"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Scene In The Palace

When some European friends recently stayed, we decided to visit to Madurai.

Having seen the splendour of the temples, we drove to the nearby palace.

The columns and colours give the building grandeur and beauty.

But beneath the ornately painted ceilings

and cover of shadow

A timeless drama was being re-enacted.

In a distant alcove, almost concealed from general view, sat a boy and girl.

There was no chaperone.

Such meetings are usually considered scandalous in India.

The girl started to cry.

Although not wanting to pry, I found myself caught up in their story

The boy offered his handkerchief.

She threw it on his face.

Gradually, they both began to laugh.

What made their romance star-crossed?

Caste?

Religion?

Class?

I guiltily zoomed the camera in for my final shot.

Then walked away,

Reflecting on the countless times that this scene has been replayed.

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