M4: Garima

This is a blog novel post. Please read M1, M2 and M3 before proceeding in order to maintain continuity

Present day. Year 298 of the third age

Garima woke Suketu up early morning that day. She bathed him up, dressed him in a make shift combat uniform, put a nice woolen cap on his head and instructed him to perform his daily routine of Surya Namaskar and other asanas. The sun was shining brightly on this beautiful summer morning. Sitting on the edge of the culvert built along the rear mountain road, she could see the city of Kansar spread over. It was completely devastated 6 months ago. However it was being rebuilt. Half built temple tops were being raised. The royal court was being reconstructed and horizontally expanded. Few of the western farmlands were being razed, possibly to create a large stable for, what one could guess, at least 1000 horses and horsemen to stay. The levee on Sattvi river was still untouched. But she had heard stories that a port was conceived. The construction could begin any time. The king is doing a good job, she thought. But a crook he is and I shall never forgive him for what he did to Kansar. The war had lasted 15 days. It was more of a guerilla war, until Bramhakush entered the fray on the 13th. Within two days, every thing was over. Garima remembered the meeting with, who she called The Beast on that fateful night. Had it not been for the sacrifice of 7 of her men, she wouldn’t be alive. She had to retreat into a self imposed exile. Not for her own safety, but for the prince…

“Maasi… I’m done!” Garima was lost in her thought when suddenly her slumber was broken by a tap on her shoulder and a sweet voice. Suketu with a beaming smile was standing besides her. Of all the things she had endured, Suketu was the only good thing that kept her going. 

“Oh wow! My good boy. Common now, lets go and play some fun games. Hari bhai must be waiting for us.” She said turning towards Suketu.

Garima, along with Haridra Kant, were the one loyal to Raja Namandev. Because of her looks, Garima was able to camouflage herself as a man or as a woman within no time. She was the leader of the Chhaya doot squad, an elite group of commandos of Kansar who kept a watchful eye on all things happening in and around Kansar. They were true to the name, like a shadow. No one noticed, and yet they were always there. Haridra, also fondly known as Hari bhai, was one of her finest men.

Nearly a year ago, one of the chhayadoots had spotted Sardar Trikoot, lieutenant general of Pindhar along with few of his soldiers crossing the river Sattvi from the eastern banks. As most of the habitable and navigation capable bank of the river was under Kansar’s rule, anyone who wanted to cross or pass by had to take permissions from the office of border control. Kansar had such offices on both eastern and western banks. Any one entering either of the banks, who had to travel across were handed a memo with the border office seal. They had to surrender the memo at the other office. Heavily armed ships or army contingents were disallowed to pass, unless under a diplomatic treaty. On that day, the eastern border control office received a request from Sardar Trikoot along with his soldiers to cross over to the other side, a region that belonged to Bramhakush. Reason, they mentioned was a visit to the ashram of some sage in the jungles of Kumud Vihar. As was the custom, the border control office notified the police about the crossing lieutenant general, and the chhayadoot mole at the office informed Garima.

Although it wasn’t unusual for the Pindharis to cross over, and there were some stray incidents of unlawful activities too. But this visit of Trikoot raised a doubt in Garima’s mind. Why would the lieutenant general visit an ashram in the jungle? And even if it was a personal visit, why then he should take the entourage of his personal guards? She put Hari bhai on his trail and immediately thought of sounding off her king. Raja Namandev, however, dismissed the threat thinking it could be a genuine visit. His relationship with Maharaja Shivchandra was cordial and friendly. He was one the invited chief guests for the Kansar mahotsav. Although Namandev allowed the surveillance, he didn’t Trikoot’s visit as suspicious. A mistake he was going to regret in the next few months.

to be continued…

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M3: A war that wasn’t to be

Scroll down to read M1 and M2 before proceeding.

13 months ago, Kaumudi Bhavan

“Sardar Trikoot is here, Senapati”, the dwarpal announced.

“Send him in”, said Mayant. He was standing near the parapet on the second floor, shadowed by the presence of large cannons facing the Sattvi river. These cannons developed by the scientists of Vishala were capable of shooting fireballs to a distance of nearly 10 miles. What more, the accuracy was 10m radius and they could be reloaded within no time. Bramhakush was the only country in Aryan Habitat who had achieved this technical feat. Other countries who were able to develop their share of Columbiads, none could match the prowess of the cannons, what Maharaj Shivchandra liked to call GajGamini. He had 10 of them in the army. On Mayant’s behest, he placed 4 at the Kaumudi bhavan.

