The Timeless One

Hello everyone!

It has been a long time.

have been a bad blogger.

And, I am going to hell.

I KNOW.

I’m so sorry, folks! If you need a short recap of the last few months, here goes.

  1. I got more responsibilities at work
  2. People (including me) got sick a lot in October
  3. Diwali was celebrated
  4. I went to the Bangalore Literature Festival
  5. I started on NaNoWriMo, despite my misgivings (I wanted to focus on my two novels, you see. But, NaNo kinda creeps on you and tempts you in so many ways. This time, I got #SuspenseProject.)
  6. I went to FRIGGIN’ MUMBAI, baby!
  7. I had my first ever Comic-con

Let’s go back to the subject matter of this post (point 6). Go ahead, have a look at our pictures!

(All of them are credited to my brother, Yagaagowtham, unless specified otherwise)

(For those of you who are here from Yagaa’s side and want to focus on the pictures, just skip the sections titled The Story and you’re good to go)

Day 0

The Story

We took an evening flight to Mumbai from Bangalore. The funniest thing that happened was that Maa got a headache from sun exposure. Yes, on a FLIGHT. Since we flew in a north-westerly direction, the sunset played just opposite her window! Maa remarked that she’d had four-hour long bus rides that hadn’t given her any such thing. Great start, people!

Our hotel was the sweetest one we’ve ever stayed at! We had a writing desk at a window seat in our room and I immediately resolved to write a bit of this post every single night (and threw the resolution out that very window when I fell into a silent love for Mumbai the moment I stepped out on Day 1; you know the kind of love that fills you with awe and makes you question your credentials of ever possessing it?). Some people convinced me I can talk about it now, so, here I am, typing away, one whole month after our trip. Plus, I also ran into an actor from Yeh Hai Mohabbatein at the buffet on Day 0. So, I did completely flip out.

Flying from Bangalore with the family.

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Airport Queues.
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Add some Bling to your Journey!

And then, of course, landing at Mumbai.

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The Lights of the Road.

Hotel Ginger, Andheri East.

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Snapshots

Day 1

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An Ode to the Tool.

Do not panic. The following Super-Healthy Mix is NOT my breakfast. I had Croissants with sugary marmalade and Chicken Sausages. I wonder why anyone would think hot milk was better for cornflakes than cold milk.

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Breakfast.

Agenda

  1. Fort Area
  2. The Gateway of India
  3. Elephanta Caves
  4. Nariman Point
  5. Chowpatty Beach
  6. Shree Mahalakshmi Temple
  7. Hanging Gardens
  8. Mannat
  9. Band Stand Promenade and Walk of the Stars
  10. Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount

The Story

We (Maa) made ourselves get an early start in order to beat weekday traffic in the city. And somehow we got ready (Maa made us) and got in the taxi Daddy’s friend had arranged. We had a super-duper schedule (see above) and planned to accomplish as much as possible with our limited knowledge of the traffic levels. Someone (Maa) had the bright idea of recording times, costs, and all the background information and some others (not Maa) thought it was pretty useless and not fun. But, I guess someone (from the others) is using the log to flesh out this blog post (thanks, Maa).

To sum up the day, we all fell for South Bombay. Everything from Dadar to Nariman Point is just sheer joy to visit. The Fort Area? I wouldn’t mind staying there permanently. My past time would be just walking around and gazing at buildings. I’d totally be okay with that. Period. The road traffic is a lot like Chennai and very opposite to Bangalore. It just flows, man. Do not hesitate to take the road if you visit Mumbai and are from Bangalore. I tell you, it’s actually peaceful in comparison.

The Elephanta Caves were not too remarkable to me. But, the ferry ride and the monkeys who are such good posers were enjoyable. Yagaa was actually calling to them to turn this way and that, and guess what? They obliged ever so perfectly. It’s true that they say Dravidian languages are the roots of civilisation, because, Tamil yielded the most response from those monkeys.

I loved the entire concept of Marine Drive. It’s a walk, a view and a beach combined. What beats that?

But, the beaches at Mumbai are not made for beaching. Generally a lover of the Coromandel coast beaches (Kerala, Goa), I did not like Mumbai’s beaches. Our driver told us that Aksa and Versova in North Mumbai were a tad bit cleaner. So, we determined to try one of those on Day 2. But, what you want to look out for is the street food! The Pani Puri was delicious at Chowpatty!

The rest of it is ensconced in the picture captions. So, have at it.

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Big B!

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  • Fort Area
  • The Gateway of India
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Taj Mahal Palace
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The Gateway of India

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On the Waters!

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  •  Elephanta Caves
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The Broken Chug-Chug
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Mangrove Forest
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What Natural Magic is This!
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For Sale
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Blue Canopy on Sails

On the inside

Wildlife!

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  • Nariman Point
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Nariman Point
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The Usual Crowd
  • Chowpatty Beach

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  • Shree Mahalakshmi Temple
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Antilia, 4 inmates 600 staff
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Offerings to the Goddess
  • Hanging Gardens

We had to skip this because there was repairs going on at the Garden.

