Pulling away the layers of the embellished fittings from around under my bust. I couldn't breathe. As soon as I exhaled my head leaned backwards to straighten my spine. I could not fathom the weight. I felt as though, heaven's greatest had forgotten to take His mighty hand off the crown of my skull. My surroundings were muted by the silence of colours escalading through the corners of my eyes as when the sun's rays would highlight the cerulean waters of the ocean; the veil dropped. I fixed the trinklets hooked onto my bangles and ran a sliver of skin down the side of the embroidered bands to the crevice of my breasts. My fingers poised upwards as my gaze lowered, and I started to walk.
The circulation in my waist was concealed and the fluidity of my hips began to sway along the weight of my skirt as I caught a glimpse of her. She looked gently and recited, 'chasm-e-badoor' (to ward off the evil eye). I acknowledged her graciously with a smirk. Alas my neck, which had no meaning; as though it never existed, began to let go of its poise. Gravity showed no mercy as I sauntered towards my reigning throne.
O' Eyes of despair why are you lurking through the windows of my soul.
This is my awakening and I have wished for this ever so dearly.
The details were ideally a dream, a miraculous world woven of the finest silks and the warmth of the lavender incense had the room glowing. I could not see the aisles of leisure and freedom.
I was raised on the mountains where the birds nurtured me with freedom and my relentless behavior gave heed to the winds of the storm. I never even tied my hair. My locks would surround my body as a void of protection and wisdom; virtuous.
My veil, the veil you have so well defined as my best also came with a world that you never did tell me as I slept. A world of perplexed thinkers, a surrounding of voices in constant turmoil; one where I would never find peace. Truth is that, you; she, her, you never made it clear or found a reason to exist within the turmoil. You simply lived. Did you?
You're probably reading this entry thinking about the stereotypes behind women who are of culture, of belonging to a realm of traditional cultivated thoughts. Minorities? No. We all exist in the world of discomposed thinkers and segregating activists - within our own homes. I love my husband, I truly do but to acknowledge him as my complete that isn't one-hundred percent true. I hasten my ordinary every day without a doubt, my sleep is no longer filled with intrinsic adventures. It is no longer my own.
You once recited a dream, a story of warriors and if I recall, it went something like this...
Creatures that blossomed from an unearthly
Incomparable union of sacred rituals and blessings.
Bred in silk-spun wombs
Their spines inhaled the nectar
They bathed in the syrup of that very nectar
Where branches of saffron blended
Together with the milk of almonds
As the nelumbo nucifera carried them afloat;
The Indian lotus.
They were raised as warriors
Their hands soft as the belly of a hummingbird.
They were voices
Without pain or cries.
There was once a time
When all was countless
Spirited and free.
Thankfully there is still a mother,
I wish to be.
As I raise my head, the floral garlands on my wrists revive the glow overlooking my view. The glow that one believes to exist when in union with harmony. It was him all along. My grasp is liberated to unfold this very letter that was embedded in my soul. I had been immersed in the depth of his presence, as he held my hand, he looked into my eyes and his smile opens up another portal. I now recall those dreams that you so generously gifted me as a child, "O' love of mine, your being is to be with the very best. The all vital state of your existence is when you know yourself and he accepts you true."
Stepping on the stage to be crowned, as his wife, with him, a man - his name was announced. This was your letter and my day is today. Your recitings before I left home were to protect but to also instill the very teachings you were taught. The veil is of a prevailing state. Laughter of a blooming household; a shelter for the traveler, a mirage of passage through cultural narratives. I was the center of my home. The veil was my power and I wore it as my crown. A veil is worn by a Bride on her wedding day, an entitlement not every woman can carry forth.
She is a warrior and life is her battle.
Credits for the work seen in the highlighted editorial within this written response:
Thank you Genna of Loft 404 for allowing me to bring my verses to life.
