Manual Echoes In The Rose Garden and other stories

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At about the same time, he built the Red Fort in Delhi to house his palace within its crenellated walls of red sandstone and its gigantic gateways. Here one finds the desert architecture made magnificent - the halls of audience are like tents or canopies of marble, inlaid with floral motifs in semiprecious jewels and, all about them, lawns geometrically divided by marble channels cut into patterns of lotus petals or fish scales.


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Everything possible has been done to destroy this romantic conception. After the failed mutiny of , the British erected their grim army barracks within the walls of the fort, as if in contempt for the palace, and although it is not contempt that leads present-day tourists to gouge out the inlaid jewels from the marble panels or to litter the fountains with peanut shells, the effect is as sad and horrible as of a grande dame reduced to a life of the streets.

M AKING ONE'S WAY through what is both grand and decrepit to the latticed balustrade along the parapet - where the emperor liked to watch staged elephant fights on the banks of the Jumna - one finds the river has receded so far over the dusty flats that it is almost invisible. The exposed land has been given over to the planting of trees and parks, for which the municipality of Delhi has such a laudable fondness.

Concealed among them are the modest memorials to such latter-day leaders as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi - visited by people from all over the country in the spirit of both picnic and pilgrimage that is so distinctly Indian. In my childhood, the riverbed was a site for open-air sports and exercise: wrestling pits were dug in the sand and cricket games played on the hard clay flats.

Even now, in season, paper kites - pink, blue and green - are flown in fierce competition; one sees fewer of them, but they have not quite vanished. And on Fridays, the whole area is taken over by a market where every conceivable object can be bought. It is not a sight that would have met the Mogul emperor's eyes.

He would have left the fort on elephant back, in a painted howdah, to parade through the nearby Chandni Chowk, the bazaar with the romantic name: Silver Street. There are still shops there that sell silk saris, gold jewelry and heavy Indian perfumes of rose, jasmine and musk, but there are no other signs of opulence left. And the trams that used to run its length in my childhood have disappeared in the thundering traffic of bicycles, bicycle rickshaws, lumbering buses, ancient taxis and the auto-rickshaws that expertly thread their way through traffic jams.

To recover one's breath, one can step into the winding side streets that are still overhung by old houses as walled and shut as fortresses, but which open onto unexpected courtyards and verandas that speak of a more spacious age. One can make one's way through them to the Jama Masjid, the great Friday Mosque, where the emperor worshiped weekly for every day, there was the small Pearl Mosque, so delightfully like its name, within the fort itself.

The immense dome of the great mosque rises like a bubble into Delhi's smoky, sooty sky, and great flights of stairs lead up through the gateways to the courtyard where more than 20, can gather at one time for prayers. Most of the time, it has a more casual air - someone washes himself at the tank of water, someone else sleeps on the cool marble floor. From the top of the stairs one can look down at the bazaar where bread is being baked in clay ovens, kebabs roasted over charcoal fires, pilaos and biryanis stirred in enormous cooking pots.

Small benches and tables are set up under ragged roofs, where one can sit and eat as richly as kings quite possibly to discover that modern-day stomachs are not made for such fare. If it is the end of Ramadan, the festival of Id-al-Fitr is around the corner, and there will be a sea of goats and sheep waiting to be slaughtered for the annual feast -daubed with pink and orange paint and bleating frantically.

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Little is left of Mogul grandeur, but the ordinary people probably live much the same lives as they did in those days. Schoolroom history taught us to think of him as ''the melancholy emperor'' - one who knew many defeats. It was for him that his father Babur gave up his life - when he lay ill, Babur circumambulated his son's sickbed thrice and prayed that his own life be taken instead: his prayer was granted. Later, Humayun too died, of course, and his tomb is surely one of the most splendid there is - in fact, it strikes one as the model for the Taj Mahal itself, although built of a different material.

The red sandstone that is quarried in these parts was a favorite building material of the Moguls, perhaps because of the rose glow it takes on at sunrise and sunset, which makes it seem other than mere stone. In its proportions, its spaces, its balance upon the large upraised platform, its latticed windows and domed ceiling, the tomb has a lightness and grace that is more than earthly, that has some affinity with the peace of the afterworld. All about it lies another of those geometrical gardens so beloved of the Moguls - the lawns perfectly divided by narrow channels in which water once flowed, and all planted with trees that have grown to magnificent proportions, and with beds of native roses, small and creamy and sweet-scented.

In the mornings, one might see Delhi's many devout walkers busily scurrying from one goal to another; in the evenings, hundreds of parakeets and mynahs noisily home in on their trees, bee eaters dart after winged insects and weaver birds fly in and out of their pendant nests in the palm trees.


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F ROM THE NORTHERN end of the parapet, one can look across a sea of grayish kikar trees to the grim stone walls of the Old Fort that Humayun built on the oldest site of Delhi - the site of the ancient epic, the Mahabharata - and to the tall, circular building that housed his library and on whose twisting staircase he slipped and fell to his death. The deaths of these emperors are not commemorated but, just outside Humayun's tomb, a smaller tomb, that of the saint Nizamuddin Auliya, is the site of an annual festival at which poets recite their verses. Devotees cover the grave with cloths made of gold thread or woven flowers, and food stalls and barrows are set up, at which mighty feasts are cooked and devoured.

