Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rhadopis of Nubia: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

If you know me, and if you've read my blog before, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Ancient Egypt. I love the creativity poured into the somewhat restricted types of architecture of the time, and I absolutely love the mystique that the era exudes.

Though Pharaohs and using slaves are not cool. Just saying. Even their advanced civilizations (of the time) and so called 'power' couldn't save them from being wiped out.

Even so, I feel like the Ancient Egyptians had a colorful life, and a sinfully luxurious one. Granted, my feelings may be influenced solely by modern representations of the era, and only of 'royalty'. I still admire the creativity of the people and their ideas. It's a shame they were so big headed and too proud for their own good (i.e. Pharaoh during the time of Moses AS; many sins much blasphemy from the stories of that Pharoah).

Moving back on track, I recently purchased a book as I was immediately drawn to the title and cover- I am sure I am not the only one who does this. Here's what I saw, and immediately picked up:

This may be unappealing to you, but my attention was captured by that bust (?) of a woman (?) on the cover. I knew it was something to do with Ancient Egypt and sort of bought it without reading/understanding what it was about. Sue me. 

So, I've read it. And I'd give it a 7/10. I think that's fair. 

Spoilers ahead, though most quite general and available in the book's blurb.

It is about Pharaoh Merenra II, who falls in love with the enchanting and seductive and unconditionally loved (by all men who set eyes on her), Rhadopis. Fate seemingly brought them together in the form of a falcon, stealing Rhadopis' golden sandal and dropping it onto the lap of the Pharaoh. Determined to meet the owner of the sandal after finding out about her beauty and all the men who clamber to be with her- but are rejected, naturally, the Pharaoh personally journeys to Rhadopis' white marble palace on the Nile. They immediately feel chemistry between them and fall in love, not being able to resist. A whirlwind romance begins, despite the Pharaoh having a wife. They are oblivious to the rumors and the negative perceptions of the people around them. Rhadopis stops entertaining other men and her focus and her life becomes the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh inundates her palace with riches- his people's riches, and their romance takes a quick, brutal and predicted turn from there. 

Naguib Mahfouz is wonderful with his composition, I will say that. His words are so calming, and elegant. Granted this is a translation of the Arabic text by Anthony Calderbank, and to quote him "The language Mahfouz uses is distant and regal....Whereas the canons of Arabic textuality allow Mahfouz to repeat the same words many times, a variation in the vocabulary is preferred in the English." I give a good amount of credit to Mr Calderbank for choosing such fitting words to shape the story. 

Most of the story did not appeal to me as much as I would have liked it to. It was simple, and because of that, it was predictable. I suppose Mahfouz intended it to be as such, as this story is supposed to relate to the uprisings in a more modern and recent Egypt, which it does. That is probably why I found it predictable, because subconsciously my mind knew that this had happened recently, or is slowly happening now. I am not suggesting that our leaders are Pharaohs, or that they are mindlessly giving no heed to the needs of their people. I am saying that this book describes the a situation in which a leader behaves irresponsibly and faces the wrath of his people whom he did wrong by. 

To the more vivid and colorful parts of the book, the descriptions of the world, the places and the feelings felt were beautiful. It is the first time I would have ever thought to describe the dawn as something blue.

"Her senses suddenly became sharper and she remembered that she had remained awake, her eyelids not tasting sleep until the gentle blue waves of dawn washed over her."

The sky by day is definitely blue, and by night, it looks black, but the hue of blue that drapes over us in the early hours of the morning have never really occurred to me as something to notice until now.

And my personal favorite line from the book,

"Blessed is an awakening that stirs beautiful memories in the heart."

The paragraph in which this line was written just makes me feel so light and airy and like I should be wearing a white flowy dress and prancing around happily just to read it.  

Other than these two favorite lines, what I liked about this book was that the emotions existing between the Pharaoh and Rhadopis came across as very real and visceral, to me at least. The description of infatuation and passion that so strongly pulled the two together was so satisfying to read. Though their romance was fast paced and quite irrational, that was what made me believe in it even more. The surreal way that they met and immediately pursued their love affair just made me think about how hedonism was weaved into the fabric of their nature; indulging at every and almost any possible chance. 

All in all, this book was a good read. If not for the story or the plot, I implore you to read it for Mahfouz's writing, or should I say, Calderbank's translation?

Till next time,

Definitions and Views

What's your favourite definition of gravity?

The first thing that comes to my mind is; something that grounds you. Not only physically, but mentally. Though it's quite correct to say the gravity has no effect on the intangible aspects of life such as emotion or 'feels', the concept of gravity applies to many things in life. Gravity allows us to fall, but it is not so controlling that it strips us of the power to get back up. Gravity always works against us (unless you're enjoying a roller coaster ride or snowboarding or bobsledding etc, in all cases where gravity is your best friend), but it conditions us to develop the strength to fight back and move along.

Gravity is cool, and I'm glad we have it.

Till next time,


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Surprise! I'm alive.

I have recently fallen in love with Haiku's. I love how they are so real and condensed. How they are able to portray a profoundly human moment, or feeling. So simple but so deep.

Here, this is my favorite:

What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.
-Issa Kobayashi

You know sometimes when you find your mind suddenly circling around the realization of your existence?
"Wow, I exist. I am here. I was born and have lived, and am living, right now."

It's this mixed feeling of peculiarity and awe that strikes you in the oddest of times.

You think about it until you question the mind's wandering capacity- after which you move on to questions like "What makes an apple tree know when it's ready to drop apples?" and " Why does a minute have 60 seconds?".

