PART 1 – The Conquering Dizziness
It was a rainy day. Without a cause, my legs were shivering. Heart’s beat was pumping up and everything started being dizzy. I was facing half a hundred students and they were all staring at me. On their faces, I could sense fear and bewilderment. They were all sitting silently, as if I was pointing a gun at them. Strange fear in those eyes.
“You tell me,” I was saying, all tensed and my words breaking, with suffocation. “What’s the name of the Lester Siegel who helped Mendez to go through the conflict?” I asked, and my head was twitching. Dizziness is taking i. Sweat is pouring out. Shivering of legs was growing. I was being my head and looking with wide eyes to look focused at people. But light was blaring my vision out. I don’t know if I was swinging or the tables, chairs and students are swinging.
“Sir?” the guy who was standing did not understand what I have asked. I am pretty sure now, I have asked something for a move I watched the previous night and not from their text books.
“What?!” My huge scream shook the students and brought in terror. A few girls int he class started to shed tears, silently. My eyes were red, body all sweating over, my arms were loose, and I am failing down with my legs shivering. I threw myself over and stumbled across the benches towards the guy whom I asked the question. Half the class was sure I am drunk. I could hear some suppressed squeals. “What the name of Lester Siegel?” I asked over his face, my eyes becoming more blurry and some intoxication taking over me.
The guy was tensed. But i couldn’t see the face properly with my dizzy eyes, “Les. . . Lester Siegel?” he more of asked than said.
“Great,” I bellowed and strode towards the board. Picking a piece of chalk, I scribbled something on board with it and turned towards the students. I felt very angry. I was feeling angry. Agonized. I know not if i was physically hurt or mentally or both. But I never behaved like that in the class.
“This will save you, have it,” Someone said.
“Who the hell is it?” I screamed out loud. I didn’t understand what that even meant.
Everyone in the class were silent. Steady. Still. Petrified!
“The sword will shine when its beholder finds love,” The same voice was speaking again.
Swinging my arms wildly, “Who dares to talk, shut up!” I was about to hit the girl who was sitting in the first bench.
“But, all great love seeks great sacrifice,”
I wanted to scream out loud to stop it, but just then, a student rose; a girl, should be with spectacles. “You didn’t write Lester Seigel on the board.”
“What? What did I write then?”
There was a huge clinking sound of metals, I couldn’t bear it. Closing my ears tight, I turned back. then was when I heard my own voice from the outside. “I will never let any harm come in Shanmukhi’s path.” the later voice was fading out when I saw what I wrote on the board. “May the gods be with you.”
I was struggling to read what I have written, and the girl answered me. “You wrote Shanmukhi.”
“What the hell is wrong with me?” I muttered and by the time I turned back, the whole class was staring at me with disbelief. They too aren’t knowing what’s happening. I stared back at them for a while and the voice rang again, “Go, go and slay the monster that’s feeding on our kingdom’s prosperity.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I was constantly linking and it has become too much and without a word, I walked out of the room. I left the room and I took a few steps and like someone knocked me down and sat over me, I fell off and I couldn’t wake up and the struggle lasted until I was slipped off the consciousness of this world. The blinding moment became peaceful.
PART 2 – The Conquering Waves
The night is stormy and dark. The faces are cheerless. They are brooding. They are dead already, on the inside. I can’t say what has happened. Not that I do not know, but because it is so terrible even to say. The sea monster AntaKaari has woken up. It has started its rampant ravaging against all the sea shores. AnthaKaari lays eggs so quick and they hatch out even quick that the monster doubles by the time even when we plan to kill the known count of those. And, they say the monster is so big, the ship sails over its eye for a brief moment.
The people of SamudraPatanam are ready to excavate. But, we don’t want a skipping remedial; we need a solution. It is not a need, but a duty, at lest to try and eliminate the hellish monster from the depths of those seas. AnthaKaari doubles and doubles at a rapid rate. Even if men try to run, one day or the next, it will come over to land, it will liquidate the land and conquer it too. It is a duty that should not be neglected without a proper trail by the king and the knights of SamudraPatanam. They can’t run off with fear and seek shelter elsewhere and lift their heads up in pride. And pride, it is something very important for a king and his knights and also for a tribe.
So, they are here, and I, along with them in their sailing ships. The thing which is running in all the heads is running in mine too: If AnthaKaari’s eye is as humongous as our ship, what is the monster truly is. No one’s asking the question out. Not even me. Let the thought stay in head and get buried if we die. Death rages in the sea tomorrow, but, the strong desire in everyone’s eyes to protect themselves is evident and certain, for I know, I too hold it in my darkening eyes.
The men of SamudraPatana have followed me many times even before this. In wars, in deadly wars which raged along their beaches to occupy them. The greatest natural resource available to man at hand – The Sea, everyone wanted to explore them and exploit them. The moment they see me, in the battlefield, I find hope surging up in them. But now, I too am invisible. I too am a normal soldier and I am small. Someone said, we can hang holding AnthaKaari’s eyelids. What difference does valor make when the enemy is not something earthly made. It should be hellish in the truest of senses.
