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The Connection

The Connection

Sentinel Digital Desk

SHORT STORY:

Arunav Barua

"Not without reason has this planet come to be, for every becoming has some reason"

There are reasons for every incident on this planet, reasons that are sometimes not obvious, even to the keen eye of an observer! The truth is that we are all observers and one day we just stop observing, because we reach the end, or do we? Questions of life and death had always fascinated Arihant, he was perplexed by the fact that a human being learns so much in his life, only to one day be of no consequence. He never really found justice in this paradox, in this fact that we live, only to die. But is death really the end? It was a warm afternoon and Arihant had these thoughts for a reason. The reason was Kamli and Madhuri's abduction and subsequent release. Kamli had told him of that being, that person who had cringed when Kamlesh had taken the names of Sankardev and Mahavira, the person was scared by these two names. This shadow, as Kamli had described him was a very powerful being, so it seemed to Arihant. Anyone who could make people levitate had to be powerful! He had followers too, the man with the teeka on his forehead seemed to be a follower and there was no telling how large a following this man had, if he was a man; that is...

Days had passed since the abduction and Arihant and Kamli had gone on with the routine that their lives had become. They had 'hit the floor' as it is said in BPO lingo, which meant that they had started receiving calls. Since their process was an inbound process, they didn't have to make calls, they just received calls. They also had new names; they were required to choose names that sounded Western and Kamli had chosen Kam as his telephone identity and Arihant had chosen Rehan, which made interacting with their American clients much easier. So every minute they were on call, they would begin with;

"Customer Service! This is Rehan, how may I assist you today?"

Their work kept them engaged and they had almost forgotten the horror of the week when Kamli and Madhuri had been abducted. Arihant though, had not forgotten one thing. He wanted to go to the root of the issue and learn about this fraternity that called themselves the followers of the 'One true God'. To Arihant, it was not strange that they did call themselves so, for almost all religions claimed that they were the followers of the highest God, but what perplexed him was that they were unknowns. Their God actually lived with them in flesh and blood! They had mentioned that they had waited on Earth for thousands of years for him to wake up and that it was now time to take over the Earth. Before, he would have laughed away such claims by any man. He would have ridiculed such pomposity as mere arrogance, or madness, for want of a better term, but he had seen what this man, this shadow, this God (?) could do. At his will, he had made Kamli and Madhuri levitate and Arihant didn't know of any living man who could do that, to defy gravity which was a law, a law of science. Arihant wondered if all the laws of science were malleable, if people could be made to levitate by mere will, what about invisibility? What about flight? What about time travel? Which brought Arihant right back to the question of life and death that he had found himself immersed in, in recent times.

"Kamli, I have a question."

"When do you ever not have a question, Rehan?"

"Ok, it's about that time that you and Madhuri were kept in that room by that shadow, that apparition."

"I think that we'd better forget about that incident. It's been weeks and it was not really pleasant, you know!"

"Just one question!"

"Ah! Alright, shoot...!"

"Did you see his countenance, this man, this shadow, that you had seen? Did he reveal himself to you in any form, in any way? Did you get a look at his face or his demeanour?"

"No, Arihant I told you, we didn't."

"But you must have seen something?"

"Yes, he was a shadow, but a rather large shadow and he just made us rise in the air with a movement of his fingers, or what I thought were his fingers. I was scared, Rehan and when I started taking Sankardev and Mahavira's name, he cringed. He seemed to melt backwards into the room where he was. That is all I know about him."

"Did he in any way make you feel that you were in holy presence?"

"No"

"That's all I wanted to know. Thank You, Kamli...you are a pal"

Arihant knew that he had to get to the root of the matter; he had to find the answers to the questions his mind was asking him. He decided to do a quick Google search. He took a moment to think of the parameters his search would be based on. He decided on the word levitation. He got some YouTube suggestions, 'magnetic levitation', 'David Blaine', a Wikipedia article spoke of 'paranormal levitation', 'Diamagnetic levitation'.