An excerpt from a letter I wrote:
"I humbly accept this union of tranquil bliss and flourishing friendship, devotion and sentiment. This, now, here is infinite as I have waited for this time of the awakened state. I am aware of your delightedness and as I too am delighted. We are aware of the challenges that will grace us with their hindering ventures. But, you and I both know there is nothing that we have not advanced through. We are OK. My friendship will coexist with my love for you as you are what defines my state of being a woman. I hope you can say the same or at least that this moment acknowledges our harmony together. You bring challenging discourse to our times of union as do I and we are still here. We all possess baggage and we need a state of revival - when I met you, you revived me. You shower me with endless opportunity and you are aware of what whirl winds I attain. Let me be open to you, I will guide you and astonish you with remarks but to cherish you as heaven's greatest gift is to not say the least. You are that presence I had seeked for; a longing I had wondered about since the first marriage I attended. I was ecstatic about the trinkets of embellishments and what love was. The veil, if it may weigh heavy, we will pull through. Never to let go of your hand in times of distraught. You are what defines great men and I have been so very privileged to have you in my life."
I hope you all have enjoyed another written piece by me and will comment below. Again this is a personal blog. If you would like to further discuss the symbolism that is behind this piece, please do send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading this.
I am absolutely in love with your work
and would be ecstatic if you could do my bridal henna!
My wedding is on
2016 in CT/RI.
Hand drawn by Sarah Hussain of BREATH OF HENNA. Now seen in ink on Bridal Henna Diaries. 2016
It was a blessed summer's afternoon in Toronto during Hania's consultation. Streams of sunlight were highlighting both of our faces while she was sitting in a cafe in Connecticut. While talking to her, all I could focus on was her smile, saturated in summer's eternal bliss. Was she ever so delighted to talk to me about her henna affairs. The smile channeled its way into discussing her appeals into the detailing of Bridal henna and that she adored intricacy. Why would she not? She had two beautifully crafted ELAN gowns for her wedding and reception day where labyrinths of embellishments and threads would talk history. ELAN ELAN ELAN. I was interrupted by a thought where all I could think of was, this was it! An explosion of cultural dialect and Pakistan's exquisite realm of art and design. Memories of my mother's valima (reception) gown flew into place as a flock of doves to a seeded temple. My mind started to tick and tock and then suddenly an assembly line formed into a very tight; inflexible area and I said YES! Within hours before I boarded my flight to LGA airport, Hania had received her Bridal rendering and was ecstatic. I am more than overjoyed with her Bridal Henna Diary as it's my most treasured artwork within Bridal Henna.
Dearest Athena, you have instilled beauty, memories of our childhood into these opulent wedding photographs for dearest Hania and Zahan. Traditions are evoked from the veiling of floral bangles and ornaments adorning her Mehndi (day 2) stain.
While creating art, our bodies sculpt and bend into unknown entities. When I work on a bride, I lose thorough sense of my surroundings. It is a state of complete bliss. The distance is only inches away from the form it begins to take. The being I adorn transforms from Bride to be to the BRIDE. I can hear her speak and we share a conversation which whirls alongside harmony. The florals here take the shape of wings and encompass air. The vines are paths we paved together, leaf by leaf; bulb by bulb to write her story (her world). This is not my first time adorning a Bride, each one is different; Hania's Bridal Diary began with the same root of every other Bride; earth, Mehndi. Why was this different? The elation seen in these photographs is illusory. Her aunt had brought in a delicious meal for the two of us but we were both unconscious as the BRIDE OF THE ERA fabricated herself in front of our eyes. It began to rain; the moment when a Bride is bathed as she is to be of her purest state at marriage. We sat in her backyard and moments passed as we were safely guarded inside by the swarm of bees surrounding our drinks of conversation. We went inside to get the work done as her friends were coming. Her best was definitely her sister.
Our moments are not to be accepted by others but they for us to accept. The waves will continue to rise and the sores will hereafter, wash away. Hania is a Bride of the Era because she was simple with fine taste. Gorgeous is an understatement. If a woman of culture approaches you in couture and her smile draws light towards your heart, consider yourself the luckiest. You have been touched by a spirited soul. If she is your Bride and keeps you smiling, reflect on your breath and say Mashallah.