Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Royal Detours – Parul Upadhyaya


A very long and tiring day, yielding to nothing… again…

I rang the bell of my flat, and my roommate hidden behind some face pack opened it. Unable to move her facial muscles, she gestured a ‘hi’. I mumbled something incomprehensible, threw my bag on the couch and slouched in a resting chair in the balcony. She came up to me patted on my shoulder stirring in an imaginary mug in her hand.

I don’t want coffee. I want to stay here for some time.” I said, trying not to sound irritated.

I was exhausted… completely crushed by the circumstances. A strange numbness was encompassing me. I closed my eyes in resignation.

A vast expanse of green grass…

I opened my eyes with a start… checked my pulse. No sweat, normal heart beat. The only trace of green was my roommate’s ‘Save Planet’ t-shirt on the drying rack.

Confused, I closed my eyes again.

I am there once more, live and ticking. A little taller, more slender and delicate, dressed in a beautiful ivory flowing dress, I am sitting on a white bench belonging to the Victorian era. Tea and some snacks are laid out on the table. A lady dressed in a white saree is making tea for me, head bowed, hands firm and practiced.

I don’t want to have tea, and I tell her so. She stops and steps back, no longer a part of my view.  I take in the beautiful expanse in front of me.

It is 7:30 in the morning. The grass is still wet with mist from last night. Winters are approaching and an impending coldness can be felt in the breeze. The sky is a clear blue with hues of white and the Sun is soft. It is green as far as I can see, and there are white chubby rabbits foraging absorbedly in the lawns.

I get up and set off barefoot to the rose gardens at a distance. I can feel the wet grass on my feet. The freshness of the grass seems to permeate from my skin into my being. I feel light, uplifted…. There is calmness in my heart. I think I live in the palace adjoining this garden. I feel at ease strolling there, like it is home.

The roses are in full bloom, organized in files, their colors intermingling to make a huge natural bouquet of sorts. There are white roses complementing the purple ones… pink roses complementing the orange ones… red roses radiant alongside the black ones… there is a pervading fragrance all over the place…

A small cabana awaits at some distance from here. I walk up to it. It has a low roof, a little more than my height, and is surrounded by golden brown drapes of delicate silk, embroidered intricately with dark brown silk thread. The drapes are light and sway gracefully with the breeze. It’s surprisingly cozy inside. There are some cushions kept in the middle. A violin resting nearby.

I pick the violin and start playing a familiar symphony…

I open my eyes, smiling indulgently. I wasn’t sleeping, I am sure of that. It wasn’t a dream… at least not the kinds you see unconscious of the fact that you’re seeing it. I was aware of everything happening. I was guiding my steps in the garden… exploring the place as I liked. I knew the palace adjoining the garden as my own. I also knew who I was in my vision.

I could feel some vigor in my body, emanating from my spine. I sprang out of the chair, walked back into the room. My roommate was sprawled on the couch, flipping the channels of TV.

I thought you wanted to stay there for some time, but you’re back already?”

Yeah, I stayed long enough…feel rested…” I replied, smiling magnanimously… “You had coffee?”

No… am not making it for just myself…”

Superb! I’ll make it for us then…”

From the princess herself!” she said, lost in some sloppy serial.

I turned, surprised…

Indeed” I said, smiling to myself.

And I went happily to the kitchen, humming the tune I was playing a few minutes back.

Editorial Team of Indian Ruminations.



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