Bilkish Vahed

The Allure of Individuality

Tag: love (page 1 of 2)

The Ways of the Heart

My daughter looked out through the passenger window, at me. Standing on the opposite pavement, I looked back. We’d just bundled her many bags into the Uber, as she set off on her long journey back to the US. 

The driver started the engine and she raised her hand to wave. I waved back, and all at once found myself hurtled into a time warp. The moment froze, the years melded – there was my little girl, my little girl of yesterday and the strong young woman of today, looking out the window at me. It’s weird what the heart can do, swelling in my breast, altering my perception in an uncanny but real way.

I’m happy to see her go on her own way, I said. I’ll miss her, I thought. In moments of heightened emotion, love hurts, I felt. 

You & Me



it took me a long time

to see, to finally see

that you never really liked me

not all of me, not me


only a part of me

some part  that enticed you

you wanted a part of me

but there i stood grotesque

oozing all of me


you chipped away

chiseled, hacked and sculpted

tweaked and reshaped

i became your sticky version of me


flickers of awareness

darted in my dreams

skipped and slipped and tripped

disappeared unseen


it took me a long time

a long time to see



When my eyes were averted, you slunk around me

Spinning a tender lattice of awareness

Wilfully piercing my consciousness, forcing me to awaken

When my eyes were averted, you wanted me.


Irresistibly I turned and looked back at you

Smiled, said something, let my eyes laugh into yours

You drew back surprised, disoriented, your radiant face darkened

When I looked back at you, you closed up on me.


Stunned, confused, awash in shame, I collapsed in a heap, grew small

What had I done, I called out to the night, what had I done?


Effulgent comprehension arrived slowly and in its wake,

Indignation, purple anger, rage bubbled and frothed until

Raucous laughter burst forth, my blood ran warm and

I grew large, enormous, and full.



I miss the letters you used to write me,

Chock-full of aliveness and vitality,

Brimming, luscious and uncensored,

Tales of your day to day in raw openness let slip,

Unheeded into the soft container of our affection.


Abruptly a sliver of discomfort has slipped between us,

You write me posts, comments, tweets, texts,

You write to me and to all of them at once,

The silent ones who watch and listen are now a cryptic presence,

Between us, in the midst of us.


The murkiness of otherness has altered your voice, changed you,

But I know the colossal beauty and brilliance of your unfettered self,

I want you back, I want you back again,

Unconstrained by the cameras and the din.

I miss you. I miss hearing from you.

Love in a Time of Silence


Le Silence de la Mer is a film about resistance. Silence as the only form of available resistance against German occupiers by French nationals in 1941. But its potency lies in what unfurls amidst the silence – a connection, an unheeding love that steals into the heart of a young French woman and a German officer.

During the summer of 1941 a novella was penned by Jean Bruller and published in 1942 under the pseudonym, “Vercors.” In German occupied France, the book became a symbol of resistance. French filmmaker Jean Pierre Melville’s classic 1949 adaptation of the novella, coloured by his “own experience of the sacrifices and the painful moral intransigence that resistance demands,” was avant-garde in the way it gave voice to characters who were mostly silent. Pierre Boutron’s  2004 adaptation is true to the original story, but sixty-three years on the historical moment – still vitally alive in Melville – has clearly changed.

“Une histoire d’amour qui ne resemble à aucune autre.”   — The Press

In a small French villiage, Wehrmacht captain, Werner von Ebrennac (Thomas Jouannet) is billeted with an elderly Frenchman (Michel Galabru) and his adult granddaughter Jeanne Larosière (Julie Delarme). Von Ebrennac, who was a composer before the war is unlike what his hosts expect. Polite, refined, idealistic, he treats them with utmost civility.

They, who have to tolerate him in their home, stoically go about their lives ignoring him, even as he stands talking intimately in their midst. And talk is what he does each evening.  Beginning with a polite greeting, he proceeds to tell night after night, his thoughts about literature and music; his great love for France and the French people; his dream of a new dawning over Europe.

