The Devastator

The Devastator

I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. I could not see this end. There will so much bloodshed. All humans will face their karma. The destroyer as they call them would end the world as Kalyuga has taken over. He will end this reign of evil.

I am fondly referred to as ‘Narad Muni’. I am extremely diplomatic and I think from both perspectives. But I am extremely loyal and hence I stay biased to my master ‘Lord Vishnu’

I have never questioned the decisions of the Lord. I usually play the mediator between the Evil and the Good .But this was the final stage of the battle between the two sects of the human society.

I was present in human form and I had to again play mediator but deceive the demons into losing the final battle. The Lord worked in mysterious ways and I was not sure about the reason he chose manipulation to win these battles.

My name in this form was Manav. Although I was not a human in anyway; I represented the human race in a time where humanity was in shackles.

The Apocalypse had begun and the Lord had taken the final Avatar to destroy all evil forces. As I was pretending to be on both sides; I was aware of the plans of the Evil too.

Ravana had created an entourage of all defeated in previous battles. He was the one with the intelligence of ten pandits and hence he was the planner of the assassination.

He came with name Ambareesh Ranatunga and he was a trader that had migrated from Sri Lanka to Chennai, India to set up his factory of garments.

He had befriended another rich business tycoon named Yogesh Mathur who would soon be contesting elections to become the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. As I looked into his eyes; I realized that he was Kansa.

They were also being supported by someone named Arjun Mathur who was born as the younger brother of Yogesh Mathur. He was duryodhan who was born with another name but he chose to be called Arjun by everyone who met him.

He was the media baron who ruled Mumbai and filtered all news to report only news that humans should see; so that they lose all hope in humanity.

The Lord was born with the name ‘Mayur’. He was a honest journalist. He covered the crime beat in the most popular newspaper. He was brave and sincere. He was still not aware in this human form that he was the Kalki Avatar. There was a protective shield by Brahma that watched over the lord. His mother Mayraa and his wife Padmini were aware of his mood swings. They had seen him in rage; It was the most furious form of rage that could ever exist. As soon as he would flare his nostrils and grind his teeth; he transformed into something else. He looked menacing with bloodshot red eyes and the only person who could control his rage was padmini.

His best friend and colleague Devdutt accompanied him wherever he went. He would usually drive the car and drop him off. Devdutt was obsessed with White. He would usually wear white clothes with white shoes and he looked extremely handsome. He could carry it off in style. It did not take me much time to realize that Devdutt was the metaphor for the white horse mentioned in the Holy books. He was the Vahaan that liked everything white hence his car too was sparkling clean and white.

I realized that the day had come. The news channels were flashing news about a man that claimed to be GOD. His name was Baba Bhairavnath.  When his face flashed on my television screen I realized that he was Kali.

The Kalki Purana states that

Kali is always seen to be holding his genitals in his left hand. His complexion is very black, like black ointment that has been mixed with oil

Kali’s abdomen is like that of a crow, his face is frightening to behold, and his tongue is red and appears to be full of greed. His appearance is very fearful and a bad smell emanates from his body. Kali is very fond of playing chess, drinking wine, enjoying the company of prostitutes, and associating with gold merchants.

The Above description fit this man perfectly. He indeed claimed to have superpowers and he was famous for misbehaving with women. He had raped many women followers but since he had the support of the Chief Minister of the state he continued creating havoc.

An RTI Activist named Ratan had explored the truth behind many mishappenings in Baba’s Ashram. As Ratan walked with the file towards my lord; I realized that this will lead to my worst nightmare. I wanted to delay that so that humankind would introspect and find my lord within themselves. I wanted them to start being human so that they could be saved from this punishment.

But now it was too late. I saw rage in my lord’s eyes as he went through the proofs.

Baba had already committed all the heinous crimes predicted in the Kalki Purana.

This was the time for him to repent. He had to be given the capital punishment and he was going to be slaughtered in broad daylight by my Lord.

As mentioned in Kalki Purana; the pretentious saint had impregnated his own sister and tortured her for many years.  She had finally mustered the courage to speak up against him. She knew all about all his crimes and she had been collecting all the evidence while staying in his ashram as a slave.

Ratan was the weapon. The Lord would kill Kali with a weapon named Ratan as per the Kalki Purana. Before that could happen; the lord had to be made aware of his greatness. He had to be enlightened in this human form.

There was a group of people protecting him. There was a group of people out to destroy him. And he was totally unaware of all this.

I decided to talk to my lord. When I reached his office; I had gone with a bag of currency notes. It was handed over to me by Ambareesh Ranatunga and his entourage to stop my lord from unmasking their Baba Bairavnath.

Ratan and Devdutt were present in the office. As I walked in and smiled they recognized me.

Devdutt : (Introducing me) : Mr.Manav Goel, he is the man about town. Everyone in this city of Mumbai knows him. He knows all the celebrities and big business tycoons. He is usually the mediator in all big business deals.

