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Praise

The

for
Immortals

Shiva

rocks.

grandiosely
from

of Meluha

dude...

really

The

The

story

story

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to Mahadev...
is

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authors

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Shivas

made
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Meluha.
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box-office
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author

mythology

verdict
gave

Amish,

an

history

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making

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The

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Shiva

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first

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and

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Shiva

Photo

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or

copyright

owner,
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or

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incidents

used

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or dead,

events

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any

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not,

consent,

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this

it shal

hired

in which

this

into

that

resold,

prior

that

part

Manipal

condition

authors

and

no

Giroud.

Manju

including

any

recording

places

person

Silvio

Technologies

introduced

by

as

Bawa.
by

by

other

above,

or

identified

imagination

actual

Vikram

purchaser

in or

be

Pusalkar.

otherwise,

binding

to

characters,

authors

Mansarovar

is sold
or

circulated

To

the

Rashmi

at Manipal
book

right

Names,

in Garamond

Printed

moral

coincidental.

by

critical

002

2008

to any

Design

form

110

2010

the

of fiction.

is entirely

stored

Delhi

2010

Tripathi

Cover

of

ltd

resemblance

locales

This

Press

westland

is a work

either

Tara

New

reserved

Amish

This

Daryaganj,

of

embodied

the
in

You

both

are

everything

My

words

& their

My

prayer

& my

My

moon

My

love

& my

life,

My

soul

mate

& a part

meaning,
blessing,

& my

Om

Namah

The

universe

to me,

sun,

of my

soul.

Shivaiy.
bows

to Lord

Shiva.

I bow

to Lord

Carriers

of Bad

Fate

Unfinished

Task

Contents
Acknowledgements
The

Shiva

Trilogy

Chapter

1 : He

has

come!

Chapter

2 : Land

Chapter

3 : She

Chapter

4 : Abode

Chapter

5 : Tribe

Chapter

6 : Vikarma,

Chapter

7 : Lord

Chapter

8 : Drink

of the

Chapter

9 : Love

and

Chapter

10

: The

Hooded

Chapter

11

: Neelkanth

Chapter

12

: Journey

Chapter

13

: Blessings

Chapter

14

: Pandit

Chapter

15

: Trial

by

Chapter

16

: The

Sun

Chapter

17

: The

Battle

Chapter

18

: Sati

and

Chapter

19

: Love

Chapter

20

: Attack

of Pure

Life

Enters

His

of the

Life

Gods

of Brahma
the

Rams

Gods

its

Consequences
Figure

Returns

Unveiled
through
of the
of Mohan

Meluha
Impure
Jo

Daro

Fire
& Earth
of Koonj
the

Fire

Realised
on

Mandar

Arrow

Shiva.

Chapter

21

: Preparation

for

War

Chapter

22

: Empire

Chapter

23

: Dharmayudh,

the

Chapter

24

: A Stunning

Revelation

Chapter

25

: Island

Chapter

26

: The

of Evil

of the

Holy

War

Individual

Question

of Questions

Glossary

Acknowledgements
They

say

group

that

of people

I would

like

Preeti,

family,

My

publisher

for

advice

new

this

beauty,

all aspects
positive

through

agent,

An

book

outstanding
possible.

Anuj

brains
of this

and

And

long

Bahri,

who

years
his

by

Gautam

who

encouraged,

of this

for

spirit

book.

individuals

the

Westland

project.

absolute

confidence

and

Ltd,

led

Padmanabhan,

me.

Gauri

vastiy

Dange,
better

Sagar

Abhijeet
trailer

level.

Vijayan
Kalra,
on

Donetta
You,

lie.

my

and

editors,

for

Pusalkar

for

improving
and

making
the

Vikram

my

rather

story

flow.

Bawa

for

the

Chitnis

for

cover.

innovative

Alok

me

Pusalkar,

Manjrekar,

Mohan

through

with

English

exceptional

whole

of

of supremely

and

Pandit

pedestrian

the

me

a dream

Rashmi

to make

combination

publishers

sharing

Sharvani

together

They

Trilogy.

present

Atul

a rare

supported

Shiva

profession.

them.

a cabal

and

My

come

advised

pushed

in the

have

wife,

and

first

is a lonely

to thank

my

assisted
My

writing

his

marketing

reader,

for

work

Sawant

& Mukul

has

the

press
Mandar

and

Amit

market

the

book

at

of the

trailer

film.

music

publicity.
Bhure

for

their

effective

promotions.
Mukherjee

the

for

on
and

Dhuri

helped

Qureshi,

great

and

Rohan

which

Taufiq

Hrishikesh

Ditton
the

film,

And
for

Powdwal,

leap

for
of

faith

the
in

website.
picking

up

the

book

of

debut

author.

