Hyderabad’s double agent

The Osmania Women’s college from the outside looks ordinary. But it harbors an old secret. Before it was converted into a college it was the house of  Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatirck, the British Resident at the court of Hyderabad (1797-1805) built along the similar  lines of its contemporary companion, the White House at Washington.

Kirkpatrick had disarmed the French in Hyderabad when he met Khair un -Nissa , a 15 years old muslim girl engaged to a muslim nobleman. Kirkpatricks was unable to defend himself from falling in love with Nissa.In truth the feeling of love was mutual between Kirkpatrick and Nissa. The later vowed to spend the rest of her life loving Kirkpatrick.

Needless to say, a scandal broke out when people realized that Khair was to bear Kirkpatrick’s child. Rumors that Kirkpatrick had raped Nissa reached the governor-general of Calcutta and KirkPatrick was charged with the crime of rape.

The prime minister of Hyderabad cut a deal with Kirkpatrick. He agreed to testify for Kirkpatrick and allow him to marry Khair if he in return agreed to work for the best of the Hyderabadis, in short as a double agent.

Kirkpatrick secretly converted to Islam and married Khair. The couple and their two children lived in the British residency. However their life together was cut short when Kirkpatrick died of a mysterious illness. Khair was only 19 years old.

The Osmania womens college is built around this once stately house. The house is in a dangerously dilapidated state and deemed unfit for use by the college.

Destination: Fort Jesus, Mombasa, Kenya

[ I have enrolled in a 12 (read more than 12) weeks travel writing course with the Matador University. As a part of our course work we write articles and publish them in our blog. This photo essay  is part of the eleventh assignment. The objective of this essay is to tell a story/present information using photographs.]

The tagline for Kenya’s tourism department reads “Welcome to Magical Kenya”. A walk around the old coastal town of Mombasa will stand testimony to this tag line!

On the road

I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I am sometimes surprised that not many of us travel, lustfully. For to travel is to learn and be tested. It is to be pushed to your limits,tossed and turned and yet  live to see another tomorrow.

Here are a few of the lessons from the road:

Trust in abandon
I traveled to Africa solely on the trust I built with a woman through email. Between us we  shared  6 emails in total and a 5 minute phone call. When I returned I told my mother of all my escapades. She pointed out that there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong, horribly wrong. Well the point is, it did not.I trusted my gut, in abandon.

The world has its share of wackos. But not everyone you meet is one.

Life is in the journey
My friend Dan and I went on an ad hoc 6 mile hike to Mt. Wilson and back. The trail was beautiful. There were birds and there were trees. There was beauty in everything, everywhere. But we didn’t spend much time taking it in. We had to get to the top and enjoy the view.
You can imagine our disappointment when we reached the top to find the view replaced by radio towers in an enclosed area. The climb down was rushed since the sun was setting and we had to get back before it got dark.
There is a reason why people say” Take time to smell the flowers”.
An open mind
I swear by the Lonely Planet. The only time they have disappointed me is when they added a ‘ fancy a curry’ section in their magazine. If you want the places you travel to, to resemble your hometown, why travel at all? Fancy a curry? Buddy you are missing out on the entire point here!

Shit happens
Maria and I spent 5 months planning on an epic trip that eventually did not even materialize. Shit happens.A lot of shit happens. It’s not going to stop happening. You either get back up again on your feet or  you don’t. Either way the choice is entirely yours.

 Keep Going

No matter what, keep going. One lifetime is never enough to enjoy all the beautiful things out there.

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.’
Where we going, man?’
I don’t know but we gotta go.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road