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NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
A glass to mirror forth the Great King’s face;
One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.

From out mine eyes unto my garment’s hem
A river flows; perchance my cypress-tree
Beside that stream may rear her lofty stem,
Watering her roots with tears. Ah, bring to me
The wine vessel! since my Love’s cheek is hid,
A flood of grief comes from my heart unbid,
And turns mine eyes into a bitter sea!

Nay, by the hand that sells me wine, I vow
No more the brimming cup shall touch my lips,
Until my mistress with her radiant brow
Adorns my feast-until Love’s secret slips
From her, as from the candle’s tongue of flame,
Though I, the singèd moth, for very shame,
Dare not extol Love’s light without eclipse.

Red wine I worship, and I worship her–
Speak not to me of anything beside,
For nought but these on earth or heaven I care.
What though the proud narcissus flowers defied
Thy shining eyes to prove themselves more bright,
Yet heed them not! those that are clear of sight
Follow not them to whom all light’s denied.

Before the tavern door a Christian sang
To sound of pipe and drum, what time the earth
Awaited the white dawn, and gaily rang
Upon mine ear those harbingers of mirth:
‘If the True Faith be such as thou dost say,
Alas! my Hafiz, that this sweet To-day
Should bring unknown To-morrow to the birth!’

kaifi Azmi is a very famous Urdu poet in India who has written numerous poems, Gazals or songs. I happened to come across this poetry of his which struck me and has remained with me for many years. His own narration of it, is icing on the cake. His tired voice reciting it, is like a hymn. Some of the words may seem haunting and show longing of the poet to find a utopian land, where he will be happy with all his wishes fulfilled, but once you hear kaifi azmi reciting this poem, who will know the depth of his words.

I have heard many of his songs in old Bollywood movies but this poem is my favorite of his. I wish I could have write and recite like him. Urdu is a beautiful language to express yourself, if you know the vocabulary well.

main dhundta huun jise vo jahan nahin milta
nai zamin naya asman nahin milta

nai zamin naya asman bhi mil jaae
nae bashar ka kahin kuchh nishan nahin milta

khada huun kab se main chehron ke ek jangal men
tumhare chehre ka kuchh bhi yahan nahin milta

vo tegh mil gai jis se hua hai qatl mira
kisi ke haath ka us par nishan nahin milta

jo ik khuda nahin milta to itna matam kya
mujhe khud apne kadam ka nishaan nahi milta 

vo mera gaanv hai vo mere gaanv ke chulhe
ki jin men shole to shole dhuan nahin milta

main dhundta huun jise vo jahan nahin milta
nai zamin naya asman nahin milta

English Translation

The new horizons that I seek are beyond me.
The world I am in search of cannot be found.

Even if I am able to find this new land,
but is there is no sign of a good omen

Here I am standing in the midst of a jungle of faces
and yet it is your countenance that cannot be found.

The arrows that have pierced my heart have been discovered
but the hands that pulled the string cannot be found.

What is the worry if I cannot find God,
when my own footprints cannot be found.

Over there is my village and those are its fireplace,
in which you can neither find any fire nor any smoke

The new horizons that I seek are beyond me.
The world I am in search of cannot be found.


Kaifi Azmi – REBEL With A Cause

Night fell over North Lebanon and snow was covering the villages surrounded by the Kadeesha Valley, giving the fields and prairies the appearance of a great sheet of parchment upon which the furious Nature was recording her many deeds. Men came home from the streets while silence engulfed the night.

In a lone house near those villages lived a woman who sat by her fireside spinning wool, and at her side was her only child, staring now at the fire and then at his mother.

A terrible roar of thunder shook the house and the little boy shook with fright. He threw his arms about his mother, seeking protection from Nature in her affection. She took him to her bosom and kissed him; then she say him on her lap and said, “Do not fear, my son, for Nature is but comparing her great power to man’s weakness. There is a Supreme Being beyond the falling snow and the heavy clouds and the blowing wind, and He knows the needs of the earth, for He made it; and He looks upon the weak with merciful eyes.

