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Chapter X: ‘X’

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Advaita woke up early. He went straight to the Shaka Chief’s house. He stood in front of the door. He had to face them, he had to know what was unknown to him. As he stood there his thoughts moved back to the days when he had just started learning archery.

Advaita had chosen archery over everything else at a very young age. His father had made him a wooden bow and given him some arrows. His father put an ‘X’ mark on the nearby tree and made him stand a few meters away from it. “You see that cross mark I have created son” he said, Advaita nodded “You need to hit the middle of it, if you want be a great archer” his father said. Advaita learnt the basics from his father and tried to shoot his first arrow. As the arrow left the bow Advaita was excited. The arrow did hit a tree but not the tree where ‘X’ was marked. Advaita was disappointed with himself.

He tried a few more times and failed every single time. He was very disappointed. He said he did not want to learn this anymore. His father came to him and said “Son, everything in life won’t come to you easily. You need to practice. That mark is your target. To aim the arrow and make it reach that target should be your goal. You need to work hard Advaita”. Advaita had replied he would do his best and now he was one of the best.

Now he had aimed to reach back to his grandfather and he was here now. He knocked the door. His grandmother opened the door. “Advaita!” she said. She had recognized him right away. She asked him to come inside as she closed the door behind him.

A Couple of Shaka people had seen the stranger from previous night go to chief’s house. It was almost midday and nobody had come out. They had heard some argument happening inside but could not make out what was happening. Finally Sourav a member of Shaka and successor to the Chief knocked the Chief’s door. Chief sent him back saying all was ok.

Afterwards, sometime later Chief and Advaita came out. Both looked quite sad. All the people were curious to know what had happened. Chief said to everyone that he would address them later in the night and for now all should get back to their work. Advaita asked Chief “Grandfather are you sure, you don’t want to join me?” Chief replied “This is home my child, I want to spend rest of my life here and not somewhere else.” Advaita respected his decision. He folded the copper sheet which he had taken along.

Few recognized Advaita. Chief again controlled the situation as Advaita collected rest of his stuff and bid his final goodbyes to his grandparents. Chief’s wife, his Grandmother gave him some food for his journey. They wanted him to stay for one more night but Advaita suggested he would rather leave because of the tension that was created once due to his father.

Advaita was in deep thoughts as he entered forest. He was not sure how he wanted to take his story forward. It was in his hands. Though he and his grandparents agreed on many things. He was not sure whether he should go by it. Finally he decided what his next target was. Then he decided to concentrate on his way back to Bantu tribe as he wanted to reach there before it was too late in the night.

As he moved ahead, he could hear some suspicious movements. He moved with caution, a bow and arrow in hand, ready to shoot. Advaita was very good at being invisible in forest. He saw a couple of city soldiers which surprised him. Then he saw Shadow and Cully. They were walking the horses along with them as it was very difficult to ride in this thick forest.

He was about to reveal himself when a beast jumped from nowhere to kill a horse. The other horses dispersed because of the attack. Advaita noticed the scar on the back of the beast, it was Fear. Cully covered his sister as he drove the sword. The two soldiers had fallen to the ground. Even they were getting ready to defend their General’s Children. The beast roared and grabbed the throat of horse with its jaws. The horse breathed its last.

Advaita came out of his hiding. He shouted “Fear…” The Beast which had just choked the horse with its Jaws, looked towards Advaita. Others turned towards Advaita as well. Another female beast came beside Fear. Fear controlled it. Advaita slowly moved towards Fear. “Do you remember me Kid” He said as he came near it.

It was a tense moment for everyone. Advaita moved his hands around its back as he used to. Fear acknowledged it as it closed its eyes. All put their swords back in their sheath. “Looks like you have got yourself a girl” Advaita said smiling. Everyone laughed. The female beast looked uncomfortably around them. It took the horse that was dead with its jaws and dragged it to the bushes.

“You know this Beast?” asked Cully. “We survived together for years in this forest, his name is Fear.” Advaita replied. “So this is Fear!” said Shadow who knew about Advaita’s life in forest and continued “I have never seen a beast with white and black stripes.”  “Even I was surprised when I had first seen him, they are usually in Yellow with black stripes” replied Advaita.

Advaita asked them why they were here. Shadow said they had come looking for him. Cully said “I heard what happened in court, have you found any proof?” he asked. Advaita took the copper sheet he had and gave it to Cully.

“I Valguka, the chief of Shaka acknowledge that the painting of the people in this are indeed Parents of Advaita. They had come to me by the name Karma and Akira together long time ago. I pledge that whatever is written here is the truth. “

X (Seal of Shaka Chief)

Cully read it out loud. He had a huge smile on his face when he finished it. Shadow noticed that Advaita was not very comfortable when he heard it. Advaita said “we should head back to Bantu now before the night falls.”

