Saturday, June 30, 2012

Carpet weaving in Kashmir

Kashmir Carpets are known worldwide for their mesmerizing beauty and excellent artistry. The exclusive handmade carpets ranging from superbly crafted wool carpets to the high quality wool / silk blends and the epitome of luxury, the pure silk Kashmir carpets are widely demanded all across the world. Kashmir carpets are quite expensive though nowadays replica designs are also available at cheaper rates. However, no replica designs can match up with the original designs and Kashmiri carpets and rugs are a worthwhile lifelong investment. These carpets reflect the beauty of the place itself. Today, Kashmir carpet rugs especially those constructed from silk are the most sought after floor covering items in the world.

Kashmiri Carpets Rugs Hand Knotted
Kashmir carpets are always handmade. Apart from being always handmade, a noteworthy quality and feature of Kashmir carpets is that they are always knotted and never tufted. The knots determine the durability and the strength of the Carpet or Rug. Kashmir carpets are often woven either double knots or and single knot. As compared to double knotted carpets, single knotted carpets are fluffier. The double knotted carpet pile is less resistant to touch and pressure.

Kashmiri Carpets Art
The carpet weaving craft did not originate in Kashmir. It is said that the carpet weaving technique and style have been acquired from Persia. The carpet weaving initially was very much influenced by the Persian designs, styles and patterns. However in the late seventeenth century, Indian style began to replace the Persian style, though most carpet designs, even today, reflect a Persian touch.

Yarns used in Kashmir Carpets and Rugs
The yarns used are either silk or wool or a combination of the two. Pile is usually wool. While manufacturing woollen carpets, cotton is used as base; silk carpets may have a cotton or silk base. As compared to woollen carpets, silk carpets are expensive. Sometimes silk is used in the woollen carpets for extra sheen. Woollen carpets are soft and make thinner folds. They are more flexible and have the shine of the silk. The knots per square inches in these carpets are high. Silk Kashmir carpets have a distinct sheen with velvety soft touch.

Designs, Patterns, Colors in Kashmir Carpets
Carpet woven in Kashmir is a marvellous piece of art. If installed in homes, these carpets lend their beauty to the whole environment. Carpets are beautified by intricate patterns and marvellous designs. The most popular design of these carpets is the tree of life. Designs are mainly floral or zoological though geometrical motifs are also found. The designs are named after Iranian city like Kashan, Kirman, Ardabil, Meshad, Qum, Faraghan, Hamadan and so on. The colors of the Kashmir carpet distinguish it from the other carpets. The carpet colors are more subtle and muted. Vegetable dyes are used for coloring the yarn. All shades of red, green, yellow, blue are used predominantly. All the carpets are quite unique in themselves. Each piece is differentiated from others by their color-way and other details.

Kashmir Carpet Weaving Style
Carpet weaving technique used in Kashmir is called Talim. It is in fact a blueprint of carpet weaving. It is paper that is covered with interminable rows of twists, curves and hieroglyphs. After learning the design depicted on the Talim for months, the actual manufacturing starts.

Buying Tips
If you want to buy Kashmir carpet it is necessary to keep in mind certain things. As this carpet is very expensive and is one time investment, it is must that you keep the following factors in your mind before purchasing Kashmir carpets

·         Check carefully the material of the carpet. Take a close look to see that the carpet you are purchasing has been made of silk pile on silk base, silk pile on cotton base, silk and wool on cotton base or wool on cotton base.
·         You can enquire the knotting pattern just seeing the carpet from the reverse side
·         Look the carpet carefully and enquire whether all the design has been woven correctly
·         Also whether each motif or element of design has clear, crisp outlines
·         Also feel the edges with your hand to find out whether the edges are smooth or not. 

The loom has silk threads stretched across tightly through which the weaver weaves patterns.

A weaver at work..focus is the mantra

The patterns are first coded on a sheet of parchment.The weaver has to continuously refer to the code so as not to miss out a design.the designs are very well balanced and symmetrical.

Silk threads are imported from China

There are few coded patterns available.The weaver changes colour schemes to create novelty in designs.The codes are inherited from forefathers.

Mughal patterns are in great demand.

Peacock immortalized ..a dream is woven

Omar Khayyam with his goblet ..this pattern symbolizes his love for wine and woman..both intoxicating.

