This is what happens when I want to do a red/black color scheme and also lowkey wanted to make a Djinn Pony (by @ask-the-french-olive!).
We get an edgy-looking Djinn. xD Who is rather sweet and laid back despite her appearance. She likes bones and has a bone flute collection (most of which she’s made, herself), but her real thing is song. She’s always swaying or twitching her tail to a rhythm it seems only she can hear. Nocturne sings her prey to sleep with sweet serenades and lilting lullabies as she waves her horn in an infinity pattern.
They’ve brought him home a baby brother - Scott’s second brother and he’s so entranced he can’t take his eyes off the bundle of blankets in his arms. Virgil doesn’t really do much; he just eats and sleeps and sometimes when he cries, Scott picks him up and he stops being unhappy. Massive blue eyes peer up at him from his blankie and uncoordinated fingers reach out to grab hold of Scott’s hand.
Scott holds him tight and safe and this is the best day of Scott’s life.
Virgil’s three now and Scott’s his favorite word.
In the darkness when everyone’s supposed to be asleep, sometimes there’s an oof and a Scott? before hands grasp at his duvet and a little Virgil follows it, half of Scott’s size and a lil nervous of the things that might be lurking under his bed.
Well Scott’s seven and not afraid of no monsters. He takes his torch and baby brother’s hand and fills Virgil’s whole room with light ‘til he can see there’s nothing there but shadows and stray socks. There’s admiration in those big brown eyes and a sloppy kiss goodnight before Virgil slips back into his dreams, safe and sound in the knowledge that Scott will scare the monsters away.
It’s the best day of Scott’s life when he can keep his baby brothers safe.
And then suddenly Virgil’s five and Scott’s gotta let his hand go ‘cause they’re at the gate to Kindergarten and it’s time for Virgil to spread his wings and fly. ‘Cept he doesn’t, he turns right back round and sticks himself to his big brother like glue.
“S’okay, Virg.” Scott holds him as tight and safe as he did the day their parents brought him home. “Kindergarten’s real cool. They got whole tubs of crayons and glitter and all the stuff that’s too messy for home. It’s gonna be awesome. I promise.”
And at the end of the day when his little brother comes racing back to him with glitter in his eyebrows and something blue in his hands that’s supposed to be Scott, it’s the best day of Scott’s life to see that smile on his face.
Virgil’s ten now and too young for this. Dad’s carrying Alan like a balloon that’ll float off into the sky if he lets go even just a little. Johnny’s gripping Gordon’s hand tight which leaves Scott to reach out to Virgil as they follow their mother’s casket out into the dusty churchyard.
Sometimes hands aren’t enough. Scott’s arm goes around his little brother’s shoulders, keeping Virgil upright as much as his brother supports him. They’re gonna need to stick together so much as their mother disappears beneath the earth this time and their father begins to fall apart.
It’s the worst day of their lives but at least they’ve got each other.
The world’s a different place when Virgil’s 21 and he graduates from Denver School of Advanced Technology. He’s a man now and so is Scott as he waits in the shade for his brother to leave the campus one last time.
It’s not been an easy journey to this point in their lives, but whoever said life was easy? It requires time and effort and sometimes for one person to reach out and bridge the gaps that open up across the years.
And Scott does, when his old best friend appears from between the gates and those brown eyes meet blue. He reaches out just like he did the first time he ever met his brother to welcome him home. To begin again like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Or – as Virgil will come to learn once they make it home to their father – like a Thunderbird.
The spectacular history of Gwalior Fort is one that can mesmerise almost anyone. While treading through the breathtaking pathways and historic temples that make up for its awe inspiring architecture, I heard the stones speak to me of the stories that survived through testing times.
At various places along the way to the Gwalior Fort’s hill are rock-cut statues of the Jain pantheon with Tirthankara saints dating back to 15th or 16th century. The best known among these are two major statue groups along the western approach route up the hill through Urwahi valley. Most of these Jain statues on the hill had been chiseled during the 15th century when the fort was under the control of Tomar kings, though a few are thought to date back as far as the 7th Century AD.
The rich culture from the past seeped through these magnificent rocks. But there was something amiss! These temples had also witnessed desecration by the Mughal dynasty. And looking at the damages made my heart sink for a minute. While, numerous idols from many of the niches were missing, one can’t help but notice the massive figure of Adinatha - the first Jain Tirthankara that stands 17 m tall and is undoubtedly one of the the tallest Jain statues n North India.
The small figure of a reclined lady is seen on one of the rock seemingly of Lord Mahavir’s mother, Trishala. Scriptures say that when she was bearing Lord Mahavir, she had a number of auspicious dreams. Scholars went on to interpret these and tell the virtues of the child which are now inscribed on the rocks.
There are many such huge stunning sculptures all around the pathway which strike you with their serene sense of divinity.
Later, I walked to the Saas-Bahu Mandir (the mother-in law and daughter-in-law temples). The pair of temples are made entirely by the interlocking of sandstones that dated back to the 11th century.
The Kachchapaghata King Mahipala built the first temple for his mother who worshipped Lord Vishnu. Originally it was known as Sahastrabahu - meaning one with thousand arms, another name for Lord Vishnu. Later he built another temple beside it for his daughter-in law, who worshipped Lord Shiva.
I circled around the two temples adorned with beautiful carvings of gods and goddesses. Some of them are - Ganga and Yamuna on each side of the door, Brahma with Saraswati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Garuda, Shiva and Parvati and Navgraha above the door. These temples too were defaced and buried by the Mughals in the 17th C. It was only when the Britishers found them, that they excavated and restored the temples.
Another marvel I walked past was a stunning rock carved temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The 100 feet tall Teli ka Mandir, was built in the 9th century and it is believed to have been made by the Teli community (oil traders). The temple stands out because of its Dravidian and Buddhist architectural influence, especially the vaulted roof. It is adorned with sculptures from Hinduism.
Walking past these immutable sculptures, there was only one thought running in my mind. Hundreds of centuries may pass by, but these stories will remain forever.
About the artist
Neethi Goldhawk is an independent illustrator and textile print designer who loves drawing all things dreamy, inspired by nature and life. She has illustrated for platforms like Redbull Amaphiko and Launchora. Her pen name (Goldhawk) was concocted in the crowded space of her mind full of absurd characters, who are but little children at heart. She is an avid Tumblr blogger and can be found here