Wednesday 19 February 2014

Queen Of Spades- Part 12

Story so far...

This is the story of Queen Velu Nachiyar- expelled from her own Kingdom of Sivagangai and roaming the hilly terrain of Dindugul, after 8 years, she musters the army of Hyder Ali under Syed Sahib and Gopala Naicker of Virupakshi. The final onslaught in Sivagangai saw the sad demise of Kuyili, the best friend of the Queen and a crestfallen Queen offers her support to Periya Marudhu who is devastated by the suicide of the love of his life- Kuyili.
Marudhu Pandiyar- Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu- the Heroes of Poligars
" Why is she here?", he thought with abandon. He was miserable by himself. He spring up swiftly, bowing before the Queen. " You should not be here at this time, Nachi", he gently chided. Velu Nachi looked at the drooping shoulders and haggard look. These haunted eyes, drawn face and tired body- this was not Periya Marudhu. A complete stranger. " You loved her, didn't you?", she whispered. 

Periya Marudhu stood silent, his head bent. " She took away everything from me, Periya Marudhu", her voice was barely audible. " There will be no one that i can look up to. No one whom i can trust with all my heart and no one who can feel my heart", her voice was trembling by now. Periya Marudhu stood helpless watching silent tears stream down Nachi's face. " So do i feel", he clipped and looked away, unable to bear the Queen crying. The last time he saw her cry was when she held the body of a lifeless Muthuvadunagathan, which reminded him of the job at hand. 

" Tomorrow, we shall enter the Palace, Nachi...Tomorrow, Sivagangai will be totally ours. Kuyili died for us. All of us. Poligars will show the British that we have the might, the power and the determination to win back our Kingdom. Now please, go back to the tents. This one night, will be our last as a vagabonds and outcasts. Tomorrow, we enter our home. Sleep peacefully, Nachi. We have Vellachi to take care of", Periya Marudhu spoke, breaking the silent pal.

With a silent nod, Velu Nachi moved away gracefully. Periya Marudhu was left with the silent night, a desolate soul staring at the full moon above, lost in memories of the pretty damsel who was reduced to ashes. He knew the British never stood a chance with all their ammunition gone, thanks to Kuyili. Before reinforcements arrive from Madurai or Tirupathur, they could gain control of the Palace easily. A million thoughts filled his already foggy brain and he closed his eyes, too tired to think.

The morning sun's rays bathed the city of Sivagangai in hues of orange and peach as the army of Velu Nachiyar set out for the Palace. The cavalry set out first, followed by the pachyderms and the infantry followed last. The Queen sat in her favorite white stallion, marching ahead with Periya Marudhu following suit closely. Chinna Marudhu had effectively captured Thirupathur Fort and proclaimed Poligar supremacy. It was the last battle for freedom, the Queen smiled and nudged her stallion forward. 

The city of Sivagangai remained cold and silent, people following the advancing army in hordes. As the Palace gates drew near, the crowd had swelled to thousands chanting "Vetri Vel! Veera Vel!" There was no resistance at all from the tiny British army that hid in the Palace. The Nawab's forces who were already under paid and dissident, joined the Queen's army. 

As she entered the threshold of the Palace, Velu Nachi looked up, her eyes squinted against the blazing sun. Memories of a bygone period came swimming before her eyes and tears glistening in her tired eyes, she turned back to look at Periya Marudhu, close in her heels. Periya Marudhu felt the tinge of happiness as he saw his beloved Queen's face writ with happy tears. He had waited eight long years for this day. 

He touched his sword acknowledging victory and smiled at the Princess who followed him. The little Princess Vellachi who had left this Palace as a small girl was now a grown beautiful woman and now he had responsibilities to take care of. He was now the Protector of the Queen and the Princess of Sivagangai and by God, he will stand by them, till death. The sun blazed on as the cavalry filed into the Palace with chants of victory, the men and women dancing.

The battle of Poligars for Sivagangai was won in the year 1780. Queen Velu Nachiyar made Marudhu brothers her Chief Ministers who ruled the Sivagangai Kingdom until the invasion of British again in 1790, to avenge the asylum granted to Oomadurai, the brother of King Veerapandia Kattabomman. Queen Velu Nachiyar died in reins few years later, before the British invasion, circumstances of her death, unknown. Though documented as the first Queen who rose against the British rule in Indian Independence struggle, nothing much has been acknowledged by masses of India. Rani of Jhansi revolted against the British well after 70 years from the times of Velu Nachiyar. To me, Queen Velu Nachiyar is the doyen of Indian Freedom Struggle and Kuyili is one woman whose life i shall remember every time I am knocked down and I rise up again :)


p.s.: Hope this makes you happy, KP sir. I completed this series after so many breaks! My respects to you and your doggedness in cajoling me complete the series. Respects!