Geometrical pattern in tribal colours

Weaver of dreams..magic carpets.Perhaps Alladin had such a carpet that took him across continents.These carpets are magical in the sense that one sees different shades and hues from different angles.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Michael Angelo

A poem written by the poet , Salauddin Parvez is dedicated to my son Osman when he was two years reflects the bond between my son Osman and my father,Shamim Hanfi.Osman calls him Baba..

(Ek nazm kahaani Shamim Hanfi ke nawase ko dekh kar)

Baba ek lekhak hain
Burdbaar aur mateen
Unke buland maathe par shiv ke maathe ki chaandni
Mehekti rehti hai
Unke shabdon mein
Anginat  yugon ke gyan gagan
Ghan ghan gaajte rehte hain
Us meethi ghan ghan ko sun kar raaj hans
Jaana chaahte hain,jo maansarovar
Kanwal kaliyon ko le kar ur parte hain achaanak
Aasmaan ki taraf

Baba ka ek nawaasa hai,naam hai Osman
Pyaar se sab use Michael Angelo kehte hain
Us ki umr hai kewal do saal
Nayan naqsh mein us ke sansaar bhar ke chitrkaron ke
Sunder bachchon ke chitr baatein karte hue
Saaf sunai dete hain
Michael angelo ka ek shauq hai,ajeeb,bohot ajeeb
Woh duniya bhar ki saari cheezein
Kamre ki khirkiyon se bahar phenk dena chahta hai
Michael Angelo ki naani,isi wajah se
Hamesha,kamron ki saari khirkiyan band rakhti hain
Phir bhi woh jaane kis pal
Koi na koi cheez zaroor khirki se baahar phenk deta hai
Uski is phenka-phenki mein
Baba ke do nazar ke chashme,teen chappalen,
Paanch kitaben,naani ke saat purse,
Ma ke gyaarah hair pins,aur khud uske
Ek sau ek khilone shaamil hain
Un khilonon mein ek remote se control hone waala
Air india ka jahaaz bhi haiaur ek
Battery se chalne wali, japaan ki Suzuki gaari bhi...
Haan ek baat to bataana bhool hi gaya
Idhar kayii dinon se Michael Angelo bolna seekh raha hai
Ab woh koi cheez phenkta hai to ek
Lammmmbi si “”zoom” bharta hai
Aur ek shabd”Ooper” keh ke
Apni sharaarat se sab ko aagaah bhi
Kar deta hai

Woh oope kyun kehta hai!
Maano uske liye prithvi aakaash hai
Aur ghubbaron aur patangon ki tarah
Har cheez us aakaash mein
Urte hue dekhna chaahta hai

Ek din jab maina ki jhari lagi hui thi
Raat ke baarah baje ka samay tha
Michael Angelo ki Ma,Nani,sab so gaye the
Baba bas sone hi waale the apni study mein
Unhon ne kitaab aankhon se hataa ke
Seene pe bichhai thi
Chashma bhi aankhon se utaar ke
Takiye ke neeche rakh diya tha
Ki unhen...
Aahat si hui...deka Michael Angelo
Dabe dabe qadmon mein unki study mein daakhil hoke
Bilkul unke paas aake tehr gaya hai
(study ki khirki khuli hui thi)

Michael Angelo ne kai baar Baba ko hilaya
Jaag to nahin rahe woh...lekin Baba to
Use dekhte hi sone ki acting karne lege the
Michael Angelo ko jab poori tarha ho gaya itmenaan
Woh so rahe hain...usne apni nanhi munni baahon mein
Baba ke bade se wajood ko
Is tarha uthane ki koshish ki jaise woh unhein
Khirki se baahar phenk dena chaahta hai...
Aur phir waaqai usne Baba ko ek lammmmbi se ‘zoom’ bhar ke
Khirki ke neeche phenk hi diya aur zor se taali baja ke
Khud ko aagah kiya ‘ooper’

Baba ekdam jaise ghbra gaye
Deewan se uthe jaldi jaldi
Harbaraate hue rack se torch uthai
Sutt sutt slipper pehne
Darwaaza khol ke,bohot si seerhiyan utar ke
Jab khirki ke neeche pahunche,
Apne aap ko dhoondne...wahaan koi nahin thha!
(paani ab bhi ghan gha baras raha thha)