Mayur : So what brings you here

Those words from my Lord sent me into a trance. I wanted to say ‘Narayan’ ‘Narayan’ and sing praises of my Lord. But it would make it very obvious.

Devdutt looked at me expecting me to give up my humanly form at any time and fall at my beloved Lord’s feet.

But instead I chose to play the role I was in. My Lord had written it that way and it had to be performed in that way.

Manav Goel (handing over the bag of cash to devdutt): Let us take a selfie to ensure that the news stays buried. This is five crores.

Mayur :(( snatching the bag from me in rage): We will take the money but we will still expose your Baba. This money is to prevent any further damages as I am sure your baba will soon be acquitted of all charges.

My Lord had outwitted everyone. I realized that he was aware of who he was. I had tears in my eyes when he acknowledged my desire of calling out his name and sing his praises. I cried and shouted ‘Narayan , Narayan’

Every news channel played the story of a Baba that had raped his own sister and tortured her for decades.

There was no one to filter the news since Media Baron Arjun Mathur was found dead on the escalator leading to his office lobby. His tie had gotten stuck in the escalator as he bent down to pick the name card of my Lord that had slipped from his hand.

Business tycoon and Politician Yogesh Mathur suffered the same fate when he faced my Lord and fell off from the Stage during his political rally. My Lord killed him just by looking into his eyes and his death was officially recorded as an accident.

Businessman Ambareesh Ranatunga stood in support of Baba Bairavnath. His supporters burned the town when Baba was arrested. Law and Order could not do much when Baba’s followers turned to streets and burned down shops, busses and Cars. Hundreds of people died on that day.

And then I saw the inevitable.  My Lord had come to the realization of who he has

He had come into his original form and a select few people could he see him that way. I was one of the lucky ones. He did not need to do much. Typhoons and thunderstorms stuck the country. He walked towards the two remaining offenders. They had already surrendered to their fate.

His touch could lead to death. He just had to unleash the destroyer in him.

 

The Devastator was in his full glory and this was the new beginning

© Author : Jitendra Kotai

https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

 

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Safarnama- The Diary of a Journey

It was my first book launch and i had written the Autobiography of a very dear friend.

The Host of the event introduced

“This Book is based on the life and times of renowned novelist and philanthropist Mr Samarth Rao. The Author Karuna Mitra is an advocate and had been a very close friend and a huge admirer of his work. “ This book is the biography of and  a tribute to the great artist “

I had no options left in my life after he suddenly left from my life without any prior warning and all i could think of was him.Some people leave their imprints on your mind.Their overall existence is so impactful that all we can think about is them

i was like meera who was completely smitten by Lord Krishna. I had surrendered my entire being to him. I could never think about any other man in my entire life after he rejected my proposal. He was an insane artist and his fundas of life were insane too

He believed in unrequited love without any expectations. He said that the moment the lovers agree that they are in love, expectations arise and love dies

But his words were true .Today even i believe that the Best form of love is when it is Unrequited

It is the purest form of love when you don’t expect someone to love you back

It needs lots of courage and patience to not expect them to love you

I was slightly nervous but i did address the audience

His picture walking away  with his back turned to the world formed the cover of my book and the title read “Safarnama – The Dairy of a Journey ” .. I held the book up showing  it to the audience and spoke

“His famous lines were – “

“An Artist is like the wind.breezing through the freeway “.” Free flowing, Unstoppable and Wild”.

“If you stop him and ask him to flow in a certain way. Restrict him by censoring his thoughts. He will be unable to flow at all”

“The Creativity is a natural process. Let the Artist be. Let him flow like a river, blow like the wind”

“He was my best friend. A Philosopher, An Amazing Story teller. His Dreamy eyes would always be analyzing some aspects of life and building up a creative story”

“We had grown up together.Right since childhood i knew that he was special.I was not the only girl in awe of his thought process. He had a huge female fan following “

“Through School and College he kept growing in life as a person and as a writer.

Once he started publishing his work . I realized that i had recognized his value most accurately”

“He had the midas touch. All the stories he wrote were bestseller and sold at-least million copies.”.”He showed the world how to live it up. He donated 80 percent of his income in charity and the rest he spent on himself buying the best luxuries possible. He had a big heart and he was fearless. His charismatic smile never left his face. He was an eternally happy being that loved being alive. His glorious humanity shined through him and radiated on to the lives of each and every person that crossed paths with him.”

There was a huge round of applause and just because his name was associated with it, my book was also going to be a bestseller. But i had not written this with the profit motive. I really wanted the world to know his story. I wanted the world to learn a lesson and change their mindset about certain things. They had forgotten their ghastly deed but there is a very old proverb that the Axe forgets but the tree remembers

I remember very fondly as if it just yesterday. I saw his first book on the shelf at the local store.it was a proud moment.It was titled “The Sedulous Girl” . My friend had become an author. Everyone i over heard were talking about his book, about his story and the twist at the end.