He and Fear walked together like old times. Shadow had her doubts but she kept it to herself. She saw a calm Advaita who was walking along with a beast. Cully was very happy with the news.

They almost reached the outskirts of Bantu. Fear stopped its walk. Advaita understood it had to go back. He gave it a last hug as tears rolled down his eyes. It ran back with a huge roar.  “Hope we will meet again, my friend” said Advaita as they moved towards Bantu.

Chapter W: Wait

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Advaita had woken up early and was ready to leave Bantu. Chief had already left the house and he was about to go in search of the chief. Chief’s wife asked him to wait for some time as she would provide him some food to carry. Advaita said he would talk to chief and come back.

Advaita saw that the chief was in discussion with a couple of people. He joined them and asked “Chief, is everything ok?” Chief said “Oh Advaita it’s you. This is Biko and Keni. They have found a couple of location where the Spotted Hyenas which are killing our sheep and cattle can be found. We are planning to kill them today.” Advaita nodded. “Will you join and help us. Your marksmanship is the best we have ever seen. It would be of great help if you could join us” Chief asked.

Advaita wanted to leave but Bantu people had always helped him. He agreed to help. “We will leave as the sun comes up a little. They will be less active then” Chief said.

Advaita remembered the days when his father used to take him for hunting. They had waited for a long time. “Son, the more you wait greater is the prize” his father had said. Here the wait was for Truth. He felt he could wait for a day when he had waited for so many years. Biko touched his shoulders and said it’s time to go. Advaita took his bow and had around 15 arrows.  There were 8 guys going for the kill including him. They said they were happy that Advaita had joined them.

As they went inside the forest, Biko and Keni split into a team of 4 and decided to head for different locations. Advaita joined Biko’s team. Some even challenged that they would get more kills. As the four moved they went to a higher ground and Biko showed them the path where he and Keni felt those hyenas would rest. They moved ahead cautiously. As they came near the spot they started to hear the noises of Hyenas. Advaita said he would climb a tree to get a clear view to shoot. They agreed on that.

As Advaita climbed he saw that it was a very small open area. There were about 10 hyenas. He went down and said he could see 10 of them. They said they will attack first and asked Advaita to shoot accordingly from top. Advaita asked for a few minutes to find a spot to shoot.

After sometime the three charged towards the area with their swords. Hyenas who were resting were surprised by the sudden attack. Three Hyenas were immediately killed. Advaita shot 2 more which were trying to escape. One of the Hyena attacked Biko but he tackled and killed it with one slash. Remaining four had started running. Advaita could get only two more as the rest disappeared into the forest. Advaita came down as the others chased the remaining two. They got one and one hyena escaped.

They came back to the tribe with their hunt. Keni and team were yet to come. Chief thanked Advaita for his assist. Advaita said he had to leave for Shaka as it was already midday. Chief’s wife gave him some food for travel and he left towards the south to get to Shaka.

As he moved in the forest, he remembered the days when he was on the run. He wondered whether he could see Fear again. He came to the area near the cave where he had encountered the Beast, mother of Fear. The sun was setting in as he moved ahead. It was dark as he reached the outskirts of Shaka.

Advaita could not wait any longer as he decided to go on. Only a few were outside their houses as many were already sleeping. Nobody recognized him, he felt relieved. Maybe the darkness was hiding his identity he wondered.

Advaita requested to meet the chief to one of them. They enquired what the matter was. Advaita insisted that he would only talk to the Chief. They said the Chief was sleeping and he would have to wait until morning. They gave him a place to rest.

One more night Advaita said to himself as he slowly fell asleep.  

Chapter N: Need

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Advaita was in shock after seeing the portrait of his father on the wall. He did not know how to respond to this. Shadow who was behind him now sensed something was wrong. She touched his shoulder from behind asking him if he was ok. He did not respond. She turned him towards her and asked “what is it?” A few seconds of silence followed.

“Who made this mural?” he finally asked. “Oh, this? Uncle Tip made it when he was around our age.” she was excited to talk about it.”Isn’t it very good? The person in the right is my father general Thomas White”she laughed as she said that. “The centre one is our king Aiden Rich and last person is…” she stopped trying to remember something. Advaita was waiting to know, he looked at her and asked “who is he?” “His name is Rob as far as I can remember. The four were very close friends.” she said. “Where is he now?” asked Advaita. “Father had said he died even before we were born.”

