My Tutankhamun Affair resulted in this Caricature!

First, the caricature.

Caricature of a Grumpy Old Man (Inspired from the description of Theodore Davis in The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacques)

My friends know that I love Egypt. Not the bundle of confusion that it is today, but the Egypt that existed in its glorious past – the Ancient Egypt. Blinded by this love, a few years ago, I purchased a book called “The Tutankhamun Affair.” It is written by Christian Jacq, an author noted for the fiction and non-fiction works on Egypt. My friends also know that I have a marked preference for fiction. When I picked up the book around a decade ago, I had no idea that the guy wrote non-fiction too…and that I was buying a somewhat boring biographical account of Howard Carter’s quest for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I brought the book home and settled down for a thrilling ride that I hoped would take me through both ancient and modern Egypt. As I started turning its pages, I realized that there were easier ways to die than reading The Tutankhamun Affair, and as dying wasn’t on my to-do list, I pushed the book the farthest I could inside my boring-books book-rack.

A month ago, one of my archaeological expeditions yielded The Tutankhamun Affair – a book I hadn’t read. So I gave it another shot.

Oddly, I didn’t find it as boring this time as I did earlier. Either my own boredom-resistance quotient has gone up, or I’ve learned a few things in the last 10 years – things that now enable me to relate to the tribulations of poor Mr. Carter.

I know that the yarn is growing longer – before you get tangled up and are thrown off-balance and off my blog, I’ll let the story of this imaginary caricature of Mr. Theodore Davis out of the bag.

Mr. Davis appears on page 124 of the soft-cover edition.

“Of average height, Theodore Davis gave an impression of weakness.He did not move without a stick, hid his throat with a white scarf and covered his head with a wide-brimmed hat. His Jodhpurs and puttees made him look like a rider without his horse. A thick moustache spread like the wings of a bird covering the lower part of his face. His gaze was aggressive behind the round lenses of his tiny spectacles.” – Chapter 28, The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq

I removed his Jodhpurs and puttees and gave him a sensible pair of trousers. (Jodhpurs and puttees are both Indian terms – puttees: bandages.)

That description painted a picture for me and I laughed. So I drew that picture for you, hoping that it would make you laugh too 🙂 I hope it does.

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The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

Intef turned to change his side and felt sweat trickle down his back.  The heat roused him from his slumber. The first thing he noticed was the darkness. His chamber was never completely dark. He touched his bed. The sheets were of silk and the pillow was made of dove-feathers.
This wasn’t his bed.
Then he remembered. He was now King. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt, and he was sleeping in the King’s chamber. His father Pharaoh Akhnaten was no more. He had died thirty days ago, and the period of mourning had ended just yesterday when his embalmed body was finally taken to his pyramid for burial.
For some odd reason, his memories were choppy. It must be the heat, he thought, and swung his legs down the bed. His leather slippers were right where he had expected to find them.
Intef slipped his feet into the slippers and called the servants. His temper was now rising.
Where were they? And why were the curtains drawn close?
He tried recalling the layout of the King’s bed-chamber. It wasn’t easy, because he had never slept in there, never before last night.
“Where were those lamp-sconces?” he murmured, trying to focus on what he remembered of the Pharaoh’s chamber.
The pictures began forming. He saw himself in the royal chamber a week before his father’s death. Sekah-seshat, his sister was there too. The sky had already darkened outside but the Pharaoh’s chamber was lit bright with a dozen sconces, each of them holding a dozen oil-lamps. Two of these wall-sconces were right near the headboard of the Pharaoh’s bed.
Intef turned left. Moving against the edge of the bed, his outstretched hand touched the wall. He moved his hand up along the wall. There it was. Now he needed a flint-lighter.
Where could he find one?
He tried focusing on his memories again. Perhaps they would help him locate the lighter. In his imagination, the Pharaoh’s chamber lit up again. Sekah was asking the Pharaoh her father, for a boon. She didn’t want to marry Intef, her brother – as she was destined to. Sekah was her father’s favorite, and when the Pharaoh had smiled at her, Intef’s heart had sunk. He knew that Sekah was in love with Khamose, their cousin, and Pharaoh’s smile had confirmed that she now had his blessings for her marriage with him. His sister always got her way with their father.
Intef shook his head. Those memories won’t help him. Right now, he must focus on finding the lighter.
Where in the name of Osiris were the servants? He bellowed again. There was no answer. Something isn’t right, he thought as his voice echoed through the place.
He ran his fingers around the edge of the sconce once again, and his fingers hit something. The lighter. A wave of relief washed over him. He hated the darkness. It had been dark when he had stolen into this very chamber that night and poisoned the jug of water that stood on his father’s bedside table. The explosive mix of anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear had driven him to kill his father, the King, the Pharaoh of Egypt.
He released the clasp of the flint lighter and put it to the wick of a lamp. An unearthly yellow glow filled the chamber. Intef heaved a sigh of relief, and set about lighting the other oil-lamps.
Tomorrow he’d punish those servants. Hanging them alongside Khamose will be a good idea.
“But Khamose will die only after he has seen Sekah get married to me, the new Pharaoh of Egypt!” he chuckled.
The lamps burned casting a steady glow. They didn’t flicker at all. There was not even the slightest breeze in the chamber.
He pulled a sheet from the bed and wiped his face and neck. “let me draw the curtains myself,” he whispered wiping off the sweat that had accumulated on his brow, and turned to face the windows.
There were no windows.
He stood facing a wall that was painted in blue, yellow, and gold; a wall that told the story of Pharaoh Akhnaten’s rule. Blood drained from his face and he felt a chill run down his spine. Very slowly, pivoted on his spot, he turned again.
His father’s tomb, hewn out of a single block of marble and inlaid with gold and precious jewels, and within which his embalmed body lay, stood proudly in the center of the room. He stood inside the King’s burial chamber which was sealed shut after the ceremony had ended and he had left the pyramid.

