Dust of Ages
By yours truly
When Shiv Sahai, a young NRI art historian, stumbles on an excerpt from a journal of an anonymous British soldier in search of his wife in the chaos of 1857-Delhi, he is fascinated. Shiv sets out to discover the unknown story that lives on in the bylanes of his hometown, Navgarh. As meticulous and taciturn Dr. Shiv Sahai pieces together the lost history of Navgarh, he is joined by the ever-romantic and impulsive British scholar Ruth Aiken.
Together , they investigate the scandal of the past – the story of Princess Meera of Navgarh and Captain Richard Smith and their strange relationship based on an interplay of mutual attraction and personal ambition. The alliance made for the throne of Navgarh saves the kingdom at a crucial time when it is on the verge of being taken over by the East India Company.
But the 1850s is a volatile time in India. When the rebellion erupts in 1857, Navgarh is drawn into the flames. Meera and Richard’s marriage is tested against the backdrop of violence during the sepoy rebellion. They two are forced to part – Meera joins the sepoys on their way to Delhi while Richard Smith arrives at the outskirts of Delhi as a part of the British regiment.
Over a century now, Navgarh has forgotten its princess who married a British soldier to save the kingdom. The present political establishment is led by the descendant of King of Navgarh’s nephew, another contender for the throne by virtue of being the only male in the line.
The story resurfaces when Ruth and Shiv discover the intricate link between these figures of history and Shiv’s own family. The investigations that begin with the archival material in Delhi and Navgarh, go through a maze of hidden trap doors and underground chambers in the old fort of NAVGARH, leading them through the bylanes of old Delhi, back to ancestral home, the haveli, where the secret is hidden.
As they unravel the puzzle, Shiv and Ruth collide head-on with the forces still trying to erase the scandal from the annals of history. But the hidden history of Navgarh will no longer be suppressed.