Excerpt: Jaan se badkar…
‘How beautiful!’ Emily exclaimed as the party ahead came to a standstill. It was the scenic aspect of the town in the light of the rising sun. From the hilltop, they saw the domes of the palace reflecting the light of the sun. Further downhill, the town was shaking off the vestiges of slumber and coming to life. The birds perched on the temple top fluttered at the sound of the tinkling bells and rose against the red and ochre of the morning sky. The winds of early spring carried the nip of winter.
The little group of riders stood spellbound.
‘Most beautiful time of the year. One short month of spring,’ Richard exhaled.
‘A short respite between winter and the blistering heat that is to come,’ Meera gazed at the scene as her voice reduced to a murmur. Standing next to her, Richard heard in fascination. ‘Soon we would be worrying about drought. And then rains. Floods, epidemic, death. It’s only this… this short time that the land is… this… this beautiful.’
‘And yet it’s so important to you.’
‘Yes,’ Meera’s dark eyes met Richard’s brown ones with uncommon seriousness. ‘It’s harsh. But I haven’t known anywhere else. This place, this way of life, we know only this.’ Meera took in a deep breath as if drinking in the scene in front of her. ‘All I do know, Captain Smith, for me Navgarh is… jaan se badkar.’
There was silence as the landscape absorbed the words of its ambitious and troubled Princess and witnessed the fascination of the man beside her. She wore the armour of royal haughtiness. But she often let it down in the company of Richard Smith. The tension and fascination between the two was palpable at moment to the entire group which now stood at the hilltop.
What happened next…..