Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Reward

The sun shone brightly on a sunny summer morning. It was a special day indeed for Nathuram. After all, his paintings were on display at the National museum. The great Raja of Tanjore was going to visit the place. There was a rumor that he was on a lookout for artifacts and paintings to adorn the new palace he had recently built for his Rani. Nathuram was excited and nervous at the same time. One look at him and you could conclude that he could be anything but a painter. You see Nathuram was not an average guy. He had no hands. He painted with his mouth and legs. People would be amazed by the talent he had and the great art he put out. It seemed highly impossible to differentiate between his paintings and the regular 'hand-made' ones.

He was lost in his thoughts when the sound of horns and drums rolls announced the arrival of the Raja. It was fantastic show put together. The Raja arrived on Elephant sitting on a gold adorned palanquin swaying delicately along with the swagger of the elephant. He threw a lavish look at the people gathered to see him and alighted from the elephant. After the Aarti ceremony he declared the exhibition open. There were various artists from all over the region, Sculptors, painters, dancer, singers and so on. The Raja took turns to enjoy the performances of each and everyone. Some were handsomely rewarded, while some were given a few mohurs. The Raja made sure no one went back empty handed.

Later was the art exhibition. The Raja wandered the area where all paintings were displayed and took deep interest in each and every one of them. He even allowed the artists to explain the use of certain colors and lines. He spent a lot of time to indulge in the details, rewarding the painters handsomely. Then came Nathu's turn. He was almost shivering when the Raja came to his plaque. He stood engrossed in the painting for a few minutes, then looked at Nathu, and then again observed the painting for a few minutes. Soon his face curved into a bright smile. He grabbed Nathu by the shoulders and almost hugged him.

"This was the painting I was looking for in my master bedroom. The queen is going to be pleased to have this. I am ready to pay any amount of money to own this one." Nathu's joy knew no bounds. He was almost teary-eyed. "Malik", he said. Who am I to value this? I'm glad enough that you like it. No honor is greater. The Raja, further pleased due to the appreciation, whispered to a servant and he came back with a huge bag of mohurs.

The Raja, just like any other royalty prided himself on being the most generous. He did not want to be outdone by other neighboring kings. “I wish to reward you the highest reward you can get. Tell me what did you get for the last piece of art you delivered? I will give you something much more than that.”

A little amused, Nathu said, “I pray do not do as you say Sire. I would rather not have anything at all.”

The Raja a bit curious now inquired, “Why? What did you work on before you did this painting?”

Nathu standing fixated, his eyes focused on the horizon replied, "The Taj Mahal"

 
Rumor has it that Shah Jahan had the hands of all the artisans cut off so that they could never replicate the Taj Mahal ever again. This was the reward the people got for helping create one of the wonders of the world.

12 comments:

Karthik said...

The last line was like a tap on the head, man. Too good.
Is this a true story? or you made it up? Either ways, I liked the narration very much. (something I've always said and meant) ;)
Sooopar, dude.

Saurabh Panshikar said...

I just made it up man. Its long since I wandered through your blog...
Am on it now...
Thanks for the commment

sudhakarking said...

Loved it. This was brilliantly written.

Nethra said...

That was some imagination and superb connection with the history. It made a good read. :)

Saurabh Panshikar said...

Thanks Sudhakar...

Thanks a lot Nethra... So did it help lose the boredom?

Gaurav Nahar said...

no doubt at your composition dude! you rock it again! really good composition!

Megha said...

when i started to read i knew this is something different. Never thought of this ending. NIce twist..keep writing..

khoop chan :)

pal said...

Excellent!!! I have heard of the story too, the cutting of hands. Its awfully cruel, methinks.

Saurabh Panshikar said...

thanks gaurav

Megha dhanyavaad for the comment... sahaj suchla hota. pan malach vatat hota ki he kahi tari vegla ani chhan honar ahe

@pal thank you! honored!

Chatterbox said...

I too have heard the story of Shah Jahan's cruelty of cutting hands of the craftsmen who built the Taj.

Loved the co-relation Saurabh, you've used that historic anecdote wonderfully in this story.

Keep writing!!

myself said...

too good! i had goosebumps reading the last line..brilliant piece of imagination. loved it :)

Yemiledu said...

Hey goodone
And the connection to history was gud too :)

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