“Be brave, my boy. Nature smiles in Spring and laughs in Summer and yawns in Autumn, but now she is weeping; and with her tears she waters life, hidden under the earth.

“Sleep, my dear child; your father is viewing us from Eternity. The snow and thunder bring us closer to him at this time.

“Sleep, my beloved, for this white blanket which makes us cold, keeps the seeds warm, and these war-like things will produce beautiful flowers when Nisan comes.

“Thus, my child, man cannot reap love until after sad and revealing separation, and bitter patience, and desperate hardship. Sleep, my little boy; sweet dreams will find your soul who is unafraid of the terrible darkness of night and the biting frost.”

The little boy looked upon his mother with sleep-laden eyes and said, “Mother, my eyes are heavy, but I cannot go to bed without saying my prayer.”

The woman looked at his angelic face, her vision blurred by misted eyes, and said, “Repeat with me, my boy – ‘God, have mercy on the poor and protect them from the winter; warm their thin-clad bodies with Thy merciful hands; look upon the orphans who are sleeping in wretched houses, suffering from hunger and cold. Hear, oh Lord, the call of widows who are helpless and shivering with fear for their young. Open, oh Lord, the hearts of all humans, that they may see the misery of the weak. Have mercy upon the sufferers who knock on doors, and lead the wayfarers into warm places. Watch, oh Lord, over the little birds and protect the trees and fields from the anger of the storm; for Thou art merciful and full of love.'”

As Slumber captured the boy’s spirit, his mother placed him in the bed and kissed his eyes with quivering lips. Then she went back and sat by the hearth, spinning the wool to make him raiment.


My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,[109]
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
And mid-May’s eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,[111]
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

Memory – William Wordsworth

A pen–to register; a key–
That winds through secret wards
Are well assigned to Memory
By allegoric Bards.

As aptly, also, might be given
A Pencil to her hand;
That, softening objects, sometimes even
Outstrips the heart’s demand;

That smooths foregone distress, the lines
Of lingering care subdues,
Long-vanished happiness refines,
And clothes in brighter hues;

Yet, like a tool of Fancy, works
Those Spectres to dilate
That startle Conscience, as she lurks
Within her lonely seat.

Oh! that our lives, which flee so fast,
In purity were such,
That not an image of the past
Should fear that pencil’s touch!

Retirement then might hourly look
Upon a soothing scene,
Age steal to his allotted nook
Contented and serene;

With heart as calm as lakes that sleep,
In frosty moonlight glistening;
Or mountain rivers, where they creep
Along a channel smooth and deep,
To their own far-off murmurs listening.


Fire and Ice – Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great

And would suffice.


Intelligence — Rumi

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining

You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest.

This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

 This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.


The Fay & The Peri – Victor Hugo

Beautiful spirit, come with me

Over the blue enchanted sea:

Morn and evening thou canst play

In my garden, where the breeze

Warbles through the fruity trees;

No shadow falls upon the day:

There thy mother’s arms await

Her cherished infant at the gate.

Of Peris I the loveliest far—

My sisters, near the morning star,

In ever youthful bloom abide;

But pale their lustre by my side—

A silken turban wreathes my head,

Rubies on my arms are spread,

While sailing slowly through the sky,

By the uplooker’s dazzled eye

Are seen my wings of purple hue,

Glittering with Elysian dew.

Whiter than a far-off sail

My form of beauty glows,

Fair as on a summer night

Dawns the sleep star’s gentle light;

And fragrant as the early rose

That scents the green Arabian vale,

Soothing the pilgrim as he goes.



Beautiful infant (said the Fay),

In the region of the sun

I dwell, where in a rich array

The clouds encircle the king of day,

His radiant journey done.

My wings, pure golden, of radiant sheen

(Painted as amorous poet’s strain),

Glimmer at night, when meadows green

Sparkle with the perfumed rain

While the sun’s gone to come again.

And clear my hand, as stream that flows;

And sweet my breath as air of May;

And o’er my ivory shoulders stray

Locks of sunshine; —tunes still play

From my odorous lips of rose.


