Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amer Fort

Went to Jaipur on a conference. Though I didn’t go much for sight seeing in jaipur one place that made a lasting impression is the Amer Fort. The hotel was very near that we could see the walls of the fort on the hill while we had our food in the restaurant.
One day morning we ventured out there. The lake in front of the fort has been dried up due to the sun. but I can imagine how beautiful it would be the gaze down from the windows of the fort when there is water.
It’s a steep climp. By the time I reached the top I could imagine the hardships for a potential enemy who has to climp up to reach the fort . That also amidst a hail of arrows and rocks. Bullets also I guess.
I was really enchanted by the sheer size of the living quarters. Of course the big halls, the renown sheesh mahal, artistic domes everything was nice and good. But what left me thinking was the no: of chambers in the living quarters.
The whole panorama of life that would have been unfolding in these private quarters' . The relatives of all dimensions who in someway or other related to king living in the royal shade. But who still will be cringing for more, jealous towards those who are edging towards the king's good books. Always desperate to be under the kings umbrella, to be his right hand or may be his left. Or at least be his sandals.
That’s where all the real stories are. History writes about kings who made castles and won wars. But that’s not the real story. Its just a way of recording an event. In the first place the kings doesn’t built castles or win wars. Its done by people who for most part don’t even have names. Let alone kings doesn’t even make decisions to do all this. It is taken by his influential relatives and intelligent courtmen. He is just a rubber stamp. His job is the declaration of inevitabilities.
So when I stood in those dark chambers I thought about all those drama that these walls would have witnessed. Love-hate-jealousy- murder-loneliness… everything. When we stroll and chatter with our cameras may be these stones are thinking about that. That how life changes.
How a human being now cannot imagine that loving someone can be other than about dates, phone numbers, shopping and ego trips. That for someone inside this walls at some times it was about avoiding king's wrath and a noose around your neck. That it was about behaving like you are a stranger to your loved one in front of others. Meeting them in dark corridors. (yeah there are a lot of them in this fort) Uttering every word biting down the fear that you may be discovered any moment.
Still they did it. That’s the interesting part. Still they did it.
In the innermost part of the harem I saw a bathroom. In the centre of the bathroom is a well like bathtub 4 feet in depth and 2 feet breadth and length. There are windows opening into the view of the distant hills. In the accompanying room there is a water reservoir from which obviously water is being brought and poured into the bathtub. When I stood there I could imagine the royal ladies who would be lying in the water, naked, gazing into the hills. The female servants bringing water in pails pouring into the bathtubs.
What would be those ladies thinking about? Will it be about some incompetent husband who is lagging behind in becoming the favourite of the king while some one else is gaining fast? Or about some handsome lord in the court? Or about a belligerent son whose cruelty is becoming a disgusting topic in the food halls?
And what would those servants be thinking about? The beauty of the jewellery lying on top of the pile o f clothes in the corner of the bathroom? The advances of son of the lady? Their starving children down the hill waiting for them to come back?

I don’t know. It makes me sad but the beauty of the whole thing is that I will never know.

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