And

lastly,

I believe

Shiva.

Humbled

today,

less
most

blessing

me

Shiva

Shiva!

by

cynical

Hence,

The

that

so

experience,

and

more
I

abundantly,

leader.

All-powerful,

yet

equally

quick

and

possibly

mythical

me

to

Lord

different

different

bow

from

man

world
Lord

views.

Shiva,

for

I deserve.

of

Gods.

Destroyer

Consummate

of

dancer.

Quick

wit,

Evil.

Charismatic

accompanied

by

an

temper.

foreigner

who

traveller

whose

human

God

in reality.

God,

of

came

They

believed

land

that

assumed

existence

imagination.

to our

such

that

could

be

Unfortunately,

he

a great

must

possible
this

conqueror,

have
only

belief

man
been
in

became

the
our

wisdom.

what

rich

imagination,
man

the

to
what

incorruptible.

ruler,

exist

But

no

scholar,

received

beyond

to

myself
of

like

warrior.

fearsome

centuries,

merchant,

realms

blessing

I find

would

The

Fierce

accepting

far

Mahadev.
lover.

could

is

Trilogy

Passionate

the

story

this

importantly,

The

Over

this

if we

who

are

wrong?

but
rose

premise

mythological

a person

to

of

What
of

become

the

heritage

flesh

ancient

Shiva
and

godlike

Shiva
of

if Lord

was

not

blood?

because

Like

of

Trilogy,

which

India,

blending

a figment

his

you

and

karma.

interprets
fiction

of a
me.

That
the

with

is
rich

historical

fact.
This
life

work

is therefore

teaches

lesson,

us.

that

all

there

exists

to do

is listen

The

Immortals

chronicles
are

to

a tribute

A lesson
of

us

lost
can

a potential

the
follow:

god

to Lord
in the

rise

to

in every

Shiva

depths
be

better

single

and

the

of time

lesson

and

people.
human

that

his

ignorance.
A

being.

lesson,
All

A
that

we

have

to ourselves.
of
journey
The

Meluha
of
Secret

is
this

the

first

extraordinary
of

the

Nagas

book
hero.
and

in

the
Two
The

trilogy

that

more
Oath

books
of

the

Vayuputras

CHAPTER

He

has

come!

1900

BC,

Shiva

Mansarovar

gazed

at

Mansarovar
giver

of

life

sunrises

in

was

calling

his

vista

the

He

sun

of

But

not

extending

of

still

in

But

other

the

the

perched
over

the

sunset!

Shiva

would

immense

lake

stretching

as

sun.

Shiva

the

He

brilliant

seen

tried

have

as

few

never

to

in

the

taken

the

back

above

The

had

against
far

Tibet)

hovering

setting

again.

day,

Kailash,

clouds

his

the

lithe,

lake.

muscular

magnificent

the

The

numerous

body

eye

shimmering

reflected

light

well

his

childhood

days.

He

the

surface

carefree

pebbles

that

record

in

his

day,

Shiva

bounced
tribe

off

for

the

on

the

batde-scars

the

throwing

held

years.

Mount

could

today.

remembered
art

reveal
once

Himalayas

and

gleamed

to

of

The

it a day

any

and

the

squatted

ledge

On

foot

sky.

parted

twenty-one

sunset!

the

orange

just

the

see.

the

had

miss

backdrop

Lake(At

of

highest

the

narrow

on

his

waters.

had

skin
Shiva

perfected
of

the

number

of

the

lake.

He

bounces:

seventeen.
On

a normal

cheerful

past

present.

But

hint

had

today,

he

have

been

smiled

at

overwhelmed

turned

back

the

by

towards

memory

the

his

from

angst

village

of

without

the
any

of joy.

Bhadra
his

that

would

was

eyes.

against
Shiva
God

alert,

Bhadra
the

He

back

brought

deep

drag.

