Bhagatai (भगतई) – Rural Indian Sorcery


Sorcery is an art of souls, magic, devotion and power. You can find no distinct definition of the word ‘sorcerer’ which shall be accepted worldwide. But despite of the various ways of defining it, sorcery is generally considered a negative aspect of magic. You might know it to be the polar opposite of Wizardry or it might be a different word to define the same thing – magic for you.

What is a Sorcerer?

Do me a favor and close your eyes. (Actually… Close them after reading the whole thing, or how would you be able to read?   😉 ) Imagine that you visit a village in Bihar, India. The streets are deserted, the houses are quiet and a shrowd of stillness engulfs the village. You move forwards, hoping to meet someone but find not a single soul in sight. Then you catch a movement in your peripheral vision and jerk to look at it. You see a bright piece of clothing just beyond the corner and instinctively move forward to look at it. After a couple of steps you stagger to a stop. Finally you discover the people of the village. Every single one of them is there in the village square. You move towards them as you notice every single person present is rock-still, holding his/her breath. You look for a vantage point and perch on a bullock-cart. Now the whole scene lies before your eyes. The whole populace is surrounding the village suquare, where an old man sways squatted on a mat. He is engulfed by incense, & platters of food and delicacies are laid out before him.

Suddenly his swaying stops and the old man goes rigid. He stays frozen for a moment then turns abruptly – to stare you straight in your eyes. You go still, trying but unable to escape the old man’s gaze. Then the most freakish/amazing thing happens. The mans speaks your grandfather’s name. And says to you. “Welcome, grandson of ……….”



That my friends, is sorcery. Pure and absolute. The art still thrives in the rural areas of India like Bihar, Odisha & Jharkhand; and is widely renown. Basically the sorcerer invites a spirit to reside in his/her body for a period of time and enjoy material pleasure like food. The spirit grants the sorcerer knowledge in exchange of the few moments of enjoying life. The sorcerer meanwhile answers questions and solves people’s problem with the knowledge gifted by the spirit.

How does Sorcery work?

1) For a thing like sorcery to work, the first requirement is a crowd of people. The ‘spirit’ doesn’t visit the sorcerer (भगता – Bhagata in Hindi) unless there is a sufficient audience.

2) The sorcerer sits on ground with all the food & incense around him and closes his eyes to meditate. Then there comes a moment when he goes into a trance and starts to sway, shake & wobble. When the trance fades and the sorcerer opens his eyes, they become the eyes of the spirit.

3) After talking with such a sorcerer ‘Bhagata’ in person, I asked him the secret behind it. He smiled and replied that there wasn’t one. He just makes his mind & body ready to accept the spirit and the spirit arrives. According to him, it was like swimming with closed eyes. You swim and swim, and suddenly BAM! The opposite shore is there & the spirit is ready to ‘move in’.

4) The incense & crowded surroundings helps the sorcerer to ‘reach out’ and contact the spirit. When the spirit inhibits his body, the sorcerer only remembers a partial consciousness.

5) When the spirit has finally arrived, music is played in a steady rythm. The sorcerers claim it to help the spirit ‘attune’ to the alien body.

6) Sorcery is a talent of blood. It can’t be learned unless you are born with it.

What are the uses of Sorcery?

The most prominent use of sorcery is curing diseases. It may be noted that most incidents of sorcery are recorded in rural areas of incidents.

1) The act of Sorcery ‘Bhagatai’ is often celebrated as a minor festival. A ‘Bhagata’ is usually related to a particular cast and only they participate in the gatherings. They ask the spirit the solutions of their day to day problems, cures of diseases which they can’t afford to get treated by a doctor and such minor things.

2) A sorcerer is also a holy thing for the people and they seek blessings for family and friends. He is considered a thing of marvel since there are claims that the spirit which visits a sorcerer is the essence of their God.

3) The act of sorcery is also a thing of entertainment for the people. The sorcerer performs various tricks to entertain the people such as eating fire or holding embers.

4) Then there are negative aspects too. Some Sorcerers claim to cause harm to others for money. They call upon malignant spirits which can cause a subtle, gradual and substantial harm to a specific person of family. It appears as bad health, ill luck, accidents and other seemingly natural phenomena.


Sorcery – Real or Fraud?

Just like other supernatural activities, sorcery is also considered a trick of eyes or some detailed play or act. Our science doesn’t allow anything not natural to exist and hence sorcery is often under suspicion.


1) Sorcerers perform acts like holding glowing pieces of coals, and it doesn’t harm them. I am not talking about momentarily holding and then throwing it but holding them for extended periods of time like half an hour.