Baba bohot der tak yunhi haath mein torch roshan kiye
Gumsum khirki ke neeche khare hue bearish mein bheegte rahe
Bohot der ke baad jab aasman par
Bijli ki ek kamaan tooti aur uska ek ansh
Unki aankhon mein bhi chubha to woh gumsumi se
Bedaar hue...palte ghar ki jaanib...
Bohot si seerhiyan charh ke
Paani mein sharabor thhake thhake,
Bukhaar mein thhore se tape tape
Chheenkte hue jab apni study mein

Michael Angelo,
Unka chashma lagaye
Bilkul unhin ki tarha
Kitaab apne seene par phailaye
Unke deewan par
Nihayat itmenaan ke saath so raha hai

Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Half Moon

The book'Half Moon'I recently edited is finally out!!Published by Bahrisons,New Delhi...waiting for its official launch!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Crow


Perched atop a rusted grill
Embracing a vibrant park
Where people come to breathe and talk incessantly
Of Helios scorching the earth
And the parson’s wife
Who ran away with the blacksmith
Or the charity event
Where the governor wore a majestic purple robe
And disrobed in the shady bar
That served rum and smoky salmon
Revealing suppurating sores over body
Kissed by canines
Who now sit around a heap of bones
Thrown ever so lovingly at them
By the hands that tied their tails together
And locked jaws so that they do not bark
Yet they wince not in pain

Such is the pleasure of sucking the marrow
For in their veins
It’s not the crimson blood that flows
But the bile of sycophancy and lust
And in the shrinking bosoms
Ash ,just ash
For all the milk has dried

Perched atop the rusted grill
He waits
He watches

Dried skin of the salmon
Hangs out from his claws
He breaks the meditative trance
And bends his raven head to peck
At the shrivelled skin

As he bends the saturated night
Somewhat turns a shade of grey
The night he wears around his neck
Like the feathery cape  of Morrigan
The enigmatic diva announcing death
Or the beginning of a new phase
The banshee
Predicting it with shrieks
That rip the soul apart 

So black is the shadow of the shroud
So rich in texture
Hue and shade
So what if the dead was draped in white
Pristine,pure like a winter landscape

He thinks in silence and cocks his raven head
To mock at the whiteness of that white
‘Oh you may die a thousand lives
And live up to a million deaths
For I have blurred the line
That tells you Black from White
Sleep in tranquillity
In your crystal catacombs
You razed the forests to build these walls
The nectar in blossoms was sweet as long as you let it be’

As the bride puts kohl in eyes
And drapes her head in red
The crow
Gives a shriek
And flies away into eternity
Leaving behind the carcass that sticks on to the skeletal rails

Nothing remains
Only Truth
Thick and black as the Raven


Saturday, April 21, 2012

For You Amma!with all my love..

(for you..Saba Shamim  Amma!)

Would you have liked a jugnu if it had no fire in its belly?

A tulip reverently holding
Light in its hands,
folded in a silent prayer
throwing it away like the ash of a deceased in the vast thirsty sea?
the flame of the forest
burning out in fumes
not red but cold and blue ?
the camomile in a dusky maidens hair
white on the periphery
gradually turning warm
exuding the fragrance alien to the senses?
A laburnum without the sunshine
Smeared on each petal..

Would you?

Of all these flowers of the sun
The laburnum stands out for me
For when I look at it
reaching out to my balcony
It’s her I see in the flowers
The pods hang down
Pregnant with life
About to burst into dazzling light...

She left last night
To a distant land
For a while
Just for a while
For she will come back to me
With more sunshine in her hands
To bless me with the light
To see the world better...

the laburnum stands tall
devoid of foliage
waiting for her return
the pods hold back the passion
with bated breath
whispering her name

...(how i miss her!i hope time flies and she is back with the bursting foliage on the laburnum overlooking my balcony!)...12.00noon..22.4.12

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yellow and White

Its white and yellow
The colour for the day
With you across the landscape of the soul

The silver on the sides
Capture the twinkle of the eyes
As you lift it up
Ever so gently
So as not to disturb the serene ambiance

The water in the stem glass
Is witness to the whispers
That the music emanates from the heart

As I drape the sunshine around my neck
I feel the warmth seep in
And I cannot but help
Give a part of the sun to you
As that is all I have

So I hold some warmth
In the hollow of my hand
And pass it on to you
To take it back or let it fly
To some unknown distant land

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slush:Chill Summers!Chill!


