Thursday, 10 March 2016

The air is filled with spices......

Where have I been?
I cannot say, because I do not know.
I lost my muse. I admit. I simply did not know what to write and had no motivation to write for a whole year!
Gosh, that seems ever-such a long time!
Now...I am back!
I am motivated, and I am writing, and loving every minute of it, too!

I really want to share with you a little of what I am doing. I know you can look on the 'coming soon' page or on the sidebar to keep an eye on any progress I make (if any!!). Yet, there's nothing quite like me actually posting a wee snippet of what's going on, is there?

Here we go.......

The setting..... India and the air is filled with spices.....

(Taken from The Spice Bride by Karen Aminadra ©2016) *(UNEDITED)

Grace stretched lazily in the hammock hung between two columns on the veranda of the plantation, and yawned. The sun was high in the sky and beat down mercilessly upon them all. It was too hot for her to walk about amongst the slaves that day. However, she had at least made the effort. She donned her bonnet after breakfast and headed out to the cottages with the intent of being as much use as she could to the elderly slaves her father allowed remain on the plantation after their useful working life was done. He said it was his Christian duty to do all he could for the poor souls. Grace felt the same, although not in the same way as her father. Slavery did not sit well with her. Whenever she looked into the faces or the dark brown eyes of the Indians it was as though she could hear the Reverend Clarke’s voice echoing inside her mind, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Neither bond nor free. She sighed and breathed deeply in the spice-scented air. There were times when she was ashamed of herself and now was one of those times. With a burst of energy, she sat upright and climbed out of the hammock. “What on earth has come over me? It’s too hot to help today!” She threw her hands up in the air in desperation and marched off towards her room. “What is my discomfort compared to that of those who are in slavery here on our plantation?” she mumbled as she walked. “All this,” she waved her arm around her as she continued to her room. “All this is because of them.” She entered her room and quietly shut the door behind her. Hurrying over to her bed, Grace knelt down and prayed. “Dear Father God, none of this is of my doing, but I know that if I can do anything at all to lighten my fellow creature’s burdens then I must. Please give me the fortitude I lack for the task. Amen.” She rose, went to her bowl and pitcher and washed the dust and perspiration from her face, neck and hands.
Once again, Grace picked up her straw bonnet, placed it on her head, tied the dusky pink ribbon under her chin, and set out for the cottages. As was her practice she passed through the kitchens and collected her basket, which remained where she left it that morning after deciding the day was too hot to venture outside the house. Without a backward glance, she marched off determinedly to visit one elderly man in particular – Dipali. He was so old and unable to move that he was incapable of feeding himself during the day while his family worked. “I will take on that task.” She cried out.
Grace ignored the cook as she called after her, “Miss Grace, where do you think you are going in this heat? The master will be in a temper if he knows you went out in such weather!”
Grace cared not. Her vigour was renewed and her shame at being so weak that morning urged her onward. The cottages always made her feel uncomfortable. They were roughly made out of wood and most of them were nothing more than one room for a family. The inhabitants, who were too sick or with child and not in the cinnamon forests, stared at her as she approached. She felt uncomfortable. She knew she had no right to be there, but pushed on regardless. As she neared Dipali’s cottage she saw that it too was in need of repair. I must speak to father about these conditions. This, at least, he ought to attend. She knocked on the roughly hewn door but no answer came from within. She knocked again and called out. “Dipali! It is I, Grace. Grace Hayward. Are you there?” She paused and strained her ears for any sound from Dipali. “May I come in?” 

Grace pushed open the door and stepped inside. Despite there being only two rooms and no floor at all, the cottage was remarkably clean and tidy. There was an area along one wall where cooking utensils were stacked, and against the back wall, there were grass mats and blankets in need of darning. A sound to her left made her jump. She turned and saw in the tiny side room Dipali lay on his mat with his hand raised in greeting. Grace gave him her warmest smile. “Dipali, how are you today?” In one motion, she entered the room and knelt beside him, caring not that her muslin dress was pressed against the soil. He placed his palms together as in prayer and bowed his head to her. She had long since discovered that this was some sort of greeting amongst the natives and repeated the gesture back to him.