Follow, follow! I have caves

Of pearl beneath the azure waves,

And tents all woven pleasantly

In verdant glades of Faëry.

Come, belovèd child, with me,

And I will bear thee to the bowers

Where clouds are painted o’er like flowers,

And pour into thy charmed ear

Songs a mortal may not hear;

Harmonies so sweet and ripe

As no inspired shepherd’s pipe

E’er breathed into Arcadian glen,

Far from the busy haunts of men.



 My home is afar in the bright Orient,

Where the sun, like a king, in his orange tent,

Reigneth for ever in gorgeous pride—

And wafting thee, princess of rich countree,

To the soft flute’s lush melody,

My golden vessel will gently glide,

Kindling the water ‘long the side.

 Vast cities are mine of power and delight,

Lahore laid in lilies, Golconda, Cashmere;

And Ispahan, dear to the pilgrim’s sight,

And Bagdad, whose towers to heaven uprear;

Alep, that pours on the startled ear,

From its restless masts the gathering roar,

As of ocean hammering at night on the shore.


Mysore is a queen on her stately throne,

Thy white domes, Medina, gleam on the eye, —

Thy radiant kiosques with their arrowy spires,

Shooting afar their golden fires

Into the flashing sky, —

Like a forest of spears that startle the gaze

Of the enemy with the vivid blaze.


Come there, beautiful child, with me,

Come to the arcades of Araby,

To the land of the date and the purple vine,

Where pleasure her rosy wreaths doth twine,

And gladness shall be alway thine;

Singing at sunset next thy bed,

Strewing flowers under thy head.

Beneath a verdant roof of leaves,

Arching a flow’ry carpet o’er,

Thou mayst list to lutes on summer eves

Their lays of rustic freshness pour,

While upon the grassy floor

Light footsteps, in the hour of calm,

Ruffle the shadow of the palm.


     THE FAY.


Come to the radiant homes of the blest,

Where meadows like fountain in light are drest,

And the grottoes of verdure never decay,

And the glow of the August dies not away.

Come where the autumn winds never can sweep,

And the streams of the woodland steep thee in sleep,

Like a fond sister charming the eyes of a brother,

Or a little lass lulled on the breast of her mother.

Beautiful! beautiful! hasten to me!

Colored with crimson thy wings shall be;

Flowers that fade not thy forehead shall twine,

Over thee sunlight that sets not shall shine.


The infant listened to the strain,

Now here, now there, its thoughts were driven—

But the Fay and the Peri waited in vain,

The soul soared above such a sensual gain—

The child rose to Heaven.

Desire – Rumi

“I want to sing like the birds sing,

not worrying about who hears

or what they think.” ― Rumi

Longing- Amir Khusro

The cloud rains, and I am separated from the Friend.
How can my heart be separated from the Friend on such a day?
The cloud, the rain, I – and the Friend taken away.

I am alone, crying, the cloud is alone and the Friend is alone.
Greenery, newly-sprouted, joyful air, a green garden.

The nightingale, disgraced, remains separated from the rose-garden.
O, what are You doing to me, with the root of every hair
Of Your tresses, bound together?

I am enchained by being tied up, and all of a sudden, alone.

–Amir Khusro

Karna Parva – Mahabharat

Karna Parva is when Karna takes over the Kaurva Army to fight, many below lines are conversation during those time and challenges each character faces. Again, I will thank Abhinav Agarwal for being my guide to narrow things down to understand them.

Below are my favorite quotes from Bibek Debroy’s Mahabharata which Abhinav has reviewed. I had left this personal project unattended for long, since 2013. Mahabharata is my favorite book in Indian mythology, teaches a lot about various relationships, addresses Dharma and Duty. I will keep this as a priority and finish the characters analysis which I started, it would be helpful, If the reader pitches in with their comments, to guide me on better reading versions of Mahabharata.

