Monday, December 5, 2011

And The Winner Is.. (Teaser)

She clasped my right hand with her steel like grip.

“Ouch” I let out a sharp wimp.

“I am so sorry” she replied softly, relaxing her grip a bit. Her gaze sieved through the crowd of rapturous crowd, who were howling and whistling to every movement of the couples on the floor looking for the person who was so important to her.

I bent close to her ears and spoke gently, “RELAX”. Her perfumed hair brushed against my eyebrows creating a tickling sensation.

For the first time in five minutes, she looked at me and smiled. At twenty five, she was best athlete I had seen in a long time or perhaps ever. Her perfect figure, coupled with jet black hair and milky white skin was enough to attract more than enough attention. I was lucky to have her.

As the couple in front of us finished their routine, the crowd gave them a muffled applause for their lousy performance. The best timing for us!!

“And next we have the beautiful and elegant couple, Arnie and Gaby” boomed a voice from the corner of the auditorium.

Beautiful and Elegant!! Those were the best words to egg us for our best performance. Gaby closed her left hand around mine and led me through to the center of the huge auditorium.

The crowd seemed to be charmed by Gaby’s beauty and literally whistling for us. The stakes were sky high for HER.

As we reached the center and took our position, I could feel Gaby’s hand shaking in deep fear. One wrong move and it was all over.

I knew that I had to make her feel confident, but with my own fears to conquer, I hardly had any extra energy to help her calm down. Finally I gathered all my courage and spoke in the couple of mini-seconds before the music started.

“You look really gorgeous, Princess” I spoke to her, with my gaze shifting from her eyes to her rosy lips.

“Handsome Prince” she replied with a smile as we both matched our steps to the music in the Stage one Salsa Dance Competition.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Operation S!! (Last Part)

(All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental)

I nervously reached in to my purse and took two un-crumpled thousand rupee notes and placed it on the small bed space between us.

The Nepalese woman showed no emotion as she took the money and slid it inside her blouse. “Just twenty five miutes sir”, she reminded me harshly.

I cleared my throat and declared, “I am a journalist”.

For the first time she looked at me in the eye. The cold stare nearly unnerved me.

“I cannot give you more time just because you are journalist”, she scorned.

A deep sense of pain seared right through my heart. How much would this woman have suffered to speak like this.

I opened my back pack and switched on a small micro-recorder. She looked at the piece of equipment and quickly dragged her pallu back on her body.

“Leave now sir”, she ordered, as she switched off the micro-recorder.

“I am a journalist and want to help you out”, I replied.

“I have seen enough policemen, journalist and social activists in my life sir. Nobody can help me. So please leave”, she spoke as she threw my money right into the bed space where I had placed it initially and looked away.

I took out the article “Lost Girls” and placed it in her hands. She quickly recognized it and eyes moistened. Her fingers ran through the picture of the six women.

I took out the gruesome pictures of the four women who had been murdered brutally and handed it to her.

“The fifth woman was murdered yesterday. I believe you are next”, I coldly reminded her. I could feel a sense of fear running through her spine as she shivered and struggled to hold on to the pictures.

She took a moment to steady herself and opened the curtains allowing sunlight to fill in the room.

“It’s a long story”, she sighed.

“I have 19 minutes” I responded. She smiled weakly. Perhaps it was first time she had smiled in years!!

I switched on the micro-recorder and listened attentively.

“I come from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It’s a beautiful place, filled with great people and my best memories”

I wanted her to cut the long story and tell me information that would help me catch the killer. But I didn’t want to spoil her mood, thereby alienate her and sat there silently.

“I was born to a high class lawyer family. From time immemorial, our generation had been the guardians of law and we worked with Britishers to govern our land. As I turned sixteen, my family decided to get me engaged to my uncle’s son who had been practicing law in England. Being naïve, I vehemently opposed the decision, for I wanted to lead my life on my terms”

I could relate to that as most women that I knew wanted to do the same thing.

“We used to go to our school in a hand-pulled rickshaw cart. I liked the uncle who used to drop us everyday for nearly ten years. Suddenly one day, he fell ill and his young son decided to take over from him. I instantly fell in love with him. We both liked each other a lot and I told my parents that I have decided to marry my lover. My family fiercely opposed my relationship”

The usual love story and it's fight!!

“That was when we decided to elope to south Nepal where he had a few friends. Our family pursued us and with no choice left we crossed the border and landed in Uttar Pradhesh.”

The story was beginning to take a sudden twist.

“We got married and were very happy for the first three months as we lived off on money that we obtained by selling the jewels that I had stole from my family. Things soon began to turn south as he could not find a job and I soon became pregnant. He would drink and beat me everyday. I thought the birth of our son would change our fortune, but I never knew that it was going to take a turn for the worse”

A small tear glistened down her cheek. She wiped it off and continued.

“My husband sold me and my kid to a broker in Delhi who ran a flourishing flesh trade in South Delhi. For the first few days, I was locked up in a small cellar with five Nepalese women who had suffered similar fate like me. That was when the Delhi police busted the place and a journalist reported about us”, she spoke pointing to the news article in my hand.

I nodded and questioned, “So how come you are here then?”

“As we women thought we had finally escaped, our fate took an even more cruel turn. We were locked up in the police station as we had no travel permissions to enter India. That was when a high ranking politician entered the police station and took us away to his guest house on the outskirts of the city”

I raised my eyebrows curious to know the name of the politician.

“You may not want to hear what happened to us. Perhaps I can give you the list of the politician and his friend who did bad things to us”, she spoke trying to hide the bitter truth.

“I would like to hear the whole story”, I replied gathering all my courage to hear the worst.

“Each one of us were..”, her voice trailed as tears flowed rapidly, “.. day and night for two weeks, till we could no longer stand up.”

The brutal treatment of these women evoked my sense of anger and I was ready to smash those crazy people. Suddenly another thought struck me.

“What happened to your son?”

She looked again and shook her head vigorously refusing to speak more. She held the curtain for support but soon she slid down on the small bed.

“They..”, she heaved a deep sigh, “they burnt his tongue as he was crying too much seeing me in the bad shape”

I stood up and banged my fist into the wall. Bastards!! I was going to kill them all.

“There are many women who have suffered my fate and many more who will if somebody does not fight these people or this system”, she spoke holistically.

I let the anger sink in and sank into the small bed again. My mind quickly began to formulate a plan.

“Do you know who the kingpin of this operation is?” I posed a direct question to her.

“I am not sure. I have very faint re-collection of what happened twelve years ago”, she replied.

My heart sank for that was the end of road. I could arrange for some NGO to pick her up but the major players would escape.

“But I have something that might help”, she spoke as she rummaged through her belongings and brought out an inland letter and handed it to me.

I took the letter and checked if there was any address at the back. Finding none, I opened the letter. It had been written in Hindi and dated the January of last year. A month before she was brutally murdered.

“I don’t know hindi as I was sent to Chennai twelve years back. All that I know was that it was written one of the five Nepalese woman”, she spoke.

I thanked my hindi prachar sabha classes and started reading through the contents. It spoke of similar brutality and a decision made by four of the five woman to expose the politicians. Now all things became transparent.

As I read till the end of the letter, the last line contained the name of the Kingpin, Amit Ray.

Damn!! Amit Ray!!

This piece of news was going to finish my career or become the story of the year.


I sipped the frappuccino as I looked out at the flowing traffic outside the café coffee day.

“Did you meet my dad?”, she questioned.

“Yeah, It went really bad”, I replied.

“Don’t worry about that. I will handle that. But there is much bigger issue”, she spoke as I glanced at her curiously.

“Where did you go yesterday?”, she demanded.

“I..”, the words were stuck in my throat, “I had gone on a official trip”

“To where?”, she probed.

“I said right.. official trip”, I responded getting little pissed off. I knew I was in big trouble.

“Official trip to North Chennai and that too to that place”, she concluded. Damn!! I was dead meat.

“I said right. It was official. I cannot talk about it” I quickly put an end to this conversation. I was in no mood to discuss about my professional work with anybody.

She got up, “Drink your coffee, pay your bill and don’t call me hereafter. We have broken up”. She took her bag and started walking.

Shit!! How do I explain everything to her?

I ran behind her and stopped her. “Listen, I can explain. But it’s a long story”

As she sat next to me, I explained the entire story and my plan to catch all the culprits involved.

As I turned around, I could see two plain clothes men, sitting on the other side of the shop. Suddenly I felt a tinge of fear run through my spine.

I was being followed by the Police!!


I quickly double checked the empty street once again, as I led the Nepali woman into a well lit small room. I had shaken off numerous trails en-route this hiding. I motioned to sit on the small chair placed in front of the camera.

“Start speaking when I say yes”, I ordered. I switched on the record button in the digital camera placed on a small tripod stand and walked into the other room. I had to heart to listen to her horror story again.

I peeped out of the window, but could not see any sign of being watched. The recording went on for half an hour and I fast forwarded it to check whether the contents had come on correctly.

“Thank you for all the help” I replied.

The Nepali woman immediately fell on my feet and started crying. I immediately picked her up and asked her to wipe off her tears.

We were going to nail the bastards.

“The video will air soon on the news channels and some NGO group will rescue you. So don’t worry. If not..” I told her of an alternate plan and led her through a back door.

I put on my leather jacket and strolled out casually and started my bike that I had parked ten buildings away.

As I was about to start the bike, my mobile rang.

“Hey darling..” I started the conversation.

“We have your darling. Come and pick her up and also bring the cassette”, a cold voice threatened me.

I started my bike and raced towards the destination. I stopped at the gate of the empty mill on the outskirts of the city but suddenly doubted whether I was proceeding to the correct destination. To erase my doubts, my mobile rang again and I answered it.

“You are on the right track. Park your bike and walk 300 feet inside the mill. There will be a lighted area. Stop there” the instructions continued.