2) There are many incidents where patients actually get better after being blessed by a Sorcerer. Whether it is purely psychological or the blessings really work, can’t be decided. It is a fact no one can ignore.

3) Sorcerers tend to know much more than their ‘inert’ forms. When a spirit inhibits them, they simply know the names of strangers come to see them, or ancestors of the people around them. This is a fact not to be taken lightly. Sorcerers aren’t vagabonds roaming around gathering information about patients. They are day to day farmers and labors who act as a vessel to the spirit.

The extraordinary knowledge gained by the Sorcerers cannot be ignored.


1) Every single act of sorcery is recorded in only rural areas. 99% of the incidents occur in the poorest and most backward states of India, where only 10% of the population ever passes high schools. This points towards a huge question.

Why do spirits only inhibit illiterate & uneducated village folk?

2) The spirit refuses to arrive in the vessel if there are media personnel or any other official presence around.

3) Not a single Sorcerer is an educated person. Do you smell something fishy too?



Whether they are real or not. Sorcerers are a common thing in rural areas of India and Sorcery still lives in this age of Science.

See you later!!!

Hey guys! I have a lot of studies coming in the next three months. This means I wouldn’t be able to blog much.  A couple of posts per month will be all I will be able to do. I will be coming back full on from May 2016 and The Legacy of Kalki shall continue. […]

Books I read in 2015

2015 was a year with a LOT of work and also with a LOT of free time. I had my exams in May and was preparing for them since last August (2014). I had had only an hour daily for reading leisurely, and believe me, I utilised all of it. June, July & August (half) […]

When friends are murdered by Gods – Ch 22

Have you ever come across Déjà vu anytime in your life? Sometimes people tend to think they know something that is going to happen before it happens. It might be a slight premonition in form of a dream or it might actually have happened with you already. Such occurrences can make a person amazed or they might make him unsettled. I, living in a whole different sort of community; obviously fell into the latter category.

“Wake up dude! You are going to miss the breakfast!” A loud voice rattled me out of my fitful slumber. I was huddled in a corner of my room with a blanket wrapped around me and my table was positioned like a bunker wall. I had had one of the nightmares which compelled me to hide in the corner of the room to hide from the collapse. The problem was that there was no collapse. “Do whatever you wish man. I did my job.” There was a last bang of Utkarsh’s fists on the door and then receding footsteps told me he had left. I sighed and slowly got up to get dressed for the day.

A good six months had passed since my imprisonment in Lord Varun’s prison dimension. On my second day here, I had the bad luck of coming across a screaming banshee, and it resulted in a nightmare so severe that I still can’t sleep without waking up in sweats. The eeriness of the similarities between my arrival in the Veil and the Blue Hell was quite unsettling. I was enrolled in an almost army like institution, was provided accommodations; and finally I was given a loan. The prison city, which I came to know was called the Blue Hell by its inhabitants; was slightly different from the Veil. Just slightly. The credit system in the Veil was based upon slightly different things than that of the Blue Hell. But the similarities were bold enough to wake me every night expecting Natasha on my chest or getting startled whenever somebody called for me fearing it would be Lord Varun. I knew very well that I was being absurd and it was all psychological. But it’s even harder to overcome a fear which has you in its clutches psychologically and you know about it.

The shower water was lukewarm on my skin and only then I realized the coldness of my own body. Huddling in the corner was definitely not good for my health. I was in constant unease as I expected the dimension to collapse as it has done in the veil and it was taking quite a toll on me. Going through the exact same chores as that of the veil disturbed me further. I had repeatedly tried to meet Natasha and ask for her help but she was rarely available for any kind of business other than helping in the workings of the Blue Hell. The immortals were quite happy to have another immortal to share their responsibilities with. The result was a distraught me with a severe case of Déjà vu, and my life was a complete mess with this new system of working society.

When I reached the mess hall, it was half empty and the other half people present were about to finish their meal. I quickly went to the counter and let the vendor scan my aura. Things worked here quite different from the Veil. Unlike the place between Heaven and Hell, the Blue Hell held a fair quantity of common-everyday-normal human beings. The supernatural community outnumbered them two to one, but still it was a fair number of prisoners who couldn’t do anything to help the society significantly. The production of food was the responsibility of several apprentices and seniors who worked under the personal supervision of one the immortals. The sandwiches I took were their product and I shortly joined Utkarsh. “Sorry for the delay. I didn’t sleep well.” I said to him in an attempt of a nonchalant voice. He had his mouth completely full with boiled rice and gravy and it took him some time to chew and reply. “Why don’t you visit the medical wing? It will definitely offer a great deal of entertainment to us. Or you might go to the builders to build back your brain from scratch.” He finished with a laugh.

