Reminiscing Rajasthan

One thing I have noticed about writing blogs. Once you start to lag behind in posting entries, it just keeps piling up and it becomes increasingly difficult to start it up again as the gap starts widening. After a while you get so out of practice that its almost like starting afresh. My brain loves to procrastinate and I may be one of the rare human beings, I hope anyway, who can lie around in a mud pit all day long and call it bliss… oink.

Summer is nearing its end here in Bhopal and the days are starting to get shorter. There is an expectant feel to the air as the seasons change to usher in a new winter. Though it is not getting cooler by any means, it is starting to get more tolerable in the mornings and evenings. Every evening I have to get up a few minutes earlier to switch on the lights outside. I am a summer person at heart and I could happily pass my days in an old colonial courtyard on the edge of Rajasthan’s Thar desert with the rolling sand dunes for my sole visual delight.

I grew up in Rajasthan and I have a precious memory from my childhood of spending a summer on the edge of its desert. My aunt was posted there as the principal of a government school and we had gone to visit her during a summer break. She had lived in a single story walled house with a huge courtyard as was the custom in that area at the time. All the rooms were on the three insides of a nearly square walled structure of stone with a huge gate in the middle of the fourth wall. I think she had almost ten rooms all lined up one after the other on the three sides. The courtyard took up most of the space, it was huge. There was a well in the middle and several large trees around it. Looking back, I remember the bliss and not much detail, I must have been five or six.

It was blistering during the days and freezing during the nights. After the evening meals, we used to light a fire in the courtyard and sit around it wrapped in blankets till it was time to sleep. Every day my aunt’s caretakers used to tell us ghost stories and the stories of constellations above us. The stars used to be so clear and close that I could almost touch them with my finger if I raised it up. There was no electricity there at the time and we used to walk around at night with lanterns that used to come up to my knees. Everything was magic and my imagination used to soar forever in that place.

There were dilapidated forts and castles of ancient kings all around us in that area and we used to pack lunch and go exploring on most days. There are a lot of forts in Rajasthan. Of course, nothing of value has remained there after all this time but since the structures are made of stone in a arid land, they have survived fairly preserved as mute witnesses to their ancient glory. Even the underground dungeons of those dynasties have lasted for anyone who wants to explore.

For me it’s a happy place full of safety and gleeful childish abandon, growing up in the land of the kings.

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