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Chapter Z: Zero

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Advaita said “My father yearned for Power.” He fell on Shadow’s lap as tears started streaming from his eyes. She held him for some time as he finally got up recomposing himself. Shadow felt that he looked calmer and more focused now. “Me and the Shaka Chief had a very long conversation” said Advaita. “What happened between the two of you?” she asked. Advaita finally decided to reveal what had happened in Shaka after he had knocked on the door of the Chief’s house the day, it was early morning, the very same day when Cully and shadow were planning to go find him.

His Grandmother, Chief’s wife opened the door and they went inside. Grandfather didn’t want to talk to Advaita initially. When Advaita asked him why he had called his father a cheat, he came to know that Advaita didn’t know his father. Advaita told him Rob and Princess Agnes’s journey from Heaven to Bantu and all he knew was that Rob was Karma, his father. He opened the copper sheet and showed it to his grandfather. His Grandfather laughed and said “you have missed the most important part and she is not your mother. I will tell you the Karma we knew initially”. Valguka the Chief of Shaka finally started the story.

“We Shaka people lived in the Zulu kingdom. My brother was the chief then. We were both young at that time. One day due to a devastating earthquake we lost almost everything. We wanted to move north towards the border of Heaven seeking a place to live again. But my brother wanted to go to the City of Zulu. When nobody was ready, he along with his friend abandoned us and left for Zulu the very night. The next day they made me the chief and we moved here with great difficulties and started our life from zero.

I met my brother sometime later when I visited the City of Zulu a couple of times, I invited him to our new home, to come stay with us but he never came. Years passed and we became old. One day a man from Zulu came to talk to me, he informed me that my brother was sick and was on his deathbed. So your grandmother and I went to see him against the wishes of the tribe. By the time we reached he was already dead. We came to know he had a daughter Kiya. She was a young lady and all alone as her mother had passed away during her birth. Since we never had a child we took her as our own. We asked her to come with us and she readily agreed.

We were not sure how to tell this to our tribe as everyone had hated my brother. So we decided to say we met her on the way back and helped her as she was an orphan. But when we were about to reach Shaka we met a guy. He introduced himself as Karma. He looked tired and exhausted. Your Grandmother suggested we take him too. Thus they came to Shaka as two orphans. I took Kiya as my daughter, that very day I named her Akira in front of the Shaka people. Later Karma and Akira fell in love and they were married. You were born and all was good in their life. But one fine day your mother fell sick. She told your grandmother Karma’s story and made her promise not to tell this to anyone before her death.”

“What is this story” asked Advaita to his grandmother. His Grandmother continued from where his grandfather left,

“I kept Karma’s secret for a very long time. You had grown up into a young boy. If you remember Advaita the day before your father was attacked, I was sick. I got scared nobody would know Karma’s truth and your grandfather had decided to make Karma his successor but he had not yet shared his views with anyone. So that night I told him what Akira had told me”

Advaita was curious and nervous to know. He had not heard about Princess Agnes anywhere in the story so far, He wondered what happened to her. Grandmother finally stated what was told her the second time.

Akira and Karma had a baby boy. Karma was very happy on becoming a father. Slowly Karma had started loving his wife and child. He confessed one night to Akira that he had not loved her initially but married her to become the chief of the tribe. But he was a changed man now and he deeply loved her and their son.

Akira was shocked to hear that. He told her about his life before Shaka and that his actual name was Rob. He told her his story in the city. He explained her how lords humiliated and robbed them in every way possible. He wanted to assume power to change that. He said he was zero back then and somehow he had to reach a position where he was someone. He wanted everyone to pay for their harassment. So he had used Princess Agnes to do so. Karma told how he made Agnes fall in love with him and how they had run away. In Bantu they had exchanged the rings they had. Karma showed Akira, Princess Agnes’s ring which he had hidden all this long.

Akira realised that Karma had made her fall in love with him the same way too. But she kept quiet. Karma continued his story after Bantu.

As Rob and Agnes moved south from Bantu, Rob expressed his wish to go back to the city. Agnes said she did not want that life and all she wanted was to be with him. Rob who had hidden his real intentions so far, could not do this any longer. He was angry. He shouted at her, he said “How do you think we can live here. You are already hurt”. Agnes thought he was shouting because of love. She came near him and said “I am sure our love will find a way.” He pushed her away and said” Stop living in a fairy world. I do not love you. I used you so that I could get some status and power.” She fell on the ground feeling shocked and heartbroken. “We have nothing, zero now. I was a zero then, and after all my hard work I am back to zero” he said in anger and frustration turning away from her. She was still lying on the ground.