The construction and maintenance here was handled by another group of apprentices and seniors working under another one of the immortals. Then there were the medical services. No one grew ill in the Blue Hell, but skirmishes between the two factions of its inhabitants resulted in quite a few injuries. The training and instructions took its own toll on the apprentices and they also piled up a huge number of hurt people. A different similar team of apprentices, seniors and an immortal looked after it. Another such group was devoted to the production of necessary products like clothes and other materials, and yet another such group created the main body of the force protecting the city; and sometimes raiding the other faction.

We were the last two to leave the mess hall and he kept talking cheerfully as he took me to my classes again. It was his duty to take me through my basics before I could join the regular classes and he certainly enjoyed ordering me about. We left the tower and he raced me to the survival grounds. “Okay hero. Take a bamboo stick & a couple of stones, and make a nice little fire. Your time will decide if you get your lunch or not.” He was taking me through basic survival which was the last of basics I had to learn. We had already done combat in which he took pleasure in beating me senseless, aura manipulation in which I surpassed him in the first hour and the heavenly arts, which were not necessary for the basics. “Why don’t you try to make it?” I replied under my breath as I started scraping the side of the bamboo for dry kindling. There were a lot of people going through different tasks in the grounds and it reminded me of the fact that some people chose not to go under apprenticeship.

The people left were mainly those who couldn’t, or didn’t get under apprenticeship, or the normal human beings. They were quite a problem to the elder immortals who organized everything in the beginning, and thus they chose to make the most powerless the most powerful ones. The humans were led to become the ruling part of the community. All the major decisions and judgments were made by them. They served as Blue Hell’s governing body, and they coordinated with the immortals to handle the matters. Other prisoners, mainly those who couldn’t get under apprenticeship worked as the police. The production of food and stuff was fairly limited, so everyone had a definite quota for what they could take. Contributors to the storehouse also got a little extra ration of things to take, and so got the humans by default. There was no currency and the normal commerce proceeded as exchange of rations in the storehouse. It was the extreme of completely virtualized economy.

I was much impressed by the workings of the educational system too. All the students under apprenticeship had four definite courses to complete. Just like the apprenticeship in our dimension, these four were survival, combat, aura manipulation and heavenly arts. What I knew in our dimension came up close to being a pitiful copy of this system. A few eons ago, lord Varun had released an immortal from the slaves and he had carried this idea with him. The slaves didn’t follow this way and they only knew what they could find by spying. The apprenticeship here was on a whole different level than in our dimension. On the whole, it was a surprisingly well coordinated system for a society of a prison.

I managed to get a pitiful flame growing as the second hour approached and was about to point it out to Utkarsh when a sudden draft smothered the flames. I looked helplessly at him and he burst out laughing. Utkarsh was a jolly fellow and he kept the mood light wherever he went. But once I had witnessed him getting angry and his student still flinches when she spots him. Agnishikha had little time for meeting with me and days went past without us talking. Natasha had called upon me a couple of times to check on my progress with Utkarsh. Of course she had undertaken my apprenticeship but she was quite happy to let Utkarsh do his work and point just a little bit when she thought necessary. I had asked her about the veil but she had obviously refused to discuss it.

“Don’t bother to do it again. I’ll let it pass. I think it might be the time you are approved for your introduction in the class.” Utkarsh told me as I got up wiping sweat from my face. Agnishikha had joined her official apprenticeship a week ago and she had immediately grown an admirable group of friends due to her skill in combat. She was devious with a quarterstaff and hand to hand fighting & Utkarsh seemed to regret his many attempts to offend her when she was still under training. “Shall we go on for lunch then?” I asked him and prepared myself for his denial. He was about to say something when his face jerked towards the tower.

I looked at it too and my jaws dropped to find a glowing nimbus of blue light on its top. My body froze in shock as the memory of the collapse reeled back to me. The faces of my friends and the distortion of the place as it crumpled swam before my eyes. It was as if my eyes had glued themselves to the glowing nimbus and it was quite some time before I was aware enough to feel Utkarsh shaking me. “…all right dude? Do you need to sit down?” I jerked my face from the nimbus and asked Utkarsh. “Is that… Lord Varun?” Somehow, instead of feeling scared, I was strangely numb. I realized that I was shaking with anger. As time had passed, I had slowly let go of my belief that my friends survived the collapse. The only person to blame it upon was Lord Varun. I didn’t know the punishment of assaulting a god if you live long enough to receive it. Nonetheless I was determined to make Lord Varun pay for what he had done.

