my fluency in either Pashto or Dari, the two officially recognized languages of Afghanistan. This placed a huge wedge in the area of communication without a translator, but Kaka was not deterred. He would without hesitation start conversation with vivid illustration and depiction using his whole body as language. Flailing arms and boisterous words left us all rolling in laughter as Kaka expressed his life, adventures and stories to me. He was attentive and kind. A great man, not only in my mind.

My Little Buddies Images © 2015 Niazmina
Brothers In Arms Images © 2015 Niazmina
Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Images © 2015 Niazmina
Qargha Lake, Kabul Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Qargha Lake, Kabul
Images © 2015 Niazmina
Qargha Lake, Kabul Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Qargha Lake, Kabul Images © 2015 Niazmina
(Kabul Ride) Although alcohol consumption is banned and taboo in Afghanistan, foreigners can purchase it in certain shops upon showing their passport. Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
(Kabul Ride) Although alcohol consumption is banned and taboo in Afghanistan, foreigners can purchase it in certain shops upon showing their passport. Images © 2015 Niazmina
Kabuli bacha (boy) in Kabul traffic Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Kabuli bacha (boy) in Kabul traffic Images © 2015 Niazmina
Kabul  hillside across from center of town. Home built here are significantly less expensive than the homes built on flatter ground. Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Kabul hillside across from center of town. Home built here are significantly less expensive than the homes built on flatter ground. Images © 2015 Niazmina
Jalalabad Images © 2015 Niazmina
Entering Jalalabad Images © 2015 Niazmina
Balloon seller. Jalalabad, Afghanistan Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Balloon seller. Jalalabad, Afghanistan Images © 2015 Niazmina
Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Images © 2015 Niazmina
Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Images © 2015 Niazmina
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2015 Niazmina
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2013 Rebecca Martin
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2015 Niazmina
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2015 Niazmina
Salang, Afghanistan Images © 2015 Niazmina

Silent No More

Be silent the voice is telling me
Dont speak

No, I wont be silent
Thus I will speak

 

I speak for those who have been abused

I speak to those merely hearing the news

No sympathy for the accused

No longer can we ignore

Restitution I implore

Silent no more 

I know you well

Everything I know I will YELL

I will call upon the mountaintops

The far reaches of the earth

To bring you to your knees

Give you what you deserve

Do unto you as they please

To you it didn’t matter

Now your teeth will chatter

You have crossed my path

And I’ve done the math

Desecration is your master

Innocence your plunder

I shall put you asunder

Forbid you harm another

I will defame you

Call forth what you’ve done

And name you

You hide in secrecy

But I’ve seen what you’ve done, you see

I know you well

And I won’t keep quite

I will gather many and raise a riot

The whole universe cries against you

While the minds struggling to erase you

Reveal evidence of your destruction

You didn’t anticipate their resurrection

Those you touched have spoken

No longer remaining broken

Voices raised in unison

Won’t be silenced for anything

You’ve met your match

For we shall shame and plunder you

Repay you for the evil that you do

Revisit it all upon you

Be silent the voice is telling us
Dont speak

No, we won’t be silent
Thus we did speak

Copyright © 2014-2015 Niazmina

My Embracement of Women: The Universe Delivers

© 2014 Rebecca Martin
© 2014 Rebecca Martin

Continued from My Sexual Resurgence..

The beauty of womanhood is boundless. Beyond daily mundane activities such as laundry, where our thoughts digress to the wonderment as to how a garment placed in the dryer right side out consistently comes out inside out. Or the everlasting question where could the matching sock have gone? We have within us an innate ability to survive and nurture. Typically the survival nature is combative and predatory where to nurture is something done in meekness. To possess both qualities is something rare and wonderful.

I found myself in the presence of not only adoring men but also some very influential women. As one who rarely attempted, gained or retained any close ties with women, this was a refreshing and uplifting experience. Women who are like-minded and non judgmental towards me are very scarce. Females always come across to me as threatened to some degree. It may very well be my aura and the highly sexual vibe others claim I ooze. I have never completely figured out why some, and yet not all, women feel this way. I do tend to magnetize towards testosterone and make no attempt to conceal who I am, nor do I put on appearances and cater to weaker insecure personalities. Nevertheless, the women I found myself in company with were perfectly suited to my whimsical, and sometimes erratic personality. I cared not what they thought of me, I was simply being me, and no one could stand in my way.

