Friday, February 4, 2011

Lost Wisdom - Episode 1 - The Search Begins



265 BC

King Ashoka was seated in his throne. He looked like a fearsome lion ready to lunge on anyone who dared to get any close to him. His minister had something important to tell him. He watched his majesty for sometime revising to himself for the Nth time the news he had to convey to the King. When he thought he got enough courage, he reached the King, knelt down before him and started speaking with his head bowed down

“I have news, my majesty”

“I am listening” came a calm yet bold voice.

“One of Susima's brothers fled to Kalinga this morning for refuge.”

The minister expected a sudden outburst from his majesty. But the King remained unusually silent. The King's body twitched for a second indicating he was listening, otherwise which there was no reaction.

“Kalinga has become a serious threat, my majesty. Even after innumerable warnings they do not seem to change their attitude”

“Then we will teach them a lesson” came a roar.

263 BC

Kalinga was no match for King Ashoka's stupendous strength. The entire state was ravaged. Unaware of the fact that this war would be recorded as one of the major battles in History, King Ashoka was lying in his bed. He could shut his eyes tight but not ears. He could hear people crying for help, pleading for mercy, searching for lost families. He stormed out of his palace in search of peace. But what he saw was scattered corpses of men, women and children.

Out of the blue came a middle aged woman.

"Oh my Lord! I have lost my father, husband and only son to the battle. What is there left for me to live?"

The great King who had seen so many wars, who was so strong by heart, who made everyone around him tremble with fear was crying. He made no attempt to hide his tears.

What have I done? If this is a victory, what's a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other's kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant.... What's this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil? (courtesy: Wikipedia)

After seeing the aftermath of the Kalinga war, King Ashoka adopted Budhism.

270 BC

King Ashoka had summoned some of his men for an important meeting. They were waiting to take orders from him.

"We need to burn it"

"With due respect my majesty, if this is gone, human race may not survive long"

"But if it fell on evil hands, the human race will kill each other and become extinct in few years"

"We will take care of it, my majesty. Trust us"

Though King Ashoka accepted reluctantly, he announced

"Henceforth, you will be called The Nine Unknown Men"

Episode 1 – The search begins

Tilak was jogging in his treadmill. He was sweating profusely, but he did not seem to care. He was listening to his favorite numbers in his Ipod. Before he finishes, let me give you a brief introduction about our hero of the story.

Tilak scored state second in his 12th. His parents wanted him to do B.E and settle as a software engineer. But according to him he did not want to waste his life sitting before a computer. He did B.A in History and joined an archaeological research group. Though he was very young, his dedication to work brought him fame soon. Initially he did not take any care of his appearance, but of late thanks to the new girl in his life, he had started concentrating on his physique. Her girl's name is......

Oh no, Tilak is getting a call in his mobile. Let us get back to business.

“Hello...Tilak speaking”

“Hi Mr.Tilak, This is Shalini calling from HDFC bank. Do you want any personal loans?”

“Enough Mona. I know it is you. Come on tell me, how come you have called me so early? I thought you were a lazy bird”

“Me? A lazy bird? I will come back to that later. But how come you did not recognize my voice initially? Why did you say the formal “Hello-Tilak-speaking”?

“If you haven’t noticed, I said that even before hearing your voice, remember?”

“Ahh, now I understand. I had kept a separate tone on your mobile for me. How dare you have changed it?”

“Oh, so this is the reason for today's fight huh? How come you can never spend even a single day without fighting with me?”

“You have not answered my question dear”

“Last night I was with Riyaz, he would have changed it by mistake”

“Hmmm....OK. Now next point, tell me why you called me a lazy bird”

"When was the last time you called me at 5:40? BTW, I guess you called me to convey some important news. So when will you come to the point?”

“Oh God! I forgot. Sarala mam called me just few minutes back and asked our team to assemble in her house within half an hour. Got to get ready. See ya later...Bye dear...”

Tilak smiled to himself. It was this childish behavior that made him fall for her. Instantly he remembered Mona's last line. Sarala. She was a very warm and sincere woman. She gave up family life for her career. She was a rare combination of knowledge and modesty. She had earned a lot of admirers for this trait of hers. She was a mentor, guru for Tilak. She was very busy for the last few months with an important research and Tilak never got the time to meet her. Now he was so excited and reached her house quickly like an enthusiastic kid.

His group members had reached before him. He searched for her sweet heart.

Mona (full name Mohana) was dressed in a black salwar. She was very fair, and had a cute oval shape face. She came forward eagerly on seeing Tilak and as usual her eyes asked him how she looked. He gave back an admiring glance that made her feel on top of the world. He could feel that everyone were staring at them waiting for the first opportunity to tease and changed his expression a bit.

“Hey Goutham! When did you come da?”

“Thank God! At least now you saw me. I thought you were in a foreign location busily singing some duet with Mona”

Mona interrupted “Enough Goutham. Else I would start unveiling your secret?”

Mona was looking at Goutham with a mischievous expression. She was Goutham's best friend. Though Tilak was a common friend to both, Goutham and Mona studied together so were more close.

Riyaz seemed more interested in this piece of information. He was the youngest in the group and the naughtiest. He happily barged in

“Hey Mona, Tell me alone. What is this great secret of Goutham?”

Jessi was getting impatient with every secomd. Though she was younger to all but Riyaz, she was more matured. She never liked Riyaz other that his experience in field work and knowledge. She liked Tilak as a good friend and did not have any feeling towards Goutham. Goutham always seemed to avoid her, so she thought he hated her. She was closest to Mona, her childhood friend. Whenever her team members went overboard, it was she who made them come back to their senses. Just when she was about to open her mouth, they heard someone coming down the stairs. At once all became silent.

They were stunned looking at Sarala. She was in her early 60s. Six months back she looked more jubilant and youthful. But now she looked very distressed. She looked like she aged 10 years. She started speaking in a very dull voice.

“As you all know, I have been doing an important research for the past 6 months. But it does not seem to go any forward. I am getting older and my body is not able to keep up in pace with my mind. So I am asking this as a favor. I need your help in tracking an important artifact that would help humanity in all possible ways. But this is not going to be easy. There are many dangers that lay ahead in this journey. Patience is much needed. Of all the teams, I believe this is the best team for such a crucial task. So are you all ready?”

No one spoke for few seconds. Tilak was the first to recover

“Action speaks better than words Mam. When do we start?”

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