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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

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 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 T: Tale

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The wedding ceremony was the talk of the town for the next few days. The Jester’s act after the wedding made people laugh for a long time. Overall the day was one of the best days the Kingdom ever had. The King and People of Benin had left after a few days and everything was getting back to normal in Heaven.

Advaita learnt that wedding in Heaven or in any other Kingdom for that matter happened during the middle of the day when Sun shone at its brightest. It was a belief that Sun would be spreading its light all over the world, most at that moment and light in the newlywed’s life would stay on forever. He had found that belief interesting.

Now that the days had passed. He wanted to talk to General Thomas about the truth of Rob. When he raised this matter with General Thomas, General said they would sit in the evening for the same. Advaita now was eagerly waiting for sun to set.

General Thomas, Tip Roy and Advaita were again seated in General’s study and General continued the tale from where he had left

Rob was in love. Since he was very close to Prince Aiden he could met Princess Agnes. Rob started to impress her with his visions and thoughts. Slowly even Princess Agnes fell in love with him. Even Prince Aiden didn’t know about them. Rob and Agnes had started spending time in secret. They took our help to do so. When they were sure they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, they decided to tell Aiden about it.

Prince Aiden was initially not very happy but Princess Agnes talked to him. The views of Rob had always impressed him and he finally agreed to talk to King William on the same. On the Parallel Rob wanted to bring change in the kingdom. He wanted to remove the atrocity shown against the poor by rich lords. Poor girls were getting raped and killed. None of the poor supported him as they thought this would make things even worse.  

Meanwhile the love story of him and Princess Agnes reached the King’s ears before Prince Aiden could talk to him.King William ordered the soldiers to get him Rob. They had a discussion where King threatened him. Rob was not ready to listen to any of it. But he stayed silent as he knew he could get killed if he rebelled. The King gave him a final warning and let him go. Prince Aiden tried talking to the King but it went in vain.

One day Princess Agnes wanted to meet Rob. When she tried to sneak out from the Palace to meet him, few soldiers saw her and informed the king. King disguised himself and followed her; he caught her before she could reach Rob’s place. He threatened her that he would burn Rob’s house in front of her if she saw him again. That very night Princess Agnes went to Prince Aiden and told him what had happened. She had said she would die if she doesn’t get Rob. The next day King Summoned Rob’s father Lian and warned him on this as well.

Lian came to this very house to talk to my father. He explained my father the whole scenario and said that he would be leaving the city with the family and try to live somewhere peacefully. My father said he would try talking to King on this matter. I heard their conversation and immediately went to inform Rob about his father’s idea of leaving the town. Prince Aiden was with him at that time. He suggested that Rob and Agnes should escape from the city or else they could never unite.

Prince Aiden himself devised a plan for their getaway. The very next night he got Agnes with him. As I took Rob to the outskirts of the city. We gave them gold coins, food and asked them to be careful in the forest. That was the last we had seen them. Rob’s Parents were killed the very next day and their house was put on fire by an angry King William.” General Thomas ended the tale.

“I saw the dagger in your hand the morning of wedding day when you were asleep. I had given that dagger to Rob the day they left. When I asked Shadow how you had that, she told me it was your father’s. I am sure that you are their son now” he said. Advaita was silent now. “We do not live in a perfect world where fairy tales come true but in a world where life is a struggle for survival and we need to find happiness within it” he now understood why his father had said that.

Seeing Advaita silent Thomas and Tip realised he needed a break. “You take some time son, we will talk further on this later” Tip said. General Thomas left the room. Tip sat there for sometime. When he was about to leave, Advaita said “I need a favour Tip”. Tip said he would do anything. “Can you paint portraits of Rob and Agnes?” Tip agreed and told he would give it to him by tomorrow. Advaita thanked him.

Advaita sat alone in the room deep in his own thoughts. He had called the chief of Shaka tribe his grandfather. His mother called him father as far as he knew. But people in Shaka had called his parents outsiders. Now grandfather had told his father and he were a cheat. Advaita was totally confused.

He decided he had to get to the end of this tale as soon as possible.

 

Chapter S: Showdown

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Advaita was ready to shoot his first arrow. He could sense that all of the kingdom’s eyes were upon him. He shot the first then the second and on he went. Every shot was hitting the bullseye. When the final shot hit the bullseye there was a huge roar from the crowd. King Aiden finally smiled. Advaita’s opponent Commander Alex of Benin seemed impressed too.