Sitting alone whenever i miss him his memories give me excellent company. They make me smile and laugh.. He would tell me all his stories much before they would be published.But he would narrate them to me like they were  real incidents and then see if i was convinced by his lies. He enjoyed pulling that prank on the soft-hearted and naive me who believed in everything he said. I would have believed even if it was daytime and he had called it a night.Such was his impact on me. He was my hero.

I visit the orphanage very often that he donated his earnings to. He ensured that those kids got everything they needed. He knew the name of each child, He encouraged them to visit their creative side, he encouraged them to paint, sing, dance and pick up at least one form of art

He was creating a better world. Rubbing on his zest for life on those kids. When he played with them and made them laugh. When he narrated them his stories there would be a pin drop silence. I saw those faces lost in the beauty of the story that was being narrated with such tremendous skill that they were all in a different world of fantasy.

He had some morals at the end. He taught them tolerance, humanity and spreading smiles.

He was creating helpful and charismatic humans like himself. He was spreading humanity .

15 Years and 11 Major books later. He had become a very prominent name globally. He had been very versatile and had tried every different genre at least once. His Overall personality was awe worthy. His impeccable sharp wit and rational thinking made him a star of talk shows

My thoughts then recollect that  he had a new muse that he was completely smitten by and he would even sketch her portrait and write songs for her

I had thought that he had finally fallen in love and i was expecting an epic love story in his real life. His insane fundas did not let that happen. The Wanderer that he was he could not give a commitment to her.

As soon as the muse started getting attached to the art and the artist. He set himself free.

The devastated girl had cursed him and cried her heart out. But he had been clear about his stand , he had never made any promises or commitments.

Separation with her did affect him and he wrote a few tragic love stories in her memory

As he was getting slightly older and whenever we discussed how life has been to us. we would realize that we were both in our forties and now it was time to change certain things.

He had made himself a fortune and now he wanted to write something he had never written.

He was such a Vagabond that one night a story idea stuck him and another morning he would be travelling to the place his story would be based.This time he had targeted Indian Mythology He travelled to each nook and corner of the country and collected all folk tales, mythologies and popular stories of India and compiled his own book around them

Everyday when he spoke to me from the place he visited i wrote my own version of his tales. i titled it Safarnama – The Diary of a Journey.. He told me a new story from the rich world of mythology and expressed his views on it. We discussed a lot on those lines. I still remember those enriching conversations.He had told me that he could actually feel those characters from mythology coming alive in those places.

In his book he connected the stories and showed how they affect the way we perceive things in today’s times. His central character  had time travelled to the mythological world and spoke to the epic mythological characters on rational terms. His character had tried to redefine the misshapen in Mythology.. He had removed the god element from the stories and had taken them from a layman’s point of view He left his perspective on that story open for interpretation and discussion. He left many things ambiguous and when i read the first draft i was overwhelmed by the creativity.

I told him this was going to be his masterpiece

After the launch, the book did sell like hot cakes.The Elite club of book readers and reviewers gave a fantastic review to the book. They were left in awe of the man’s style of narration and his ability to connect those stories to today’s times.

The praise was short lived.. Religious tolerance is something that no religion teaches i guess. The Moment an artist turns slightly blasphemous, the religions caretakers start taking offence

.

The Sight was tragic. Books were being burned and his posters wore a black face.His effigies were burnt outside his house. The talk shows had people discussing and fighting

The Religious groups waited outside his house to pelt stones at him the moment he walked out.

His life was in great threat. That night i saw him break down. I saw him disappointed. All his adulation was over. He no longer had any fan following. It was just one book that had changed the course of his literary career.This was followed by a court case for hurting religious sentiments. The Policeman that came to arrest him was a very stern believer and he made sure he humiliated him and hence he started off by slapping him and then made him walk handcuffed through the busy street till the police station.

Why is it that your faith has the power to move mountains but it cannot stand the criticism from a creative writer and he is termed as blasphemous and insulted ?

Raja Ravi Verma had been an renowned painter in the 16th century and he had faced the same ordeal . However the British courts had then decided that art will not be judged by morality and hence he was set free at that time.

I used all my expertise as a lawyer to argue and made sure he won back his respect and dignity.The Same act of law worked for my hero too. I saw that enigmatic smile on his face when we won the case. That night he slept in my lap and professed his love for me.

I was teary eyed and i wanted to go berserk and crazy. It was like a dream come true for me. But i resisted myself. His words came flowing into my mind that the moment two lovers realize that they love each other, expectations arise and love dies. He may have felt it in that moment but i did not want this artist to stop flowing for me. He was way ahead of his times and he still had a long way to go.I declined his love, i told him it was too late in the day. I told him all my feelings for him had died a natural death. It takes courage to finally get all that you want but decline it from the fear of losing it again.

