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San Francisco Cable Car

Saturday, December 1, 2007

32 -- A Feast For Heroes

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: Can you believe it… it’s December already?!
rilla: DECEMBER? WHAT HAPPENED TO SEPTEMBER… AND OCTOBER, AND NOVEMBER?
Rilla: Boy, where’ve you been?
rilla: When did it become December? What’ve you been doing all this time? I thought we were in India, bringing Mom back to California…packing and sorting and junking and moving…
Rilla: Yawwwwn…ancient history… been there… done that. Who are you? Rip Van Winkle?
rilla: Feels like it. But why are you doing the yawning? OK, fill me in on the three months I missed.
Rilla: Let’s see… where to start? How about… hmm…
rilla: Good grief… there’s more than a thousand photographs in the camera…
Rilla: Guess I got a little trigger happy seeing as I’m not sure when we’ll go back to our hometown now that Mom’s here with us…
rilla: Hey, this one’s cool, what’s this?
Rilla: Oh, that’s women by the side of the road rolling out papadum to dry on mats… that was not in Hyderabad… that was in Pune.










rilla: We went to Pune too? You can STOP rolling your eyes…
Rilla: I don’t get it… half the time I just don’t know where you…
rilla: Hey! This is a good one…














Rilla: Oh, that… that’s just a billboard… the cricket player, you know…
rilla: Ha ha ha… you didn’t take this picture for a cricket player!
Rilla: You weren’t meant to see that one…
rilla: All this time I’ve been telling you you’re not that unique… takes a cricket player to make you believe, hey?
Rilla: If you don’t put a lid on it soon…
rilla: What? You’ll strangle me?
Rilla: No… I’ll send you back to sleep…
rilla: Ooh! Where was this?
Rilla: That was the view from Simhagarh, one of Shivaji’s forts, close to Pune.












rilla: You mean the fort that his famous general Tanaji took by attacking from the unguarded side. Sheesh… I would have liked to have seen that…



















Rilla: Too bad you were asleep. That’s one of the few stories I stayed awake for in history class. The fort was invincible, with steep rock cliffs on one side.





















So Tanaji, knowing that the defenders would not expect an attack from that side, threw up ghorpuds…
rilla: Yes, huge monitor lizards with ropes tied to them and they attached to the rock so strongly that warriors could climb up the cliffs with the ropes and let down more for the rest of the army. They were trained to do that. Isn't that cool? Now that's what I want to be when I grow up.
Rilla: What?
rilla: Why a lizard trainer, of course. Goodness, what's with all the eye rolling today?
Rilla: Seems like that's what I've become...
rilla: HEY! YOU CALLING ME A LIZARD?
Rilla: If the name... oh, forget it. Whatever. I thought we were looking at the pictures of Simhagarh.
rilla: Well, you still haven't answered my question.
Rilla: Which one?
rilla: Did you see any ghorpuds?
Rilla: Oh, that one. Nah… only saw the little guys…













rilla: Did you get a guide to show you around the fort?
Rilla: Nah…turned him away. Even though he offered to sing a song.
Got the low down from family, instead.

















rilla: A song? Wonder what he would have sung. Do you think it was a song about Shivaji? Shivaji! What a hero. I love all the stories about him.
Rilla: ‘Mountain rat,’ the Moghuls called him. How they hated his guts in rallying all the Maratha kingdoms to oppose the Moghul forces. Poor Tanaji, though. He died taking Simhagarh. 'We won the fort, but lost the lion,' mourned Shivaji. And thereafter, the fort was named Simhagarh or Lion Fort.
rilla: So that’s Tanaji's memorial?



















Rilla: He was celebrating the wedding of his son when Shivaji called on him to take the fort…
rilla: Looks like we’re doing a bit of celebrating ourselves?













Rilla: Mm… a real feast.


















rilla: Who’s that?
Rilla: Our lunch bearer.












All supplies come up the mountain from the villages down below…every day!











rilla: Hey! There she is again.



















Rilla: Yes. She was persistent. Made sure we ate at her stall.
rilla: So what did we eat?













Rilla: Bhakri.
rilla: Huh?
Rilla: Village bread made from millet…
rilla: …that’s so soft you can’t roll it with a pin
Rilla: …you have to pat it out with your hands...
























rilla: yum!
Rilla: But there were appetizers… onion rings, Indian style.

















rilla: Much appreciated, I see.



















Rilla: And little fried eggplants and…
rilla: … what’s that?



















Rilla: Yogurt! Set in the little clay dishes. Between us we ate almost thirty of them they were SO good!
rilla: So that’s what those funny black dishes on the window sill are.
Rilla: I liked them so much I brought a couple home.
rilla: So you had a good time, hey?
Rilla: Mm.
rilla: And you’d go back?





















Rilla: Mm.

























rilla: And here you had me believing it was all hard work and no play all that time…
Rilla: Go ahead…strangle me… at least I wasn’t sleeping for three months.
rilla: I worked too.
Rilla: Yeah? Prove it.
rilla: Here it is… my first publication… in the LA Times! ‘Blue Space Pajamas!’ You should read it…
Rilla: Sorry… too busy.
rilla: OK… then I will have to strangle you.
Rilla: I’ll just delete all these photos first…
rilla: No you won’t. I want to see more.
Rilla: I guess you’ll have to hold off on getting rid of me then.
rilla: For now…after you’ve shown me all the pics, it’s another story…
Rilla: Oh yeah? Who’ll take care of Mom?
rilla: Yawn… I feel sleepy again.



Shivaji - Wikipedia
Another account of a visit to Simhagarh
Book Review on Shivaji



26 comments:

J said...

OMG! Such beautiful country. Everything so lush and green. I always wondered where the idea cme from to make the saris of such beautiful colors. Now I know, they just copied what they saw around them. thanks for sharing.