From nowhere a beast had jumped on Princess Agnes. Rob was shocked but instead of helping her, he saved himself. He climbed a tree and watched as Princess Agnes shouted with pain and breathed her last. Rob had not felt any remorse that moment. He was so blind with hatred towards the rich that he had lost the human inside him.

From there Rob had moved ahead with caution and came across the Shaka Chief and had introduced himself as Karma.

When Akira heard the story she was in shock. Her husband who she thought was such a good person was actually a power hungry emotionless demon. She remained silent. Karma said “I have realised how wrong I was in the past few days. You and our son brought back the lost soul in me. I have been repenting for my mistakes. I am in love with you both; I want us to be happy and nothing else anymore”. Akira nodded, but she was in shock. She came to know the two sides of her husband.

Akira could not cope with the truth she heard from her husband. She suddenly started to feel ill and could not eat anything properly anymore. Her health deteriorated badly, she decided to tell her mother everything about her husband. Akira realised that her father won’t let Karma live if he came to know the truth and her love for Karma made her ask for a promise from her mother.

“Now you know why I made people attack your father” said the chief.  “I never told the story to anyone here; all I said was that he was planning to take over as chief forcefully. And they attacked your father as I expected them to. But your father had a few supporters as well. It was like a war here when you ran away” he said.

Advaita was in shock. He had never known his father was that kind of a person. There was complete silence in the house. Sourav from the tribe knocked the door but was sent back by the chief.  “Don’t you think my father had changed after mother’s death?” asked Advaita. “He had, my child, but he had to pay for his past life” said his grandfather. Advaita nodded. “He loved my mother. I had seen him cry a lot of times remembering her” Advaita said.

Advaita who had worshipped his father and his teachings all his life was sad and distraught now. His grandmother noticed it. She came and hugged him. “You will always be my grandson” she said. They both cried.

Advaita finally told them his journey after the run. “So, are lords still harassing the poor in the city?” asked his grandfather when he finished his story. Advaita nodded.His Grandfather thought for a very long time. “Apart from us three nobody knows who your mother actually is. Give me your sheet” said the chief. He wrote something on it and put his seal. When Advaita saw this “This is wrong, Grandfather” he said. “You yourself said how lords are still behaving; there should be some people who can change that. I am sure Cully your friend can help you as well with It.” replied Grandfather. “But I may need to face the court to prove this, King himself had said that” said Advaita. His grandfather asked his wife to get that ring “Your mother kept Princess Agnes’ ring and she had given it to your grandmother before her death” he said to Advaita.

They both discussed on how the court session could go, finally as they were about to go out “Remember you need to start from zero again. Never lose your path as your father did. I have belief in you that you will be a better man.” the Chief of Shaka said.

When Advaita finished the story he turned towards Shadow. He could see even she was a little disturbed. He went near her, held her hand. He took Princess Agnes’ ring and said “I know my father was not a good man. He lost his way while he tried to bring a change in poor’s life here. But I promise you as I start from zero, I will be a good man, a good husband and a good father in the future to come. I will always be truthful and take your guidance in every step of our life as I fight for a better society, if you are willing to marry me. Will you marry me Shadow White?” She had tears in her eyes as she said Yes.

She knew how much he loved her. He placed the ring on her finger. They went out of the room for the new beginning that was going to come.


THE END

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Chapter Y: Yearn

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Advaita was standing in front of the mirror. He was wearing a pair of new clothes given by Shadow. He asked to himself “What do you yearn for?” the first thing that came to his mind was mother’s love. Then he thought about his father.

Advaita was back in their hut, he found his father crying, holding his mother’s clothes. Advaita asked him “Why are you crying father?”, “When you yearn for someone who can never be with you that makes you sad, son” his father had replied.

Advaita saw himself in the mirror again. He took his father’s Dagger and placed it in his bag. He wore the ring given by his grandmother, the Shaka Chief’s wife in his right little finger. He took the copper sheet which was drawn by Tip and kept in his bag. Cully came in, asking whether he was ready for the court. Advaita placed the bag on his shoulder as he said he was good to go. Shadow wished Advaita good luck as they left for the Palace.

They had come back to Heaven a couple of days ago. General Thomas had informed King Aiden that Advaita had got the required proof to prove who his parents were. The day had finally come when he would be presenting the court with those proofs. He was yearning to prove himself in front of the very court where he had been nervous before.