On One Sunday afternoon we were returning back from a book fair and he saw a jeep stuck in a manhole. He asked his driver to stop his car and he walked towards the jeep with his charming smile and asked “ Do you need any Help ?”

He had forgotten all the rage and atrocities but they had not forgotten anything

It was the same religious group that had burned his books ,effigies and posters

But he was like a child, he never held any regrets. He recognized them but still his smile remained undeterred. His faith in humanity unshaken.. He tried to make an effort to help them push the car out from the manhole.

But they had also recognized him.

The leader of the group wasted no time. He too had a smile on his face but that smile was of triumph. He had caught him unguarded and he could satisfy his rage and hatred for him without being stopped. He wanted the world to remember this as a lesson

He shot my eternally happy hero in the head at point blank range and shouted some slogans.

The world suddenly became non existent for me. I saw him falling  flat on the floor

The Triumphant slogans continued. This was a victory for the religiously inclined but a big loss to humanity. He may have not been a very religious man but he was the best human being i had seen.I was in a state of shock keeping his blood smeared head in my lap. i keep staring at his smile.They even spit on his dead body while gathered people clicked pictures. He shrieked out loud that anyone that speaks against our gods and goddesses will face the same fate.

My Hero was an insane artist, he had just dared to think differently. Was it justified to kill a human being for just being blasphemous. i condemn such people that are so fanatic that they cannot tolerate a small point of view.He was a much better human being than most of the diabolical people who hide behind the mask of a good religious man.

I hope his story can inspire other rational thinkers. I hope his story can change the mindsets of a few fanatics. I wish they had seen that boyish charm of the childish man through his enigmatic smile. I am sure that even if god was present there at that moment he would have forgiven him for his small sin and embraced him for his other good deeds

© Jitendra Kotai

Rehguzar- The Path to Travel

Rehguzar – The Path to Travel

 

A Journey which leads to no specific destination.

The never ending path with innumerable twists and turns that keeps you on your toes

It Keeps you engrossed in trying to decipher what is going to happen next

The Unpredictability of this path is what makes us come alive.

 

We all have our own manifestations of the truth. We all live the journey based on what we have concluded either from hear-say or from our own experiences

 

This story is about three friends that took the road trip to a destination and how their perceptions about the biggest truth changed drastically

An Atheist is someone who has understood that there is no superhuman power that is magically governing the world from the sky. The Actions of every atheist may differ  But they view the world from a logical perspective

 

I, Gautam Sidhwani was the same. I never believed in anything superhuman. As a TV Reporter i had covered lots of live action. I had reached the scene of crime even before the Policeman got there.And every bleeding man and every crime story confirmed to me that this human race was not being controlled by any super power

But as the days passed i grew tired of reporting crime scenes and i decided to do something unique

My Best friend Inamul Haq was a cameran. He stood behind the camera while i stood in front of it and reported the news .He was a stern believer and a fabolous singer. We had reported many depressing bomb blasts and incidents of shootouts by some youths from across the border . His emotional vent out was singing and it gave me tremendous peace to hear his soothing voice. He Usually sang complaining to his god that what is happening to humanity and why are people killing in his name .

 

This time we were on a trip to a village in North India. The Saptarishis were going to be in prominence on a certain night and the Sadhus and the Religious heads of the hindu community had organized a Maha-Yagna  to held on the banks of the ganges. The Turnout was going to be gigantic . Over 30 Million devotees were going to take a dip in the ganges and be blessed by the Sadhus .

We had the Opportunity to cover this event live and get the experience of a lifetime

 

Our Media House must have certainly understood our boring lives and hence we were accompanied by a young Photographer named Shraddha. We boarded the same train and i could hardly keep my eyes off her. It is ridiculously rude to stare at a female colleague but somehow i felt she was enjoying the attention. I tried to strike a conversation but she responded very rudely

 

From what i have understood of women is that they never portray the right emotion. If they like someone they try their best to get him rid of his interest or attraction for them. The first attempt they make is by being rude to them. And if you are put off by the rudeness, they usually reply in a sweet tone as usually women are very soft-hearted

They break hearts but they want to be least offensive towards the one giving them attention. They usually get attracted to those men who give them no attention and look away from them. The Ones that are usually ill mannered, rude and Abnormal.

 

The Favorite pastime of Inamul Haq and me was to discuss God. We always argued about his existence.They say that when an Atheist has a conversation with a believer and it turns into a healthy argument where both sides keep their perspective.It Usually gives both lots of matter to ponder about.

 

As the heated discussion was on. Shraddha slowly got captivated by the quality of this debate and she was tempted to give her two cents.