Quotes Below

“Passion, engagement, skill and policy – these are the means to accomplish objectives.”
[Ashwatthama to Duryodhana , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 6]

“Brahmanas are subtle in settling disputes. Kshatriyas are coarser, resulting in victory of defeat. Because of your folly, you have asked for excellent and divine hospitality from Partha. Now be patient and receive what you have asked for from Pandava.”
[Arjuna responds to Ashvatthama , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 12]

“If one makes such a person subject to the commands of an inferior one, one commits the crime of confusing the inferior with the superior.”
[Shalya, as Duryodhana tries to convince him of becoming Karna’s charioteer, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 23]

“O Maheshvara! We will not be able to bear half of your energy. But with half of our united strength, you can kill the enemies.”
[The gods to Shiva , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 24]

“Arjuna is like a cloud among men and you are croaking back at him, like a frog. From its own house, a dog barks at a tiger that is roaming in the forest.”
[Shalya to Karna, morning of day seventeen , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]

“You have always been devoid of qualities. How will you know the difference between qualities and the lack of qualities?”
[Karna to Shalya , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]

“Women who are intoxicated by liquor cast off their clothes and dance around. They do not follow restraints and indulge in sexual intercourse, following the dictates of desire. O Madraka! You are the son of one such.”
[Karna to Shalya , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]

“O crow! There is no doubt that you will fly in one hundred and one different kinds of ways. I will however fly in the only way that all the birds know.”
[Shalya recounting the story of the crow to Karna , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 28]

“Everyone is always skilled in detecting another one’s faults. No one knows his own faults, or knowing them, is confounded.”
[Shalya to Karna , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 30]

“You possess the strength of the brahmana and are devoted to studying and the task of performing sacrifices. O Kounteya! Do not fight again and do not advance against brave ones.”
[Karna to Yudhishtra , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 33]

“He is established in the strength of the brahmana, but he does not possess a great deal of strength of the kshatriya variety.”
[Krishna describes the fighting between Yudhishtra and Karna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 43]

“For the sake of victory, how can one be victorious if one is dead.”
[Arjuna to Krishna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 45]”.”

“Whether I was awake or sleeping, Karna was always in front of me.”
[Yudhishtra to Arjuna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 46]

“A person who is always based on truth is but a child.”
[Krishna to Arjuna, in Yudhishtra’s camp, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 49]

“There are many other people who hold that dharma is only what is in the sacred texts. I will not contradict this, but everything is not laid down there.”
[Krishna to Arjuna, in Yudhishtra’s camp, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 49]

“Today let Soubala know that my arrows are dice, Gandiva is the box used to throw them and my chariot the spread on which the game is played..”
[Arjuna to Krishna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 52]

“On seeing the two Krishnas together on a single chariot, both fear and valour are generated in my heart.”
[Karna to Shalya, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 57]

“He grasped an extremely sharp sword and placed it against the throat of the trembling one. He tore apart the breast of the one who had fallen down on the ground and drank the warm blood. He repeatedly savoured the taste.”
[Bhima kills Duhshasana, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 61]

“Those who are learned say that there are four kinds of friends – those who are natural friends,those who are made such through conciliation, those who are earned through riches and those who are subjugated through power. Towards you, the Pandavas are all four.”
[Ashwatthama to Duryodhana after Duhshasana’s death, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 64]

“It is fortunate that you remember dharma. Quite often, when they are immersed in hardships, inferior ones censure destiny, but not their evil deeds.”
[Vasudeva to Karna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 67]


Raj Dharma Parv

Some of the below Quotes are my favorite from Raj Dharma in Bibek Debroy’s Mahabharata. Abhinav Agarwal’s blog is a major help in narrowing it down.

“There cannot be a treasury without oppression and without it, how is it possible to have an army?”

“When a kingdom goes into decline, the life of that king is one of shame.”

“There is no livelihood that exists without violence. Even a solitary sage, active and roaming in the forest, cannot manage to do that.” 

“What is said about dharma is true – it does not exist where there are no riches.”

“Dharma is stained by jealousy. Artha is stained by secrecy. Kama is stained by excessive addiction.”

“The foundation of the body is dharma, and artha is based on dharma. Kama is said to be the fruit of artha.”