The old man and his granddaughter maintain an attitude of indifference and silence, but inwardly gradually they begin to have new thoughts about this man, a German captain. Then there’s the music. Jeanne, a piano teacher, and Ebrennac the composer, share a love of Bach. Bach gives them the poetry to speak sensuously in a space beyond the silence. The old man watches his grandaughter. Beneath her resoluteness he sees her other swelling feelings.

One night after living with them for a few months, Von Ebrennac, suitcase in hand, announces that he is leaving. Stunned, they listen as he describes his disillusionment with his own government, the “propaganda” he calls it. He’s off to the Russian front, he explains, where German soldiers are freezing to death. Unruly emotions seize Jeanne. Tears streaming down her face she follows him to his car. For a moment they face each other as she speaks her first, only, and last word: Adieu.

A Complicated Love


Maria Callas

Maria Callas was born in New York City in 1923 and died aged fifty-four in Paris in 1977, from a heart attack, though some call it a broken heart.

Callas’s extraordinary gift was her voice, a penetrating voice of incredible range – she could sing dramatic soprano arias alongside coloratura pieces; she sang the emotions in the music: suffering, delight, hubris, despair; and she had charisma, making her performances memorable. During the 1950’s her voice began to decline and she went into semi-retirement. Though she did emerge to go on tour with Giuseppe di Stefano in 1974, this was a brief moment as her performance was slated by the critics.

“She was very prim, very strange sometimes, very moralistic. But the reason was because she was shy. And in the end she never had really a confrontation with a man – never had a clash – a big bang with a man that ends up in a great sexual or emotional relationship. Never happened for her. Never happened until Onassis appeared.”

Franco Zeffirelli, Maria Callas Biography 1977

In 1957, when Maria was in her mid-30’s she met Aristotle Onassis, a man nearly 60, at a party. At that point, she was married to Giovanni Battista Meneghini and Onassis to Tina Livanos. Onassis pursued Maria relentlessly, assaulted her with gifts, threw parties for her. It was on board the luxurious Onassis yacht, whilst Meneghini remained in his cabin with seasickness that Onassis succeeded in seducing Callas and the affair began.

Aristotle Onassis

“When Maria eventually capitulated, she did so completely. She threw herself into the role of Onassis’ mistress with whole-hearted passion, allowing herself to fall as deeply in love with him, as she believed he was with her. A woman who knew no half-measures, she believed this to be destiny.”

In 1959, she left Meneghini. Though Onassis divorced Tina in 1960, he and Maria never married. The tabloids covered their tempestuous and torrid relationship – they were a glamorous, power couple: the Greek diva and the Greek shipping tycoon who alternately adored and raged at each other.

In 1968, Onassis abruptly cast Maria aside and married Jacqueline Kennedy. Callas was heart broken and humiliated. She retreated to her Paris apartment and remained silent behind curtained windows. The marriage to Jackie hit rocky ground quickly. Within five months Ari was back and wooing Maria again. She was always ready to take him back, but nothing came together.

“As Onassis suffered a series of tragedies — the death of his only son and the suicide of his former wife — as well as business reversals, the couple’s devotion deepened, but she refused to be his lover as long as he remained married.”
The New York Times

Protracted divorce negotiations between Jackie and Onassis were still going on in 1975 when he  fell ill and died in hospital. Two years later, Maria followed him.

Fell in Love

I fell in love one day, on a pavement, outside a café, with a man

I laughed wryly and knew, it was my soul

Mr Darcy of today is Prince Charming, he has to be

Glamour, riches, undying true-love, romance.

I laughed wryly and knew, it was my soul

A turning point

Glamour, riches, undying true-love, romance

Odd, unusual I thought, but no doubt significant.

A turning point

The crunching of my tricycle  wheels on gravel

Odd, unusual I thought, but no doubt significant

Leave the tides of memory alone.

The crunching of my tricycle wheels on gravel

Mr Darcy of today is Prince Charming, he has to be

Leave the tides of memory alone

I fell in love one day, on a pavement, outside a café, with a man.

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