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“Maine kaha tha na, hum aj yahan mile kaha hai, hum toh ek dusre mein hi thee, hamesha.”
When I was writing the last historical, I was in two minds about this one. Why? Because this story is perhaps the closest to my heart, and I wasn’t sure if I am ready to put it in words. I believe everyone has a story to tell. There is that one story that stays in your heart, and imagination and comes out in different forms through many more. The one story you believe in. That one story you connect with the most, in the most unexplainable ways. It may not be true or entirely false. This was that story for me since 9th grade. That one story I always wanted to tell. Only I knew its beginning and end, not the characters or their journey. I kept waiting to meet the right characters. Make their journey happen, find their place. I kept meeting people, and going places looking for them. And the story. Today I stand at a point of time where love and relationship the way I see them are often questioned. Peo…

The Saga

“Love is often tested; those with Faith can fight with Fate.”

The sound of the Azaan often merged in to the bells from the temples at dusk. They made music, the music of Hind. The birds were flying back home, making shapes of arrows in the sky. Horses galloped at a distance while the soldiers changed shifts. A peacock was calling out to its mate somewhere in the wild.The sun was setting, at Lahore, and at Chavand. Birds chattered in the trees filling the air with music, chaotic yet beautiful.
Padishah Begum Rukaiya Sultana was sitting on the balcony of her palace, looking at the sun set in the horizon. Her heart was perplexed, like her existence was at stake. She had noone to talk to with Hamida Banu Begum and Salima Begum accompanying her mother to a Haj Pilgrimage. Harka Bai had chosen the right time to talk to the emperor about the future. Salim’s marriage was fixed to a daughter of Bhagwan Das, by the emperor and Mariam Ur Zamani, and the Harem celebrated throughout the day. She had…

The Sorrow

“Every sacrifice has a greater reason.”
Maharani Ajbante Kanwar had stopped on her way to her chambers late at night. A flickering light from the room in the farthest corner of the corridor attracted her attention. She had walked up to it with questioning eyes. Kunwar Amar Singh sat shining his sword, staring at it admiringly. To most of the people, he had caused this impending tension and war situation. A sealed firman had arrived from Maan Singh challenging them on a war. Their Bhil spies had located Turkish army movements near Mandalgarh. They have marched up to Mohi, really close by. This prompted Rana Pratap to call for an emergency meeting and they would be marching down to the forestland at dawn.
Ajbante Kanwar stared at the prince lost in thoughts and walked up to his threshold. Her anklets attracted his attention and he had looked up at his mother’s calm face with a faint smile and uncertainties in his eyes. “So are you prepared?” She asked cupping his face. The seventeen year o…

The Fear

Fatehpur Sikri was indeed a paradise in red sandstone.The more Rukaiya stayed in the fortress, the more she fell in love with Jalal’s dream city. Every details of curving on the walls and pillars, its domes and arches, gates and palaces were well detailed, and reflected Jalal’s thoughts and ideals. He was lately a bit inclined towards secularism. He had built temples in teh Rajput Harem. If it was from his soul or just for the sake of Politics that he preached secularism, Rukaiya Begum didn’t understand. All she knew was that she had never approved of him celebrating every festival of every religion himself. The zenana had many more festivities with the inclusion of his other queens, including Holi and Diwali with the growing Rajput members, and she made sure they were celebrated with equal grandeur as much as Navroz or Eid. But never in these occasions had she or the Turk kins stepped out to celebrate like the Emperor.
She woke to the music of Tansen’s melodious voice every morning, a…