“Everything with his aura isn’t him buddy. Lord Varun has not enough time to visit us. We despise him and the feeling is mutual. That is the signal of another arrival. Come on, let us continue to lunch. It is going to be quite a while to our turn at escort.” Utkarsh replied in what could have been considered as a half mocking, half envious tone. We shuffled with other people on our way to the mess hall. Lunch was still a couple of hours away, but I wanted to eat well due to my hasty breakfast. We were joined with Ileana and Rachel when they left the combat grounds with Rachel limping slightly. “You are still stuck at that?” Utkarsh asked her as she tried to walk straight and winced. “I think Akshat will learn to kick faster than you and he took a whole week to break that bamboo.” Ileana was trying to stifle her smile as Utkarsh howled with laughter. Rachel scowled at him and replied back. “If you can kick that good, why haven’t you passed apprenticeship yet? Oh yes! I forgot that the most you could do with your aura is turn a page. Too bad, huh?” Her voice had almost an acrid acidity and Utkarsh immediately lost his smile. His lack of aura manipulation was a sore spot for him.

Most of the preternatural prisoners here were demons. The living world contributed as all of the human population and a few other creatures. My suspicion about our teachings in our world had confirmed itself. The demons were simply another kind of population with a lot of non vegetarian appetite and slightly extreme customs. They believed in living out loud and never cared for their well being. It was all given in the booklet we were provided and there was a whole lot of other information in it too. Description about lord Varun’s prison, the boundaries between the two factions and the basic introduction to each captive species were a few articles at the beginning and I had simply forgotten to read further.

The day passed slowly as I waited for my official introduction into the class. All of my friends were in it and Utkarsh was the oldest student. He was still stuck due to his inability for the manipulation of aura and he had achieved a honorary position among the other students. It was the duty of the oldest students to teach the new, and Utkarsh had the bad luck to train me. If other candidates for apprenticeship appeared then they were taught by the next senior-most students and so on.

I waited patiently in my room as the consistent blue haze lulled me into a light slumber. The light was almost fading when a knock came at my door and woke me up. I rubbed my eyes and trudged to the door. It was one of the apprentices with a sign of the army faction and he certainly seemed irritated. “Come with me. The Devi Natasha wants to see you.” His tone was as sharp as a whiplash and I left my room after locking the door with a gesture Utkarsh had taught me. It was a gloomy journey up to the 17th floor where Natasha had established her working quarters. I asked him as we walked another set of staircases. “Do you know why am I summoned?” I worked hard to keep my voice polite and firm enough at the same time so that he couldn’t overlook my question. He glanced at me and grunted. “It has something to do with today’s arrival. That gargoyle said he is a friend of yours.”

My head jerked up as I caught what he had implemented. There was only one gargoyle who was my friend – Liam. A lot of possibilities appeared to me and I was lost among them as I kept walking up the stairs. Liam’s presence here meant he was also captured by Lord Varun. This relieved me as it meant at least some of my friends were safe. But wait a minute, Liam never left Rocky. He was alone here that meant… I negated the possibility and hastened my steps. When we reached Natasha’s quarters, I was panting badly. Six months of hurrying up and down these steps had allowed me a lot of stamina. But climbing 17 floors at once was still a great deal tiring. The apprentice knocked at the door and Natasha’s familiar voice chimed out. “Send him in!” He looked puzzled by her command but immediately followed it and I hurried inside.

Yep. It was Liam alright. But he had half of his left arm in bandage and a good part of his left ear looked cut off. He hurled him at me when I entered and clung to me tightly. I was buried in his fur for some time so I couldn’t see the other person present in the room. When Liam moved aside and perched on my shoulder, I saw that Agnishikha was in the room too. She had her face in Natasha’s lap and was crying with a lot of tears. All of my senses went on high alert and I fiercely asked Liam. “What happened?” Natasha gave me a look devoid of all expressions and turned back to comfort Agnishikha. “it was not Lord Varun Akshat.” Liam replied in his wheezy voice. “It was Decain. He had spies among us. And when the time was right, he sent two of his generals with your brother to annihilate the veil. We tried to fight back but the attack was too furious. We had many casualties. Seth was taken.” He finished with a croak. I took him in my hand and put him on the table. “Tell me all of it.” I said to him as his ears drooped. “We were cornered but we fought back. All of us were holed up in a storeroom. Then a golden fireball struck the roof and it collapsed.” He looked directly into my eyes and said with a tone of finality. “Rocky and Lisa are dead.”

