Rumi’nations contain annotations to various quotes of Rumi in a slim volume but gilded with secret wisdom of the East from which all great religions of the world had drunk deeply and in turn changed the way we look at truth of human condition. 154 pages; available through lulu.com
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The Illustrated Omar Khayyam took three months of labor but before I got down to the task there were dry runs. My WordPress blog was one such. (http://omarikhayyamdotcom.wordpress.com).
In submitting myself to the rigour and setting out my offering I have in turn discovered a few things about myself. After seeing my work into print what have I learned? Soul has needs and in order to give it expression the writer/artist must also be equipped by inclination and training. The Illustrated Omar Khayyam was like a bouquet of flowers made up of flowers that fitted with an overall design I had in mind. After laying aside Omar Khayyam my soul urges me to carry on with another for which my life has prepared me. So be it.
My garden has not gone to pot merely because I made one bouquet. In the making of it I looked for colours and shapes that sat in harmony with the overall scheme not to mention the volume and fragrance to underpin the aesthetic arrangement my conscious self could agree with. I could think like a soul engaged in writing poetry as Persian masters would have done in which my belief-systems or religion played no role. Soul knows no religion, nation nor labels which man has willingly put on in order to be like every other. I resisted the idea.
I could make a living as an architect and at this time of life don’t need sell myself to be touted by some publishing house as an author of best seller. If the world discovers this old man or not is immaterial. This book is my calling card, proof of my earthly life.
My next book shall be similar in approach but has nothing to do with poetry.
A thoughtful life of seven decades fortified by soul as back up, can endure great many things. Even so soul needs to be fed with every ounce of energy I can muster. Writing it all down would be back-breaking but pain soon passes.
If an angel in the next life should ask me if I wasted my gifts on the earth I have many witnesses but my works shall be my proof. More so since my soul shall say: Amen
Illustrated paper back and ebook
The Third Sheikh Tells His Tale
“O Jinn! This she-mule happens to be my wife. It so happened I had to be away for one whole year. When I returned home earlier than expected I found her in bed with a slave.
When she saw me she got up and hurriedly came at me with a jug of water. Reciting some spell she sprinkled me with water. She commanded, ‘You are a dog!’
Instantly I became a dog. She drove me out from my house.
I ran through the doorway and went on running till I came before a butcher’s shop. The butcher took pity on me and threw some pieces of meat. I ate to my fill and hung about him till sundown.
Closing shop he took me home. When his daughter saw me she covered her face with a veil saying,
‘Do you have to bring men home?’
Before the butcher could recover she said,
‘This dog is a man.’
She took some water from a jug and said some magic formula and sprinkled on me,
‘Assume your former shape!’
Thus I returned to my original shape. I kissed her hand and asked her to punish my wife for her crime. She gave me some water and cast a spell on it. Giving the jug she told me to sprinkle on my wife even as she did.
‘Whatever you wish in mind that shape she shall assume.’
I went home and found she was asleep and I sprinkled the water on her.
Instantly she became a she-mule.”
The Jinn puzzled a bit and asked, “Why a she mule?”
By then it was dawn and Shahrazad stopped her tale. King Shahryar wanted to know, ‘Why a she mule?’ But he had to attend to his royal office. ‘By Allah I shall not slay her till I heard the end of it.’
He went about his daily tasks and at night at the appointed time he commanded her to asked to continue the story.
He asked, “Why a she-mule?”
Shahrazad answered, “O King, even as you asked, the Jinn asked the third Sheik and he explained, ‘I am getting on in years and walking on foot tires me. Since nothing good ever happened to me after I married her I thought to myself a she-mule would at least be some gain.’
The Jinn laughed out loud, “Your tale was indeed marvelous! As promised I give the merchant to you.”
Plutarch as a writer of biographies is always a pleasure to come back to when one’s vital forces are vitiated by the meanness of living close to the plough. Our earthly existence has to deal with much of doing what are necessities that lay our larder stocked but do not however satiate the spirit. Plutarch is a writer of Parallel Lives. For examples he treats the lives of Alexander the great and Julius Caesar as pendent to one another. ‘For,’ he says, ‘I
do not write Histories, but Lives; nor do the most conspicuous acts of
necessity exhibit a man’s virtue or his vice, but oftentimes some slight
circumstance, a word, or a jest, shows a man’s character better than
battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands, and the greatest arrays
of armies and sieges of cities. Now, as painters produce a likeness by a
representation of the countenance and the expression of the eyes,
without troubling themselves about the other parts of the body, so I
must be allowed to look rather into the signs of a man’s character, and
thus give a portrait of his life, leaving others to describe great
events and battles.’ The object then of Plutarch in his Biographies was
a moral end, and the exhibition of the principal events in a man’s life
was subordinate to this his main design; and though he may not always
have adhered to the principle which he laid down, it cannot be denied
that his view of what biography should be, is much more exact than that
of most persons who have attempted this style of composition. The life
of a statesman or of a general, when written with a view of giving a
complete history of all the public events in which he was engaged, is
not biography, but history… Though altogether deficient in that critical sagacity
which discerns truth from falsehood, and distinguishes the intricacies
of confused and conflicting statements, Plutarch has preserved in his
Lives a vast number of facts which would otherwise have been unknown to
us. He was a great reader, and must have had access to large libraries.
It is said that he quotes two hundred and fifty writers, a great part of
whose works are now entirely lost.” (_Penny Cyclopaedia)