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The Best Kept Secrets

The Best Kept Secrets

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 March 2019 10:30 AM GMT

SHORT STORY

Arunav Barua

There are some things that are best left unsaid, some that are not meant for the ears of friends, even the best of them...

Arihant had grown so close to Kamlesh that the two seemed like extensions of each other. Sometimes, one would finish the sentence that the other had started, other things remaining equal, they understood each other well. It was only natural that they shared secrets, even ones that they had told no one...

“I am meeting her after class, Kamli!”

“Again?”

“Yes again, I just got lucky you could say.”

“Have the two of you gone further than just talk?”

“Well...we have hugged once.” Arihant smiled, inspite of himself.

“You never told me! How did this happen? Tell me, man; you’ve gotta tell me!”

“Let things progress, I will keep you in the know.”

One thing that Arihant didn’t tell Kamli was that he’d met the Gurujona again. This time it was different. He met the Gurujona in a strange place, a place elevated with round columns which housed a temple. In the temple burned a light, a lamp that had not gone out for thousands of years. Arihant realised that he was in the temple of Ahura Mazda, ‘The Light that Illuminates the Truth”. He had been there before, in a dream he’d had when in Shillong. He remembered it clearly. He also remembered the message he had received—that he didn’t have long to live. Today, it was different; today he was in the presence of his Guru. When he saw Xonkorguru, he recognised him at once...he would recognise his Guru anywhere, even in teeming multitudes of millions, for he stood out even in a crowd. He had a presence that Arihant couldn’t quite describe, except to say that there was none like him, that the moment you see him, you receive a calming wave of contentedness, of completeness. Yes, of being complete which he otherwise wasn’t. Which no one was, except in the presence of this man, this God, for he was both, a man and God, he felt it in his deepest recesses, in his being.

“Arihant”

“Yes, Gurudeo”

“Arihant, we meet again. This time, let me tell you where we are. I had told you once when we had met that there is a war raging. Do you remember?”

“Yes I do, Gurudeo.”

“Well it is time. We are in the temple of all that houses the good there is in the Universe. Yet, I have to intervene on behalf of my friends, our teammates, who form that part of the Cosmos which is in charge of carrying out that plan, the original plan that was conceived in the being of the Creator. You too are a part of this plan. We all are. On Earth, the war being waged is in minds, the mind of the people who populate this planet of ours is where this battle is being fought. Tomorrow, you will meet someone critical to this plan. You will also begin your journey; you will be taken to a place where you will learn more. You are being trained, once your training is complete, you will act. Not before that, for that will be a folly. The other side is not weak, do not underestimate their strength, do not act on impulse and whatever happens, when in trouble, close your eyes and think of him.”

“Yes, I mean, I will! Why have I been chosen for this task? Could it not have been someone more qualified in matters spiritual? Couldn’t it have been someone better?”

“You do not know your potential, Arihant. You will be shown the way, just be his friend, like you’ve always been.”

“Him...you mean Shr...K...you mean...”

“You know whom I mean, the one you chose as a friend all those years ago when you had made the choice of taking him as your friend. He is your friend, always been, always will be...but don’t underestimate the other side. They have tricks, they use trickery and deceit, they use lies and take shelter in the herd, they influence with flowery words, they connive and are a cunning lot, but with truth they fail to war, for truth is stronger than even the strongest most powerful weapon. With truth as your weapon, fight! I will always be there to guide you should you need help. I am there to be your Guru again Arihant. Now rise as a warrior of the light, of truth...”

When Arihant awoke, it was a bright dawn that he witnessed; he heard the chirping of the first risers, the birds. He saw the light turn from a light Grey to a bright sunny yellow, he felt refreshed as though he’d been infused with strength that he never knew he possessed. He decided to surprise Kamli and make coffee for a change. He went to the kitchen where he saw a packet of tea leaves. He also saw a bottle of coffee. Which would it be today? He knew that Kamli liked coffee, so he decided to cook up a surprise for his friend and brewed some coffee. He also broke two eggs and made poach which he used as stuffing on loaves of bread. He had his breakfast ready. For a while, he wondered when Kamli had time to fill up the kitchen cabinets and he also knew that without him, he would be rudderless.

“Kamli, it’s time to go.”

“Ummm...surely not! It’s just morning man, let me sleep.”

“No, its 10:00 and we will be late for work.” He lied to wake up Kamli. It was around 5:00 am.

“Go to hell! Let me sleep.”

What worked was the smell of freshly heated loaves with the smell of eggs. Kamli’s bread didn’t have eggs and since Kamli didn’t eat eggs himself, he must have bought them for Rehan. A friend in need...

“Is that coffee?” A just awakened Kamli was so enticed by the smell of fresh coffee so early in the morning that he woke up. He rushed to the loo and got back before the coffee got cold.

“Let’s go for a morning walk. It’s early and we could walk around, you know.”