Garbled Speech – Report Card for 2015 (Oct, Nov & Dec)

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 740 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Life in an extra-dimensional Supernatural Prison – Ch 21

Some People are more easily excited than others. Some are also known to break into hysterics if their pen breaks or one hair falls off their head (Stupid, huh?). Most of the people in the latter category obviously fall into the first too. For example, girls are more prone to breaking into tears on the sight of mice or vermin which is considered stupid; but they handle things like giving birth quite bravely where many men usually faint. But you come across many opportunities in your life when you just want to slap the next person due to their stupidity.

I was staring at Agnishikha’s swollen face and had a strong urge to either kill her or commit suicide. The way she was talking made me think that she only took into the numerical value of the time gap. Obviously 11,986 years was a long time for being trapped, but when you calculate the actual passed time in our world, it comes near to almost 98 years. And for an immortal, that is like no time at all. “Then what is the problem Agnishikha? We can have more time to plan and prepare for the time when we escape.” If we escape. Agnishikha blinked and looked at my face as if looking for the first time. She scanned me for a few second and then continued in the same flat, dead voice. “Are you a child Akshat? Or are you so stupid that you can’t count figures? One year is equal to three days! Don’t you get it?”

I had a strong urge to grab my hair and scream in frustration. I knew that the girl was scared half out of her wits, but this was intolerable. I barely caught myself from shaking her. “That is exactly what I am talking about. One year here is equal to three days in our dimension. So we aren’t losing much time!” I was shouting when I finished. Girls were good to look at, and they were beautiful too. But there was seldom any girl who was beautiful, and had at least an ounce of brain matter in her head. Agnishikha jerked back as if singed by my words and stared at me with her eyes as wide as biscuits. And then to infuriate me further, she assumed a scornful expression. Of all things to do, she stood to loom over me and planted her fists on her hips. “And you are telling me now? When I was scared to death that if we were able to return, nothing could have been done? Couldn’t a boy possess a gram of wits in his head?” She threw up her hands in exasperation and stalked off to her room banging the door behind her.

I was staring at the door with my mouth wide open. What was my fault if her dim brain couldn’t interpret a thing except for the numerals? Was it my fault that she had an empty brain? And of all things, she was accusing me? Girls were truly weird. I decided to leave her alone to sulk. It was quite a while since I had a chance for grooming myself so I trudged towards the shower. It was a nice experience after such a hectic day. I had barely had a chance to brush my teeth when we were summoned to Lord Varun in the morning and the trek through the forest had taken a toll on my hygiene. It was almost dark when I came out from the long soak and knocked at Agnishikha’s door.

She opened it wearing a bright red Kurti and black jeans. It was odd the way globalization had affected the preternatural community. The Hindus used to wear only traditional Indian clothing when interacting with other races. The 20th century brought about a huge change in the lives of our ancestors with the intermingling of different cultures. Many creatures from different pantheons started to explore other cultures and ways of life. Hinduism wasn’t unaffected. We received a lot of foreigners interested to know the Hindu way of life. Similarly, many of our people also went to explore other cultures. The result was a supernatural globalization. Now, the Indian subcontinent housed creatures from the Greek, Christian, Egypt, Cyprus, Celtic and many other pantheons. Few of them joined us, the rest of them wanted to only explore our way. We were certainly affected by their ‘exploration’ too, as we had already started into western culture in the mortal world. The desertion of Gods also didn’t encourage us towards keeping with only our way of life, and slowly and more slowly, we were trapped in the glorious event of modern globalization. It was true that we performed our holy ceremonies in our traditional ways, but our day to day life had a strong impression of western culture.

She stared blandly at my face, quite defiant in admitting her mistake about the time gap. I didn’t goad her to accept my point and said. “Let’s go visit Natasha. I have no idea what are we going to do here. And I definitely need some supplies since I don’t carry my closet in my handbag.” I didn’t wait for her reply and turned to walk away. She stood rooted to her place as if deciding between yelling at me or hitting my head, then slammed the door and briskly trotted up to walk beside me with her nose in air. I still had an impression of a strange kinship with her as I had felt upon our first encounter. I hoped it wasn’t some more complex mumbo-jumbo because I was truly tired of the problems of my life. Last week had been the most hectic thing one could have gone through, and I really didn’t like it.

