Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Prompt: The temple of Janapurlal, god of eternity. It's said that some worshippers emerge into a different time or place than when or where they went in.

Thanks to Wanderings in the Fantastic World for the prompt, 
and to “caywinoo” on Flickr for the beautiful photo!

Eshana sat cross-legged, leaning her head on her grandmother’s shoulder. Ninamma had waited at the Eternal Temple for Thaatha to return from the temple for 12 years. Every morning after breakfast, she came to sit on a small cotton pad in the courtyard, beads in hand, praying to Janapurlal to have mercy and bring her husband back through the door he entered. Any door. She stayed until sundown, when Eshana or her brother Kiran came to walk her home.

Today Eshana sat with Ninamma and watched the monks and worshippers moving around the courtyard. The monks were easy to spy, with their shaved heads and red and saffron robes. They tended the temple grounds and counseled any worshipper who approached them for guidance. No one entered the grand temple itself, of course, only the four towering minarets at each corner of the courtyard. If a stranger came through one of the minaret doors, monks would flock around to assist them.

Eshana’s father worked in the famed Jaipur quarries that supplied the wafer-thin slabs of translucent marble that sealed the entrance and windows of the Eternal Temple. He had entered the temple at 15 to offer his service, and Janapurlal returned him through the diagonal minaret with a vision of the marble quarry. His best friend never returned. A young woman in shocking tight black pants and a red bare-armed tunic came through where he had entered. She did not understand their language and cried for days. Eshana’s father brought her home from the temple to his parents and eventually married her. Eshana was born two years later. Her grandfather disappeared into Janapurlal’s service when she was three.

Eshana knew her mother, Sarah, still cried sometimes for the world she had left. At night, she told Eshana and Kiran stories about electricity and automobiles and television and ice. But she never entered the temple again to ask Janapurlal to send her home. Eshana thought she was afraid she would come out someplace, some time, different yet again. Then she would have lost two homes, two worlds, two families. Sarah didn’t worship Janapurlal, although she respected her adopted family enough to hold her own counsel. But Eshana knew her mother dreaded losing her, too.

Tomorrow, Eshana would enter the temple for the first time, offering her eternal service to Janapurlal. Her whole life she had grown up with these questions about the Eternal God. Was he cruel? Did he care about the people who went in and out of his temple? Did he send them through different entrances on purpose? Why did he not prepare them? Explain to them? Wouldn’t it be better if they understood? Would she have an opportunity to ask him herself? Was she be brave enough to challenge a god?

Dogs in house:

Time writing:
45 minutes

June word count:


  1. Prompt: The temple of Janapurlal, god of eternity. It's said that some worshippers emerge into a different time or place than when or where they went in.

    Momentarily, Riana couldn't breathe. She touched her twin brother Hutin's elbow. "Wait," she said. "Don't go in."

    Hutin stopped, laughing. "You are jittery this morning, Riana. Why should we not go pray as we do everyday?"

    "I don't know," she said, the breathless feeling already receding in her memory. "Just, not today. Or, we could go together. I'll pay." She started digging in her bag for coins: the central, main part of the temple required an offering. She and Hutin normally visited the towers on either side, male and female, to pray individually before starting their work day. Every restday they used the centre, alternating who would pay.

    Hutin touched her hand. "Save your funds. Don't fret so!"

    Riana nodded. Ever since their father had passed away, leaving the two alone -- near enough adult that no one would take them in, yet not quite near enough that they felt confident in their independence -- Hutin had taken the role of protector. Riana had taken the role of worrier, and Hutin teased her for it. Yet there was something about this morning...

    But Hutin was already halfway to the male tower, and so she shrugged to herself and turned to the female tower. At the door, she looked back, but Hutin was already inside.

    Time writing: 15 minutes

  2. Very interesting set-up!