“The beauty of womanhood is boundless.”

One of these women happened to be one of my mother’s friends. We were introduced  within weeks of her separation from her husband and subsequent filing for divorce. Coincidentally, this occurred in the same month I had filed for divorce. Both of our husbands were Fijian and we had both been with our husbands for 13 years, bearing beautiful children as our gifts. This friendship proved to be a strength to us both I believe. We saw eye to eye on most everything and were for the most part, inseparable. We would spend countless weekends together during our corresponding divorce proceedings, sharing our stories of long-suffering and final resolution. Hours filled with laughter, wine, vodka tonics, in the comfort of her abode or out on the town espousing characteristics of free women. Finding solace in the company of another, a lifeline was born.

“Nevertheless, the women I found myself in company with were perfectly suited to my whimsical, and sometimes erratic personality. I cared not what they thought of me, I was simply being me, and no one could stand in my way.”

This appeared in an unusual manner from what I had grown accustomed to, a woman of like mind rather than a man trying to gain a foot hold. It was refreshing and comforting to realize that I was capable of meeting and establishing long-lasting, meaningful relationships with my dreaded foe: the female species. According to my ex husband, any women friendly with me were lesbians, and all men were only wanting sex. This mentality astounded me and left me questioning all of my friendships at an attempt to gather proof and verification that he was wrong in his conclusion. Was it true that I had nothing to offer? Nothing to bring to the table as far as friendship went? Was I that dull and boring of a person that only my physical appearance could maintain any semblance of desirability? After all the years I had been married and told myself there was more to his determination to stay together, it all became painfully clear that he must be speaking from his own experience with me. If not, how could he be so sure in order to make such a stark statement? This realization cemented in my mind the execution of my break out and emancipation.

“It was refreshing and comforting to realize that I was capable of meeting and establishing long-lasting, meaningful relationships with my dreaded foe: the female species.”

Another such fated friendship came about in such perfect sequence that it had to have also been orchestrated. The Universe saw fit, and delivered. After having an unassisted home childbirth with my last child, I joined an online group on a one a popular social networking sites. It wasn’t long afterwards that I acquired a friend request from a young and attractive woman who was also a member of the group. I was fairly new to the whole idea of unassisted childbirth. Having only researched it for the months of my pregnancy, I was fascinated by the stories and experiences of other liberated women. I accepted the friend request, further sending a message of introduction and questions regarding her experience, and so forth. At the time, I was encountering trouble acquiring a birth certificate because of a bunch of red tape, and knowing of someone who had been through an unassisted childbirth yet managed to obtain the certificate for her child, was encouraging.

“Finding solace in the company of another, a lifeline was born.”

It wasn’t tense or uneasy meeting face to face for we both had a sense of destiny and excitement. Life had indeed delivered and our connection was instantaneous. Following this initial introductory meeting, we frequently got together either at my home or at some vibrant venue where we shared our lives and encouraged each other on our personal journeys. Our feelings of liberation were immense, opportunity limitless. Each time we connected our energy seemed to give off an electrical charge upon contact. Our vision was clearly outlined and expressed freely. Admiration and appreciation flowed and the outcome of our visits were always uplifted spirits.

“Our feelings of liberation were immense, opportunity limitless. Each time we connected our energy seemed to give off an electrical charge upon contact.”

At first glance you can’t always fathom the similarities you may have with another human being without further exploration. Once unearthed, these similarities can become the very stimulant necessary for your own personal development. By witnessing potential in another, you begin to search your own growth and direction and thus begin the blueprint for embarking on projects or personal improvement in whatever shapes or forms they may be. Epiphanies seemed to be imploding within our skulls. Ideas were playing themselves out in our very existence. Things out of our control and previous grasp and attention, due to our circumstantial life placement and lack of experience, were now permeating our existence. Now past and present occurrences displayed depth and reason, having their secrets previously locked away, we had caught a mere glimpse of greater workings.

Workings in our lives that couldn’t be explained as coincidence, chance or luck.

To Be Continued..