Note: This story was written for Weekly Challenge at iSmithWords.com. This specific challenge was “Literary Lion. King.” The challenge required us to write a story in 400 words or less. This story has exceeded the word-limit, and so it doesn’t fulfill the requirements.  I tried my best to squeeze it down to 400, but couldn’t.

However, since I had taken this challenge as an assignment for Blogging101, I think I’ve managed one of the two things that I had set about accomplishing – I’ve finished my assignment 🙂

The Egyptian eye above can be seen sans-makeup here.

 

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams – Caricature/Cartoon – A Polymer Clay Sculpture and a Short Story.

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams

(A Short Story and a Verbal Caricature – by Shafali The Caricaturist)

The Year: 2020 A. D.

Brice checked the machine once again. Everything appeared to be in order – but Brice wanted to be sure. On his last trip into the past, his time machine had developed some sort of engine trouble, and it had delayed his arrival back. Technically you could never be late in arriving back into your time as you could program the machine to bring you back as soon as you had departed – but when you spend 2 years of your time in the World War II Europe, trying to fix your machine, you age. Those worry-lines on Brice’s forehead weren’t there when he had walked into the time travel machine for that last trip!

So after Brice had ensured that the machine was in good shape, he stepped into it, set the time dial to 5:30 PM, July 1725 BC, and typed in the longitude and latitude of the place of his dreams. It was time of inundation; it was the time when the androgynous goddess of fertility Hapi rode the Nile and made the land fertile; it was also the time that he had been dreaming of, every night of the last three months – it was the time of Amunet!

—ooo—

The door closed behind Brice. It would take the machine about 3 minutes to reach its destination. Brice closed his eyes and memories from his dreams rushed to fill his mind. The beautiful almond eyes outlined with kohl, the full red lips, and the dewy freshness of her skin – the way he had been seeing Amunet all these months. He also saw the banks of the swollen Nile; and he almost felt the happiness that came with the flooding of the Nile. Brice was a time travel scientist, he wasn’t a historian; but that girl in his dreams made him spend hours of his time researching not time-travel, but the history Ancient Egypt. She had become his obsession, and he had to find her – and if he really did, he might even stay back in time…Love makes you do strange things.

A sharp beep told him that the time machine had arrived into the past, at his destination – the City of Thebes on the eastern bank of the river Nile. Everything was as he had visualized…except the landscape. What were they? Broken Chariot wheels?! The Hyksos had brought the chariots to Egypt, and they hadn’t arrived until 1700 BC! Something wasn’t right – but then everything else wasn’t a lot different from what he had seen in his dreams! He hid his time machine, and looked around…if Amunet were there he’d see her because nobody else could be as beautiful!

And then he saw her…on the steps of the ruins. The steps, on which she sat, looked like they belonged to the beautiful fountain that he saw in his dreams. It was the same place – and there she was – the same almond-shaped eyes, the same sideways glance…but she looked different with all that makeup! And her jewelry was mostly blue…Lapis Lazuli. He looked again. She sat there laughing, talking to drunken men, who’d pay her and then stagger over to one of the younger girls and…Brice could watch no more. He turned and ran, trying not to vomit – the girl who he had seen in his dreams was now the much older harlot who sat on those steps – she and all the other girls, wore the blue Lapis Lazuli stone on their foreheads or in their hair – he had read in the history text s that the law in Ancient Egypt required that the harlots announced their calling to everyone by wearing the blue stone on their foreheads.

The caricature, cartoon, sculpture, 3D image of an egyptian harlot.

Amunet, the Egyptian Harlot. A Polymer Clay Model – 3″ tall, 1.75″ wide, 1.5″ deep.

Brice ran across the fields towards his time machine. He couldn’t understand it at all. What went wrong? And then it occurred to him…the history books that he had read during his research and based his calculations on – were wrong! They were at least 25 years off the mark!

The time machine was still there. Brice thanked his stars, climbed into it, and reset the dials! He was going back to his home in the time-space – never to return!

—ooo—

The Year: 2025 A. D.

After his Egyptian fiasco five years ago, Brice decided to junk his job as a time-travel scientist and decided to become a computer programmer instead. Now he programs computer applications that drive people nuts by asking them for updates twice a day!

 

Special Thanks to:

  • Nancy Johanson, Dewey’s Gram who inspired me to dabble with clay.
  • Wilbur Smith my favorite author, who helped me time travel to Ancient Egypt through his Egyptian series.
  • Oorvi’s Cameo who photographed the Harlot 🙂