Bonus Stuff

Historical Facts in Desert Heat

A bit about desert oasis, cobras, and other serpents: "The hot, dry climate of Rajasthan, its vast sandy areas, hilly tracts and numbers lakes, rivers and a suitable climate for a number of species of reptiles which include crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and turtles. Of the total of 30 species of snakes found here, 26 are non-poisonous. The four venomous snakes include the Indian cobra (naja naja), Indian krait (Bungarus caeruleus), Russell's viper (Vipera russelii) and Put (Ecbis caeruleus). Unless provoked or stepped upon, these snakes do not attack humans. The common rock python  (Python molurus) is the biggest snake found in Rajasthan).

Caracal: "The desert cat or caracal is found all across the desert of Rajasthan. The caracal is small in size compared to other wild felines. The Thar desert provides a habitat for wild cats, gazelles, rabbits, snakes, and lizards."

Abhaneri: The city is located in Rajasthan, near Jaipur as mentioned. 58.5 miles separate the two. It is famous for its step well, "Chand Baori."

Chari Dance: "This unique dance form is a special charm of Rajasthan. It is performed with a chari or a pot, standing on the top of the head with a lighted lamp."

Fairy Queen Train: The train mentioned in chapter 1 was built in 1855 and is the world's oldest steam locomotive still in regular operation, traveling between New Delhi and Alwar, Rajasthan.

Gypsies: There are numerous gypsy tribes in Rajasthan even today--two main ones being the Maturia and Labana. Like in the past, many tend to live a difficult life on the outskirts of society, often surviving solely on tourism and their centuries old dance and crafts. If someone who actually lives in India wants to chime in more, please do so--this is going off Google.

Holi: The date of holi, 'The festival of colors,' included in the chapter is historically accurate. Holi was celebrated in 1876 on Friday, March 10th.

Horses and tents: 
The descriptions in DH are accurate to the times as this hand-drawn picture from 1878 indicates:
Jaipur: As Taj mentions, Jaipur was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales in 1876--the year DH is set in. It is commonly referrred to as the 'Pink City' of India. 
Marwari: the most widely spoken of the several dozen Rajasthani dialects, especially in Bikaner.

Bikaner: a city in Northwestern Rajasthan, originally came under the suzerainty of the British Raj under a treaty of paramountcy signed in 1818, where after the Maharajas of Bikaner invested heavily on refurbishing their Junagarh fort (originally built in 1594).
The city was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water.

Khejri Tree: Zara's favorite spot to go and think--beneath the Khejri tree is the state tree of Rajasthan.

Khushi Kumari Gupta-- Sanaya Irani
An innocent, stunning 18 year old whose once vibrant spirit and spunk has diminished following her parent's ill-fated deaths. Yet the embers of her courage and strength still remain burning. Will a certain Raizada awaken her in all ways? Will he show her the heights of passion and love?

Arnav Singh Raizada--- Barun Sobti
Known as the 'Dark Prince' 25 year old ASR is brooding, rugged, and uttterly masculine as he carries the weight of an old legacy and the responsibility of the north reaches on his lone shoulders. He's been focused on a single mission since childhood, but will a certain girl change everything? Will she show him that there is more to life than pain and hardship--something beautiful and magical?

Nani--- Jayshree T.
ASR's only real family. As his grandmother, she has not only shaped him into the man he is, but also provided him with constant guidance. She is known throughout the north reaches for aiding all those who seek her help. Caring and resilient, she has witnessed much through her aged eyes and knows best what her 'Chote' needs--even if he does not.

Aarti Gupta--Divyanka Tripathi
Aarti was Khushi's young mother who tragically died long ago through no fault of her own. She doted on her young daughter and was expecting her second child (as prologue hints). Her old payals (anklets) are Khushi's most cherished possessions.

Ram Kumar Gupta--Mohit Raina
Khushi's father always placed his family's well-being above everything. Sadly, he could not change fate and died at a young age along with his beloved wife. Khushi has fond memories of his loving nature and infectious laughter. 

