Saturday, 8 September 2012

KUNG FU WARRIOR PRINCESS (Inner Peace, Inner Peace...)

When I was a child at school in India, I discovered I shared my name with a Mughal warrior called Shaista Khan. A male warrior, who, being Muslim, was the enemy of the Indian nation at the time. It got worse. In a battle with the Indian hero Shivaji, Shaista Khan fled, but not before losing three fingers to the hero's sword. Children can be cruel... "How come you still have all your fingers, Shaista Khan?" Ha. Ha.
But a funny thing happened (a pattern set to this day) - I became perversely proud of my connection to the beleaguered anti-hero. I quite liked the idea of a shadowy warrior balancing the prettier meanings of my name. Warriors can be graceful too.
So when a Karate Sensei came to our school and proposed classes, I signed up with my brothers. We were not to know that our teacher was a violent man, with an inclination to psychotic bursts of physical rage, which we numbly witnessed, paralysed by their suddenness. I seemed to be protected by my ability to recite. In a clear voice, from memory, I would dutifully recite the Dojo poem-prayers. Poetry has been my protector in unexpected ways. (Most likely, my brothers and I were protected by the fact that Sensei seemed quite afeared of our mother)...
During my week in hospital I discovered Kung Fu Panda on the little tv, and gloried in the lightheartedness of it all. I have decided perhaps it is time to make a return to some form of martial art, even if only T'ai Chi. What do you think?
While home from hospital, I had an unexpected and wonderful visit from Fiona, one of my Irish friends on Twitter
and she was so full of energy that I felt very strong myself, and during my monoclonal infusion two days ago, I asked my nurse Annama to take a picture of me, kung fu style...
Of course I was laughing my head off too much for that first picture to be serious - Annama thought I was CRAZY! "Are you mad?" she asked. "What is this picture for?"
But how about this?? Do I look fierce? Or do I?!! Don't mess. 


Yin said...

Ya huh!!! Yes, do it! You know how the more traditional practitioners are intoning stuff while they do it? I always thought they were profound things they were declaiming but my grandma told me no it was stuff to help you remember the move. Eg: Hands above your head brought down in a wide arc around you. "I have one big apple." Hands above head again down in a namaste past your belly button. "I cut it in half." Hands together pushing away. "Half is for you." Hands coming back. "Half is for me."

Shaista said...

Yin, you are just so awesome!! Legend of Awesomeness :)
And I see you inherited that awesomeness from your grandma!
Will keep in mind the Apple Analogy as I practice (and try not to snicker)...

Ruth said...

The best warriors are a balance of masculine and feminine, I think. You will be (are) an elegant warrior princess, and I am afeared of you. :-)

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Trembling in my boots. I wouldn't mess with you.

Oya's Daughter said...

I am actually starting some Qi Gong at home with DVDs. It's not ideal, and I would still rather be lifting weights and anything that isn't weights just feels "meh", but I need to start doing something. Maybe give that a look in? I did find the breathing useful when I had a unfun hospital trip a year or so ago, it did help.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I so love this post. Yes! Do Tai Chi - do it for me. I so love it and SO WANT to be able to make those beautiful hypnotic motions. I did, long ago....and I tried again more recently. But when one does not have ANY short term memory, one cannot learn Tai Chi. I had to give it up. I was frustrating the rest of the class. Sigh.

But you doing Tai Chi ? Now THERE'S a great idea.

Love the photos of our Fearless Shaista, laughing and being called mad by the nursing staff. Hee hee.

Yin said...

How about finding a poem you can do with the taichi? Hmm I have to think about this one...

Brigid said...

Hello dear Shai,

What about qigong? I always love it when we practice at Plum Village. The qigong nun wasn't there this summer as one of the monks, newly arrived from Vietnam, had a dreadful accident falling off a ride on lawnmower. I think he broke his back and doctors thought he wouldn't walk again, but the qigong sister went from New Hamlet to Bordeaux everyday to do reflexology snd healing, and now he is walking and on the road to a full recovery (or that was the situation back in August). The doctors thought it miracle.

So that made me think of qigong..xx

Anonymous said...

I wish I had been paying more attention, would have liked to send you a card or something for going into hospital.
I am also your Irish Fiona friend from twitter :)
Looking good, while in hospital, taking the mickey. Not many people could say that!!
Tai Chi sounds like a good idea :) I'm doing Beginners Yoga and it's good! My muscles are in good pain for 2 days after, I feel like I know a lot less than the others in the class, but it's grand. Makes me feel a bit better about life and myself so that's a good thing x x

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