Katia said...

Great pics, Rilla! Makes me want to go to Pune and visit that old fort. Glad that you're finally back in the blogosphere.

Rilla said...

Hey J,
we were lucky... it was still monsoon and the hills were lush and green... and the flowers were blazingly brilliant... and the saris were brightest of all ;)
Going to Pune was the vacation we had... and very worth every minute.

Rilla said...

Hey Katia,
Feels good to be back in the blogosphere. It's lonely out there without it! You should visit Pune, of course, along with the list I already gave you ;) Shivaji's forts are very romantic. Not as amazing as Golconda, but full of tales of bravery and derring-do... perfect for fantasy writers ;0

my Extended Mind said...

Hey Rilla Auntie! Great to see you two back online... The pictures have come out really well. I'm so happy to see my pic here!

We sure had a great time, please make it again.. cheers...

~Badal

Rilla said...

Hey Badal,
it's great to be back online.
We had a great time, didn't we! And the pictures prove it. Can't wait till next time... where will you take us then?
Listened to Suphala last night and Forest Sounds the other night and LOVING them. Thanks again.

LynNerd said...

These pictures are amazing, Rilla. Wow. No wonder you took a thousand pictures. Oh, the cricket player is cute, too! Thanks for sharing!

Rilla said...

Hey Lynnerd,
Mmm he is cute, isn't he... and we have something in common ;0
Couldn't keep Rilla's finger from clicking... thank goodness for digital cameras! She has enough beautiful pics for a yearful of blogs... WATCH OUT!

Wub2Write said...

Hi Rilla & lil ril,

Awesome pics!!! Especially LOVE the one of the fort ruins. And pics of everyday life in India are great. You are not only a talented writer/storyteller, but a gifted photographer, too. Had to chuckle at the billboard. Yes. There are two people in each of us. Evil Maria sneaks out about once a month. HA! HA! Actually, more often lately. Mean-o-pause. I have a gut feeling you have tons of stories about India bubbling inside of you. I can hardly wait to hear them all. So get busy, writer pal! Glad you're back. We missed you! Hope to meet your mom someday, too. :-)

Adios, amiga,

Maria T.

Wub2Write said...

YAY! My posting went through after only two tries. I think I've got it, mate! O.K. Bad aussie accent. What can I say. Picked it up from The Thornbirds, or maybe it was Crocodile Dundee. Later gator. O.K. it was the croc guy.

Adios,

Maria T.

Rilla and rilla said...

Hey Wub2Write,
who you callin' a talented photographer? You're not supposed to be complimenting Rilla! Whose friend are you anyways??? Huh? Huh?
BTW, love the ozzie accent... don't care where you got it from! If it's really bad, you probably got it from me ;)

dakota2 said...

wow--beautiful! and thanks for the well-wishes regarding the baby! we're so excited (and yes, have a lot going on) so glad you're home safe and sound

xo

heidi

rilla said...

Hey Heidi,
so great to be back and get all the wonderful news! Thanks for the wishes. Looking forward to all your fun posts. It was just too difficult to blog while in India and that made me realize what a lonely place the world is without my blogging buddies.

Anonymous said...

Great photography, Rilla! You should write an article about India for a travel magazine or for a newspaper travel section.

Carol said...

That last entry was from me.

Carol

rilla said...

Hey Carol,
Thanks for stopping by anonymously and otherwise! Would love to do travel writing, when I get a minute off from children's writing. Until then... this blog's it!

LindaBudz said...

Great pix, great stories ... worth the wait! That poster is too funny (and the cricket player is cute).

Congrats on the LA Times article ... I never even came close to winning anything in those stupid sales contests.

rilla said...

Hey there LindaBudz:
thanks for visiting! I nearly died when I drove by that billboard back home... I just had to have a picture of it! And yeah, the cricketer's cute... captain of the one-day team.
Thanks for the wishes. I'll let you in on a little secret... the only part of the LA Times I've ever read is the kid's corner, so I have no idea what sales contests you are referring to? But I do know you won big on Robert's Snowflakes. Can't believe you scored Elizabeth Dulemba's flake, you lucky so-and-so! That's so cool. I met Elizabeth in LA at the conference. She's really nice too.
OK, back to read your new post ;)

Colorado Writer said...

Oh, you are back! I've missed you, but thank you for the lovely photographs!

What are you up to in the writing world? Are you going to the SCBWI Conf in NYC???

rilla said...

Yeah Baby, I'm back!
Thank goodness.
No, i wish i could go to the nyc conference, but la is all my budget can handle. actually it can't handle that either but some things in life are necessities!
are you going to nyc?
please do report in great detail if you do.
will i see you again in la in 08?

LindaBudz said...

I meant the contests where you sell stuff and get points to win fancy prizes, like in your story, silly!

rilla said...

OOooooooooooooooooooooH! Now I get it! I hadn't the faintest idea what you were talking about.... just goes to show you, my brain's on major walkabout right now. Thanks for clearing the 'huh?' up or my face might have been stuck in stupid questioning expression mode forever!

Aruna said...

After seeing the Sinhagad pix, you are forgiven for spending all that time behind the camera. Specially liked the bakri making sequence. Definitely didn't like that ugly lady in the red dress, grabbing a plateful of pakoras!

rilla said...

Hey Aruna,
here, how dare you call my sister ugly... Watch out!

kun said...

i went to sinhagadh for new years one year from college. we were supposed to find the ridge that would lead us down to raigad, but we couldnt find it and got a bit lost!

so we retraced our steps and came back down after a couple of nights... :(

rilla said...

Hey Kun,
what an adventure! The countryside is pretty tricky around there. Unfortunately we did not have the luxury of the time required to experiment with various descents off the mountaintop and so getting lost was not an option ;(