Study Guide

Beneath a Marble Sky Chapter 11

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Chapter 11


  • Aurangzeb, true to form, used his treaty-signing mission north to Persia for his own purposes and starts a war by killing the Persian envoy and making another pile of heads at their border.
  • Shortly after that, the Deccans, the enemies to the south, sense an opportunity and begin to raid and pillage, so Father orders Aurangzeb down there to quell the uprising.
  • Aurangzeb quells the uprising so well he's named Viceroy of Deccan. His influence over the Hindustan army continues to swell.
  • Meanwhile, construction on the Taj Mahal continues.
  • Isa shows the Emperor and Jahanara a sample of the incredible white marble walls that will grace the interior and exterior of the mausoleum. They're stunning, to say the least.
  • As the three of them are admiring the artist's work, Father is struck by how much Jahanara loves Isa.
  • After dismissing Isa, Father tells Jahanara that he's so sorry about saddling her with a husband like Khondamir. Love is so all-important, so he's going to help her and Isa conduct a secret affair.
  • Jahanara's father tells her that she will move into her mother's old room, which was designed by his grandfather. As such, it has a secret escape tunnel going from the back of the closet into a simple house in the city. You know, for when you come under siege…or need to have a love affair in secret.
  • So, Isa will buy the simple home in the city, and Jahanara will be able to visit him.
  • Boom. Problem solved.
  • Jahanara is elated.
  • Father's only request in return for this gift is that Jahanara and Isa do a better job of hiding their love while in public.
  • A week later, Jahanara moves into her mother's old room. It's nice to be surrounded by all her mom's stuff.
  • So far, the plan is going well. Isa quietly buys the house in town, and Jahanara patiently waits for the opportune moment when she can sneak down the passage to visit him.
  • Finally, the night arrives. Jahanara sneaks through the pitch-black corridor, skirting the clever booby-trap the engineers had hidden there to thwart potential attackers.
  • The trap sounds truly nasty: it's a stone block that you could really bang your knees on, but if you stepped on it, the whole tunnel would collapse.
  • Jahanara makes it into Isa's house, and then they do it. You know…it.
  • Jahanara and Isa agree they want a baby together, even though Isa would never be able to truly claim it as his own.
  • Meanwhile, Jahanara hatches a plan to make Khondamir think any child she has is his. It involves eating bull testicles and getting advice from an astronomer…so, totally legit.
  • Things continue happily for a while: Jahanara and Isa secretly stay up all night talking and making lo-huurk. Sorry. Excuse us, that phrase just gives us the gags. Making lo-huurk. Ugh. You know what we're saying.
  • Aurangzeb and Balkhi continue to stir up trouble in the Deccan, and Dara continues to occupy himself at the courts and by studying religion.
  • Soon, Jahanara realizes she is pregnant. She hopes it's a girl so that she can have her with her most of the time.
  • During the months when she is heavily pregnant, Jahanara helps Isa by looking over his plans and calculations from her room, and she devotes time to getting updated on all the court goings-on.
  • Jahanara survives the tribulations of birth and has a healthy baby girl.
  • Isa and Jahanara are able to steal a moment to themselves to admire their little creation, and they name her Arjumand, after her beloved grandmother.

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