Moving on, the simplicity of haiku's are what attracts me to them. The ability to capture such a human experience; an otherwise mundane or uneventful moment, and make it something to deep think about, seems like such a calming and appreciative process. I think that's beautiful.

The haiku above resonates with me because I often think about my existence, and why we exist. How complex all human beings' lives are, and how strange it is to be doing what we are doing and why we are meant to do it.

It just feels strange, even though you're so small, so significantly small; you were born to play a role in the madness that Earth was modeled after.

Till next time :)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yank of the Heart.

I'm grudgingly waiting,
To face the day,
Where you'll be daunting,
And fade away.

When in this now,
I feel secure,
Though this you give me,
My heart feels impure.

The day has come
Where love has burrowed
Back into my soul.

It will stay there
Until there comes
A reason for it to hold,

My heart in its grasp,
Tightly and firmly,
To never again let it go.

The next time I gouge it out,
It wont be for naught,
It'll be because I know.

Alone, not lonely.

Born alone, die alone. Does that mean we have to stay alone so it doesn't hurt as much to be left or to leave? 

I prefer solitude lest I be disappointed by my own expectations of people.  


No life is a solitary life, sans companions true or conveniently periodical. There will not be any colour to that painting of life. 

So how can you commit to keeping of the heart, to allow entrance to no one. 

Wear your heart on your sleeve and things get messy. Keep your heart locked and things get rigid. 

Solitude is simplicity, it is solace. But it's the kind of solace with which you are never truly content. It's the solace you wish was enough.

So shall I remain a solitary being, or shall I go about being a walking hypocrite. For when I prefer time alone, I'll be too busy pretending to bask in the ambience of company to give thought to the exhilarating side of depending on no one. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I've been keeping myself occupied this semester break, quite well, I might add. 
To date, I have sewed 5 pencil cases and 2 blouses. I've worked and will almost every day of February, with the exception of next Friday as I will be on leave for awesome purposes :D 

I have yet, however, to make, yes, make, a notebook for myself. 

I've failed with Project 365. Well, I haven't failed it completely, I just stalled on collecting the photos. And it's been too long since I organized my photo's by date, I'll try and pick it up again when I find my daily pictures for the past month. 

I have also a new resolution :) I feel I've become too attached to gadgets and the internet. Therefore, every time I have free time, I'll pull out a book instead of popping up a game on the iPad, or surfing YouTube for no reason whatsoever. It's going quite well. I'm expecting to finish Life of Pi tomorrow, and let me just share something with you. I forget how amazing reading is, really I do. Just today, when I started reading Life of Pi again, I found myself imagining the book play out in my head, and mind you it wasn't the actual movie I was imagining, but the movie that I made in my head, myself, based on the few chapters that I'd read. It was really entertaining and I felt like I couldn't wait to get back to the book to continue that movie in my head. I had to remind myself that it wasn't a movie I'd get back to, but a book. 

The mind is wonderful! 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Revamp and Rewind.

I have given the old blog a new haircut, after contemplating for so long about what to do to make it more expressive

The background is the only form of doodling that naturally results when I hold a pen to paper. When I doodle, you'll know it, because there will always be this doodle of swirls and paisley bubbles with some indian henna art accents here and there. I'll do a compilation of all the doodles I've done to show you that every single time I hold a pen, this pattern ends up on my paper somehow. I suppose it's muscle memory now. This should honestly be my signature. Although the doodle isn't that great, I agree it is a little messy. I decided to just wing it, and honestly it feels like its very me when I look at it, and I'm happy with it regardless. Here's what it looks like, the 10 minute doodle:

Drawn on the iPad with Paper53, edited with Phoster

The pastels are my favourite colours. I have a bracelet on my wrist of the same colours; baby green and coral-y salmon-y pink, with a hint of grey. The combination of turquoise-ish and peach-ish shades have been an obsession for a long time now, after I got over gold and black. So I decided to incorporate that on here to make it soothing for my eyes to see too. We'll see what colour combo I fancy later on.

Also, I promised a little update on my yearlong project Project Life which I mentioned in my previous blog post. And so, here it is :)

Week 1 : Project Life
So that's an entire week in a picture for you.

From Left: A cake I baked on new year's day, text card of what I did on 2/1, screen shot of a funny conversation on 3/1, impromptu meeting with lovelies on 4/1, going to get the car washed on 5/1 and the first (and extremely hard) final exam on 6/1. I didn't have an extra frame to show you 7/1, but that was just filled with staying at home and playing Clay Jam, so no worries. Haha.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're probably thinking..."Why, what mundane, meaningless pictures she's taking."

The only reason why I'm doing this is I find myself constantly telling myself to try and remember every moment when I'm experiencing it. Why? Because I don't remember a whole lot about my childhood, and it's sad to look at pictures of myself when I was younger and not be able to remember.

So, by taking a picture daily, I'm physically forcing myself to make a memory and document it, and it's an indistinct way of me strengthening my memory as well, haha. But what I have found though, is that just by looking at a single picture, I can remember what I did the most of day on the day the picture was taken. I hope this continues further on into the project, as I've always wanted a good memory!

As of now, I'm collecting the photos on my iPad, and am planning to print them all out and make a photo journal if you will, so it's more sentimental. :)

Well then, hasn't this been the over-zealous attempt at blogging from an infrequent blog updater? 
Twice in one day..after how long?

I forget how much I love blogging. 

Here's to rediscovering old loves, and creating new memories. 

Your friendly neighbourhood K.