He was in front of the court now. King Aiden directly came to the matter at hand and asked Advaita to present his proof to the court. Advaita took out the painting and asked the King whether he knew who the two people who were present in the painting. King Aiden said “It’s my sister Agnes and my once best friend Rob.” Advaita thanked King Aiden for his confirmation. Then he turned the copper sheet and read what was written by the Shaka Chief and the Bantu Chief.

Advaita had asked the Bantu chief to write on the sheet, what he knew about Rob and Princess Agnes once he was back from Shaka with Cully and Shadow. When he had finished reading there were a lot of murmurs. Many of the court officials agreed to the proof. But few were still dissatisfied. They were not happy with it.

One of the ministers said “As far as we know anyone can write this, what is the proof that it was written by the Chiefs?” Advaita replied “They have put their tribal seals along with the writing.” The sheet was investigated by a few ministers and they confirmed its authenticity. Another minister said “We hear you are close with all the tribes around. How do we know that they are not lying for you?”

Advaita smiled as he heard that. His Grandfather, the Shaka chief had expected it. He took out the dagger from the bag and lifted it with his left hand, showing it to the court. “This dagger belonged to my father. General Thomas, do you know this dagger?” asked Advaita “Yes that was the dagger I had given to Rob, a long time ago” replied General Thomas. King Aiden asked for the dagger, looked at it and confirmed the General’s statement.

King Aiden was sure now that Advaita was indeed his nephew. But he wanted all in his court to agree on that too and so remained silent. “So you are Rob’s son that does not make you the son of our beloved Princess Agnes” said one of the ministers and couple of others supported that. Only three ministers were against Advaita now.

Advaita lifted his right hand with a smile. Everything had gone as his grandfather had stated. All looked puzzled. “Your Highness, this ring in my hand belonged to my mother. I am sure you know it.” Advaita moved towards the throne to show it to the king. As King Aiden checked the ring his eyes lit up, “It’s my sister’s” he said as he choked back the tears swelling his eyes. Advaita turned to face the ministers.

The whole court was silent now. No one said a word. After a while King Aiden spoke “I believe he is my nephew, does anyone have any questions?” The court remained silent. Finally a minister said he believed the king. The rest of the ministers followed suit. “Welcome to the family, Advaita” said the King. General Thomas and King Aiden had a discussion within themselves. General Thomas asked Advaita to follow him off the court as the court moved to next issue in hand.

General Thomas said Advaita to return back to the house for now and King Aiden would talk to him in the coming days on what needed to be done. Advaita nodded as he had already planned to stay in the city.

Advaita was back in the General’s house. He was in his thoughts when Shadow touched him on shoulder. Advaita smiled but she could see sadness in his face. She took him to her room and made him sit on her bed. She sat next to him and rested her head on his shoulders. She did not say anything but waited for him to talk.

“What do you yearn for?” He asked her. “For love and respect” she replied. He went silent again. She realised it was something to do with his father. “Did the chief of Shaka say anything about your father?” she finally asked. He turned to look at her, she saw him. “You know what my father yearned for the most?” he said.

She was shocked and surprised when Advaita said teary eyed “My father yearned for Power”.

Chapter L: Lines

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Cully saw Advaita and Soldier Grant coming towards him. Soldiers who were with him went off the field as they approached. As Advaita reached near Cully he said “My father once told me that sometimes you need to cross the line to show who or what you actually are” “What?” replied Cully. “Read between the lines my friend” said Advaita with a smile. Grant had a laugh. He controlled it as Cullen got pissed.

Advaita turned around asking “Where do you practice archery?” “You see those wooden targets with center in red, there you need to shoot. The red mark is called the bulls-eye”. Advaita had never seen such targets. He liked them. “Grant can you go get the bow and arrows” Cully said. Grant nodded and left to get them.

The Prince Brian came out of the building. He saw Cullen speaking with someone. He came towards them and asked “Is this the guy you were talking about?” “Yes Prince Brian, he is Advaita” replied Cully. Advaita nodded.  “I heard that your archery skills are very good. Would you care to demonstrate?” asked Prince. “Grant has gone to get a bow and arrows” replied Cully.

They waited as Grant came back with a longbow and arrows. As Advaita took the bow from him, he noticed the bow was bigger and heavier than his. As he took an arrow he saw that it was heavier too. Grant had got about 15 arrows in a bag. Advaita studied the bow thoroughly.