  • Mannat

You know what it is, don’t you?

(Hint : It’s the name of King Khan’s home)

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This quote was right opposite to the house!
  • Band Stand Promenade and Walk of the Stars

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  • Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount
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1905, it says.

Snapshots

Day 2

Agenda

  1. Powai Lake
  2. IIT-Bombay Tour
  3. Film City Tour
  4. Aksa Beach
  5. Golden Vipasanna Pagoda

The Story

So, determined people (not me) wanted to visit North Mumbai on Day 2. I was all for changing our hotel reservation to South Bombay. But, we laid plans for Day 2 as above. We had place holders to circumvent the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and go to North-west Mumbai after driving through the IIT and taking a Film City Tour.

We also said we’d visit the Aksa Beach, seeing as it is far from the main city and probably cleaner.

You know how plans change? Yep. That‘s how.

  • Powai Lake

Powai has a sign that warns against crocodiles. And, it was pretty dirty water too. So, did not see much there. Just click, click, and bye.

  • IIT-Bombay Tour

That WAS good. The whole campus made me re-consider my resolution to not study more. It was such a comfy place in the middle of a forest. Man, I wish I’d had the mind to study harder during my schooldays (Hahaha! I so do not wish that!).

  • Film City Tour

So, we arrive. And, we find out that they have set timings for the tours and that we cannot get in for another one hour. Big bummer. So, what do we do? Insert an unplanned agenda item!

  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Despite the initial dampened thought of animals, ugh, why, ew, and strike that out of the agenda, we were pretty excited when we pulled up and got our entry passes with a lot of enthusiasm. Turns out, it’s quite a loooong walk to the Lion and Tiger Safari point. The forest itself was very picturesque, but, a lot of man-made structures stood in the way of taking good pictures. Later, we found out that we should have gone on the bus to Kanheri Caves inside the Park instead of the Safari. But, we did get on the Safari Bus. And the poor lions and tigers were caged unlike how they should be in a National Park.

  • Film City Tour

We took a later Tour, but, it was so worth it! You know, the guys who act as guides, they have quite a lot of showmanship!

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  • Aksa Beach

It was predicted to be too far from where we were. (Global Vipasanna Pagoda was dropped too; it was close to Aksa)

Alternative plans?

  • Juhu Beach

Turns out, we arrived at the most perfect beaching-time. Sunset.

Juhu Beach
Arabian Sea
Juhu Beach 2
God-Pose!
Juhu Beach 3
Not Enough Words.
Juhu Beach 4
Frothy Waves!
Juhu Beach 5
Dunk-ed!
Juhu Beach 6
Retreating Flight.
Juhu Beach 7
Will you buy one or just take my picture?
Juhu Beach 8
You pop, fizz, and buzz e-lectric.
Juhu Area
Paanwaala

The Vada-pav at Juhu is to die for! EAT IT, EAT IT, EAT IT.

  • Andheri East

We went out to dinner with a friend of Daddy’s who came to meet us.

Andheri East
Candy, please!

Snapshots

Day 3

Agenda

  1. Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir
  2. Shri Mumbadevi Mandir
  3. Taj Mahal Palace
  4. Colaba Causeway
  5. Asiatic Society Library
  6. Horniman Circle Garden
  7. Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus
  8. Parsi Dairy Farm
  9. Taraporevala Aquarium
  10. Marine Drive

The Story

So, we were back on the South Bombay track! YES! I was very happy this morning. It was Daddy’s birthday and we were all a-buzz with enthusiasm. First, we had planned prayers at two very important shrines of Mumbai : Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir and Shri Mumbadevi Mandir. It took us through the little gallis and nooks of Dadar area. It was very exciting to watch commuters and early businesses begin their day. I begged and begged for the 11:30 at Maratha Mandir, but, no luck. Apparently, one had to meet every single person’s interest during a group trip (sigh).

But, we made it to lunch. At the Shamiana, Taj Mahal Palace. It was quite unnerving until we actually walked up the front door and ran our bags through the x-ray scanner. But, it is very hospitable, I must say. We loved the food and hope to visit again.

The one thing to note about the Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus : Is it really a train station or are you pulling my leg? Come on, seriously? You sure? All right, just wanted to check! I mean, such a beautiful British-worked building that looks like a giant church and you have trains inside it? It blows my mind! And they have these huge ceiling fans for the travellers, with about 12-foot long blades. Those should be more common in other railway stations, we all voted.

  • Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir

It was super un-crowded on a Thursday morning. So elegant, yet, simple idol and worship.

PS : I loved the laddus.

Dadar
Iconic Black Taxis.
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You talk. I talk.
  • Shri Mumbadevi Mandir
Shri Mumbadevi Mandir
Jai Devi Maa!
  • Taj Mahal Palace
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Daddy’s Birthday Lunch. What better spot did we need?
  • Colaba Causeway

Street shopping! Tried my first hand at bargaining (I was preparing myself for the visit to Linking Road on Day 4).

