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.

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 🙂

Umbrella

u

There is a tradition in Indian weddings called ‘Kasi Yatra’ and the umbrella plays a significant part in this ritual.

In the days of old, some boys were not prepared to settle for the material comforts of a family. These boys would commence on a yatra (trek) to Kasi (in the foothills of the Himalayas) where they would seek a guru to gain wisdom from. They would only be armed with chappals to protect their feet, an umbrella and a fan to shield them from the sun and a Bhagavad Gita that will keep them focused on the journey. At this juncture, the father of a prospective bride would approach this man and request him to marry his daughter. The father would tell the man how much he stands to gain from a married life as against the life of an ascetic. He would also promise that his daughter would be with him to face challenges that life will throw at them. The groom would reconsider his decision and return to marry the bride.

This is re-enacted in the wedding ceremony. It is made to look like the groom got an epiphany and decided to walk to Kasi to pursue his spiritual quest. His holds an umbrella and a fan and walks towards the exit. (This part was kind of funny. I was worried N might take off after watching me in my bridezilla avtar over the past few hours and wouldn’t let him out of my sight.) The bride’s father or brother requests him to return and marry the bride. The groom returns and the wedding continues.

I do not know why this ritual is followed. However, the umbrella and the fan that the groom holds are supposed to be kept in the house. They would serve as a reminder to the husband and wife about the promises they made to one another.

Are there any such rituals in your weddings?

Thambi

T

Thambi is ‘Little Brother’ in Tamil. The other man in my life.  My parents prepped me for him by getting me all excited saying ‘Thambi papa, Thambi papa’ and the name stuck. I do not know if it embarrasses him when I yell ‘Thambi!!’ across the mall- if it did, he has never mentioned it.

I am trying not to make this a sentimental post, but it looks like the earth is tipping south, the words are flowing into the sentiment sea, and I am unable to do anything about it.

Since dad, this little one (not so little now) has been the man of the family. He was 13 then. Now he shares me with N; he gracefully stepped aside to let N take his place beside me. During those initial days when I was dizzy with all the ‘New bride’ attention, I wonder how he coped with the vacuum. Or maybe I give myself too much credit 🙂

The other day, S’s (Thambi’s best friend) sister got married. We were at the wedding and immediately after the Thaali-kattu (akin to exchange of the rings) S ran into the men’s room, and my brother followed. Apparently S had broken down and couldn’t control his tears.

“Did you cry at my wedding?!!” I demanded.

“Ummm..A little” came the sheepish reply.

“But I did not see you!”

“Because you were busy!”

“Shut up! Don’t lie!”

“What nonsense. Why must I lie?”

“Because that is what you do!”

“Oh please. Get a life!”

“You get a life!”

“…….”

Did I say sea of sentiment? Apologies. That was the battlefield.

😛

 

Sorry

s

One word.

Two syllables.

Yet infinitely difficult to utter.

When uttered, though, ironically, it murders one’s ego, and at the same time makes one feel divine.

 

One word.

Two people.

Bridges infinite gaps.

One word that makes the relationship with the other person instantly greater than oneself.

 

One word.

Does not deserve any second thoughts. Ever. Let go and just say it.

 

Room mate

  • R

Have you had a room mate at any point of your life? I had two, I shared rooms with each at different times, over the course of two years. We hit it off really well. I was lucky that way.

But room mates have a tendency to get on your nerves at times. Sometimes they would sweep the mess off their side of the room onto your side. Other times they would borrow your key and make you wait outside for ages before they got back to open the door for you. They might speak too loudly on the phone when you are trying to study. You might hear secrets about them from other people and as a result, feel left out,rejected or betrayed.

In the midst of all these, we tend to forget those times when we sat up all night and shared tales about ourselves. Those days when you cried your heart out lying on your room mate’s lap. That one night when she covered up for you sneaking out of hostel on an urgent errand. When you both landed on some booze and giggled into the night.

Room mates give us many, many memories. They are like our partners- In all things good, bad and ugly, for those days that we share ourselves with them. It wouldn’t do to hold the bad things against them, and forget the amazing times they gave us, would it ?

That was my first lesson,after being married. 🙂 What was yours ?