STEAMPUNK INDIA

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*Who Is The Alchemist. I will ask Tommy to investigate, he will know where to look and won't hesitate. He'll know who to ask.

* I still cannot believe we put the welfare of our only son in the hands of an automaton.

Chan concealed from me at the beginning that he would use Janav to promote his Clockwork ambitions. He is at his boarding school with the automaton solely so Chan can study how it copes among children. What an ugly act of misrepresentation: I objected to the 'innocent' publicity stunt of The Boy and his Clockwork Friend as it was, but to discover that Chan has gone behind my back and conducts deeper psychological and socially interactive tests is the final straw.

This is not my husband as I knew him. He is driven past a point of rationale by this scientific endeavour. And I refuse to stand behind the ambiguous moral motives that are now coming to light.

I am at my wit's end.

Tommy goes further above and beyond the call of duty every day to aid and console me.

How has it come to pass that I am closer to this young man, so wholly unrelated to myself, closer than my own husband or son? I miss Janav so and fear for his well being.

Composure is hard, but I must keep up a front of calm and present consistency to society.

I still have a duty to perform. But I will continue to gather facts and keep my own counsel, with Tommy's help.

 

Queen's House, Greenwich, London

The King's Bedchamber.

 

We are being moved to different quarters further along Park Row.

Chan's offices will remain in the Queen's House as they are. But I am surrounded by trunks, packing crates, carpet bags and linen baskets for our personal belongings. Janav is not going to be happy when (if? He is still very distant in his letters) he comes home for the holidays.

The mess and upheaval add more discomfort to an already greatly overcomplicated life.

I try to make Diwali preparations, but my heart isn't in it. Not much seems festive, or Light, these days.

Between dear Tommy's efforts to make the move run smoothly and the maids hired especially for the task, it is still a large undertaking.

The East India Company representatives are in and out of the office these days. I believe there is some great collaboration afoot. Together with the integration of the Clockworks, it should boost the British economy enormously.

Do these new associates know everything, I wonder?

These folk are all adding to the daily whirligig of people, paperwork, house calls and endless pots of chai and politeness. They complement the parade of scientists still hopefully presenting Longitude contraptions, not to mention the incessant clanking and whirring from Chan's workshop.

It is a continuous interruption, but I must bear up as Chan's counterpart and be a gracious hostess.

I have begun to rise an hour earlier than was my custom, just so I can perform my morning pooja in peace. My stock of sandalwood incense is running low; I have taken the liberty of writing a note to Wadia Sahib, one of our old family friends at the Bombay Dockyard.

He has always been very kind. Janav was very taken with him due to Wadia Sahib taking him along to roam the dockyards and watch the ships being built. I am certain he will be most willing to accommodate. Sometimes family parcels from India go astray and, loath as I am to admit it, when Jamsetjee Wadia arranges for parcels, they come in more regularly at present than anything sent by the Ranbirs back home. An age old case of whom one knows, no doubt.

Meanwhile I am making my preparations for an independent investigation into the mystery of the faulty Clockwork. I have the means after all. I will not rest before I am in a position to draw my own conclusions. Tommy must be convinced to assist me.

 

* The campaign for integrating the Clockworks carries on and I'm just returned from speaking at the Scientific Society in Bath. It seems I am preaching to the converted and I keep urging both Chan and the Frobisher's to let me address more working class gatherings. They are the ones who need to see the benefit of the Clockworks and understand how it will improve their working life. Sometimes I fear they look down upon these people too much, as well as not entirely accepting that that is a margin for error in the Clockworks.

And then there is the contradiction of all that I now know to be wrong. What am I promoting?

All these rumours of independent action and thought are not going away, they are only getting stronger. Chan snarls to leave it alone every time I try to address the subject. He does not smile anymore. I have had my fill of dark looks, polite evasions and secrecy.

So now Tommy is finally looking into it, after much wrangling on my part. Truthfully, he only gave in when I threatened to cross-dress to make my way to the East End myself and make enquiries! Frankly, if Tommy had refused, that would have been my next action.

He seems to anticipate it, even though he is set to do as I ask, which is most likely why he appears to haunt the laundry room today. If he thinks that would prevent me from laying hands on a pair of breeches, the poor boy is sorely remiss! At any rate I cannot help but feel very affectionate towards him and his clear wish for me not to be hurt in any way, tiresome as it may be sometimes.

I shall be very keen to hear his findings about sentient Clockworks. It is clear that they must now exist, if I am to go by the almighty effort and expense that is going into the hushing up of journalists, the confiscating of pamflets and the quashing of large gatherings around London.

He shall be going to the Den, as well. Even though Clockworks don't go there, this venue appears to be a central hub for pointless gossip and actual news. It will be matter of sifting through it all and deciding which is which.

 

Autumn,

Maritime House, Greenwich

 

* I am told I am to expect quite distinguished guests for dinner tonight: two scientist siblings, both astronomers, a Caroline and William Herschel. How extremely interesting to be able to converse with a female scientist! I long to hear more about her work methods and am reading one of her papers on comets now. Apparently they are both accomplished musicians as well. I shall be delighted to suggest we play together. One wonders what a sitar or Carnatic singing could add to the German music tradition? It will be very diverting and should add a lighter tone to the evening. Durga knows I should like to laugh a little. Chan sleeps in his laboratory these days and my Janav has not sent a letter in weeks.

Tommy has been to the East End these past three nights. He looks decidedly the worse for wear: he had a bruise on his face this morning and refused to explain why. But collating the information he has gathered is proving useful, if wholly unnerving. I must speak to Chan and risk his ire: I am horrified to even think it, but it becomes more and more apparent to me that I can no longer support him in his life's endeavour, if things continue in the same vein. I dread the confrontation but it can't be helped.

* Well, the move is complete, I am installed in my new quarters and preparations are being made for a grand event in precisely a month. Caroline Herschel will attend, to my great pleasure; she is an interesting, engaging lady. It will be nice to navigate the human fairground of British social gatherings, knowing someone else is also an alien there. British etiquette I can easily manage.

(The British could be seen as positively crude in comparison to some of the Indian court gatherings I remember attending with Chan before our airship journey. Correct comportment was practically a science in itself.) The layers of underlying intrigue and one-upmanship are much less palatable, as is clear from my history with that Frobisher woman. Proud as I am of my beloved husband, not a day goes by that I secretly wish we'd never met her, or her portly counterpart.

Aia, there I go. I promised myself not to sigh over spilt curd any longer. Bear up, MemSahib, Tommy would say. Bear up.

* Chan is, o wonder!, returning home for supper tonight... I am now torn between enjoying him as a wife who has missed her beloved, or disrupting what might be an unprecedented time together with talk of Clockworks and politics.

* The grand East India Trade event is tomorrow. I must put everything else aside and host my part of the proceedings properly. All must feel welcome.

With Tommy by my side, I should be able to sail through it with grace.

Once it's over, I must make my choices.

 

 

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BACKGROUND of FICTION: This diary loosely follows the timeline of The Clockwork Watch:The Transmedia Project comics The Arrival, Breakaway and Tick Tock IPA I and II, written by Clockwork Watch creator Yomi Ayeni in collaboration with Corey Brotherson and Jennie Gyllblad. For the full story, please visit Clockwork Watch. The comics can be purchased from the site.

 

The diary was written especially by Suna Dasi for the Clocking Off Late event held in November 2014 at The Royal Museums, Greenwich, as part of the Longitude exhibitions. The diary also incorporates elements of both event and exhibitions.

 

 

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