Look for the earlier parts here-

Queen Of Spades- Part 11
Queen Of Spades- Part 10
Queen of Spades- Part 9
Queen Of Spades- Part 8
Queen of Spades- Part 7
Queen Of Spades- Part 6
Queen Of Spades- Part 5
Queen Of Spades- Part 4
Queen Of Spades- Part 3
Queen Of Spades- Part 2
Queen Of Spades- Part 1

Tuesday 18 February 2014

The Red Balloons

Holding the balloons, she stared at the black overcast skies. All she could see was the gloom and pall. The last time she had seen her, the little one had waved gleefully at her, sitting on his lap.He...the man who was the hero of her dreams. The man who held her hands through those days of struggle. The man who stood by her side whenever she was down. The man who wiped away her tears of remorse and regret. Yet...who is now a total stranger. Will he turn up? She almost pulled out her hair in despair trying to think of one rational solution to the problem on hand- the starry eyed two year old baby- their baby.

When they met...

Today was the Our Lady Of Snows Festival and he was elated. Happy to the core, a beaming youth brimming with energy and love for adventure, he set foot in his best pal's house. The street was teaming with people and that is when he spotted her amid the crowd. Bargaining with the balloon seller there she stood- all of childish innocence and content writ largely on her cherubic face with baby fat still showing in her cheeks. The red saree she wore showed no justice to her tiny figure and she looked straight from a fairy tale- Alice in a red saree. He chuckled to himself and steered through the crowd to pull her braid. He loved doing that, scaring her and making her angry...he loved those two eyes go red with anger...creases forming on her forehead and wished he could kiss those trembling lips- some day. He would marry her, by God. He would convince his best pal to get the hand of his loving sister...the little red balloon lover.

Few months later...

The bus screeched to a halt and she got down. She had already called him and her searching eyes felt relief the moment she saw him. There he stood,awaiting her, his face masked and troubled. "You shouldn't have ran away like this...", he hissed under his breath and saw tears swimming in her eyes. He felt instantly sorry. " We are not so rich to support us. Nor do i have a proper job", he explained, as silent tears rolled along her cheeks. He hated to see tears in her eyes. " Tell me you don't want me. I shall find my own way", she blurted out indignant. Firebrand, he chuckled to himself. Holding her hand, looking at her eyes, all he could say was, " Come, let us go home".

Few months later...

Life had never been so terrible, she thought as she rinsed the clothes one last time before hanging them dry. Life was so miserable it could get, she wrung the clothes in angry desperation. He leaves every morning for his driving job at early mornings and comes back home late at nights, when she is half asleep. She hated the long days when she had to cook, clean and run for the bus that took her to the supermarket where she toiled twelve hours a day, standing with her legs weighing her down. There were no light in her eyes. No love in her life.

 Happiness had long left her and sleep had deprived her. She still wished to play with the red balloons. Red...reminded her of that day when she lay in a pool of red, at the landing, having hurtled down the stairs. He discovered her five hours later...unconscious and the fruit of their love lost...Pain shot through her as she shut her eyes to that painful thought and turned to face the next customer with a smile.

Few months later...

The sound of her crying baby woke her and she looked at the little angel. Contentment filled her as she hugged the little one. He rarely stayed home, toiling for bread and she respected his commitment for family. Now that she had left her job, all she had was her baby to care for and her mobile phone to play with.

Few months later...

He was their mutual friend, much younger to her husband and she welcomed his frequent visits home. Her husband never seemed to find the time for small talks and little kind gestures. Unknowingly, she was falling for this new man in her life. It was all wrong, it was all confusing, yet she was falling down. The loneliness of days and the loveless nights were getting on her nerves. She found comfort in the wrong hands and before she knew what was happening...she was astride a bus, holding her baby, with the wrong man.

Life is one cruel game. Her husband stood at the threshold of her parental home, the same place where she had played with the red balloons. After an hour long cajoling and pressurizing from her relatives, she handed over her baby to him. The look of plain hatred and anger that her husband shot her, would haunt her till her death. 

Little raindrops fell on her red balloons. She sat still, a statue bathed in the rain. Her husband had promised to come. To show her the baby. To show her what she lost. To show her how dreadful a guilt she carried. Yet, he did not come. She had waited for hours. Silent and lost. All she had now were a bunch of red balloons and a bundle of guilt. Tears streamed down her face as the rain washed them away. The red balloons drooped down, yet she clutched them tight. She might play with her girl, some day, with these red balloons...

p.s.: Read the past in red and present in case you are confused
p.p.s.: This is definitely not fiction
p.p.p.s.: Had a great Valentine's Day...thank you darling L!

