tales of romance and intrigue

My only regret with becoming a Johnlock shipper in the ACD Sherlock Holmes/Granada fandom is that I’ve been in it for all of two months and it may have ruined me for almost all other romance. My expectations are just too high now.

Romance is my favorite genre, but it can be so hard to be satisfied when you want your romance to be interesting. Sometimes you just get two characters and the most interesting thing about them is that they’re going to end up together. You see it all the time, especially in mainstream het romance. Sometimes the setup is literally just: “Boy meets girl.” And we’re supposed to stay invested in it. Like, why should I care about these characters as people? Who are they outside their attraction to each other and why should I root for them to be together instead of apart?

And then you get Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This isn’t boy meets boy.
This is neurotypical, bisexual medical man with postwar scarring and PTSD meets manic-depressive, neurodivergent, gay (and possibly graysexual) genius with a drug addiction. Not only is that one of the most interesting setups for romance I have ever encountered - - and I’m not even including the cases here - - but it is just… the most heartwarming and beautiful thing. Ever.

Because if you order your ACD canon on a bed of Granada, my shallow labels don’t even begin to do these characters justice. They don’t cover Holmes’ playfulness and his heroic heart, or Watson’s boyish laugh and his sometimes embarrassing levels of sincerity. Not to mention the never-ending warmth in their eyes whenever they look at each other. And that’s not even the half of it. Any one quirk of their characters that other stories would reduce them to for the angst or excitement just builds these two into round, whole people, who almost feel alive. And they make each other better.

The hilarious part is that the adventures of Sherlock Holmes aren’t even a romance by definition. They’re mysteries and tales of social intrigue - - and yet, the romance is undoubtedly there, so long as you’re keeping your eyes open for it. In Granada, you’re plopped right into the middle of the love story.  We get both the adventure of the cases and the domesticity of Baker Street. Between the wild disguises and crazy locales and daring chases, we get a warm room, a meal from Mrs. Hudson, and the easy physical intimacy of two people who live together and love each other deeply.

These characters are so multifaceted and their lives are incredible - - and yet, in a way, it’s to be expected. The extraordinary is everyday for Holmes and Watson because every day is extraordinary. Maybe that’s a bit cheesy, but it’s also terribly interesting.

Which is to say, I’m new, I’m hooked, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be quite as satisfied by anything else. Maybe most other love stories just need 130 years to catch up.

The Legend of Lala Hardaul

Orchha is not just a landscape of buildings. It is a town filled with stories. Every monument of Orrcha echoes tales of friendship, romance, betrayal, mysticism and sacrifice. Intriguing, funny, unbelievable and irresistible these stories breathe life into these ancient mahals and mandirs, some of them still in ruins.

Let’s take the example of the ancient Persian style towers that stand amidst a colourful market, and are popularly known as Sawan Bhadon (names of two spring months in local Indian calendar). The locals say that they stand for two brothers who meet everyday at midnight. And this is just one of the tales associated with this monument. 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that every building in Orccha is permeated with stories, and some with strange twists too. Behind the ruins of a melancholic yellow palace which now houses a bazaar, I heard the story of Lala Hardaul, a local prince who is worshipped in a small temple and is addressed as God. “Woh hamara bhagwan hai, hamari raksha karta hai, kabhi bhi zinda aayega,” said a local woman, claiming that Hardaul is alive and is their God. 

At this point my guide narrated his story, which I am recreating for all of you:  

Hardaul, born in Datiya was a son of the famous Bir Singh Bundela of Orchha. He grew up with his brother Jhujhar Singh and was also very fond of his sister-in-law. She also treated Hardaul like his own son.

But Jhujhar Singh’s mind was corrupted by his people. He suspected Hardaul of undue intimacy with his wife.

Jhujhar Singh decided to organise a feast for Hardaul and poisoned the food which killed Hardaul and his followers.

A few years after this tragedy, the daughter of Kunjavati (the sister of Jhujhar and Hardaul) was about to get married. Kunjavati went to invite Jhujhar Singh to attend the wedding but he declined her invitation and mockingly said that she must invite her favourite brother, Hardaul instead.

Hurt, Kunjavati, went in despair to Hardaul’s tomb and lamented aloud. Hardaul from below answered her cries, and promised her that he would come to the wedding and make all arrangements.


Hardaul kept his promise, and arranged the nuptials as befitted the honour of his house.

The same night he visited the bedside of Akbar, and besought the emperor to command chabutras (platforms) to be erected in his honour throughout the empire with a promise that, if he were duly honoured, a wedding should never be marred by storm or rain. Akbar complied with these requests, and since that time Hardaul’s ghost has been worshipped in every village.

He is honoured at weddings and in Baisakh (April-May) women, especially of the lower castes, visit his chabutras built outside the village and eat there. One day before the arrival of any wedding procession, the women of the family worship Hardaul and invite him to the wedding.

If any sign of a storm appears, Hardaul is appeased with songs.

About the artist

Sajid Shaikh is a self-taught visual artist, illustrator & graphic designer and has worked for firms like Umbrella Design and Contract Advertising. His brand of contemporary graphics inspired by traditional / modern India is surreal, obscure, bold and adds a modern twist to the subject and touch of philosophy to the design.

By Sajid Shaikh

thelionshoarde  asked:

Look, this may change once I finish reading through all of your fic, but legit, The Snowdrop. I read that and I was like, EXCUSE ME. A lengthy tale chock full of action, adventure, intrigue, politics, sneaky writing, and romance?? ALL IN ONE FIC?? and done in such a way that was completely realistic and believable THE GOD DAMNED LANTERN WITH THE SHUTTER SIDE THING AND I JUST. I had no idea an AnS fic could be so damned badass. It gave me something to aspire to in my fic writing, no joke.

Eeeee. I’m kind of speechless at this. Thanks? I just? Um.

Originally posted by gypsyastronaut

I’m so happy you like it! Here’s hoping I can stick the landing.

anonymous asked:

What's the story behind the wheelchair?

Tis a tale of wonder and intrigue, romance, road trips, and my butt. Our story begins with a simple bunch of aluminum tubing which was one day twisted, chopped, and forged into a frame. This new wheelchair had just come into the world. Lost and confused in its first few days the chair was bang, bumped, prodded, painted, drilled, and bolted together. This rollercoaster of an existence finally came to a close a week or so later when it found itself being shoved into a big van with a bunch of other freshly made wheelchairs.

In this brief journey across America the wheelchair found love in a small shapely chair named Justine. Other wheelchairs came and went inside the dark truck but Justine stayed on for the journey west to California.

Sadly they were torn apart when the truck made a stop in a warm coastal town. The chair was taken off the truck and Justine cried big greasy tears. She promised she would wait for him but they were never to see each other again.

The wheelchair was delivered to a short guy with spikey black hair named Matt who talked really fast and was really bad at making eye contact with people. He stuffed the chair into his tiny Honda CRV and made a trip north to a ranch where the chair was proudly rolled into the living room of a small but well lived in farm house.

That’s where I first sat in it, and the chair was forced to accept its fate of carrying my ass around for the last three and half years.