“Do you have any idea what might have happened to Seth and others?” I asked in an attempt to bring down her temperament. Her expression softened for a moment and then she slumped. “I don’t know. I hate being helpless but that’s what we are. The most we can hope is that somehow they were able to teleport to either side during the collapse.” Her tone clearly suggested she wanted to believe so too. The fact that I had escaped and they could not made me feel the ‘survivor’s guilt’. But wait; wasn’t I trapped in a God’s prison? If they escaped then it meant they had a better fate than mine. I shook my head to clear the thoughts. I had only known them a few hours of my life. But it was as if they constituted a large fraction of me. It would have been nice to have a way to talk with them.

We approached the ground floor, which we knew by the enormous gateway on the front of the tower. It let through the only unaltered fading light and we were finally able to get out of the feeling of being underwater. The dim moonlight cut through the blue haze as a lighthouse does in the night and I instantly noticed Maya talking with a few boys at one of the waiting benches. We approached her and before I could have said anything, Agnishikha said. “Hey Maya. Do you have any idea what are we supposed to do next?” Her voice had a careful tinge in it which showed her caution as well as formality with her. The chatting stopped and all of them looked at us. Maya cleared her throat and introduced us. “Guys, meet our newest arrivals, Agnishikha and Akshat. And you guys meet your classmates Rachel, Kunal, Ileana and Utkarsh. You will be studying with them in the upcoming days.” They smiled and waved at us and I did the same with a nod. Maya continued. “As for what you would be doing, your command lies with the immortals, and you will shortly be joining your formal apprenticeship with them. As for now, you have to visit Ronan at the 8th floor and receive your lodging arrangements.”

I nodded and turned with Agnishikha to go to Ronan. There was no lift in the building and we walked up to the central staircase. The tower must have been made by engineering unknown to mankind because there was not any support to the stairs. The walk took us a short time while we walked in silence. Agnishikha’s demeanor had changed since coming here and I really thought that she was under some kind of pressure. Losing my friends was hard for me and Agnishikha had probably had more than a crush on Rocky. Lord Varun’s reason of destroying the veil was a mystery to me. It could not have been due to my disobedience because our imprisonment was a living proof of that. Had he joined Decain? It was definitely a possibility. But if that was so, we were as good as dead. We came upon a pair of giggling twins who were whispering something in the supply closet at the 8th floor’s landing. They tried to act sober when they noticed us and started towards the stairs. Agnishikha smiled and asked them. “Where can we find Ronan? Would you mind telling us?” They looked startled at being addressed and one of them giggled nervously. The other returned Agnishikha’s smile and told us to go to the third room in the next corridor. We left them as they broke into another bout of giggling and turned right. There were only a few people going about in the tower and it seemed almost deserted. On the third door a bronze plaque read ‘Second Authority – Fourth division’. On another, slightly newer plaque below it there was a single word in capitals ‘RONAN’. Below it, there was something scratched in a little smaller font. ‘The Cannon’. We shared a look and I knocked on the door twice.

“Come in!” The familiar voice of Ronan called us in. The room we stepped into was the perfect cross between bleakness, formality and aggressiveness. Ronan sat in a straight-backed leather chair with a gleaming wood table as a companion. It seemed to be crafted with a single piece of wood. How it was possible, I hadn’t had an idea. “I have been expecting you two for quite a while. I am amazed your curiosity died so quickly at the sight of a soft bed.” He was mocking us and I didn’t feel like being mocked. Before I could have a chance to retaliate, Agnishikha got a chance to release her pent up frustration “I would like to see you chased away by your own people and then being hunted by an immortal as you run towards a place you didn’t know existed, and on top of that if you make a god your enemy and get locked into a freaking prison dimension all in a span of 48 hours, then isn’t it fair to get at least a little sleep?” Amazingly, her shrieking didn’t crack the glass of the windows as she thumped her hand on the table in front of Ronan. His eyes were crinkling with amusement as he carefully brushed the paper plain which Agnishikha had crushed under her fist. She was breathing as hard as a raging bull and I thought better than to say anything.

Ronan eyed her intently and turned to me. “And do you have to say something as well?” His voice didn’t reveal even a hint of his familiarity with me. It was as if he didn’t even know me. I shrugged and said “Nope. I think I share the same feelings as her.” He nodded and then said to Agnishikha. “And that young lady; was the last thing you got to say without punishment. Starting now, I am your senior and you will be punished is you insult me, or any other senior.” He waited to look at us piercingly. I remained quiet and Agnishikha’s mouth was agape with the ineffectiveness of her shouting. Ronan plucked two booklets from his desk and threw them at us. “Here is the basic rules and guidelines’ booklet. You will be following each and every rule with utmost respect. It also contains the workings and history of our prison society so you better look at it too. And even after that if you have some doubts, ask one of your seniors. Any questions?” He finished with a clear note of dismissal.

