Padmavati – The Queen tells her story

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Take a break, read something nice and enjoy a whole new world of literature!‘ Thus exhorts @Readomania.

I did so and read ‘Padmavati – The queen tells her own story‘.

This epic tale has been superlatively penned by Sutapa Basu, who has a thirty-year old professional career as a teacher, editor,  author, poet and publishing consultant. Sutapa Basu describes herself to be a compulsive bookworm and an irrepressible story teller.

Most of us have read this story in our childhood. When so much is known, yet unknown about Padmavati, how far can a spinner stretch the same, within the fettering limitations? That too, without letting the readers’ interest sag? Sutapa Basu manages this difficult feat, adroitly.  Her infinite writing experience, comes to the fore, in making this literary outing, a tour de force. The tale is peppered with intricate details. With its vivid imagery, the setting almost becomes a fourth protagonist along with the loving king and husband Rawal Rattan Singh and the depraved Khilji.

For example: ‘An oval emerald, snugly nestling in tiers of frothy white lace, floated in the crushed silk of turquoise seas. It was the enchanted island of Singhaldweep, off the eastern coast of Bharatdesh.’

‘The fort of Chittor was laid out on its escarpments. Roughly oval in shape, it looked like a fat fish.’

The sensitivity with which Jauhar has been handled, gives the reader, an ample hint of what to expect.

In the centre of all the chaos, only one figure remained serene and motionless. As the gold, saffron and blue blaze made rings around her, rising higher and higher, slowly enclosing the New Queen, she was like a sculpture, absolutely still. Nothing seemed to touch her; not the torment, not the grief, not the fear. It defied all principles of logic. Where did a girl find such strength, not garnered even by the meditation of ascetics, to tolerate the torture of being burnt alive? Her dark silhouette, in lotus pose, palms folded, was a sublime sight.

Though Sutapa says her novel is a work of fiction,  Padmavati’s psyche has been explored so deeply, that she breathes out as a gentle and thoughtful soul.

We live in troubled times, where anything and everything could be termed as offensive and an affront to dignity. That’s why it makes more sense to read this, where the writer stretches at her creative horizons and yet remains true to the saga, adding a veneer of intellect, blended with divine grace to Padmavati.

Therein lies the beauty of this tale.

As Sutapa Basu says,

‘The jauhar took hardly a few minutes to extinguish Padmavati’s living mortality but gifted her with indelible immortality; a significant niche in the history of India. Time could not dim her charisma nor age wither her stunning beauty. For centuries to come, the supreme sacrifice of this legendary Queen of Chittor would attain a place of undying pride and honour in the hearts of all her country’s people.’

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The tale is narrated to Mrinalini, a cynical journalist who doesn’t believe the stirring saga – Will she come away convinced?

This question forms the crux of this absorbing tale. 

Wouldn’t you want to do the same? Find the Answers?

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Look Outside Your Window

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Dear Diary,

I am sitting near the window of my room and watching the traffic opposite. I’m waiting for mummy to come home. She went to the hospital today morning. I will tell you why.

As you know, mummy has been becoming fat.

Her tummy is growing too. So much that, she cannot see her toes also. Now I can paint her nails, as I like. She sits on the bed and holds her back. She is in pain, you see. Poppa gives her a nice massage. But only after closing the door. Poppa says, both grannies will feel bad, if they see. I don’t understand why? Mummy never closes the door when she presses Poppa’s back. Then Granny feels very happy!

I see a car coming in. It is not Mommy. It is the Aunty upstairs. She waves at me, I smile.

I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat. Didi made pasta for me. But without  Mommy’s stories, food tastes so bad!

I told you Na, Mummy went to the hospital today. She told me, she will get a new baby with her to play with me. I was so happy. I told Mommy, I will be a good girl and share all my toys with the new baby. I asked Mummy, if she will bring back a girl or a boy. Poppa smiled and said “Surprise”.

I like surprises.

From my window, I see Golu jumping in his garden. Golu likes playing with water. His house is decorated and he is dancing with Bosky, his dog. It is Golu’s birthday today. But he said, he will have the party on Sunday. I said ,”Ok and I will get the new baby too”. Golu’s Mommy laughed so much and kissed me. She gives such wet kisses.. But I don’t tell her that. She will feel bad.

Bosky reminds me of Granny. Granny doesn’t like Bosky. In the afternoon, when I was sitting here, trying not to cry, I saw our car coming in. I ran outside. Poppa had come to drop the Grannies. He hugged and told me, Mummy will come tomorrow with the new baby. He then went to collect Mummy’s clothes.

Both Grannies were so happy. They smiled and said, “ Pari, you have a brother! Thank God, not a sister.”  They went into kitchen to make kheer.

I didn’t understand only. Why ‘Thank God?’

A sister would have played with my toys na. Now we have to buy new boy toys.

There, I see Golu crying. He has fallen down and Bosky is licking his face. Let me go and help my friend.

I will tell you tomorrow about the new baby.

Bye for now.

Pari

 

Song of Life

“Doc? What do the reports Say?”

