The royal man and the arrack seller’s daughter.

He was royal.
An Indian steeped in British blood whose family owned lands as far as the eye could see and lived a life of great luxury. He loved his whisky and drank it everyday, and for some reason on that particular day he ran out.
Left with no choice, he drove to the little local liquor store to get freshly home-brewed liquor.

She was poor and too young to sit at her father’s arrack shop.
In fact she never did sit there, but for some particular reason on that day, her mother and father were out and when he came in to ask for liquor, only her hands came out of the little wood opening to serve him.
He saw just her fragile beautiful hands and fell in love. He wanted to know who they belonged to and just how beautiful could the woman who had such hands be.

He came back the next day, saw her and he knew. He asked for that very hand.
When he proposed the idea to the church, they said, “It’s Lent, this isn’t the time to get married.”, but he cared little for such rules, got married and took her home.
In true movie style, his family was outraged saying, “If you choose to be with someone from the street, you’re free to leave the house.”

And he did. He went to one of their many lands which had two little rooms and turned to her, ” Well this is going to be our home darling.”
She looked around and there was no electricity, there was almost nothing.
He took his grandmother out the next day for a few drinks, got her drunk and got her to sign that land’s paper on his name. They had a home to live in now.

For the next 50years that was their home, and as my friend invites me to the mansion that now stands on that land overlooking the vast coffee plantations, telling me the story of two great lovers, her mother and father..
She also tells me of the time when she chose wrong in love.
Her mother who knew exactly what it is like to love a soulmate deeply, told her outside the church door, “Sweety forget about the people gathered here or the money spent, if you take two steps back instead of two steps forward, I’m with you. Don’t worry about a thing, I’ll call this off.”
She looked into her mother’s eyes and said, “I’d like to go ahead.”
Her mother sighed, made the sign of the cross and walked in with her.

Her mother was right and after what almost seemed like an eternity of pain and separation – she found the one with whom her soul was twined by God’s very hands and the house was once again filled with great love and magic.
“My mother and father are so happy.”, she says to me.
“How do you know that? They aren’t here anymore.”
“They are with me always. I feel their spirit smiling.”, she says as if death were only a door into life.
The hot wax from the candle lit to her father in prayer, seeps out from beneath and forms a perfect heart.
The two great lovers are happy, that their daughter found love as great as theirs.

What inspired a man of great wealth to trade the world for a woman, just by seeing her hands? Was it not great love?

by SHENAZ WAHID

Advertisements

Everest is conqured, but not Machapuchare.

Z and I are walking around the Annapurna mountain ranges, when he gets his first glimpse of Machapuchare. He points out like a child would an elephant, “Look the fishtail, Machapuchare.” It’s beautiful I think, but he is besotted by its allure, always waiting for the clear skies to reveal to him, his favorite mountain.

He doesn’t know why he loves Machapuchare, he just does, like a love that needs no reasoning. Our local guide Mr.Indra tells us, “No one has ever been able to reach the peak of Machapuchare. Sometimes the first leg set onto it gets broken. Often those who went, never returned. Or those who did, were injured and unable to reach its summit. Planes and helicopters don’t fly over it, because of its powerful magnetic force. And now the Nepalese government has banned all trekkers from climbing its mystery mountain.”

However Mr. Indra, did have a morbid love for dark stories concerning death, so I looked up what Wikipedia had to say, just incase he was indulging himself. “Machapuchare has never been climbed to its summit. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team led by Jimmy Roberts. Climbers Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox climbed to within 50 m of the summit via the north ridge, but did not complete the ascent; they had promised not to set foot on the actual summit. Since then, the mountain has been declared sacred to Lord Shiva, and it is now forbidden to climbers.” It is not always the tallest mountains that are the mightiest (with all respect to Everest).

Something that Machapuchare holds within itself, is its own little secret that remains a mystery and allows none to tread upon it. Bare without footsteps in the company of the sky, we respect the mystery of its virgin peak. Sometimes instead of questioning how or why, you have to just revere mystery. We let the mystery be mysterious to itself, often like it is to be human. Science, Art and Philosophy; all explain their own idea of why we’re here and what we’re doing. Darwin would say Life is but the process of natural selection and Evolution. Ask the great Persian poet Rumi, and he would say life’s purpose is to Love. Many don’t even look further than the roles assigned to them by society that follow a prescribed order. Each has his own explanation, the poet and the scientist, the musician and the philosopher, but life itself goes on to be a mystery like Machapuchare.

by SHENAZ WAHID

photography ZAHID BARI