Rob was not his father’s name. Could this be a person who looked very similar to his father he wondered. He felt the need to tell everything to Shadow. “Son, you always need someone with whom you can share everything you feel” his father had said and he knew that it was Shadow. He thought and decided to wait as he was not very sure on this.

“What is it Advaita?” She asked him. He smiled and said “I just thought I had seen that guy before.Maybe it’s a different person.” she smiled back. Shadow knew he was hiding something but she trusted him. Advaita knew that Shadow knew he had not told her the complete truth and she would understand. Such was their love towards each other.

“Shall we go out then,” she asked wrapping her hand in between his. He nodded. As they came out Advaita praised Tip’s work. A soldier came looking for Shadow as Princess Margaret needed her assistance in the palace. Shadow left saying bye to everyone. There were only two days remaining for the royal wedding.

Cully and Tip decided to get the Mural done in Cully’s room after the wedding. Cully soon left the place as he had some work with his father regarding the security matters of the wedding. Tip assured Cully that he himself would drop Advaita at General’s house. Advaita argued that it was not necessary. As always Advaita lost the argument of words.

Advaita said he would like to walk when Tip said he would arrange for a couple of horses to drop him. As they walked Advaita asked “The Mural on the right wall on that room with three guys, shadow said that third guy is dead. What happened?” Tip was surprised and confused by this sudden question by Advaita. “Oh! That was our friend Rob. We were pretty close back in those days. I don’t want to talk much about it” Tip replied with a weak smile. Advaita could see sadness on Tip’s face.

Advaita had reached the General’s place. He was in his own world wondering the different possibilities. Later he met everyone during dinner. Shadow could see Advaita was not his usual self. After dinner Advaita asked General Thomas “Did the Dacoit we capture say anything?”  “The dacoits have been looting in that area for food and money for some time now. He confirmed the same. At least this incident will make them question their actions” General Thomas replied back with a smile.

Later that night the mystery of his father’s face on the wall kept him awake. He needed to solve this mystery.

Chapter G: GOD

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It had been months since Advaita had seen Fear. He had moved ahead as Fear stuck to its area. Advaita thought even Fear, a beast had settled down in life whereas he was still a wanderer. He came back from his thoughts as he heard some movements ahead.

He could see a few people ahead who were covered in masks. These could be the dacoits he had heard of he thought. He quickly, with his bags climbed the nearby tree treading caution. As he climbed atop he saw a road where the masked men were hiding around. He felt as if they were setting a trap.  He decided to wait and watch.

He saw many soldiers in horses and a carriage behind them. So this is an ambush he thought. He kept quiet and continued to watch. He could make out that the masked men outnumbered the soldiers. They were at least 5 to 6 members more. He wondered who was in the carriage.

The Dacoits were easily winning. A young man got down from the carriage as the fight was going on. The sword in his hand was glittering. He looked calm. With a single hit he killed a dacoit. He went on to take one more.

Advaita felt the presence of a lady in the carriage. He saw that a few soldiers were down along with couple of masked men. The young soldier was battling three of them now. He wondered whether this could be the Prince of the kingdom, the Channa tribe people talked about a year back when he had stayed with them. They had heard that the prince was the best when it came to sword fighting and could take on many and defeat them with ease. “He is as good with a sword as you are with a bow and an arrow” they had said.

When he came back from his thoughts, the soldiers were either tied up or killed. The young man was atleast battling 5 at a time. One of the masked man was just watching as two forced inside the carriage and tried forcing the lady out of it.

Advaita took his bow and arrows from the bag. He saw that there were totally nine dacoits remaining. He took nine arrows out; It’s time to be God he said to himself. Channa People called the archers God as they helped their own people from afar and usually decided the fate of small wars that happened between the tribes.

With no hesitation Advaita started shooting arrows one after another in succession. All hit the target. He did not shoot to kill but all the arrows severely injured the nine dacoits.

The young man was startled by the sudden change in scenario. The lady was shocked as the two men holding her fell. She ran back inside the carriage. The young man freed the three tied soldiers who were alive. As soon as they were freed they killed the masked men except one.

Advaita saw some movement on top of a tree from the other side of the road. An arrow passed near him. “How did I forget to check the trees” he told himself. He found the location of the man who was shooting arrows as he took an arrow from the bag. With another arrow Advaita took him down. It would have been my last day if he was good thought Advaita.

The man who was on top of the tree fell down. The soldiers seemed surprised. The young man had gone inside the carriage to check the lady. Advaita thought for few minutes and got down to meet the soldiers. They were already looking in his direction trying to find who he was.

As he met them, soldiers doubted him but the young man and lady were generous on him. They thanked him for saving their lives. The young man introduced themselves as Cullen White and his sister Shadow White. “I am A..Advaita” Advaita replied. Cullen ordered the soldiers to move from there. They tied and kept the dacoit in the back of the carriage.