None seemed anywhere close to what he was searching for so he kept on trying. He kept searching for close to an hour when suddenly he saw the word 'Simon Magus'. He didn't know why but there seemed to be actual historical record that there were instances of human levitation recorded in old books. He clicked on it and was pleasantly surprised. What he read surprised him. It had been recorded in the Acts that a magician or Sorcerer named Simon who had great following and clout had the power to levitate at will. His instances of levitation had been recorded in history. Infact, he could even fly at will. That surprised Arihant and he found himself wondering if God had chosen for him to see something, to fight this shadow that called himself a God, much like Simon Magus had done. He read on...Like his adversary the shadow, Simon called himself a God; he also had a female consort, Helen. After Arihant had read all of Simon's acts, he felt that the shadow which had made Kamli and Madhuri levitate had similar powers to Simon's. He wondered how he could end this menace for Arihant knew through his dreams and of his understanding of true religion as taught by the true saints on Earth, that Earth was a middle ground where the forces of Light and Darkness have warred throughout time. Arihant closed his eyes prayed to his Guru, Sankardev and as he opened his eyes, he saw a link that took him to the 'Acts of Peter'. He read that when Simon was levitating in the Forum to prove he was a God to the general people, Peter confronted him and prayed to God. Simon's flight was stopped in mid air and as Peter kept praying, Simon fell and broke his legs in three parts. The people suddenly realised that Simon was no God and began pelting him with stones. Arihant stopped. He now understood that the powers of darkness kept manifesting on Earth too, throughout time but with true prayer and true faith even the most powerful could be tackled on this planet. Arihant suddenly knew why the shadow had cringed when Arihant had taken the names of his Guru and of Mahavira. It was because that shadow had been faced with true faith and the shadow had no power over that, over true faith.

"Kamli, let's go out somewhere."

"Are you crazy, Rehan? It's 3:00 in the night, or morning, as you'd wish to call it"

"No, just felt like taking some air, fresh air."

"You can get all the fresh air you want in the terrace, go out man, and let me sleep."

"Okies, I will go to the terrace and just you watch, I will not come back."

"Yeah, tell that to Kanya!"

Arihant suddenly remembered that he had not called Kanya after he and Kamlesh had come back from work. In fact, he'd not seen her at work. He didn't even know if she'd come to work for that matter! He took his phone and dialled her number. The phone rang its duration of rings and he was surprised at Kanya's choice of caller tune this time. She'd put on a Hindi song which he himself liked a lot. 'Tujhse Naaraj Nahin Zindagi, Hairaan Hu Main...Tere Masoom Adaon Se Pareshaan Hu main'. He smiled for he remembered himself as a child when he had listened to this song and liked it instantly. The words always made him feel better, for what was life but a mystery, a mystery which surprises us with her innocent antics. For him, like in the song, he couldn't be angry or miffed at life for with every act, life shows her innocence, or time does, for that matter. Now, that was the song but what surprised Arihant was that Kanya was not answering her phone. All of a sudden, he became alert, on his guard. He remembered the last time this had happened when he had called Kamlesh and they had been abducted. He felt his hair stand on end; he suddenly started sweating, though the weather was mild. He called her a number of times and when she didn't pick up the phone, he was worried. He decided to wake up Kamli and go over to Kanya's place to make sure that nothing really had happened. One part of him kept telling him that Kanya was alright, that she was probably sleeping and that she would pick when she could. But she'd always answered his phone. He couldn't confidently remember even one instance when Kanya had not picked up his calls and he just didn't know why this time had to be different. The second voice made him feel worried and worry increases with time, to think about it, worry is a more powerful emotion then prudence. Worry multiplies with every second that ticks and your mind starts playing games with you, it keeps magnifying the reasons for worry and you give in to it and do something about it, or you get help. He decided to do both.

"Kamli, wake up, man!"

"Whha Whhada, waswrung, why why mann?"

Kamli was disoriented by this sudden awakening from sleep and he looked like someone who wouldn't wake up easily.

"Kamli! Kamli, wake up, please man, there is an emergency."

"What emergency, man? Let me sleep..."

"Kanya's missing man!" Arihant decided to alarm Kamli as much as he could. He, in fact said that line with as much fear as he could muster in his voice. He didn't have to try too hard for a part of him was really scared that Kanya might be in trouble. His scared voice seemed to do the trick.

"What? Kanya's missing, how do you know man? She's probably at home and waiting for sleep or she must already be asleep.

"No...no no no, Kamli, she's missing!"

"Alright! Alright! Calm down, now tell me step by step how you know that she is missing."

"She is not picking up her phone. Even though she has a new caller tune, Tujhse naraaj nahin and all but she is not picking up mann!"

"What? You woke me up for this? I don't believe it. Are you a nut? Why, man why? What have I done to harm you? Let me sleep..."

"But, she's not picking up."

"She is probably sleeping, like all sane people who work till 2 in the night do when they reach home. Relax and let her sleep. For God's sake, you sleep too!"

Arihant was stuck by Kamli's words not because of their sensible content but because Kamli had said, for God's sake, though half asleep. Arihant didn't know what to do and he was really caught between the horns of a difficult dilemma. Would sleep be a good answer to his worry? Kamli was probably right and nothing had happened to Kanya, but what if something had happened? He was tired though and he decided to wait, something he was good at...waiting...

Feedback: arunav_barua@yahoo.com

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