The newfound alien instinct in me to retaliate at being cornered stirred and I asked impulsively, without giving much thought. “What is the purpose of all this? We aren’t getting out anytime soon. So why do we need to go through this apprenticeship and all this?” I was surprised by the amount of rebellion in my voice. Ronan eyed me with his brows raised. He clearly didn’t expect me to say anything. He sighed and stood up. He went to the window and waved his palm in front of it so that a square patch of underwater blue glass brightened and light permeated the room as if from the window of a sunken ship. “Almost every person here is uneducated in any type of particular skill. When the first immortal were imprisoned here, they devised a course of study to educate the prisoners in the art of survival and utilizing the aura. Their purpose was to find out something to fill the free part of prisoners’ time and to make them useful. They planned on creating an elite force of creatures from everywhere and to escape out of this prison. The first six immortals were all from six different pantheons. They all skimmed the best out of their knowledge and put it all together to create the best kind of training and education a being can receive.” He turned to face us. “We still plan the same with a few side aims as well. We use our study to create an elite force of warriors who are also the best in manipulating aura. As you can see, the population here is too large to survive only as weapons. You can find a lot of beings specialized in the art of creating food and other living necessities out of aura.” He paused to settle comfortably on his chair and continued. “So you must train yourself to be the best you can because we might get the chance to get out any moment now. Or perhaps never. But we are going to emerge as the most proficient army in the known universe.”

We were interrupted by a knock exactly at that time and Ronan called for the person to come in. He was a short, stocky boy with a well chiseled body which Maya had introduced to us. His biceps were as solid as rocks and his shoulders could have rivaled any wrestlers’. His skin was fair to the point of being pale which clashed profoundly with his jet black hair. The most noticeable thing in his face was his eyes – The color of sparkling blue. “You called me, Sir?” He asked Ronan in a casual way. There was a certain mischief in the way he carried himself that emanated an aura of adventure around him. “Yes. You must have heard about these two. Meet Akshat and Agnishikha.” He turned to us and continued. “This is Utkarsh and he will escort you to your cabins in the apprentice section. You may leave.”

Agnishikha opened her mouth as if to say something but stopped mid way and stalked off the room. I shared a confused glance with Utkarsh and we followed her after a brief nod to Ronan. As we came out into the corridor, Agnishikha was muttering imperiously standing to a little side. “We should leave her alone. She has been at boiling point since the morning. BY the way, Nice to meet you.” I said to Utkarsh as we marched to Agnishikha. Utkarsh stole a quick glance at her and furtively increased his face to keep a little ahead. “So, you guys had a little bit of trouble with the slaves, as I have heard. Is that right?” He asked me to break the uncomfortable silence. As with all extra dimensional places, I didn’t need to know his tongue to understand what he was saying. I sighed and replied “Not so much. But yeah, it was a lot confusing at the moment. But that fellow cleared our doubts before they could havr appeared with his offer to carry our heads on plates to Lord Varun.” Utkarsh looked at me as if puzzled. He asked “They actually told you their motives? I was half on my way to their city when I found out what they were planning. I was lucky to escape with all my body parts intact.”

My doubts were cleared instantly about what I had guessed about him. There was a crazy light in his eyes as he talked about how he escaped with the help of his boon granted by Lord Hanuman. Utkarsh definitely had a liking for adrenaline infused adventure, and his enthusiasm about it made me think he was on the verge of craziness too. I kept making idle conversation with him as he led us to the 3rd floor and pointed out the boys’ and the girls’ sections to me and Agnishikha. She stalked off towards the girls’ section and He followed me into the boys’. Just as Agnishikha was turning to go into her section, Utkarsh leapt into the corridor and yelled. “Hey girl!” This brought her attention on him directly and he continued without a single thought. “Please comb your hair next time when you march into official meetings. It looks like the tail of a skunk!”

My mouth was open as I watched him laughing with mirth as he clapped on my back. Agnishikha must have broken through her shock because I heard her cursing a long time before she came on the head of corridor. Just as she was coming up on us with her teeth in a ferocious snarl, she hit a boundary of invisibility and bounced back. At this point Utkarsh was rolling on the floor in laughter and Agnishikha’s cursing grew vile to the point of hurting ears. She saw the futility of her ramblings after a few minutes and stood glaring at me as if it was my fault. “I am going to kill you.” She said in a deadly calm voice and turned to walk back towards the girls’ side.