Colaba Causeway
Obsessive Gardening!
  • Asiatic Society Library and Horniman Circle Garden

There was work in progress here too! I was saddened because I so badly wanted to see this.

But, all we saw was this.

Asiatic Society Library
1804!
Asiatic Society Library 2
Wide Angle.
Horniman Circle Garden
Channe!
  • Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus

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  • Parsi Dairy Farm

Had some yummy milk-based sweets! Rabri is my new favourite sweet!

  • Taraporevala Aquarium

It’s right on Marine Drive. It’s got a good variety of fish. It NEEDS BETTER MAINTENANCE. I was feeling so sorry for the aquatic creatures in the place!

  • Marine Drive

This was simply, peace. I did not spend my time clicking away. I just sat down and shut out the world.

Snapshots

Day 4

Agenda

  1. D. Y. Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
  2. The Jewel of Navi Mumbai
  3. Sewri Fort
  4. Flamingo Watch Point
  5. Linking Road

The Story

Somehow, we ended up going to Navi Mumbai. We chose two places there in order to sweep around the area, and those happened to be the Stadium and the Jewel thing (apparently, it has a lake and a park).

The thing I looked forward to most about Day 4 was Linking Road and street shopping. Such a good time I had there, but, the guys were quite bored. We also had brownies from Theobroma! The highlighted story is Daddy trying to declare to us that he had down a budget of 2k to buy lunch at KFC for four people. We laughed in his face and told him that a dozen folks could eat well there for that price. (And, adding an achievement to our caps by convincing our South-Indian palated parents to eat at KFC)

  • D. Y. Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

This was just a placeholder to see how Navi Mumbai is. Again, every single person I know was surprised that we actually went to Navi Mumbai (totally a residential area; just the highway to Pune was an important thing there).

  • The Jewel of Navi Mumbai

It was as pointless as the name sounds cheesy. Google it and wow to yourself for a couple times, but, do not bother. The stinkiest lake ever.

  • Sewri Fort and Flamingo Watch Point

We went hoping against hope that flamingo season had started. But, it had sadly not.

Sewri Fort
Look at those masts!
Sewri Fort 2
This reminds me of a very specific nightmare I had as a child.
  • Linking Road

Bargaining training proved its worth! Best place ever!!!

  • JW Marriott

Surprise dinner plans with Daddy’s other friend! We met two people who had been living in Mumbai for twenty years and loved their company. Aunty told us, “Mumbai is the City of Good Luck. Do you notice that the Goddess Lakshmi faces the city side instead of the seaside at the Shree Mahalakshmi Temple?”

Awe-struck.

PS : Ed Sheeran was staying right at Marriott at the moments we had spent there; his concert was on Day 5 (after we left Mumbai, of course (grief-stricken wail))

Andheri East 2
Lamborghini Gallardo at Traffic Lights.
JW Marriott
Surprise Dinner!
JW Marriott 2
Waffles? At dinner? Hell, yeah.

Snapshots

Day 5

The Story

Everyone asked us very excitedly if our flight back was on Air India and if so, which flight number. We were pondering on the mystery when they explained. Only some domestic flights belonging to Air India flew from Terminus 2 of the Mumbai Airport.

Me : So?

Other person : You guys have to see Terminus 2!

Me : Mumbai Airport is pretty dull, man.

Other person : scoffs You saw the dumb domestic terminus on your arrival, didn’t you?

Me : Yeah.

Other person : facepalms

So, they discovered that our return flight was from the famed Terminus 2 and built up our hopes for a good show. They were not wrong. One could add that to the list of attractions Mumbai has to offer. Please, book return tickets on Air India and hope that your flight number is on Terminus 2.

Funny incidents on the flight back, did you say? I am so glad you asked. There was a fly on board, buzzing around Daddy’s head. And they served breakfast which we did not anticipate and wasted pathetically. And, and, the best thing : the pilot announced on the speaker that ‘he had taken shortcuts and we would be landed half an hour early’. What he actually meant was that there was little air traffic and hence he could choose the most direct flight route that was possible to Bangalore instead of accommodating other flights in his flight plan. But, of course, we were all thinking, “Is he landing us in Bangalore or halfway there?”

The flight – sniff – back – sniff sniff – HOME – wails.

Mumbai Airport 2
Time pieces again!
Mumbai Airport 3
Don’t drink and … fly?
Mumbai Airport
You go there for the Art.

Snapshots

 

What I loved most about Mumbai,

  • Very organised traffic
  • Large, LARGE roads
  • Pedestrians are top-priority
  • Taxis and auto-rickshaws run on meter. Strictly.
  • Very good food in small restaurants
  • Hygienic water is found everywhere
  • Seafood is not as common as you would think a coastal city would have (Thank God, I hate it!)
  • It has Marine Drive
  • I just love the whole place!

I hope you liked our pictures! See you soon with an expo of the Comic-con!

Love,

Priya

Celebrating Unproductivity

Hi Reader!

