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Friday, July 27, 2007

Dunno why ... but I feel like sharing this today!

"The Appointment in Samarra" [As retold * by W. Somerset Maugham]

The speaker is Death: "There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, 'Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.'" "The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, 'Why did you make a threating gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?' 'That was not a threatening gesture,' I said, 'it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.'"
* ORIGIN: I read in an article on the Web that "When Death Came to Baghdad" is in the 'Hikayaat-I-Naqshia' of Fudail ibn Ayad, a ninth century reformed bandit, turned Sufi sage. Although some details differ from the version most widely told today, it is considered to be the 'same' story as "The Appointment in Samarra".
BTW, "Appointment In Samarra" is also the basis of a Novel of this name by John O'Hara. It is one of 'The 100 Greatest English Novels of All Times', selected by a panel at TIME magazine.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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28 July, 2007 01:19

Anonymous Jalal said...

Usually always given as part of the preface of the Alif Layla.

Beautiful piece.

28 July, 2007 18:58

Blogger kinkminos said...

baat tou sahi hai... kahan kahan tuk bhagay jayenge maut se dar kar hum aur hamaray allah-valay rahnuma?

"appointment in sammara" by john o'hara ....... never heard of it (or him) (duh). But a quick 'n wiki search reveals him to be the author of "butterfield 8," the film version of which is my favourite movie starring liz taylor

29 July, 2007 14:14

Anonymous Bukhari Talal said...

while reading it, i literally felt my hairs tickling at the back of my neck...

31 July, 2007 12:59

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I think that accepting the inevitability of death can make us more humble and kinder towards our fellow beings (humans, as well as other animals).

01 August, 2007 12:49

Anonymous shez said...

@sidhysaaheb, only if you beleive in afterlife?

03 August, 2007 16:46

Anonymous Peter said...

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

I like your blog dude!

And "thank you" to Sin for having directed me here...


06 August, 2007 05:50

Blogger Maleeha said...


while taking a break from some readings, i put my random playlist of favorites on, and a few minutes into it Tina's rendition of Rabba Sachcheya from your June 24 post came on. I had planned on doing a little web surfing while the songs played, but it was impossible not to close my eyes and feel the song, twice.

thanks again :)

i cannot do a good job of explaining how instances like this remind me of the one thing that makes sense, and how much that matters, especially now. :)


08 August, 2007 18:13

Anonymous the olive ream said...

It is always such a pleasure to read your posts ZAK.

Sorry, I've been out of the blogging loop for so long. I hope to now catch up on your earlier posts I might have missed.

17 August, 2007 21:03

Blogger Malaika said...

i have never read any book by john o'hara but this peice was good so im going to make sure i read it! nice blog btw!

27 August, 2007 16:35


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