“Sam is suffering from Alzheimers Sree and you know that, it is a downward descent from here”

“Yes Doc. I knew his family history, never thought Sam would test positive so early in our lives.”

“Well he is nearing his sixties! Need help?”

“Not really, kids are grown up and settled. Thank God, we had them in quick succession! Will have to tell them too. Obviously things are going to be tough but I will manage, Doc.”

“Keep in mind, my suggestions and get Sam for regular check-ups”

“Will do Doc!”

*********************************************

“Hi Sree, I am sorry but the prognosis isn’t too good. His condition has deteriorated real fast. You will have to go in for a full-time nurse now. You cannot leave him alone. Inform the children too.”

“What is the point Doc? Even if they come, they will see a mere vegetable and not their loving father. It is heart-wrenching really. He has forgotten us all.”

“Sree, please don’t give up, having come so far!”

“Not to my dying day Doc! I keep showing old photos, talk about good old days, even though there is no response.”

“Don’t worry Sree. Take tomorrow off. After all, it is your birthday! I will cover for you, the least I can do for my dear dear buddy Sam!”

“No Doc! Without Sam, all days are same!!”

********************************************************************

“Good Morning Sam, This is your wife Sree. Remember me? Here, let me take you out in the Sun, where we can sit and read the papers while we have our morning tea! Like the good old times”

“What is it Sam? Why are you holding my hand so tightly?”

“HaaapppyyyyyBuddddayyyyy Srrrrrrrrr”

And Sam closed his eyes….And Sree crumpled in agony!

While Phil Collins hauntingly crooned somewhere nearby.

How can I just let you walk away

Just let you leave without a trace?

When I stand here taking every breath with you,

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

How can you just walk away from me

When all I can do is watch you leave?

‘Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain

And even shared the tears

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now

Well there’s just an empty space

And there’s nothing left here to remind me

Just the memory of your face

Ooh, take a look at me now

Well there’s just an empty space

And you coming back to me is against the odds

And that’s what I’ve got to face

I wish I could just make you turn around

Turn around and see me cry

There’s so much I need to say to you

So many reasons why

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

A Blessing in Disguise

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

“You will have to do this for me Rupa! For the sake of our friendship! You know, I consider you, more of a friend than my cousin, right? Moreover, I cannot trust anyone with this. I haven’t told any about Raj. You know, how conservative everyone around here, is!

“Still, Simi Didi, asking me to go and tell your boy-friend that you have moved on and are getting engaged today to a hotshot NRI, is a bit too much to ask of me. Why can’t you do it? Call him, break the news and cut. Then clean up your digital footprints.”

“Arre Rupa! It is not that easy. Raj can be very clingy. He is an emotional sorts. He might even come home and create ruckus. You know then, what tsunamis will be unleashed. And I kind of like this hotshot NRI. I will have a much better life in LA. Then I will find someone for you too. For that to happen, the old ties have to be broken. Please help me Rupa.”

“I don’t need any of your matchmaking skills. Where should I go? And how does he look? Show me, his pics at least, Simi didi!”

“Arrey, I just cleaned my phone.”

“What about FB/SnapChat/Viber”

“Uffo! So much cleaning! Forget all that, I will show you on fb, before I unfriend and block him. Please make sure he is OK, na. Don’t want him to hurt too much. We are supposed to meet today, at the Starbucks, in Mega Mall, at 6:30, in the corner booth. Today is Friday right? He will be in Red. Tall, wavy hair, well built..”

“That is most of the men folk Simi didi. Show his pics!”

The bedroom door opened and Mother burst in, cooing excitedly.

“Simi! The groom’s party is here!”

“Already Mom?”

“Their Pundit told the Boy’s Mom that the auspicious hour will be over in the next ten minutes. Thank God, you are ready” Mother then grabbed Simi and marched out, while Simi gesticulated to Rupa wildly, to go and do the deed!

Rupa sighed wearily and walked out.

***************************************************

She soon found the corner booth, with its occupant. Wonder of wonders, reading a book! With his mobile on silent, savoring his coffee, in a Red Polo. Rupa took a deep breath and found her courage.

“Raj?

“Yes?”

Words gushed out of Rupa’s shapely mouth, in a breathtaking pace. The man in question, looked at her stupefied, which Rupa mistook to be stricken.

He then gesticulated for her to sit. This time Rupa, took her own time,  conveying the grave news, all over again, all the while, patting Raj’s hand, giving comfort. Over cups of coffee, they talked.

**************************************************

Raj never told Rupa, that he had been sent, by the original Raj, to convey the news to Simi. That the Original Raj had found his golden girl who was loaded. And that the original Raj was getting engaged that very same day.

The Duplicate Raj had found Rupa so enchanting, that truth got a quiet burial. He simply confessed, he was a different Raj.

What a blessing in disguise, that mistaken identity turned out to be!

Today it is their tenth anniversary. They are the ideal couple, who fill in each other’s sentences and worlds.

Paradise!

One Night

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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11:22 PM. 8 minutes to go before the cabbie arrived at the gate. I quickly gulped down the sticky Maggie, put some clothes, checked my purse for money, grabbed my phone.