Advaita suggested they have a round 2, with two targets placed one above the other and they needing to hit both of them simultaneously. Commander Alex agreed to that. Finally two such sets were arranged. They both took two arrows each ready to shoot their respective targets. The whole arena was silent. When the signal was given both shot the arrows. All four arrows hit the bullseye. The crowd went crazy over their accuracy. Advaita and Commander Alex decided to go two more times. Both the times they hit bullseye.

The Kings were very impressed with Advaita. The crowd was excited to see what would be the next round. Commander Alex suggested adding a third target on top of the two. Advaita agreed to it. He had never done this before but he was very excited.

Now they had to shoot at three targets simultaneously which were one above the other. Even commander Alex had not done this before successfully. “Are you ready for the showdown?” He asked Advaita. “I never thought I would be a part of one in the first place” Advaita replied with wonder. They both laughed. The crowd had gone silent again. “Son, you may feel in this life that you too need some showdown with beasts to feel its real thrill, but in life all you need is to be happy and at peace” Advaita was in a different kind of showdown and he was happy too as he remembered his father.

Advaita looked at Shadow as he got ready with the three arrows as he placed them on his bow. She smiled at him. Both Advaita and Commander Alex had set their arrows ready to shoot. 6 arrows flew towards the target. 4 had hit the bullseye. Advaita had missed the bullseye with a very small margin on the bottom target. Commander Alex missed the top target. The whole crowd went silent as it was decided that whichever arrow was nearer to the bullseye would be declared as winner. Commander Alex came and hugged Advaita “You are already a winner to me, son” He said. Advaita who never got too emotional about these things had tears in his eyes. He thanked Commander Alex.

Advaita’s arrow was nearer to the bullseye than that of Commander Alex’s arrow and was thus declared the winner. The whole crowd went berserk and cheered for Advaita. They had never seen such close archery competition before. King Edward congratulated Advaita for his talent. He turned to King Aiden and said “We have a tie from the games. Shall we conclude this tournament with a final game of longsword duel?” They both decided the best from both kingdoms would fight. King Edward called for his General Lucius as King Aiden called for General Thomas. They were asked to get their respective longsword with armor and step into the arena for the final showdown.

Both the Generals had immense respect for each other. They both greeted each other and took their stance. General Thomas had his longsword pointing to the ground whereas General Lucius was pointing it straight at General Thomas. As the signal was given Lucius attacked with the very first thrust which was very well deflected by Thomas. Thomas made Lucius come to him for every attack. Suddenly Thomas countered which caught Lucius by surprise but he dived over and escaped as the sword brushed past him. Thomas thought the game was all over when he went for a submissive move, but Lucius got away by kicking Thomas. Both fell to the ground; as both got up they were in an aggressive mode. Each thrust was parried by the other. There were counter attacks for each attack. People watched in awe of this duel. Both were matching each other’s strikes. The duel went on for a long time. Though both were tired, the pace of the duel had come down and their never say die attitude endeared them to their captivated audience.

The Kings, soldiers, lords and people were on their toes expecting the unexpected. They had already seen some amazing techniques which were never witnessed before. Both the Generals had been innovative in deflecting each other’s attack trying to outwit each other.  King Edward saw that it was almost midday and looked at King Aiden.

General Thomas waited for General Lucius to attack, as Lucius waited for a bit to get a breath both Kings signaled for the duel to be stopped. The whole crowd stood, cheered and clapped for both the Generals. They declared that it was a tie. The Generals bowed to the Kings, acknowledged the crowd for their support.

“It’s almost midday, we should get the wedding going.” said a happy King Edward. They all made their way to the Palace Church. Princess Margaret had not attended the tournament. She had stayed inside. A soldier was sent to inform her regarding the ceremony. Prince Rufus left the arena to get ready.

King Edward who until now had only hated the Kingdom of Heaven, started respecting them. The passion and support of the people made him feel happy. He saw Princess Sarah and how happily she was talking to her father King Aiden. He had tears in his eyes. King Aiden noticed it and asked Edward if he was ok. As they reached the church, Edward asked him if he could talk with him in private for a moment. Aiden asked everyone to get everything ready and took Edward to one of the chambers in the church.

