“But in the end we’re left infinitely and utterly alone.”
“I’m nervous. It’s been 15 years, Shlok. I’ve completely lost practice.” said Shunya.
“These things cannot be forgotten, Shunya. These are our powers. Dr. Charak has taught us this.”
“But what if the seven get scared by us? I mean, we just go to them without any warning…What if something goes wrong?”
“Shunya, we’re their guardians. We were born to protect them. Apne rakhwale se darr kaisa?”
“Haan Shlok, but still–”
“We can at least try teleporting…we’ve got to.”
“You’re right. Okay.”
Both of them closed their eyes in concentration and chanted “Om” together. This always helped calm the mind and concentrate on the destination the mind wanted the body to reach while teleporting.
The moment Shlok opened his eyes he saw Shunya disapparate before him. Shunya had teleported to wherever her mind had found one of the Seven.
Mahesh Kashyap’s House, Mumbai.
Drishika and Mastishk were in the veranda. Mastishk was clicking random pictures with his camera.
“Drish! Drish smile Drish. Pleeeease smile. Drish cheese!”
Suddenly, Drishika’s eyes went white and–
Drishika saw her and Mastishk talking to a woman they had never met before.
She said, “There’s not much time left, let’s go.”
“Drish? Wake up, Drish. Drish?”
“She’s coming to take us, Tish. I told you, she’s gonna come.” said a visibly weak Drishika.
“No one’s gonna take you, Drish. Nothing’s gonna happen to us!”
He helped her sit up.
“It’s going to happen, Tish, you know it.”
Suddenly, they heard the door bell ring. “See? I told you.”
“Arey, it can be someone else also na? Stop overreacting ya–”
Satya kaka walked in and said, “Dada, someone’s come to meet you two.”
They looked at each other, slightly alarmed.
Satya kaka brought three cups of tea outside in the garden. Two for Drishika and Mastishk and the other one for the woman who had come to meet them. He had never seen this woman before. He kept the cups on the table and Mastishk said, “Thank you, Satya kaka. We don’t need anything else, thank you.”
Once he left, Drishika was the one who spoke up.
“So…we are the chosen warriors..?”
The woman (what did she say her name was again?) nodded.
“Right…and our powers are incomplete without each other?” Drishika asked again.
“Yes” she replied.
Drishika nodded, but Mastishk heard what she was actually thinking–
“Of course. She didn’t get other idiots like us, did she?”
Then Mastishk said, “Accha toh, you were gonna take us to fight a war, sorry, yudh! Right? But exactly against whom?”
“Against evil, against darkness, against bad thoughts–”
“Woahhhoho, ek minute, you’re making a fool out of us right? I just knew it” smiled Mastishk. “Camera? Camera! Hidden cameras, look, hum bakra bann gaye, we’re stupid hahaha, c’mon now, camera—” His sister hit his hand shook her head in disapproval, because the woman clearly did not look like she was joking.
“No camera? Oops…uh…so, you’re from some NGO right? You talking regarding saving the world and bla bla..?”
“Look, all this isn’t as strange as it seems. According to the Bhrigu Shastra both your names have been chosen among the seven warriors. If you don’t believe me, read it yourself.”
She pulled out an old, battered manuscript and handed it to Drishika.
“Dekho, read it and see.”
“Alright”. Drishika pulled open the ropes binding the fragile pages and inside in the first page she found– “Asmin….Haryaksh…OhmyGod! Drishika, Mastishk! Our names are here…then Hriday and Varya.”
“Wow! so we’re really heroes?” said Mastishk.
“But wait, these are only six names–”
When she turned, the woman wasn’t there anymore!
“Dude! Where’d she go?!”
“Excuse me, Vineet, right?”
“You can go home now. Please do not worry. It has been declared an accident. You’re free to leave.”
Inside the hospital morgue, a body covered with a white cloth started stirring. In a jolt Asmin uncovered herself and pushed the white cloth below her navel where she suddenly felt a sharp pain. The moment she touched her midriff and concentrated, the deep cut closed up, and was clean–as if it were never there.
Asmin, finally feeling her strength getting back, sat upright and cured herself of all the cuts on her hands and forehead. Now alarmed and alert, she realized where she was. She got off the bed and started looking around here and there and opened the door of the adjacent room in confusion. There she found a cloth and wiped her forehead and face in it. Suddenly, she heard someone’s footsteps and hid behind the room’s door. She heard a woman’s voice.
“Arey! Ward boy! Ward boy! That girl who was brought here about half an hour ago…where is she?!”
“What?! What do you mean? We got her into this room just some time back.”
“Then where did she go?!”
“Wait wait, let’s go ask the doctor!”
When she heard their footsteps leave the room, she peeped from behind the door and then seeing that the coast was clear, she came out and started looking for a way to escape. She found a window in that room. There was a bench right in front of it, and Asmin got up on the bench, opened the window and saw the street outside was deserted. Her athletic body could easily go through the window.
