The Forgotten Tale
Thanks Sarika, for the review on Amazon. Just put it on GoodReads and shoot me a mail for a free copy VOL 2 The Desperate Plan.
For those using Kindle Unlimited, the series is available for free reading 😉 Please read and review.
Meet the Characters: 1857
Meera, the Princess of Navgarh
‘John Smith, Resident, Navgarh to Sir Thomas T. Metcalfe, Agent of East India Company, Dilli, June 20th, 1852
Sir: Your highness’ friendly letter dated June 8th, I have received; by which I understand of your good health which God long continue. I thank you for your remembrance of a father’s happiness in securing a posting for Captain Richard Smith in Navgarh.
Now if it shall please you, there is some news from Navgarh that might be of interest. The Raja maintains that his daughter, Meera, is capable of taking on the responsibilities of the kingdom.
Meera, the proposed successor of the King, is his only child and a great favourite. Her mother, Queen Leelamani, wields great influence on the King and the court. The indulgent father has given the girl the freedom and training that is rare in a native household. Princess Meera is well versed in Urdu and Sanskrit. The King has taken care to instruct her in history and geography of Dilli, Navgarh and surrounding territories. He even appointed Mr Sinclair, the English school master at the cantonment, to tutor the princess not only in the English language but also about the customs and the ways of our land. Great time and emphasis is given to physical training which, I am told, is particularly agreeable to the princess. She is said to be accomplished in fencing, hand-to-hand combat and horsemanship. All these illustrate the King’s plans of installing the girl as his successor.
I have seen the princess several times, racing on horseback through the bazaars with her band of women followers in a particularly annoying display of Eastern savagery. Her dark eyes glimmer with insolence that goes with native royalty, especially the royalty that has the right to the rank without its responsibilities.
Yours to command,
‘The rider swung her leg to dismount. The long, flared skirt swished in the air. She wore a plain long tunic. The legs were encased in loose pyjamas and the face was covered by a scarf flowing from a turban like headdress to avoid the dust. She uncovered her face as she stepped into the shop. The insolent princess.
The princess was not beautiful in the classical sense. Her complexion was dusky, dark satin eyes set in smooth skin and an ordinary nose and mouth. It was the stance that caught the eye. The confident stride made her seem taller than she was. She walked into the shop, past him without sparing a glance. A pleasant whiff of jasmine wafted around Richard. The shopkeeper rushed to meet her.’
Captain Richard Smith
‘Tomorrow he would embark on the last leg of this journey- the journey that had taken ten years of his life. Richard Smith closed his eyes. The decade flashed past his mind. He remembered the damp morning when he had embarked from London, the stench of animal hides in the East Indiaman, five long months on the sea, the heat of Chandpal Ghat on River Hoogli and a decade of wandering to the remote corners of India. Tomorrow he would be home – in Navgarh.
Richard Smith was born in Navgarh, soon after his father, John Smith, took his position as the British Resident in Navgarh. His mother passed away when he was a year old and the busy father had appointed an ayah to take care of young Richard. The ayah’s love had soothed away the loss and the boy grew healthy and strong….
…He played the role of an Englishman just like he played that of a native. He carried the rift within him, one that made him restless wherever he went. It simmered beneath the pleasant brown eyes and jovial countenance. Once in India, his complexion turned rich brown; with his dark hair he passed off as a native whenever he wanted. But there was little Richard could do for his divided mind – a mind which was as English as it was Indian.’
Excerpts from 1857 Dust of Ages: A Forgotten Tale