Have you ever watched smoke rise? Not the billowing kind from raging fires – the thin delicate kind that comes from burning incense. It’s the most mesmerising, beautiful, amazing, fascinating thing. I should know. I’ve come from doing just that: watching smoke.

If you want to understand how a concept can be real and yet intangible or how science and art are two sides of the same coin, or if you want to twist your mind around how something you want to capture is escaping you because you can’t touch it, go burn some incense and watch it.

It’s even more amazing if there’s no wind to dictate how the smoke should billow. The swirls and undulations are hypnotic; they seem almost alive and intelligent. And to think that each pattern is unique; that with every second, beauty is created and then lost forever.

But what for? Is it simply to make us stop in our tracks, turn to stare at it and wonder why we’ve never done so before? I can’t think of why God would make smoke so beautiful apart from to show us His Design. To encourage us to sit back and wonder in awe at His Majesty and then to surrender to the love of such a Perfect Creator.

I would never have thought that a simple plume of smoke could put things into such a clearer perspective. Shows how much I’ve thought! 🙂

Speaking (writing?) of thinking, I did something today without allowing myself to think too much beforehand. I gave the Surviving Zahra manuscript to one of my tutors to read and comment on. Considering he’s male, non-Indian and non-Muslim, I don’t think I could have found a more foriegn reader for it – which is what I really should have done waaaay in the beginning when I had the draft ready.

Right now, I can’t seem to accept that I did something that drastic, it feels kind of like I opened the door to the most personal aspects of my life to open scrutiny. Over the next couple of days, if I allow myself to remember that fact I have to meet the verdict on Monday (or sooner) whether I like it or not, I’ll probably be incapacitated by fear and freeze where ever I am.

Such are the trials of the writing life, eh? I think it’s pretty much the same for any art form. It’s a gift to be allowed such a channel to express yourself, and a curse when you realise that not everyone will want to hear what you have to say or that you may not be able to say it as well as you think you can. 

50-odd hours to count away then.

In the meantime, my new resolution is ‘Learn how to do Graffiti’ – all I need is to hunt down a mentor/teacher.   The should keep me occupied.

Bint Ali

Current Saying:
“Longing for this world brings about worry and sadness, doing without in this world brings ease to the heart and body.”   
– Prophet Muhammad (s)


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