Aunt (Diya Pratap)--Eva Grover
Cruel and manipulative, she is the true 'viper,' a name she so often calls her neice. She deeply resents her dead sister, Aarti Gupta, and that hatred was passed onto innocent Khushi, dampening her spirit.

Uncle--Deepak Qazir
A banker by profession, he loves his gold and investments first and foremost, followed by his wife, Diya and daughter, Simran.

Simran--Ashnoor Kaur 
Sweet and angelic, 10 year old Simran was raised by Khushi more than her own parents. She loves her dear cousin and tutor very much and is waiting for the day they reunite.

Aman--Recasting :)
Arnav's closest friend and Old Mathur's youngest nephew. He has been alongside ASR on every adventure in the desert. Considerate and sincere, he is a devoted friend and advisor.

Maya--Drashti Dhami
Straightforward and mystical, Maya is known by many names: healer, psychic, witch.. But for Khushi, she is simply a true friend. Maya has not so secretly loved Aman since childhood. Now if only the thickheaded, bearded man would accept her wholeheartedly: magic, gifts, love and all..

Taj--Karan Wahi
Mischievous and carefree, Taj is the youngest member of ASR's group at age 19. His jokes and stories liven up the trail. He is also quite popular with the ladies of Rajasthan, although not as much as the Dark Prince (but he's working on that:)

Imran--Iqbal Khan
Another of the men: Imran is quiet and reflective, and has stories of his own to tell.  Earn his trust and he might just reveal something interesting..

Zara Khan--Shilpa Anand
Quiet and sincere, this is a woman of substance underneath years of hurt and pent-up longing. Will this year be the one she's been waiting for? Will Imran reconsider and finally give their love a chance?

Raj--Karanvir Bora
Known for his no-nonsense attitude, Raj is Taj's older brother and the one most fervently involved in the group's mission. His ultimate dream is to see Aakash and Shyam destroyed and ASR in his rightful place.

Sia--Krystal D'Souza
A gypsy girl with a fiery attitude, a startling aim, and boundless love for Raj. Maya's friend from childhood, she's known widely for her quick temper and sharp tongue. But if you understand her, you'll see that she's just a simple girl with some unfulfilled dreams.

Akash Singh Raizada--Akshay Dogra 
As the so-called 'HRH Maharaja of Raizada,' Aakash is pompous and reckless. Raised in a world of unfathomable luxury unlike his older half-brother, he is used to getting his way. Khushi, Arnav, and the gang have all earned his wrath.

Manorma Singh Raizada--Utkarsha Naik
Loud and ambitious, Manorma was once a lowly courtesan who rose to become Anil Singh Raizada's second wife. She loves her high position in the palace.

Shyam Jha--Abhaas Mehta
Cunning, smart and manipulative; some would say Shyam is more in tune with the changing landscape of Rajasthan than his best friend, Aakash.

Nafisa Aunty--Waheeda Rehman
The matriarch of the Khan family, Nafisa Aunty saw Khushi raised from birth and loved her like a grand-daughter. Has a well-known love for kheer.

A dependable and loyal stallion who in many ways is Arnav's best friend.

Lavanya--Sana Khan
The beautiful gypsy girl that has always had an eye for ASR


Old Mathur-- Kulbhushan Kharbanda Arnav's dead mother's oldest and most loyal servant. He moved to the north reaches with his family when the new heir was named. He also happens to be Aman's great-uncle.

