Padmavati and Rajput Women – warriors behind the purdah!

While I whole heartedly criticise the vandalism and attacks on the eminent director-producer Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali as well as actors associated with it, I earnestly hope that the film ‘Padmavati’ does not show the Rajput queen – Rani Padmini in a dishonourable light.

She is revered as a Veerangana (courageous lady) by not only the Rajput clan but all of India. More than her resplendent, flawless beauty, it was her fierce stance to defend her honour that made Rani Padmini into a legend. Do you remember the lines from the famous song – ‘Aao Bachon Tumhe Dikhayein…’ (Jagriti) –
“Yeh Hai Apna Rajaputana Naj Ise Talavaro Pe, Isane Sara Jivan Kata Barachhee Tir Kataro Pe.

Yeh Pratap Kaa Vatan Pala Hai Aajadee Ke Naaro Pe, Kud Padee Thee Yaha Hajaro Padminiyan  Angaron Mein”

The last line here says it all! Thousands of brave women like Rani Padmini performed Jauhar (mass sacrifice) and jumped into fire to protect their honour from enemies.


Rajput men have a special place in the history of India and great warriors like Maharana Pratap, Rana Sanga, Prithviraj Chauhan, Veer Kunwar Singh etc have been a part of this clan. But Rajput women were no less.

Fed on stories of great, courageous leaders since childhood, they upheld honour and valour in the highest regard. True, they observed purdah (veil) but that did not mean they meekly followed male authority. They had immense self respect and pride in lineage and tradition. These women were warriors in thought and spirit from behind the purdah. They were often well educated and would learn all the battlefield skills from the very start.

Even the commoners were skilled in warfare. These ladies were no damsels in distress, they could cook as well as kill with the same expertise.

The legendary story of Hadi Rani underscores the lofty ideals and pride of a Rajput lady. She cut her head when she felt that her husband was so much enamoured by her beauty that he was reluctant to go to the battlefield.

According to wikipedia, “When Maharana Raj Singh I (1653–1680) of Mewar called Hadi Rani’s husband to join the battle against Aurangzeb, the Sardar, having married only a few days earlier hesitated about going into battle. Rajput honour being what it is, he had to join the battle regardless of his reservations. He asked his wife Hadi Rani for some memento to take with him to the battlefield.

Thinking that she was an obstacle to his doing his duty for Mewar, she cut off her head and put it on a plate in her dying moments. A servant covered it with a cloth and presented it to her husband. The Sardar, devastated but nevertheless proud, tied the memento around his neck by its hair. He fought bravely, making Aurangzeb’s army flee.” (Source: Wikipedia).


Another rebel of sorts was the devotee Mira bai, who drank poison in the name of her God Krishna but did not compromise with her ideals. Then there were Rani Durgabati, Rani Karnavati, Rani Chanderi who like Rani Padmini refused to submit to enemies and committed Jauhar (mass sacrifice) to defend their honour. They preferred to die rather than be defiled by blood stained hands of intruders.


These brave women have left hand prints for posterity to remember them. It must have taken unimanigable courage to go through the act but it was better than being brutalized by the enemy.

For Rajput women of yore, committing adultery even in dream, thought, word or under any circumstance was unacceptable. So, they preferred death. This is precislely the reason why Mr Bhansali should tread these lines carefully.

I am hopeful that Mr Bhansali will do justice to Rani Padmini in his film ‘Padmavati’ so that our kids get a new understanding of the words – Honour, Pride, Valour and Integrity.

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Book promotion by my little ones!

My ebook ‘The Princess with Brown Teeth‘ is now available on Apple Itunes. You can download it free here. And if you use Samsung or other devices, please read it free here. Kindly leave a review, it will be of great help😀.

My kids took up the onus to publicise the ebook on Youtube. Do check out their effort to promote their mom’s work. The voiceover of the boy with glasses is by Adi and that of the little girl is by my toddler Vir.

Check it out here on YouTube.

Thanks a lot for your support and love, my readers and bloggers community. You guys are a lovely lot! Stay healthy and happy.

Image courtesy Google

Trump, Hillary face off – Bollywood Ishtyle!

As race for the American President, reaches its final hours, I couldn’t help having a little fun at the expense of the two famous candidates -Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Fultoo Bollywood Ishtyle!!! Watch it here:

Koi Humse Jeet Na Paave (https://youtu.be/eBRCYSuG6H4)
For those not familiar with these Hindi Film songs – The song featured on Trump (Koi Humse Jeet Na Paye) is from the film Lagaan. Here, Trump is implying he and his supporters will not let anyone win, they will keep moving on!

The song featured on Hillary (Khud ko Kya Samajhta hai) is from Khiladi. Here, she is wondering about the audacity of Trump. She says what does this guy think of himself, he is so arrogant. She declares that they will teach him a lesson!

Hope you enjoy my fun take and relax ahead of the great nail-biting election!

Image courtesy Google

Cute book by a 9 year old!


The Talking Fish by the talented nine-year-old, Shrey Jha has taken me by surprise. 