Copyright © 2014-2015 Niazmina

Memoirs of A Desperate Housewife: My Resolve

Why did I marry? That is the question I so often hear, not only from myself, but from others who are as perplexed as I am. What possible reason was enough for me to give up everything my future could’ve held. Of course I had a choice, but did I make the wrong choice? Was it just the pheromones embrace? I have pondered that question, among others for many years. I am no closer to an answer now as when the haunting question arose within my tattered mind. It was a decision I naturally took to heart and spent a great deal of time, energy, prayers and tears deciding. So why the eventual despairingly lonesome state?

It was from this rock bottom emotional state, that I made a decision to break free from my lonely prison, which was what I had come to view my life within the walls of my marriage as, I felt as free as a bird just learning to spread it’s wings and fly. I had made yet another heart felt decision, this time a dash in the opposite direction of my gradual emotional and mental decay. I had openly embrace the big monster divorce. It was liberating and at the same time frightening. I had lost so much of myself during my marriage that I wasn’t sure who I was, probably more frightening was that I didn’t know who I wanted to be. I felt a sense of urgency as one been cooped up for many years and finally set free, having an overwhelming feeling to take action and move onward with my life, shaking off my stagnant existence.

“It was from this rock bottom emotional state, that I made a decision to break free from my lonely prison, which was what I had come to view my life within the walls of my marriage as, I felt as free as a bird just learning to spread it’s wings and fly.”

In my case, hope was the only option. Considering I had survived an inward desolation for sometime, and hadn’t deployed into the dark abyss that results from a total loss of a saving grace. I choose to move onward and upward and thus allowed opportunity to envelope my existence. It was at the moment that I embraced my circumstances, not as a consequence, but as a catalyst and lesson, that set forth my awakening, my emancipation, my resolve. It was I who created the illusion of marital bliss, and it was I who refused to let go of the imagery of exalted weakness in our sufferings. Thus, I was perpetually surviving rather than thriving. In essence, my house of cards was bound to fall. So it did, and mighty was it’s fall, but during it’s fall, I was lifted up.

It is at our lowest points in life where our hearts seem to be open and alert to our surroundings and can either emit a sense of hope or hopelessness. Suffering, when embraced, has a way of bringing you to your absolute lowest at which point it proceeds to bring you to your absolute best. Dwelling on your supposed failures and shortcomings do nothing to propel you into a furtherance of existence and higher state of being. Taking this fact to heart, I enthusiastically thrust myself into social outings of informal and formal gatherings. Upon doing so I met people of similar circumstances, although placed there by different situations. This deliberate social distraction proved to benefit me by influencing and restructuring my sense of self and well being. Not to say that there weren’t any negative aspects to this new found freedom. On the contrary, there were many, but they all served there own purpose in the renewal of my mind and spirit.

“It is at our lowest points in life where our hearts seem to be open and alert to our surroundings and can either emit a sense of hope or hopelessness.”

One such aspect came with the resurgence of my sexuality, no holds bar….

To Be Continued….

To Look Back Or Not: The Ultimate Question

Does looking back make us stronger
Or make the pain last longer
I wish I had understood
The feelings you shared
All misunderstood

image

I didn’t believe
I didn’t see
Everything you meant to me
My heart really concealed
My eyes didn’t see
Now in my awareness of things unseen
I am trapped in what could have been
Was it illusion
Was it just a dream

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Images © 2013-2015

Copyright © 2013-2015 Niazmina

Confessions of a Dirty Mind: Love Entwined

 

Is it love that I seek

Laying naked in this sheet

In the midst of your eyes 

Lies a familiar surprise 

This Is Love I surmise

The stroking of passion 

In universal fashion

Each climax moving mountains

Unleashing water fountains 

Your pleasure is my desire

Anything to stoke your fire

I will take the lead 

Give you everything you need

Caress your hidden places 

While donning sensual faces

Let nothing try to cover 

The sounds that we utter

Prolong your excitement, my lover

On top of you I shall hover

As we increase our speed

I envision your seed

Swimming deep within my ocean 

Within this mind is no other notion

My Valley spreads wide 

Taking all of you deep inside 

As you bear witness my secret

Inhale all that’s sacred

Release all your inhibition

Let me share in your dominion

Hand locked tresses binding this union

Screams of ecstasy travel heaven-sent

Our bodies purposely mingle creation bent

Feast on your desire

I exhibit the escape you require

Love dripping down

Sweat droplets without sound

The calm before the storm

Love locked lips do form

The taste of paradise so sweet

Satisfaction calls forth the unborn to meet….

 © 2014-2015 Niazmina