(note: more characters will be added as story continues)
(note 2: notice no Anjali..sry Anjali-fans but she was annoying me in the real show when I wrote this so I deleted her character)
Eight-year-old Khushi Kumari Gupta tiptoed into the kitchen, her wild mane of hair swinging left and right in the darkness.
It was much past midnight, and everyone else had slept off hours ago. But Khushi hadn't been able to. How could she when tonight was her last night in her own home? Tomorrow she'd be gone and the house she loved so much would be sold.
Her young heart throbbed as she reached the far wall, her small fingers working to ply one of the bricks loose. It was their secret.. Her parents and hers..
The brick came off with a loud screech. Khushi glanced around worriedly, praying no one had heard. But all was quiet.
She set the brick on the ground and carefully reached for the letter she'd so carefully prepared. Her hands quivered as she read over the tear-streaked, wrinkly paper one last time:

Dearest Amma and Babuji,
I miss you both so much. Why don't you wake up and talk to me? Hug me close just once more? The world has become so dark and lonely without you. I cry most days in Nafisa Aunty's lap, barely knowing what's happening around me. All of our neighbors, friends, and family have come home, you know. They talk about what happened to you, although no one knows for sure. Some mention the word murder. Most say it was a robbery by fortune-hunters from the North. Others say things I don't understand. All I know is that you're not with me. I don't know why God has taken you both from me. Doesn't God know that I need you?
I snuck out yesterday to try to find you. But I didn't know how to find you. The streets of Lucknow were the same as always, but it felt all dark and gloomy to me. I ran back home when it began raining. For the first time, there was no one waiting to scold me or even care if I'd catch a cold. Amma, please yell at me..just once! Please, hold me in your arms once more, Babuji!
Do you know, I had to braid my hair on my own today. It came out a tangly mess. I cried, remembering the feeling of your soft hands weaving through my hair, Amma. Your sweet, soothing voice telling me stories of rajkumars and faraway kingdoms.
haven't slept well for a few nights now, although I pretend to whenever footsteps near my cot. Everytime I close my eyes, I have nightmares. Horrible nightmares. But you're not there to hug me close, wipe the tears from my face..
Tomorrow, they're taking me from here, Amma and Babuji. They say the house has to be auctioned to settle some debts, whatever that means. I made quite a scene when they told me. Only Nafisa Aunty could control me. But I don't understand, doesn't everyone realize that if I left our home, you may not know where to find me. How will you know where to look for me when you come back?
But then an idea came to me. I remembered that loose brick in the kitchen wall, the secret place Amma always kept her favorite anklet and I hid my pocketmoney. I know you'll know to search here when you get back. Enclosed is the address of Aunt's house. You'll find me there, Amma and Babuji. Don't worry. And I'll be in Lucknow still, so I'll come to the house every few days, even if I'm only allowed to look from outside. I'll be waiting for you... always.
I'm taking your silver anklets with me, Amma, and keeping this letter in its place.
Please don't forget about me. Please, always stay with me.
Please come back to me. I miss you so much.
I love you both more than anything. You are the best parents in the whole entire world.

Your bitiya,
Khushi Kumari Gupta

Tears pooled in Khushi's eyes as she stuffed the letter in a plain envelope. She bowed her head, reverently kissing it one last time. With utter care, she set it inside and reached for her mother's anklet. She tied it on carefully, her heart brimming with love.
It felt like her mother had just hugged her, as if her blossom-like perfume wafted in the still air.
Khushi lodged the brick back in place and with one last look, slipped out of the empty kitchen.
---------Something from this bonus scene will make a reappearance in DH eventually. That's why I'm sharing it.--------
Sanaya Irani You Made My Year, TY TS
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Bday thread 2013
Shameless Anniversary

DH Index
(will be added to as story continues)
Amma=mother Babuji=father Beta=son/child Bitiya=daughter Chote='small one'/nickname Ghagra Choli=traditional two piece dress consisting of long skirt and top Haveli=manor Kheer=rice pudding Jalebi=syrupy dessert Jiji=sister Maharaja=king Masi= aunt, specifically refers to mother's sister Mangalsutra=black-beaded necklace married women wear Namaste= literally 'salutations to you,' a common greeting Nani=grandmother on mother's side Pallu/dupatta=long cloth/train Pandit=priest Rajkumar=Prince Rajkumari=Princess

 For extra historical pictures and things I found while researching DH: go to


  1. Update soon please, waiting eagerly, it has been so long

  2. Love the bonus scene of dh. very emotional