Wednesday, August 24, 2011


For the longest time I have wanted to write these little fictional stories, these stories I would think of either while travelling on bus or just walking down the block. I would take the time to even write them on the word doc and then would delete the document without saving. This is so stupid, I would say to myself. No one is going to like this or even read this. But then today I decided, well what the heck. Let me just list out this one story and see how it goes. Like I said in my earlier post, I have too many cobwebs to clean around this blog :). So let me take you on another journey, something different from our day to day lives and yet a part of it. Let’s travel to the good old days of maharaja’s and rajputs. Of kingdoms and wars. Of bravery, strategy, romance and victory. Excited?

Rajkumari Shrutkirti was sitting in front of the mirror admiring herself while all around dasis were giggling and making fun of her. Dwarka was lovingly teing her plait while Menaka was putting payal on her feet. The latest design from Sriman Kevat, who claimed this was the same payal ordered by Rajkumari Mandavi of Bundi. Rajkumari Shrutkirti admired her feet, the beautiful payal with artistic design adorned her lovely feet and shined against her milk white skin. The pearls attached to the payal made it even more beautiful. She stomped her feet lightly on the ground and little sounds made all the dasis around laugh. This was a big day for Rajkumari Shrutkirti. It was her Swayamwar. She has dreamt over and over of this day. Painted pictures of various rajkumar’s were laid out in front of her. These she had received 1 month ago. Being the youngest and the only daughter of Raja Mansingh, she had the right to choose, rather she had wickedly achieved it by displaying crocodile tears and weaving stories around “Banno ki shaadi songs”. Mansingh has given in and sent messengers/riders to neighboring kingdoms (near and far) requesting painted pictures of grooms interested in the Swayamwar. The paintings were of all shapes and kinds, some ridiculously good to be true and some looked as if the kingdom may be on the verge of losing its last possible painter. Rajkumari, however relied very less on these paintings and more on the inside information she obtained via her appointed ally’s in various divisions of the kingdom. There was the finance minister who informed of wealth and health of various kingdoms. The head of all natya, gayan and kala (music and arts) who informed of the latest architectural improvements or activities around various kingdoms. The war strategist who spoke to the bravery and skills in various victories. So overall she had a pretty good idea and had shortlisted the top 5 potential princes she would consider. Ofcourse there would be day long contests among the princes to prove their skills (archery, swordfighting, hunting and what not). But Rajkumari hardly cared about those. She was more interested in finding the right diamond in the mix, one who would be politically powerful and emotionally compatible. Prithviraj, that was the one she had in mind. One who has conquered many kingdoms, showed mercy to even his worst enemies, spent time listening to the pleas of his people even at 2.00 am in the morning. He was the one , she knew it. So when the day of Swayamwar arrived, she wanted to look her best. From head to toe she was decorated in gold. She picked white, that was her color. White beautiful saree and gold jewelry to match it- the kamabandh (waist band), arm band, beautiful pearl earrings, pearl nose ring. She had heard, Prithviraj was fond of pearls. He had adorned his own crown with pearls. So pearls were for her.

Finally Raja Mansingh entered the room and stood there. Dasis quickly disappeared without a sound. Mansingh walked up to his daughter and held her face in both his hands. Beautiful! He exclaimed. How will this kingdom ever remain the same without you? It’s time Rajkumari, lets walk to the mandal (open hall). Though her eyes were filled with tears, inwardly she smiled. It was the day she would finally meet Prithviraj. She quietly walked with her father and sat on the throne next to him. Her eyes fixed on her feet. Princes from states far and near had come to attend the swayamwar. Talks of Rajkumari’s beauty was spread far and wide. Rajkumari only hoped Prithviraj would be there. She knew she wasn’t supposed to look up, but bold as she was, she did. There was queue of princes and she could only see that far. Each prince was supposed to step forward, one of his assistant (mantri ) would describe his valor and he would step aside for the next prince.

Woah! This is turning out to be a really long post. How about you tell me how you like it and then we continue with the rest of Swayamwar? :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Estate Sale- Everything must go!

I have gone into the shell, in hiding from the world. I have wandered, explored new places. I have learnt, taught and returned. In the meantime my blog sat here gathering dust. Now I have the massive work of cleaning up cobwebs, sweeping, polishing and making it current. I may or may not succeed in this effort but I’ll try.

Where do I start- ah yes something that reminded me of blogging, of sharing- Garage Sale!

Oh yes, the good old sign “9 AM to 12 PM- this Friday- come one- come all”. This has been my latest addiction. I wander to Garage Sales or to be more specific Estate Sales. The difference between the 2:

Garage Sale: Lot of times stuff that families don’t want, or rather think they don’t want. It occupies space, has very less emotional value and can be sold or traded.