I walked to the destined well-lit place and looked around. Suddenly, Deeksha came running up to me and hugged me.

“We have no intention of hurting a journalist”, a cold voice boomed from one end of the dark tunnel.

A person wearing a black jacket walked through the empty tunnel and stood in front of me. One look at his shoes told me that he was an officer on duty.

“We just need the cassette”, spoke another voice standing right behind me.

“Don’t give them the cassette”, Deeksha pleaded.

“You don’t understand dear”, I tried to explain it to her.

“Damn it Anush”, she shouted. “This is not your small cases where you just leave the culprit. All the perpetrators have to be brought to book”, she yelled. The courage of a policeman’s’ daughter showed up clearly. But this was no time for her bravery.

The black jacket man brought out his gun and placed it on the Deeksha’s temple and spoke, “Enough of this nonsense. Hand over the tape or take the dead body with you”

I immediately took the cassette from my back pocket and handed it to the aggressor. Deeksha gave me a cold stare as I turned my head away from her. I had other plans.

The other guy brought a portable digital player in which they inserted the cassette and played it. Both of them nodded their heads.

The black-jacketed guy took out his mobile and rang a number and spoke, “Hello Fareed, we got it.”

In an instant of extreme madness, Deeksha jumped at the black jacketed guy and snatched the cassette and in the process both of them rolled over and I heard three shots fired.

I immediately threw a punch on the man behind me and ran towards Deeksha. Blood flowed copiously from her abdomen.

Oh Deeksha!! Why did you have to do this? I bent down and took her head in my lap. A quick glance told me that the black-jacketed person was dead as both the shots pierced through his heart.

I bent down closer to Deeksha and spoke, “Why did you do this? I will call for an ambulance”

She shook her head, “I will live for 5 minutes max. The bullets have hit my spleen and caused an internal bleeding”. The nurse in her was finally speaking.

She coughed up some blood and took a deep breath and spoke slowly, “Forgive me for everything. I should have told you”, she paused taking a deep breath, “that I started loving you before you even waved at me. It’s my bad luck that I...”

As she was about to finish the conversation, I felt a searing pain in my back and blood gushed out of my chest. I bent down and checked out a big knife had been thrust from behind my back. It had pierced my lungs and stuck out from my chest. Damn!!

Deeksha head slipped from my lap and with searing pain, I turned around and saw the bloody face of the second man whom I had knocked unconscious a few minutes ago. Even though he had successfully thrust the long knife into my body, the impact had thrown him to the ground.

Damn you!! I bent down and reached out the 0.9mm caliber gun that had killed my sweetheart and fired three rounds at my opponent. He immediately collapsed.

I could feel the chillness in the air, as my eyes started blurring and I felt my knees buckling down. I dropped the gun and lay beside Deeksha. I planted a kiss on her cheek and hugged her as a white misty blanket covered us. We were always destined to be together either alive or dead!!


(Six Months Later)

As Anu walked up to the main building, she felt a nostalgic pain hit her. She had given birth to twins and had decided that her life revolved around these two god sent angels. The news of Anushmans’ disappearance caused her to further dislike her job, the same job which she loved before.

She proceeded to desk and started packing all the things. She noticed a bulgy envelope lying on her table. She had harshly scolded anybody who had tried to clean her desk and was not surprised that nobody had opened the parcel. She opened it and found a cassette, an inland letter and an open letter. She read the letter slowly.

“Dear Anuradha, My name is Sakshi. Anushman sir had been trying to help me escape my dungeon. You will find a cassette recorded by me and a proof from my friend about the involvement of a high ranking official, Amit Ray in the flesh trade business. Anushman had asked me to post this mail to you in case he wasn’t able to publish the news. Please help me!!”

Anu sank into her chair. She slowly recovered, picked up the phone and dialed the Editor-in-Chief and spoke, “Chief, code black”.


(Three Days Later)

Anu finished cleaning her dishes when she heard one of her kids cry. She wiped her hands on her apron and picked up the young kid and switched on the TV.

A young reporter could not bear his excitement and he spoke excitedly, “The external affairs minister, Amit Ray, has been arrested on charges of leading the biggest flesh trade business in the history of this country. His charges also include cover up of murders and misusing official power. An early morning raid on his farm house has uncovered two decomposed bodies allegedly belonging to reporter Anushman, from Channel 11 News, and his girlfriend. All the women in his farm houses and brothels have been released and sheltered in various NGOs”

Anu literally dropped her kid as tears swelled up in her eyes. At that point of time, the door bell rang. Anu wiped her tears and walked to the front door and opened it.

“Anuradha?” questioned the courier boy. Anu nodded her head and he handed a parcel which had been forwarded from her office.

She opened the parcel and found out a hand-drawn picture of Anushman. Below it were written the caption, “My God”. There were no guesses from whom it came from.

He truly was a God, a God who had saved many people!!



(In 2010, over thousand people were forced into flesh trade from Nepal!!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Operation S (First Part)

(All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental)

As I stepped down from my shinning new Eliminator bike, I could hear the roar of the waves crashing against the coast. I quickly parked my bike on the East Coast Road (ECR) road and started walking into a long narrow road leading to a freshly painted beach house.

The ECR road has been the best maintained route to Pondicherry. Its elegant curves dotted with small villages had made it a good destination for my most cherished Sunday morning ride.

But today was different. As I reached the huge gates of the beach house, the sentry stopped me and questioned me for my ID. A short, stout police constable came running in from inside the house and spoke to the sentry. I was let in to the sprawling mansion like beach house.

“You are late”, muttered the constable under his breath quite angrily.

I looked at him with disdain and walked up to the porch of the beautiful marble floored bungalow. Such legal and illegal guest houses lined up at frequent intervals along the ECR road. Wonder whose house this is?

“Where is she?”, I questioned the constable.

“Sir”, he scratched his head, which was quite reminiscent of any government worker asking for a small token payment, for letting me know of the news so quickly.

I thrust a fifty rupee note into his hand.

“Second room” he replied and saluted. Money power!!

I gingerly entered the first room. The stench of the dead body came floating in and hit me hard. I nearly vomited but quickly bent down and reached for my hand-kerchief to cover my face.

My childhood fear of dead bodies and ghost movies would come back to haunt me every now and then. But my career choice of an investigative journalist clashed directly with my absolute fear.

As I summoned all my courage and proceeded to the second room, I simply stood aghast by the gory murder. The brain matter was splashed all over the wall. A women in mid-thirties lay seated at the end of the empty room with the back to the wall. Her face and body was covered with blood. Her green saree was also soaked completely in blood and looked bright crimson with the last rays of the sun bursting through the window-sill and falling upon her. She looked very different from the local Chennai people, perhaps a north-eastern woman.

I quickly unloaded my Canon D5 camera and shot some pictures at various angles. A barely noticable news at the end of third page.

I usually tried to come to a murder or robbery site before the police came, just to make sure they did not divert the case and this had helped me earn considerable amount of money and reputation.

“Sir..” came a quick shout from the constable. I surveyed the room once again to check whether I had missed any important clue to the murder. Finding none, I quickly backed out to the front porch.

“Inspector will come very soon sir. Please L..”, he had not even completed his sentence, when I could hear the undistinguishable shrieking police car sirens.

“Quickly sir, this way”, the constable led me through a back route which opened into the private beach behind the bungalow. I had been very lucky to have been unnoticed as I had parked my bike far away from the bungalow.

I quickly made my way out and hid myself behind a small over-turned boat. I had never seen a huge posse of policemen for a single murder. After few minutes, I gathered all my courage and ran up to a huge crevice in the outer-wall of the bungalow and peered through.

What the hell.. DSP, IG and entire police top brass, all in one place??

A stream of many high ranking police official cars lined up at the front of the beach house. The buzz surrounding the place was quite different from any of the other murder sites. However, the clean-up operation seemed to be proceeding smoothly with the IG and DSP coordinating all the activities.

I soon lost interest in the proceedings and backed away from the beach house and took a long route to reach the ECR road. I quickly hid my ID card and proceeded towards my bike. I could see two constable drinking tea in a nearby shop. I quickly walked to my bike and started my bike.

“Sir”, called out one of the constable. I turned back to face the constable as he walked towards me and he switched off my bike and took the keys out. My heart skipped a beat.

“What are you doing here sir?” he questioned.

Mind your damn business!

I took a deep breathe to calm my senses. “I just parked here to take some pictures”, I replied sensing the fact his eyes were rooted to my camera.

“Can I see them?” he replied.

“Sure sir”, I replied. I had already planned for such a scenario and took a few pictures of the sea. But just seven pics..

As we reached the end of sixth pic, my hands started shaking.

“Hold tightly”, ordered the constable as I hit the next button.

“Tamizh…” shouted the other constable pointing at his watch to let him know that they were supposed to move on. The constable next to me turned to face him for a second and that was just the time I required to switch off the camera.

As the constable turned back to face me, I made a depressing face and explained that the digital camera had run out of battery.

As I thanked my stars and was about to start my bike, a pachai nirame ring tone reminded me of my missed appointment.

As I brooded on a plausible list of explanations, I heard her speaking calmly, which was usually a sign of a storm waiting to unfold.

“Satyam Escape – 20 mins”, she spoke and hung up. As I slung my backpack and my camera, and started my bike, I could still feel the constable’s eyes zooming in on me. Something was definitely wrong.


“You look very beautiful when angry”, I tried to pacify her before it took an ugly turn. Her kohl-filled eyes, contrasted perfectly to her bright red chudidhar and her wheatish tanned skin. Her bindi, pink lipstick,small cute earrings.. few words to describe such beauty!!

She shook her head, released her folded hands and walked into the GAP showroom inside the huge Satyam Escape mall which was the biggest mall in Asia. I sighed despondently and followed her.

