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The Door

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1999~Adventure during my teenage years

My name is Yashodhara Ishanvi Chowdary and I am 38 years old now. I have a vivid memory of the adventure that I had when I was 17 years old and was in my final year of school. What I am about to share with you is the most memorable part of my teenage years back in St. Marguerite’s Convent Bukit Mertajam. So, here we go.

“Riiiiiiing!” The school bell rang loudly. That was the end of the morning session for the Senior High School students at St. Marguerite’s Convent School at Bukit Mertajam. “Alright students! Make sure you study the topic that we have learned today. I will hold a quiz before we start our class tomorrow. That will be all for today and I will see you tomorrow,” Mr. Yew Kim Tin, our History class teacher, said before leaving our class once the school bell rang. Then, Ann Peter Paul, who was my class Monitor stood up from her chair and said to us, “Girls, the students who are in charge of cleaning the classroom can start the cleaning before leaving the class.”  “Okay, Monitor!” my classmate, Agelyia Murugan said jokingly that we could not help laughing. The students who were assigned the task of cleaning the classroom began to clean while the rest of my classmates left the classroom.

As usual, I headed to the school library. As I was on my way there, I heard someone calling my name out loud from behind me. I turned to look at who that person was. It was my best friend in school, Ambia. Ambia and I had been close since we were 15 years old. She had always been the person with whom I shared my deepest secrets. “Yash, wait up!” Ambia said to me. I stopped in my tracks and waited for Ambia to catch up with me. When she arrived at my side, I asked, “What’s up, Ambi?” “I heard that you have got 100 marks in English for the midterm exam. So I wanted to congratulate you. Well done, girl!” Ambia said to me, smiling from ear to ear. I smiled and hugged Ambia while saying, “Aww, thanks, Ambi. You are the best always.” Ambia hugged me back and said, “Keep up the good work, girl. Your mum will be happy to hear this news,” Ambia said. I released Ambia and looked at her with shining eyes. “Yes, my mother will be glad to hear this news,” I said to Ambia. I further asked her, “By the way, I am heading to the library. Want to join me, Ambi?” Ambia narrowed her eyes and said, “You know very well that the library will be the last place I want to be in.” I giggled and said to her, “You will never change, girl. Okay, I am leaving for the library now. I need to catch up with my research on the artists during the Renaissance era.”

Ambia smiled and said, “You are such a talented girl. Painting and all.”

I blushed and said to Ambia, “Oh come on. I am still an amateur. I have been attending art classes to brush up on my interest in art. I also feel that I need some theory on the artists and their style of painting.”

Ambia nodded and said, “Okay then. Off you go now. Enjoy yourself. I am heading home. See you tomorrow, girl.”

I bid Ambia farewell and walked towards the school library. As I entered the library, I greeted the school librarian and then headed to the far end shelf where the books on the Artists were kept. “Today, I shall read on Michelangelo,” I thought to myself while searching for the book I had in mind. I found the book and sat down on the carpeted ground to begin reading. As I was reading on Michelangelo’s work of art, I noticed something shining from the corner of my eyes at the far end of the wall on my left. “Now, what is that?” I thought to myself as I placed the book down on the ground and stood up to walk up to the far corner of the library. Once I had reached the far corner of the school library, I noticed that the shine came from the door knocker attached to the door which was used in old English houses to knock on the door to alert the house owners attached to the door. “How come I have never noticed such a door there before?” I thought to myself. I had been spending most of my time in the school library for the past 4 years during my high school years and that was the first time that I had noticed a door there.

I also noticed some words that were carved on the door. It read, Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land wither worry and vexation can follow you no more. Those were the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his book titled “Through the Magic Door”. What is the connection of those words with this door?” I thought to myself. Then, it struck me. Those words were indicating that the door that stood in front of me was magical since the carvings on the door were the excerpts from the book titled “Through the Magic Door” which was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So there was something magical about the door. Excitement arose within me. I had always loved adventure and I had the instinctive feeling that something magical would happen when I entered the room behind that mysterious door.

