Archive | November 2007

Baraka: A Spritual Film

What a magical night it was last night! The soothing breeze didn’t let go of its embrace all night. With my mind clear, my heart light, my soul at ease it was the perfect night to watch “Baraka”.

Baraka is the first film of a “3 Evening Events” that ‘The Culture Sector Office’ of The Grand Mosque of Kuwait is hosting to promote inter cultural understanding.

And Baraka did exactly that. With no narration, no dialogue, no words, mere images choreographed with an enchanting music, it took your mind on a sensual journey in and out of people’s beliefs, rituals, and vices. Unlike other films where one passively takes in the storyline as it is dictated to them, with Baraka one has to connect to their personal soul, cultural knowledge, and openness to interpret the mélange of the audiovisual messages.

I’m still lost in my interpretation; still mesmerized by the beauty and the “Baraka” of our world, still at awe at our lost souls dwelling in coffin-like “homes”; still perplexed by the skull-museum of genocide victims, still at awe by the connectedness of world rituals-of our collective conscious; still trying to figure out the messages in the eyes of the snow monkey in the hot springs of Japan, in the eyes of the aborigine in Australia, , in eyes of the 3 kids of Yanomami Tribe, in the eyes of the girl from Iran, in the eyes of the monk…and in my eyes.

Still have 1 question in mind: Are we losing God’s Baraka?

More Info about the film:

Baraka was shot in the following countries: Alaska, Arizona, Australia, Brazil, California, Cambodia, Colorado, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Hawaii, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kina, Kuwait, Mexico, Nepal, New Mexico, Peru, Poland, Thailand, Turkey & USA.

PLOT SYNOPSIS (taken from ALLMovie)

Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as “breath of life” or “blessing,” Baraka is Ron Fricke‘s impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio‘s non-verbal documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for Baraka he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on Koyaanisqatsi. The result is a tour-de-force in 70mm: a cinematic “guided meditation” (Fricke’s own description) shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period that unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of moving images. Fricke’s camera ranges, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Masai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery…and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements of the camera. In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black, and the stars roll by, as the camera moves slowly forward under the trees. The feeling is like that of viewing the universe through a powerful telescope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void. The film is complemented by the hybrid world-music of Michael Stearns.

Images from the film (taken from Spirit of Baraka)

Video Clips from the film (From YouTube)

1. The Kecak Dance of Bali Indonesia

2. A snow monkey (at peace)

3. Modern life (maybe why we aren’t at peace)

I am thankful for

The day is looming, the eye spots the pen, the hand picks up the pen, the heart writes:

Thank you for bringing down my wall

I’m no longer a prisoner of my own

Thank you for glorifying the magic of life

I now savor the divinity of it all

Thank you for injecting the zest for living in me

Reality is now more welcoming than my dreams

Thank you for rekindling the bond with my dear ones

My soul has reached the haven it so longed for


Yalla go home

It wasn’t planned or anything, and it hadn’t nothing to do with the ‘letting go’ philosophy I have recently subscribed to; it was only coz it was ok to do so. Yesterday, I let me class go a whole FIVE minutes early.

I asked a question, I received my correct answer, I smiled and uttered, “Have a nice day.”

Nobody moved!!!! They all looked at each other. Then all eyes were on me.

We had just been watching ‘Shrek’ so the phrase “put a spell on sb’ was still on the board. Abdullatif looked at the board then looked at me and said,

“Have you somebody put spell on? Before you no allow 1 second go home early!!!”

I laughed:

“Good usage of the phrase Abdullatif. Thank you. Now, yallah go home before I change my mind!!”

Idiot no more

To Maman and Baba,

I’m sorry for:

Not realizing why you got so upset with me last night for preferring to stay home rather than joining you guys out. I now realize if you hadn’t missed me so much you wouldn’t have got so angry. I now realize your anger was the translation of your love.

I’m such an idiot

Students say the darndest things

After being a teacher for over 12 years, I thought I had heard it all in class. My favorite grammar error is: he-him, she-shim 😀 Of course, I believe this one is taken from a Kuwaiti play called “Bye bye London”.

Today I heard one that I for one had never heard before. We were practicing the object pronouns. I wanted them to ask me to give them what I am holding. So I held up 1 pen and a student said, “Can you give it to me?” I then held up 3 pens and she goes, “Can you give its to me?”

Well, I couldn’t really blame her, only yesterday I told her to add an “s” to most nouns to make them plural 😀

Iman Maleki’s Omens of Hafez

I love the emails forwarded from my friends. One particular email that I have received numerous times from various people is the paintings of Iman Maleki.

First time I saw his painting entitled “Omen of Hafiz” I froze–there was something in there that took me far away. Away to an era lost somewhere in the back alleys of my memories, away to a land my soul longed to connect… but never did—it never could—a phantom force held it back.

I saved that painting as my wallpaper…but only for a moment…I had to change it quickly, the emotions it provoked were too strong for me.

Yesterday, another friend forwarded another email of his paintings. My soul is at rest now. It’s connecting 🙂

Here’s the painting

Here’s a slide show of his other paintings:

To answer Intxlptr question: Source of the new name “Mirror Polisher”

Though I did become familiar with the concept of polishing mirrors through studying Sufism, I have not used it with the same symbolic meaning.

Why Mirror Polisher? Coz I used to dread mirrors. I would only look into one in the mornings when brushing my hair, and even then only at my hair, never into my eyes. For some reason, staring straight into my own eyes wasn’t too comfortable for me. Maybe it was because our eyes are mirrors of our souls; if you look deep enough you can see the essence of one’s soul. For me a Mirror Polisher is a person who is not afraid of seeking self-awareness, who polishes the mirror to get a clear reflection of their soul.