Happy weekend to all of you out there! It’s Saturday morning and I am very much awake already (surprise!).

I wanted to celebrate the spectacular failure of my W-Log posts today. It seems like none of my task-logging mechanisms work. This is getting insane. I don’t seem to follow my diet and/or workout plans either. And I wanted to enjoy the undisciplined whim my soul has taken upon itself.

Life is totally unpredictable. You might want something to happen that instant and it won’t. You might plan ahead for the day and the entire day bails on you. You might think, “Oh good, I’m home early. Let me just work on this thing I wanted to do for a while now,” and an unexpected problem crops up. It happens. You can’t help it, and you can’t magically fix it.

Everything that gets in your way is a lesson in itself. You learn to cope, you learn to deal with it, and hopefully, you grow. And one begins to see patterns in life this way. Whenever I plan to go to gym, either it starts raining, or it is too cold to use my motorbike, or I get this bout of laziness (this last one is totally my rebellious psyche). So, I learn to check the weather predictions before I plan to head out. And I learn to not waste my time waiting for the climate to get warmer and start a regimen I can do at home. (Again, laziness makes me pull up my quilt and bury myself in it, but, that’s okay.)

That’s what I mean. It’s okay to get bombarded by things which hinder your plans (inner Monica Geller yells shrilly). But, it really is okay. You get your knowledge and move on.

I have always firmly believed that it’s never too late to make changes in yourself. I know that if I am eighty years old and then I get the notion of learning Spanish, I would try. I would try as much as I can, and probably, if I wanted it that bad, I would accomplish it.

Hindrances don’t place a full-stop to anything you want to do. Laugh about them, dodge them, and try again. You never know how much your life would become simpler then.

Lots of love for the drama,

PPD

PS : I just realised that I crossed 25 posts on this blog! Yay! Now, that‘s some productivity.

Version 2.0 : Devasena + Amarendra Bāhubali

Hi, you guys!

The header image must have warned you, nevertheless, I must give out these two explicit warnings.

  • This is a same-timeline-different-location story which runs parallel to scenes from the movie (you know which one). Accordingly, I declare here that this is intended as fan-fiction only.
  • I hope you read this after watching both movies. It’ll be perfect that way. (you can call this a rule)
  • You can read my other work on these two here, right now or after reading this one. However you prefer.

Not gonna spoil it with more explanations.

Jai Mahishmati!

When the Skies Cried…

“Rajamata? Is all of this happening within your knowledge?” asked Kattappa. His face was sober and his hands could not stop their trembling. He felt his existence crumble around him into tiny, tiny shards.

He spoke. “Let me grasp your feet and beseech you, Amma. Please, ask the Emperor to retract his order,” he begged. Sivagami Devi’s face was stoic. She did not answer. Her eyes were focussed on some imaginary target.

“Even if the world is turned upside down, Bāhubali would not have erred. He is the son you raised, Amma,” he attempted to remind her. He searched his mistress’ expression for a sign, any sign. There was still nothing. “He was nourished by your milk. Your teachings – “

“Bāhubali must die,” came the ominous reply from the stony face. Kattappa gasped. His sword hand shook like leaves in a strong breeze. ‘I cannot comprehend any of it,’ he thought.

An internal struggle began. He clasped his hands together and questioned himself how he was to carry out the Emperor’s command.

‘I simply can’t. There is no question of it,’ replied his heart.

“I cannot, Amma. I simply cannot,” he said out loud, echoing his heart’s words. The oath of his ancestors swept through the room like a whisper in the wind. His sword hand clenched the scabbard of his sword. He drew it out and rose up to his full height. The years of servitude imparted by his family should not be thrown away like a wasted piece of paper.

Sivagami saw the gleam of Kattappa’s sword slide into place at her feet. She looked up.

“As punishment to my refusal, please, cut my head off,” said the Royal Slave. Her eyes moved back to her distant spot. She had expected that he would refuse. Something in her cracked and oozed. The blood rushed into her palms and her eyes still remained cold.

“Will you kill him, or shall I finish him off?” asked her numb lips. Kattappa reeled back half a step in shock. Then arrived the tears. They spilled onto his cheeks like twin rivers.

“No, Amma. That sin shall not be yours. I will do it. I will do it myself,” he swore. His head hung to his breast and his shoulders seemed to have dropped to his hips. The Queen Mother moved not a muscle, but, the remaining two swept away as Kattappa left taking his sword.

Bijjala tapped his moustache with his one remaining hand. Bhallaladeva assumed his mother’s still form.

“Is this Dog to be trusted, Bhalla?” asked his father.

*

The contraction rippled through Devasena’s pelvic bones in a burst of pain. She bit her lower lip to stop herself from crying out. This boy is going to take a lot of her to be born. The thought filled her with such joy that she couldn’t breathe for a second.

Her companion, Karthiga, looked worried. Devasena gave her a rueful smile.

“This pain is a requirement for babies, Karthi,” she told her. She returned a bashful smile. ‘Poor child, she didn’t have to stay by my side when we left the fortress,’ thought Devasena. The young girl’s devotion had touched her these last few months.