But she stopped as i continued my perspective

“I Don’t like the manifestation of your god

I Don’t like the fact that my creator loves me only on this condition that i sing his praises

If i do not sing his praises he will make me burn in hell and if i sing his praises i will be rewarded”

Shraddha Quipped “ So what kind of god do you expect ?

I Replied “As an atheist for me my god is my mother

My Mother loves me unconditionally. She does not demand anything from me. Her love is pure and divine.Her love is not based on the mandate of me singing her praises and even if i criticize her ,she can never imagine to burn me in hell.

For me my god should be loving kind and forgiving.

Not someone who is so arrogant that he orders me to kill someone if they say anything against him”

 

Her facial expression suggested she was impressed with her lips pouting in disbelief that a pervert could be intelligent and could strike such an engaging conversation.

Inamul Haq could not stay behind , He interrupted “But if he does not set certain rules. How will we differentiate from Just and Unjust ?”

How will we decide what is Right and what is Wrong ?”

 

Shraddha Said “ Our Conscious , It tells us. When we are about to do something wrong, it stops us”

I Jumped from my seat to take an upper hand in the conversation

“ My Problem is not with Believers or god or its existence

.The Problem lies with Fanatics. I never thrust my atheist beliefs on others. My debates are always for Religious Tolerance

“Your faith is so strong that it can move mountains

Yet it cannot stand the criticism by an atheist and they get killed for being blasphemous”

Shraddha Nodded . Inamul Said “ Even i am against Fanaticism of any kind. But it is the wrong interpretation of certain things mentioned in the religious texts”

The debate went on and on and what had started as a repulsive behaviour from Shraddha had already turned into attraction. Her body language suggested that she had started liking me.

She complimented me for my confidence and was now sitting right next to me. She was very fidgety and clearly showed how impressed she was with me. Her eyes never made contact with me. Whenever i tried to look into her eyes she would look the other way and blush. This journey had given way for a potential love story to develop between us

The night journey was even more fabulous . While Inamul snored away to glory , we took some time out for romance. As we sat in the corner of the train discussing everything under the sun. I realized that the entire rude and bold avatar was just a pretence. She was the usual girl next door, extremely shy and very beautiful.The more she spoke about her endeavours , the more she impressed me.

I wasted no time in telling her how fascinated i was by her. Everything she did or said made me feel so awesome .Even the perfume she was wearing was mesmerizing . The fact that drew me to her was that she had no qualms about my atheism and she accepted me the way i was . She was the first female i had met who had not tried to preach me and restore my faith in the almighty.

 

As we reached the destination, we realized that this might just be an experience of a lifetime. As we got down at the station, everywhere we saw there was a Saffron Clad Sadhu. The Whole ambience of this place was filled with religion. It gave us the feeling that we were blessed by a certain entity just to reach here. Many had queued up and struggled for days but were not able to reach this point where they would get the instant salvation they so deserved.

 

I had booked two adjacent rooms in an Ashram since i wanted to get the feel of the place to write the words i would speak on National TV and then in my article which would appear on the International Platform Called the World Wide Web.

Shraddha and I had spent almost the entire night in the passage outside our adjacent rooms glaring into each other’s twinkling eyes and talking sweet nothings

I had hardly closed my eyes for a few minutes and something disrupted my sleep It was 4.00 am in the morning when a bhajan playing in the Ashram woke me up from my sleep

As i walked out of my room the voice grew louder. It was a beautiful young girl dressed in a saree singing in the Ashram’s temple and rotating the thali in her hand in a circular motion

Inamul grabbed his camera and Shraddha grabbed her Camera and they started recording the heavenly atmosphere of the place. Almost everyone was awake and they had showered and were dressed in traditional attire and were swinging their heads in similar motion to the song. The Music was melodious and the lady’s voice was enchanting. It did not look like a pretence.

When they do this in Mumbai, It somehow feels very annoying and gives no pleasure. But these people were doing it from the heart. For the first time i was amongst real believers.They had no agenda. No selfies were being taken. No one was dressed as God or Baba. It was just devotion in its purest form and it somehow impressed me

 

We had a breakfast at as early as 5.00 am. The same lady who had set off this auspicious day with the melodious song was Serving us Breakfast .Shraddha was slightly insecure at the way i was looking at this woman.It was not attraction here, just my curiosity. I wanted to ask her how she could be so engrossed in Godly deeds at such a tender age. Does she not get tempted when she sees young boys of her age? Does she not feel like going out with them, Watching movies, letting her hair down ?

But her face had a certain tranquility and peace. She looked completely satiated by her god and his devotion.

