Alhambra


River Darro
Image via Wikipedia

Photo by I. Chatterjee

On the left is a view of Granada from the Alhambra. The other image is of the River Darro which is mentioned in the excerpt from my story that I am sharing here. It is a novel-in-progress which is situated largely in Granada and the rural areas of Andalucia.

Miguel stared into his beer and decided he had had enough. He paid and left. Glad to be outside again, he began walking. It felt a lot cooler than earlier and as he looked up at the sky it was obvious that its wide open expanse, filled with numerous stars, was responsible for the sink in temperature. Miguel sought no particular direction, just a rather aimless, walking meditation. He followed his feet in the same fashion as he followed his meandering reflections. In this manner Miguel walked for over an hour. He came to the Albaicin, close to the Alhambra, and experienced a renewed sense of familiarity with this ancient quarter. How well he knew its history, its heyday, its upheavals, its persecution, but it was not Miguel the academic walking through these medieval streets right now; it was Miguel the lovelorn, caught up in a dilemma that defied analysis, which demanded courage and perspicacity. He felt at home in this place even though he knew it was considered unsafe at night. Its alleys and bazaars, the hamam and the residence of the local qadi, the small house where Morayma, wife of the last Ruler of the Kingdom of Granada spent her lonely exile from the Alhambra, all intermingled in his imagination with the aromas of exquisitely strong mint tea, simmering lamb and apricot tagines. He heard the sounds of women laughing and weeping; the recitation of the Qur’an from the madrassas; the call to prayer that for a short interval silenced the noises of the market and the business deals in the silk bazaar. Miguel looked across the river Darro to the Alhambra, just beyond its banks, and added the fierce arguments of politics to his imaginary collage of times past and times present. The sultan in counsel with his ministers, and again, listening to the petitions of his people; yet further, in the Serallo, the whisperings of diplomacy and the grief of betrayal and intrigue. Enemies at the gate ready to sack Granada.

Miguel decided to walk along the Corredera del Darro toward the Alhambra. He could not resist his present mood. This was not an historical stroll but an entirely ambient experience. He planned to walk past the terraced fountain and on to the path through the woods. He could then return to the Plaza Nueva, near the cathedral, via the road used by the Alhambra buses. Miguel had attended nighttime concerts in the court gardens before now. He and Paquita and two of her friends had seen an impressive flamenco display on her fourteenth birthday, but to be here on his own, the palace-fortress closed, precipitated his immersion in its intrinsic sadness. Like a secret it held for the night alone when there were few people around. A secret the Alhambra had held for five hundred and fourteen years. A secret that desired to be whispered in Miguel’s ear as much as it rustled through the leaves of its gardens, across its marble floors, and through its wooden lattice windows. Something beckoned Miguel and he could not quite discern its provenance.

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3 thoughts on “Alhambra

  1. Thank you Shabana. I am actually working on another novel at present that is already in first draft. Writing feels so right for me to do and hopefully I might have some success.

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