Perhaps all beautiful girls have this stupid ego.

“No ego” she muttered. I stood bamboozled by her mind reading skills.

“Any girl waiting for half an hour would have gotten damn angry and left off. I am just waiting because ..”, she didn’t have words to fill it in, but I knew.. because she loved me. But it was never in her gene to accept anything so easily.

She moved on to the Men’s section and started hunting for a trouser. “What’s your size?”, she questioned as she ruffled through the formal trousers. I immediately breathed in heavily, to tuck in my beer-filled tummy and make it resemble a six pack.

“There is no point doing that”, she spoke even without turning back. She chose a 34” black trouser and slung it across my shoulder.

I hated formal wear. I liked this journalist job because it paid me well and also let me wear any kind of jean and t-shirt I liked. But all that was about to change.

She quickly plucked out a white cotton shirt and checked out its compatibility my mock-measuring it along my back.

“This should be good. Go to the trial room on the left” she ordered me. I gently shoved my back-pack and my camera onto her and quietly made my way to the trial room. Where have I got myself into?

I changed into the formal wear, which fit me perfectly and was about to change back into my jean, when I heard her call, “Come out. I want to see you.”

I gingerly opened the door and stood in front of my examiner. She nodded her head in self appreciation and smiled.

As I changed back to my jean and came out, I found that she had jumped to the saree section. How can girls live without buying more and more sarees?

I grumpily tugged along her side and started looking around.

“Don’t sight aduchufy the other females”, she warned. I blushed! She is a goddess of everything.

After waiting beside her for ten minutes, I decided that it was a never ending process. She would smash me if I tried to take leave of her. I found a small stool next to me and sat on it and looked at the pinkish-orange saree she held in her hands.

Where did I find this masterpiece? She was a strange girl who had not accepted my proposal till now but would call me to come with her whenever she ventured out. It all started six months ago, when she landed at an apartment in the next block. I used to catch a glimpse of her every morning at 6:15 AM and soon the usual sightings gave way to me waving my hands to capture her attention, until one day when she landed right in my home demanding an explanation. I told her the truth, that I loved her.

There are always two reactions from a complete stranger for those words. Slap or a hug!! But she was unique.

She blushed for a second and then stared angrily at me for the next ten seconds. Then she turned back and went back to her home as if nothing had happened. Later I got to know that she was angry at me for waving out to her mom, who looked so much like her. But for some reason, she never responded to my proposal.

She picked up the final selection of her pinkish-orange saree and held my hand and led me to the billing counter.

“You brought your salary right?”, she spoke nonchalantly.

I quietly nodded. What a waste of money..

“Nothing is a waste” she replied. I stopped thinking any further. She took a bunch from the wad, paid the cashier and thumped the remaining ones in my shirt pocket.

“Wear this and go to K7 police station at 11 AM tomorrow”, she ordered and gave me instructions on whom to meet and what to talk. I quietly nodded and walked out to the main door and was about to leave the place when I realized that I had mistakenly placed my camera on top of a small table nearby.

I quickly ran up to the saree section and heaved a sigh of relief to have found out my camera. As I picked up my precious, I noticed some smudge marks on the lens and quickly switched it on. Just as I had expected, all the pics had been deleted.


As I tentatively made up to the K7 police station the next day, I heard the unmistakable voice of a gentleman that I had heard in my nearby apartment.

“How old are you?”, he questioned a frightened young guy.

“25 sir”, he replied gingerly.

On my.. am also 25.

“What do you young guys think.. huh? You make some money in some stupid IT company and elope with a girl. Do you ever know how much it pains the family of the girl?” he thundered.

“Sir, we both are major and we have the right to marry”, defended the girl bravely as her lover cowered behind her.

“Shut up!!”, the sub-inspector roared.

Just then their families made a hasty entry into the police station and dragged their kids away.

What a timing!! I quietly made a retreat and was about to walk out when a heavy set of hands caught me firmly on the shoulders.

“My daughter has told me about you”, sub-inspector spoke. I started sweating profusely.

“You are sweating hard. You should come in” he offered. He placed a glass of cold water, which I drank bottoms up.

“So what is your name kid?”, he questioned. Kid.. Damn..

“Anushman”, I spoke cautiously.

“What do you do?”, he probed further.

“I am a free lance journalist, but I work most of the time for Channel 11 news”, I replied a little confidently.

“How much do you earn?”. His distaste of me liking his daughter was clearly evident.

I took a deep breath and was about to reply, when he raised his hand symbolically asking me to stop speaking.

“I don’t care what my daughter likes about you. I don’t like you and that is final. You better leave her or you will land right there”, he pointed right to the dark cell which housed some suspicious inmates.

As I bid a bitter good bye to him and started my journey back to office, I felt I had a big issue to deal with. Why the hell did the stupid girl ask me to meet her dad and that too at a police station..

As I parked my bike in the rear bike stand of Channel 11 office, I brooded on the next step for saving my love. Leaving Deeksha was not an option.

I took the service elevator right up to the top floor and started walking when a very nervous looking intern bumped into me.

“Am so sorry sir”, spoke Swetha. She was perfect example of beauty with no brains.

“It’s ok”, I tried to move on when she replied, “Anush sir, I have a question. Where are the 2010 murder files located?”

I would have told her about two thousand times but she never seemed to remember anything. I shook my head disparagingly and pointed to the room right at the end of the floor. She gave me a stupid smile and hurried to find her documents.

I quickly walked up to Anuradha place. Anu had been my best working buddy. We had cracked open many closed chapters, the latest being a five year old kid killed by an army jawan, when the kid tried to enter the army premises. Fearing backlash from the government, we had disclosed this news to the all news channels for a huge amount of money. Through this we made sure that we created no permanent enemies and also earned enough money to bolster our meager salaries.

Unfortunately Anu had decided to put an end to our adventures and had got married to her college sweetheart. One look at her bulging stomach made me realize that she was quickly and correctly on the production line status.

“So what did the doc say?” I questioned.

“Four months to the finish line”, she replied as she gobbled a piece of samosa and sipped her hot ginger tea. I smiled gently. I cared for Anu like my elder sister and she always pampered me like one. She pushed one of the remaining Samosa towards me. I declined it and started looking out of the window.

“How did your morning trip go?” she questioned. I displayed thumbs down signal without turning back.

“Don’t worry kiddo. She will be all yours. Be strong and love her lots” her words of encouragement had always guided me during tough times. The problem was I did not know whether Deeksha loved me or not.

“Ma’m, here are the 2010 murders in Delhi”, Swetha handed Anu a huge set of files.

“Thank you. Arrange the 2011 murder files and bring them to me” ordered Anu.

“Take a look at this”, Anu offered. I had discussed yesterday’s murder with Anu and told her about the suspicious deletion of pictures on my camera.

I took a quick glance at the picture and shot a quizzing look back at Anu. “It’s the same girl”, I spoke.

Anu nodded her head in disagreement. “These four north-eastern girls who look alike were killed brutally in Delhi last year. All had their brains blown up”. I was shocked to see such brutality.

“Now check this out”, she spoke handing me a scrap of news clinging on to the edge of the newspaper.

I silently read the news article titled “The Lost Girls” and nodded in amazement. The girl that I had seen yesterday was surely the second girl from right. Now, Anu nodded in agreement.

“So what’s the connection?”, I spoke throwing my hands up not able to connect the dots.

“There were originally six girls in the group. Four of them were suddenly killed brutally for apparently no reason. The fifth one was murdered yesterday. And so, there is only one way to find out the truth”

“To find her” I concluded. “But where… is the question?” I muttered under my breath.

“I cannot find everything out for you, Mr. Journalist” she replied with a smile.

“We shall call this case as Operation S” she concluded providing a casual explanation for what S stood for. I stood up to stretch myself and ponder about the case.

Perhaps it was time for me to grow up from a junior partner to a fully fledged journalist.


The first month of national level search with our news partners about the missing woman yielded little results. However soon, I was lucky enough to find out more information. These girls were from Nepal against the earlier assumption of them being North-Eastern girls. All of them were aged around 18-20 when they had initially come to India and two of them belong to high caste rich families.

A month later, my luck started improving drastically and the woman’s whereabouts literally landed on my lap. One of my informers, Hasoor, introduced me to Khadir bhai. As I showed the girl’s photo to Khadir bhai, he took me to a crowded part of North Chennai.

“You must act like a customer” he advised as he guided me through a maze of small alleys.

I pretty soon understood his meaning as I walked up the stairs of a dingy old building. The clinkering of bangles and the high pitched laughter was unmistakable.

“Come in Khadir”, welcomed a fat lady with a huge red bindi. Khadir bent down and touched her feet and whispered something into her ears.

She smiled at me and asked me to proceed to the last door to the right. I curiously walked down the dimly lit place and gently knocked on the door.

I heard a clinking of bangles and anklets as a petite girl came and opened the small door. The sixth girl!! As the door creaked open, she motioned me inside and she went and sat on a small bed.

I quickly searched for something to sit. Finding none, I quietly went and sat right next to her.

She removed her pallu and spoke harshly, “I have just thirty minutes for you Sir”

The words hit me hard. I realized I was sitting right next to a prostitute. Oh my God. Deeksha and her SI dad are going to kill me now!!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Operation S (Teaser)

As I stepped down from my shinning new Eliminator bike, I could hear the roar of the waves crashing against the coast. I quickly parked my bike on the East Coast Road (ECR) road and started walking into a long narrow road leading to a freshly painted beach house.

The ECR road has been the best maintained route to Pondicherry. Its elegant curves dotted with small villages had made it a good destination for my most cherished Sunday morning ride.

But today was different. As I reached the huge gates of the beach house, the sentry stopped me and questioned me for my ID. A short, stout police constable came running in from inside the house and spoke to the sentry. I was let in to the sprawling mansion like beach house.

