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Gangajal: A Story

The 1000th one was also rejected.
7 days, 8 nights, 30 mirrors, 50 dressers, 185 helpers, 327 master weavers and their 881 trunk-full of fabrics, everything ended up with one common fate – ALL IN VEIN.
“So that is it, dear Father.” Concluded the Princess. The tiny dimple on her left cheek must not have meant any mischief, yet twinkled.
Sigh wasn’t a common thing to happen with King Rudrasen, not even in the middle of the deadliest warfronts. But only when this little bundle of menace was around, things would never be the same.
“You still have an hour left Darling, and probably a couple of trunks more.” Rudrasen glanced through the huge pile of trunks spread over a never-ending horizon.
“Waste of time. None of them have what I’m looking for. Not even nearly there.” Shrugged Yashodhara, “So, I gift you back one precious hour, Father!”
“No, my Princess. Deal is a deal. You should not deprive these folks from getting at least a chance till the last moment. So get back to your work.” Rudrasen lazily took a seat, conveniently ignoring the disapproving glare from his over-indulged daughter.
“And if they still fail?” Kings presence would mean no extra favor to these people, Yahsodhara could ensure that.
“You don’t marry Prince of Gour.” Sounded bitter.
“And?”
“You get to voyage out for your coveted adventure.” Sounded toxic.
And just like any royal drama used to end, the last of the master-weavers to be called was Sutrak. A man, probably in his nineties, who brought only one sari in his fragile little pouch which was never a 11-yard fabric, rather a magnificent stream of waves flowing out of the core of the Ganges, right away!
Running her palm beneath the sari, Yashodhara pulled it up in the sunlight. Yes, it swayed a pale golden oriental shade, just like the river sweeping at banks. The tiny little fishes weaved in gold-yarns winked, as if they would dive deep into the stream.
“How is that Father?”
Rudrasen left his seat, awe-struck, but more than that, relieved. “Perfect! The perfect one you’re looking for!”
Yashodhara’s smile broadened, mischief met triumph, “Yes! The perfect one we’ve ever weaved so far!”
“Gangajal!” Smiled Sutrak.
Next full moon, Yashodhara’s voyage left the city. It was one huge departure. One huge ship. Rudrasen sighed. Again. His daughter would be the first female trader of the East, and first destination would be to the heart of the Mughal Empire, Malika-e-Hindustan, Behum Nurjahan.
And how could Rudrasen stop her! Though he was a little late to learn that his darling daughter was one of the best weaving connoisseurs of the East, raising a squad of artisans to rule the textile world, for god knows how many years with their spindles!

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Muslin: A Story

Fixing imaginary creases on his cravat the Earl of Chatsworth dubiously looked at the pink reticule sitting idly besides Elizabeth. The reticule, just the size of a tumbler, was all what she carried for a seven day road trip to London, followed by the Grand ball at Almack’s! Her father never offered to mortgage her wardrobes for goodness sake!
“I run out of words to express my delight in welcoming your company to the Chatsworth house, my lady. Only I fear a little if your other carriages lose the trail of the path, should we wait a while for them to catch us up?” The Earl said in a tone crisper than his collar.
“There is no other carriage my lord.” Elizabeth casually replied.
“That is even more enthralling!” No wonder that London, the city of extravagance, had played its usual charms on this pampered daughter of the baroness.
The Earl smiled blissfully. Who else than him could cover her in the expedition of errands and win her the most exquisite fashion of the city! The dazzling damsel dancing in his arms, and her delectable estate joining his acreage – and they both would live happily ever after!
That morning, his courtyard was crowded with merchant phaetons. Verandah exploding with excited faces! The hall reverberating in voices! Elizabeth couldn’t wait for the Earl to arrive, but he would ensure that the conclusion would be his.
“I’m honored to see you my lord, but I would not hide my disappointment of not having you earlier!” Her eyes sparkled as he entered.
Did he ever mention how addictive he was to Elizabeth’s voice?
“I just have this one saved for you! Please accept this as my gratitude to all your kindness so far!” Elizabeth turned to her reticule and pulled out a piece of… probably nothing more than a wave of autumn air!
“All of my other pieces are sold off! This is called muslin my lord! Finer than butterfly wings, lighter than cloud! I’m so glad that I can release the mortgage from your surveillance sir! However, needless to say I wouldn’t ever be able to release myself from the debt of your kindness!”
Heaps of cloudy airy butterfly wings-like wonders were shimmering on the floor. The merchants, instead of emptying their satchels, were haggling among themselves on who would be collecting which one.
“How did you bring all these?” The Earl asked vaguely.
“Inside my reticule! That is the magic of this fabric! 2 kilometer long piece of yarn weighs only 2 grams! In weavers language it’s called the ‘1500’ count cotton! Next time I’ll bring a full trunk! And I’m ambitious to hope that I’ll still be blessed with your hospitality, sir?