I was looking at some pictures of the marriage procession of Princess Anne, and strangely, the only thing that impressed me in the whole nonsense was the beautiful horses, their joyous dance. Looking at those horses I remembered my own horse. I have not told anyone about it, not even Gudia, who loves horses. But now that I am not keeping anything secret, even this can be told.
I not only owned one horse; in fact I had four horses. One was my own – and you know how fussy I am…even today nobody else can ride in the Rolls. It is just fussiness. I was the same at that time too. Nobody, not even my grandfather, was allowed to ride my horse. Of course I was allowed to ride everyone else’s horse. Both my grandfather and my grandmother had one. It was strange, in an Indian village, for a woman to ride a horse – but she was a strange woman, what to do? The fourth horse was for Bhoora, the servant who always followed me with his gun, at a distance of course.
Destiny is strange. I have never harmed anyone in my life, not even in my dreams. I am absolutely vegetarian. But as destiny would have it, from my very childhood I have been followed by a guard; I don’t know why. But since Bhoora I have never been without a guard. Even today my guards are always either ahead or behind, but always there. Bhoora started the whole game.
I already told you that he looked like a European. That’s why he was called Bhoora. It was not his real name. Bhoora simply means “the white one.” Even I don’t know his real name at all. He looked European, very European, and it looked really strange, especially in that village where I don’t think any European had ever entered. And still there are guards….
Even when I was a child, I could see the point of Bhoora following me at a distance on his horse, because twice there was an attempt to abduct me. I don’t know why anybody should have been interested in me. Now at least I can understand: my grandfather, though not very rich by Western standards, was certainly very rich in that village. Dacoits – now Devageet will be in real difficulty to spell the word dacoit….
It is not an English word, it comes from the Hindi word dacu; but in that sense English is one of the most generous languages in the world. Every year it goes on absorbing eight thousand words from other languages; that’s why it goes on growing bigger and bigger. It is bound to become the world language – nobody can prevent it. All the other languages of the world, on the other hand, are very shy; they go on shrinking. They believe in purity, that no other language should be allowed to enter. Naturally they are bound to remain small and primitive. Dacoit is a transliteration of dacu; it means “thief” – not just an ordinary thief, but when a group of people, armed and organized, plan the act of stealing. Then it is “dacoitry.”