“You are late”, muttered the constable under his breath quite angrily.

I looked at him with disdain and walked up to the porch of the beautiful marble floored bungalow. Such legal and illegal guest houses lined up at frequent intervals along the ECR road. Wonder whose house this is?

“Where is she?”, I questioned the constable.

“Sir”, he scratched his head, which was quite reminiscent of any government worker asking for a small token payment, for letting me know of the news so quickly.

I thrust a fifty rupee note into his hand.

“Second room” he replied and saluted. Money power!!

I gingerly entered the first room. The stench of the dead body came floating in and hit me hard. I nearly vomited but quickly bent down and reached for my hand-kerchief to cover my face.

My childhood fear of dead bodies and ghost movies would come back to haunt me every now and then. But my career choice of an investigative journalist clashed directly with my absolute fear.

As I summoned all my courage and proceeded to the second room, I simply stood aghast by the gory murder. The brain matter was splashed all over the wall. A women in mid-thirties lay seated at the end of the empty room with the back to the wall. Her face and body was covered with blood. Her green saree was also soaked completely with blood and looked bright crimson with the last rays of the sun bursting through the window-sill and falling upon her. She looked very different from the local Chennai people, perhaps a north-eastern woman.

I quickly unloaded my Canon D5 camera and shot some pictures at various angles. Perhaps a small news at the end of third page.

I usually tried to come to a murder or robbery site before the police came, just to make sure they did not divert the case and this had helped me earn considerable amount of money and reputation.

“Sir..” came a quick shout from the constable. I surveyed the room once again to check whether I had missed any important clue to the murder. Finding none, I quickly backed out to the front porch.

“Inspector will come to come very soon sir. Please L..”, he had not even completed his sentence, when I could hear the undistinguishable shrieking police car sirens.

“Quickly sir, this way”, the constable led me through a back route when opened into the private beach behind the bungalow. I had been very lucky to have been unnoticed as I had parked my bike far away from the bungalow.

I quickly made my way out and hid myself behind a small over-turned boat. I had never seen a huge posse of policemen for a single murder. After a few minutes, I gathered all my courage and ran up to a huge crevice in the outer-wall of the bungalow and peered through.

What the hell.. DSP, IG and entire police top brass, all in one place??

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mere Friend Ki Dulhan!!

(Hi Guys, I guess it’s time for a short sweet story. Happy reading folks and please do post you comments. They motivate story writers a lot!! :) )


I let out a stifled yawn, stretched my back on the cushy chair and took a quick peek out of my window. I had the best view of the downtown from my 7th floor cubicle.

Damn! A snowfall so early in the winter was a pretty bad sign. I quickly checked out the hourly weather update and things seemed to get worse. I quickly made up my mind to escape out of office early afternoon.

I swiveled to my left and poked around in my I-Phone as my personal mails and chatting devices were switched off in my office desktop system. I swiftly dived into the useless FB updates scanning for any juicy videos. Diwali night!! I reminded myself as I failed to find any good videos posted by my Indian friends.

I quickly jumped onto my Fring app and looked at my list of friends. The usual list.. except.. an old friend, whom I had not met but had very friendly conversations with.

“Hey dude” I pinged, not really expecting a reply.

A few seconds later, “Hi dude” came a quick reply.

We exchanged a few pleasantries and I congratulated him for his new job. Getting a job in US nowadays was as close to India winning a Test match at Lord’s by an innings.

“I am getting married in December”, he dropped a bombshell.

“What the..” I trailed, trying to cope up with the new information. Damn, you are one year younger to me man.

“Congrats!!” I staggered back on track.

“Thank you. It’s a love marriage” he dropped the next big shell.

How is everybody able to get a girlfriend except me.

“Hmm.. So what’s the girl’s name?” I questioned.

“Niranjana” he pinged back. Niranjana.. I repeated in my head.

“Let me hear your story” I pinged again trying to extract a good story for my short story blog.

“Dude, it’s not even half as exciting as your love stories” he replied obviously not interested to divulge his story.

“No love story is boring” I pinged back. A few seconds of silence ensued. I understood that it was the end of our conversation.

And then suddenly he pinged. “It started six years back…” and there started the story of Mere Friend Ki Dulhan.


The Story in Friend's Words...

I checked my watch for one last time. She should have been here by now.

“Relax dude, she will come”, spoke my senior as he patted my back reassuringly. Sai was my guide, guru, brother and best friend.

She swept the dupatta of her red chudidhar over her left shoulder and walked towards me. I choked, with my saliva nearly locked in my mid-throat. What a beauty!!

Nira aka Niranjana, had been my silent sweet-heart right from the first time I saw her on the first day of my college when I had introduced myself to her.

I looked at her in near amazement as I had always wanted to ask God as how he could create a masterpiece and leave it right beside me. Her doe shaped eyes, thin pinkish lips, small golden bindi on her nearly perfect round face along with her wheatish complexion had made her the talk of the town and as expected the college guys made this fact well known to her.

“The best girls are like the apples which hang from the top of the tree. The ordinary guys don’t make an effort to reach for them and walk away with those lying on the ground. It takes men of strength and courage to rise and reach for the best apples in the tree.”

Had I not read this quote in some stupid magazine, I would have never thought about trying my luck with Nira. But she never gave one smallest hint or intention of liking anybody except her parents and her dog. I hated dogs.

She seemed quite frustrated and tired. I looked back at Sai anna and he gave me a cold stare. We had rehearsed my proposal so many times that we had covered every scenario except the ultimate one, a slap on the face.

I was lucky to have her as my classmate and as luck turned out, I soon became one of her good friends. She walked right towards me and opened her backpack and thrust an envelope into my hands.

I gingerly opened the envelope and it had a beautiful card inside it which read “Seven reasons I love U”

I looked up at the sky thanking all my stars for making Nira understand my feelings and propose to me.

“That bastard Arun…” she started and I immediately knew what had happened. Some random fella proposed to her and she was frustrated to no end now. I really could not fathom as to how she could not see it coming.

A fifteen minute one-sided conversation ended with me nodding attentively to her tale of devotion to her family and her dog.

“I am not going to accept any proposals from now on” she stamped her way to her bus.

I looked around to find Sai anna standing twenty meters away at a tea shop. I slowly walked to join Sai, completely deflated from the Sehwag styled slaughter.

“Anna.. I..” I paused to take in a deep breath, “She..” I stopped not able to continue further.

Sai ordered the Nayar sir to make a special chai for me and put a hand around my shoulders and spoke gently, “I listened to the conversation”. I abruptly turned my head to question how he overheard our conversation.

“She was shouting” he replied, understanding my mind-voice and continued, “Girls accepting proposal is like reaching Vishnu at Vaikuntam”. I looked at Sai with absolute confusion. First Nira’s monotonous blabberings and now Sai’s confusing advices. But some of them were worth it. I gingerly sipped my tea and he continued.

“As I said, a love proposal has seven doors to be opened like Vaikuntam and when each door opens you still have many more doors to open. So don’t give up buddy”.

Through the corner of my eyes, I could see Nira climbing the steps of a PTC bus and make her way through the crowded bus. I just should have proposed to her yesterday. I had lost her forever!!


I looked at watch and nearly froze. Damn!! Meeting time. I dropped my Table Tennis bat and ran towards the lift and kept on pressing the down button.

I had 90 seconds to be precise, to attend the boring weekly status call with my onsite counterpart. I looked around to find the guard snoring at the cafeteria desk. The whole place wore a deserted look as it was already 9 PM.

85 seconds.. The lift door opened and I quickly jumped in pressing the down button to the third floor. As the lift door was about to close, suddenly a beautiful hand with clinkering golden bangles shot right through the door. The lift door opened again to let her through.

NIRA.. The words choked in my mouth. My mind automatically recalled my favorite poet Barathiyaar’s poems Aasai mugam marandhu poche… (How I have forgotten my favorite person’s face..)

“Aasai mugam..” I spoke realizing I was blabbering. “Hi Nira..” I strung those words with great difficulty.

“Hey Kailash”, she spoke with her usual excitement of meeting somebody whom she liked.

“You disappeared man.. completely”, she spoke with a disappointed look. I had pulled myself out from her life as I could see how I would fit into her list of best friends as I like her way more than a friend.

“I didn’t know you work in this office”, I tried to steer the conversation away.

She crossed her hands as if she didn’t hear my words. She squarely looked at me in the eye and spoke, “I will give you one chance to make up for what you have done”.

I looked timidly at her and spoke up, “What?”

“Treat me for a hot cuppa coffee”, she finished.

The lift stopped at the third floor. I looked hesitatingly at my watch.. 10 seconds more.. I could just make it to the meeting if I ran a 100 meter world sprint. I took a deep sigh and pressed again for the fifth floor towards the cafeteria.

Random thoughts on providing a reason to my onsite counter part ran through my head.

Arjun, my grandpa was hospitalized suddenly.. My dad fell off his bike, I mean his TVS 50.. My mom’s best friend met with an accident..

As Nira’s soft hands brushed against mine, I floated on to the 9th floor of the heaven. I finally had a reason to give to my lead. I had got my girl back and I was with going to get her in my life. Damn you and your crap meetings..


(A year later)

Some relations are destined to come back in your life and make a huge difference. The last one year had been the best time of my life with me heading out to movies, parks, beaches with my sweet heart. Our relationship had grown from strength to strength and Nira confided in me her most guarded secrets and even cooked for me one day at her home. But today was different.

I looked disgustingly at the most distinctive purple lipstick that stuck glaringly in her beautiful face. I looked around to find the cafeteria very silent. A perfect time.

“I.. I want to say something”, I spoke up finally.

“I knew something was wrong. You are usually so talkative”, she replied.