“I had my daughters killed. I had so much hatred towards this kingdom.” Edward said tears rolling from his eyes now.  He bowed his face in shame. Aiden just stood there. “When I saw you with your daughter right now, it came back haunt.. Haunting” Edward was struggling to speak. Aiden was shocked to see this face of Edward. He went and hugged Edward and said “Whatever happened in past can’t be changed. But you will soon have a daughter”. Edward looked at Aiden and nodded.

Feeling relieved in no time Edward was back to his regular self. “Shall we attend our daughter’s wedding then?” said a delighted King Aiden. They both left the chambers smiling. It was indeed the conclusion of the showdown between the two Kingdoms.

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.

A story for Valentine’s Day…

A day made for love when we love everyday!

A short love story for Valentine’s Day.

The Poem

It was a Saturday. One of my days off; I had promised my manager a poem for the next issue of the Office magazine. The submission was 5 days away and I had not started working on it yet. I was still in bed thinking about it when I heard Mom calling me for breakfast. I thought it was for Sandhya, my sister. She is studying in her final year of engineering and has classes only on Friday and Saturday and rest of the days for project work which I was helping her out with.

I got up from bed finished my morning chores.  I felt like taking a bath, took my towel and went to the bathroom. I heard the bell ring as I went inside the bathroom. I was still in bath towel around my waist when I came out of bathroom. I heard a knock and next moment I saw Sandhya coming in “Bro need that Chetan Bhagat Book” she turned around as her friend too came in, “which one Pooja?” she continued. I ran into bathroom bellowing “For god sake wait for my permission to come into the room!”. Sandhya had a big laugh about it. I asked them to come after a few min.

After 15 min they both came in, Sandhya was still laughing. “You in seeing condition!” . I was totally pissed. I had a crush on Pooja and was wondering what she was thinking. “So which book?’i asked,  “I wanted Five point someone” replied Pooja. “It’s a good book”I replied to her with a smile.

I had a whole rack filled with books. I thought it was among top two shelves but it wasn’t there. I realized it might be in the bags from my engineering days as I had read it at that time. Mom interrupted “Raghu ,come have your breakfast its getting cold.”

“your classes start by 11 right?” I asked, they both nodded saying yes. “It’s almost 9 now, will find and give it you before you guys leave” I told to Pooja. “ok, fine” replied Sandhya. Pooja smiled as she closed the door behind her. Her eyes were gorgeous…

A poem was already ringing in my head. I took a sheet and pen along with me to the dining table. Started writing as mom brought the breakfast. “So what did you think of the conversation we had yesterday?” I am 27 and parents have been chasing me to get married. I was trying my best to avoid. Seeing my silence she continued “If you have someone in mind let us know.”

I continued my silence and finished my breakfast as soon as possible. Saw Sandhya and Pooja coming towards the dining room . “I will find it and give it to you” I smiled. Sandhya made a face as Pooja smiled. Few more words fell out of my head!

I wrote them in the sheet after I came back to room. I opened couple of my college bags and found the book. As it was already late, I heard Sandhya shouting “Are you sleeping again?”, I went out of my room and handed it to Pooja. She kept it inside her bag and then they both left.

I finished my poem, kept it over the desk. Had lunch and then left to see friends. Around 7PM I got a call from Mom. I could hear her smiling as I answered. “why didn’t you tell me you like Pooja in the morning itself? Her parents are here to talk about the marriage. It seems even they saw the poem you wrote for her. Dad and I are both ok about it, So chill. Come home they will be staying for dinner.” She cut the call.

I could not believe what just had happened. I said bye to my friends and just left from there. They looked puzzled but I was more puzzled than them to explain anything! I got to the bike trying to still make sense of what just happened. I rode back to home. As I was riding I realized what had happened. I reached my home. Sandhya was talking on mobile in the corridor. She cut the call seeing me. “You could have at least told me Bro, I can’t believe…” before she would continue I placed my hand covering her face and said ”Listen I agree I have a Crush on her..” I told her what I had realized on the way. ”Oh, shit. What are we gonna do?” she replied. “I need to talk to her, Sandy, alone “I replied. “ Bro she likes you and now thinking about it, you two would look good together” she smiled. “I need to talk to her “I said and we both went in.

Pooja’s parents were sitting along with my parents completely immersed in discussions. All looked happy. As soon as I came in Pooja saw me, she had shyness in her face and she looked very cute with the smile. Her father said “Raghu, your poem was fantastic”. I couldn’t believe that were the first words from her Dad! Everybody laughed. All I could manage was “Thank you”.