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There is certainly a plethora of tombs in Delhi. In the Lodi Gardens, not far from Humayun's great mausoleum, they are scattered as plentifully as the bottled drink and cigarette kiosks that bestrew the rest of the city. These tombs of the Lodi emperors of the 15th and 16th centuries stand massive and deep-walled, the stones overlaid with the black patina of age; only here and there a tile of brilliant blue reminds you of their Central Asian origins.

But the populace of Delhi is used to them and uses them mainly as a backdrop for its leisure activities. The Lodi Gardens are a favorite spot of that breed of Delhi-wallahs who take their exercise - or their dogs' - very seriously. On Sundays it is more like a mela - a country fair - with large families spreading out enormous lunches. To most people, the Lodi Gardens mean food, exercise and pleasure, and few reflect on the past buried beneath the old stones.

Echoes In The Rose Garden and other stories

For the melancholy that usually attends death and the past, one has to drive far out to the southernmost limits of the city, and beyond them to the fort of Tughlakabad, built in the 14th century by Ghiyasuddin Tughlak, who so annoyed the saint Nizamuddin Auliya by his frenzied building activities that he incurred the curse that no other than goatherds would live within the walls of his fort.

Two years after his death, his son Mohammed bin Tughlak, known in our history books as ''the mad king,'' decreed that the capital move southward to a more central position. The entire population was forcibly moved, in great terror and anguish; Tughlakabad was deserted and the saint's prophecy came true -one can wander around the abandoned stables and towers and meet no one but an occasional goatherd and his flock.

The nearby village of Mehrauli is littered with the usual tombs and memorials of emperors, but among them are some welcome reminders of the lives of ordinary beings. There is the serene courtyard where pigeons murmur in the neem trees that shade the painted and latticed tomb of the poet Jamali and his friend Kamali. And here, also, is one of the baolis that were built around the few springs that provided water to the thirsty city of Delhi.

It is dry now, but it takes only a little effort to imagine the arched arcades and the steep flight of stairs leading down to the tank peopled with women who have come to fetch water and wash clothes, while children splash and old people rest in the cool shade. I T WAS NEAR NEIGH-boring Qutab Minar that, over a century ago, Sir Thomas Metcalfe indulged in a bizarre fondness for spending the scorching summer in one of the tranquil mausoleums, and for building follies amid the ruins - a miniature fortress like a child's construction, and a lighthouse where he liked to have a light burning at night so he could imagine himself on who knows what seas.

A folly is what one must also call the gigantic statue of Mahavira, founder of the Jain sect of Hindus, which his followers recently erected overnight on the stones of Metcalfe's folly - incongruously polished, it gleams under spotlights. Layer upon layer of history - at times they can look like desecration.

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There is an earlier example of this eccentric layering to be found here. The Qutab Minar, an ornately carved tower, was built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak in the 13th century to commemorate a military victory. One of the earliest of the Muslim invaders, he was also a fierce proselytizer who plundered and wrecked the Hindu temples on the plain and built a mosque with their stones, so that in the arches and domes and pillars around the courtyard one is astonished to discover the sensual postures and smiles of voluptuous Hindu goddesses not quite erased by time.

Few of the picnickers who flock to the Qutab Minar - history made attractive with the addition of green lawns - notice such ironies; they are relaxing beside the tomb of a wandering saint from Central Asia who came here to die, while their children run after small striped chipmunks that scurry up the neem trees for safety. Three years ago, buffaloes dozed and cowherds peacefully puffed at their hubble-bubbles beside the stone walls that surround a seminary built in the 14th century by Firoz Shah Tughlak in our schoolroom history books, the ''good'' Tughlak who planted trees, dug wells and built highways.

At sunset, the pillars and halls and domes of the seminary acquire the precision and clarity of a Piranesi etching against the dusty golden sky, and peacocks fan their tails on the tops of the walls. Below them, village children play around the graves of scholars who lie buried in the seminary gardens. Then, two years ago, New Delhi discovered the charms of the ''ethnic. What looks like a random killing, quickly becomes a chase for a serial killer who already has his eyes set on his next victim.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? The Rose Garden: Book 1 Ten years ago, a woman was taken for ransom and never seen again. The Rose Water: Book 4 A young woman was seen entering a hotel but there is no record of her leaving it. Read more Read less. Customers who bought this item also bought.

Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Thomas Fincham. Product description Product Description "I don't expect to find my daughter alive and well. Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Showing of 1 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Kindle Edition. I discovered Thomas Fincham accidentally. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hyder Ali series. I have read all his books which are real page turners.

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I really enjoyed it. If I did any nit-picking that would be personal opinion that another reader might completely disagree with. I would like to see many other books in the Echo Rose series. Thomas Fincham has an amazing imagination. His other books are great reads as well. It kept my interest through out the entire set.

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