 

Time was moving at snail’s speed. When i opened the gate to take a stroll outside. I realized that it was still pitch-dark outside. We still decided to take a stroll. As we walked ahead we saw some massive monstrous statues of all kinds of gods you could imagine. The Clinging of bells came from all corners and the sound was magnificently glorious. As if the Entire set of humans who had laid feet on this immensely auspicious place were celebrating their godliness

 

The Three of us were walking on the highway where trucks were passing at breathtaking speeds.On either side was River Ganges..My Only fear was that if a truck could not see our hazy figures and hit us we would all achieve instant salvation by drowning in the freezing water of the Ganges and as per hindu scriptures reach Vaikunth Dham which is the most sacred place to go after death

 

Inamul Haq came up with an Idea. He Played a loud bhajan (A Song with God’s Praises) on his cellphone. According to him it was his survival strategy. The Passing truck would hear the bhajan and not hit us.

 

We cleared the Highway and reached the Location. The Preparations were on. Shraddha started capturing some divine moments on her camera. A Sadhu walked up to us and tied a silkish red thread on our hands and asked for some money. We shelled out some change and he blessed us.

Inamul Haq held his hands across his face enacting to have a camera and started choosing the angles he would shoot the scenario by. After a few minutes of Monkeying around with his hands he finally found the angle he wanted and adjusted his camera .He adjusted the lights and he started shooting me

 

With my back to the Sacred River i set off with my shot in style “ As i pointed out the River, Sadhus, The Ambiance . I felt proud of representing this fantastic scenario to my people who were watching this Live on their TV Sets. The Atheist in me had slightly began to believe in the magical power of a certain almighty.This place made me feel alive. Millions had gathered at the single place and this almighty whom we all had never seen had the power to gather a crowd of Millions who could sing his praises in unison.There was something magical about all this and i started admiring this awesome moment like an awestruck child. Shraddha was gaping at me with her mouth wide open getting impressed at my ability to speak and hold the show so well

 

As i was confidently phrasing my anecdotes. I  noticed a change in Shraddha’s emotions.Her eyes had grown wide and she was looking at something with astonishment in her eyes . I turned around to see what had transpired. It shook me to see a whole herd of petrified people running in one direction pushing each other fanatically.It sent shivers down the spine and the sudden change of events led to a whole negative vibe in the entire auspicious air. I Overheard an old man say that someone had kept a bomb in the premises of a sacred temple where the holy event was about to take place.

Shaken and stirred we tried to find a secure place as our first reaction but then we realized this was an important news.

We climbed on a temple roofs and tried to shoot the havoc. As i struggled to stand on the slope and deliver my lines, i realized how inhuman we had become. Inamul had tears in his eyes and Shraddha was constantly looking at the tragic incident unfolding itself

 

The Stampede grew in magnitude as maximum people were trying to run away from the place to escape death.We closed our shutterbugs and decided to help people in needed. Some people had suffered fatal deaths and some were injured very badly .Shraddha ran from pillar to post to get first Aid and other things required.

I and Inamul tried to drag injured people to safe corners and many others joined us in the process The Moment had left us all wounded. Our hearts that were admiring the beauty of the creator suddenly felt cheated and disheartened. I felt that if he had the power to bring such a big magnitude of people to a place.He should also have the power to protect them from the Mishaps.

 

This continued throughout the day. I hoped that the believers would certainly walk up to the temple and perform the sacred event However The Celebrity 201 Sadhus that were going to perform the Yagna did not set their foot in that place. The Bomb demolition unit made us all breathe with ease when they said that the bomb scare was just a hoax .

An Entire Tragic twelve hours had passed to get the situation somewhat in control. It was 4.00 pm in the evening now. The Loudspeakers had started blaring again with Bhajans and Praises of the almighty that sounded  irritating to me now. I had changed from an Atheist to a believer and back to being an Atheist in a span of twelve hours.

 

We walked up to the Ashram to collect our luggage and return back to the city where we all belonged But then we saw something that shattered us all to pieces. The Beautiful women who had started this auspicious day with her melodious voice. The One who had divinity in her eyes. The One who had made me feel inferior to her because i did not believe.The One who believed and sang praises from her heart. She lay dead on the pavement. The Mob had walked all over her. She had been a victim of the stampede and no one had even tried to move her away or save her. She had suffered some major head injuries.I sat down next to her dead body and tears flew down my cheeks. Her enchanting voice still lingered in my faded memory. The way she had referred to god as the one who is our Palanhaar.

Palanhaar is someone who protects us, raises us and takes care of us.

Who was responsible for this Tragedy ?

A Foolish man who set off the rumors just for fun or the foolish millions who flocked to a destination to be blessed.That moment made me question the very need to travel to an auspicious place to seek god

“Our scriptures say he is Omnipresent”  Shraddha replied.

“ He is everywhere, You are right . We should try to seek him within ourselves or a nearest temple” She Concluded

i was too stunned by the occurrence. It reminded me of hundreds of other such occurrences where humanity has been subjected to terror, tragedy and untimely death by the so called faith keepers and religious heads.I made it a point to make it a revolution and change a few people like Inamul and shraddha and take them out from blind faith and Hypothetical beliefs

Finally seated in the jeep that was taking us to another city .Inamul Haq started singing in his heavy voice complaining to his god that what is happening to humanity and why are people killing in his name I hope that he gets an answer soon

© Jitendra Kotai

The Sedulous Girl

Dev’s attire was very unusual today as he walked adjusting his Dhoti, He had worn a huge gold pendant shaped as OM in his neck which shone from his Saffron coloured embroidered kurta and he peculiarly wore a huge red tilak on his head.

