Standing like a protector on the hilltop is an old ruined fortress settling amidst dry rugged Aravallis. Surrounded by the magnificence of lush greenery and blooming flowers, the pink sky embraces the spectacular view beyond the ruins. This outstanding view is distracted by an unknown but strangely familiar structure where the trees were restless and the madness of this autumn’s dust lay silent. Standing strong and bold, it was exhibiting unsaid stories of the Rajputi culture through its brilliantly carved Mughal scriptures, connecting it to me, our family. However, trying to understand this strange connection, I moved but slipped into infinity. Bubbling hard into the water with trauma, it became difficult to breathe when I saw a hand reaching out for help. I was trying to hold it until I discovered it was a Langur tugging me out while sipping my wine.
Disappointed, I walked toward the shower to wipe the water. The mirror reflected a smiling incredible fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal-styled sandstone structures unveiling the youngest heir inhabited by the Rawals ” The Palace of the Samodes’. Gazing at the royalty we ‘The Samodes’ offer, I yelled towards the unknown “Have we abandoned you? Were you punished?. Silence
“Maybe I can help you!” I tried once again. Pin drop silence in response.
Turned back, the infinity reminded me of today’s big floral wedding. Hurrying up, I asked langurs (the ride of my royal uncle) to invite my Uncle, Bagh of The Samode, to meet me and discuss the incident. Situated 4 km away, it is the most recreational place in the whole village. Accompanied by his stunning sandbag-colored tents and Victorian pavilions, my fat 20-acre Mughal uncle never leaves a chance to enjoy his food like fountains and flower beds.
At my elongated navel entrance, decorated with a big-sized dark wood, all I could feel were the beaming faces peeping from the car, excited and giggling children waving at my vintage, and women in vibrant saris. The magic of the wedding unfolded with the Haldi ceremony held outside the exquisitely painted royal lounge, The Sultan Mahal on my first floor.
Painted meticulously with geometric and floral motifs, my vivacious frescos and carved casements are decorated with vibrant Rajasthani Chhatris and flowing silk cloths. Laden with silver furnishing, my antique skin was glowing with joyous, giggling, and singing moments.
Bringing the delights of an imaginary garden inside, came a pleasant earthy scent of nature. With a soothing smile on my face, I saw my Uncle, Bagh, dressed in his favorite peacock-shaded attire with a blooming Lilly’s crown. Dancing with pleasure, his expressions changed when I narrated my morning story.
“Confused? I know such a strange structure no?” I murmured. He stared at me for a while and burst out laughing ” He was your grandfather, The Fort of the Samodes’!!”
The mumbling and music stopped and my body went ice-blue with his words ” Really? Have I been yelling at my grandfather for 10 days? Is he not a part of our family anymore? Why have I never seen him even in any family photographs??” my mind was filled with questions.
My Uncle tried to calm me down but it turned grey, a wild breeze swirling like a hurricane and branches shelling us, and BOOM.
The next moment, we were standing outside a dark secret passageway, a place I have never visited before. My eyes were stunned by the decorated pillars and artistically sculpted marble floors as I entered through the hues of warm-rose pink soft lights. Moreover, the sparkling mosaic mirrors on each side were breathtaking as they reflected our family’s cultural and aesthetic richness.
“Am I in past? Is this my grandfather? Was he very ecstatic and vibrant? ” I thought.
“This is you, Palace!! Inside your heart, where our finest heritage, Sheesh Mahal and Durbar Hall, is preserved!! Just like your grandfather wanted us to embrace the grandeur of our traditions and cultures!” My Uncle told me.
My magnificent Darbar Hall decorated for the wedding dinner surprised not only the guests but also me with its exquisite designed ceiling and wall exploding with colors through floral, paisley, and geometric motifs. I recognized a few people in the paintings and shouted ” Hey Uncle, these people died right in front of me during hunting near Shekhavati!”
Not only this, I recognized everybody but not my grandfather. It would be easy to attribute this to an overactive imagination. This is what Uncle Bagh thought at first but after I told him about how the underground tunnel beneath my grandfather’s structure served as a depression companion for his daughter, Haveli during the time of the wars, he was astounded.
Speechless. He could only whisper “Your Aunt, Haveli was kidnapped by the invaders and brutally beaten for years.”
Smiling to knowing the fact, I hovered around narrating the depictions on different paintings as memories of my life. This did force him to ask me ” What else do you remember from your past life?”