The old midwife asked Karthiga to get more hot towels. She left her mistress’ side. Contraction after contraction broke through Devasena’s lower body. In a few minutes, it was impossible not to utter a soft scream in reply to the child’s every movement.

“Try to bear it, Amma,” consoled the old lady. Sweat dripped onto her forehead, and Karthiga kept wiping it off with a cold compress. The sound of raised voices from outside the door of the hut reached her ears.

*

“What are you saying?” boomed Amarendra Bāhubali. He did not need this complication when he was awaiting his child.

“Yes, Lord. I saw it with my own two eyes! Kattappa Ayya is in danger,” panted the young man.

The two or three friends of Amarendra who had been sitting with him leapt to their feet.

“Is this true?”

“What should be done?”

By then, a small crowd had formed around the man they called God. Every eye was fixed on his in pure confidence. Amarendra’s heart lurched. His Mama needed him. On the other hand, his unborn son needed him too. He tried to conceal the uncertainty in his eyes. An unsuccessfully suppressed scream interrupted his musing from the hut behind them.

In a flash, he was filled with all the power in the world. His love was there. Devasena would be there for their child. He felt the baby’s hold on his service draw into Devasena’s hand.

‘I’m right here,’ she seemed to say, invisibly.

He swiftly turned around and stepped inside. When his emotions shivered at the sight of Devasena lying weak and hunched in pain, he chose to ignore it. Enormous trust in their love shook off all fears.

“Devasena,” he called. Her lovely eyes opened and looked to his. He knelt beside her and caressed her cheek.

“Mama is in danger. I need to go to him, Devasena,” he spoke rapidly, lacing his words with his begging for forgiveness. Devasena immediately started lifting herself off the bed. His hand supported her and she assumed a half-sitting position. Her hair was plastered to her scalp with sweat.

Her eyes searched for something next to the bed, behind them. Karthiga handed her what she was looking for. Amarendra’s breastplate and the sword of his ancestors. The horse-head hilt gleamed in the lamp light.

“Here,” she said as she filled his hands with the tools of a warrior. Her eyes never clouded with worry or disappointment as he was feeling of himself. A ferocious pride oozed out of them.

“He promised to hold our child as he is born. Bring him back with great caution,” the warrior’s wife told her Amarendra. He nodded.

As an afterthought, he paused and looked at her once again. In a second, he had held her cheek and placed a loving kiss on her forehead. In a second second, he had said, “Take care” and left the room. The steel in his eyes lingered in hers for long after he had gone.

*

Amarendra had been shot. Multiple arrowheads were stuck into his back. The Kalakeyas had not been foreseen. His old Mama was hurt as well. The short respite was in no way enough for either of them. Their enemies were moving somewhere close to them, and they had to get up on their feet with their backs to each other.

Amarendra twitched his hurt limbs.

“Listen to me, Bāhu. Just for me, you are risking your… Leave me and go. Leave me to die. Please, heed what I say,” begged Kattappa’s voice from his right. Amarendra chuckled through his bloodied mouth.

“I want to leave you, oldie. You promised to hold my child. I have promised her that I would bring you back safely,” he started. The pause scared Kattappa.

“Bāhu?” he called.

“So,” spoke Amarendra in a pain-drenched voice. “If you remain quiet for a little while, I can carry out my duty,” he finished with a tearing sound. He had pulled out one of the arrowheads embedded in his body.

Kattappa watched his beloved child struggle towards him. The tears had quietly cascaded down his cheeks again. ‘What am I to do?’ he thought, wildly. The plan to trick him into saving his Mama had worked admirably. And Kattappa was beating himself up about it.

There are some things which never reach you when you want them so badly. And some things which burrow themselves into the palm of your hand when you’re looking the other way. There are a third category of things which you need to do, but, you don’t want to. It was horrorifying when they work out so easily.

The reeds binding his hands were being razored by the arrowtip. Blood oozed over both their hands.

“How will I ever tell you? Bāhu, Bāhu, I will grasp your feet and beg you. Leave me. Leave me, Bāhu!” his yells filled the area.

*

One last push, and Devasena’s son came into the world. Her eyes flitted between unconsciousness and consciousness. Light and dark. Her baby wriggled somewhere close to her skin.

But, she couldn’t hear him. She felt herself get alert in a snap. The midwife towelled off some of the placenta on her baby. Karthiga supported her shoulders.

“Why isn’t he crying?” she demanded in a frenzy. “Show me, show me,” she repeated until he was put into her lap. His eyes were closed and his chest more still than she would have liked. Her precious boy who had kicked like a motor in her womb was as still as a statue.

The fear crept into her slowly, but, in seconds, she found herself bawling. She rubbed his tiny palm in her own vigorously. The midwife put her ear to his chest and listened.

“Make him move!” she screamed.

*

“Are you afraid for me, Mama?” Amarendra asked with his crooked half-smile. Kattappa was incoherent, choking up in his throat.

