"Even the deepest desires find voice when the will is strong"
Arihant was perplexed, he was scared and he was curious. That he was curious came as a surprise to even him! The man had told him that he belonged to the sect which was the believer of the one true God, the one God who ruled over everything. He had also said that their God had a secret name which only they know. What surprised Arihant was that they had seen the face of God. He wondered if this God was a living, breathing being who lived amongst them. He wondered why they had taken Kamli and Madhuri, why they were being kept in captivity. He knew for sure that it had something to do with his Guru, Sankardev. He closed his eyes for a moment and prayed; a prayer for the safety of his friends, for himself. He didn't understand how Kamli and Madhuri had levitated or had been made to levitate. The thought foremost in his mind was that this sect, this cult of people had some powers, powers that made them dangerous, powers that made Arihant wonder if he could defeat them in this battle which had just ensued. He decided not to tell Kanya about Kamli and Madhuri being held hostage. He decided to keep it a secret as he didn't want to scare Kanya.
"Rehan, they are not here! They probably went somewhere else."
"Yes, Kanya; they probably went somewhere else, just like them!"
"Should we have dinner then?"
"Yes, we should."
Thinking of his next step, Arihant knew that he was in deep, deep trouble. He knew that he would probably have to confide in Kanya, she being a local. She would probably know what to do in such a situation.
"Kanya, I will be back. Need to visit the loo..."
"Yes ok, Rehan"
When Arihant went out from the restaurant, he thought about his options. Thinking was something he was good at; he stopped for a moment and thought, he thought of Kamli and Madhuri being held captive. He thought of them levitating in the air, he thought of the pain he had seen in Kamli's face when he was in the air and he remembered the 'HELP' that Kamli had whispered silently. He knew that he would have to help them and he knew that he was alone in this task. He decided to call the man who had called him, the man who had Kamli and Madhuri somewhere. He took his phone and made the call...
"Hello" The voice was of the same man, it was that sonorous voice which gave the impression of a swarm of bees.
"Hello, I've called you for one reason."
"Yes Arihant, tell me what you have called me for. Are you ready to join us? Will you be a devotee of the one true God and worship him?"
"If I do, will you let Kamli and Madhuri go?"
"It is you we want, Arihant and if you become one of us, we will let them go."
"Ok, let them go and I promise that I will be one of you."
"You will have to accept our God whom you will meet, as your God. Our God had been sleeping for millions of years and now he has awakened from his slumber. We, as his disciples had been waiting for this moment. For some reason, you and your Guru are important. Remember that we are ruthless, if you don't keep your promise, we will take steps which will make your life hell."
"Yes, I will do as you ask." Arihant knew that his focus at this moment was getting Madhuri and Kamli out from the trap they were in. He agreed verbally, though in his mind, he revered his Guru as much as he had always done.
"Hello, Kamli!! Are you alright? Are the two of you ok?"
"Yes, Rehan we are alright!"
The man had given the phone to Kamli and Arihant felt relief flooding through him. His friend was alright! That meant Kamli and Madhuri would probably be allowed to go.
"Arihant..." It was the same sonorous voice again, the voice that sent a chill through you when you heard it.
"You may call me Bhaity"
"But that's an Assamese name, how do you know the word?"
"Assam and Xonkordev are more important in this game that we are in then you'd know. That is why you have been chosen to be one of us. My name is Bhaity for you and soon, when you join us, you will meet and see the face of the one true God"
"Yes, that would be nice..."
Arihant heaved a sigh of relief and was thankful that Kamli and Madhuri would be released soon. He waited with the phone in his ears for instructions.
"We have let your friends go. They should be with you in half an hour and listen carefully Arihant, you will arrive at our temple when we call you. Is that clear?"
"Yes, that is clear! Thank you for letting my friends go."
When Arihant went back to where Kanya was sitting, waiting for him, he decided not to tell her about what had transpired. He decided to keep it a secret.
"Kanya, I just received a call. They will be here in an hour's time."
"That's great! Did they tell you why they were late?"
"No, they didn't but we can ask them."
Arihant wondered about a lot of things. He wondered about Bhaity and why the man on the phone who called himself Bhaity had taken an Assamese name. He wondered about this one true God who had been in slumber for millions of years. he wondered about how his followers had waited on Earth for him to wake up. Bhaity had said that their God had a face, a human face and that he would get to see the face. What troubled Arihant was that he had seen Kamli and Madhuri levitate in that room where they had been kept. This meant that this cult had powers beyond normal human powers. It meant that they had access to supernatural powers and that they were dangerous. Arihant knew that as a disciple of Sankardev, he would have to do battle for his Guru, what he didn't understand was what his role would be. He believed he was ready, for he had always known that he would be called to battle for his Guru, he just didn't know that it would be this soon. Arihant kept an eye on the entrance. He didn't want Kamlesh and Madhuri to come and spill the beans on Kanya. He wanted to hide things from Kanya, believing he would scare her unnecessarily.
