From Sandstone To Heritage Site
Tale of women across generation
If walls could talk, I would have told Arya what her great-grandmother would have thought of the woman she had become.
Before we go there, a little bit about me. I am a multi-generation old wall with humble beginnings. I have come a long way, and so have my humans. And here is the family hierarchy before I forget.
- Arya - I
- Arya - II
- Arya - III (Baby Arya)
Yes, the females in the family had the same name, so I will refer to them by the numerals except for Baby Arya - who, god bless her, is getting married today.
Her late-night chat with the moon (just like Arya - I) inspired my narration. I could smell the faint traces of jasmine on her hair as she leaned against me. It was night, but the moon was shining at its brightest. Everybody had gone to bed to get much-needed rest before her big day.
She was having wedding jitters and had wondered aloud, ‘What would my great grandma think of all this?’
Walls have memories - trust me.
THE CURSE OF A SAGE
Before I even talk about my existence in my human world, let's talk about my humble beginnings as a part of a vast red sandstone mountain. The mountain I was a part of was situated in a tiny village with two and a half streets in south India.
It was a lush village with a river that flowed all the way to the sea. With abundant water came farming. The villagers were very prosperous, with fertile lands and cattle. However, the villagers' prosperity and greed had nothing to do with their size. I remember watching the transformation in humans from gratitude to greed.
It so happened that one day a sage was passing through the village. He was a wise man who had meditated in the caves for years. That was the time when holy men were truly holy. He wore the traditional loincloth, matted hair and a small bowl for food and water. He was passing through the village, and he was very thirsty. He asked for water, but none of the villagers came to his aid. So, he cursed the village, stating that from now onwards, there would be no more rain, only drought in Sevvur.
There is power in words - trust me.
It so happened that a few centuries later, Arya-I was married into a family in Sevvur at the tender age of fourteen. And I saw the transformation that occurred from the age of fourteen.
To begin with, she realized that her sole purpose in the thatched hut was to serve others. And that was not sustainable. So, she charmed her husband into building a brick wall to partition the kitchen from the rest of the hut where she could get some peace. And that’s how I was born into a wall as her vision formed. She was a shrewd woman who played the long game. That’s why she coated me with a mix of eggs/lime so I would never need re-coating - only a wash to this date.
She wasn’t always this way. There was more to her than met the eye. She was tiny and scrawny with beautiful eyes. When she first entered the house, she had long hair decked in wedding jewelry. She looked like a meek deer, but it did not take for the tigress in her to emerge. I witnessed her transformation throughout life’s trials and tribulations.
I was her silent friend. I remember her sobs when she leaned into me, grieving over her unborn children. I could feel her quiet determination when she told her mother-in-law that the hut had to be replaced with a brick house. I remember her cunning use of feminine powers as she convinced her husband to build the house. I still remember the echoes of joy when her children were born alive, especially Arya - II. She was in labor for almost two days for Arya - II. The final piece that hardened her was her husband’s death. Sevvur, at that point, was barely making do as a farming village. Most men would go outside to earn money and come back. Arya-I’s husband had gone overseas, but the boat he was on sank. Her in-laws wanted her to re-marry, and I could feel the reverberations when she gave the ultimatum - ‘If I have not made you into the richest house in the village in a year. I will re-marry whoever you say for dowry.’
She was true to her word. Not only were they the richest in the village, but she was also the only female who commanded more power than any male for miles around.
She was the first to dig a well and charge people for water. For a village cursed with no rain - this was an instant money maker. She was the first to weave baskets and sell them as luxury items. She provided other women with means to make money. And everybody knows women run the household. So, she built her network by working with women. She educated girls, which was unheard of. She believed in cleanliness. She took care of everybody. Her good deeds were the true power if you ask me. No wonder when she announced that only females would inherit in her family - nobody said anything.
Power is more significant than gender - trust me.
While achieving greatness as a woman in a male-dominated era, Arya-I married her daughter Arya - II. And right when Arya - II was giving birth to Baby Arya, Arya-I passed away.
I watched her spirit linger enough to bless the baby before departing the earthly planes. She was at peace. She had lived her life the way she wanted and ensured that her granddaughter had the same genes.
Arya - II asked baby Arya if she had returned. When the baby gurgled and cooed - everybody rejoiced that Arya-I had returned. People will believe anything to cope with grief. If only they knew what I knew.
Ghosts are real, but even they cannot enter a baby at birth to re-incarnate. Trust me.
I have a special attachment to her because she replaced the gap that Arya-I had left for me. She would also lean against me and babble. She drew on me, talked to me - bared her baby heart to me.
Baby Arya was born in interesting times. She was born at times when people were leaving villages for greener pastures. Arya - II left with the baby despite misgivings as her husband had a thriving business in a nearby town. Mom and daughter would visit me often, but there was a tinge of sadness in Arya - II. And soon, she passed away when baby Arya was in her teens. Arya was heartbroken. She clung to me and refused to leave. Her dad could not think of anything and sent her abroad (apparently, people could fly now). I would see her in the summer initially, and then the visits stopped.
Time moved on.
Lots of people left the village. Monkeys and dogs took over the streets and houses. My neighboring wall had been taken over by nature. The kitchen roof caved in. I was ready to go back to nature.
Nature is the only survivor - Trust me.
IT'S A CYCLE
And I had also made peace with going back to my origins when baby Arya (she would always be my baby) showed up. She was the splitting image of her grandma. Her fingers breathed a new life into me as she exclaimed over the state of the house.
Her dad followed her in, stating that we might get more money if we took the house apart and built something new.
And what happened next reminded me of the Arya - I. Baby Arya stamped her foot and said,’ I will make you more money in a year with this house, and if I don’t, I will marry the guy of your choice.’
Her dad knew the futility of her task and agreed. But little did he know what my baby could do. She and her British boyfriend did a makeover and converted me into a heritage hotel. They even took over the neighboring houses. And as she had predicted, within a year, they were making more money than imagined.
Glory can be restored - trust me.
MORE TO COME
For me, I am an old wall ready for another set of memories as a part of a heritage site. Today is a special day.
Today baby Arya is getting married to her white boyfriend, as everybody calls him. She is a beautiful bride. She not only looks like a tigress but is one too! For me, she will always be my baby.
So, what would her grandma have said?
‘Strong women do what their heart desire’ is what I thought. But exactly what words Arya-I would have said even I cannot tell you. Trust me.
About the Creator
My vision in life is to be a Better Version Of Myself Every Day. And my purpose in life is ‘Learn, Grow, Inspire and Contribute’.
Everything that I do ties into this vision - including my writing. Check out anumorris.com for more info!
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