I placed my hand on the doorknob and slowly twisted the knob to determine whether it was locked or otherwise. The doorknob twisted easily. The door was unlocked. I looked behind me to check whether the school librarian was close by. “No one is here. This is my chance,” I thought to myself and opened the door. There was another door inside. There were words carved on the door. This time the carvings read, “ If there is one place that you wish that you can travel to, where will it be? The place is behind this door. Make a wish before opening this door and you will get what you have asked for.” I was surprised and excited at the same time. I had always wanted to travel to Egypt because I was a fan of Ancient Egyptian History. “I wish to travel to the glorious era of King Tutankhamun,” I thought to myself and then pushed the door open and stepped into the room.

I was utterly shocked. I looked around to see where I was. It was indeed an Egyptian palace! “Oh my God! I am really here!” I thought to myself in awe. I have always been fascinated with the history of ancient Egypt and its culture. As a teenager, I had a dream to pursue a course in Egyptology to learn about ancient Egypt further. Of all the Pharaohs in ancient Egyptian history, the only Pharoah who had caught my attention was King Tutankhamun who was the youngest Pharoah in ancient Egyptian history. King Tutankhamun, colloquially known as King Tut, was the 12th Pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, in power from approximately 1332 to 1323 B.C.E. During his reign, Tutankhamun accomplished little. However, his powerful advisers restored the traditional Egyptian religion, which had been set aside by his father, Akhenaten, who led the “Amarna Revolution.” After his death at age 19, King Tut disappeared from history until the discovery of his tomb in 1922. Since then, studies of his tomb and remains have revealed much information about his life and times, making Tutankhamun one of the best-known ancient Egyptian kings.

I began to walk around the palace, looking for someone with whom I could communicate. There was a palace guard, standing like a statue in the corridor. I walked up to him and asked, “Excuse me, Mister. My name is Yasodhara Ishanvi Chowdary. May I have an audience with your king, please?”

The guard looked at me up and down with a confused reaction on his face. “Where are you from, lady?” He asked me.

“I am from another country and I have landed here to speak to your King Tutankhamun. If you don’t mind, can you please lead the way to see His Majesty?” I replied and asked the guard.

The guard then said, “Please follow me, lady.” I nodded and followed the guard. As we were walking along the corridor, I observed the carvings on the wall and the decorative items displayed along the corridor. I enjoyed observing the decorative items as they were made in gold. “These decorative items must be very expensive if sold in my time,” I thought to myself, tempted to take one with me. However, I had decided against my will and left the decorative items alone.

We had finally reached a grand door. The guard opened the door slightly and let me in. I entered the hall and there sat the person I had anticipated meeting, King Tut. I continued to walk up to the place where King Tut sat in his grand chair which was made out of white marble covered in soft fur-like carpet. I noticed statues of a grayish cat placed at both sides of the chair. The cats were regarded as gods in ancient Egypt. The Cat God was known as Bastet and the cat was normally pictured as wearing a gold neck chain and earrings. “Your Majesty, my name is Yasodhara Ishanvi Chowdary and I am 17 years old. I am here to have an audience with Your Majesty.

King Tut looked down at me from his grand chair and asked, “Yasodhara Ishanvi Chowdary, why do you want to see me?”

I then replied to His Majesty, “I would like to have your permission to view the unique building known as the Pyramid, Your Majesty.”

My reply had made King Tut smile. “Ah, am I correct to assume that you are here to admire the wonders of Egypt?” King Tut asked me with a shine in his eyes. King Tut, who was a teenager at the time of his reign was a child. It was natural for a teenager irrespective of his status in a community to feel the way teenagers would feel.

“Yes, Your Majesty. I have always wanted to view the Pyramid of Giza at close range. Now that I have the chance, I would like to enter the Pyramid and have a look,” I replied to His Majesty.

King Tut was pleased with my reply. His Majesty then suggested to me, “Perhaps I can join you in your visit to the Pyramid. I have not been able to visit the Pyramid myself due to heavy responsibilities. This will be a moment of relaxation for me.”

I was excited. “Oh! I would be honored to have Your Majesty as my companion to the Pyramids of Giza, Your Majesty,” I replied excitedly.

King Tut stood up from his grand chair abruptly and walked down the stairs to where I was standing. King Tut’s costume looked grand as well. His Majesty was dressed in a long white robe made out of expensive silk which shone under the light as His Majesty walked. I looked at King Tut in admiration. I felt my heart beating fast. I felt honored and excited to walk beside such a prominent figure from ancient Egypt. I had always admired King Tut and had wondered how His Majesty had made a mark in Ancient Egyptian History as the youngest King to contribute to the development of Egypt.

