Crossing the Mirage:Passing Through Youth (Chapter 1, page 1 of 7)

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Chapter 1

Youth is the mirror that tends us to the reality of our looks. The reflections of our visages that insensibly get implanted in our subconscious lend shape to our psyche to define the course of our life.

This is the saga of Chandra’s chequered life that mirrors this phenomenon in myriad ways.

As perceived by the deprived, he had a fortunate birth. Yadagiri, his father, was the prominent pearl merchant in Hyderabad - Deccan, the seat of the Nizam’s power in undivided India. The patronage of the royals and the nobles alike, helped add gloss to his pearls making him the nawab of the trade. Besides, Princely Pearls, his outlet near the Charminar, was a draw with the rich, out to humor their wives and adorn the mistresses.

When Anasuya, Yadagir's wife, was expecting her second issue, trouble brewed in Telangana, the heart of the Nizam’s province. While his subjects' surge to free themselves from his yoke clashed with the Nizam’s urge to keep his gaddi, Sardar Patel's plans for a pan India was at odds with his designs to retain the Deccan belt as his princely pelf.

‘With a go by to the nobility,’ Yadagiri tried to envision his future, ‘it could be shutters down at the Princely Pearls.’

Thus, at the prospect of the momentous merger, even as the populace got excited, he was unnerved perceiving a slowdown in his trade. Confounding him further, as the impending merger was on the cards, Anasuya's delivery time neared

‘Should it be a girl again,’ he thought, ‘it would be only worse. Why, without a boy, what of the surname?’

Soon, as his wife was moved to the hospital, he was rattled by the prospect of her delivering another daughter. But, as it turned out, his fears proved to be liars on both counts.

Anasuya delivered Chandra, the very day the Nizam, courtesy Sardar, capitulated to the Delhi sarkar. And soon, the nouveau riche, from the business class, began to outshine the old nobility, pearl for pearl. Buoyed by the bottom line, Yadagiri dreamt of building a pearl empire for his son in the Republic of India. While Anasuya lavished upon Chandra the affection due to a son born after one gave up, Vasavi, his sister, running ten then, found in her brother a soul to dote upon. Thus, toasted by his parents and pampered by his sibling, Chandra had a dream childhood.

But, when he entered adolescence, the realities of life began to confound him to his discomfort. Coaxed by his father to excel at studies, he was perplexed for the lack of aptitude. What's worse, the antics of his classmates made him hapless -- they marginalized him at playtime, for his lack of reflexes, and, for want of grace, targeted him at fun-time. Well, to cap it all, the snide remarks of the have-nots, that he chose his father well, induced in him a vague sense of inadequacy.

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