Hark! She Speaks

This week for Becca’s Sunday Trees I bring one that has probably witnessed history that continues to hold significance today – from the precincts of the famous Chittor fort. I have previously shared several visuals from this place earlier as well but this particular tree overlooks the Sati sthal on one side and Jauhar kund on the other. I could not bear to take photos of the place where women burnt themselves along with the dead bodies of their husbands or jumped into it for fear of rape and slavery by plunderers and victors of wars.

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Hark! She Speaks

I can tell you

tales of brave

helpless women

Sending off their men

to wage battles

of honor and pride

Fasting and praying

for his victory

and

his long life

They were but

One soul,

one body.

If he died, she would

burn with him

if he lost, it was Jauhar,

for her

and her children

As the spoils of war

it behooved her

to embrace death

to protect her

dignity and honor

and

save them

the dishonor

of failing to protecting her.

Times have changed

The world has progressed

They educate her

indulge her

pamper her and

cheer for her as she shatters

One glass ceiling after another

But under the sheen

lurks a beast

that seeks to

subjugate her with

attitudes and mentalities

that are passed off

as our culture and

sanskriti

All said and done

it is still her duty

to uphold their honor

And his right to defile hers

it is her duty to bear it silently

to shield their bestiality

so that they can continue to

hold up their heads in society

She is still blamed

and shamed

Be silent

Or be silenced

remains the

unsaid mantra

Since the beginning of time

they have

hacked my branches

stripped me bare

And with cruel knives

carved out love notes

on my body

over and over

again

but did I die?

Did I hide nakedness?

Did I hide my face?

Why do you?

 

Silent

unyielding

unflinching

unapologetic

existence

is my DNA

 

What is yours?

 

Just Another Tree

NeemjpgJust another Neem tree residing in a palace courtyard with not much to do except litter the place with golden yellow leaves every spring.

Neem2Rooted to the spot and bored to her core, she yawns and rustles her branches. Oh the tales she could tell, if anyone cared to listen.

Neem3And lo behold she has gathered quite a few fresh green followers glistening with eagerness – now if only one of them could type 😉

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees – have a wonderful day.

 

CB&W: Structured

The theme for this week’s Black and White Photo Challenge is Structure. And as usual Cee gives us license and freedom to enjoy – who can resist that right?

TempleKalika Mata Temple an 8th-century temple at Chittorgarh Rajasthan India. The upper parts of the structure are more recent.

VijayVijaya Stambh is an imposing victory monument built in 1448 AD. Constructed of red sandstone and white marble, Vijay Stambh is nine storeys tall with a height of 37.19 meters and a base height of 3.0 meters. Another version and other details are in an earlier post.

CafeThe inner structure of a modern day cafe

Bike

Couldnt resist a quick covert snap of the innards of this bike. Not only had I never seen the inside of a bike from such close quarters but the man (whose hands are visible) was/is a fascinating character. Apparently some part for the bike wasn’t available (or too expensive) and he was trying to get it repaired through some jugaad tactics. And Steve Woz says “where’s the creativity?” Possibly he is not familiar with the Indian jugaad :- a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way.

LeafAnd now time for my latest craze – the teak leaf. It’s massive with such well defined structure don’t you think?

MicroHowzz that for intricate structure?

No strA leaf decaying but the structure, unlike for other stuff, is the last to go.

stoolThe neat structure of a handmade woven stool made of reed and rayon strings

RoseI am, in all honesty, not a big fan of roses but this one’s near perfect structure and symmetrical asymmetry was captivating.

So which one is your favorite – or didn’t you like any?

CFFC: Ze Zed Zee Zone

It’s time for some Zeds, Zees and Zzzzs at Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge as she wraps up the alphabets with a twist challenge.  So, any word with Z in it or people, animals catching some zzzs.

The last one would be the easiest for my husband takes immense pleasure in clicking photos of me while I doze off, especially during our hectic trips. But then I don’t want to destroy all your illusions, so it will have to be zomething elze.

Atoz

A roadside shop where you can find A to Z of everything and to suit everybody’s taste, palate and zaika (sense of taste or flavors) 😀 The man on the left is our entertaining driving cum guide. By his own confession, he has studied till class 6 but his wife is a school teacher in a different city altogether. With his six-year-old daughter. Despite parental disapproval. After marriage, he encouraged her to complete her studies. And oh he loves history and has about a couple of hundred books that he devours. But that’s enough, there are zero marks for diversionary tactics.

