Timeri N. Murari is a novelist, a journalist and a successful Film Director. In fact, he is one of the most successful contemporary Indian Writers in English. and, his versatility shines through his creative works. I read one of his best selling novel, Taj:A Story of Mughal India a few days ago.
Taj was first published in UK in 1985 and has since then been translated into 25 languages. Just one read of the same has enamored me and I am besotted with Murari’s creativity and wit, as he told me one of the legendary tales of India, the love story of Shahjahan and Mumtaz, immortalized by the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.
But, a story is only as good as its narrator, and Timeri N. Murari is a Magus of written words. Be it the steamy romantic scenes, the shifty political intrigues or the poisonous bouts of treachery, his powerful narrative and witty wisdom quotes, enlivens the dead history. I can hardly resist myself from quoting a few Pearls of Wisdom that lay scattered in between the pages. They vary from a soothing balm to a harried lover’s soul to pointed shaft for a sworn enemy to some universal truths that strike us only when the time is ripe. Savor a few:
1. Love is pain, an unrelieved longing. The world shrivels and dies, people disappear and only ‘he’ remains. It is like existing in two spheres : the body stays entombed in one, shaking, beating, hurting; the heart and mind adrift in the other.
2. The past is prologue to the present.
3. In war, the king is the heart. If he is killed, death is inevitable.
4. A monarch should ever be intent on conquest, otherwise his neighbor will rise in arms against him.
5. If the king saith at noonday, it is night, you are to say, behold the moon and the stars.
6. Love is not for princes… You will marry whom you must. Not for love, but for politics.
7. Think carefully before you speak to the Padishah. Men often cut off their heads with their tongues.
8. The years of silence, had left a swollen river of words in my gullet that choked me and prevented the passing of breath. I wished them to burst out in a great flood, but could only release this puny dribble of words.
9. Taktya Takhta, Crown or Coffin.
10. Why does one always tremble with fear, when one loves so much? In case, it escapes, in case it is an illusion.
11. How swiftly ecstasy dies?
12. Without love, the world is a lonely place. It is like wandering endlessly in the desert. I know because I can see my own dusty footprints.
13. Faces lie, voices do not. I believe you.
14. Slow is of God; hurry is of the devil.
15. Then, I was blind in mind, now, I’m blind in the eye. Two blindnesses, what ill luck! If only the first had occurred before the second, I would still have both sights.
16. Who are you (Isa). I M the memory of the Empress Mumtaz-i-Mahal.
17. Taj Mahal was a perfect thing in an imperfect world, and that was an awesome burden,
18. The Emperor wished the world to know that he had destroyed the only person he had ever loved.
19. To have loved less would have meant not to love. Love was not to be measured out in portions like food or water, regulated so that it did not overflow.
20. His face conveyed the despair of his words.