Just as she tried to put one leg through the window a man suddenly appeared there out of thin air. At first Asmin didn’t quite register what had happened as she was busy getting her other leg to wriggle out of the window without losing balance.
He held out his hand for her and she waved it away the first time.
“C’mon, c’mon!”, he still held it out.
She decided it would be better to take it and then jump down. She jumped down without getting hurt but then she remembered that she had to check if anyone was coming their way.
“Just a sec–” she whispered, ran to the edge of the building and peeped. The nurse and ward boys had just informed the doctor that she was missing and they were headed inside. Asmin turned to say, “Thanks…dude!”
Just as the man had appeared out of nowhere, he was, again, nowhere to be found.
She looked here and there in confusion, but then thinking it was just a hallucination, she decided to run away from the place.
Shunya and Shlok found themselves back in Shunya’s apartment.
“God! No matter how much I try, I’m losing concentration. Shlok, I’m constantly going and coming back. I think we should inform Dr. Charak.” said Shunya.
“No, Shunya. This is a task. And we have to accomplish it okay?”
“I am trying! I haven’t practiced in 13 years and–”
“Relax Shunya, please! Let out all the stress from your mind. Try concentrating again, okay?”
She nodded and closed her eyes.
Dr. Charak had taught them the best way to calm their minds. First, they had to open their minds to themselves. Shunya did the same. In order to let go of all this stress and be in control of her mind again she had to reach herself, deep within. As she concentrated, her mind opened up to her and inside she found her deep chaotic mind, which had covered up in dark red clouds of self-doubt. Once she concentrated harder, those dark clouds gave way for a clear mind where her calm neurons could work in peace again. She was finally in control of her mind and her powers again.
Then, both Shlok and Shunya teleported to the places they were supposed to go to, to fulfill the task they had left incomplete.
“Now what do we do with this Bhrigu Shastra?” Drishika asked her brother.
“Give it back to me.” said Shunya.
“Where did you go?” Both of them exclaimed in unison.
“Sorry woh….my concentration was weak so I had to leave. Actually, my partner Shlok and I are trying to teleport.”
“Right.” said Drishika and Mastishk, both a little shocked and impressed.
“Arey, she came back?! She was in a hurry na?” said Satya kaka.
“Haan..woh… Kaka, please take her cup of tea and get it warmed up….its gone cold.”
Once Satya kaka left, Shunya said,
“Look there’s not much time. We have to reach Indraprasth House before 7pm.”
“Indraprasth House? It’s 6:40, and it’s in the other end of the city.” said Drishika.
“I know.” said Shunya. “That’s why we have to leave right now.”
“But how will we reach in 20 minutes?” asked Mastishk. “It’ll take us at least an hour…traffic hoga.” “Right.”
“Leave it to me.” Shunya stood up.
“What n-now?! Like this?!” They stood up too. “Sorry, I meant…we have to tell our parents right..?”
“There’s not much time left, let’s go.” said Shunya. Before they could say anything else, she touched their shoulders each, and then, all three of them dissolved in thin air.
What does one do when they have to leave their home, without any warning, any provisions, or anyone left who they can call their own? What should he do…in an unknown place….big city, huge buildings, trees that are sparsely there, people who don’t know him, people who don’t care….a place that is absolutely different from the environment he’s been used to all his life? He finds himself amidst new people, with new faces, but none of these faces are familiar. He’s walking with a crowd, walking with many people—but all he feels is loneliness. How does one find their way in this world when they’re so utterly lost?
Ekaant banged into another man who said “Oy! Watch where you’re going!”, but he wasn’t listening.
He just kept walking, all the while thinking about his home, about his people, about the one person who had always been there for him—Acharya ji. And now, it was all gone. He was alone. He himself had burned Acharya ji‘s body, for the Hindu tradition required someone to perform the last funeral rites of the deceased, and it had to be Ekaant. Who else could it be? Ekaant was the one Acharya ji had adopted and raised. Ekaant kept thinking all the while how Acharya ji fed him lovingly, taught him archery and the Vedas, taught him how to embrace his powers and use them for good deeds, praised him; he remembered how happy Acharya ji was the day he befriended Akurath; Acharya ji was more than a guru and gave him all the love that any parent would have given him. Ekaant was the only family Acharya ji was known to have.
And now, he had left Ekaant alone in this world, to look for someone he knew nothing about. All he had left, was an address.
“How many years has it been since I’ve been looking for them….mere purab, mere annt….my nemeses, my alter egos, my nirvana? How would I explain to them how we are all connected—like the body and the shadow? The earth and the sky? The water and the clouds? If only I could find one of them, just one, I would make them realize, that my shelter is the best for their well-being. Main hee toh hoon unka asli guru. I am their real protector.”