The sun had barely passed through its high point on this hot Asarh day, when the clangourous tones of the puja bell punctured the mantle of shimmering heat that lay over the city. As the ripples of sound lazily radiated away from the temple house, a peacock made its way cautiously up the steps of the tightly shuttered western side of the palace. Eager to make its way out of the torpor, he looked warily to the left and to the right before disappearing into the entrance. As it strutted slowly across the ante-room, he stopped twice to deposit defiant squirts of shit onto the otherwise gleaming floor.

Over ninety varieties of marble had been sourced to create this spectacular floor but still this proud bird was compelled to contribute its own colour. All done under the stern and watchful visage of the enormous rosewood carving of Queen Victoria that occupies the end of this vast dark room. Into the ballroom past the grand piano carefully covered by a thick dust-cloth, he was momentarily engrossed by his multiple images in the tarnished mirrors, the discoloured mirror balls and the Belgian cut-glass windows as he hopped from a table to a chair to a jardiniere and then back to another table again. The calls of other birds beckoned him outside into the central courtyard in which there was a small aviary and a home temple.

Up the gloomy main staircase he half hopped and half flew. Up past the paintings of Reynolds and Rubens hung on spectacularly mouldy walls, that were slowly sliding out of and off their frames in the tropical heat, until he reached the first floor inner courtyard balcony. It was a verandah actually and it was crammed with the most bizarre and eclectic assortment of sculptures, curiosities and memorabilia that one could possibly imagine – a beguiling and intoxicating collection of masterpieces, curiosities, kitsch and outright tat. In the midst of this jumble of objects he encountered the doubled over form of the last surviving member of the family. Almost totally blind, he lasciviously rubs the busts and statues as his bearer slowly guides him around this eccentric collection.

Momentarily distracted by a objet d’art, the peacock had not noticed that the bearer had crept up behind him and had his lathi raised ready to strike. As the lathi sliced through the thick air, he launched himself out over the balcony, soaring into the air and narrowly clearing the cast-iron verandah, before alighting safely in the rubbish- strewn and overgrown gardens of this abandoned palace of secrets, memories and broken dreams.


List Of Works
Text Excerpts

Soundcloud Facebook