Advaita sat with them inside the carriage. Cullen said “You came as a God”. Advaita was beaming with pride inside but showed none above. He just replied “I just did what I felt was right, I am no God”. “Anyone who teaches and helps others in anyway is God to them” said Shadow.

Advaita smiled and was surprised to hear that as he had heard similar lines from his father. “We still have a long journey ahead” said Cullen as the carriage moved…

Chapter F: Fear

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Advaita was happy with the water pouch in his hand. As he reached the place he saw that his bag was missing. He had a 360 degree look and had no clue who might have taken it. Next thought that came to him was to hide.

He immediately ran and hid by the nearby rock which was there. He could not see the cub anywhere. He laid low. His thoughts drifted from where he was to the last three days he spent. His father was attacked and killed as he escaped from there. He had no clue what made the people kill him. He remembered the chase for him. He wondered why they would want him to be killed so badly. Then the beast. He had encountered death so many times. Fear started to build in him as he hid there.

His heart was beating fast as he tried to calm himself down. He closed his eyes,“you need to face your fear, fear teaches you things which you otherwise can’t learn or know about yourself” his father’s words echoed in his head. He slowly got up and looked around once more and he saw his arrows scattered around.

He slowly made his move towards them as he watched around. His ears trying to hear the faintest of the sounds. He heard the birds, the rustling of leaves then he heard the monkeys. ‘Could it possibly be the monkeys?’ he thought.

He followed the sounds and reached near the place where monkeys were. He could see his bag thrown below. Few monkeys were feasting on the meat that he had left in the bag.  He had a smile on his face as he said “Did i fear for this?” He slowly went and collected the bag. As he started walking back he felt the monkeys were staring at him.  He collected all the arrows and kept them in the bag.

He decided to move along the river. He thought he could catch some fish as well. As he started walking he saw the cub was running towards him. The Elephant herd was coming and one baby elephant was staring at the cub. The cub’s face, Advaita felt was filled with fear. Seeing the situation they were in today Advaita looked at the cub and said “I am naming you Fear”. Cub just came and stood behind Advaita.

Years passed as they both moved ahead in the forest. Advaita had lots of Adventures with Fear while surviving in the forest.  Fear slowly matured in those years as he started choosing his own path. But whenever Advaita encountered Fear, Fear would respect him.

Advaita wandered even further. He was well built and tall now. On this journey he had seen few tribes. He even stayed for about a month with a couple of tribes and heard and learnt a lot of things from them. Many praised his archery as they had never come across anyone with such skills.

He was back in the forest now. In a new area which he had never ventured to. As he moved ahead he heard and saw some movements ahead…

Chapter C: Character

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Advaita heard something from inside the cave. He heard a roar again. He decided to climb a tree which was nearest to him as he knew the beasts couldn’t climb. But this time he was not sure as it was a white one. With bow on his shoulders he ran as fast as he could to climb the tree.

The character in him asked him to save himself. “A human being may be born but the identity of its character is forged from the decision one makes“. He remembered his Dad’s words as he climbed. The roar again from the cave got his attention back. He waited.

He could hear some laughs from a distance but could not make out where they were coming from. He saw some movements in front of the cave. He struggled to get a clear view. “Could it be another white beast” he thought. He waited again.

There were a few roars and cries which made Advaita climb down a few branches and have a look at what was happening in front of the cave. He saw that there was indeed a white beast but just a cub. He decided to get down and pick up the arrows which were lying on the ground.   

The cub saw Advaita coming towards it. It initially roared at Advaita. The cub’s height which looked smaller from the tree was not small anymore. The height of the cub was up to his waist. It could be few months old he thought. Advaita made himself look bigger. He opened his hands fully and did a shout like never before. The cub got behind its Dead mother.

Advaita now took his bag of arrows. He took one arrow out and pointed it towards the cub. The cub hid behind its mother. Advaita felt bad for it. He decided to leave it alone. Couple of the folks who went inside in search of him had bags with them. He decided he would go and see if he could get them. He was hoping it might contain food or water as he felt hungry.

The more he went inside the darker the cave got. The darkness started to haunt him. ”You are no more a kid, develop the character in you. Build the strength of your character” He said to himself. He started to move parallel with the wall by placing a hand on it. As he moved ahead he found a body. He could feel the blood. He wanted to prove himself as a character of strong will.

In the darkness he searched the body. He found a pouch. As he took it from the ground, the sound from the pouch gave him assurance that there was water in it. He heaved a sigh of relief. He drank a little water from it and decided to move further to search for the other bags. As he took a few more steps, he heard a roar from the cub again along with some grunts and giggles. He stopped and decided to go back.

