M2: Vaikunth prelude. What went wrong?

Click here to read the part 1 of this story

“Maharaj… Maharaj?”Shivchandra’s meditative stance was broken by a heavy coarse voice that sounded a reverb even more with a gushing wind. 

“Huh? Oh… Mayant! So you have come”said a startled Shivchandra turning towards the commanding general of the Bramhakush army. Mayant, who was also known as Senapati Ashtabal, was in charge of the entire armed force and police of Bramhakush. He earned his name as Ashtabal or a person who knew all 8 warfare techniques known to mankind in the Aryan Habitat. He was believed to be the only one who had mastered all 8. Not even Maharaja Shivchandra was blessed with such prowess. Not only was Mayanat a fearsome warrior, he was also an intelligent strategist. It was rumored that he had never lost a fight in his life. Although one could see signs of ageing, the muscular almost 7ft tall frame was enough to scare away anyone who dared to attack. Some said Mayant had too much say in the internal matters of Bramhakush. No one dared to speak out. Because he was not just the commanding general, but also a childhood friend of Maharaja Shivchandra.


“Huh? Oh… Mayant! So you have come?

“Yes Maharaj”

“Why do you keep calling me Maharaj? Mayant? We are friends, aren’t we?”

“Indeed. But right now, a general is talking to his King.”

“I see… so let me also call you Ashtabal. Tell me, Senapati… what news from the capital?”

“Not bad. The army has recuperated well after this battle. New animals have been recruited. Policing is increased to keep an eye on aftershocks. Things are rather holding well. No sign of any revolt. But…”

“But? But what Senapati?”

“Well… I can take care of the law and order. But I don’t make policies for the kingdom. I have no access to the tax collection or their spend. And not that I have interest, but there have been irregular activities in the art & culture field… too many toys coming up. Sukirti is…”

“Oh, common Mayant… Sukirti is an able man. He is my brother. Don’t mistake him for a horse master.  Yes his ideas are different from mine, but he loves Bramhakush as much as you do.” Said Shivchandra in a dismissive tone and started looking back across the river Sattvi. The royal court of Kansar on the embankment of the river, which was completely distroyed during the war, was being rebuilt. But the new structure was no match to the beauty and finesse of the Kansaras. Shivchandra sighed after a momentary silence. 

“Look at this Mayant… see what we have done. Only if I would have known that the source of our information was not legitimate. I would have avoided this destruction.”

“No Maharaj… our source was correct. The Pindharis had indeed infiltrated the city. They had climbed down the mountain wall. They were planning a full scale war. They were disguised. We hardly had any time to distinguish. Besides, their next target could have been us, this Kaumudi region was vulnerable… We did the right thing.”

“I have my doubts. I inspected the remains of their barracks myself. Pindharis were under prepared. They may have been planning a guerrilla attack, may be. But they had not come for war, at least not with us. We could have defended the river and sent a batch our elite soldiers to free up Kaachi. A frontal attack could have been avoided. See what we have done… we defeated and relegated the Pindharis. But in the process, we killed hundreds of Kansaras, including the royal family.” said Shivchandra, looking back at the royal court again with dejection. Mayant stood his ground. He was absorbing every word of his King. But it didn’t matter to him. The displaced Kansaras or the dead royal family was hardly one of his worries. He wanted Kansar to be a part of Bramhakush. Not only it was prosperous, it was also strategically located. It gave Bramhakush a supreme power over the river Sattvi. The whole of Kansar could become a trade hub. They could earn lacs of gold coins just by trading agriculture and livestock. He could now allow the northern kingdoms to use the route for trade for a hefty fee. Besides, he could now trade the water. All he had to do was to convince Shivchandra to let him build the dam.

“The people our land are missing you Maharaj. You must return to Vishala.” he said. But the king did not respond. He was still looking across the river towards the royal court and far beyond towards a new city under construction. He had decided to rebuild Kaachi and rename it Vaikunth. For he considered it heavenly. While he had lit the pyre of Namandev and Naini Devi himself, he could not find their son Ripudaman. He just prayed the young prince had survived.   