Keeping AnthaKaari aside, what about its doubling babies. Those babies are not as huge as its mother. It should have taken thousands of years for AnthaKaari to gain the size. The babies will hardly be in a human size, which with their six tentacles and stings, far more powerful than a human warrior. It is not like AnthaKaari cannot be killed. It was defeated a few times in the past five hundred years by brave and legendary warriors of those ages. But was never killed. The conflict in my head is this: Will we defeat it and join the legendary comrades of the past? Or, will we die without doing anything and perish in the sands of seas like thousands of many other? Or, will we kill it and write and new history, becoming myths for the later generation? I know not for now.
Aamatsya has checked out the plan perfect and emerged out of the deck, to find all the soldiers standing at scattered positions and staring at the sea. They are brave men, he knows it. He was their commander. But they are men, he remembers that too. Not one of them knows what they are going to face. After a while of tapping shoulders of random soldiers, he looked for Dhananjaya, who was standing at one corner of he ship, staring like any other.
“So, waiting for tomorrow?” Aamatsya said, standing behind Dhanajaya. The youth turned back and faced the veteran commander. With a smile he said, humbly, “Yeah, to earn a place among those legends.”
“Oh,” Aamatsya had a perplexed expression. “With your confidence, I thought you’d be aiming to become a myth. You just want to be a legend.”
Dhananjaya smiled at it simply. “If we kill it, that’s great. I will not do it to be something. But I don’t want to die at least without defeating it and grounding it for a while.”
“Wise words from a young man,” the commander said, and gestured to follow him. “I would like to explain you the plan.” he started walking. “It is you who should be leading the army.”
“I thought we call sea-army as fleets,” Dhananjaya tried to make fun out of the old commander, but Aamatsya stopped sudden and turned back, with an offended expression. “I know what to call what. I will be the commander of the fleet.” he said and stopped, letting Dhananjaya to ponder over it.
“Wait, then, what do you mean by army?”
“It is the soldiers who fight in the sea,” the veteran said and resumed his walk.
“Wait, wait, so, you say, we jump off into the sea and then fight?”
“Come in without panicking the troop, let me explain.”
Part 3 – The Beatings of Past
By the time I opened my eyes, there were a few students sitting on the table which was beside my bed. I didn’t know where I was. It should have been a clinic or something.
One of the students saw me opening my eyes and he alerted the remaining two. Two of them came towards me, carefully and one left the room, like he was about to inform someone about this. “Are you fine sir?” one of the two boys asked.
“Huh?” I didn’t understand what he asked.
“I mean, how are you feeling now?”
It felt like I was yanked into consciousness. “Yes, yes, I am feeling fine. But, what happened?” Everything that has happened was just in bits and pieces in mind. I was not able to remember what really has happened.
“We thought you were drunk,” he was about to say something.
“But you were not, we know. But, you behaved very differently. . .”
While he was saying it, a crowd of my students entered the room. I thought the guy went to call a doctor. They all surrounded me quickly. Many asked I am fine or not and yeah, I nodded with a slight smile.
“What happened, sir?” a girl from my students asked.
“I don’t remember properly,” I was saying, and some other girl cut in.
“Who is Shanmukhi, sir?”
Again it felt dizzy for a moment. Before I can think hard, an elderly man, should be a doctor came through the crowd, and talked without a warning, “How are you feeling Mr. Jaya?”
Part 4 – Shanmukhi and AnthaKaari
“What is that plan of yours?” Dhananjaya was very curious to know what the suicide plan was. “You were saying something about we fighting in the water?”
“Listen to me,” the veteran’s voice is plain and peaceful. “AnthaKaari is a huge monster. It will crumble our fleet in less than an hour. All the ships will break and death is inevitable for who stay on this. We can’t fall in the sea as a surprise. Instead, we wait in the sea. AnthaKaari should be killed in the sea, that’s all.”
“We wait in the sea?” Dhanajaya didn’t understand how it will work. “What are you thinking? We will reach its territory by early in the morning. The cold. It might kill us.”
“If not, AnthaKaari will kill us.”
Dhananjaya lifted his hand up, gesturing Amatsya to get silent, and he did. “Can you hear it?”
Dhananjaya slowly walked towards a closed cabin in those decks and opened the door to find Shanmukhi standing with tears welling out of her smoky eyes. Before Dhanajaya could think to react, Aamatsya strode towards her and holding her arm, dragged her out of the cabin. “What do you think you are, princess?” He shouted, but it didn’t calm him down, “What on this earth do you think you are thinking? What will our king do when he gets to know that his daughter has gone aboard without his consent. That too a deadly mission!”
Her tears didn’t stop. No one talked for the next ten minutes. In her hands she was holding something which was wrapped in a dense cloth. Holding it near her chest, she was sobbing.
“What is it, Shanmukhi?” Dhananjaya asked, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible.
“This. . . This is for you. . .” she said, stretching her arms; her voice eaten in hiccups.
Under the curious and angry gaze of Aamatsya, Dhananjaya took the rugged cloth into his hand. It was very heavy. “What’s in it?” before she could answer, he unwrapped the cloth. It reveled the sword of illumination.
