It all started a day after Taenia, a rather celebrated Viennese artist, made a passage to India, that fateful hot summer afternoon when she met Tara.
That day, they were both in the crowded bazaar of fashionable Chandi Chowk, Old Delhi, eyeing the same pair of sandals, made of the finest black meshed velvet, embroidered with a white rose between the big and 2nd toe. To add to the "to-die-for" value, the exquisite sandals were designed by the much sought after Mercedes for Dior, oft regarded as the Jimmy Choo of Chandi Chowk.
Taenia remembered that afternoon vividly, how their eyes had met and narrowed, almost simultaneously when they realised they were both after the same thing. She chuckled as she recalled how, with a quick movement, the nimble Taenia, unlike Tara who has never lifted her finger, had bent down and snatched the beautiful pair of slippers before Tara could scream "Get them!" at her servants.
Thankfully, Tara was not angry. Instead, with the grace and hospitality that Maharanis-to-be were famous for, Tara invited the visiting artist to spend the weekend at the almost complete Royal Tent, so that they could admire each other's Mercedeses. Taenia , not wanting to pass up on a good opportunity to paint at an idyllic location or offend Tara, quickly accepted the invitation despite Tara's warning that she had to bring her own furniture.
And so Taenia, lugging her beautiful Made in Vienna luggage (sturdy, designer and terribly expensive -2 1/4" length, 1 3/8" width and 1 3/8" height)
a painting of an elephant (which won her the title "National Treasure of Vienna" and which she wish to present as a gift to Tara -2" by 1 1/2")
and her own table, (so dazzlingly beautiful, it can also double up as a mirror or a tray for her paints or a seat, even a wall plaque -3" diameter)
settled in quite comfortably...
That very same afternoon that Taenia arrived, Tara excitedly took her silver slippers she wanted to show off to Taenia and went toward her Tent.
What confronted her in the Tent shocked Tara so much that for a moment, she could not believe her eyes. She moved in closer and there he was, without any doubt, Prince Raj, caressing and kissing Taenia's
things from dresses to pants to her unmentionables (please ignore pic above). The straw that broke the camel's back was when Tara saw Prince Raj fondling Taenia's shoes. "Not the Mercedes TOO!", she thought angrily.
With a swooping move Tara didn't know she could make, she charged in and grabbed the shoe from Prince Raj and hurled it. Now if you glance very quickly from left to right, left to right again and then centre, you can maybe see the animated version of history in the making..
The aim was so dead on and the "missile" so fast that almost the whole of Rajasthan could hear the Prince screaming in pain! He was next seen running from the tent with a hole in his head, sobbing for help.
Legend has it that Tara's shoe-throwing fame spread like wild fire as a quick, painful and unsuspecting way not only to hurt an enemy physically but also to leave an emotional scar of shame, never to be erased. That's why shoe throwing is today used as a form of attack, not only in India but in many parts of Asia, to evoke an ultimate insult.
Back at the tent..
Tara knew then that she had to leave the Prince! The scoundrel with eyes that roved a mile a minute! Leave the palace! Oh well, it probably would never be built anyway! And leave this marriage ("oh no, what am I going to tell Mah Mah?") BUT not before
taking those shoes with her. And so she carefully packed both Mercedeses into the expensive luggage
drag the table and painting out of the tent, mounted the camel (and nearly broke their backs) to start her journey home.
And while all this commotion was going on, poor sweet Taenia was in a world of her own (at a far corner of the palace ground with ear plugs), painting her idyllic landscape (which is going to win her "National Treasure-Senior Category"), completely oblivious to the fact that she was the one responsible for the Indian History of Shoe Throwing.