Crushed ice, saturated loosely with your favourite fizzy drink, in the sweltering heat...The fusion of two forms of water, hard, crystallized and grainy on one hand and cool and free flowing on the other works as a catalyst to speed up your reflexes and metabolic rate when all you want is an everlasting siesta in an air conditioned comfort of your room. flushes away the summer sores in a jiffy. Try it...Chill a glass of your favourite fizzy drink in the freezer for half an hour and see the difference you make to your life! This was suggested by a friend and is the definite mantra to ward off fiery summer blues! Thanks a ton!
Now let me make an effort to be blatantly honest about description of the process of trying it out without meaning to sound offensive or  vulgar in any way.(I hope so...)Hold the glass in your hand. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Feel the cool exterior of the glass, dripping dewdrops, quenching the thirst of your warm hands. Cup the glass, just the right amount of pressure so as not to disturb the flow of the meandering cola through the channels of crushed ice. You’ll be transported to heaven. Not even a thousand blazing suns can bleach the colours of vibgyor in the horizon of your soaring thoughts. Bliss is the word you feel.
Now open your eyes and use a spoon to stir up a mini storm in the glass .This is done so as to create a sense of harmony and fusion in the two states-the solid and the liquid, the hard and the soft.
By this time your taste buds will be craving to reach out and be one with the cool delight in the crystal glass...Winking bubbles on the brink throwing inviting glances ,you will just not be able to resist. Simply irresistible...You make the first contact, the warmth of your lips meets the cool crystal and you lose all track of time and space, of temperature soaring or plummeting.
You shiver as your tongue feels the grains of ice, each and every one of it coated with the flavour of the fuzzy drink. But wait! You are not yet satiated till you actually suck the grains dry, sweeping the floor clean, not leaving a trace of intoxication abandoned anywhere. You are not a betrayer of flavours. ..Certainly not. The slush hits you on the fontanel making you ecstatic and desirous of many more such heavenly sips.
Slush...brings a flush to your countenance. Try it!!Summers will not be all that bad!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's in a cell phone?

A cell phone is not just a machine; it’s an extension of your being, like your finger, or your limb. If you happen to sit in a public place AND if you happen to face another human species like your own self, (such as in a metro) notice the number of hands toying with the cellphones.Watch the expressions. Some minds will be mindful of what they are indulging in while others will be lost in a world far away .The mobile phone acts as a defence mechanism in such cases, a protective shield against the onslaughts of gazes and prying eyes. But is it really so important to do so? What is it actually defending? The vulnerable being...the unbearable lightness of being. The machines are gradually and steadily taking over the cognitive, the affective as well as the psychomotor domains of our lives. We feel restless if we don’t feel the vibrations of batteries under our nimble fingers, or the sound of ringtones. An animated world with animated feelings is what we are shrinking and stuffing our souls into. It’s surprising how quick we are at reciprocating to the demands of the mechanistic world ,neglecting the holistic perspective of life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Clocks

The Clocks

A tree stood on the roadside
Strange it seemed to me
For there was not a foliage it could boast of
But an array of clocks
Nailed on to the trunk
Seven in all
Round, sour cream in colour
Displaying time
That chose to run on different tracks
My life was running on a four wheeled machine
So fast it was
That i could only get a glimpse of the needles
Running helter skelter in different directions
Under the tree on a mute wooden chair
Sat a man
Mute, gazing in the distance
At a tractor in the field
Dali’s watches came alive
In the hallowed portals of my mind
How irrelevant is time when we are asleep
It is a world of breathing memories
And breathing dreams
Beyond the curtains of black lashes
But the watches on this tree
Were rooted to a world of wakefulness
I wonder
What is real-sleep or wakefulness?
Memories or promises?
Timelessness ...
Only time will tell
And i shift my gaze to the sprinting trees

(I saw this tree recently when i was on an official visit to Jaipur.I wish i could have stopped to click a picture or perhaps make an attempt to talk to that man in the  giant pagree,but somehow i was spellbound,held captive by the strange sight...)