“As long as you are with me, there hasn’t been born a man who can kill me, Mama,” he declared with his laughing lips. The small metal sliced through the last of the reeds in a snap. The choking in Kattappa’s throat turned into a roaring inside him.

*

The wail arose after the most tense three minutes of Devasena’s life. The relief flooded into her in as quick a pace as the fear had done. She peered closely into her child’s face immediately. His eyes were screwed up tight and he cried.

A little uneasy, she spoke softly to him. All the pain of her body was ignored and the midwife moved off to deliver the placenta and clean her lower body.

“There you are, my darling Mahendra,” she cooed. Her voice became inaudible through his cries. They rose in volume steadily, but, surely. Her forehead beaded with fresh sweat.

*

The sheer volume of the incoming Kalakeya fighters did not deter Amarendra Bāhubali. Slashes of his sword and the sound of Kattappa Mama’s fighting beside him were the only things that registered in his mind.

One last nick of his sword snapped the rope that had been used as an exertion of force to the palm tree. The tree snapped up in backward force. The grotesque tower of Kalakeya bodies pinned to the old tree stalled the onslaught. The enemies gazed in horror and wonder. The clouds rumbled in reply. A golden shaft of lightning split the skies and struck the tip of the old wood.

Somewhere, a baby boy cried his loudest. The fire enveloped the branches quickly. Everything was lit up by an ominous kind of sunlight.

*

Mahendra’s voice cracked open Devasena’s world. She didn’t know if she should be awed or afraid. His eyes hadn’t opened as yet. She begged him to open them and look at her. She enveloped him in her warmth. The contact did nothing to reduce the screaming.

*

“Mama!” called Amarendra. The men he was fighting with struggled against his iron limbs. His sword had never moved faster before.

Kattappa Mama moved in a zombie-like manner. His arms wanted to drop the sword he was holding. But, he forced determination into his palms with the image of his honoured mistress. The one child who had admired and respected him was fighting with his back to him. He could never do this face-to-face.

‘Go, Kattappa,’ an alien voice urged him from his insides.

‘This act strips you of your honour as a warrior,’ spoke his conscience and he submitted to it. He took his steps towards the man he had embraced as nephew.

‘This act strips you of your honour as a protector,’ came the second verdict. The salt drops on his face seemed never-ending.

‘This act strips you of your oath as Royal Slave towards this man of the Royal blood,’ fell the last words.

The sword hand rose up and the tip of his sword pierced flesh. Bāhubali’s sword swept past him as he lost his grip.

*

Devasena started wailing herself. “I don’t know what to do! Tell me what – “ she paused.

Mahendra had fallen dead silent. Somewhere, a sword cut through a man’s body.

She looked into Mahendra’s eyes for the first time. A strong current waved through both of them. His dark eyes properly locked eyes with her. She gazed in wonder at the person they had produced. Somehow, she choked up.

The tears re-appeared on her cheeks instead.

“Oh, why? Why?” she kept repeating to herself as her boy calmly watched the proceedings.

The midwife was rattled at the scene. The newborn she had just delivered and who had driven the entire village to attention with his screams lay at his mother’s bosom. Much too adult-like in his expression.

“Maybe you should feed him, Amma,” she started to say.

Something about the two of them struck her dumb, then. She signed to Karthiga and they both left the room. The atmosphere of the village had changed abruptly. The woman and the girl were puzzled. People started milling around them.

A plaintive voice, trembling with emotion arose in the background of the grave crowd.

Nera nera chupulake,” sang Devasena to her Mahendra.

(With your looks)

Karigi kadili neekai, bira bira vachitine…”

(I melted and running for you, I quickly came)

Tadi tadi kannulatho…”

(With tears and tears in my eyes)

Neepai vaali soli, tamakamu telipitine…”

(I beheld yourself, and revealed my feelings)

Na mathi maali doshamu jarigeo Vanamaali, yeddu ninnu podichepaapam antha nadenuraa… ” The words hung like a blade.

(My stubborn mind is the reason for this mistake happening… oh darling, the bull has hit you… the sin is mine alone…)

The people hung their heads like sunflowers at the end of the day. No one dared to look into the other’s eyes. Their Goddess was putting their son to sleep.

Kanna nidurincharana kanna nidurinchara… “ Devasena’s voice broke at the last note and she cried along with the baby. There was no meaning to these emotions, but still, they curled into each other and trembled. The air felt dry and heavy at the same time.

Her door opened. Karthiga stood there, silhouetted in the doorway. It was the darkest part of the night.

“Amma,” she called. Devasena sat up with Mahendra in her arms. Silence endured.

“They say that, that.. Ayya is killed,” she stammered and fell to her knees sobbing. Mahendra set off the crying for all the people in the village. Devasena sat absolutely still. She rose from her bed, held up her child.

The shadow of the Mother Goddess silently rose up close behind her. One step after the other was placed, and she did not know how. The people, her people trailed after her in droves as she walked out of the village.

