It's been one of those weeks where I'm not able to sleep very well. The sink is clogged and despite a 25 and 50 foot auger, I cannot seem to alleviate the problem.

Seeing my frustration, my loving wife asked me about household problems in Shayakand. She asked how if magic would be used to unclog drains or would folks do it the mechanical way.

It's funny how that question took me to the "Game within a Game" post I wrote on NMP.

I replied that most people in urban areas live in apartments that have no kitchen. For a few coppers, most eat at local eating places that serve as a kind of fast food place. As to whether or not garmadala experience drain clogs, the answer is based on the clientele. You see, if a basha loves to eat at a certain garmadala, the kitchen is blessed by a myriad of priests with several enchantments.

Being tired, though, I began to ramble quite a bit about the garmadala, the end of the Shayakand empire, the Garuda, the Amanakshi and various other things. My favorite rant, though, still brought me back to a little garmadala northeast of the market center near the largest library in Varama.

Varama served as the resort city for the emperors. The entire city was built to provide a seaside resort for the emperor and his satraps. After the empire dissolved, the city survived due to its extensive libraries and influx of peoples drawn to the milder climate and ocean breezes.

Walking through the busy street to reach the garmadala, I could smell the mint and cardamom coming from the large doorway leading into the serving area. On the L-shaped table are six dishes of delectable dishes - even the curry lentils in the first two tureens are a joy to the palate. There would be raised eyebrows, if I, a common scribe of the working class, purchased one of the savory meat dishes. But on a beautiful day like this with a breeze blowing off the cold water current that runs close to the shore tempering the cloudless sky - savory meats are worth the stares and the coin.

Strolling out from the serving area into a stone plaza, there are several tables offering chess with the meal, as long as you bring your pieces with you. The wooden pieces in my jhola have lost of bit of the green and gold paint, but they have been victorious more times than not.

Sitting at a table, a merchant asks for the pleasure of conversation and perhaps a game. Noticing my meal, I was mistaken for a man of higher class. Still, we talked for some time and the match was close. She and I made small talk about business, but inevitably we began discussing our favorite writings. We had both heard the rumors of an extant copy of the Book of Beginnings about the Mpura. The possibility of such a treasure appearing in a library made us both hope the rumors were true.

I ask to see her again and she readily accepted my invitation. In the Virama, a man of lower class can court a woman of higher class without raising so much as an eyebrow. After such a womderful meal and the hope for love - it is difficult to leave the table and make my way back to my humble apartment.

The smell of sea air, mint, and curry follow me back - even to my chair. It is easy to step into a place of imagination on sleepless nights like this.

The hint of mint and cardamom stays in my memory. The memories of a trip to a place that I could almost touch allows me to let go of the day's stresses enough to sleep perchance to dream. With a big moon in the sky, I am sure that I will dream of Shayakand.

I am sure that I will see my beloved there, wearing a sari as she did on our wedding day over six years ago. There we will be the spices, the libraries and the chatter of the market vendors. There will also be the breeze and the dancing on the shore.

Many thanks to my wife who helped me escape for a bit to help me sleep.

Good night to all.