“Pranaam Senapati Ashtabal.” A rather loud and coarse voice greeted Mayant. Trikoot, a stoic looking deputy general of the Pindharis stood behind. He was average height and rather heavily built for a warrior. Anyone could mistake the round face and fair complexion for a trader. However those who went by his looks had to repent later, for no one wielded a sword like him. He was astute, ambitious and most importantly the son of Pind Raj’s sister. Mayant needed him for his plans to succeed.

“Welcome Sardar Trikoot. I hope you were able to find this place easily.” said Mayant.

“This is a fortress, Senapati Ashtabal. It is visible from miles away. Even from above the mountains… and my eyesight is good.” remarked Trikoot. He knew Mayant had some plans cooking in his evil brain. Otherwise the commanding general of the Bramhakush would not take pains to send for him for a personal meeting.

“Indeed it is, Sardar. And I want the whole of Aryan habitat to see what it is capable of… and with your help, the world will notice.”

Trikoot glanced at the Gajgaminis. He had only heard of them. For the first time he was witnessing the massive war machines Bramhakush had developed. They were much bigger than what he had heard of them. Strangely, all four of them were pointing towards the river, and beyond. But their mouths were sealed and camouflaged. Even if any one had an eagle eye, Kansar could never know when they would fire.

“I see… looks like a sinister plan already in place. Is it?” Said Trikoot curtly, without removing his eyes from the cannons.

“A plan is as good or bad as the strategist, Sardar. In a dwandwa yudhha (dual fight), one yodhha has to win. It doesn’t matter who is noble and who is sinister. One who wins the dual gets the crown. History only remembers the victorious.” said Mayant, looking in the eyes of Trikoot. “A capable man such as yours is worthy of more than just passing remarks. Imagine, what will it be like to rule the land north of Sattvi. There will be abundance, there will be power and prosperity. No longer will the King of Pindhar wait for the waters to be released from the river. Imagine, Raja Trikoot?”

A wryly smiling Mayant was now towering over Trikoot. Yet, he was unmoved. “My country’s resources are already depleted. For decades we have been surviving on minimum available means. And yet, we have prospered. Every minute I breathe is for the betterment of my country. I cannot compromise the security of my people for personal ambitions.” said Trikoot.

“… and you can’t risk an open war too… Trikoot. Can you?” said Mayant, raising his voice. He turned around and clapped twice. Within a minute, a beautiful maiden came out carrying a large plate in her hand. On the plate was placed a carved silver bottle, possibly containing wine. Tied to the bottle was a beautiful Brami knife. It was supposedly forged in the mines of Bramhakush, to the west of Vishala. Considered to be one of the finest, it was also rumored that the edge of the knife was laced with poison. But Trikoot could not take his eyes of the maiden. She was fair with golden hair and radiating skin, didn’t look aryan at all. The Pindhari sardar, who was used to looking at mountain women, had never seen someone as beautiful as her. Mayant sensed it.

“So sardar… what do you think?”

Trikoot regained his composure. He picked up the knife from the plate and looked at it in admiration.

“If you join hands with me, all three could be yours.” said Mayant pointing towards the maiden.

Trikoot looked at the maiden again and turned to Mayant. “Maharaj Shivchandra knows about all this?”

“Maharaj knows what he must know.” Mayant retorted.

“What do you want from me?” asked Trikoot.

Mayant grabbed Trikoot’s hand hurriedly walked him inside. There was a green colored cloth laid out on a large granite table. He hurled it away and held it against the burning lanterns. As the light percolated, Trikoot could make sense of what it was.

“Oh… this is the map of Kansar?”

Kings Chamber, Kaanchi

“No it is not possible. I don’t believe it.” Raja Namandev was talking to a silhouette figure in his chamber. 

“Nath, I have seen the Pindhari Sardar cross Sattvi this morning. He was making his way towards the Koumudi Bhavan. We must be careful.” said the silhouette.

Bramhakush will not entertain the Pindharis, Namandev thought. Then he turned to speak. “Hmmm, I see. You keep an eye. Although I don’t see any thing alarming yet. But we will be careful.”

“Okay Nath. Jai Kansar” and the figure disappeared in the dark.

… to be continued

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…

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…

The Love Hate relationship with stories

There was a time when I used to write stories. They made me realize myself. I must admit that I was a part of almost all stories I wrote, love stories that is. Some were based on a leaf out of my own life or some were inspired from people I knew. There were people who loved it. And there were people who criticized it. But there were always people who read it.

I got carried away. I started writing because people read it. I wrote for the audience. I tried to sensationalise, materialize stories. I also thought of commercializing the stories by publishing a book. But then came a point when the whole world collapsed with a thud. My romance with love stories ended and sank without a trace. When I read some of the stories I wrote, I hated myself for trying to do what I shouldn’t have thought. It is that day and today, I’m still devoid of inspiration.

I hope it reverses some day. I hope it does very soon. I want to write stories again.

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