Spring Redux

Ides of March et alia

I’m glad I learnt Latin in my early schooldays, otherwise I’d be fixated, as Shakespeare was, on the Ides of March in his seminal play, Julius Caesar, and would ignore the other three months of the calendar that are mentioned in that age old mnemonic:

In March, July, October, May,
The Ides are on the fifteenth day,
The Nones the seventh: all other months besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides.

Let’s explore, then, the extant literature or singular events – whate’er they may be – that signal the fifteenths of March, May, July, and October respectively.

First, March 15:

  • 1917 Tsar Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor abdicates and nominates his brother Grand Duke Michael to succeed him

Next, May 15:

  • 1948 Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq invade Israel
    The First Arab-Israeli War was initiated by Israel’s proclamation of independence on the day before the invasion. It lasted nearly 10 months and caused thousands of casualties on both sides.
  • 1989 A small group of students initiates pro-democracy protest on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
    The death of reformer Hu Yaobang triggered the demonstrations, which grew in size and were brutally dispersed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June the 4th.

Then, July 15:

  • 1099 City of Jerusalem is captured and plundered by Christian forces during the First Crusade
  • 1795 Marseillaise becomes the French national anthem

And finally, October 15:

  • 1990 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1993 Anti-apartheid activist and South African President Nelson Mandela

and South African President F.W. de Klerk awarded the Nobel Peace Prize———->



For the uninitiated, Nones, in the Roman calendar, is the ninth day before the Ides (both days included) – the 7th of March, May, July and October, and the 5th of the other months.

On This Day Website, Wikipedia

Nanaji’s Bilingual Poem

Of Man and God

Original poem in my Maternal Grandfather’s native language, Urdu, from Lahore in India’s Northwest Punjab in the days of the British Raj, and translated into English by me while resident in Calcutta, India.

– AKMAL *-


Insan aur khuda ki purani kahaniyan

Hain irtaqa’e nav’i bashar ki nishaniyan

Joon joon chiragh-i-‘ilm ki barhti hai roshni

Pahchanta hai apni haqiqat ko admi



Of Man and God there are

Tales of Old

That Signs of Mankind’s

Ascent unfold:

As Light from the Lamp of

Knowledge grows

So Man the Truth of his

Being knows.

* Mirza Ziauddin Akmal
Grandfather of Roman Urdu Translator: AZIM LEWIS MAYADAS

Copyright © 2020 Azim Lewis Mayadas



G, G, NOT G sharp!

Edvard Grieg
June 15, 1843 – September 4, 1907

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIANO CONCERTOS is by the Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg. His individuality of style is by no means entirely due to his interest in Norwegian folk music, although some of his commonest mannerisms, such as a tendency to make his melodies gravitate about the ‘3rd degree’ of the scale, are obviously derived from that source.

My first public performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 was in Calcutta, India, on December 11, 1969 with the Calcutta Symphony Orchestra  under the baton of its long-time conductor, Gerald Neil Craig.

The local music critic of the English edition of the Bengali newspaper, Amrita Bazar Patrika, wrote of my performance:
“A carefully thought out and always musicianly approach drawing out the more poetic aspects of the score.”

I am aware of the fact that Grieg’s birth anniversary falls this month on the 15th, and indeed I began this blog a few days ago to celebrate the event on the due date, but sad to say I was unable to get all my ducks in a row until now – a day late!

To continue my narrative, in the spring of 1870, Grieg paid a visit to Franz Liszt in Rome, and wrote:
“In the very last bars where the first note of the theme, G-sharp is changed to G in the orchestra, he (Liszt) suddenly stopped short, rose to his full height, left the piano and. with a giant strides and one arm raised above his head, marched the whole length of the huge monastery hall, virtually roaring forth the theme. On reaching the above-mentioned G, he extended his arm in the imperious manner of a Caesar, and shouted: G, G, not G-sharp! Terrific! That is as genuine as Swedish punch!”

The music critic Cherbuliez wrote then:  The concerto is outstanding above all because of its melodious and rhythmic independence achieved by the use of Norwegian folk music especially in the last movement. It shows an imaginative quality arising from the abundance of secondary themes.”

Copyright © 2020 Azim Lewis Mayadas

En Route to Boston

At long last, Lolita and I are pleased to announce to our friends and relatives that our long-term plans  to spend our retirement years in Boston, MA, will gradually come to fruition next spring, as our middle daughter and her family, the Nortons, prepare to welcome us after our over three decades of residing in Englewood, NJ.