“Dharma must not be made to decline, but nor should one come under the subjugation of the enemy.” 

“If the king’s treasury is exhausted, his army will decline.” 

“It is rare to find a petitioner who is satisfied with what he has got.”

“It is rarer to find a person who does not disrespect a petitioner.” 

“There is nothing that is as emaciated as hope.”

“The dharma of kshatriyas is special. … All the other dharmas are immersed in this dharma.”

“Dharma of vaishyas – donations, studying, the performance of sacrifices, and the accumulation of wealth.”

“If one is destroyed, one can perform no act of dharma.” 

“When those who are separated are brought together, there is neither love, nor affection.”

“The greedy hate the poor and the weak hate the spirited. Stupid people hate learned ones and poor people hate the wealthy.”

“Some are punished for their crimes. .. But many more virtuous are harmed because of false accusations.” 

“Lineage is created by conduct. The ashrama is not an indicator of dharma.” 

“… when one consorts with wicked people, uttering a lie is superior to speaking the with.” 

“There’re are some who say that dharma is that which is laid down in the shruti..but.. everything is not laid down there.”

“One good acharya equal to ten learned brahmanas. One upadhyaya is superior to ten acharyas and the father is superior to yen upadhyayas.”

“However, a mother is superior to ten fathers.” 

“Signs of wicked people. … When others praise you, he is silent and reluctant. … He is gracious in public and ungracious in private.”

“Use sama, dana, bheda and danda. One should not use these one at a time.” 

“When the enemy is delighted at your hardship, I think it is a more severe sorrow than death.”

“Destiny determines this in advance and men are goaded by time.” 

“You must know about two kinds of wisdom – the straight and the crooked.” 

“Impose taxes so that both the king and the producer have a share in the outcome of the work.”

“Like a turtle draws in its limbs, one must protect one’s own weaknesses.” 

“There are are virtuous ones who are constrained by a sense of shame.” 

“When many are guilty of the same crime, they can unite and blunt a thorn.” 

“Blind trust can completely destroy dharma and artha. However, not trusting anyone is also worse than death.” 

“A brahmana who does not study and a king who does not protect are … useless…, like a cloud that does not rain.” 

“If a brahmana becomes a thief in a king’s kingdom, learned people think it is the king’s crime.” 

“A kingdom is always based on proper dispute resolution.” 

“When a person is disrespected by his own people, the enemy disregards him.” 

“The learned day that someone who is not engaged in his own talks is not to be trusted.” 


Charles Bukowski and Wife Linda Lee

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it

beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know

beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone

beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude

they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art

they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully

they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

Their finest art


A nice Narration for those who wish to listen.

Love Story – Rumi

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.

-Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?

Or are you in your chamber where the shrine of
Virtue has been placed in your honor, and upon
Which you offer my heart and soul as sacrifice?

Or amongst the books, seeking human knowledge,
While you are replete with heavenly wisdom?

Oh companion of my soul, where are you? Are you
Praying in the temple? Or calling Nature in the
Field, haven of your dreams?

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?

You are God’s spirit everywhere;
You are stronger than the ages.

Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of
You spirit surrounded us, and the Angels of Love
Floated about, singing the praise of the soul’s deed?

Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as the ribs
Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?

Remember you the trails and forest we walked, with hands
Joined, and our heads leaning against each other, as if
We were hiding ourselves within ourselves?

Recall you the hour I bade you farewell,
And the Maritime kiss you placed on my lips?
That kiss taught me that joining of lips in Love
Reveals heavenly secrets which the tongue cannot utter!

That kiss was introduction to a great sigh,
Like the Almighty’s breath that turned earth into man.

That sigh led my way into the spiritual world,
Announcing the glory of my soul; and there
It shall perpetuate until again we meet.

I remember when you kissed me and kissed me,
With tears coursing your cheeks, and you said,
“Earthly bodies must often separate for earthly purpose,
And must live apart impelled by worldly intent.

“But the spirit remains joined safely in the hands of
Love, until death arrives and takes joined souls to God.