King Tut and I walked to the Pyramid together. Although the weather was humid since Egypt was filled with desert, yet, being close to King Tut Himself, I was also given special treatment by the servants. There was a servant who held a large umbrella above our heads as we walked towards the Pyramid. Both King Tut and I had reached the Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramids stood gloriously in front of us. I looked at the magnificent architecture of the Pyramids, which was recorded as one of the seven wonders of the world. The Giza Pyramids, built to endure an eternity, had done just that. The monumental tombs are relics of Egypt’s Old Kingdom era and were constructed some 4,500 years ago. Egypt’s pharaohs expected to become gods in the afterlife. To prepare for the next world they erected temples to the gods and massive pyramid tombs for themselves; filled with all the things each ruler would need to guide and sustain himself in the next world. The person who had built this wonderful structure was Pharaoh Khufu, who had begun the first Giza pyramid project, circa 2550 B.C. His Great Pyramid was the largest in Giza and towered some 481 feet (147 meters) above the plateau. It was estimated to have contained 2.3 million stone blocks each weighing an average of 2.5 to 15 tons.

Both the King and I entered into the Pyramid. In the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the tunnel at the entrance was wide and well carved out. Once we got to the main tunnel though. We had to climb crouched over for around 40 metres, up a steep ramp. The ramp was in a very small tunnel – the width could really only accommodate one person comfortably, but it’s a two-way street so one would inevitably have to clamber over or under people coming from the opposite direction. Once we were through that section, We had to walk up to another steep ramp, although this one had high ceilings. We had to duck under some large rocks and then enter the main chamber. At that point, both the King and I had finally reached the top!

The main chamber at the top was a small room with high ceilings. It was completely bare apart from a large stone structure, which resembled the remains of a sarcophagus. The Pyramids of Giza were built before hieroglyphs became popular, so the walls inside had no carvings or decorations. After we were done here in the main chamber, we had to exit out the pyramid in the same way we had entered the Pyramid. The total journey up and back to the Pyramid took us about 30 minutes. I realized how I was sweating profusely as I had climbed further into the Pyramid. The environment inside the Pyramid got warmer as we climbed deeper into the Pyramid.

Once the King and I had exited the Pyramid, we were offered some water to have. I drank greedily as I was in desperate need of water. I felt a surge of relief upon emptying a big jar of water offered to me. King Tut, upon having his share of water, turned to look at me and asked, “So, how was the experience of traveling into the Pyramid, lady?” “I had a wonderful time inside the Pyramid, Your Majesty. My curiosity is finally over. Now I can return to my home feeling satisfied,” I replied His Majesty. King Tut then gave me a wonderful smile. Both the King and I were escorted back to the Palace. Once we were inside the Palace, I thanked the King for his generosity in permitting me to explore the Pyramid of Giza. The King then handed a souvenir. It was a gold chain and a pendant with the cat goddess carving on it. I felt touched by the King’s gesture and thanked His Majesty before I looked for the door which took me to King Tut’s Palace.

I opened the door and entered the door. Then, before entering the other door which led to my school library, a thought came into my mind. “Why don’t I try another place in history to travel?” I smiled to myself and turned back to the mysterious door. I made a wish again. “I wish to travel to Jodhpur to experience the best love story in my life,” I thought to myself. Then I reopened the door and entered the room. In an instant, I was in Jodhpur. I blinked a few times and then looked around me. I was in a large room. The room was lavishly decorated. As I was exploring the room, a young girl entered the room. “My lady, why are you not dressed yet?” The young girl asked me. “What should I get dressed for?” I asked, feeling confused. The young girl then asked while looking perplexed, “Don’t you remember having an outing fixed with Master Rudra Pratap Ranawat at the garden today, My lady?” I tried to regain composure so as not to be caught by the young girl and played along with her.  “Ah, yes! I remember now. I must have been feeling sleepy since I had just woken up,” I replied the young girl. I noticed the young girl relaxed. Then, I was escorted to the bathroom where a big tub of hot water filled with rose petals was awaiting me. I undressed and entered the tub. After the bath, I was escorted back to my room. A few half sarees were laid on the bed for me to choose from. I chose a green-colored half saree. After dressing and grooming myself, I was escorted to the dining hall where a young man and an old man were seated at the dining table.