11:28 PM  2 minutes to go before the cabbie arrived at the gate. I sprinted down, tucking my shirt in, hoping to be there at the gate, before the cabbie. I couldn’t bear his accusatory tone, if I was late.

11:30 PM Paradise regained. Rupa was in the cab and so was Sonali. In 30 minutes, it was Rupa’s birthday. I was hoping to get her nod tonight. I had spent a packet on a ring to gift Rupa and seal the bond.

Rupa smiled warmly. A good omen! Sonali smirked. Nothing unusual. The cabbie revved up. He was in a hurry. As he sped on the bustling roads, braking at will and barely managing to avoid colliding into vehicles.

Rupa became nervous. She slipped her fingers into mine and held onto them. Smirking Sonali, let go at the cabbie, who slowed down momentarily and stuck to his original speed. As we turned into a lane, BAMM! The cabbie managed to bang into a pizza delivery guy, who flew into air on impact. To avoid hurting him further, the cabbie swerved and crashed into a tree.

1:00 AM Rupa wokeup, to see the mayhem around. Air-bags had saved the cabbie. But he was unconscious. Sonali sat rubbing her head. mumbling something incoherently in Marathi. Her man, seemed to have passed out too, though fingers were still entwined. There is this persistent mooing sound. They were in a no-network patch.

1:30 AM Rupa shookher man and Sonali. The man was stirring. So he wasn’t dead. They both comforted each other and came out slowly to check the mayhem. They  flashed  their mobiles to see the extent of damage. The pizza delivery guy was no where to be found. They searched under the vehicle, over the cab. No sign of the guy. But the mooing was now loud and clear. To their utter horror, they saw one horn of a buffalo sandwiched between the bumper and the tree. The Buffalo wasn’t hurt but shocked.

2:00 AM Sonali shook the driver, who slowly resurfaced. He got down to see the bonnet smashed up. And they all heard some feeble sounds coming from the tree. As they all craned their necks to see, they could make out the outline of the pizza delivery boy. The impact had landed him on the top branches and he was moaning. Except the cabbie no one knew how climb trees except the driver, who wasn’t exactly in shape to do so. The mooing was getting stronger. The buffalo was now petrified. They all gathered and somehow managed to push the cab away from the tree, enough for the buffalo to move away. The moment it wriggled, one horn that was sandwiched broke into half and the buffalo ran away.

3:00 AM The ladies, the cabbie and the man were now petrified. What if a crowd gathered and beat them to pulp. But they couldn’t leave the pizza delivery guy, up the wall. How about shaking the tree? The pizza guy continued to moan.

3:15 AM the cabbie somehow dragged himself up and helped the pizza delivery guy down. As they all gathered, firstly they wolfed down an entire pizza and then started walking ahead. Till they found help.

As the day broke, both the cab and the scooter were towed away. Everyone got a day to recover.

And as the day ended a one horned buffalo was trending. Nobody knew what happened.

Rain

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

It was the pitter patter sound that woke Simran up. The sound of steady fall of water droplets, on her glass window,

The rain seemed to come down in sheets. Everything was wet, washed  and the leaves actually looked fresh and green.

This particular shade of green was something she had seen, way back in time, when she was carefree, young and deeply in love.

A period of time, when Simran used to hop onto a local to Lonavala, to trek the Western Ghats along with the love of her life, Raj, and the incessant rain would caress her curves while the mesmerizing greenery would intoxicate her.

Her utterly smitten Raj would share hot cups of masala chai with his Simran as they bundled together, quivering and shivering.

Simran Verma stole a glance towards her husband, Raj Verma, snoring away, utterly unmindful of the beauty of nature, dancing right in front of him, and sighed wistfully.

Her mobile sprang to life. ” MemSaab, Not coming for work today. It is raining cats and dogs”.

The phone was disconnected even before Simran could utter a word.

“Oh these bloody bloody *&^%* rains!!”

An Unforgettable Friend

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart

Thought the teary-eyed, recuperating patient, lying on his bed, in the intensive care unit.

In a split second, he was back in time and to the very place where it had all started.

They were childhood friends, who grew up with same tastes and who then developed intense feelings for each other. The boys knew, they couldn’t let the world sneak in on their secret. It wouldn’t understand with its draconian divisions of people.

So they masqueraded their affection as ‘close-friendship’ lest the hyper vigilante society separated them, punishing them.

They then decided that the first world with its more liberal outlook might be safe for them to disappear, to breathe free, to be alive.

The families definitely had no clue about this. Otherwise, all hell would be let loose.

They even acquired the requisite permits till a killer truck played the spoilsport, while they were returning from a night-show.

It is a perfect match. Both are of same age, build and height. Ravi has a chance to live if Sarath’s heart is used for implanting.”  The good doctor had advised.

Beta, I see my lost son in you.” cried Sarath’s mother, clutching Ravi.

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart!

And in death, we are finally together, away from this rigid society’s judgements and rancor. Rest in peace, my love, my unforgettable friend. For now, I will protect you with my life” Thought Ravi, clutching his beloved heart.