Fresh and Stale

fresh and stale:have a tale!

There’s an interesting way of celebrating the onset of spring and summer in Rajasthan. This festival called Basaura marks the farewell of winter and welcome of summer. On 14th of march Rajasthan, marked by rugged tawny terrain and colourful pagris and ghagras celebrated this festival with cheer and gusto.The womenfolk did not venture into the kitchen to cook as was customary but chose to eat whatever was left over of the previous night.No fire crackled in the stoves, no embers threw off aroma of daal baati choorma. ‘Stale’was the flavour of the day.Why? because at that juncture of their lives it was apparently safe to consume whatever was basi or stale.Henceforth the harsh summer sun would not allow any stale food to thrive .It was only in the late evening that choolhas could be lit and fresh food cooked. Farewell winters, welcome summers!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Air,Water,Fire and Ice

These are a few of my favourite clicks!

 Zeus raising his head to blaze the sky...
Nature trying its best to balance the warm and the cool colours of the sky
 icing on top of the world
 A bit of wandering wispy fluff,wind ..
 Blaze flash..
 I'm rooted to the grounds oh cannot shake me up so will be shattered like wisps of clouds that crown the sky above

 small wonder...braving the cold
 Raven in rest after sunset...
 There is an interplay of light and shadow if you look at the wings closely..
 water water everyehere..
 A mirage ..a reflection
 Closer to the mirage..i discover two worlds..
 an under-water wonder world

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crimson Ecstasy

What did you have in mind when you crafted this piece!
A pair of scissors
A stainless steel needle
A reel of thread?
The blades pierce the heart of a lover
To fill up your palette with crimson deep
Deeper than the Mediterranean
Colours ...
what will they do without a base!
Suspended in idleness
A rainbow in the sky!
you reach out
 to grab a handful of white gossamer
worn as a veil by the goddess of beauty
how dexterously you cut out
one velvet petal after the other
Dipped in crimson
Sewed together at the base
Not a wrinkle or a crease to disturb the rendezvous
Of the petals with the green alcove
That holds them in an everlasting embrace
Your  dreams meander in the crimson whirlpool
You breathe over it...
Magical is the night
That loses itself in its fragrance
Enigmatic is the breeze that carries its message on its wings
Your angels sweat in anticipation
Waiting for your creation to come alive
And then
A tear from your eye falls on it...
The rose trembles in ecstasy

--Ghazal..17th feb 2012...21:15pm

All the precious words

you and I have exchanged

have found their way

into the heart of the universe

One day they'll pour on us

like whispering rain

helping us arise

from our roots again


~ Rumi

Rumi - Fields of Gold (helping us arise from our roots again)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Saga of a flight

This game of words
Has conjured
Images of a kite
Flying up high in the sky
A saga of its flight

What do they mean
Why do they mean
The voices inside scream
One end is tied up to the wheel
And one is free to dream

Of heights and breeze
And calm blue seas
Somersaults in the air
It soars up high, ecstatic cry
A game of solitaire!

What if the wheel just loosens it?
And lets it drift away!
the sky of lead above the world
will just not let it sway
and when i take a walk out there
i’ll find it stuck in a branch
 of a willow standing as witness
to its avalanche

Jaded, faded
rustling in the storm

...ghazal..4th feb 2012..10.50 am

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rumi - Desire


When you doubt, 
you are afraid to feel,
Because feeling will make you big,
It will make you expand your being
Feeling will make you real 
Feeling will make you ,you
 Are you ready to stop playing the game of doubt and 
what it’s like 
to have triumphant discovery of new consciousness?"

Just be..

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



Empty road
Lined with laburnum
Ashes from a burnt out fire
Exude a fragrance of an era
An era not etched anywhere on the wheels of time
A tiny ember still ignited
Lies next to a milestone
Seven skies apart is a dream
Hazy in the winter fog
Nested in the niche of her heart
She remembers the promise of the summer sun
And smiles at the thought
That suddenly leapt out of the portals of her dream
the laburnum seeds will burst out
into a golden glory
and will bask in lazy sunshine
......ghazal.................8:30 pm....24 Jan 2012

Sketches in literature

Sketches in literature : Shamim Hanafi writes definitive profiles of writers, evaluating their contribution