Somewhere near the bottom of the mountain

Even though it was summer, the boy was shivering. An year had passed, but he was still not over it. A frail looking but strong lady wrapped a blanket around him. She was dressed like a man. She handed him a heavy bundle, which the boy could not balance and felled on ground.

“What is this?” he asked in a low voice

“They are weapons of your father, Suketu”

“We are just two of us, mausi. Can you not call me…”

“No! Get used to it. One day, I will teach you how to wield a sword. And many other things. You will reach your destiny… one day. But not now. That beast still stands guard.”

Looking away from the weapons wrapped in a thick black cloth, Suketu pointlessly started out of the cave house. The sun was going down, light was waning. He didn’t know if he had any hope.

to be continued…

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M1-Vaikunth: The beginning

Image Courtesy Meera Walawalkar

Year 298 of the third age. Northern Aryan Habitat

Summer season had started. Yet, it was a pleasant evening in the northern most area of Bramhakush, the mighty kingdom ruled by Maharaja Shivchandra. Birds were returning back to their nests, a warm yet soothing breeze was blowing across a vast balcony of the Koumudi bhavan, where the Maharaja was standing. This fortress, which was built to protect the northern borders from potential attacks and invasions via the river route, was now being transformed into a retreat house for the ministers of Shivchandra. It had recently witnessed one of the most fiercest battles in the history of Bramhakush. Shivchandra, who lead the battle himself, was standing and looking pointlessly at the dilapidated and mutilated ruins of the levee near the banks of the river Sattvi. They were a stark contrast to the beautiful blue and green river flowing across the kingdom, literally slicing the land in parts by its mighty flow. Overlooking the vast expanse of Sattvi was a small, yet a beautiful kingdom of Kansar, which was now a part of Bramhakush.

But Shivchandra did not defeat the Kansaras. Not in his wildest dreams he would have thought of burning, felling and destroying a city that was once the cynosure of every living being in the Aryan Habitat. Raja Namandev was his friend. However the Pindharis left him with no choice.  

One year ago

Kaachi, a city that was the epitome of beauty snugly resting in the laps of a mountain, protected and nurtured by the mighty Sattvi river. Kaachi was the capital city of Kansar, ruled with utter surety by Raja Namandev and Rani Nainidevi, a small yet beautiful and prosperous kingdom. It was spread across the banks of Sattvi river, whose silt plains made it an extremely fertile region. Kansar had vast farmlands and grew almost every vegetable that was possibly cultivated in the Aryan Habitat. even though small and prosperous, Kaachi had hardly faced open war. The city was built in such a way that one side it had large plains, which were used to cultivate crops. Then there was the vast bank of Sattvi river, who turned and meandered again protecting the city from 2 sides. So if an enemy attacked, he would turn out to be a sitting duck for the archers on the high walls of the palace. Besides, Kansar maintained a fleet of ships that were designed to row against the flow of the river. Their armour had large spikes that could easily pierce enemy boats. Due to the current, enemy’s navigation capabilities would be seriously challenged. The city was protected by the tall, rocky mountain standing guard against any one who dared to climb up. Namandev had sledged the whole side of the mountain to prevent movement of any man or vehicle on the face of it. While Kansar did not have a fearful army, the city was virtually impregnable. Yet… Kaachi fell that day.

It was Kartiki Purnima, the day on which Kansara sanskrutik samaroh culminated in a large citywide parade followed by a ball and gala dinner in the open fields. While Namandev did not maintain a large army, possibly he never thought of doing so, he did invest a lot in art and culture. The streets of Kaachi were adorned with beautiful statues, carved stone monuments and many other art works. It housed many museum that exhibited artifacts, rare paintings and gifts received by the kings. The city had more than 100 schools that imparted various knowledge forms to students who came to seek. It attracted students from far north as well as down south for as far as Aryan Habitat was spread. Thousands of people lived and prospered there. Kansara Sanskrutik Samaroh was the week long platform that Namandev provided to showcase almost any talent a man or a woman could posses. The king invited participants and guests from all kingdoms across the habitat. Whole week the city saw scores of royal entourage adorning the streets along with the exhibitors and performers who would come for the event. However there was an exception. Namandev dutifully avoided the Pindharis.