“Good Morning, Sir Ranveer Udarsh Shroff. Good Morning, Master Rudra Pratap Ranawat. Lady Ashwini Jasmit Shroff is here,” the young girl announced to the two men. Both the men turned to look at me. “Ah, so my name is Ashwini. Thank God that now I have found the role that I was supposed to play here,” I thought to myself. “Come here, my child,” the elderly man said to me. I walked slowly towards him and stood next to him. The man who was appearing to be my father then introduced the other man who was in the room. “Rudra is here to take to the garden. Both of you were supposed to have an outing together.” The elderly man said to me. “I am expected to reply to him now,” I thought to myself. Then, I said to the elderly man, “Yes, father, I was informed about the outing by the servant earlier this morning.” The elderly man nodded while smiling and gestured me to sit down. I complied obediently and sat on the chair. The servants began to serve the food that was prepared for breakfast for us. I enjoyed the food as they were my favorite. I was served with chappati, and dhal, paneer butter masala with bread and sweets. I emptied my plate and asked for another serving. Both the men looked at me surprisingly. “Why, this is a surprise. You seem to be starving today, my dear,” the elderly man commented. “Oh yes, I am, father. I had a light dinner last night,” I replied to him while recalling the light food that I had in Egypt with King Tut with a smile.

The other man who was observing with hawk-like eyes spoke up. He said, “It is good to see you enjoying good food again, girl.” I looked up from my plate to look at him. “Was I starving myself previously?” I asked him. The young man who was introduced to me as Rudra Pratap Ranawat laughed at my question. I was truly confused as I had no idea as to how Ashwini Jasmit Shroff was before I had landed there. “You were particular about your weight and looks, girl. So, you were quite strict about your diet. That is why I am surprised to see you enjoy food without any worries,” he said with a dazzling smile. I observed the man closely. He had wavy black hair, with a pair of black eyes that looked like crystal from the way they shone as he spoke, strong jaw, which was covered with a stubble beard. He was obviously a handsome-looking man, who resembled my dream knight in shining armor. “I just feel that I should not miss on delicious food at times,” I replied the man with a smile.

After breakfast, I was escorted by the young man to the carriage which took us both to the garden. At the garden, we were escorted by some guards employed by Rudra Pratap Ranawat to the spot chosen for us to have time on our own. There was a cloth spread on the grass under a tree with a basket containing food for both of us. We sat on the cloth. I looked around me. There were various types of flowers planted in the garden. The whole place looked like an ideal place for lovers to go for dates. Rudra Pratap Ranawat then removed the food from the basket and laid them on the cloth. The food was nicely wrapped on a plate. We chatted for some time while enjoying the food. At one point, both of us fell silent at which point Rudra slowly placed his hand on my hand. I looked down sideways at Rudra’s hand on mine. I felt my heart beating faster. I was nervous as to what was going to take place after this. I then felt Rudra moving closer towards me. I gulped some water to maintain my composure. “Don’t be nervous, Yasodhara,” I reminded myself. At the point where I felt Rudra’s breath on my neck, I felt ticklish and I felt that my heart would jump out of my body by the speed it was beating out of nervousness. Suddenly, someone called out my name. “Lady Ashwini!” The voice called out. I turned abruptly at the sound of my name. I looked up to see a guard for my father, Mr. Ranveer’s guard standing in front of us. “Yes?” “My Lady, allow me to introduce myself. I am Master Ranveer’s personal Commander-In-Chief, Advik Wridesh Chopra. I have been assigned to take My Lady home. Let’s leave now, My Lady,” the guard said.

I felt like I have been saved from an awkward and alarming situation that I let out a breath of relief. I stood up abruptly and dusted bread crumbs from my long skirt. I turned around to Rudra and had noticed that Rudra had also stood up but he looked displeased. “I think someone was interrupted from being romantic,” I thought to myself, amused. I turned around to Advik and said to him, “Well, let us leave now, Commander.” “Thank you Mr. Rudra for inviting me today. I had so much fun chatting with you. Bye for now,” I said to Rudra Pratap Ranawat. “Oh, I am glad that you had fun being with me, girl. We should arrange more outings in the future,” Rudra replied to me. “You can arrange all the outings you want to but I will not be here for long, handsome,” I thought to myself and chuckled at the thought without realizing that I should be on guard. Both men looked at me with a puzzled expression on their faces. “It is nothing. Something came into my mind that made me chuckle. I apologize for that,” I said to both men while blushing at the same time. After bidding Rudra my farewell, I followed my father’s Commander-In-Chief home. Once we were home, we were welcomed by my father. Once I had washed up, I had dinner with my father and then chatted with him for some time before retiring to bed.