I took a deep breath and then spoke, “See Nira, both of us have been good friends. Why not take it to the next level”. That was my best attempt at proposing to my sweetheart.

I expected some fiery eyes and few curses to fly at me. She stared at me with no hint of any emotion. “I cannot say anything right now”

I gulped some more tea. “Is there any particular reason?” I tried to find a logical reason.

“As I told you, I am in no position to tell you anything now”, she repeated her dialogue.

Damn! These girls are crazy. They want their husband to be their best friend but do not accept their best friend as their husband.

Perhaps time for a permanent separation had finally come. “I..”, the words were just lost in thin air like my love.


(Twenty Months Later)

Humans make a plan, God makes one and no guesses for finding out who wins. Nira had come back in my life only to go away. She was like a mirage, so close, yet so far. I was so frustrated with Nira, that I stopped talking with her completely after that day.

Ashai Mugam Marandhu Poche.. My ringtone buzzed with the latest Iyer sister’s song.

“Hello”, I screamed higher than the noise of the vehicles whizzing past me.

“Hi Kailash, This is Preity”, spoke a sweet voice. Preity was Nira’s best friend and mine too for some time we were roaming out together.

“I am at Velachery Office. Wanna catch up?” she suggested.

“Sure. I am on my way to the office. See ya in fifteen minutes” I finished the conversation and zoomed my bike to my office.

“Hey, long time” I spoke extending my hands for a handshake.

After a cordial handshake, things veered to a sweet discussion on life and movies as both of us were movie buffs.

“So I thought you guys were together”, she spoke sipping the last drops of the ginger tea.

“Who?” I questioned back knowing very well what she had asked.

“How sad that you don’t understand my question” she blinked mischievously. Girls can read guys minds to near perfection.

“We were never a pair yaar”, I tried to put up a brave face.

“You should know something”, she spoke as she inched forward and brought her face closer to mine.

“Nira had a cousin, Yashita, who was brought up in Nira’s home as her parents died when she was very young. The week before you proposed, Yashita eloped with a guy”

The diameter of my eyeballs increased proportionately with each sentence of hers.

“There was major fight in her home and her parents were very upset about having to go to a police station to report about Yashita. That was the reason, she didn’t tell you anything and hinted that she might think about it”, Preity finished.

Damn! I wanted to bang my head somewhere. I never listened to Sai’s words. Patience.. Patience..

“We are all going to Coorg. I want you join us in the trip. Nira will also come there. Speak to her and things will be fine. Atleast you guys will be friends again” she consoled me.

My last chance had landed right in my lap and I was not going to miss it!!


(Location: Coorg
Temperature: 16 deg Cel)

I hated this cold climate. The warm or even hot climate of Chennai suited me much better than any hilly region on this planet. But I had come here for a reason - To get back my sweet-heart for one final time.

Throughout the hike that morning, Nira had not even spoken a single word to me. She was happily waving and joking with everybody except me. I stuck beside Preity, grudgingly trekking behind the group of eight.

The cold air drilled through my bones as the night progressed. I extended my hands around the camp fire that burned handsomely. I could see a person silently creeping behind my back.

“We are having the meeting inside. Please join us there”, spoke Nira in the most formal manner.

As I entered the huge hall, I could see everybody sitting in large circle with an empty coke bottle in the middle. I made my way to sit beside Preity, just opposite of where Nira sat.

Preity cleared her throat and spoke, “This game is called CONFESSIONS”. I knew her plan which fit my cause perfectly.

She spun the bottle hard and it made several turns before the bottle head rested opposite a fair, tall sardar.

“So Gurbinder, what’s your confession?” smiled Preity.

“I like Sidhu pa ji commenting”, he declared sheepishly.

“What’s the confession in that?”, spoke Preity, making a quirky face. She had expected more. “Tell us about your first love” she perked up the conversation.

She definitely had a plan for me.

“Love..” the sardar started and told us the most boring story of how he loved his father bullet bike and his adventures with that. “Completely lost”, Preity muttered under her breath.

She turned the bottle one more time. Please God, give me one chance. I will make it count.

The bottle slowly stopped rotating and rested upon a chocolate faced young fella sitting right next to Nira.

He looked at Nira once and spoke to the group, “I met a girl an year before and she changed my life altogether. Both of us have had the best time together and today I would like to ask that girl whether she likes me more than a friend”.

He turned towards Nira and took out a red rose from his jacket and handed it to her. Everybody in the group clapped and hooted as Preity and I sat completely paralyzed. Perhaps this was my punishment for not being patient enough. I had learnt the lesson, of course, the hard way.

I quietly sunk my head between my knees and was nearly about to cry. I mentally planned to quietly retire to my room and leave Coorg early tomorrow if Nira accepted his proposal. Something stuck me as odd, when Nira didn't reply for a few seconds. I looked up at Nira waiting for her decision with bated breath.

Nira was as much shocked as we were. She slowly regained her composure.

“Before I tell anything to Sanjeev, I must make a confession too”, she spoke gently. “On the first day of my college, a guy walked up to me and introduced himself. He went on to become my best friend, but suddenly disappeared after the end of 4th year of college for some reason. I liked him a lot for I could see the love in his eyes, but he never told me about his feelings at all. We met at a cafeteria a year later and I felt I had regained a part of my life back.”

My mind was completely blank, struggling to put together everything I was hearing.

“He proposed to me one fine day but some family reasons didn’t allow me to make any decision. However at that point of time, I just liked him as a friend and nothing more.”

My heart sank rapidly again. The match going down to the wire. There was palpable tension in the group as she started her conclusion.

“But when he disappeared again from my life, I suddenly realized how much I missed him. I wanted to call him, stand in front of him and cry out that I loved him as much as he loved me”

My hearing sense, mind, voice.. everything went blank as Nira got up from her place and came up to me.

“I love you Kailash, please don’t leave me ever” and hugged me. I could see Preity grinning from ear to ear and clapping along with the other people in the group. My love and life was complete!!


“Bro.. Howz my love story?”, pinged my friend.

I took a few seconds to recover from the impact of his love story. It was a very short and sweet one.

“Can I write a short story based on it?” I pinged.

“He he… some things never change.. do they?” he joked.

“He he..” I pinged back. “Wishing you all the best for a very happy married life” I pinged.

“Thanks mate” he replied back.

“And don’t leave her for god’s sake” I pulled his leg.

He replied with a smiley and pinged back, “So tell me your love story bro..”

I was taken aback for half a second and recovered slowly.

“It’s a long story bro… It will take another short story” I replied.

We both bade good byes to each other and stretched my back and looked out again. The snow storm had abated and as I opened a word document, I just wondered how many love stories existed in this world.

I took a deep sigh and started typing a beautiful love story of my Friend and his Dulhan!!



Thursday, July 14, 2011

The RED Soul!! (Final Part)

(Hi Guys, I guess it’s time for a adventure through a mystical story. For easy understanding of the conversation, the mystical characters have been assumed to speak English. Happy reading folks and please do post you comments. They motivate story writers a lot!! :) )


The dagger stuck deep inside my heart pained no more. I could feel my soul draining out of my body. Perhaps it was the end of my dear life!

Suddenly I could feel a great force pulling me from the bottom of my navel and I choked. A bright red light shone furiously upon my face. As I struggled to open my eyes, I could see two people peering hard at me from a distance. Thank god, I was alive. I slowly touched my chest and could find no traces of any stab injury.

Damn!! There she was.. I strained hard to pull myself off the ground and stood up groggily. I reach out the back of my trousers and check for the small gun that I would always carry with me especially when going to unknown place with unknown people.

Thank god. They haven’t found my gun. I steadily pulled the gun out and pointed at them.

“You want to shoot us?” questioned Vidya jokingly. Strangely there was not even one drop of blood on the blades of the dagger that she was holding. “Go ahead.. shoot us” she spoke inviting me to blast both of them.

I pointed the gun to their forehead and was about to shoot them when Vidya spoke again, “I hope you are not as stupid as you look. We don’t miss many opportunities of finishing off a person and you gave us the opportunity twice, one in the hospital and one here”. Her logic seemed immaculate. I immediately checked my gun and as I had imagined they had removed the bullets from the gun.

Stupid me. I had to work my way out of this. This had not been the first time I had been stuck in an unfriendly environment. I quietly removed my belt and touched the secret front button built on its hilt. The belt tightened into a long stick.

“Ok. Who wants to enjoy a 100 KW shock?” I spoke proudly holding my MI5-like weapon. This weapon had rescued me from innumerable tight situations. I could see Vidya’s face turn pale, but could see no reactions in the wrinkled face of the Old woman standing beside her.

“Cut the crap” spoke a hoarse voice. “I don’t want this drama. Bring the female and get on with the things. We have loads of work”

Suddenly Vidya pulled open a trap door on the side of the wall and dragged somebody out the crevice.

I strained hard to see who that person was. “Amma..” my shout rang loud and echoed throughout the underground cave.

They had cello-taped my mom’s mouth and her hands. She was struggling to stand on her feet.

“If anything happens to my mom, I will kill both of you” I threatened in the usual filmy style. My threat had literally no effect on both of them.

“Get the stupid thing that he holds and get him ready for the journey” spoke the Old Lady. “I will bring the transporter”

“Transporter? What is that?” I spoke up trying to buy some time to rescue my mom.

“Don’t try to act too smart kid” spoke the Old Lady.

“Don’t ask too many questions” she ordered. “Ah! I forgot. He must meet his old friend”

She pointed to the other corner of the room where I could see some bars of steel. I quickly rushed up to the jail like structure and could see Srini in an unconscious state.

“Srini” I shouted. “It’s me, Venky. Get up!” I pleaded.

Srini faintly shook his head and on seeing me, dragged his body to steel rods that separated us.

“Are you alright sir?” I spoke holding his arms through the steel rods.