The little author has come up with a cute and creative first ebook. His talent shines out in every page. He is going to make a wonderful, entertaining author. 

The Talking Fish is free and you can download through Itunes as well as read it on Blurb books. Do leave reviews for it will do wonders to the confidence of our little, budding author.

He has dedicated the ebook to his aunt, Shivangi Singh(that is me, folks and I am sooo flattered), and ends the book with a sweet message for all his friends and readers. 

As for what happens in The Talking Fish, find out for yourself…! Cheers!

Reliving History by Lake Superior!

No wonder the French named it Lake Superior! It took me two days to know the reason. When I first observed the Lake from the historic Glensheen Mansion this Fall, it looked serene, innocent and breathtakingly beautiful…as docile as an angel!


There was no trace of secrecy, aggression or passion, which it has been accused of for centuries.

However the following day, the Lake revealed it’s wild, stormy side… threatening us with its power and supremacy like a treacherous woman. The Lake certainly displays a superiority complex, hence the name!


Nevertheless, the charm of this largest lake in the world, which holds incredible history, mysteries and stories within and around its shores, is infinite. I am sure it exerts certain power on onlookers…I found it hard to look away from its bewitching presence!


Not far from its majestic shores stands the historic and hospitable Glensheen Mansion! It is filled with stories and anecdotes of the illustrious Congdon family of Minnesota, that once lived here.


The house museum presents the lifestyle of the rich and famous in early 20th century, America. Its antiques and artifacts are admirably preserved. (Portraits – Chester and Clara Congdon, the owners of the mansion).


Even the rugs, clothings, towels and tid bits have been taken care of. Ah, how great it would be to live in a mansion like this one with 39 splendidly decorated rooms, artistic gardens, boats and carriages…and a view to die for!


The present decor of Glensheen is almost identical to what it originally had been. We were first escorted by our lively guide to tour the Congdon boys’ rooms on the third floor and then we moved on to explore the girls’ chambers on second floor. The ground floor was the most magnificent, furnished with exquisite valuables everywhere. The sunlit Lake peeped at us through most of the rooms.


Every nook and corner of this mansion is worth a deep study!


The luxurious bathrooms were attached to most of the rooms and had stylish fittings.


We also met Evelyn, the almost 100 year old doll (with goat’s hair), belonging to one of the girls in the family.

The servants had their own rooms and dining space. The formal dining space was gorgeous and so was the breakfast room. I even pictured myself as one of the ladies of the mansion, wearing an embroidered gown, sipping tea from a carved silver cup in the breakfast room!

We went up to the attic with the guide and learnt more about Chester and Clara Congdon’s rare arts and book collection.

It is important to mention that an unfortunate incident happened here in June 1977. It involved the murders of Elisabeth Congdon, the youngest daughter of Clara and Chester Congdon, and her nurse Velma Pietila. The tragedy is not discussed during the tours in honour of the Congdon family legacy. However, several books have been written on the suspenseful murders.


As we strolled outdoor along the trails, landscaped gardens and water bodies surrounding the mansion, the morning air filled us with delight. My kids loved exploring the ‘castle’ while dear husband took some gorgeous pictures.

 When it was time to bid goodbye to the lovely mansion…nostalgia for the bygone era filled me. I felt hard to tear myself away from romance and history and come back to present. I felt as if we had become a part of the history!

We moved on to view other jewels in and around Duluth along the shores of Lake Superior – The Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, Aerial Lift Bridge, Maritime Visitor Centre.



On our way back home to Minneapolis from this memorable trip, the unpredictable Lake Superior took on the role of a gracious hostess, meandering with us for a while to keep us company…before disappearing out of sight…!

Khakhra


Little Brinda could not comprehend how it happened! All she saw was a jar containing some spice getting attracted to the old lady’s fingers. Her hand seemed to be sort of magnet! Was this lady a witch?

She watched as the scrawny lady grinded all kinds of spices. She kept murmuring something and Brinda got scared to even breathe in that strangely aromatic house.

“I shouldn’t have listened to grandma,” Brinda thought. But grandma had bad cough and the doctor’s medicines were ineffective. That morning granny said to Brinda,”Only old Khakhra can help me. Can you get the cough mixture…but don’t tell your parents.”

She agreed for grandma’s sake but knew that Khakhra was weird!

The mixture was almost ready and Khakhra smiled revealing crooked teeth. Brinda accepted the medicine bag and planned to run.

But Khakhra clutched her hand. Brinda held her breath as she pressed something into her palm and released her. 

Once home, panting and jittery, Brinda opened her fist – it was her favourite orange candy! 

(The character of Khakhra is based on a lady in my maternal grandmother’s village. She was rumoured to be a witch but actually she was quite nice. I met her when I was little.)

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more. Thank you Maria for the image!

Art in a pensive mood!

I have been in a pensive mood lately! Felt like reconnecting with my old friend – Art. It has been long since I painted something. This time, I thought of trying pastel pencils. They are safer with kids around. 


I am uncomfortable with the medium but am trying to learn its techniques via youtube. Hope you like my attempt at art with pastel colours.

Love and light to all of you! Stay happy and safe!