At

the
Any

the
back

cursed

towards

Bhadra!

Shiva

munificence,

turned

fence.

turned
bless

guarding

chil

to find
and

lake.

least

he

takes

um

made

day,
his

the

troubled

entrance.
his

kicked

the

other

dulling

main

two

soldiers

with
dozing

hard.

responsibility.

of yak-bone
marijuana
mind

gestured

back-up

them

some

Shiva

to his
would

and

letting

hps

and

have
him

took
spread
find

in

a
its

some

moments
He

of solace.

looked

strange

left,

and

They

idiots

It lies

the
has

for

taxes

Shiva

mused

Would

that

I really

tribe

have

to work

Thats

better

Shiva

took

could

at the

the
sleep

there

by

was

like

the

excuse

Shiva.

Come

call

to

it Meluha.

Our

call

Indeed

government

be

given

fertile

the

Gunas,

fight

lifestyle
Just

our
I

in India.

world.

to fight.

land
for

and

survival

beyond

live

your

in peace,

pay

land.
be

a chief

in this

new

land.

laws

of the

foreigners.

They

would

a living.
day
his

in the
had

in

any

empire

you

not

the

from

foreigner

it

much?

every

hut

to

in return.

certainly

for

puff

tribe,

of the

the

behind

them,

arent

for

whole
will

nothing

to live

fighting

the

lake

They

Others

offers

laws

so

day

another

where

in

easily.

powerful

your

would

that

every
than

most

the

of

attack.

back

You

for

the

have

to stare

own,

ask

he

miss

would

turned

mountains.

Meluha

With

looking

great

land.

follow

are

flooding

Today,

We

and

who

immigrants.

arid

so

soldiers

guarding

surprise

disarmed

the

guard.

soldiers

any

and

where

under

own

powerful

farming.

dreams.

your

His

for

rough,

wildest

most

lake

came

richest

and

the

kept

land

It is the

resources
this

be

the

offer

of

to mount

words

an

edge

Shivas

beyond

richest

today.

in our

foreigners

it Heaven.

he

of

them

not

were

themselves

bloodthirsty

in

visitor

for

let

land.

the

twenty

impossible

The

at

foreign

them

But

just

chil

um.

centre

been

comfort.

to stay
As

of his

the

fact,

smoke

village,

stationed.
In

alive!

He

Shiva

cleared,

right

he

next

to

his

had

been

told

that

wanted

to

keep

him

hostage.
Just

in case.

We

fight

almost

can

exist

next

forming
not

all

escape

new
the
this

every
to the

all iances
mountain
pointless

month
holy
with
tribes

with

lake.
new

the

They
tribes.

together!

violence

and

Pakratis
are

just

getting
We

so

that

stronger

can

beat

By

moving

to

may

be

live

the

our

village

every

year,

Pakratis,

Meluha,
a

life

of

we

but
can

comfort.

What

could

possibly

deal?

It sounds

so

Shiva

took

last

rock,

letting

one

Brushing
on

and

his

few

his

slip
of

skin
to

He

My

and

rose

ash

from

his

rapidly

shouldnt

we

becoming

banging

quickly

from

bare

take

this

it on

the

Shiva

passed

has

his

wiped

village.
the

been

chief

to behave

he

perch.
his

Bhadra

gate.

Shiva

up.

he
the

his

chest,
to

to ease
that

before

striding
as

Bhadra

need

um

out

forgetting

doesnt

Why

chil

attention

for

keep

that?

the

skirt,

stood

childhood?

anything.

from

specks

he

with

good!

drag

gestured

does

since

damn

tiger

and

wrong

ash

back-up

frowned
Why

the

hands

be

my

hasnt

closestfriend

really

unnecessarily

changed

servile

in front

of

others.
The

huts

land.

in Shivas

A grown

could

man

withstand

village

were

could

actually

the

harsh

luxurious
stand

mountain

before

surrendering

to the

elements.

his

as

to the

hut

hut

Either

he

that

strode

doesnt

good

Shiva

he

realise

behaviour

begets

remembered
do

rewards

trust,

people

Meluha

must

he

the

Shiva
He
The
as

what

their

said

his
his

Meluhans
he

every

His

child-like

half

open.

Is this

the

a hostage.

