Cinder launched up from her chair, nearly toppling over when she forgot about her missing limb.
Steadying herself with both hands on the table, she managed an awkward bow. The retina display sank out of sight.
“Your Highness,”she stammered, head lowered, glad that he couldn’t see her empty ankle behind the tablecloth.
The prince flinched and cast a glance over his shoulder before hunching toward her. “Maybe, um…” –he pulled his fingers across his lips –”on the Highness stuff?”
I couldn’t count the number of mosquitoes
When the realisation set in
Funny how things become so clear
When thinking about the most mundane things
I had just slapped my arm
A patch of blood pooled on the surface of the skin
Red, and shining under the fluorescent lamp
Perhaps a slap on the arm was all I needed
Here I was,
Sitting down in the mouldy, dilapidated wooden chair
Sat on by many guest quadruple my size, weight and two times my height,
Thinking about the future
And it pained me to push it away again
I had been for the past year or so
When one random outing in an electronics store,
With retina displays and oled screen minding their own business
Did I realise how unhappy I was with circumstances
The same thought run through my brain as it did before
I had someone to take it away before
Not for a while
The rough toilet paper scraping at the dried blood was like,
toughened exteriors upon toughened exteriors,
The nostalgic metallic smell of blood driving me back
Into the present
I’m unhappy with myself
I’m unhappy with circumstances that led me here
I’m unhappy at the prospects of the future
And waving from outside the maroon gates
Of my front porch
I see my future 9 miles yonder
As crows and ravens
Flock above the roof of my house
Odyssey of the Neelkanth in Madhya Pradesh - Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
On this crisp morning after Dussehra, I am driven to the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, renowned for exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent, and hence the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. We were literally starting our journey at the inception of time since some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago!
Bhimbetka owes its name to the characters of the longest epic in the world, the Mahabharata. It is believed that when the five brothers, called Pandavas, were banished from their kingdom, they came here and stayed in these caves, the massive rocks seating the gigantic frame of Bhima, the second Pandava.
Bhimbetka is a natural art gallery and an archaeological treasure. For miles together, the footsteps of the prehistoric man can be easily discerned upon the sands of time, since the caves here house rock paintings, created by man from as early as about 15,000 years ago in vivid and panoramic detail.
As I walked into these gigantic natural sculptures, one by one, they revealed man-made ornamentations in the form of rock cut paintings. They have very minimally documented history about the lifestyle of man, and the way they’ve been preserved feels like nature’s protecting them. I said to myself, that these creations and etched in stone are symbolic of the genesis of human storytelling.
Only a limited and few traces remain of our predecessors; both as humans and artists. So much to ask and the responses have been laid out in beautiful boulders and trees with infinity of flora and fauna. My experience there was an instant connection with nature; like a language before language was invented, with peace before peace was achieved.
I found myself imagining them in the act of executing these beautiful paintings as though I had been pulled back in time where even rocks and pebbles had more colours than that of a retina display. I imagined a time where man was not man, but a part of nature. I passed through the maze just like a new leaf in a river called time and I emerged reborn.
Artist-storyteller Harshvardhan Kadam is fascinated by surreal landscapes, mystical beings and mythical creatures. His collective, inkbrushnme, with its eclecticism, has produced conceptually and stylistically powerful Visual Art. With conceptual clarity and solidity, he has illustrated many characters in graphic novels, and children’s books.