Friday 22 June 2012


When I was a little girl, I went riding, on holiday, with my brothers. We each had our 'own' horse - mine was a gentle beauty called Shani (of course I instantly felt a connection, same first syllable!). She was perfect.
Until the day she bolted. A cow lowed deep and something about the sound spooked Shani and off she pelted for what felt like miles; I held on for dear life until, eventually, the others caught up with us... I hope you don't think I am a wimp, but I have never been back on a horse since. The opportunity hasn't arisen anyway, we moved from India soon after, but I have a fear of spooking horses now. And, yes, I suppose, a fear of horses.
A few days ago, part of my extended family visited from Vancouver to celebrate my cousin Tushna's 21st birthday - after a cake orgy, Tushna and I went for a walk along the bridges of Little Shelford. We stopped at the fence and watched two horses for a while. The younger one, brown and perky, nuzzled the chocolate Easter egg out of my hand and proceeded to play football with it until it was smeared utterly into the ground. Job done, he waltzed off. Then arrived the older white beauty. A memory of Shani stirred. She was soft as velvet, huge dark eyes, and a peculiar lump over her eye. A tumour? Emboldened by fellow suffering, I held the long sloping face in my two hands and rested my forehead against hers. I talked of this and that. I apologised for my fear. And I asked for her good wishes for Monday when I shall be trolleyed into hospital for eye surgery. My Molteno tube implant is going to be needled because the pressure in my eye has been building. Is painful, dear readers. Am almost looking forward to the ease I hope the operation will bring.
All this week, another joy has also thrilled through me, and through so many others - the moment when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi finally received, in person, her Nobel Peace Prize of 1991. She is being honoured with awards and honorary degrees across Europe, and in every piece of footage, it seems to me, her feet barely touch the earth. Graceful and contained though Daw Suu has been in exile, it seems to me, given half a chance, she would run, she would fly. At every opportunity, she skips to the waiting crowds, momentarily breaking sombre lines, to accept a flower, a hug, tearful gratitude.
To see you free,
To see you free,
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Sherry Blue Sky said...

Shaista, how lovely. How beautiful your spirit is. Your posts always lift my heart up, with how you see the world.

May your operation go absolutely perfectly, with the best possible outcome. May it ease the pain and help you to keep seeing the very special way you do. I love you talking to the horse........and I LOVE all you wrote about the beautiful Daw Suu, whom I admire and love so much. I love the photo of her with the Dalai Lama.

Cloudia said...

What an awesome life-affirming post!

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

Shaista, my spirit of love I give to you. You are in my thoughts. Gracias for sharing such a 'life-affirming' post, to echo cloudia.

Dream well, mi amiga!

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