Pindhar was a kingdom on he other side of the mountain, ruled by PindRaj II. Due to their location, being in the rain shadow zone, the country a received rainfall barely sufficient enough to water their crops and recharge the ground. A drought always loomed every alternate year.The rocky nature of the soil meant their cultivation option too were limited. So the Pindharis switched to being carnivorous being. Years of adversity had pushed them to such an extent, people rumored that they would even eat man flesh, if need be. Pindharis were termed barbaric, and for no small reason. They were jealous of their prosperous and beautiful neighbors who they accused of depriving resources meant for the Pindharis. 2 generations ago, Pindraj 1 had proposed a dam on the Sattvi river so that the water could be equally distributed among both regions. However it was not easy as the river was too big. Besides if anything went wrong, it risked a terrible flood in Kansar. Namandev’s grandfather Chandrabhan had flatly refused the young Pindhari king. Furious, he attacked Kansar. A battle was fought on the mountain slopes and on the river. But Kansar’s geographical advantage could not be undone. Finally, he agreed for a compromise to build a canal that rounded the mountain and helped Pindharis gain some access to water from Sattvi. But it depended heavily on the river flow. So when Sattvii swelled during the rainy season, the canal had enough water. So the rest of the year, Pindharis still struggled. As a result, every Pindhari hated a Kansara for robbing them off their right. Pindharis loss made them weak. But they never forgave and never forgot.

to be continued…

76: Piya Bawri!

Story number 6 of the Seven Deadly Sins series. I know I have dragged them too much. But then good stories do not come just like that, do they? 🙂

Plus I’m also delivering on a promise that I’ll start writing love stories again. This story could just be the beginning. Enjoy!

Kitte Jau re Piya kaise pau re… tohe pau re…

They could have been the last words of Sampada, she was found unconscious by the pool with her left palm (and wrist) dipped in the shallow side meant for kids to play. Lot of blood had oozed out of that wrist, probably slashed with a broken glass piece from the chandelier that fell off in her room some time ago. Her maid Jharna Bai had been shouting Laado Sa… Laado Sa from out side Sampada’s chamber, trying to prevent her from doing the unthinkable, but in vain. She had been following the princess close on her heals since Pratap left earlier that night. And now, she was looking for guards who could break into the room. Continue reading

75: Acedia

This is story number 5 of the 7even series.

“Dinkar… look at that boy Sachin. He is only a couple of years older to you. But he has already made a début in the Indian national cricket team. You too are a good batsman Dina… I think you should work towards it.”

“I am Baba… even I’m a good batsman. I need not prove it time again.”

“I know Dina… I just want you to work hard towards it. Yesterday I met your coach Achrekar. He said you are always late to practice in the morning? Some times you skip it too. What is this?”

“Ah … he calls us at 5am. I cant wake up that early. Besides, dont worry… I’m still the number one batsman at my club.” Continue reading

74: Gourmet Issues

This is story no. 4 from the Se7en series.

Warning: Long Story

“Ladies and Gentlemen! After successfully launching the WLL services, Timenet presents to you the future of computing. Please put your hands together to the next generation of grid computing, THE TIME WRAP!” Said Kedar Marathe, the Chief Architect of Time Net, and Indian company in the business of making software products for the network connectivity solutions and data centres. They had launched a new self developed cloud computing platform, first of its kind in the world.

As the Emperor Arena in Abu Dhabi burst into a loud applause, Micheal Casey banged his coffee mug on his table. The small watch in his wrists was reading 5am. He and his team mates had come early to their Palo Alto office especially to watch the webinar of Timenet’s 1.0 launch of their new grid computing platform, ‘Timewrap’. Continue reading

73: The Extra Dollar

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Image via Wikipedia

In continuation of the previous two stories, this is the third story of the 7even series.