Dazzled

I was quite dazzled by the beautiful moonlight on the lake – hey no wait that’s the Sun! Amazing isn’t it?

BedazzledI was, as you can see terribly enamored and bedazzled by this window and couldn’t resist sharing another look – the evening look. Missed the other one – here it is but you’ll have to scroll through the entire post.

ZoneThen there was this Coffee Zone right above a horror house. Don’t miss the wrapchics on the left – very innovative don’t you think? 😀

Zoom in

Among the decaying yellowing stones that witnessed brutal wars, blood shed and self-immolation, we find the first stirrings of life. Can’t see it? Just zoom in on the topmost panel.

Gazing

Sitting and gazing in quiet contemplation of man’s foolish ideas of running hither and thither for no rhyme or reason other than to just earn money? And what to do with it? Rest, relax, enjoy? Well he was already doing that.  Should he take up the challenge and proselytize his ideas? Psst I just learned the word – is the sentence okay?

Jazzy2Next I have some jazzy colorful clothes for you to admire and gaze at with bedazzled eyes. No they aren’t for sale.

JazzyThese jazzy dresses are meant for tourists to wear and pose for photographs. Most hill stations have these and once my son too was lured in and dressed up in a purple kingly gown wielding a sword. 😀

Zigzag branchesAfter those heavy dresses, time to give the eyes some rest by gazing upon the bare zigzag branches of yet another bindaas tree 🙂

SnoozingA warm winter afternoon on a long weekend – any guesses on how many would be dozing or snoozing at a time?

ZincThe zinc laden Aravali mountains in and around Udaipur, Rajasthan. Can you see it shining and reflecting the sunlight?

ZorbThose are the zorb balls – in case you didnt know. I didnt! Apparently they are the in thing and are available in aqua, ground and body versions. You can get in, singly or in groups and then enjoy being thrown around. Looks like fun – from far! 😀

Well that’s it for me in Cee’s twisted alphabetical challenge – thanks so very much for visiting. Now how about sharing which your favorite zed was?

The Alphabetical One

It’s tree time and time for one who had made a brief guest appearance in an earlier post to make her grand solo debut 😀 To refresh your memory, I saw this neem tree from one of the gorgeous windows of the City Palace, Udaipur.

Open WDoesn’t she add four moons to the palace? 😀

City treeOn a closer look she looks even more impressive itching to tell loads of stories – can you not see the alphabets? I can see L, I, O, U, X, Y, V and P. What can you see? I do love the leaf pattern of the neem tree, and especially the reflection in the palace window.

Ctree3

And look at all the scars and wounds she wears on her sleeve quite unconcerned of what people might think. Or perhaps she is showing off leaving a message for anyone who cared to read her:

no matter

what happens

keep going

and

never stop

reaching

for the

sky.

 

 

What do you think she is trying to say? Thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

CWW: Fortified Paths

After a really long time it’s time for Cee’s Which Way challenge. As I mentioned I had visited Udaipur with the explicit purpose of replenishing my dwindling photo archives 😛

Oh well anyway here are some glimpses from this historic seat of Rajput pride and honor Maharana Pratap Singh who refused to bow to the mighty Mughal emperor, Akbar despite all odds and the famous Haldighati battle (fought on 18 June 1576) with over a thousand casualties. It is interesting that the local guides and Wikipedia reiterate what I have suspected.

Haldighati is often claimed to have been a battle for Rajput or even Hindu honour against the Muslim Mughals. However, interestingly Akbar’s commander-in-chief was Man Singh I of Amber, another Hindu and Rajput to boot. On the other side, Maharana Pratap’s army was also served by Hakim Khan Sur’s Muslim Afghans, and hence any arguments concerning religious conflict have little credence. And quoting from Wikipedia “Honor was certainly involved. But it was the honor of Maharana Pratap at stake, not Rajput or Hindu honor.”

But enough of history (never a favorite subject) and let’s go touring!

HghatiThis is the famous Haldighati pass that we all read about in school. Ghati all along I thought meant a valley but actually (in the local language) it means a pass or a narrow neck. This was the only way for the Mughals to pass over to the other side where the Rajput army was ready and waiting to cut down the single file entry of one person at a time. It was only when they used explosives to blow up the mountain were they able to pass through successfully and go on to win the battle and then lose to Maharana Pratap at the Battle of Dewar. Oh well that’s how it is usually with battles isn’t it? Win some lose some. And another interesting bit before I leave – Haldi (or turmeric) is the color of its rocks which, when crushed, produced a bright yellow sand. And hence the name Yellow pass.