Advaita moved slowly as he was nearing the exit of the cave. His arrows ready to be shot. He saw that two Hyenas were busy eating the fallen beast. Another Hyena was moving towards the cub. He looked around to see if there were any one. But could not find any. He was not sure whether he should wait or make a move to kill the Hyenas. The character in him was getting forged as he decided to help the cub. He was not going to just wait and see a cub die…. 

Chapter B: Beast

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The roar from behind took Kiri by surprise. The arrow was shot but missed the mark he intended. Kiri went back to the other guard. “What was that Baban?” Kiri asked Baban. “Beast,” said Baban with a little worry on his face. They slowly moved away from the cave. They could hear others shout along with the roars. Both took out arrows and pointed them towards the cave, ready to shoot. They heard a voice coming towards them shouting help. They saw each other “Baala” said Kiri. Nodded among themselves, sat on a knee ready to shoot anything that came out of the cave.

In this strange yet beautiful world, there are beings and beasts. The stranger thing is sometimes beings become beasts and beasts,beings”. As the arrow came towards him Advaita was startled. He stopped thinking about his Dad’s words. The arrow landed just below him. The roar and arrow both made him panic. He tried to jump to the next branch. As he jumped he saw the person moving near the cave again. He slipped again but was able to hold on to the branch. He regained his composure as he realised that the roar had taken off the attention of him. He slowly moved to take the arrow that was stuck on the branch.

“Shoot it, it’s coming out” shouted Baala as he came out. “Move Baala,” said Baban as he saw Baala coming out. They waited but nothing came out. Baala just sat on the ground.  “Where are others?” Asked Kiri, his eyes still towards the cave. Baala didn’t reply and was getting up from the ground. There was complete silence around. Suddenly a huge beast came jumping out of the cave. It pounced on Baala. Its front legs took Baala to the ground. Beast grabbed Baala’s throat with its jaws. Baala screamed. Kiri and Baban were in shock.

It was not a normal beast that they had seen before in forest. The skin of the beast was white with black stripes rather than yellow and black stripes which they had hunted previously. Before they could regain from the sudden attack, Baala was dead and beast was on the move.

Advaita saw the beast as he took the arrow from the branch. He misplaced his step as he saw the beast jump on Baala. He started falling from the tree. The fall was not fatal and he had just few bruises. He was in front of the open area now.

The beast jumped off of its first prey and dived ahead right in front of Advaita. He didn’t make a move and stood still. They both roared at each other. Kiri and Baban both shot an arrow towards the beast. Kiri’s missed but Baban hit the back of the beast. Beast turned towards Baban and plunged upon him before he could shoot one more. Kiri had lost his composure and could not get the second arrow to place on his bow. Advaita took his bow and placed his arrow towards the Beast. The arrow hit the beast on its neck. Seeing this, even Kiri got hold of his arrow and shot at the Beast which was on its way to jump at him.

The arrow from Kiri had hit the Beast on its forehead.Both fell on the ground with Beast giving a blow from its paw as it fell on top of Kiri. The beast collapsed, as Kiri screamed. Advaita was just standing there not sure whether to move or not.

Advaita saw no movement from either the Beast or Kiri. He moved close to them. He saw that both were dead. The white skin made him look at the beast in awe. Generally he had heard his folks say the beast being yellow with black strips.  He looked around the scene, he was scared. There was blood all around the place. He collapsed near Baala’s body. His mind was completely blank.

After few minutes Advaita got up and started collecting all the arrows that were there wondering how a chase for his life led to these many deaths. He did not know where to go or what to do next. He decided to go the opposite side from where his tribe was, deep inside the forest. He was not sure what was ahead but he definitely could not go back.

As he was about to move, he heard a noise coming from the cave. He heard a roar from inside!

The Innocent One

“How was the movie dear” his mom asked Ram as she buckled him in the back seat of the car. They had just finished watching a Superhero movie.  “It was awesome mom, I will save the world when I grow up” he said beaming with enthusiasm. “I am sure love” she said, smiling back at him as she closed the back door.

Raghuveer, Ram’s father was waiting for his son to settle into his seat as he opened the door for his wife to get in. “So Kausalya, our son will become a superhero now?” he said as she got in. Ram gave a glaring look to his dad as he shouted “Yes dad, I will be the strongest superhero ever!”, “First you need to drink your milk everyday dear” said his mom. Going by the look on his face Kausalya knew he did not like that. “Raghu it’s already 11, let’s hurry up” said Kausalya as she started to get worried about the deserted roads and the long distance they had to cover to get home, “No people, no traffic we can reach quickly” Raghuveer replied nonplussed as he drove on.

