Benny managed to sneak away from the tour group once they were inside the Palace. He was soon lost in a maze of passages. He found himself in the centre of a large room, with decorative walls and an opening to the clear blue sky.

This was what Benny had travelled to India to find. Inside the palace ruins were countless examples of grand architecture and artefacts. He had no idea what any of it represented, but that wasn’t the point. It felt like authentic India.

Now he could contemplate. The noise of the busy streets of Burhanpur faded away. He took a deep breath, sat in the middle of the grand space and raised his hands to the sky.

‘There you are, Benny,’ squawked Marjorie.’What on earth are you doing? Come on the coach leaves in five minutes.’

Benny sighed. Maybe he could come back on his own one day, but the compromise of a package holiday with Marjorie rather than backpacking round India really wasn’t working out for him.


Written for ‘What Pegman Saw’, a weekly prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 150 words based on the prompt. Full details can be found HERE.

For more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

24 responses to “CONTEMPLATION”

  1. This is great. It reminds me of a passage in the excellent HMS Surprise, by Patrick O’Brian. The surgeon Maturin goes ashore by himself in Bombay and wanders at will for days. When he returns to the ship, he writes in his journal:

    ‘I had expected wonders from Bombay; but my heated expectations, founded upon the Arabian Nights, a glimpse of the Moorish towns in Africa, and books of travel, were poor thin insubstantial things compared with the reality. There is here a striving, avid and worldly civilisation, of course; these huge and eager markets, this incessant buying and selling, make that self-evident; but I had no conception of the ubiquitous sense of the holy, no notion of how another world can permeate the secular. Filth, stench, disease, “gross superstition” as our people say, extreme poverty, promiscuous universal defecation, do not affect it: nor do they affect my sense of the humanity with which I am surrounded. What an agreeable city it is, where a man may walk naked in the heat if it pleases him! I was speaking today with an unclothed Hindu religious, a parama-hamsa, on the steps of a Portuguese church, a true gymnosophist; and I remarked that in such a climate wisdom and clothing might bear an inverse proportion to one another. But measuring my garment with his hand he observed that there was not one single wisdom.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve probably already gotten the “pingback,” but I decided to use your inspiration and your actual piece of flash fiction to write a different story. It’s more than 150 words but less than 500, so still an easy read. Let me know what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story Iain. We all want the quiet and solitude of a beautiful place such as this, the space to just enjoy and listen and look at the sites … problem is, thousands of other people want the same thing!
    Benny’s going to have to slink away on his own … or through Marjorie in the river Tapti!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lynn – definitely a problem with tourist traps and the population boom, trying to find that space to yourself is getting harder and harder! I think Marjorie may be why Benny is seeking some solitude in the first place… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! I think you’re right – I know a few couples like this … 🙂 One day solitude will be as valuable as gold, I’m sure, with only the billions able to afford to pay for it. Now there’s a dystopian idea for a tale …

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been on a packaged tour – but have one scheduled to Peru with a good friend. Oh, how I hope it doesn’t turn out like this. You’ve done another excellent job with a prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My best holiday ever was when I flew into Delhi with nothing but a backpack for company – I didn’t even have accommodation booked! Since then I’ve been back several times, usually on my own. I adore Indian train travel with its fabulous fresh cheap food, and often travel overnight to save on hotels and to wake up in a new place at sunrise! Bliss!

    Click to visit Keith’s Ramblings!

    Liked by 1 person

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