“Go, my beloved; Love has chosen you her delegate;
Over her, for she is Beauty who offers to her follower
The cup of the sweetness of life.
As for my own empty arms, your love shall remain my
Comforting groom; you memory, my Eternal wedding.”

Where are you now, my other self? Are you awake in
The silence of the night? Let the clean breeze convey
To you my heart’s every beat and affection.

Are you fondling my face in your memory? That image
Is no longer my own, for Sorrow has dropped his
Shadow on my happy countenance of the past.

Sobs have withered my eyes which reflected your beauty
And dried my lips which you sweetened with kisses.

Where are you, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need?
Do you know the greatness of my patience?

Is there any spirit in the air capable of conveying
To you the breath of this dying youth? Is there any
Secret communication between angels that will carry to
You my complaint?

Where are you, my beautiful star? The obscurity of life
Has cast me upon its bosom; sorrow has conquered me.

Sail your smile into the air; it will reach and enliven me!
Breathe your fragrance into the air; it will sustain me!

Where are you, me beloved?
Oh, how great is Love!
And how little am I!

Then there are the enemies of Thomas Shelby, which are numerous in numbers

  • Inspector Chester Campbell
  • Darby Sabini
  • Billy Kimber
  • Alfie Solomons
  • Luca Changretta
  • Oswald Mosley
  • Father John Hughes
  • Grand Duke Leon Petrovna
  • Jimmy McCavern

Out of all the nemesis Thomas Shelby had, I liked Inspector Campbell, Luca Changretta and Jimmy McCavern, for their ruthlessness and bending of rules. Jimmy McCavern’s smirk is something I really like; with the devil may care attitude. Whereas Oswald Mosley , another notable character certainly has been portrayed well, as the devil with the black shade.

Inspector Campbell and Luca Changretta are both driven by the principles, one to serve the nation to utmost devotion and other having loyalty towards his family, Italian- Sicilian thing. They are without doubt two characters who push Thomas to the wall, he seems to be loosing to them, till the last moment, when he pulls out the trump card. Inspector Campbell has been assigned the task to identify and collect the lost ammunition, whereas Luca Changretta is out to avenge the death of his father and kin.

Inspector Campbell can be accused of soliciting the prostitutes and coercing Aunt Polly into having sex with him (to get Michael released from prison). However, it must be noted that situations do create most ‘deviant of souls’ to honorable personalities. He pushes Thomas to do killings on behalf of the crown, uses and manipulates IRA to get his work done. Cleans the police force in Birmingham of the corrupt police officers. Here, we have an audience romanticising a character Thomas Shelby who is serial killer, drug peddler, master manipulator, smuggler, killer of lover’s husband, financial exploiter, regular among prostitutes and pathological lawbreaker. Whereas an honest cop is being shown as an exploiter and negatively for doing his job.

Luca Changretta is no different from Thomas Shelby, both value family, have illegal business, ruthless men who kill, seek revenge, violent yet calculated and money oriented. The difference is Luca is more organised till, his most of blood loyal kin are killed and then money outweighs his life. Thomas Shelby gets him killed by buying all the men with him, smart move. Out of all the gangsters which I saw in this series, Luca Changretta takes the cake. The way he just walked into Thomas Shelby’s office and showed the ease of getting job done was nicely portrayed in the scene. In order to show “hero” in good light, you need have a strong villain character. But, If we look in the series, there are no hero or villains just ‘Anti-Heroes‘ which is the reality of the world. Someone maybe a good son like Luca Changretta but then can be a lousy husband, bad student, or killer of other people’s sons. Same could be said about all the Shelby brothers, it is just animal kingdom rule to fullest, strongest of all, taking everything.

Till now, by season 1-5 which I have binged watched, Thomas Shelby has become MP from Birmingham and has for OBE (Order of British Empire), will see more seasons 6 and 7, since Netflix has renewed it contract till then. A possible movie is also in pipeline for this series.

I can’t help notice a similarity of the character in latest Bollywood action packed drama movie- KGF. Character’s rise from bottom, ruthlessness in killings, great ambition, need for public recognition, womanizer, poverty a catalyst in getting into Organized crime, asked to kill powerful personalities, and becoming leader of masses. The Bollywood flicks just make a shock and awe spectacle, but most of the logic among stories seem to be same. I recommend people to watch it.


