Sunday, January 19, 2014

Letter to Kille Rajgad.



Dear Lord Rajgad- The King of Forts,

You and me go long back in terms of our friendship. Ever since I was born, I was left in your awe for your sheer size, weight and position in our history, and the fact that you were a witness to the great Chhatrapati for 25 years. Your stories made me want to visit you ever since I remember, even though when I was told I was too small to undertake a journey as difficult as the one needed to meet you. I was adamant, often fighting with my father when he refused to bring me along when he came to visit you to celebrate the return of Chhatrapati from Agra. Those stories of your fondness and love for the Chhatrapati and vice-verse, how he breathed a new life in you, and how you helped him fight the cruelest of cruel men the world has ever seen covered me in goosebumps. Your loyalty for the cause of the Chhatrapati- when you were captured by the enemy and gave them nothing but ruin and hardship, captivated me as a kid.  

Eventually, when I was 11, I got a chance to visit you. Mind you it was always a daunting task to come and meet you. Climbing a height of 4600 feet, with slopes of immensely terrifying 70 degrees going straight downhill for 3000 feet into the valley surrounding you, was no joke. Once I managed to reach you though, I felt like I had met a friend I have known for years. You did not even bother to look at the tremendous age difference between us and let me play on your arms and let me climb your head, from where you gave me the best possible views of the Sahyadris. It would be wrong to say that I was grateful or thankful, for the feelings I had, cannot be expressed in words. Those who are revered need not be thanked right?

Once I managed to reach you- I kept coming back again and again. Those difficult, tiring routes seemed to be sweeter every time I lay my foot on them. I still remember once when I was wandering about the banks of the Gunjavani river which flows through your backyard, You gave me your Narayanroopi darshan. You resembled the lord Narayana laying down on his Shesh Naag with a folded hand which is the Padmavati Machi under your head- your Balekilla with Suvela and Sanjivani Machi as outstreched legs. I fell in love with that godly avatar of yours. You do have a magnetic personality I must admit. In course of time, it drew me towards you no fewer than 10 times.

Last time when I visited you, your best friend- Monsoon was dancing around you in full force. Oh how much I loved watching the two of you not care of the world while embracing each other with vigor. We humans need artificial colours for celebrating our festivals- but when you two friends meet, colours in form of innumerable flowers spring up  in your gardens and cover it with a beautiful carpet of yellows, purples, blues and green. I havent seen any sight which is more mesmerizing that that.

I remember spending countless winter mornings, no matter how cold clinging to your sides, captivated by your warmth and absorbed stories of your glorious past as Ninadji Bedekar narrated them to us near the Sadar. You made me swell with pride. You gave me confidence. You taught me freedom and its importance. Reaching you gave me beilef. You taught me so much everytime I visited and asked nothing in return.

But then my visits ceased. Quite why that happened I don't know. But they stopped abruptly . I did not mean to do it, for its hard to stay away from a friend as alluring as you. I long to meet you once again. Play on your shoulders, climb up those 100 feet cliffs that take me to your shoulder to your head. When you look at those great bastions on your head- you look like Shiva- with the crescent moon resting on his head. Those innumerable streams that run from your head look like streams of Ganga. My lord, how much I crave to see you in that natural glory of yours, you have no idea of.

Today I found a few old photos of you that I had taken on my previous visits, and all those walls stopping your memories from flooding my mind suddenly collapsed. I found this photo someone else had clicked, which I have put up on top of the letter, and was once again left marveling in your majesty. There is no one in the world like you. I will be back soon to meet you, for now the longing is far too intense to ignore. I am sure you still have that charm with which you enthralled me as a kid, as a young boy and as a young man. You captivated me back then, and you captivate me now.  I apologize for not visiting you for so long, but no matter what, you are always in my heart.
Forever your friend, your admirer, and always in your command,
-Chinmay.

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