X

*Attempt to complete the A-Z Challenge 2016

The variable that one seeks. Have you ever experienced the thrill that ran through your body when you discovered what X was?

Wired weirdly, I seek X every day.

On some days, it is the look of absolute shock on the sales woman’s face when I loudly ask for a pack of condoms, struggling to keep my face straight and nonchalant.

On other days, it is attempting to make the fellow shopper drop his goods as I ask for a pregnancy test in my loudest voice.

This weekend, it was smiling widely at every stranger who stared at me, as I stepped into a pub wearing a silk saree.

On all instances, I welcome that stab of pleasure that warms me from my toes as I broke set norms and stereotypes.

After all, what do you expect-I’m an XX.

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W-Warangal Fort

*Failed attempt to complete the A-Z Challenge 2016

In the middle of a sweltering state is a treasure trove of history- that is Warangal for you.

At 150 kms away from Hyderabad is this (once) glorious capital. It was later rampaged by Muslim invaders and all that remain now are ruins.

Warangal was first ruled by the Yadavas, and was later by the Kakatiya Dynasty. The kingdom flourished under the latter. To give you an idea about how prosperous the kingdom was, and how advanced these kings were back in the 12 th century, I’m describing the fort for you.

The Warangal fort was built in the centre of three concentric levels of fortifications. The first exterior defence was a wall, this had a diameter of 2.5 kms. There was a deep trench in front of this wall that had to be filled with dirt or mud before it could be surmounted. This surrounded a moat, the width of which was around 150 feet. Invaders would have to swim across this, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles. Finally there was a wall made of stone. This wall was around 1.2 kms in diameter, and the fort, which also served as the capital city was located within this embankment.

Such an impenetrable fort was eyed by the sultanate of Delhi and was laid siege during the rule of King Pratapa Rudra II. After 6 months of constant battle, both parties agreed to a truce.  Pratapa Rudra could retain his kingship and land, and in reparation he had to surrender all the wealth his dynasty had accumulated over all these years. When the Sultanate general left Warangal, it is said that he carried the loot on the backs of 2000 camels, back to Delhi.

2000 camels. Somewhere on the back of one of those camels was the controversial Koh-i-noor diamond, which now glints from the British Queen Mother’s crown.

But our story does not stop there. Pratapa Rudra was asked to pay an annual tribute to the Sultanate which he failed to, twice.. The first time he failed, he was warned with an army on the doors of his capital. The second time he failed- (Reading about him, I am pretty certain it was his insubordination that caused this) a bigger army, led by Mohammed bin Tughlaq, by now well-versed with the workings of the fort and its battlements, forced its way into the capital. Every structure that had any religious symbolism on it (in this case-almost all structures) was destroyed. The four gateways- unique looking and free standing now, were spared because they were adorned with neutral figures. This archway is now the symbol of the Telegana tourism department, and a visitor will see replicas of these in the main streets of Hyderabad. Pratapa Rudra was taken captive, and was being transported to Delhi when he killed himself in the banks of the river Godavari en route.

Enough of History, though.

Warangal, an unsung little town, took my breath away. The fort stands ruined, but the air weighs heavy with pride. If you stood there and listened hard, they would tell you tales of a dynasty that did not need a king at one juncture- Queen Rudramadevi, who ruled before Pratapa Rudra II, could have taught us a thing or two about empowerment. The winds would sing praises about a king who refused to succumb to men of another land, and inevitably lost his life in the process. And if you listen carefully, you might also hear a stifled wail- at how unfair the past and the present have been. It is truly unfortunate that we decided to visit a city so glorious because we had nothing else to do- and not because it was spoken about with reverence, or given the respect it deserves.

 

V- Village

*Failed attempt to complete the A-Z Challenge 2016

Owing to many, many excuses, the A to Z challenge came to an abrupt halt. However, with only 5 more letters to go, I have decided to go into robot mode and finish the challenge. A failed attempt, but an attempt, nonetheless.

After our wedding, N and I had to visit our family deity. The temple in question was in our ancestral village. So off we went, taking a train first, then a cab to the more interior regions. I am used to this- the bad roads, the lack of toilets (or-getting used to toilets outside the house), the occasional peacock cawing on rooftops, the hard water, pigs, the enormous portions of food, the casual nosiness of people and the achingly continuous stretches of green, but I was not sure if city-bred N would feel the same way.

Such displaced fears.

Not only did N start happily skipping over mounds of dung you see everywhere, he also won everybody over with his broken Tamil.

It is surprising how the things we take for granted mean so much to others. I used to visit my grandmother’s house every vacation, and it was a very banal affair for me, after a point. Turns out it had a deep, long lasting impact on N.

Given a choice now, (he says) he would take up organic farming and settle down as a farmer, but for the time-being he exhorts the advantages of wearing a veshti and curling his moustache whenever he gets into the “Villager” zone.

What was your first impression when you visited a village? Did you like it? Do share your experiences 🙂