Saturday 15 February 2014

A Valentine's Wish

Every silent tear
I could sail through
With words of care
Flowing from you.

Sands of time
Trickle away
Bells that chime
Show our way.

Of Countless dreams
And silent nights in need
Too long it seems
A dozen years indeed...

Life is not all of candles
Teddies and roses
Every turn with hurdles
Trouble it imposes...

My rock in dismay-
All i know is only you
Come what may
I will always love you...
Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Windshield declarations ;)

Tangy Tuesdays

Adjusting the rear view mirror, I smile. The smile grows to a knowing smirk as I slow down deliberately to look at the spectacle. One more four wheeled visiting card! This game of reading and pondering at the subtle hints and admiring the guts of the propagandists, allures me as usual. Right from the absurd ‘ ondi karuppu thunai’ to the atrocious ‘kiss me’ stencilled on the glass panes of cars, the new gamut of globe-trotting Indians never fail to amuse me.

And boy they are a funny lot- a mixed bag of lunatics. One professes his undying passion for cricket with Sachin written across and there is one who proffers his love for his mom-‘ mom’s gift’! Once in a while I do come across the name of the owner complete with qualification. Here it goes- ‘ Senthil, MA., BL. OK, Mr. Senthil, we know you depleted your daddy’s hard earned money finishing that law degree. But I ain’t no advocate to appoint you as my assistant! For Heaven’s sake, use your degree in your visiting card. Not at the 50 cmx 50 cm space at the back of your poor car...

Let’s forgive Mr. Senthil this once, how about Mr. Hari, who thinks his only achievement in life are his off springs- here goes his car with sticker that reads- Hari, Banu, Janu. So far so nice, Mr. Hari. But what is the crime Jimmy committed? How dare you omit his name? Just because he bit off your ex’s right toe, mistaking it for a coveted bone, you omitted his name from the car name list. How could you?? So mean, so very mean…and by the way, I know why you named your daughter Banu…wink*!

 There is one more breed- the devouts. Religion is so important that they forget cars run on fuel. The cars they drive run on ‘spiritual’ ahem…petrol. The trust these fanatics place on their gods and goddesses can put hermits and sages to shame. The trust they place on their Supremes is so great that all they want to see when hit by a truck is a shortcut to God that is written on the front windshield. When they are hit, they can just double click on the ‘ Bannari Amman Thunai’ written on the front window with their opening cranium and reach the Lotus feet of Lord! Wow…what a short cut! The funniest of these is of course “Bodyguard Muneeswaran thunai”. Now can you beat that? Do I say other religions don’t profess their profound love for God? Yes, they do.

It was 2am and I was fast asleep along with the other occupants of the car. There is a loud thud…car grunts to a knowing rhythm and I am wide awake looking at the QUEEN OF ANGELS sticker of my car. My subconscious sees the off white, budget- costumed angels flapping their wings and pulling me up as the high budget, milk white, Vera Wang- clad Queen of Angels sporting a pout at me! Thankfully they realised it was the wrong car seeing the rosary hanging above my head and faded away. Wasn’t I saved by the sticker? Tell me, folks* wink*!!

And how do you tell the world that you are taken? Paint it in your car, of course! “I love Nandini” appears as a bolt out of the blue, definitely an upgrade from proclamations in the train toilets! How do you call for potential applicants? Simple- stencil your bbm number on your car’s back or your mobile number with funky names- ‘lover boy’ or ‘romance king’ complete with a heart logo pierced with an arrow ;) Oh! The lasses come tumbling down at your feet. Don’t forget to write the ultimate dialogue- ‘hypothecated to- State Bank of India’. Oh dear…we know your CIBIL rating thanks to your car proclamations! Do you have to tell the entire world you own an air conditioned car? No, you know pretty well the whole wide world owns AC cars. But there are morons who still think they are Bill Gates and stencil in huge font- A/C...

Next time you see a car zipping past, check the windshields. Will jolly good bring you a smile ;) What best could you get in life while waiting for someone or whiling away time in a small walk? Let the windshields bring you happiness!

p.s.: I am afraid I have become extremely lazy with my blog...but do i care? Nah!
p.p.s.: I am in the process of learning how to survive in a Government Organisation, amid all the politics and back stabbing. Boy! looks like a game of chess where you are playing the white and every other person you come across making a check-mate! Phew! Makes me sick :(
p.p.p.s.: Valentine's Day fast approaching and this is a reminder...ahem...I know you are reading this post honey ;) Awaiting your gift :P