The target was simple. There were five such targets set for practice in the field. Advaita took a deep breath. He knew it won’t be easy to get the first one right. “May I” he said. Prince Brian signaled him to go ahead.

Advaita stood behind the line which was set and shot the arrow towards one of the targets. He missed the center red mark by a very small margin. Prince Brian shook his head with a little wicked smile on his face. The next target he tried was the one in the farthest. He took an arrow, shot at the target and missed it as well by very small margin.

Prince Brian laughed now “I thought you said he was the best” he said to Cully. Cully was silent. Advaita who had placed the arrow bag on his back shot three arrows back to back aiming towards the remaining three targets and missed the red mark on all occasions. “I think I am wasting my time here. I will be leaving now” Said the Prince. Prince Brian left the field with the remaining soldiers.

Cully was in shock. “How could you miss all five!” he asked Advaita. “How could you lose the sword fight” Advaita asked back with a smile. Cully was silent. Grant who stood beside them was amazed at the events that was unfolding around him.

Advaita turned to Grant “Can you do me a favor and go measure the distance between the arrow and the red mark on each target?” Grant nodded and ran towards the targets. He examined the margins on each targets. As he went from one target to next his smile was getting bigger. To his shock, when he finished checking the 5th target, the margins were same on all.

Even Cully realized with the expression from Grant’s face that Advaita had indeed hit the target, but his targets were not the same as what others thought. “Arrows are all at the same distance from the red mark in each target” said Grant confirming Cully’s thoughts. Advaita was still smiling looking at the expression on Cully’s face. Both Grant and Cully were amazed with his accuracy. “WOW” was all Cully could say. ”Is this what you were talking about when you asked me to read between the lines?” he asked. Advaita laughed.

Advaita looked around. He took two more arrows. There was an ‘O’ shaped window on top floor of the building which was on the end of the field. As he adjusted both arrows on the strings of the bow, he said “Now I will show what I meant by crossing the line. You see that opening on top floor of the building?” he pointed his bow towards it. Advaita checked again the arrow positioning and shot both the arrows at the same time. The arrows hit exactly on top and bottom of the opening and fell on the ground.

Though Cully had seen people shooting multiple arrows simultaneously never had he seen with such accuracy. Grant stood completely shocked. “Shall we go now, I am hungry” said Advaita. Grant and Cully saw each other and joined Advaita. Both walked silently as they were left speechless after such an amazing act by Advaita.

“Your Accuracy is amazing” said Grant finally. Advaita turned to face them with a smile “Friends to be fair, I did miss the first target” he said.

Cullen and Grant laughed as they all left the field.

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

—————————————————————————————————————————-

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.

THE CRAZY ONE…

         It was Friday and I was waiting for the bus. It’s about 4hr journey to my home. Two days of holiday awaited me ahead. All I could think was to reach home and eat some good food prepared by mom. I stay in an apartment with couple of friends and go home during weekends. Had booked my ticket a day before and was waiting for the bus. While booking ticket I had seen that almost 70% seats were empty and I had selected a seat very back but not the backmost seat.

            I was carrying a bag containing my clothes that needed to be washed and a novel. i hardly wash clothes as there was no washing machine in our apartment and it had to be done manually!!! So I always wash the necessity ones and rest to home every week.

A bus arrived at the station for the fourth time and finally it was the bus I had to catch. Took the bag and got on to the bus. Few seats were already occupied. I sat on the seat for which I had booked my ticket. As I sat I realized there was none behind me. There are compartments on top of the seats for keeping luggage, I kept mine on the compartment which was above my seat and sat beside window. Bus started and my journey began. Always during a journey in bus I tend to attract sleep and this journey was no special as I soon started to fall asleep.

            After a while I was awake and noticed that bus had stopped in a bus stop and people were getting on to the bus. Empty seats were still in plenty in front of me. Few got occupied but none behind me. Finally bus started and a guy hopped into the bus. He had headphones and was listening to the songs. He took his wallet from his jeans pocket, took some cash and gave it to the conductor. Once he was done with collecting ticket, he slowly moved towards me. He was shaking his head to the mood of the song he was listening I guess. He almost started dancing and people in the bus were amazed by looking at him. He even started to sing as he sat beside me. He gave me a smile put the luggage on top maybe right next to mine as I couldn’t see. I told him not to sing as I was trying to sleep and even others in the bus were getting annoyed. He gave a thumbs up. Though he stopped singing he was doing all kinds of crazy actions. I was slowly drifting to sleep.