Sometimes, her foot faltered and her body faced the danger of falling. But, she kept her steps steady. Mahendra screamed life into her limbs.

*

Sivagami Devi, the Queen Mother, felt her hands wetted. The deep red colour was still warm from the body it had come from. Her fingers tingled.

“Can we ever wash away these stains, Amma?” Kattappa asked hoarsely.

“Kattappa!” she shouted at the defeated figure in front of her.

“You have committed a mistake, Sivagami!” Kattappa yelled. His accusing finger was pointed directly at her, dripping with her child’s blood. His anguished eyes tore her heart apart. The Queen Mother’s throne vibrated of its own accord.

“What a terrible mistake have you committed?” It was a rhetorical question. “You hadn’t understood Bāhubali. You thought he was against you,” he cried. Her neck snapped upwards in shock.

“I was there. Right where he lay. The Emperor arrived,” he narrated.

“He spoke the following, ‘Rajamata! Mad-mata! I had her believe that you tried to kill me, and had her command your own death!’ He said that to the lifeless body of the one son who lived by your word, Amma.” The sobbing did not stop. There was no more reason for the sobbing to stop. Ever.

“At the grasp of death, he did not speak of the wife he had vowed to nor his unborn child. Do you know what he said?” Her slave asked.

Sivagami turned her glazed eyes to him.

“He told me, ‘Take care of Amma.’”

*

Devasena appeared at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Where she had renounced palace life. Where the people had welcomed her, along with their God and his unborn son, into their big hearts and homes. Mahendra snuffled like a puppy. She placed her right foot on the first step, like she was instructed to do when she had stepped into that palace as the wife of the Prince of Mahishmati.

The people did not follow her ahead. It was not their place. Cries and shouts rose up to the Throne Room doors. The heavens rebelled along with them. A bolt of lightning struck again as she appeared.

Kattappa and Sivagami looked to the dark eyes of the newcomer. The steel imparted onto Devasena’s vision by Amarendra spit fire into the air.

Kattappa raised his empty hands to his Goddess.

“With the hands into which you wanted to put your child and elevate this unworthy slave to the station of your father; with those very hands have I killed your husband, Amma!”

The End

I know, I know. I’m sorry. Please purchase a new box of tissues.

I felt that I should have heard Devasena’s side of this incident. Seeing as she was going through the birth of their child at the time her love became forever lost to her, it was necessary to write this.

Lots of tissues thrown your way,

Priya

PS : Sorry I took this long to post a normal post.

W-Log #4

8:55 am

Good morning everyone!

I am awake and ready to leave for office (thank God, it’s only ten minutes away). The main thing that is keeping me going today is forgiveness. I forgive myself for being such a procrastinator. I forgive myself for failing in a lot of my plans the past three days. I forgive my pressing needs for pushing into the time that I could be doing my fun tasks. I forgive everything.

I want to sharpen my focus and not let the cloudy, comfortable weather invite my laziness today. Tasks are up!

Today’s List

  1. Office
    • Fix current issue in Task 1
    • Special task 1 (this is getting out of hand)
    • Fun task 1 (YES! I waited for this stage of this task!)
    • Task 2 basics part 1
  2. Diet and Workout
    • Gym (please, PLEASE go?)
    • Diet shopping
    • Food prep
    • Jogging (this failed already)
  3. Writing
    • Prep 1 for next MS (do I need say more?)
    • Plan for fan-fiction story
    • Book 1 1k (reduced this)
    • Book 2 1k (and this)
  4. Reading

When one plans something and decides a time and place for it, and it does not happen, what does one do? Curl up and cry, curse and hit self on the head, or lie around in a lazy delusion that one would never accomplish it. It’s not gonna happen by itself, you know?

There is no magic in real life. Being a Potterhead myself, it wounds my heart to simply utter those words. But, it doesn’t stop them being true. There is NO MAGIC in real life. People cannot and should not expect things to happen for them if they do not move a muscle. That’s why today I forgave myself for being lazy and planning my day improperly. That’s why I woke up with an energy to conquer the sun today. That’s the secret.

Wake up and smell the roses. But, they’d be there only if you’d planted and watered them in the first place.

W-Log #3

9:17 am

Hello!

Happy Lazy Morning to everyone! I am properly awake only right now, because my tasks for yesterday ran late (and I still did badly) and my friends had a group chat going till midnight. I’ve been doing all my chores since 7:30 in a vague, zombie-like manner. But, that’s okay.

The rest of the day should be smooth. It better be.

The expected result of the day is lesser negatives. The list goes shorter and with more emphasis on Writing (I’m kicking myself for performing poorly on this for more than a while now).