Savita was finding it difficult to concentrate on the new case file that was handed over to her. She was just not able to get her head out of the Nishi Dasgupta murder case that had rocked the city two months ago. It had been 8 weeks since she began the investigation. However none of the clues led any where. She was just not able to find out who killed the 26 year old married woman and why. The case was now taking a political turn. As the pettiness of the leaders of opposition grew, pressure of handing the case over to CBI was mounting on ACP Savita Nath from the crime branch. It was making her very nervous. Continue reading

72: Punerva

It was now beginning to pain a little bit. But she was not thinking about it. As always, her mind was wandering else where. She had made this compromise with herself. Every time she was on the job, it was important for her to think of all the good things. And she was trying it hard to do just that. As the activity became little fierce, she gripped the side of the cot tightly with one hand while digging her fingernails on his shoulder with the other. He responded with quick and hard strokes before letting out a cry… and then he fell limp on her body. It was over… for now.

Punerva hadn’t chosen this life. It was thrust upon her. She had faint memories of her childhood. She was one of the victim of the racially motivated massacre in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Unfortunately, she was saved. Along with few others, the five year old kid was tossed from centre to corner before the country forgot about them. That is when Vaijayanthi took the girls under her stride. She ran a brothel in Erode and, during her younger days, was the most popular face in the red light area. Vaijayanthi would occasionally pick up some girls from the streets and raise them at her old mansion. There she would raise them as her own kids. They had teachers to teach them, good clothes to wear and most importantly they had food and shelter. But every one knew what was their future going to be. Often half of them ran away while only few stayed and obliged to Vaijayanthi’s demands. Punerva was one of them. She had no one to go back to. It was a cruel world outside. Besides all she had to do was make some compromises.

“You were very good Pannu…” said the man as he tried to come close to her again.

“Get lost you limp. Just pay your money and leave!” Punerva curtly replied as she got up and walked inside the bathroom.

Staring at her naked body in the mirror, Punerva thought she was out of shape for a 23 year old. But she had never had a need or time to work on her body. It was always some one else who worked on her. It had been 6 years since the first time… and the memories of the first encounter were still fresh in her minds. Vaijayanthi, who had taken care of her for 12 years had sold the pretty virgin to two businessmen for a sum of 30,000. As the sound of flipping of new notes grew louder, Punerva’s agony and pain grew deeper and colder by the day. In all these 6 years, she had met innumerable devils who paid to use her as a machine that satisfied their need, lust!

But then some thing happened few weeks back, which Punerva did not expect. That evening, Vaijayanthi told her to be ready for a special guest from Chennai. She got ready as usual, expecting a wealthy businessman in his middle age. But she was surprised to see a rather timid looking young man entering her room. He looked scared from the moment he entered in. Punerva’s second surprise came when the guy turned his gaze away from her half naked body. She was used to desperate people who wanted he naked immediately. And here was a guy who stole his gaze away from her. She asked him if he was okay. He didn’t respond. Punerva tried going near him. But he moved further away. 5 minutes later, the guy said some thing, which took her by surprise. Since then she had been trying to locate him. Brothels generally don’t keep contact details of their clients, unless they are esteemed. So there was no way Punerva could reach him again. Days became weeks and she got on with her life again, still hoping to meet him once

On a lazy Sunday morning, another girl Latha came running with an advertisement in her hand. A large silk emporium from Chennai had opened their branch in the new mall in Erode. They were giving away inaugural discounts. The offer was too exciting and the girls decided to visit the showroom in the evening. Little did Punerva know that it was going to be a memorable evening. As they entered the showroom, she met her fourth surprise associated with the same guy. He was sitting right on the cash counter and busy making bills.

“Hello…” she said rather loudly, “Nice to see you again.”

But it seemed the guy did not like being identified. He nervously got up and started going inside the shop, as if he was trying to hide himself from her. Punerva followed him

“Hello mister, excuse me! Did you not recognise me?”

