No one bothered me as I walked up, down and around Kumbhalgarh Fort. I felt safe, I felt happy, I had time and literally the whole Fort to myself! Best of all, I was actually in the moment, breathing for each moment. They say when you start enjoying your own company like that, is when you need to start being careful. That's when you can risk crossing the thin red line and become a loner. I don't quite agree though. I think its very important for us to have these moments with ourselves. Doing things or standing up for yourself doesn't make you selfish; spending time and enjoying your own company doesn't mean you will never like spending time with anyone else. Besides, we are all loners to some degree aren't we?
Time to move forward. The highway was beautiful - great roads, no traffic, I wished I was driving a Range Rover or an Audi Q7. It'll come someday - some kind soul will hand me the keys and say 'here you go, a small present for being you'. And I'll say 'What?!? Thanks but no I can't'. And they'll say 'it's already been registered in your name, you deserve it'. And I'll be gobsmacked, we'll go back & forth but eventually I'll accept it. Yay, that day just can't come soon enough, but the day-dreaming comes... to a standstill just like the car I'm in does.
Welcome to Deogarh. One narrow street full of cars, people, bikes, dogs, cows and mini tempos with shops lining either side, leads me to my destination. The most vibrant colors burst around and above me. It instantly brought a smile to my face. As I observed all of this and more, we started moving towards the ever so magnificent Deogarh Mahal.
A kind friend & music producer Raajeev Sharma suggested I go stay there and meet with his friends, the Deogarhs. It was a great recommendation. A perfect place to relax. I was given a suite which had the oldest paintings (left untouched) in the whole Palace. The whole Palace (despite being so huge) has such an ease about it, it made me feel right at home. I loved that the chef decided what I should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner - keeping all my likes/dislikes in mind. He would run it past me daily and I was more than happy to just say yes - saved me the effort of going through a menu and making a decision. One less thing to think about. And this time, as I looked out of my balcony at the hills on the horizon, way beyond the borders of this town, I felt like a different kind of Princess - one that was more comfortable with the idea of this being her Royal 'home' rather than a Princess that was overwhelmed and excited by opulance, grandeur & sparkles. This Palace just had a special, loving, quaint, homely aura about it.
I was very well looked after by the Deogarhs. I was shown around the Palace, met with the very sweet and lovely Queen Mother and thoroughly entertained by the wit, jokes and deep, magical conversations we all had with each other. Shatrunjai, Bhavnakumari and the kids took me around and beyond Deogarh, showed me different parts of it, explained a lot about its history, the people, wildlife and even took me to a very, very special spot - for which I shall be eternally grateful. They were so warm, hospitable and took such great care of me, I felt like a part of their family, like we'd been friends for years.
The landscape around was just so bare. A few rocks, cactii, shrubs & trees. It literally had nothing else. Yet I was nothing short of mesmerised. There was a beauty in it that I couldn't put my finger on. It had such a magnetic pull, I was deeply attracted to it. And all I could think of was shedding. Shedding and letting go. Releasing. Being as bare & barren as this desert, this landscape. Stripping down to the basics, the essence. If people want to be around me, they will - I will not run after them. I will release them with gratitude, love and peace. I will not run after work. I will not run after all the things I think I want. I will do everything within my capacity to make things happen, let people feel loved etc but after that I will let go. What's meant to be will be, there is only so much I can do. Accepting that, was a release in itself.
So, I let go... of everything. I shed all that was unnecessary, all that was not beneficial or of any use to me - feelings, thoughts & emotions like guilt, fear etc. it was a conscious decision and quite a struggle. But I did it. And instantly, I felt much lighter. I was just being. And breathing. And being. And breathing.
|The single lane with 2 way traffic, mini tempos, bikes, shops, colors...|
|...people, cows, bicycles leave you fascinated!!|
|The Grand Entrance|
|My bedroom which has the oldest paintings in the Palace, that have been left untouched. So much history, gives you a special warm feeling. This picture really doesn't do it justice...|
|Loved how high my bathroom ceiling was!|
|The mirror room most Palaces have. Don't I just fit in and look like I was born to play the part of a Princess?? ;)|
|Lounge Area of the Presidential Suite|
|The main entrance to the Palace, Restaurant and Rooms|
|A very special Banyan Tree...|
|Om Namah Shivay! This Trishul has quite an interesting story behind it.|
|Do you see him???|
|The Royal Burial Ground.|
|Where I am standing is actually a dry lake. I'm told its now full. The line on the rock beside my face is where the water usually fills up till.|
|With the wonderful & caring Deogarh family.|
|A most stunning sunset|
|There was such beauty in the barren landscape...|
|Blue cow!! Neel Guy - I spotted him and barely had time to click him properly!|
|The view from the Palace terrace|
|One of its many beautiful 'onion' domes|