Ram started feeling drowsy, the faint noise of music from the radio in the background added to his drowsiness, he was imagining saving people like Lord Rama from the Ramayana, he wanted to tell his dad to continue this story as soon as they reached home as he fell asleep.

Ram was running behind SUBAHU, the Villain, who in turn was baying for the blood of the innocent people of Krishnanagar. Ram started to gain on SUBAHU as he sped up. But SUBAHU was very fast, laughing and taunting him as he closed in on his prey. Ram used his special jumping prowess to jump high in the air. When SUBAHU turned to mock Ram again, he could not find him and got confused. On turning back to his sheer horror he found RAM right in front of him. He panicked but he was not ready to give up. He used his special weapon BOMB which could blast off the person in front of it. Ram had destroyed all his BOMBs in his last mission and was shocked to see one in SUBAHU’s hand. He laughed as he threw it on Ram. SUBAHU was late in realizing that Ram was too close to him, Ram used his special jump again but it was too late. There was a loud thud as Ram yelled as did SUBAHU….

Ram was in shock. His hand was hurting. He thought he was in his bed as it was what would usually happen. He would fall asleep and his mom or dad would put him in bed. His first thought was he had fallen from his bed; He wanted to get up but something was stuck. It was pitch dark as he opened his eyes, he was still seated in the back seat of their car. His belt buckle was stuck and he struggled to remove it. He cried out for his mom as he was hurt.

His vision was blurred and the inside of the car was completely dark. He could see a light far away which was street light he guessed. He somehow managed to open the belt buckle. His side of the door was a little open. His dad’s head was on the steering wheel. He could not make out much. He tried to wake his dad up, he shouted for help but received no response from anywhere. He started crying “mummy, please wake up”. He managed to open the door, got down, and tried opening the front door. But he could not. He was experiencing pain in his knees, elbow and he could not say from where the blood was gushing out. He saw that their car was stuck to a side of the building. He observed that a guy was sleeping in the middle of the road. He was still crying. He wanted to go to his mom’s side and open that door as well. But it was stuck to the building.

He went near the guy who was in middle of the road. He could smell the guy from a distance. He saw that whole area was deserted. Now he had stopped crying. His hero instincts started to trigger in. He wanted to save his parents. He had to find someone to get his parents out. There weren’t many buildings around. Few which were there looked closed.

He stared towards the only street light that was on the deserted street. With all the pain in his body, he started walking towards it. As he reached there, there were 3 directions he could go. He chose left as there were street lights fully on that road.

He could not find any building or people around as he moved ahead. He was having a lot of pain in his head as he looked at various places, trying to find someone. He saw a bike approaching. He shouted “Help, please help!” The guy on the bike saw him, slowed down a little bit, but did not stop and sped off. He could not understand why the person didn’t want to help him. But he had to move and find someone.

Ram was slowing down now. As he took another right turn he saw that there was a small shop and it was open going by the light that was coming out of it. He wanted to run towards it as it was a little far to walk. But as he tried, pain took over and he stopped. He placed his hands on his thighs, took another deep breath and started walking slowly. It was a Tea shop.  Ram shouted for help as he was about to reach the shop.

The Shop’s name was ‘Parmesh Tea Corner’.  Parmesh who usually closed his shop at 12AM was waiting for his friend to arrive. Hearing someone shout at almost 12:30AM was a surprise for him. He came out of his shop to see his visitor.

Ram was in front of the shop now. He saw a guy standing in front of him. “Please help, there has been an accident, my parents are still in the car, please “he said..He held guy’s hand and tried to take him there. The guy stopped him and went inside the shop and took his mobile and dialed some numbers. All Ram could hear was “boy alone, some blood” . He was very tired now and could hardly stand.  The guy came back and offered him some water to drink. Ram said “Please help me, I need to go help my mom and dad”. The guy replied “My name is Parmesh, please drink some water, we will go in a few minutes”. He made Ram sit on a small bench which was beside the shop. He even took some chocolate from his pocket and gave him. As Ram was drinking water, Parmesh got a call and he went inside the shop again.

Three guys came from a narrow pathway near the shop and started towards Ram. They looked scary to him. They were walking towards the shop now. Ram was scared from inside but did not show any signs of fear.  

One of the guys in the group saw a chain on Ram’s neck. He asked “are you alone boy?” Ram stood up “Please help me, we met with an accident, my mom and dad are stuck in the car” as he held the glass which was half full. The three started talking among themselves and were about to make a move towards the kid.