“You brought The Luminous Sword?” Aamatsya was aggravated. “Why?”
“My father, the noble king of SamudraPatanam gifted this to Dhananjaya,” her voice suddenly was staunch, as if of a queen’s. “And,” her voice was breaking, “He promised his only daughter – Myself – Shanmukhi of SamudraPatanam’s hand in marriage, which is accepted by me too with my whole heart.”
“What is this all about Shanmukhi?” it is all love in Dhananjaya’s voice.
“I want to say that you are my everything and I can’t live without you.”
“I too cannot.”
“I want to marry you, now. I want to be yours, and only yours forever, in life and death.”
“Shanmukhi!” Aamatsya barked. “Without king’s consent, you can’t talk like this.”
“I am no more just a king’s daughter or a commander’s nephew, uncle,” her eyes were blazing with tears. “I am now a half of a knight, and,” she looked at Dhananjaya with wrinkled face, welling out her love as tears. “The bravest among all our age has seen.”
Aamatsya and Dhanjaya wanted to say something and just then, they were all thrown off aside with a great jerk of the ship. “It is a wreak,” Aamatsya screamed out loud and stood up, walking up to the door of the deck. When he opened it, it was all chaos outside. “Attack!” “Abandon ship!” “We’re doomed,” “Gods are angry on us,” were the screams of scrambling, scattering and stumbling soldiers. With wide opened eyes, Aamatsya turned back, “Jaya,” he yelled at the top of his voice. “We’re reviled. It knows we’re coming.” Dhanajaya stood up, supporting panicked Shanmukhi to stand. “We should be alert. The war begun already.”
Dhanajaya was about to leave when Shanmukhi held his arm. “I should go,” he said looking her welling eyes. “I will be safe, I promise.”
“Marry me and go.”
“What if I. . .”
“I might not stay with you then. But I will be yours. I want to be yours, forever.”
Dhanajaya started at her in disbelief for a while, “Aamatsya,” he called out loud. “Yes, tell me,” was the answer from a busily working Aamatsya. “Marry us, now.”
“Being the commander of the fleet, you are the king of this sailing community. No need for you to take anyone’s consent as long as we are in the seas except ours both.”
“Quickly, no time.”
“Alright. . .!” Aamatsya closed and locked the deck’s door. “The bride, walk forth, quickly. . . What is your family’s star linage? Good. Bride, yours? Good. Both of you, say your parents and grand parents name! Quickly!” there was a lot of loss of life outside. The ship is about to break out. The children of the monster are attacking. Soldiers are dying. “Quickly, yes, done.” He read a few sacred chants in quick succession. None is very sure if they are proper or not. “Now, groom’s right hand, stretch it forth, bride’s left hand,” he joined their hands. They held their hands so tight that it seemed like they’ll never leave the grip for lives to come. “PaaniGrahanam!” Aamatsya bellowed out. “Now, as the commander of the fleet and the king of this sailing community, I pronounce you as husband and wife, now. . . Apply Kunkum on her forehead.”
“Kumkum on a war ship? How?” Shanmukhi was about to say. But Dhananjaya drew The Luminous Sword, and cut his right thumb. Placing it on her forehead, he made her his. He took her near and kissed on her forehead, with tears flowing down his cheeks. Not of pain, but of intense pleasure.
“Done, now, please. We have a war to fight!” Aamatsya opened the doors and drawing his sword out of his sheath, he ran out with a scream. Dhananjaya was about to leave when Shanmukhi stopped his again. Placing her thumb on the sword, she cut it, placing a Bindhi on Dhanajaya’s forehead. “Let victory be my husband’s.”
“It will be,” saying those, he ran out. He didn’t wait to stop to fight. He ran till off the ship and into the sea he has fallen, like a determined beast. Shanmukhi followed him and stooped at the ledge of the ship, looking into the dark waters. ‘They say if the beholder of the sword finds true love, the sword shines, bringing in the powers of heaven to the beholder.’
“Shanmukhi!” there was scream, and it was Aamatsya’s voice. She was watching intensely at the waves and by the time she could turn back, from the behind, a huge tentacle with a sting stuck in her spine. Her breath left her heart. “Jaya,” she wanted to scream. Her eyes were still fixed on the dark waves.
Just before her eyes were being closed forever, she saw a blinding light emerging out of the seas. Her lips spread wide into a smile, and death couldn’t fade it off her face.
Part 5 – The Beginnings Again
“I should congratulate you Jaya, you’re a lucky man.” The doctor was saying. “You were stung by a venomous scorpion. It even was very late by the time you’re admitted. Already you were choking out life by then.” he laughed out as it was amusing. “I call you lucky because we had my nephew here with us, who is a specialist in making out anti-doses for any kind of a poison.”
“Thank you doctor, thank you.”
“No, no. Not me. She came here suddenly, like, destiny wanted her to be here by the time you come,” he laughed out loud again. “I will call her, thank her, that;s better.” And doctor called for a nurse and an assistant was before him. “Go, once go and say that Mr. Jaya is fine and gained consciousness.”
“To whom doctor?”
“Oh I am sorry, to doctor Shanmukhi. Go at once. She is pretty much worried.”