Let’s address the women in Thomas Shelby’s life which is the focal point of discussion

  • Grace Burgess/Shelby – His 1st wife from an aristocratic family
  • Lizzie Starke/Shelby – 2nd Wife (ex-prostitute, but later employed in Shelby Corporation)
  • May Carleton (Rich Horse trainer)
  • Princess Tatiana Petrovna (Mad Russian royalty)
  • Jessie Eden (Communist Leader of the Unions)
  • Grace Burgess/Shelby comes as an undercover cop to get information on Shelby brothers and instead falls for Thomas Shelby. Inspector Campbell who was trying to woo her, losses her to Thomas Shelby. At the end of season 1, She goes away and then comes back into Thomas Shelby’s life in season 2. Shelby’s get her husband killed (make it look like an accident so that Grace and Thomas can marry) and make a widow ready to be taken. She eventually marries him, but her illustrious family of Cavalrymen wears uniform on the wedding day, to show case their achievement, much to the dismay of Gypsy Shelby’s who loathed the World War I, where they were the infantrymen. She tries to legitimize the Shelby business via Foundations and all, but gets killed. Thomas Shelby has a son through her.
  • Lizzie Starke/Shelby – She is prostitute when Thomas meets her. At one point his brother John wanted to marry her, Thomas doesnot give permission, since she is a public woman and been sleeping with him. He later employs her in his office as a secretory, asks her to stop being with other men for money but uses her to honey trap and kill senior army man. She eventually becomes pregnant with his girl child, then he marries her.  Not entirely a fairy-tale love story, Lizzie is a matter of convenience for Thomas Shelby.
  • May Carleton is pure fascination, a high society woman with whom Thomas Shelby enjoys a fling or two, while she is training his horse for the race. She has got class and statue, I believe above Grace Burgess, but seems to be looking for some companionship. She is the most level-headed of the lot, not letting feeling mixed much, keeping it to the point. Very mature in handling unwanted situations.
  • Princess Tatiana Petrovna is a work and pleasure situation. Aristocratic Russians need to get a job done and they are willing to give princess also, to ensure its success. She has a wild side which is brought out and pushes Thomas to the edge, post their fling she updates him that there is man waiting for her in Europe. Thomas rightly puts, “poor man“, since having such a woman around permanently is an undesirable situation.
  • Jesse Eden – It is surprising that Thomas Shelby did not marry her, as she seems to be a genuine soul, I liked her the most. Thomas Shelby uses her completely to get more information on communist and at the same time bed her to make a more intimidate connection. She has knowledge of his past and tries to leverage into using it against him. However, Thomas uses information about her past to get her in his side, she had a boyfriend who had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from world war I and shot himself dead. Jesse seemed to have compassion and empathy for a long-lasting relationship, along with feistiness to fight for her rights.

Now if you wish to marry such a guy, then either you will die or you will be used your entire life, like Lizzie is being done to. Not sure what is the female fascination or attraction, I have tried to list down few based on my understanding

  • The ultimate bad boy fantasy
  • One who cannot be tamed
  • One who will not share anything or thoughts with you ladies, hides emotions well.
  • He may manipulate you to get what he wants from you, and women love that thrill.
  • Self made man, Money via self-effort (but then men who follow rules and earn well should considered)
  • Women Wish to sin with the sinner
  • Desire to reform the sinner
  • Social climber
  • Cold and calculated
  • Grabs the opportunity when it comes
  • Loyalty towards family
  • Some women have Fascination towards violent men
  • Automatic protection from unwanted attention, by being in relationship with such men.
  • Liking for Alpha men.


For the longest time, I had seen advertisements and memes of this show on many social networking sites, but it was the recommendation of a close friend which made me intrigued and convinced to watch the British show which started in 2013.

