Sunday, October 26, 2014

An Old Visit to Murud Fort

Water waves crashed against stone. White foam frothed to the top of the wave signifying the salt of the sea. The stone blocks at the base were the thickest and though you wouldn't notice it, the thickness reduced as the black stone wall rose above the sea into air. The wall had four sides which made up the fort. Right on top, lining the walls were twenty pound cannons.  From outside, you would only notice the tip of the cannon protruding, but once inside you would see the cannon stretched across for 10 meters. A cannon that would surely blow an enemy ship that dared come near it.

The fort was well hidden and by three sides it was surrounded by hills. Though the fort was smack in the middle of the sea, the surrounding hills blocked any person’s view. Three sides surrounded by hills and only one side was open to a sea which stretched out and out. Thick trees, branches, leaves,
vegetation and wild animals were the only inhabitants of these surrounding hills.

Inside of Murud Fort
Buildings that had stood years ago proudly stood in ruins. A wall, two walls, three walls and one or two whole buildings are what you would see, beautifully built, brick on brick and some carved into stone.

Three thousand, that was the number of inhabitants that lived in the fort. A large pond of at least twenty meters in circumference gave them fresh water. In the future, that is now, it has a thick coat of algae covering it. A secret tunnel was built from under the sea bed to the land, a precaution that was perhaps never used.  Traders all the way from Africa came to trade at this fort.

The fort was not owned by Shivaji or Shambji, though the later tried to take it by. Neither did any other King, Prince or Emperor rule it. Instead, it was owned by a Raja who had only four thick walls of a fort to call his Kingdom.

Entrance of Murud Fort

One would think that such a structure, a fort which is only accessible by water would have a grand entrance. Indeed, from afar you could see the twenty feet entrance and wonder what sort of docking bay would be inside. But, no there was none. The entrance was impossible, yet possible. It was direct steps that walked into the sea. There was no ring or hook to tie a boat to the wall that would grant it some stability. The boat was pulled and pushed by the sea, never staying still. It was a wonder how sailors and merchants leaped onto the mossy, slippery steps.

On stormy nights and on monsoon days, it would take a mad Captain to command his ship to approach this fort for surely the rough water would shatter his boat to bits of wood and the sea would swallow up the sailors. The whole of monsoons, three months, three thousands souls of this fort would live with food stores and nothing to do... for none would dare attack them during monsoons.

Perhaps children would look down from the ramparts and stare into the dark, rough waters and watch the violent waves thrash against the wall. Perhaps, they would tremble in fear as they felt the splashes of water splatter against their check and wonder if the sea would swallow the Fort. How little they knew, for generations later into the 21st century , the Fort stood the wrath of the sea and envy of enemies.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Lament of Herc

Herc looked at his reflection in the mirror and asked himself the same question that he asked when he was coming here. He wanted to just lash out, a punch on the mirror causes it to crack, cracks spread,in seconds it shatters and glass pieces fall. “Hey man”, a voice called out to him and a shoulder nudged his own. A hand that was not his own stretched out beside him and washed him under a gush of tap water. “You mind?” the man asked as Herc stared at the face beside him. He was in the bathroom, there was crowd behind waiting to use the wash-basins. He took a few steps back and made way for the man.

Rays of multicoloured headlights poked into his eyes. Herc was angry at himself, no not at himself he decided. “Hey Herc, over here”, he could barely hear Rocky’s voice over the blaring techno music. His friends were sitting at the table, the waiter had already bought their drinks. Holding on to threads, that’s what this meeting was about. Friends trying to hold onto their friendship as life spreads them apart.

“This one’s yours”, Cass pointed out to a glass when he took his seat. In spite of that stupid question that made him angry, Herc was happy to be among friends. They drank, they danced, they drank a bit more. Once upon a time, they all would have said, the night is young, but now, it is more like the day is over. To each of their own home’s they went.

The next day may have bought on a new day for Herc, but there was still a lingering anger and it never effing went away. Yet, with that anger, there was a joy, a new day brought new opportunities.

To office he went, he did not hate his job, neither did he like it. It was something like... you rather relax at home, but work is okay. The work was something he like to do, but there was as much as he wished it, his rules were not abided here. It was the market rules and his bosses rules, but not his own... that was only in his head.

The sun went down and the moon rose up and darkness was put at bay with artificial lights. Yet, Herc chewed on his pencil completing work that never got done which pushed him to sit in office and get home late. He may be done with today’s work, but tomorrow’s remained and day after thats too. A list was there with his name – his to-do’s. He just wanted to get it completed.

His real work awaited Herc at home, but he would be too tired when he reached. Work that he did not get paid for, it was his passion and you get paid only for your passion when you get recognition.

The second hand ticked forward, the countdown for the next precocious minute. Getting off late made it difficult for his passion, for his friends. Oh, what would Herc give to change all that. Life would be much easier then.