“Yes, lets.”

They took a round of Bannerghatta road and what struck them was the hoard of morning walkers who were out for a stroll. They were in all shapes and sizes. Plump middle aged women, trying to acquire better shape. Men in tracks with sneakers on who seemed relentless in their quest for better health. School aged boys and girls who seemed ready to go to their schools. Arihant thought children now took themselves a tad too seriously and took tuitions at unearthly hours. Now, you had to do well that the other guy or be left behind. The rat race. It was everywhere, you just couldn’t escape it. You’d have thought that children should have been left out of this race, but they were the ones who seemed to be fighting the toughest battle. Infact, Arihant had a secret feeling deep in his gut that a middle school child would probably know more than he did or even the more rational Kamli.

“Do you see that, Rehan? It’s a coffee stand. Let’s go!”

“We’ve just had coffee man! Are you crazy?”

“Just one more Rehan, just one more...”

“Do you know what coffee does to you Kamli? You become all silent and not I say or do has any effect on you. I wouldn’t want you to be like that Kamli, ever!”

“I promise I will be ok, I promise on that beautiful girl who is seated in that coffee stall. I promise!”

“Which beautiful girl? Oh! Ok, but just this once and don’t go bonkers on me man...”

“Hehehe I knew you liked beautiful girls, especially someone in our office whose name starts with the letter K...”

“Shut up!”

“Can we have two coffees please?”

“Oondo?”

“Nah! Eredo...”

“Haan, alright! Two coffees for you.”

At the coffee stall was a girl who was wearing blue denims and a T which showed off her ample assets. What surprised Arihant was that Kamli was smiling at her and she was actually smiling back! Wonder of wonders...perhaps there were more sides to Kamli than Arihant knew, or it was the coffee...

“Hi! I am Kamlesh, and you are...?”

“I am Rachna and I live nearby.”

“What a surprise, we live near here too...”

“This is my friend, Arihant.”

There was a queer innocence in Rachna, Rachna Mehta, as the two learnt a little later. She worked in a BPO too and it also had its office in Banerghatta road. It was Accenture, of which both Kamli and Arihant had heard great reports. She was jovial and didn’t talk much but had a sense of humour which became obvious once you got to know her.

“Kamlesh and Arihant, would the two of you like to visit and Ashram nearby? It is a place you’d love going to and I could show you something there.”

“Yes.” Cried the two together, in unision.

They walked for half a kilometre and were taken to a building which had two floors. It was painted white and they were asked to sit in a hall with some tables in it. What stuck Arihant was the strange feeling he had that he had been there before, that he knew the place, even though it was the first time that he’d actually been there. They were offered chappatis and tea, which they consumed. Then they were led through the doors to a stairway. As they climbed the stairway, they saw painted pictures on the walls. At the bottom of the stairs was the Earth, or what it seemed like the Earth to them. There were people who seemed to be in great pain, as they climbed, they were shown the various stages of life and at last, they reached a place of permanent bliss, what could be called a heaven, at the highest ledge.

“We are the Brahma Kumaris.”

“Yes, we’ve heard that name. What do you do?”

“We help people leave their past behind and give them a way of life where they can be free of all sin.”

Arihant knew then that he was supposed to meet Rachna; that what his Guru had told him was happening now. He waited for a while and closed his eyes. Yes, his teammates, they were there and he just had to find them. Perhaps, the BrahmaKumaris were his teammates too!

“Do you believe in truth, Rachna?”

“We are here to search for that truth, Arihant!”

All of a sudden, after they had gone back to the hall, there was a lady clad in white who came to meet them.

“We came here to show them the place, they are from Shillong. This is Kamlesh and he is Arihant.”

“Yes, welcome to the Brahma Kumaris. Have you eaten something?”

“We have, thank you!”

“I want to talk to you alone for a while, can you come aside?”

“Me?” Arihant was surprised, but he went as the lady in white seemed like the leader of the group.

“Yes, you...”

Later, when Kamli asked Arihant what the lady told him, he just smiled and told Kamli,

“She wanted to know about Shillong.”

“Rehan, have you started lying to me?”

“No, why?” Arihant’s expression was one of genuine surprise.

“Because she could have asked me too...about Shillong.”

“Kamli, it’s a long story and we have to get to work, remember Madhuri? Or, is it Rachna whom you like now?”

Kamli was distracted for a while and it had to suffice now because Arihant couldn’t tell Kamlesh what had been asked of him. The point made by the lady surprised even him and he knew that some things best remain unsaid, unuttered, unexpressed until they get lost in the Labyrinth of time and remain memories for the ones who hold them...

It would be years before what transpired between Arihant and that lady would become known, that is what Arihant thought, he also knew that there were people in his team, people he didn’t know, people who would be revealed to him, exactly like his Guru had told him...

...but the best kept things are secrets!

Feedback: arunav_barua@yahoo.com

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