“I .. I am ok.” spoke Srini. He was more dead than alive.

“You should not have come here” he spoke straining every muscle of his.

“They have my mother” I spoke quietly as I didn’t want them to get suspicious of our conversation. They didn’t seem to care as they were busy dragging something really heavy.

“Why did you send me the telegram?” I questioned.

“What? What telegram?” he shot back. Quickly I understood that it was all the game of Vidya who might have sent me the telegram and also caught up with me on the train. It was all her work!!

“How did you come here?” I spoke, trying to understand how he got here.

“I worked with your father on my projects and suddenly about twenty years ago, he vanished while trying to search for the red soul”. Oh my God!! Father you too…

“I found some clues about where he might have vanished but it took me fifteen years to decipher it. About five years ago I landed in here, but these two people had reached here before me and locked me up in this cellar. They tortured me, but I didn’t tell anything until one day, when they suddenly found out about you and your mother.”

“And then, they plotted to bring us here” I concluded. After a long pause I spoke again, “Who are these people?”

“They seem to be related to the Pandya dynasty. They keep speaking about that all the time” he replied.

“Ok fellas, time’s up” commanded Vidya. I deactivated my belt and gave to it Srini and told him quickly on how to use it.

Vidya stepped forward to snatch the belt when the Old Lady whispered to her, “We wouldn’t need it after our mission is accomplished”

“Young man”, she spoke rising her staff, “come here” she ordered.

“I won’t do anything for crooks like you” I spoke clearly declining her order. In one quick motion, she waved her staff and I went flying about five feet to my right and landed roughly on the floor face down. Damn.. She knew magic!!

“I don’t have time son” she spoke calmly again. “I don’t wish to kill your mother, but if you behave like this, I would have no other option.”

Seeing no opportunity for escape I quietly got up. The dagger incident along with my fall had drained most of my energy.

As I looked to the left of Vidya and the Old lady, I could see a huge twelve foot hour-glass filled with glittery silver colored sand. What the hell was that..

The Old lady read my mind and spoke, “This is what we call the Sands of Time. As the sand particles roll from the top dome to the bottom, it turns back the time. This is how we rolled back the time to get you up and alive”. As she finished speaking, I could feel the fear of our actions for the first time. A black magic witch along with her assistant would have great plans for our destruction. We were doomed!!

“Step forward and hold the hands off your mom” ordered the Old lady. “Don’t try any tricks” she warned. All of my tricks - gun, belt had failed. Perhaps they might take pity on us and leave us once their task is done.

Quickly the Old lady swung forward and held Vidya’s hands and asked her to hold my mom’s hands. We had formed a human ring. She slowly reached out to the tap situated between the two bulging hour-glass domes and turned it on.

“How many years back are we going?” I shouted, wanting to know at least which time period I would land.

She smiled for the first time in our conversation and replied, “A thousand years back!!”


My body was encapsulated in a travel through time and space with a feeling of weightlessness sinking rapidly in my heart. I could see a bright light at the end of a long tunnel that we were floating through. Suddenly I landed with a thud of the barren mud floor.

I looked up to find the Old lady and Vidya all geared up for their operation in the huge cave room. I looked up at them and my jaw dropped. They were decked in the brightest of silk robes with countless jewels adorning their body. As I looked at myself in a small mirror beside, I just fainted and fell down.

A few sprinkles of water landed on my face to wake me up. As I opened my face, I could see my mother lifting my head and stroking my hair gently. She was wearing the same old sari that she had worn; from the time we started our journey.

“Get up, you lazy bones” shouted Vidya. I went up to the mirror once again and was astonished to see myself in a completely different shape and form. I had completely changed into a twenty year old girl, wearing the same shirt which had outgrown now as my physical shape had changed.

“Hold this lady here till we come back” commanded the Old Lady to the two mighty six foot warriors behind beside her.

“Kayal, get her dressed up and explain our plan. You,” she spoke pointing a finger at me, “better do what we say or…” she just left the words hanging in there which struck a mighty fear in my heart.

“Who is Kayal?” I spoke trying to diffuse her anger. The Old Lady just smiled and left off.


“Ouch!!” I tripped over my sari and was about to fall when Kayal aka Vidya, held my hand and balanced me. I wore the brightest pink sari along with priceless jewels. If I could sell these jewels to a jewellery shop, I could fund my archeological projects for another 50 years.

“Walk properly” commanded Kayal.

“Where are we going? What do you want me to do?” I spoke.

Kayal weighed her words before speaking. “We are following an underground path to go to the Periya temple, where the temple’s inauguration will happen in about an hour.”

“Damn, you mean to say we are in 1010 AD?” I questioned her, shocked by where I had landed myself. But there was more deadly news to come.

“There is a big task waiting for you. You are the main dancer in the temple and will dance in front of thirty thousand people” she spoke. I nearly fell down again.

“Me? Dance?” I spoke half-fainting on her words.

“You are a trained dancer. As we create a commotion you will stop dancing and take the red soul placed right between you and the king and make a run for it” she concluded.

As we reached a large hole at the end of the underground passage, she signaled for me to stop. She peered out and then spoke, “Any tricks and you will be dead along with your mother in no time”. I just nodded in fear. What a great plan!!

At the end of fifteen endless minutes, we heard the might roar of the elephants and amidst the tremendous applause, the king of kings, the great Raja Raja Choza walked majestically into the temple.

Kayal pushed me out of the large crevice into the main temple. Suddenly, a person dragged my arm and spoke to me angrily, “Sundari, where have you been? We have been looking for you for last two hours”

Sundari. That must have been my name. I quietly followed her and stood in front of a troupe of five hundred dancers. All the drums blasted we marched in triple profile onto the main stage. My arms and legs just followed a particular routine. As the musical instruments joined in along with the drum beats, I along with the dancers started dancing.

A look at the King of Kings shook the base of my heart. Here I was, dancing before the mightiest warrior that India had ever seen.

After about two minutes, a few arrows shot past me, landing at the King’s throne. Suddenly all the warriors protecting the king formed a human shield around their lord. People started screaming from all directions and I ran quickly up to the pedestal containing the red soul and grabbed the precious. My hands will be fried now, or so I thought.

Surprising the chillness of the precious stone cooled my hands which had been all but bruised. I ran with all my strength towards the large crevice where I had come from and could find Kayal pulling me in and we both ran at full speed in the underground passage. Suddenly Kayal turned a large lever and I could find a huge rock door shutting behind us. We both ran towards the cave room where the Old Lady was waiting for her precious stone. As we reached the cave room, Kayal turned another lever to open the entrance of the huge cave room.

The Old Lady stood up and laughed aloud. “At last, my precious has arrived. Place it on the casket” she commanded.

Suddenly from no where one of the warriors came rushing at me and snatched the red soul. Instantly he was turned into a heap of red ash with the red soul perched on top of the ash heap.

“Traitor” the Old Lady roared. As Kayal bent down to touch the stone, the Old Lady stopped her. She motioned me to pick the precious stone and place it on the casket.

Suddenly from our earlier passage way, a might warrior wearing a shining armor of gold and wearing golden brown garments entered the room.

“Ah!! Mayavalli, I expected you” he spoke in a thundering voice. The King had arrived.

The legs of one of the two warriors guarding the Old Lady gave away and fell to the floor bending before the Choza King. “Forgive me my lord, spare my life” he pleaded.

With one swoosh of the sword in her hand, Kayal slashed the head of the warrior. “This is no place for cowards” she finished.

“How pleased I am to see thy lord” spoke the Old Lady, Mayavalli. “Unfortunately our meeting has to be cut short. I have other business to look after”

“Not so fast” spoke Raja Raja Choza as he pounced on the red soul lying on top on the red ash. Suddenly the Old Lady wafted her staff and the king was suspended in mid-air.

She slowly moved her staff and made the king stand right next to me. She closed her eyes and muttered some words and thumped her staff on the ground violently making it sink half way into the ground. In one quick flash, invisible ropes bound me, my mom and the King.

“The precious is all mine” she roared in delight.

The King gently smiled and spoke invitingly, “Try touching it”. The delight on the Old Lady face gave away to an exasperated shock.

She knew she had missed the trick. She should have made me pick the precious stone and put in the casket laying the center of the room. If she abandoned her combined curse put on me, mom and the king and took out the staff buried half-way into the ground, Raja Raja Choza would pounce on the stone and that would be the end of her dreams.

The Old Lady took out a huge sword and tried to move the red soul. The sword instantly turned into ash nearly burning her hand.

About five minutes of silence ensued, wherein the Old Lady sat in the corner of the room, thinking on what trick to use to retrieve the stone. So near yet so far.

Gathering all my courage to speak to up to the great king, I spoke “O King, why is it that she is not able to touch it?”

The King looked at me with all the care in this world and spoke gently, “There is curse put on the stone which will reduce anybody to ashes unless they relate to my royal family or their belongings”

“Am I a part of the royal family?” I questioned mixing huge of anticipation for a positive answer.

“Yes and No”, spoke the King confusing me more. “About 40 years ago, when my brother was murdered, I took an oath to destroy the Pandya dynasty. My armies razed down the whole kingdom and as we were returning, a woman who is your mother now, was secretly carrying you away from us. My spies found her and brought her to me along with you. I had one look at you and I knew you belonged to the Pandya royal family. Having no heart to kill an innocent girl, I brought you to my palace along with your care-taker. You became my daughter’s best friend and indirectly became a part of the royal family.”

“When you know so much, can you tell me why I keep getting the horrible dream of somebody trying to stab me?” I questioned him further.

“When the Pandya army re-grouped, they came to know about the red soul and its powers. They kidnapped your care-taker and black-mailed you to steal the red soul. But your loyalty belonged to Choza royal family and you didn’t do what they told you to. After the inauguration dance the enemy killed you and your care-taker. We tried searching for you but were never able to find you” he concluded.

