Monika Maširević

About the book

The book is a travelogue based on the notes from my personal travel diary in which I have presented the cities I visited during the journey to Rajasthan in 2019 which lasted for six weeks. While travelling, I have experienced numerous unique moments in Rajasthan and I am elaborating on the in the book. All of my experiences with the kind Indians as well as my personal excitement with the culture and heritage of Rajasthan are the subject of this book. All the cities I visited (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mandawa, Ranakpur, Osian, Bishnoi village, Chittor, Churu, Kumbhalgarh…) are described in detail from both the cultural and historic aspect. The edifices, the palaces, “The Blue City”, “The Pink City”, the old crafts, havelis, the lives of the maharajahs, the artwork of the poetess Mirabai, the fortresses, museums, ancient Hindi and Jian temples, the theatres, riding the elephants, puppet theatres, Kathputli dolls, the Shekhawati style of wall painting, the traditional national costumes, the bazaars… are described in detail in the book. Therefore, the book itself is a mini cultural treasure targeting the Serbian readers. The book will be illustrated by an abundance of color photos I have taken myself, so that the Serbian audience may enjoy in the multitude of colours which are characteristic for Rajasthan. The book may also be used as a guidebook and an invitation for the Serbian citizens, so they could come to Rajasthan and visit all the places I have written about themselves.

Excerpts from the book

Another evening in Udaipur

As soon as it would have got dark, the neighbouring gardens would have revived with scattered light, resembling glittering sparks of diamonds. I was sitting in the garden of the restaurant at the rooftop, and observing the reflection of the stars in the autumn sky. Lanterns were lit in every niche this evening, too. And again, my Udaipur was shining with that familiar light I also shone with.

The neighbouring hotels were decorated with New Year’s lights. Everything flickered, vibrated and shone with colourful light, and a huge, orange Moon has risen in the slightly darkened sky above the fortress walls.

The autumn night continued to fall peacefully on Udaipur, and the darkened sky, still slightly golden and rosy, was reflected on the surface of the water. Here, in the southern part of Rajasthan, near the walls of the former empire, it seemed that the Sun was setting later. It was disappearing from the horizon sluggishly and lazily, and after the dark would fall, it would have shone with its silver dust for a long time, while the invisible city was reflecting on the calm surface of the lake.

When the Moon bounced off and pranced like a young stallion, the streets were flooded with silver. The towers of Hindu temples and slender minarets rose towards the sky shining in the moonlight, while the outlines of the fortress cast a lambent shadow on the surface of the lake.

— How wonderful this long–anticipated night is! — I thought. How enchanting every detail is! How all this makes me happy again!

I have arrived after a long journey, and even longer waits and airport transfers filled with blissful beauty and illuminated by inner light.

— In how many details this Rajasthani night differs from ours! It is an entirely different world; a fairy–tale I dream with my eyes wide–open. I felt like I was flirting with The Land of Maharajas again.

— Ah, how strongly and powerfully I was seduced by my magical Rajasthan this night again.

A breeze blew through the quiet room, and it gripped the lantern I had lit. The flame has swayed, clumsily throwing shadows around the room, and I sank into the sweetest dream of all that beauty.

Ode to India

My beloved land, cinnamon–coloured and with warm lotus–like eyes,
while you are spinning and carving your stone murtis from your centuries–old mythology,
original homeland of my previous and land of my future lives,
embrace me!

You, who are cleansing and washing off the sins with the drops of Ganges,
and You, who are invigorating and reviving saints from the Himalayan crags,
You, who are smearing sadhus and Brahmans with ash,
and You, where every stone world and every drop is virtuous,
stay inside me!

You, plastered and smeared with holy cow dung,
and You, smelling like pujas and sandalwood,
You, braided into Brahmin threads —
You, my India, almighty and blessed,
who are fuelling and filling my soul,
stay in me forever!

And make me in all the future terrestrial lives, Mother India,
atone my karmic sins and surpass this circle of samsara
And while you will be converting my flesh and bones into ash, on a bonfire of a Banaras ghat,
I will still be loving you, and begging you to make me again,
so I can come.

So I can visit you, so I can blot you,
so I can imbibe with your sticky patchouli smell,
while I’m inhaling you, wrapped in smoke pouring from a hearth of a Bengali home,
just as it was when I inhaled you for the first time.

From the Himalayan crags and sources of Ganges and its primordial light,
refresh me, plunge into nectar of depths of all your holy rivers:
Ganges, Saraswathi, Jamuna, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada and Sindhu…
And, lead me to moksha!

You, land of colourful saris and dignified ancestors,
immortal yogis, swamis and mystics,
be proud in Ghandian, Tagorean way…
You, who are fuelling hearts of millions of pilgrims,
colouring cows and elephants in purple colour,
erecting the temples of unfulfilled love,
You, Taj Mahalian homeland of beauty,
and to You I pay my abject respects.

India, my beloved mother, my land and my adopted mother,
the land of Prasadam, ahimsa and mantra,
the land of transcendental dance and ecstasy,
the land of unequalled love,
the land of avatars, Mahabharatha and The Vedas
Do you hear my plea and my pulses which are echoing when I hear your name?
INDIA…

Let me stand in front of an altar, like a beggar with a tin dish and beg you —
take me, beloved land of India, I expect your mercy.
And while I am falling on my knees, hear me:
embrace me, my land of Bharat,
call me as soon as possible
so I can see you and admire you as I would have admired a darshan.

© 2023 Monika Maširević | The book “I Will Survive: the Adventures from a Pilgrimage in India” | The book “A Journey to Rajasthan” Web design & development Tacit