Today’s List

  1. Office
    • Test current issue in Task 1
    • Special task 1 (you better at least start it today!)
    • Fun task 1 (hope the others show up)
    • Task 2 basics
  2. Diet and Workout
    • Gym (just make it to the gym, will ya?!?)
  3. Writing
    • Prep 1 for next MS (FINISH IT TODAY)
    • Plan for fan-fiction story
    • Book 1 2k
    • Book 2 2k
  4. Home
    • Laundry

Today’s idea is to add emphasis to my higher priority tasks (Office and Writing). The trick to making up for bad days is to have a priority list of your existing priorities. I know that you’re going to call me insane and obsessive. Hey, I do what I do because I like it. If you don’t like this way, just retain the tasks for the next day and pray for the best.

Lots of luck for a great day! 😀

11:57 pm

Whoa, what a long day! Okay, quick listing now.

  1. Office
    • Test current issue in Task 1 : Done, some left over (+7 points)
    • Special task 1 : Did NOT start it (-10 points)
    • Fun task 1 : Progress! (+10 points)
    • Task 2 basics : Nope (-5 points)
  2. Diet and Workout
    • Gym : NO (-10 points)
  3. Writing
    • Prep 1 for next MS : Not yet, move it out to a few days later (-5 points)
    • Plan for fan-fiction story : Not drafted, but, basically done (+7 points)
    • Book 1 2k (-5 points)
    • Book 2 2k (-5 points)
    • Discussion with photo editor for short story 1 : Great job! (+15 bonus)
  4. Home
    • Laundry : Did it! (+10 points)
  5. Reading
    • Half-complete the Alchemist : Yes! (+15 bonus)

Total = 64 – 40 = 24 points

Better than yesterday. But, still disappointing. I think I am in a Writer’s Block. Should work on that tomorrow.

Lesson of the day : Add priority to the high priority tasks when you find yourself slipping.

Grim determination,

Priyadarshni

 

A Blogger’s Voice

This post made me think of how I had felt when I started my old blog. Those were the most beautiful times!

Muddling Through My Middle Age

DSC00181When I was young and naive enough to believe I had a good shot at making a living as a free-lance writer, I attended lots of writer’s workshops.  They were always interesting, and some of the tips helped me place articles with local magazines and neighborhood newspapers.  I never did make a lot of money as a writer…my largest claim to fame was a short article in Bride’s magazine and the publication of one (count it, one) children’s book.  Still, I learned a lot in those workshops about writing, and especially about the delicate balance between giving an editor whatever he or she wants and developing my own unique “voice.”

The voice of an author is what distinguishes one writer’s work from everyone else’s.  It is what comes out when a writer taps into his or her deepest beliefs, inner-most fears, cherished dreams, etc.  It communicates the unique perspective of…

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W-Log #2

6:00 am

Good morning, World!

I’m fresh and upbeat today morning and I managed to wake 15 minutes before my alarm (yay!). Today’s strategy will learn off yesterday’s progress. My tasks will be broken down into pieces which would fit better into my result framework. And they will be easier to keep track of.

I think my upbeatness is owing to the fact that I ate a lean, protein-rich dinner (I should set an observation log going to analyse the effect of eating healthy!).

Okay, my goal for today is balancing of priorities. Let’s see the list.

Today’s List

  1. Office
    • Resolve current issue in Task 1 (breaking it down, see?)
    • Special task 1
    • Fun task 1 (don’t need to reminded of fun, right?)
  2. Diet and Workout
    • Diet shopping
    • Jogging
    • Gym
  3. Writing
    • Prep 1 for next MS (manuscript, like who doesn’t know THAT?)
    • Plan for fan-fiction story
  4. Reading
    • Finish and review Ove

As I see it, I start on a new category of tasks today. Remember folks, it’s all about balancing your priorities.

If you have a bunch of things to do and you are sharp and alert when you start them, go through them round-robin. That’s the easiest and not-so-dullening way to accomplish them.

Another important thing is balancing all your priorities. Say you have one huge thing due by the next day. You struggle with it all night. But then, the next day you find out that your milk has run out because you did not go shopping the previous day. So, you gotta balance your ‘categories’. If one thing is taking up your entire time, just pause and intersperse it with small tasks. Balance.

Good luck to me and you! Have a rockin’ day! 🙂

11:17 pm

I’m very sleepy right now. So, this will be a simple update.

  1. Office
    • Resolve current issue in Task 1 : Done, but, not perfect (+5 points)
    • Special task 1 : This hasn’t even been started (-10 points)
    • Fun task 1 : Other people haven’t started on it (-5 points)
  2. Diet and Workout
    • Diet shopping : Did that! (+10 points)
    • Jogging : Yes! (+10 points)
    • Gym : No (-10 points)
  3. Writing
    • Prep 1 for next MS : No time for this! (-10 points)
    • Plan for fan-fiction story : Same story (-10 points)
  4. Reading
    • Finish and review Ove : Finished (+10 points)
  5. Miscellaneous
    • Planned for career growth (+15 bonus)

Total = 50 – 45 = 5 points

I mean, what good is that? Seriously, Priya! I am super-angry with you. Seems like yesterday’s lesson hasn’t sunk in yet.

Lesson of the day : Balance different kinds of priority tasks. And, never EVER forget previous lessons.

Lots of self-directed anger,

PPD