He walked in and sat opposite to his girlfriend Jennifer in Pizza Hut, He looked like he had dressed for the Costume rehearsal of a play with Historical characters as he sported a beard and a thick mustache and constantly tweaked the ends.
Displeased with his garb she questioned in a rude tone “What are you trying to show? Why are you dressed this way today?”
Dev replied “I am making you feel exactly how you have made me feel throughout this relationship”

Dev had predetermined to end this relationship which was based on conversion of his faith. Although an atheist, he believed love was unconditional and the basis of a relationship should be trust and understanding and not converting to a particular sect of belief .He did not want to take up a religion just because he was being forced into it, he never thrust his beliefs onto others and expected others to respect his views.
“Do you remember what the priest said”, He paused for a few seconds and got no response from her
“That You need to accept the faith with belief, No one will forcefully convert you” he continued with stern look on his face.
“But you are blackmailing me into it”
Jennifer made a rude expression and looked away from his gaze.

He had madly been in love with Jennifer since he met her for the first time. At one point was ready to do anything to have her in his life. One day while standing outside a church with an ultimatum to choose between heartbreak and Christianity, he had chosen the latter and promised her that he would get converted.
Jennifer had always wanted to become a nun, but she had fallen head over heels in love with his charming young man. Her only condition since day one for taking the relationship ahead was Dev’s acceptance of god and her religion.

Dev had been an atheist right since he remembered; he had always questioned religious beliefs and rituals as he never found them logical. Dev had realized that he only comprised to be in a relationship with Jennifer. He was losing his self worth and his own persona in trying to be someone else to please jennifer. He was not being truthful to himself in this process.

He broke up with Jennifer and walked out of Pizza Hut, her repeated attempts at calling him back were futile. When she understood the seriousness of the situation, it was already too late. Dev had fallen out of love; there had been an incident in dev’s life three days ago where a determined unknown girl had taught him the meaning of Unconditional love and humanity.

As he hired a taxi, the flowing wind felt good. He felt freed from a stressful relationship and the fragrance in the air made him remember the mysterious and sedulous girl he met three days back , He missed her vivacious smile and exuberance of her youthful personality.

The Incident
26th July 2005

The Entire city of Mumbai was submerged in water, All that was visible till the eye could see was immersed in water. Torrential rains had stopped all activity and the entire population was stranded as there were no modes of transportation available and on this day, dev struggled to walk in waist-high water that was gushing past him with a tremendous ghastly flow. He was unsure if he would make it home. There could be a gutter or a dug out man-hole anywhere and he could drown to his death. After four hours of strained walking from his office in Powai ,he had finally entered Kalina and his house was just a stone’s throw away from this place. Just one left turn and a five minute walk would ensure his reaching home safely.

Water flushing everything away at extravagant speed made him skeptical, nevertheless he slowly moved ahead keeping one foot at a time, reassuring himself of landing on the road’s surface.
As he started to take the left turn, a meekly voice shrieked ” Do not go there, You will Die” .He stopped immediately, but in his urge to reach home which was just a few steps away he neglected the advice and tried keeping one foot ahead which had him almost lose his balance as there was nothing ahead but an endless gutter. In the nick of time he gathered himself and put his foot back on the land, He was terror struck of having come so close to death. He first collected the jittery pieces of his shattered Self and looked back at the girl who slowly uncovered her face realizing that he had survived.

An Indefinable beauty sat on a broken tree shaft; he was stunned by her alluring good looks. She was very mysteriously attractive and fascinating. He slowly moved near her and gleefully smiled at her.
She had a round face, big eyes, luscious lips and flowing long hair. Clad in a pinkish salwar suit , she looked straight out of a romantic novel he had read in his adolescence, she was what dream girls are made of. An Apsara(Fairy) straight out of heaven, he was bewildered , as he had never seen someone so prepossessing before.

“Thank you for saving my life” He said and attempted to climb the broken tree shaft and sit next to her. She said “Do not attempt to sit on this branch, Stand where you are, you can hold the tree for support “. Her tone was rude. She was trying to be protective maybe and maintaining distance with a stranger. He nodded in agreement and tried to look away. But unintentionally he ended up looking at her mesmerizing face again and again. She had a magnetic appeal.
She finally spoke “I was walking along with a group of youngsters, they all moved left and i decided to walk straight..I saw them all being blown away by the water’s electrifying force. i am not sure if they survived or …….”
She started sobbing and he consoled her, but she suddenly shrieked again at another middle aged man
“Do not turn left, you will die ” But the man continued to walk and without a minute to spare, dev plunged there like a super hero and pulled the man back and told him about the gutter ahead.
The Petrified man thanked both of them and walked in a different distance.