“Yes I did.” He said, looking very nervous. “But what do you want now?”

“Oh nothing. I had been thinking about you and I just wanted to…”

“What you wanted money? I thought so. Alright but not here.” He said interrupting her.

“Money? No No… actually I just wanted to talk to you. You are…” He was surprising Punerva again.

“Alright… but not here.” He signalled some one to man the cash counter. Then turned to Punerva and said, “Come with me!”

Since the mall was newly constructed, many shops were still empty. Making sure that no one was looking at them, he found one with half of the shutter open and took Punerva inside.

“Look! I’m the only son of a reputed business family. Coming to you that day was my mistake. I was forced to do that by my friends as I’m getting married in few months. But I didn’t do any thing wrong with you, did I? So why are you black mailing me?”

“No sir I’m not. In fact I was…”

“See it is fine. If you want money, I can help you with some. But only some. Please understand that I’m a simple guy who fears the society image, family, reputation a lot. I cant face the wrath of all. Besides, I can’t be be spotted talking to a prostitute here. So you please…”

“Hmmm, I see! Now I understand why you were so reluctant that day. I should have understood on the same day. I was fool to think that you were different. You blinded me with your dialogue. Do you remember? You had said why do I spoil myself with this flesh trade when there are other better things to do in life. Let me tell you mister that I did not choose to be what I am today. I have my own share of agonies. But what will you do listening to them? After all you have made a conclusion that I’m a prostitute and I’m not worth talking or spending time with. Par sahab, humein bhi seedhi sadhi zindagi jeene ka haq hai. Even you are a businessman. Probably you wanted to be a pilot. But you still are a businessman today because it is your family profession. May be your father forced this on to you. It is no different for me. I was also forced onto it. But I don’t blame my family, I don’t have one. I blame people like you who have forced themselves onto me time and again. They came, threw money and used me as a machine to satisfy their lust. Yes mister, I am a victim of lust of people like you. You guys have torn me to shreds and will continue to ruin me. You all are just…”

“What is your name?” Interrupted the guy. He was watching her all along the conversation. His expressions changed with every sentence of Punerva.

“Huh? Why?”

“Tell me… I want to know” he said as he pulled out his mobile phone.

“Punerva.”

“Full name?” He said again as he took a picture of her in his mobile phone.

“Do you think I have a family name? Anyway, I have had enough. Go and complain, if you feel so. Good bye mister, whoever you are!” said Punerva rather strongly as she walked away from the guy. He followed her and kept watching until she disappeared at the end of the corridor. She didn’t turn.

Few months later, Punerva got a letter on her name with Vaijayanthi. Thankfully Vaijayanthi was not around and she got to open it herself. It contained two documents. One of them was a fixed deposit certificate. Some one had deposited 5 lacs on her name in the State Bank of Travancore. It also had her picture, which she immediately recognized. The other was a hand written letter. It read…

“Hi Punerva,

This is Balamurugan Shanmugam. I’m sorry I did not get a chance to introduce myself to you. I’m the same guy who met you in the Chennai silk emporium. I too have been thinking about you since you left that day. I did not have courage to come and meet you or call you. As I had said that day, I’m a family fearing, society fearing guy who cares a lot about his and his family’s reputation in the public. I’m not brave enough to do some thing noble and save a prostitute’s life, although I’d love to do that. But I had to do some thing for you.

So I’m sending this fixed deposit on your name. I’ve signed on your behalf. But it is easy and you can replicate. And please don’t think that I’m trying to help you financially. There are people out there who want to pay money and buy you to satisfy their lust. This is my small attempt to protect you from them. By this money, even if I can buy the lust of 1000 Balamurugans like me, I’ll feel I have achieved my life’s objective.

You are a nice girl Punerva. Thankfully we didn’t do any thing that day. But now I wish if we had done it. The memories you gave me are not enough.

Yours, Bala”

Foot note: This story is a tribute to all sex workers who have compromised their lives to satisfy the demons in us. But I hope we stop some day and some where.