A bike soon approached the shop. Parmesh who was scared looking at the local goons, had a sudden feeling of relief now. He had called the local inspector Yadunandan. The bike stopped in front of them. Seeing the cop the three guys started walking away.

“Hello Inspector, this is the kid I had reported about” said Parmesh pointing towards Ram as he came out of the shop. Yadunandan walked towards Ram. When Ram saw a policeman coming towards him, he said “Help me, my parents are stuck in our car”.

“Hi, I am Inspector Yadunandan. Please tell me what has happened? Can you tell me what you were trying to say to Parmesh” said Yadunandan as he sat on his knees. Ram struggled to recollect what exactly had happened, finally he said “our car has hit a shop and my parents are stuck inside. I tried to wake them up and get them out of car. But I couldn’t”. Yadunandan who just realized the seriousness of the matter asked “Can you take me there?” Ram nodded. He examined Ram and made sure that he had no major injuries. He took out his phone as he held the kid’s hand; He called someone “Possible accident, a male and female stuck inside the car, on my route there. Yes near to the Parmesh tea shop on Shyamnagar circle.”

“Parmesh you come along. Close the shop, quick” said Yadunandan. Yadunandan and Ram left on his bike towards the accident spot with Parmesh following them. As they started “which way Ram?” he asked.  The kid started to guide them. Yadunandan was shocked to see that kid was guiding them very well even in such bad condition. They had diverted 4 times already and gone about a kilometer. Yadunandan was going slowly giving the kid right amount of time to guide. He saw a car crashed to a shop when they took the last right. He accelerated and reached there quickly.

“What’s your name?” he asked the kid as they got down. “Ram” replied the kid. He saw that a guy had fallen in middle of the road. He went to inspect the guy and told Parmesh to check on Ram’s Parents. As he reached near the body it was evident that the guy was drunk.  He took his phone “Accident opposite Kubera Jeweler in Shyamnagar, need immediate attention”. He turned the body and confirmed that the guy was ok and he was just totally drunk.

Parmesh was able to open the Driver’s door as it was facing the road. He slowly removed the buckle and very carefully brought him out. “They might have taken this left turn and as they saw there was a guy in middle of the road, he might have tried to avoid him and crashed into the shop” said Yadunandan after a quick inspection. They heard the ambulance siren and soon an ambulance approached them.

Ram who was seeing and listening to everything that was going on slowly went towards his dad and dozed off as he did not have any strength left in him to stay awake.

Ram was injured badly. His followers had taken him to a nearby hospital. When Ram was fully awake “Where is SUBAHU?” he asked. One of his followers replied “He was injured too, but he escaped”. Ram got up from his bed. Everyone wanted him to rest but Ram took off from there. SUBAHU was injured and Ram wanted a solution to this as quickly as possible. But recently when Ram had gone to seek the guidance of his teacher Vishwamitra, He remembered his master saying “None are born bad, situations in our lives bring out the good or bad in us”. So Ram started to wonder why SUBAHU was bad. With the help of his brother Lakshman he found out that SUBAHU was a scientist and was devoted to his country. But when he came to know that Krishnanagar people had his mother Tataki and brother Maaricha arrested, he turned into a terrorist. Lakshman brought more info on Tataki and Maaricha’s death which proved that they were cheating and harassing people of Krishnanagar. Their death was accidental as well and people had nothing to do with their death. Moreover people were still in doubt of Maaricha’s death as his body was never found.

With all this info Ram goes in search of SUBAHU. When Ram finds SUBAHU, he talks to him with all the facts in hand. But soon Ram realizes that SUBAHU has been taken over by evil and nothing can be undone. Ram calls for Battle of Arrows till death. SUBAHU knew Ram was the best archer in the world but still he agrees to the battle as he had his own cunning plans to defeat Ram.

The battle takes place in Open grounds of Tatakaranya. Ram pleads to Subahu, “SUBAHU please listen to me, I do not want to kill you. You are mistaken about the death of your mother and brother”. SUBAHU interrupts him “Ram stop giving these talks. Do not try to talk about the dos and don’ts as you are here to kill me. This hurts Ram. He was there to fight but deep down he does not want SUBAHU dead but the bad in him. He recognized the power of love that could remove the hatred in people. He remembered the power of good to remove the bad. “Remember Ram everything can be won with good and love” he remembered the words of Vishwamitra.

The Battle started. SUBAHU was striking arrows in regular intervals. The arrows looked different and bigger. Ram realized they might blast. He made a special jump and escaped. As he jumped he sent few arrows towards SUBAHU. People who had come to watch the battle roared as they saw Ram sending arrows towards SUBAHU. Few of the arrows hit SUBAHU. But it did not hurt him at all. He was confused with the outcome, so were people. The battle continued as SUBAHU used various tricky arrows which were easily dodged by Ram. Ram’s arrows hit SUBAHU every time but nothing happened to him from outside. SUBAHU was unhurt from outside, but within something was changing him. He was getting weaker . Soon SUBAHU collapsed as an arrow from Ram hit his heart.