“Oh my god!! Did I really die then?”, I exclaimed. The King politely shook his head affirmatively.

“The memories of past life are so scarred in your soul that you have repercussions of it many generations later” the King spoke.

“Just one more question” I spoke up again after a minute of silence.

“Shoot” replied the King patiently.

“Why did they choose me?” I questioned.

“The blood that runs through you is of the Pandya Dynasty and they thought that they could black-mail or persuade you to do the job. No other Choza empire person would dare do the job” The King glowed in pride speaking about his race of warriors.

“And they actually only succeeded now?” I questioned him again.

“They had been trying to retrieve the red soul from the time of the temple’s inauguration to the time you had presently come from. I believe they were able to succeed only now, for some unknown reason”

“And so what would happen if they manage to steal the red soul and its powers?” I posed a more disturbing question.

The King brooded over the fact. He let out a deep sigh and spoke, “As I can understand from my astrologers, our dynasty would extend for another 250 years followed by foreign invasion eventually culminating in their extended rule for another 700 years. If Mayavalli captures the precious stone’s power, the tables of time will change and Pandya Dynasty will rule over not only our kingdom but the whole world and the world as you know now may never exist”.

I slowly managed to gulp the hard truth along with the locked saliva in my throat. They should never get the red soul.

Suddenly the Old Lady got up and walked up to the King and removed his dagger. She then went up to the ash pile and then took a few steps back. She bent low and then took a sharp aim at the red soul. She threw the dagger to the base of the red soul and the stone flew right into the casket while the dagger burned bright but did not turn into ash. The King had divulged the secret that his dagger could touch the red soul.

The Old Lady screamed with delight and ran up to the casket. Suddenly a mad man screaming at the top of voice came running into the cave room and smashed the hour-glass with the huge rock he had been carrying. The impact broke the top part of the bottom dome of hour-glass and huge amount of the silver sand flowed into the ground. The delicate balance of time had been scrambled and the floor shook with great intensity resembling a massive earthquake. The Old Lady’s staff broke and the invisible ropes binding us disappeared. In one swoosh, the King took out his sword and severed the head of Kayal and also one leg of the Old Lady.

The mad man caught the protruding glass shards and reached out to my mom who reached out to me. Suddenly the whole world was spinning and complete blankness enveloped me.


The back of head pained as if stuck with a heavy club. I slowly raised my head, to find the mad man and my mother helplessly laying unconscious on the floor.

As I tried to get up, an old trembling hand caught hair and pushed me down to the ground. With all my force, I exerted a push to break free but the grip was way too strong. Suddenly she let go off me and quickly jumped up to stand on my feet.

“You are no match for me, Sundari” came the old hog’s hoarse voice.

In one swoosh of her hand she made me fall five feet to the left. Damn.. she could do magic with her hands. Where the hell was the King?

Suddenly she came running up to me on one leg and in the process tripped and fell on the steel rods of Srini’s enclosure. She screamed for help as Srini had gripped her neck with the help of my belt that I had given him earlier. He tightly rounded the belt along the neck of the Old Lady and then switch on the 100 KW button. She died at that instant!

“Check what has happened to your father?” screamed my mom.

“Father?”. Damn, I though he was a mad man.

My father slowly regained consciousness. He hugged me and my mom.

“Glad to be back home”, he quipped.

I could not help but agree more!!


(Six Months Later)

My father’s return had been worth all the trouble we had faced. My father in pursuit of the red soul had found out the Sands of Time and mistakenly used it to reach the Choza age but didn’t how to get back. But perhaps it was all destined that way, because if not for him the Old Lady would have stolen the Red Soul.

As I finished my thoughts, I could see the students assemble in the class.

“So as I do in all my classes, no theory, only past experiences will be shared” I spoke.

“Can you tell us about the Red Soul?” came the boy’s reply who had asked me the same question six months back.

I frowned. “What is you name?” I retorted.

“Senthamizh” he replied as I turned my back to him.

“Pandian” he finished. As horror stuck me, I quickly turned around. He had disappeared in thin air. I slowly realized that he was the next Kayal from the Pandya Dynasty who was there to continue her failed task.

Enemies abound everywhere!! The fight would continue on..


Friday, July 8, 2011

The RED Soul!! (First Part)

(Hi Guys, I guess it’s time for a adventure through a mystical story. Happy reading folks and please do post you comments. They motivate story writers a lot!! :) )

I peered through the large crevice at an astonishing sight. About five thousand artists had gathered in this huge temple. Artists from musicians to dancers were adorned in the brightest clothes and decked with the best pieces of jewellery with generous splashing of gold and semi-precious stones.

Behind the performers, the best warriors in the country were lined up. Each soldier stood over six feet tall with a six pack to resemble a Greek God. A huge smooth spear glittered in his left hand while a sword ducked in a shining metal shaft shone brightly around his hips.

Oh my God!! I have to beat these hunks to steal the Precious.

One look at my target told me that it would be virtually impossible to steal it, but I had no choice. They had my mom.

My heavy dress adorned with jewels of various kinds was dragging me down. It seemed like a Marine carrying 50 pounds of stuff on a long desert walk in the farthest mountains of Afghanistan. With sweat pouring generously off my body, I looked for an escape route and took a step back from the crevice.

“Don’t you dare” came a sharp hissing voice. Kayal pulled out her sword in one flash and placed it on my neck.

I shook my head and my eyes pleaded with her. She gently pushed me back to the crevice.

“It’s nearly time. He should be here any moment”

Suddenly a huge noise mixed with drums and trumpets along with the shrieking sound of elephants shook both of us. Kayal pushed me aside and peered through the crevice and then motioned me to look through also. From the farthest corner of the temple, came a loud booming voice.

“Rajathi Raja, Raja Gambeera, Raja Marthaanda, Raja Kula Thilaka, Raja Maavera, Raja Kula Shekara, Raja Raja Chozan Vaarugirar (Entry of the greatest king to have ruled the earth, Raja Raja Choza)”


I felt a bout of nausea hitting me as I looked around. The great king Raja Raja Choza along with his wife and ministers along with the various kings sat around the main podium. I had waited for this opportunity for last fifteen years and my moment of glory had come. I headed the troupe of dancers onto the podium, my heart beat increased with every step. As we saluted our King, he looked straight at me and smiled and then waved his hand for the dance to begin. Through the rolling drums, blowing trumpets, melodious flute notes our troupe matched the music step for step and it all seemed a piece of cake.

As I got down the podium, I could feel a hand crouch around me. I tried to wring myself out of the person’s control but he was far too strong for me. Suddenly from no where the person holding me drilled a sharp dagger into my heart.

“Help!!” I shouted and I got up clutching my heart expecting it to be bleeding. With pouts of sweat lining up my forehead, I could see the morning sunlight softly making its way into my bed room.

“What happened?” my mom came running up to me.

“Dance.. Dagger..” I blurted.

My confused mom shook her head and headed back in to the kitchen. A dance big stage performance for the king along with my murder with a large dagger was usually the part and parcel of nearly all my dreams creating much annoyance for my mom.

“Nice flat” came a sharp voice from the hall.

Not interested in all the stupid visitors visiting my home from time to time, I picked my t-shirt and wore it on and proceeded to the rest-room across the main hall.

“What are you doing son?” spoke a fat lady about the age of my mother as caught me waking into the main hall.

I shrugged and looked at my mom for support, but she was no where to be seen.

“Going to bathroom, aunty” I replied. She laughed so loudly that the children playing in the apartment corridor suddenly quieted down fearing a fierce scolding from the aunty in my home.

“I am not asking about that son” she explained as if I didn’t understand. “Where are you working?”

“ASI” I spoke rubbing the sleep off my eyes.

“What?” she questioned. I searched for my mom again. She never helps me when I am in trouble.

“I am archeologist” I replied.

As the lines on aunty’s forehead converged displaying a complete sense of ignorance of my profession, my mom jumped in from the kitchen.

“He digs the ground for past treasures” she spoke mockingly. She hated my job, while I loved it.

“Oh.. He is software programmer who creates programs for digging earth?” came a earth-shattering comment from the aunty. Damn.. People think that there are only two types of jobs in India – Call Centers and IT!!

“Whatever it is he should get married soon.” Out poured her Einstein type intelligent thoughts.

“He will never get married, unless he digs his future wife out of pit that he works in” replied my mom.

As I ignored my mom’s scathing comments on my bachelorhood and profession, I headed into the bathroom. I didn’t want to get married.


As I entered the big hall, I was greeted by about 50 enthusiastic prospective archeologists. People taking archeology class had greatly diminished with the onset of the great so-called technology jobs.

I put my bag on the table and scanned the 100 tables situated in the bog hall. I took a piece of chalk and started writing “Archeology – Last Class”

“Before I start asking each of us to introduce ourselves, I speak a little about myself” I started. An enthusiastic student raised his hand and I asked him to speak.

“We all know about you sir. The only South Indian to be selected for NASA’s exploration of various historical sites around the world. Author of twenty books including the best seller “Forgetting India’s Past?”. A former Assistant Field-Director of ASI operations.”

“And a bachelor” whispered a girl smiling sweetly at me. At thirty three I had achieved a little in life, but still there was more to do.

“All you have said is true, but is bull shit according to me” I started. “My real joy came when our team found a major temple in Khajuraho. And I would be even happier if you guys can make a mark in Indian history by discovering some things”

“But before all that you must finish this only class in this semester, to pass and you’re your credentials” I finished.

“I am not going to repeat what is there in this book” I pointed to the fat book in the front desk, “but if you want we can have a discussion on some things that were lost to history”

“Like the Red Soul?” spoke a young student sitting at the top corner of the hall. I scanned for his face and found his eyes gleaming at the prospect of my denial. I had never denied the existence of any myth and had always encouraged my students to dig in for the ultimate truth but not this time.

