Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Lady of Light - VII

To read the previous chapter, click hereTo begin at the beginning, click here

I was crying in my mother's arms when we were summoned by the king. My parents had arrived post-haste on hearing of my kidnapping and safe return. While my mother consoled me my father was busy capturing Manas, which wasn't easy despite many power wielders including the Rajguru putting their power behind him. He seemed to be weaving a  web around their minds, weakening their skills. He was also in my mind, constantly pleading with me to believe in his innocence. "I didn't harm your uncle. I wasn't aware he was still alive. We thought he was dead," he said.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part VI

To begin at the beginning, click here. To read the previous chapter, click here.

I fought hard to not lose my consciousness. I felt the spirit of my grandmother aiding me by lending some light. But it was feeble and light. I felt drained from the effort and realised with a shock that I didn't know what my power was since light wasn't responding to my need.

I felt something scrape my hand. I stared at the star that seemed to be twinkling in my hand. I didn't remember picking it up. I couldn't even remember where I had kept it and yet here it was. I looked around me and realised that I was in a teleportal and the voice that had beckoned me had vanished. But I felt that I was heading towards whoever had called me. I felt fear for the first time in the truest sense. I was alone and this reeked of a kidnap. When I could protect an entire army, how was I so weak and vulnerable when it came to my own safety?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part V

For reading from the beginning, click here. For reading the previous chapter, click here.

My mother was so excited and proud of me. She made it sound as if she had always expected great things from me. But when Rajguru asked her about the war and my role, she couldn't say in what way I had contributed. There seems to have been some blanket amnesia about anything that I might have done. Or, I thought, I had played no role and people were pinning false hopes on me. I played along, or rather, I was made to play along.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part IV

(This is part IV of a series. To read from the beginning, click here. To read the previous episode, click here.)

Was there thunder and lightning? Did the earth burst forth? Did realisation dawn on me? Was I suddenly elevated to some noble status?

Nyet. Nada.

I was trudging up a difficult hill behind the two men as they discussed me as if I was not there and how to present me to our King who lived atop the hill. Soon we were at the gates and the soldiers bowed deeply before letting us in. Not to me, who was lucky enough to gain entry because of these exalted me.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part III

Continued from Part II

The conversation during dinner was stilted and stiff. I was relieved to be asked to quickly pack a bag, a backpack, with barest essentials. I thought my mother will come with me to help me but she remained behind. When I went down again, she was sitting on the large couch, alone. I went up to her and stood uncertainly. "Ma," I said softly.

She looked up and a flame burned in her two eyes. Then she closed her eyes for a second and pulled me onto her lap in an embrace me. "I am sorry, Deepika," she whispered. "I just need time to get used to it... Oh, my Tara... I am terribly sorry. These things are not in our hands. We just play the role..." She stopped. This is precisely what Manas had also told her. She sighed. "Do well... Your grandmother taught me much. I know you always felt her life was futile... I can't say I understand it either. But she was very dignified and graceful about it... Never forget," my mother whispered. "They are waiting for you outside. I love you," she said and cried as she hugged me once more before letting me go.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part II

Continued from last week. If you have not read Part I, Click here

When I came to, I felt so embarrassed! There had been a battle. Even the half-drunk fighters had mustered enough of their powers to keep the enemies at bay, but all I had done was swoon, not to get up till everything was over. And when I did, I felt as if I had fought a war! I felt so weak and helpless.

I was still in the dining room, waiting for the others to return. My hand trembled as I tried to sip a glass of water. The weary fighters returned one by one. Some were injured. Luckily no one was dead. I quietly slipped away before anyone noticed me and went back to bed. The exhaustion and shame made me take cover. Hopefully, I could pretend I did not know about the fight. I am sure my parents will not give me away. As I wallowed in self-pity, I thought of my maternal grandmother and started understanding a little about why she would be so quiet when tales of fights were exchanged. She would go off to the kitchen and cook up large meals on such occasions.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Lady of Light - Part I

I stepped out into the garden, looking up at the stars, the hazy clouds drifting like veil, and the crescent moon engraved against the black sky. The night wove its magic around me as I drifted towards the fragrant magnolia tree in the centre of the garden. My heart was brimming with a mix of emotions - joy, anticipation, apprehension, excitement - I had just turned 18. The age when I would know if I was worth anything. It could be revealed to me today, or any day in the next six months. If nothing happened, I was doomed to a life of ordinariness, serving the more privileged.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Song of Silence

On 22d March, when the curfew was announced for the first time during this Corona virus crisis, I woke up and what hit me was the silence. Not even birds chirped. No dogs barking or cats mewling. Of course, there was no vehicular noise, which was to be expected.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fight for the Right to Live

"What shall we do?" they despaired. "Can God really accept this? So much suffering?"

"God helps those who help themselves," one rebel said and a few others nodded in agreement.

An elder was offended. "Do you think we have not done enough?"

"The world wouldn't have come to this state if you had done what you should have!" the rebel protested vehemently.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Miss Calculation

Ranjana looked through the file and glanced up at Jha, her PA. "Who sent this request?"A diminutive figure, the large chair in the Ministry of Home Affairs of the state vested in her authority that she seemed quite capable of handling.

"Madam, the state head of the Nation First party," the PA replied deferentially.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

To Be Still

Waves after waves
of one thought or another
animated and excited
strike me in succession.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My Beauty Queen

Every time you looked at me, I thought, ah, you love me. Love at first sight, it was, wasn't it?

But you were only seeing yourself. Did you like what you saw? That smile that caressed your lips, so slow, so full of love, admiring... Wasn't it me who made you feel that way? Made you feel like a queen? As if the world began and ended with you? Don't you owe it to me?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

And Thus Flows Life

Radhika and Satvik looked at the antique showcase they had just bought with immense satisfaction. Rearranging the room to make space for it had been challenging, and it was with great regret that they gave away two low chairs to accommodate this giant piece.

"All your books can come here," Satvik said pointing at the two sides. "All my showpieces can take the inside shelves. We can keep the big Nataraja idol here in the centre."

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