(Now, I started by “novella/novel thingie” in the middle, or the early middle, and now have figured out how it should start. This is where Sivapalan’s whole story really begins)
Minakshi sat up in bed once again, rolling up her palm leaf scrolls and creasing the patterned covers as she did. Once again, the rhythmic drumming of the rain against the sides of her huge Thanjavur house filled her head. Stories of great gods from many religions frolicked across her mind as she let nature consume her again. Somehow, strangely enough, the falling rains sounded like the many drums she danced to it the Temple. Too many to name, too many instruments, and all of a sudden the urge to dance gripped her again.
But she stopped.
Looking around her bedroom, she could see that nothing was in order. Her chests of clothes were all scribbled on with charcoal, with the intricately carved wooden elephants having been painted in by an amazingly talented artist. So talented that he’d left his name behind in rather disjointed Tamil letters.
Minakshi smiled. “Sivapalan, you little rogue. Where are you hiding now?” Of course, maybe he could even be in the chest itself, so she mused. Then she stared out of the window. The wind blew the curtain, and the spray of the rain felt good on the dry floors and against her skin as she let herself soak it in. In the distance, rising at least two hundred feet into the air was the vimana of the Temple. The mighty Brihadisvarar, the greatest piece of art anywhere in India, or at least anywhere in the lands of the Chola Empire. Her home for so many years, with so many millions of memories.
She smiled as she crossed over to the curtain.
“We have to take this down one day,” she mused, catching little raindrops on her forearm, “and then we can all see it. Even you, Sivapalan my angel, and you too.” She looked down at herself, feeling her body growing less firm and lithe, but still maintaining her graceful poise, her large, perfect breasts which constantly pushed against her blouse, begging to be freed, and her rounded hips. Minakshi knew she had grown slightly fuller again, and she was proud, prouder than she’d ever made herself feel. She was the only dancer in the Temple foolish enough to pursue romantic love, she remembered, and she was the only one to actually break away, she remembered again.
She laughed softly at the things she knew, loosening her wonderful mane of hair, and flipping it around as the memories flooded her.
Lamps were being lit in many of the other houses in the neighborhood.
The lights of Thanjavur always welcomed people from miles around. This was where everything really was beautiful, she knew.
A city of temples…
With people who were not always the most saintly and religious…
Walking up and down, Minakshi let herself loose again, thinking hard. She had a habit of grabbing her hair and passing it to her mouth while thinking, chewing the ends of it as she wondered.
She was thankful that not even her strict gurus in the Temple had been able to cure her of that.
But it was that little conversation that constantly haunted her as she stood before her mirror.
“Take it easy now Minakshi, take it nice and easy. Not all these devadasis can be trusted anyway, just…just it nice and slow”-the breath rose in her again-“alright. Now you’ve known that lady a long time, but it doesn’t prove anything, it doesn’t mean you have to listen to her, right? No, you don’t always trust all of your friends, right? Trust yourself, you are proud, were always proud, will be proud!” She stared harder into the mirror, scrutiny crossing her sandy-hued face, as she looked further and further into her past. Her eyes rested on her figure again now. She heaved as she breathed, still racking her brains in a vain attempt to digest what had been said that day.
“What would she gain by accusing my Brahmarajan? He’d never have an affair with anybody, would he?” She added some more weight onto the chest beneath the mirror, staring harder again into her eyes as she felt he curtain blowing lightly, streaking softly across the floor.