Ram ran towards SUBAHU. “What are you doing to me, why am I feeling as I have been wrong all along?” Ram smiled at him. “What is this feeling?” he continued. People had surrounded Ram now. “That’s love and kindness my friend” said Ram. Hearing the word friend from his enemy made SUBAHU cry. People chanted Ram’s name on seeing his big heartedness.

“Ram, Ram” Ram could hear his mom’s voice. Even though he was conscious now, he was struggling to open his eyes. He felt as his mom leave the room as he slowly opened his eyes. He heard the door open. He saw Inspector Yadunandan come in “Hi I was the inspector who got you and your family here, can you explain the events if you are ok now?” Yadunandan said. Kausalya nodded “we were coming back from theatre. On one of the turns we saw a guy coming right in front of the car. Raghu tried to avoid him and hit the shop nearby. When I woke up I was in bed.” She said. “Ya he was some drunk. He hit his head when he fell on the road. We have got him to the hospital as well. He was completely drunk and in no condition to walk. Your Husband did a great job avoiding him, but I guess he lost control in the process”. “How is Raghu? Did doctors say anything?” she asked. “Yes, he is fine, they are operating on him. Doctors are hoping he will be fine in a few days.” After a pause he continued “Your son is amazing, he walked for about a kilometer to get help in that condition” he said as he turned to see Ram.

Ram smiled as they both turned towards him. He slowly tried to get up. He sat on his bed and said “Mom I want to see Dad“. Kausalya came and sat beside him. “He is in a special room Ram, we can see him later” she said. “Please mom” he said. “Why don’t you walk him out and show around” Yadunandan said. Ram got down from his bed as he saw that his mom was bandaged on her head and hand. He himself was covered with a few bandages of his own. “He needs proper rest inspector” Said Kausalya. “I am fine mom” Ram said as he got down. She shook her head and started walking towards the door as Ram followed her. They went to the corridor.

Ram held his mom’s hand as they walked towards ICU to have a check on his Dad. “Why was that guy so drunk and what was he doing on the road?” asked Ram. Kausalya was about to say something when Yadunandan who was behind said “He is very poor and he is having a lot of issues Ram and these kind of people always think drinking will make their problem disappear.” Ram stopped walking as he turned back and said with a smile “Mom says being good, showing kindness and love towards people will always keep people happy”. Yadunandan smiled at the child’s innocence. Kausalya smiled too.

They reached the ICU door. As Kausalya opened the door and was about to enter, Ram stopped and turned once again towards the inspector to ask “What is the guy’s name?” “Oh! Its Subahu” said Inspector Yadunandan…..    

The War Within…

The pain in the heart grew bigger
With the thought of you leaving me
It’s weird to be scared of losing someone
Whom you have already lost

Stay and fight for your existence
It’s your life to live and love
Giving up is a fools option
Even with the pain around the loved ones

You rose from the ashes ones
Get up again from this pain
There is lot to see and explore
In this God created world for us

I know it is very difficult
With all the thoughts jumbled
Pick the pieces that are shattered
Creating a new one midst the chaos

Love and care is everywhere
Hidden between the fear and hatred
Leave the burden inside you
To reach the forgotten kingdom

Smile is indeed an essential tool
To reach the hearts in this kingdom
Happiness should never be the shadow
But the true expression from heart

Living is an art in this world
Facing the fear and dark within us
Giving the expression of love and light
To all from the heart

It is those fears that are dark
We should lose along the way
Spreading the happiness from the heart
And have a peaceful life

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Every one of us want a peaceful happy life. I believe if not all, most of us long for that. The major issue is that there are so many distraction in life which gives us all the needs and finally makes us forget the most important one. For each one of us, we need to face the fears and sadness within us. The fear can be of losing someone or something. Our mind plays us so beautifully that the others around who trick us are nothing in front of it.

In the poem above if you have noticed, I have never mentioned mind anywhere. I believe when we start smiling from the heart or spread happiness from the heart, we have controlled our mind. Conquering one’s mind is the biggest challenge. When you think you have outsmarted your own Brain, it might end up saying ‘no buddy not yet’!!
Face the fear/anger within and around you. Find that peace in life. Fun fact is we already have it but we don’t ever realize or see it.

There are so many kinds of war going on around us which have no significance as it is the war within us that is needed to be won.