Estate Sale: The person owning the estate has passed away, next generation remaining is getting rid of the stuff- of everything- memories, material stuff, the house itself. Everything has to go!

I know it kinda sounds sad. Why go to an estate sale you may ask? I wandered to one of those about a month ago and found it fascinating. Journey with me, will you?

Estate Sale! Come one- come all! 9 AM to 5 PM. Antiques, Glassware, Expensive stuff. Everything must go!

I note down the address and detour to the Estate Sale. Couple of estate sale professionals are at the door. A pleasant lady with a counter (to collect cash/card) is in the garage. They all have pleasant smiles. They all welcome me in. I take the first step in the house. House or Home, I think. I think of things I associate with a home. Smells that are unique to an home. This one doesn’t have any. Just of dust and closed doors. Of cobwebs and old furniture. I step inside. There is staircase going down and one going up. I think for a bit on which one to take. People are flocking, some running upstairs, some downstairs. As they run, the wooden staircase makes a creaking sound. I think back to my own home, the creaks, and the sounds. I know them all. Did the person who lived here know them too?

I randomly pick going upstairs; the stairs lead to an open hall. The room is lit with light. There are curtains on the window, the self-created kind. Very artistic. Someone in this family knew sewing very well. Just as I begin to admire the curtain, someone pushes past me and pulls on to one curtain. In a harsh voice the lady asks, “Is this for sale?, how much?”. My expression changes to that of pain. Pleasant lady answers “Yes ma’am, everything is for sale”. I didn’t want to buy the curtains, but just the sheer act of not stopping to admire the curtain, treating it like any other stuff pains me. I move on.

There is jewelry laid out on the table, everything tagged with a price. I immediately touch the ring on my little finger with my thumb:

The ring on the right hand little finger with the green stone: Mum said always wear it. It will keep you smart. I smile at myself, it didn’t really.

The ring on my index finger, it pearl: It will keep you calm Mum had said. I started to believe it did. Years passed and I kept it. Now its sealed to my finger.

Chain: The first piece of jewelry mum made for me, when I was a kid.

I watch the jewelry laid out on the table. There is a ring in a blue jewelry box. Was it an engagement ring? Maybe wedding ring? Someone stops by and picks up the ring box. Is this real?, she asks. Yes, says the pleasant lady. How much? She asks. Let me check, says the pleasant lady. Never mind, she says. I don’t like the design anyways, she says. I walk away.

I wander into the kitchen. She is here, I can feel her, I can sense her. The spice rack in the corner is filled with spices. The crystal bowls are arranged, clean in corner. Cake makers are a plenty, worn out, used far too many times. She loved cooking. I touch the spice rack, an old piece with 25 glass spice containers, beautiful. Wooden box holding them. Hung on the wall, just on the right spot. I touch it and dust sticks to my fingers. I look and smile. I want this one, I tell one of the estate sale professionals. Can you help me remove it from the wall? I ask. Yes, ma’am, let me get it for you. The guy holds the rack and pulls on it. My eyes widen in shock. He breaks the wood hook holding the rack and hands the rack to me. Here you go ma’am. I hold it as if it were a baby, hug the rack and growl at the professional. I walk away.

Angry and hurt I walk into the bedroom. Why am I angry? What’s bothering me, I ask myself. No answer. I look at the queen size bed, wooden frame, ancient looking, beautiful. Across it is a dresser and mirror. Beautiful. There is jewelry box, wooden, empty on the dresser. There is brush on the dresser. I walk to the dresser and look at myself in the mirror holding the spice rack. I see a faint shadow behind me. I turn, there is just bright light, no one there. I touch the jewelry box. Engraved is a design on the top. Little wooden drawers to keep beautiful jewelry. I love it. Its beautiful I say out loud, not to anyone in particular. I look at the brush, it’s pretty, silver and has one hair, white, long, stuck in the needles. I touch the hair and hear loud noise of kids. Lady and 4 kids. Kids climb the bed and start jumping. I pick the jewelry box and leave.

I don’t feel like checking out any other rooms. I go downstairs, there is a nice cozy wooden rocking chair. A knitted shawl hanging on one of its arms. Settled next to it is a huge basket with lots of wool and needles. There are patterns and works in progress. I stop by to look at the basket. Pleasant lady approaches, smiles at me and says “Take all for just $5”. I look up at her and smile. I will, I say. I ask her to set it aside for me. I walk into the garage and immediately smile. There is a santa-big porcelain structure, decorations, large chritmas tree, beautiful decorations to hang on the tree. Yes, I say to myself. This was a house of memories, of turkey dinners, of get-togethers, of graduation, of first car rides, of proms, of dreams..this is a home.

I take all the stuff I picked to the counter and pay. I walk away and just as I get to my car, I turn to look. I see the house spick and span. I see the flowers blooming, I see kids playing. I see it all, I see the home it was. I see the home it will be.