Utkarsh had somehow managed to stand up and was grinning foolishly at her retreating back. “You, my friend are in big trouble.” I said to him and his grin widened if possible. “Don’t worry man. Girls or Boys can’t go into each others’ sections. So chill out and have fun.” He clasped my shoulder and led us to a small door on the far side of the corridor just like the twenty others. He opened it with a gesture at the lock and we stepped inside. It was a square room with the side width of about 10 feet and there was a bed, a pair of chair and table, a closet and what appeared to be a weapons’ rack as furniture. All was dyed gray, or looked gray in the blue light of the underwater tower. He slumped on the bed and sighed heavily. “You never told me. Did you really refuse heaven to Lord Varun to get here?” He asked me as I sat on the chair. That was definitely something I didn’t wanted to discuss. So I tried to evade the topic. “Yes. He came to us ordering like we were his slaves or something and I didn’t like his manners. What if he is a God? We also have self respect.” I shrugged and turned to him. “How did you end up here? And when?”

A wide smile again broke up on his face. He said “You will have to hear the full story then.” Seeing my nod he continued “I was born in Ireland in a small town. My parents didn’t have any relatives and the local populace despised them for some reason. I didn’t get to play with anyone my age, and so I started wandering off into the woods alone. I felt peculiarly aware of the animals. Once I spotted a little monkey trapped in a thorn bush and I couldn’t get him out. Out of frustration, I commanded the bush to move aside and it did. That was the start of my exploration into my abilities. I told my parents and they seemed very happy. My grandpa too had the same kind of abilities and that was the reason for the hate of townspeople for us.” He smiled deviously and said in a evil voice. “You are generally afraid of things you don’t know about.” With a laugh at my startled look, he continued.

“I continued exploring my abilities in the woods and one such evening when I was lifting a boulder the size of a house with my left hand, a procession of the local priests saw me. I was barely 10 years old and they fled on my sight. I immediately returned to my house but didn’t tell my parents about the incident. As was my habit, I went to sleep in a little storeroom built on the outskirts of the woods. At midnight, I was raised by cries and shouts. I peeked out and was greeted by the sights of two bodies burning on crucifix and my house ablaze. There were about 150 men shouting curses and mumbling prayers there and I wept while I hid. It was morning when I was awoken by my neighbor. She was a kind Indian woman who had come to Ireland for a couple of years with her husband. I was afraid that she was going to burn me too, but she took me to her house and fed me while I cried. The priests had removed the bodies and had deposited them in a lake in the woods.

“The lady helped me hide for a month, then she managed to smuggle me with her when she returned to India. She went all the way in ships so I could hide more easily. With my abilities it was fairly simple. So I came to India and immediately fell in love with Hinduism. I felt a strange bias towards lord Hanuman and devoted myself to his way of life. He met in one of my dreams and blessed me with a boon. That was how I came face to face with a devotee of Lord Varun. It was my bad luck that when I was having a little fun with her, Lord Varun passed by and I ended up here. That’s the soul of the story.” He finished with a glorious bow.

I stared at his smiling face and thought about his terrible past. But wasn’t it too late for witch burnings? I frowned and asked him. “And when did you come here?” As usual, his grin widened and he said dramatically. “I’ve been here for 10 years.” I performed a calculation in my mind. If he was here for 10 years, then it meant the time passed in the living world was… a month? I sighed in relief but his grin grew wicked. “Don’t feel relieved my boy. I am senior to you by 10 years. You might want to start thinking about obeying orders.” I looked at him to see if he was joking. My face grew slack as I noticed his wicked grin. Then he burst out laughing. “You are such a sissy. Come on man. I was just joking. This is going to be your room, and the first in the corridor is the warden’s. Feel free to get your clothes and uniforms from him any time you want. My room is the fourth to your left. Get comfortable and meet me in two hours for your tour & dinner.” With a salute he got up and left the room.

I was certain. He was definitely crazy. It was going to be an interesting stay.



Technology and the Ramayana

  Ramayana is an epic narrated by Maharishi Valmiki. It follows the adventures of Lord Ram and his family in his conquest to defeat the Asura King Raavana to get his wife back and the creation of his ideal society. Ramayana depicts idealism. Every character, every incident is ideal. It has tried to show how […]