I'm delighted to announce that a story, Maestro, is published in the Jan issue of the CWC West Valley newsletter.
All thanks to Kathy Highcove, a colleague in the IWW.
A citadel by the sea. Built in the 16th C.
A seat of Portuguese power for centuries.
And then won over by the Marathas in the 1700’s, in a bloodless coup.
What a tremendous, busy, IMPORTANT place it must have been.
The carriages rolling past, the ladies in rustling silks.
The click of the cavalcade, boots marching in formation.
Church bells ringing out. Hymns from the many convents and chapels.
Bazaars and conference rooms, offices of dignitaries. Stately grandeur.
Just the quiet. And the cry of the bulbul. The rushed wings of egrets soaring tree high.
Walls in ruins. Just arches and outlines. Solitary bell towers and facades.
Sunlight and shadows on worn stone.
Some repair work- forget restoration, they’re using cement. And factory made concrete blocks in place of stone.
One church has been reclaimed. Rebuilt, using modern materials. A service is in progress.The teak doors are gone, the walls are cement-plastered. Who allowed this? Is this better than the walls
falling apart? I have no answers.
In rare spots, you can still see some chisel work. Floral designs and niches. In which age would the rest have been carted away?
And the chatter of sundry bird-watchers, stalking about, disturbing the dead.
What amazing trees. Trees all a jumble. Species I’ve never seen before, that tall silver tree, sentinel like, all branches, no leaves…later I learn this is a native of Madagascar.
So many palms. Date trees. Mango trees. Jumbles of undergrowth and trees, impenetrable. Beyond all these, the shadows of ghosts flitting past.The forest has reclaimed what it owned.
You step gingerly on worn stone steps, many broken.
From the ramparts, the view is beautiful. Green and gold as far as the eye can see.
Watch with envy the sheer energy of that 65-year old, the hardiest and most confident of the group.
Later, you realize you’ve missed out on the tombstones and the two gates. Next time, perhaps.
The best pictures are here.
After a while, my camera malfunctioned. Perhaps in the rightness of things.
A big thanks to BNHS for making this possible.