They gave a lecture about life, love in general. They said they were cool with what had happened. As both knew each other’s family they readily agreed for the marriage. I was silent the whole time. After a lot of thinking “Can I speak to Pooja alone?” I asked. They all laughed at me. “Sure. Is that why you were silent the whole time? Shy to speak to your girl in front of us, only through letters huh!!” my mom said. Everybody started to laugh again. I didn’t know how to react to that. I saw Pooja, got up from my chair and started walking towards my room, she followed.

Once we were In I took a deep breath. She sat on my chair beside the desk and turned facing me. Before I could say anything “That poem was amazing, I loved each and every line of it. After reading that poem I fell completely for you. My parents….” She stopped and looked at me. I don’t know what expression I was giving, she said “sorry, you wanted to say something” she said.

At that moment i realized i liked to listen to her. I smiled and said “ go on complete what you want to say”. “My parents took that letter as I was reading it. Once they came to know it was you who had written it, they just talked to your parents and we are all here now. My mom likes you. She readily agreed to get me married off to you.” She said with her face down smiling.

“Listen, I wanted to say something” she faced me again.Her smile made it hard for me to say, but I had to “That poem it was not about you. I was close to a girl when I was doing engineering. I had written it for her. When I gave it to her, She asked me what it was, I told her it was my love letter for her. She threw the sheet without even looking at it. I didn’t even listen what she was saying after that. I Just took the letter and ran from there. I was hurt very bad. I had placed the letter in the book and didn’t remember it was actually there!”.Pooja was shocked, I could make out from her face. She stood there. She had tears on her face. I don’t know why but it hurt me seeing her like that.

Pooja slowly started moving towards the door. She was about to open the door. I held her hand , she froze.

I have no idea from where I got that courage. I made her look back at me. “Look at me. That’s past. I had forgotten about it. I do have a crush on you. But now I feel it’s something more as well” she looked at me, but this time it was different.  I took her hand and brought it near to my heart “If you are ok with my past, I would love to spend my future with you.. I think I am falling in love with you”.

She fell to my chest. I hugged her tight. She Looked at me and said softly “I want a poem first, will you write one just for me.”

“I already have written one for you!” I showed the letter that was on the desk….

 THE END

Enjoy the life with your love not just the day but the whole year… Take care

 

A Bitter Sweet Day

I was waiting for the bus at my usual stop to go to office. It was a bright sunny day and as the heat was too much that I preferred going in an AC bus.

Nobody was at the stop as it was a public holiday. An auto rickshaw came by asking where I wanted to go, I shook my head as I did not want his service. Couple of non – ac buses passed by, but I did not want to go in them as my office was around an hour away from where I used to stay.

Just then my phone started to ring ‘travelling lady, stay awhile, Until the night is over. I’m just a station on your way; I know I’m not your lover’ a Leonard Cohen Winter Lady song. Last night I had changed to this ringtone for someone, so I knew who exactly was calling. I just cut the call and put it in silent mode. Another non ac bus was approaching and I thought I would go in it as I had waited quite a lot for my preferred AC bus to come.

As I got into the bus most of the seats were taken and luckily one window seat was up for grabs. As I sat down, the conductor came asking me for my destination. As I bought my ticket, I felt my mobile vibrating. It was Rhea calling and so I promptly cut the call.

Last night, we had gone to eat outside. My girlfriend of 5 years had broken up with me last night without giving me a valid reason. I asked her for an explanation for which I didn’t get an answer. I even tried to convince her otherwise, but to no avail.

Two stops had passed by as I thought about last night. A guy was sitting next to me. He started to talk rudely in a loud tone on his mobile. An AC bus passed us by and this in a nutshell summed up the day that I was having.

My thoughts drifted back to last night… I was trying to drown my sorrows in alcohol……. as I was interrupted again; my phone rang ‘I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish I’ll be your fantasy. I’ll be your hope, I’ll be your love be everything that you need’ a Savage Garden Song.  It was her, I just cut the call changed the ringtone for her and switched off my mobile.

The guy was still talking loudly on the phone. Just then a lady got into the bus, she was holding a baby. Maybe he was around two to three years old. As she stood I started to think whether to give my seat or not. As I did not want to leave my seat, I was half expecting someone else give up theirs. All of a sudden the guy next to me got up and called the lady and asked her to take his seat.