As I was lying on my bed and almost drowning in a deep sleep, I suddenly heard a noise. I reluctantly opened my eyes while calling out to my servant. “Meera, is that you?” I asked in the darkness of my room. There was no reply. I heard another noise. Fear slowly crept inside of me. I heard the noise of my window being opened. My fear increased that I shouted for help. “Help! Robber in my room! Someone help me!” I shouted at the top of my voice. In a flash, I noticed Advik standing beside my bed. I looked at Advik with wide eyes. I did not realize that Advik had been standing outside of my room all along. Advik quickly checked the window and caught something or someone. There was a figure that Advik was forcibly pulling into my room from my room window. By that time, my father entered my room together with a few other guards following him. “What happened here?” My father asked angrily. One of the servants lit all the oil lamps in my room. As the darkness in my room slowly disappeared and light rose around my room, the culprit was revealed. It was Rudra Pratap Ranawat! What a surprise. My father asked Rudra angrily, “Why were you trying to sneak into my daughter’s room, young man?” Rudra, who was embarrassed that he was caught in the act, replied to my father, “I wanted to see Miss Ashwini in secret, Sir. I apologize for causing a commotion at this hour.” “Whatever it is, it is most improper to sneak into an unmarried lady’s room at night like you just did. The lady’s reputation will be tarnished if a man enters a lady’s room like this. Are you not aware of this?” my father said.Rudra looked down on the floor, out of guilt.

I made my decision to leave the place immediately and return to my world out of caution. I had suddenly wished that my mother was beside me at that moment. “This is the risk a young lady is placed under when she is alone without the protection of her parents,” I thought to myself, feeling regretful that I had decided to come to this world. I had not felt insecure when I was in Egypt as I had felt in that room that night.

The next morning, I awoke at the crack of dawn and washed. Then, I had dressed into my school uniform and walked to the door which had brought me to this world. I opened the door and entered the room and I was back to the room where the door connecting to my school library stood in front of me. I quickly opened the door and entered my school library. I checked the clock on the wall and it was still noon. I was perplexed because time had not passed as it did when I was in Egypt and Jodhpur. I then walked up to the shelf where books on the artists were kept and began to read them. Once it was time to leave the school library, I had decided to check on the mysterious door again. The door was not there anymore. I stood staring at the empty wall, completely shocked. “Was the door only meant to be there for me?” I thought in disbelief. I then left the school library for home, still perplexed and running in my mind the events which had taken place in Egypt and India. The door had made me believe in miraculous events since then. Despite the unbecoming event in Jodhpur, however, I was truly blessed that my experience with King Tut was amazing and eventful. On the other hand, I had learned a lesson from the events which had taken place in Jodhpur that there is a limit to one’s desire. As long as one’s desire is legit and within the limits of morale, one’s desire would not backfire.

I had graduated from St. Marguerite’s Convent School at Bukit Mertajam with an outstanding result in my Final Examination. I then pursued my dream to become a lawyer and followed an external degree programme from the University of London. I had graduated with an Honors Degree in the Bachelor of Law after three years. I then pursued a nine months’ course to obtain a Certificate of Legal Practice to practice as an Advocate and Solicitor in Malaysia. I then chambered at Messrs. Royce, Winchester& Associates for nine months, after which I was called to the Bar in the year 2009. Life was complete upon the setting up of my own Legal Firm, C. Yasodhara Ishanvi & Co. I became popular as a promising Divorce Lawyer, an artist, and a writer.




Nanthini Rajarethinam is a 38-year-old Advocate from Penang, Malaysia. She loves to write short stories as a hobby and would like to contribute her work to various magazines. She is also into art wherein she has produced more than 40 paintings for the year 2020. Besides, these two hobbies, Nanthini Rajarethinam enjoys experimenting new recipes and reading.

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