Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Time, please

The clash of steel on steel. Neighs of skittish horses. Dust storms and cries. Thundering hoofs, caprisioned elephants running in mad anger. An army in disarray. The front has given way. An emperor out to battle, backed by an army of peasants and a few knave noblemen. An emperor more familiar with the delicate phrasing of a line of poetry, and fine latticework than the stratagem of war. A battle that his cunning brother has long planned to win. You weep when he is finally cornered and put in chains, dragged through the wide avenues of his capital in filthy clothes. For the last few days I’ve told myself that the battle was over a long time ago, in the 17th century. That it is silly to mourn Dara Shikoh, dead so long. But what a superb account. Does reading aloud make the grief more real? The past is, afterall, the past, folded over and put away. I am sure to remember this account over the weekend when I watch from a distance, that retinue of jesters, sycophants and sundry hangers-on. Time extracts what it is due. I should finish this book quickly and move to something solidly real-life, like the stock market.

Holi? Cleaned the kitchen, remembered riotous past celebrations when one looked like a ghost by mid-morning, Sang all the hori and holi-related garbas I could remember. Since I could recall only two, on and on it went in a loop.

17 comments:

Ricercar said...

when i come here i think - wish i cud be like u - in some ways - only :P

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Although he was liberal and scholarly and had eclectic views etc, Dara Shukoh was no babe in the woods...as far as I can remember my History. He was an equal and very willing participant in the war of succession, every bit as much as Auregnzeb. If anything, because of his extreme closeness to his father, he may have even harboured notions of greater rights on the throne. But, as you say, he met a rather sad end but, then, that's the kind of time he lived in too.

I've studied this too long ago so pliss to excuse if I'm wrong...memory, after all, can let you down badly when you need it, right? :-)

austere said...

WHY? Ricer! That is very sweet. in some ways only. :)


Mr Ghost. I commend your grasp, specially since I've left all that I learnt in college within the textbooks I was taught from.
No. He certainly wasn't a babe in the woods. Heir apparent and favoured. But as a person, not cut out for the cut and thrust of court intrigue.Did he even have a choice? Perhaps he'd have been a happier human as a court painter or a translator.
This is the City of Djinns effect. Should wear off in some time.

E said...

I hope it does, like the colours or the absence thereof of Holi...and flirtatious advances, like those of a now bouncing back stockmarket. This is very well written again Austere.

P.S. I am scared of ghosts. Even mid-morning ones.

austere said...

e- the market is not getting back in line at all. Djinns, you meant? Thanks.

E said...

In that case Austere the operative word is "Buy". No the 'Holi' and unholy ghosts :D!

Proxima said...

Sounds tragic, but even tragedy has it's place among us.
-P

austere said...

e- good luck, YOU buy.The indices are see-sawing around all the time and its too much. Dont mind the histrionics, please.

proxima- yes, it does. also gives perspective on events and puts things in scale.

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Now I'm going to have to start reading aloud... only my accent won't be anywhere near as intriguing as yours, I'm sure. They say the southern drawl is one of the least intelligent sounding accents around! Maybe you can start recording you reading aloud and email me the files. Then I, too, can share in the wonderful world you bring to life.

Hope your days are happy... thanks for another beautiful post!

manuscrypts said...

its only in very few cases that i'm able to think of the characters in history as actual people... most recently when i finished the ramayana series and was following up online the proofs/hypotheses of the historical existence of rama, ravana et al..

mago said...

Hello Austere, just posted a text about all those witches.

austere said...

Mago- I read it. thanks. :)

manu- this was such a good man, maybe the course of the country's history would have been differen, who knows?

Christina- grin. then my recording will feature guffaws, side comments, and sudden changes in pitch and volume. ha. Plus dunno how to. But thanks. Not too bad, that southern accent, I think.

Prajakta said...

Hey Austy,
Clean up durin holi, i did it too :-) & went for a small celbn here.
BTW, whatz "time please"? Is it like u say when u play a game? Mera gyan badhao plz.

austere said...

prajakta- yes, it is like when you're out of breath and ask for time. Is also generally time please. confusing, na?

wah will read up abt holi in Koln/ prague/? in some time...:)

manuscrypts said...

austere: hmm, have wondered the same about bose too..

austere said...

Possibly. And the Sardar too, if he were the pm? and If Gandhiji had lived longer? Who knows?

It's like that line, "neither thy piety nor thy wit.."