It made me think that how often we come to conclusions about someone without thinking much and let our prejudices get the better of us time and again. The Lady sat next to me, with the kid in her arms. He was looking around; asking lots of questions and his mom was trying her best to answer everything. By just looking at the kid’s curiosity and cuteness I had forgotten my sadness. He made an angry face as I looked at him and smiled; he gave me a stare and then suddenly turned and hugged his mother. I asked him his name. He shook his head saying no and started to stare at me. I couldn’t control and started to laugh. I told his mother that she had a very cute son which made her smile.

My mobile had a message from Rhea. I was thinking whether to read it or not. The lady asked whether I was ok, guess she saw some sadness in my face. I smiled as I put my mobile back in my pocket and said that I was ok. Just then there was a huge braking and the bus started to compress.

At that second, all I could think was saving the kid’s life as he had just started seeing this world. I felt I had experienced everything! I tried my best to cover the kid and the mother in that fraction of second. Something hit my back, my left hand which was covering them both. Something hit my head and my eyes started to close.

I felt severe pain in my head when I regained consciousness as I realized that I was in a hospital. As I opened my eyes completely I saw the kid and the mother were sitting near my bed.The Lady had a bandage in her forehead. A man was right next to them. I realized it must be the kid’s father. He thanked me for saving his family’s life. I just smiled and started to move my left hand trying to say no big issues but realized that I was not able to move it.

I wanted to see where I was hurt. I saw Rhea on the other side sitting beside me crying. The Lady said that after the accident my phone was ringing and she informed Rhea about the accident. I turned to Rhea and tried to say something, even though I was angry at her I could say nothing . She just brought her fingers to my lips. She said she was wrong yesterday, that she loves me a lot. She even opened my mobile showing me a page long text that she had sent me about why she broke up yesterday. I said I love you; she replied I love you too and kissed me on the chin.

As they were leaving, I again asked the kid his name. He naughtily refused with his teasing expression. We all started laughing…..

 

Rest In Peace

“The world isn’t split into good people and bad people (Death Eaters). We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are”

–          Sirius Black.

I so totally believe it and it felt so poignant to quote this amidst the backdrop of the events that are unfolding in my country.

Some incidents make me think we are worse than animals. Lots of things have happened in my country which I am not proud of but that is not my country’s fault.  Moreover, I feel we have always let our country down.

We generally just talk, do nothing. Even as I write this down I feel I am doing the same thing. I have no idea how many are going to read this article.

I just feel our country deserves better human beings. My mother India deserves better from her kids for all the motherhood she has bestowed on them.

My fellow male species, please be in your limits that’s all I can say. It feels like a shell of dark humor with sadness inside.

When I woke up on the 18th of this month and read the news of a gang rape in a moving bus in my country, I was completely shocked. When I read what exactly happened, I cried, felt disgusted.  Just couldn’t believe what people could do.

You can see in various papers around the world of what happened after the incident; protests, political games etc. I just want to talk about the girl who fought for thirteen days with death. I salute her courage, bravery and desire to live.

The first thing she wrote (as she couldn’t speak) when she gained consciousness was whether the people who committed the crime were caught? Then she expressed that she wanted to live. Her battle against pain, death, sadness will never be forgotten. She got the whole country united.

She passed away on the 29th due to multiple organ failure. Wherever she is now, hope she is happy. I will remember her and her fight for the rest of my life….

There have been lots of rape cases throughout the world. I feel anger and sadness when I come across such news. Being a guy myself, I feel ashamed to read about these things.

One more sad fact is all these incidents are just a mere game to a few political leaders,
Hope she gets justice, and that is all I can make myself say right now.

I am still proud of my country and of this world because it’s not their fault but ours, our race.

There is so much good in this world which can be shadowed by a single bad thing. A set of lit candles (light) can end up in darkness by a passing wind.

The end to this year cannot come soon enough for me, giving birth to a better, brighter world as we enter into a new year full of hope and expectations.

Take care of yourself, your loved ones and lead a happy life……

Happy New Year!

Things I never told…

Things left untold
will never unfold
I stand here to reveal
The things I never told

Dad,
You were my strength
Supporting me all the way
You were my master
Whom I can never pay…

Mom,
You showed me the way
To love and respect,
Even when I was a failure
You said I was perfect…

Love,
You were the better half
Of my struggling life
The love and wealth we have is
From your support my lovely wife…

Now,
Seeing you all cry
In front of my grave
I hope and pray,
You guys would be brave…

I loved the life I lived
But the only regret
Are the things I never told
About how much I loved you all
About how much I loved you all…