"You are uncharacteristically silent today, Rehan."
"Let's order some coffee and a sandwich."
"No, let's wait for them to arrive."
Just then, Arihant saw Kamli at the entrance through the corner of his eye. He saw that Kamli and Madhuri were holding hands, they seemed unharmed, they looked normal. That relieved Kamlesh and he got up to meet them.
"They are here, Kanya! Give me a minute, I will bring them over."
The first thing Arihant did when he went up to the two of them was check for any signs of visible injury. There was none.
"Kamli! My God, man...how did the two of you land in such trouble?"
"Rehan, we didn't have a choice. We were taken without our will!"
"I know that but are the two of you alright? I am so happy to see you. Madhuri, are you alright?"
"Yes, we are..."
"There is something we have to tell you Arihant."
"You can tell me later. Listen, Kanya is waiting for us. She doesn't know that the two of you'd been held captive. Just don't tell her, ok? Keep it a secret and I don't want to scare her without reason. This is our secret."
The evening was spent in idle chatter and Gossip and hearing the four of them, you wouldn't even realise that two of them had been held captive with a threat to their lives just moments ago. Arihant felt that there was something that Kamlesh wanted to tell him. He'd felt it from the moment that Kamli had arrived and though Arihant was with them at this moment, what he wanted to do was to go home and ask Kamli what had actually transpired.
"I think we should all call it a day. It has been a tiring day and we all need some rest."
"Yes Rehan, we agree. Let us go home, we all need some rest. Should we call Ravi?"
When they were in the cab, Kamlesh and Arihant looked at each other and both knew instantly that there were things that they had to discuss. Madhuri was silent and she looked scared. Arihant decided to drop her first. After Kanya was dropped off at her place, Arihant looked at Kamli...
"What actually happened, man? How did you guys land up there with those believers of the one true God?"
"We didn't have a choice Rehan. We didn't know how we land up there. I remember a bell ringing. It was Madhuri's place, the bell rand and she'd gone to answer it. The man who was at the door was that man with the teeka. He smiled at us and looked into our eyes. He asked us to come and we couldn't say no. We just went with him."
"Why couldn't you say no? Didn't you know that Kanya and I were waiting for you in MG?"
"No Rehan, you don't understand! We couldn't say no. Our minds acted as it they were controlled by that man."
At M. Narayana mansion, Kamli took a bath and made some coffee. Arihant freshened up and was waiting for his friend to tell him what had happened. He was not ready to take what Kamli told him next.
"Arihant, when we were there a strange thing happened."
"Yes I saw, you guys levitated."
"Yes, but you know what was stranger?"
"We levitated because there was this shadow there. A shadow of a man we didn't see. The shadow raised his hands and we were in the air, in seconds. I don't know how that shadow did that, but I do know that he had powers beyond ordinary comprehension or understanding."
"Yes, I guessed so. Kamli, why did they let you go?"
"There is something I have to tell you Rehan. We were scared and I didn't know what to do, I was at my wits end. I did something by instinct, I chanted Mahavira's name and Sankardeva's name. The shadow visibly shrank when I called their names. It looked like it was scared, I became bolder and sang the 'Tumi Sitto Britti' and the next thing we knew, we were asked to go. What is happening here Rehan? Why are these things happening?"
"Kamli, this is war and we are in the middle of it. True Gurus and our Gods, Mahavira and Sankardev, Lord Krishna and all the other true faiths are in a war with everything that is devious; the dark side is on the rise. I don't know how I know this but I do."
Before they turned in to sleep, Arihant remembered the dream that he had seen in Shillong, he remembered that Alpha and the Omega that had been shown to him in his dream. He remembered the darkness accelerating; he remembered reading about Dark Energy accelerating the Universe. He remembered that his dream had shown him the beginning and the end. He wondered why he was in the middle of this war that was being raged on the middle ground, Earth. As he descended into sleep, he saw a face, a face with a feather on his head, a face he loved with all his heart. He didn't know why he loved the face; all he knew was that this face would stand by his side even in the face of the strongest enemy. So it had been told by his Guru.
(c) Arunav Barua