Peaky blinders, a BBC and Netflix production is a part real and part fiction, post world war I based show. Before 2nd World War, there were many gangs working in the United Kingdom and some in the late 1890s. This story is inspired by them. It is written by Steven Knight, a veteran writer but Peaky blinders being the most famous show for him. It is highly rated in the IMDB around 8.8, so that does suffices the need to watch it.

My main curiosity was female attraction to the character and things this TV show and timelines symbolizes.  Main protagonist is Thomas Shelby, a decorated world war I war veteran with PTSD syndrome, although I doubt it was diagnosed such in those days (1919). He is a gypsy and has 3 brothers, 1 sister, 1 Aunt, 1 cousin (who gets later added) and 1 Uncle help him run the Shelby corporation.

It is a bookmaking, gambling, pub owning corporation which has hidden influences and interest in rioting and public control, acts as a cut throat Birmingham street gang, working for the powerful elite in United Kingdom in return for huge sums of money.  Thomas Shelby is good at manipulating people, making deals and has entrepreneur streak. His ambition for himself and his family makes them earn more money and get himself public recognition.

The series represents a character which is seen as an underdog and comes from humble beginnings, such characters are a favorite of masses as they represent class struggle and individuals who wish to rise up the ladder of socials class (either way, by out-maneuvering others and taking risks, getting involved in illegal activities) and at the same time exposing obnoxious behavior of ruling elites.

The Shelby family Characters list are as follows

  • Arthur Shelby – Hot headed Eldest Bother
  • Thomas Shelby
  • John Shelby – 3rd Brother
  • Ada Shelby/Thorne – Head strong sister
  • Finn Shelby – Youngest Brother
  • Elizabeth ‘Polly’ Grace – Aunt, confidant.
  • Michael Gray – Son of Aunt Polly
  • Charlie Strong – Uncle Figure to Thomas Shelby
  • Linda Shelby – Arthur’s wife (I really find her fascinating, how she tries to steer her husband into right direction)
  • Esme Shelby – Wife of John Shelby

Thomas Shelby appears to play a man, who can do everything on his own. He thinks out of a bad situation, his luck plays a part, he is shrewd and intelligent, pits his enemy against each other etc. However, if you look closely, he is nothing without the support of his family.

His brothers Arthur and John work as enforcers for him, doing most of the thug work and killings. Arthur being the more emotional and ruthless one takes control of the things, which Thomas Orders, Arthur is a good executioner. John works alongside to support Arthur. It is Arthur’s temperamental behavior which prevents him from carrying on as the head of Shelby family corporation and Thomas Shelby takes over. Linda and Esme Shelby play minor role in influencing their husbands, but I really liked Linda’s approach to get more for her husband and guiding him towards “proper path”.  She negotiated more money for Arthur and herself from Thomas, that scene is truly pleasing, her intelligence was well shown, she outfoxed Thomas Shelby.

His Aunt Polly Grace is his emotional support, in the times when he needs a confidant, Thomas reaches out to her. Aunt Polly is also the treasurer of the company so deals with everything financial, a reason she is aware of the money. Aunt Polly’s son Michael runs the finance of the company, but during the 1932 Crash losses everything of the family (for not listening to Thomas).

Ada Shelby an equally head strong woman like her aunt, pushes Thomas in seeing things differently but gets work done for him. She is not as influential as Aunt Polly but is next in line of succession. Ada is marries Freddie Thorne a known communist leader, against the wishes of Thomas Shelby and has his baby.

Charlie Strong who gives him advice as uncle on the risks associated with the business and giving him an outside perspective. He cautions Tommy but seems to be a silent spectator for most lot since, he is getting paid money for doing is job.

Any General is as strong as his army, Thomas Shelby’s family is his army. Imagine you have every idea but no one listen, nothing can be achieved.


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.
There is a light somewhere.

it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.

know them.
take them.

you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.


your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

You are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Soul – Shams Tabrizi

“Nothing kills the soul that commands to evil like seeing the beauty of the heart.”

“Don’t search for heaven and hell in the future.

Both are now present. Whenever we manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven.

Whenever we fight, hate, we are in hell.” —- Shams Tabrizi

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