“I don’t belong here
But now that I am I
Without fear I am
Gonna conquer with no fear
Until I find my way back home”
Dr. Charak couldn’t explain this, but somehow, he always knew if someone was watching him.
When Shlok and Shunya pulled away from him, they noticed the slight cringe of his eyebrows.
“What is it Baba? Is something wrong?” asked Shunya.
“No, it’s nothing…I’m fine.” he said.
“Are you sure, Sir? Should I get something for you?” asked Shlok.
“No no, It’s okay. Chalo ghar chale. Lets go home.”
Haryaksh kept waiting for the right moment, when the officers would leave him alone in the police van for sometime.
And then, he would attempt his escape.
The police van suddenly haulted in front of a roadside dhaba.
The sun was up already, and all of Mumbai was up and about now, all it’s people busy with their own lives.
The two policemen got out of the van and opened the back door to see whether Haryaksh’s hand cuffs were intact.
One of the policemen was kind enough to ask him,
“Hey, are you hungry? Kya khayega tu?”
But the other policeman cut him off, “Arey what will he eat? Isko toh jail ke dande khilayenge, dande!”
They closed the door and locked the van from outside. This was exactly the moment Haryaksh had been waiting for.
He looked through the window to check if anyone was watching. The two policemen were sitting on a bench with their backs to the van.
Haryaksh leaned in front of the closed door. He didn’t know if his plan would work, but at least it was worth a try. He placed both his hands on the door, where he expected the lock to be, and closed his eyes.
He smiled, as he could feel the heat emanating off his hands melt the lock on the other side of the door and fall off. He opened the door gently, so that no one would notice and silently sneaked out of the van, while keeping an eye on the backs of the two policemen who were enjoying their hot tea from the stall, sitting peacefully thinking that their prisoner was secure and well bound.
National Highway 30, Lucknow.
“Hey could you drive at a slower pace, please? You’re gonna get us killed!”
“Hah! Someone’s scared of a little speed.” smirked Asmin.
“Well, not of speed, but definitely scared of you!” said Vineet, the guy who had given her the lift.
He kept checking the speed-o-meter which went up a notch by the second, and he couldn’t do anything about it as this girl was clearly bonkers. He tried to get serious and slow her down, but the more he warned her not to, the harder she set her foot down, quite literally.
“You know what? Just please let me drive, I’m feeling really uncomfortable, can’t you just slow down?!”
“Hah, not when I’m driving.”
“Oh would you relax? We will be just fi–”
At the next turn a car came towards them at full speed. Asmin rammed the steering wheel towards the left, and at that moment she saw a huge truck come towards them.
“Get out, now!”
Just as they were about to run right into the truck, she pushed Vineet out of the car.
He rolled down the street and then hit his head against a tree. The last thing he could see before losing consciousness was Asmin’s body, hanging out of his crushed car, covered in blood, lots of blood.
Hriday gently lowered himself down on the floor of the lower terrace. His grandmother was there, sitting on the swing and reading a book when she saw him swoop down and land just five steps away from her.
“Ima, I finally did it! It’s true! I can fly!”
He walked towards her, bend down on the floor, and touched her feet to seek her blessings. She kissed his forehead and said,
“You see beta? I knew you would succeed..”
“Ima, you have no idea! I’ve been trying since so many days, and today, it just suddenly worked out!”
“I know, it’s because your head was full of questions! ‘Will I be able to fly?’ ‘Will I be able to do it?’ Arey, apni shakti ko samajhne ke liye samarpan ki zaroorat hai, total surrender. You just had to give yourself some more time, and trust yourself Hri. And now, finally, you have. Just wait, any moment now, your guruji will call you.”
“Haan of course. Someone has to be your guru right?”
“But what will he teach me, Ima?”
“You are going to help him.”
“Help him? How?” asked Hriday, his small eyes full of childlike wonder and curiosity.
“To save the world.” smiled Ima.
“But what if I can’t, Ima?”
“Why can’t you? Of course you can! Tumhara janam isiliye hee hua hai bete.”
Indraprastha House, Colaba, Mumbai. 6:15 p.m.
“Nothing’s changed. Nothing has changed at all.” said Dr. Charak. They were standing in front of the house, their house. It had the same old, mysterious feeling about it. The white walls were as they remebered it– old like and dusty. The various sticks that had been placed around it, to give an impression to outsiders that it was still a house under construction which had been abandoned, were all cracked and the ropes holding them were almost tearing apart. Dr. Charak was right. Nothing had changed indeed.
~ Indraprastha House ~
This house had a different meaning for each of them.
For Shunya, it was her childhood. The first 13 years of her life was spent here. She had memories in every corner here. She loved this place so much she could spend the rest of her life here. No matter where she went on this planet, this place would always be her home.
For Shlok, it was his refuge. He came here at a time in life when he had no family, no where to go, no place he could call ‘home’. He felt loved here, he felt safe here. The stability that he always thought was missing in his life was strangely found by him in such an unstable circumstance. Here he had found everything he thought he had lost forever– a family, a place he could always find his way back to, a home.
For Charak, it was a fortress. A fortress which the evils of outside could not penetrate. He had built this house for the sole purpose of protection and preparation. It was not only for the protection of his students and preparation for their training, but also a place they could feel safe in, just like home.
The three of them walked towards the front door.
Now normally one would expect the door to have lock and key system that conventional doors usually did. Moreover, what kind of a locking system would one expect an old house to have? But Indraprastha House really wasn’t just another old, abandoned house.
The door was pretty ordinary in appearance, unless one noticed the big, colorful mandala inscribed on it.
~ The mandala ~
Dr. Charak joined his hands in a namaste. Shlok and Shunya did the same. The door would open only when a particular Sanskrit mantra would be chanted:
“Om… purnam adah, purnam idam purnat
purnam udachyate; purnasya purnam adaya
The moment Dr. Charak said these words, the door, as if by some invisible force, opened. Finally, after all these years, Indraprastha House let those three people in, who had been the only people to ever live in it, come back to the place, where they were always meant to belong.
Cobwebs and old, dirty white sheets covering the furniture aside, the place was just as how they remembered it– full of forgotten antiques, a few unknown objects, and that mysterious air about it. It was home.
Dr. Charak took a deep breath and said, “By 7pm, today. That is the exact time I want to meet them; at 7pm.” Shunya looked at Shlok, alarmed. “But, Baba!…” Shlok gestured her to be quiet and said, “Yes, sir.”
“Ab unn saato ka yahan aane ka samay ho gaya hai. It’s time for the seven to come.”