For Hours they stood there and stopped many people from turning in that direction and many warm-hearted mumbaikars started standing there and guiding people. A Group of compassionate men now stood covering the entire left side so that no one attempts to divulge there.

Tea and Biscuits had been arranged by the rescue volunteers.
The volunteers requested the gutsy girl to take special care of small school children who were stranded and made them all sit in a secluded grocery store where Dev and the benevolent girl served them tea and biscuits. Serving unknown people in distress is a fascinating experience. Dev felt more human than he had ever felt. He realized that those people were not being served on the basis of caste; creed or religion. This was sheer humanity on display at its best.
Dev stared at the delightful girl when she entertained the kids with her sense of humor. With her infectious laughter time seemed to have paused as he felt lost in her voice with no sense of time. As if everything he could hear was her chirpy voice.
To bring smiles on the faces of the gloomy kids she started a popular film songs game called Antakshari and that brought lots of positive smiles and High fives among the kids.
Dev fumbled every time it was his turn to start a new song with the word ending from the previous song and his failure to come up with songs made the kids laugh.
His heart and mind was not in place, she had stolen his peace, his intelligence and his sanity.
The thing that had stood out in her was Unconditional love, her selfless love for humanity and human life. She could have easily gone to her house and ensured that her life was secure, but she stayed back to save some unknown people and even made Dev experience this divinity as she continued playing with those stranded kids with zest and enthusiasm.
At a random point dev sang ” Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi si” The Popular romantic song of Kishore kumar where he is teasing a drenched actress Madhubala.
He saw her blushing and abruptly stopped singing when she looked into his eyes. That Glare had passion, it meant many things and it did not mean anything. Sometimes silence speaks a thousand words and eyes reveal the truth. She had developed a liking for him at least Dev felt that way.

In the Night, after the rains had stopped and all the water had been drained out. Dev and his new found kindred spirit walked on the empty streets after dropping all the school children to their respective houses. The Silence was suffocating, Dev attempted to have a conversation by saying “I feel so good today” and she looked at him and smiled, her gaze was hypnotizing. He just wanted her to keep staring at him that way .Every time he turned his face to look at her, even she was looking at him. That gave him goose bumps.

She stopped at a small temple’s gate and asked him “Can you please pluck those flowers for me”
He climbed the tree with thrilling energy and plucked some reddish flowers for her.
She poured them all over the Shiv Ling and closed her eyes and prayed for some time. He stood there staring at her in amazement as she innocently blabbered some lines.
She opened her eyes and asked “Why did you not pray?”
He said “I Do Not Believe In God”
She said with a sigh “Everyone is seeking their own answers and in some way everyone is agnostic as they are unsure sometimes. But it is very important to respect each other’s beliefs”

After a few moments of silence again she broke the ice and spoke endlessly about her hobbies, favorite movie stars, favorite tv shows, her school life, college life, her best friends, her worst nightmares and even her dreams and aspirations. She went on and on and Dev was lost in her voice, he hardly interpreted the content of her talks. He was simply enthralled that she was speaking to him.
They had discussed about everything under the sun like long lost friends but he had still not asked her name and neither had he asked for her phone number.
In fact only she had done most of the talking and dev had thoroughly enjoyed her inanimate gestures and slightly demented talks. Dev felt their souls were connected. He was madly in love with her.

She finally stopped at the gate of a Government colony and said that she lived there.
Dev finally mustered some courage and stammered apprehensively “Can i know your Name ”
She said ” Sita , Gita , Tulsi or Parvati…Pick the one you like ” with a mischievous grin.
He smiled sheepishly understanding the fact that she was not interested in him.
He continued shamelessly rubbernecking at her as she entered the gate, she suddenly turned back and surprised him and said a ten digit number. He jumped in excitement and started racing back to his house repeating the number loudly and umpteen number of times, in his attempt to memorize her phone number.

He happened to cross that small temple that they had earlier encountered briefly .
Hopelessly in love, He picked one of those reddish flowers and sensing that she had touched it.
He touched the flowers imagining himself holding her hands and he stood there smelling that flower feeling intoxicated as he imagined smelling her fragrance.
He hoped to meet her again and start a new refreshing chapter in his life.
At this point he decided to break up with Jennifer when he meets her next,.
Unfortunately he had forgotten the number But he thought , if they were destined to meet, he would meet her again. Sita, Gita, Tulsi, Parvati or whatever her name was. He was unconditionally in love with this sedulous girl.
© Jitendra Kotai

To Be Continued ………………… Watch this space On June 30th For the rest of the story
The Sedulous Girl – Part II Coming up Next