Haldighai fort

The view of the entry to the Maharana Pratap’s memorial. And if you can see in the distance a horse, that’s Chetak, Maharana Pratap’s famous, and equally brave and revered battle companion. He is believed to have saved his master’s life and jumped over an elephant and a wide gorge at the cost of his own life.

PratapThat’s the way to the Memorial of the brave and upright warrior Maharana Pratap still much loved and held in high esteem.

GhatiCan you see the way? But actually I wanted to show you this because as a child I imagined the battlefield of Haldighati to be something like this rather than that in the first photo 😀

FortTime to move on to a real fort – the Chittor fort or the Chittorgarh one of India’s largest forts. It sprawls over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River. The fort precinct has several historical palaces, gates, temples and two prominent commemorative towers. Some of these pictures I have shared in my earlier posts. The fort was built in the 7th Century it was the stronghold of Rajputs. From 13th century onwards several attacks were made on the fort including that by the Turk king Allaudin Khilji, Bahadur Shah and Akbar. And each time the defenders lost and their wives committed jauhar or burnt themselves in a pyre to avoid being captured. Yes, this fort is of Padmaavat fame and I visited the jauhar kund as well but didnt feel inspired enough to take a picture. This particular section of the fort is in ruins.

StairsBut at some places, I liked the placement of the stairs.

Stairs2Stairway at Meerabai’s palace. Yes she too lived here married to Bhojraj, the son of Rana Sangha the powerful king of Mewar. But her devotion to Lord Krishna led to her being banished to the servant section.

Stairs3Fascinating isn’t it? I wonder how they climbed these stairs or was there some other structure beside it?

VijayThe Vijay Stambh or the victory tower at another section of the Chittor fort. It was built in in 1448 by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji. So they did win some battles! This tower is dedicated to Lord Vishnu yet the topmost storey features a Jain Goddess Padmavati while the word Allah is inscribed nine times in the third storey and eight times in the eighth. Where are all those people, those days, those philosophies?

TreeI couldn’t have a Cee’s which way challenge without a witch tree could I? 😀

VeiledAnd finally at Rani Padmini’s Summer Palace. This is one of my prized photos of how despite deeply ingrained traditions Indians effortlessly adopt modern technology regardless and oblivious to any conflict or what the moment. Did you get my point? Raise your hands before I elaborate. Sure? Got it? No?

On the near right is the photographer hired to click a group photograph of the visitors more than half of whom are completely veiled. I left them herding them into position and urging them to at least shift the ghunghat (veil) a bit, muttering in a long suffering tone: how will you know who’s who?

Thank you for visiting and a special thank you to Cee for inspiring me, freeing me and letting me get away with it 😀

CFFC: Y? But Then Why Not?

Yep! That’s the challenge this week – Letter Y – Needs to start or end with the letter Y or in the caption for the photo “Why” needs to be present. Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges are getting funner and funner 😀

Let’s see what I can come up with 😉

Smoggy cloudyA smoggy or is it foggy winter morning at 9.30 am! Thank God the worst seems to be over but it’s already time to brace up for the heat and dust 😉

skyComing out from being cooped up in the office the whole day long, I snapped a quick pic of the sky where the feathery clouds had been busy painting it white.

20180206_175342On another day, when a demonstration turned a 10-min drive into a 30-min one I made the most of my time clicking pictures sure that Cee would certainly give me an opportunity to display them sooner or later 😀 Yet, I couldn’t get what I really wanted – off the birds flying home in beautiful formations. But don’t you think the sky looks lovely? Okay! Enough of skies for now – lets move on to something else before you accuse me of repetitive stuff.

YellowAn exquisitely hand carved temple. Can you imagine the vision, the planning and the workmanship that went into building such a marvelous piece of art so many centuries ago? I could simply look at the perfectly designed symmetry for hours and hours. Couldn’t you?

YonderCan you see the yellowing leaves on the yellow-brown path? Actually I wanted to draw your attention to the yonder tree 😀

ShimmyIt was a very interesting and exciting tree (like most trees!) See those roots dropping down – just something Tarzan would love to shimmy down right?

YogaWait! There’s more. The roots got tired of just standing around so one particularly antsy one decided to indulge in some yoga on the way down 😀

ButterflyA yellow butterfly from our garden at home captured by my sister.

WhyWhy? Well like I said Why Not? This photo was shared by my friend Svkuki while on her trip the States and has been crying for some screen space for quite a while now. Besides surely you can see the Y created by the shadow and the cacti in the background?

Oh well, fine be that way…