Indeed, Tanya and Charles have been working diligently against all odds including Covid 19-caused delays in construction to ensure the creature comfort of their octogenarian parents/in-laws.  Below is a photo Tanya has sent us today showing the majestic frontage of our  refurbished residence:

Copyright © 2020 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Fall is Here Redux

FALL IS HERE, Op. 12B – so goes my song below written on an early autumn day in the Northeast back in 1980 on a familial visit to Boston:

Fall is here,
Summer’s past:
No word yet
Of you dear,
Since the time
We last met.

Nature’s turning to autumn hues,
Soon all her trees will be bare:
Oh! Darling, lest you lose
Your golden years for e’er…..

Come and stay!
No more right,
No more wrong:
Till the day
Turns to night,
Wingèd song!


Xmas Season Celebration

CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAY SEASON with a look back to the 1890’s and early 1900’s through the artistic and humorous eyes of my Greatuncle Samuel Atham, who’s pen was always ready to capture Xmas with often amusing results as shown below:

Uncle Sam, as he was called by family members, loved to travel abroad from his native India, and during his peregrinations was wont to put pen to postcard and mail back his accomplishments to his numerous nephews and nieces for their enjoyment.

Closer geographically is our American home, where my wife Lolita has just lit up our drawing room in Englewood, New Jersey, with our favorite miniature Christmas Tree – fondly referred to a our Tannenbaum – atop our Grand Piano in the drawing room to celebrate the Holiday Season, which is now upon us:

Wishing all our visitors online a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2019 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Summer Round Redux


SUMMER ARRIVES TODAY, FRIDAY JUNE THE 21st, and most of the Northeast of these United States will be wallowing this weekend in bright sunshine under cerulean skies after consecutive days  of spotty rain and threatening clouds – all to the enjoyment of its outdoor-loving citizenry!

Reading Abbey
Sumer Is Icumen In is a traditional English round, or a musical composition in which two or more voices sing exactly the same melody but nevertheless fit harmoniously together. It is possibly the oldest such example in existence of counterpoint, which is the relationship between two or more voices. The title might be translated as “Summer has come in” or “Summer has arrived”.
The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English. Although the composer’s identity is unknown today, it may have been W. de Wycombe.
Summer has arrived,
                        Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
                  The seed grows and the meadow blooms
                And the wood springs anew, Sing, Cuckoo!
        The ewe bleats after the lamb
     The cow lows after the calf.

    The bullock stirs, the stag farts,

Merrily sing, Cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t you ever stop now,
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!
The round is sometimes known as the Reading Round because the manuscript comes from Reading Abbey, which was founded by Henry I in 1121 “for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of King William, my father, and of King William, my brother, and Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors and successors.” The round may not have been written there, but it is the oldest piece of six-part polyphonic music, that is, music with two or more independent melodic voices. Its composer is anonymous, and it is estimated to date circa 1260. The manuscript – written in Middle English, extant between the late 11th and the late 15th century – is now at the British Library.
Reference: Diary of my ‘St. Paul’s Church: The Messenger July 2011’



The Summer Solstice Redux

FIVE YEARS AGO I POSTED A BLOG JUST BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY. I thought I’d share it with you anew as “The Summer Solstice Redux” and hope that you’ll enjoy its contents as you head out to enjoy the lovely long and sunny weekend forecast for May 25th through 27th.

the summer solstice
– and Kite Flying!

KiteflyingFoto by Ahlatlibel

HERE’S A QUIZ FOR YOU FOLKS! Just before the end of May, you probably spent quality time with the family at the beach, or in your own backyard with friends and kin presiding over a BBQ.

Select, then, either A or B of the following faux ancient couplets by yours truly and e-mail your response to me at azimmayadas3@gmail.com no later than May the 31st.

  1. Which Day, forsooth, hath Summer begun? ‘Twas on Memorial Day, I trow!
  2. Doth Thou, who welcometh Summer in June, Bethink it starteth two-thirds o’ the Way through?

PS: There are no prizes offered here, but the first two respondents with the correct answer will be duly recognized in my blog.

For those not in the know, at this time of year kite flying – starting with the advent of Spring in April and often right through mid-July – is a passion in many parts of the world. For starters, there is the Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) as well as Afghanistan. And then the countries in East Asia, notably Korea and Japan. Not to be outdone, children and adults in Australia and the USA are joining their ranks in increasing numbers.

As they all discover in due time, it’s not only fun to fly kites in wide open spaces and en plein air, but it’s also a highly competitive team and individual sport.

Of late, there has been a spate of literary interest in the subject due mainly, I think, to the Afghan writer, Khaled Hosseini, who has – among other gems – crafted a best-seller in “The Kite Runner.” It’s memorable ending runs with the breathless:

“I ran. A grown man running with a swarm of screaming children. But I didn’t care. I ran with  the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips.

I ran.”

 Copyright © 2020 Azim Lewis Mayadas