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Wednesday, 26. July 2006

Barsaat Mahal - 1



Last night sitting under a photo of a Ladhak Monastery in bleak high mountain country, you asked me about Barsaat Mahal. You were eager to know its lines, the levels on which it was built, how the sun, rising over Ganga, paints it gold. You wanted to know if it was real.

It rains in Barsaat Mahal all the while. This is fiction of course, but then I see Saeeda Bai in the garden singing a raga: comparing these rain clouds to a dark bodied god. She is weeping there and I am weeping here. It rains in Barsaat Mahal even as I am drinking tea. My legs on this bench remember much younger legs dancing in Barsaat Mahal.

You want to know everything and I want to forget everything. The prison holding the past is Barsaat Mahal: a roadside tea stall, four crude benches and two of us, both alike, plotting escape. Now I drink wine to I celebrate my seeming escape from Barsaat Mahal, but tell me how does one escape this sky fringed with clouds?

I too am Barsaat Mahal. Believe me when I say it used to rain there all the while till you interrupted the rain (or were they tears?) when you knocked on the door of Barsaat Mahal. You hand is calmly patting my head as I, very attentively, fold the plans of Barsaat Mahal into an armada of boats and set them drifting across the river to your shore.


2002:12:23 10:30 Atlanta for T.F.C

Barsaat: Rain Mahal: Palace Saeeda Bai: a character in Vikram Seth's novel "A Suitable Boy"

Revised: 2006:07:26




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Laura


Lovely poem! I was searching with Google a photo of Barsaat Mahal, because I'm reading "A Suitable Boy"... and I found this poem. I guess you loved VIKRAM SETH novel. I'm enjoying it very much, but I'm still at the beginning. Ciao from Italy!

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