“Professor” came a low hooting voice of the watchman. “A telegram for you”

As I opened the telegram, a lightning scooted from the base of spinal cord right to the top of my head. As sweat started pouring from my forehead, I slowly started reading the contents.



“I really like that book” a sweet voice from a woman sitting right opposite to me broke the silence between us.

I slightly swung my book to the right and looked at her. She was in her later twenties and wore a dark green shiffon sari with a golden brown border. Her bronzed colored skin radiated in the white light partly falling on her hands alone. A single diamond platinum necklace laced her neck to go along with beautiful pairs of diamond earrings.

As I was in no mood for a chat, I swung the book back to my face again. I had to finish it off before I reached the station tomorrow morning.

“Srinivasan writes really well” she spoke again.

I placed a page marker inside the book and looked at her. After letting out a sigh, I grabbed my bottle of water. After gulping a few pints of the elixir of life, I stared right at her eyes.

“What do you know about Srinivasan?”

“He was one of the greatest archeologists of our generation. His excavations range from pyramids in China to hidden stone temples in Bangkok to Khajuraho excavations. Strangely, he disappeared five years back while working on a secret Indian Government project.”

Suddenly she bent low and requested me to come closer. “He is also considered to be the spy of a foreign nation”. I literally jumped out laughing at the joke. I had known Srini for over 20 years now. He had been my mentor till our paths diverged.

Taken aback by my lack of seriousness, she looked away feeling slighted.

“I… I didn’t mean to laugh” I spoke.

“But you did” she protested.

“It’s hilarious to know how many rumors pile around a person when he is out of this world’s eyes” I tried to reason.

“You seem to have a great knowledge about him” I tried to praise her.

“I know about you also, Mr. Venkatraman” she spoke trying to surprise me.

Quite startled to hear my name, I started to think a little vicisouly about this woman. How could she have known me? The probability of a woman knowing about me and sitting right next to me on one of the five trains going to Tanjore was really next to zero.

“I am also going in search of the RED SOUL” she declared.

Seriously taken aback, I tried to avoid gazing into her eyes. Damn.. she knows everything. Srini, why do you always do this to me.

She took out a piece of paper and gave it to me.


The words that screamed from the telegram were nearly similar to mine.

“Hi, I am Venkat” I officially introduced myself.

“I am Vidya Kumari” she shook my hand. “I am the Special Research Assistant of ASI” she declared. Damn!!


The train came to a smooth halted at the Tanjore station. I had always wanted to come to this beautiful city. But now, I was about to meet my best friend and along with him, the most precious stone in the history of mankind – the RED SOUL.

“We can refresh ourselves at a lodge nearby and proceed to Temple” I suggested.

“We have no time for that, Venkat. Just brush up and wash your face nearby, I will get some tea for you” she ordered. It had been a long time, since I had taken order from anybody least of that a woman. But it was not a time for a fight; coz she knew more information than what I did.

I nodded my head and in five minutes, we were on our way to the temple. She expertly guided the autorickshaw driver through the narrow alleys and very soon, we reached the temple. The grand entrance of the temple reminded me of my childhood days when my father used to let me sit on the top of his head and we would roam the city. He had been one of the best archeologists of his time. I missed him a lot since he disappeared twenty years ago.

“Lets walk inside and see if we can find Mr. Srinivasan” she spoke. I nodded my head and stepped into the temple when suddenly I clutched my heart. I felt as if somebody had stuck a dagger into my heart.

A strange blankness enveloped me and I felt as if I was floating in mid air.


As I woke up clutching my heart expecting it to bleed heavily, I found myself looking at a huge painting adorning the room with a few chairs and a sofa. I could find my right hand paining as if I was being pricked by needle and I could find a bottle of saline being injected into me.

I knew I was in some hospital. Suddenly Vidya entered the room and came and sat close on the sofa next to me. “So how are you doing?”

“I am fine. Thanks. What happened to me?” I spoke back.

“You fainted” she replied.

“Before we speak, I would need to know everything that you know about the Red Soul” I spoke mixing politeness with my curiosity to know about what she knew. She was after-all the Special Research Assistant of ASI at such a young age.

She sighed deeply and spoke “About six months ago, we at ASI received a message from Mr. Srinivasan, who for some reason had disappeared. Senior heads at ASI decided to trace the message. However, we were never able to trace it and the search had lost steam until two days ago when we got a telegram. Our team did some research and found out that you had also received a similar message and so we booked a ticket and I met you on the train”

“Wait” I declared. “Who works in your team?” I questioned her more.

“The Red Soul is a national interest” she paused, waiting for my reaction as she tried to steer away from my question. I hinted at her to speak on.

“As you would know the Red Soul is the largest natural Ruby found in the world and it had become a myth till it was rumored to have been found sometime back. The ruby does not belong to India, but was stolen by Raja Raja Choza on his ruthless mission to destroy SriLanka”

Suddenly I started feeling that she was distorting the truth. Raja Raja Choza was just waging a war for god’s sake. But I needed to know everything that she knew and so I kept quiet.

“The Red Soul was the main reason Raja Raja Choza came to power even when his family was pitifully massacred”

Oh Com’on, his brother was killed and his mom committed sati along with husband who died of that grief.

She looked at me for any reaction of her scathing words. Not finding any she continued “The king wanted to secretly store the most precious stone of this world somewhere and legend has it that it is kept hidden in the maze like tunnels running under the Periya Shiva temple of Tanjore”

“Wait a second” I interrupted. “You mean to say nobody tried to search for that precious stone till now”

“Why not?” came a wry reply from her, nearly churning my stomach. “Do you remember the fire that raged through the Periya temple in 1994 while performing the puja. Do you think the fire started on its own?”

I was stumped by the revelation. It took me a moment to digest the fact that many more people with sinister designs who were in search of the stone. I shuddered at the thought of what harm might have come over Srini who had spent half his life time in search of it.

I shook my head. “Why would people fight for a piece of stone?” I sighed.

Vidya let out a huge roar of laughter and looked at me as if I had asked her the most stupid question in this world. “Perhaps you know everything and still want to hear it from me. The Red Soul is not a precious stone, it contains a hidden energy that has been accumulated by the Lanka King, Ravana”

It was my turn to laugh at her. “You mean.. that.. Ravana stored his energy in that?” I could barely control my laughter.

“Ignorant people laugh at all myths” she replied calmly and I stopped laughing feeling a little stupid. That had precisely been my reply to my students who did not believe in myths and stories. Now it was dished out to me.

“Ravana towards the end of the Ramayana war is said to have deposited all his powers in that stone which was then stolen by Raja Raja Choza from the ancient Sri Lankan buddhist monks and the precious stone helped him re-build his dynasty and sustain it for three centuries after his death.”

“So where do we find it now?” I spoke enthusiastically forgetting the fact that the stone had been hidden for ten centuries now.

“First we have to find Srini” she spoke. Suddenly her phone buzzed and she read the SMS that she had just received.

“Ok. Lets go” she commanded.

Not thinking a split second about the saline flowing into my body, I removed the needle of my wrists and we both started walking.

“So where are we going?” I spoke as we hurried down the staircase.

“The Periya Temple” she replied.

“Oh no. Not again”

“We are not going inside the temple” her reply puzzled me even further.


We reached a small house adjoining one of the outer walls of the massive temple. Vidya opened the door cautiously and switched on her torch. It was pitch black inside.

“Where the damn switch?” I shouted as I tripped over something in the dark place.

“Shut up” she ordered.

I quietly followed and then she pulled some kind of a lever and the wall in front of us started to give way to a staircase in front of us.

“Walk slowly. These are ten centuries old” she cautioned.

As I slowly gripped the railing, I could smell a mixture of stale air and moths. We walked for about ten minutes down the staircase and suddenly she came to a stop.

She expertly pulled out a lever from behind one of the big rocks and suddenly the big rock gave way to a huge hall containing hundreds of statues carved in granite. As I stood amazed by the sculpting on each of the statues in the room, I could see a bright red glow emanating from another room attached to the entrance room where we had been standing. Vidya ushered me in to the next room and my mouth fell open on seeing the source of the shiny bright red light illuminating the entire room.

Before I eyes, was the world’s most precious stone, THE RED RUBY placed on a casket embroided in gold and silver. I took a step towards it and I could feel the waves of power crashing into my body, vibrating each and every one of organs. Ravana’s powers was here for the taking.

“Welcome, Kayal” came a harsh voice. From a corner of the room, a very old lady walking laboriously with the help of a staff, came upto me.

“Who is she?” I asked Vidya.

“She is my grandma” came a hollow reply.

Suddenly I remember that we had found one of the most sought after treasure. “We have found the Red Soul. Com’on lets take it” I spoke willing to share the treasure.

“It’s not that easy” she replied dejectedly. She whispered something to her grandma and her grandma handed her something covered in a silky cloth to her.

“Raja Raja Choza was not a stupid man. He has put a curse on the precious stone that will not allow anybody to steal it” she explained.

“So how do we take it?” I probed further.

“The only way to go back to his time and steal it from there” she spoke.

My feet nearly gave way hearing her thoughts. This was not the first time she had spoken strangely and stupidly.

“Have you heard about the Sands Of Time?” her riddles had reached a limit.

I politely shook my head. She suddenly took out a sharp dagger which had an embroided base of gold and ivory and came closer to me. I took a step back instantly but could not move back further as the old lady’s staff thudded into my back.

“HAIL THE PANDYA DYNASTY!!” came a huge roar from her lips as she punched the dagger into my heart. I had felt the pain many times before and I knew it was a dream, but as I touched my t-shirt to check the wet feeling and saw the thick liquid trickle out of my hands in the bright red light.

It was my blood and she had bloody killed me!!


(To be Continued....)