            Not more than a minute I was woken by the guy next to me. He was trying to take something from his bag and fell over me. He apologized and I just nodded. Saw my watch and realized only half of the journey was completed and still half way to go and the guy next to me was making me crazy….

            I analyzed him, long curly hairs, slim as Bruce Lee…. White T-shirt with ‘I am the best’ written on it. I wondered what might he be best at!!! His pants were a bit torn in both sides at knee level ‘STYLE’ I suppose. He was done searching his luggage and was back in his seat.

            Sleeping wasn’t a good idea anymore. I had my earphones in my pocket. Connected it to my mobile and started listening to the songs that were loaded in it but with very low volume. The guy had an apple in his hand. He started eating it but his head was still nodding, also moving his hands and legs. Though he was enjoying what he was doing, rest of us found it funny. I even noticed the people in front cracking jokes about him.

            His actions made me think of mental hospital. As soon as he was done with the apple, he got up again, took his time and this time he had tissues and a bottle of water from his bag.  He looked at me as he came back to seat. “I always come prepared for everything on a trip, people must be ready to face any kind of problems they going to face. I am always ready for my worst day” he was literally shouting as he said that. All the people stared at him and he didn’t give a shit , he actually smiled at them. They all sat back in their seats. He offered me water and I declined…

            “Hi I am Ranvijay…”,  I was shocked to hear that as he moved forward his hand to shake mine, “I am Ranvijay” I said . Cool was all he said.  He was about to say something when his mobile rang. It had a very unusual song as ringtone. I started to wonder what kind of  person he is!!!!  “Hi mom, yes I am on my way… I will reach in an hour… had good collection…bag is full and have a big surprise for you …. Yes a surprise!!! Ok Okay, see you in few and mom chapathis were awesome… ”

            After hearing that conversation all I could say was what the hell was this guy, maybe an adventurer who loves to travel and explore stuff. Even an elderly woman in front of me was amazed!!! He got up with the bottle started to work on his bag again.. I put on my ear phones and started to listen music. Few minutes later he was back in seat again. This time a letter and pen in his hand. He started to write in it. I tried to look as he folded it saying “its for a special friend and you cant look. Its not a good habit to look into someone else’s letter, only a person who deserve to look gets to see the letter and if you are deserving enough you will get to see too” I tried to stop him in middle couple of times but no use. I did not get a word what he was saying . “ok man , chill” I said. He continued to write , I didn’t even look at him. surely was not ready for another lecture.

            Three hours of journey was done, few had started to get down in their destination. Mr. Crazy guy had kept the letter up in his bag after he was done with it.  “Life is full of twist and turns, one time you thing everything is great and the next second you realize everything is nil” “Are you an adventurer??” I asked “A sort of, I like to take risk” he smiled.

            He got up again, “its time my friend, I will be going, hope we will never meet again” “why so???” “Always want to watch new faces my friend, with new faces we get new experiences!!” “Wow, goodbye then Mr. ranvijay” I shook his hand and he winked as I said that…

            He took his luggage from compartment above and got down the bus shaking his head with music singing in his ears. Another half an hour and I would be in my hometown. The guy I met was strange with full of adrenaline and adventure filled in him but very crazy with philosophical touch. What kind of job would he be doing was all I could think. But it was time for fun weekend..

            My stop had come. The lady in front of me was snoring. I took my bag and got down, breathing the feel of hometown. Suddenly I felt that my bag was light!!! Opened the zip of the bag and saw that half of my clothes, the novel were missing. When I saw my pant pockets my wallet was also gone. It had about two grand money in it. I searched the bag again, saw a letter which was for me, a special friend!!! My heart was pounding, was in complete shock, everything he said came to my mind “How fun can completely turn into sadness in a second, meeting new people….” Slowly opened the letter which was written for me…………..

THE LETTER

Dear Ranvijay,

            My name is surely not your name but really nice name though. See you finely deserved to see this letter . I hope I entertained you well and taking whatever i possibly can. Also thank the old lady for a beautiful dress, my mom will love it. Be careful next time……..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Yours,

                                                                                                                    Duplicate Ranvijay

            I closed the letter put it back in the bag. The day was ruined but not anymore I told myself. Went and complained in police station, called the bank and blocked both my credit and debit card. Later went home to enjoy the weekend as I intended to…but the day would be remembered as

                                    ‘A day I was outsmarted by a crazy act of a con artist’