Year 2014, and I take a walk around the dark forbidding walls of a fort that has been standing here from ages ago. Shaniwar wada, an old fort built by the peshwas, a silent, imposing, brooding structure standing like an old grandfather amidst the hustle-bustle of the fresh, young city, looking down upon it, like it is an errant grand-child. I ran my fingertips over the patched, fraying walls and thought of a time, long back in history, when people were living in it, calling it their home. How would they have felt if they had known that someday in the future their home would be run-over and teeming with random people clicking pictures of it or scribbling their names on its walls or stray dogs peeing on its doorways. A time bygone, when every morning people would wake up at the crack of dawn and sweep the pillared hallways and dust the furniture, the women would sit together to prepare food and gossip, young girls with tinkling anklets would prance about, giggling. A complete household, very similar to ours yet so different. A different age altogether with people having different dreams, aspirations and hopes.
How many expecting mothers had taken a walk through these paths.What were her dreams like? Walking through the garden slowly running her hands over her protruding tummy. Does she have a smile on her face, happy and content or was she fearful about the child’s future, and the approaching war.How many young, flippant girls had pressed their backs against the cold stone walls and stood on tiptoe to kiss their lovers in the moonlit night. Was it even allowed at that age? Was she caught and forced to marry someone of her caste or was she lucky enough to marry him? And so many old ladies, supported by their young grand-daughters must have taken rest under the huge banyan tree.
The dark alleys and small rooms are almost spooky and if you try to listen you can hear the wailing ghost of the young peshwa who was tragically murdered near the walls of his own home by his own relatives. He probably still haunts these dark alleyways in search of his murderers and traitors. Fact or fiction, you can believe in anything inside those walls.
A sigh and a throb in my heart. I turn around and walk out of those huge iron doors studded with huge iron nails.