Or

shelter

nearly

three

years

empty

lay
he

chil

um

sleeping

into

soundly.

genuinely

believes

behaviour.

uncle,

also

rewards

his

Guru,

them

to

used

do.

If

to

the

say.

society

trusting.
society

beard

was

Nandi.

massive
on

the

breath.

if it teaches

looked

who

will

as

proportions
floor

Despite

face

man

The

the

visitor

shaggy

name

sprawled

with

be

flung

in their

in them.
for

the

society
will

He

to others

even

its

soldiers

to

in strangers.

scratched

had

his

a trusting

best

is

upright
winds

where

good

what

People

expect

he

compared

even

lead

stupor,

obese,
more

me

stared

hard

appeared

in his
being

he

even

his
his

to my

destiny?

visitor.

more

enormous

immense

skin

innocent

at the

was

asleep,

Do

belly
taut
with

I really

jiggling

and

toned.

his

mouth

have

the

destiny

my

uncle

spoke

Your

destiny

is

make

it come

true,

of?

much

larger

you

than

will

these

have

to

massive

cross

mountains.

these

very

But

same

to

massive

mountains.
Do

I deserve

happy

in Meluha?

Shiva

continued

sound

of a conch

good

to

destiny?

stare

at

My

the

people

come

sleeping

first.

Nandi.

Will

Then

he

they

heard

be

the

shell.

Pakratis!

POSITIONS!
Nandi

screamed

was

kept

up

to

the

standard

in an

instant,

side.

They

protocol,

carrying

Shiva,

their

the

as

drawing

drew

to

The

sword.
sword

the

started

along.

his

a hidden

sprinted

women

children

he

village

rushing

men

from

fur

gates.

to

ran

his

the

the

coat

following

village

centre,

way,

swords

other

drawn.
Bhadra!

Our

soldiers

at

the

lake!

shouted

Shiva

as

he

reached

the

entrance.
Bhadra

relayed

They

were

their

coats

within

time

when

to

see

and

to

the

the

rush

the

the

Guna

soldiers

Meluhans

village.

a time
a

trying

The

presence,

obeyed

draw

The

was

for

the

had
and

the

weapons

Pakratis

Meluhans

to

thank

chores

by

formidable
but

hostile
Pakratis
the

were

instantly.
hidden
upon

just

land,

this

yet

again.

lost
also

Dusk

was

their

gods

the

Gunas,

Gunas

Pakratis
was

Pakratis.

time

their

the

ordered
the

the

clan,

in a tough,

Shiva

of

did

martial

against

by
took

women

fearsome

forewarned

presence

soldiers

of weakness

to survive
fate

ambush

Guna

battle.

werent

were

and

surprised

a well-planned

without

But

orders

in
them

moments.

It was

was

the

to
the

decisive,

for

lakeside.
a time

another
was

usually
a

a
day

If

there

when

they

mountain

tribe

it.

Thanks
remain
element
turning

to
alert.
of

the

foreign

Thus

they

surprise.
the

tide

The
of

the

short,

brutal

battle

in

favour

of

the

Gunas.

The

Pakratis

had

to

of

the

retreat.
Bloodied

and

battle.

scarred,

Two

would

be

come

too

Guna

late

for

bodies

Bastards

They

livid

was

made.

This

land

is fit for

no

end

in

offering

least

ten

found

next
and

the

our

desire

lake.
when
the

have

to

peace

they

cant

as

of

warning

beat
the

us!

village.

His

with

peace,

tribes.

weakness.

high.

battles

make

mountain

had
Their

were

pointless
to

They

children.

losses

tried
the

the

The

centre

end

injuries.

and

fought

uncle

the

their

worse,

to the

shore

for

even

to

at

to

women

tribe

my

lake

damage

Guna

We

know

the

But

children

entire

You
to

mistook

heroes.

barbarians!

sight.

access

scum

at

women

the

succumbed

clan

called

mind

had

as

were
kill

Shiva

surveyed

soldiers

honoured

mutilated

Shiva

We

even

But

these

know

what

battle,

were

women

and

all

followed!
The

Gunas,

despite

shell-shocked

by

being
the

used

to the

viciousness

brutality

of

the

of regular

attack

on

the

children.
I keep

nothing

foreigners,
fought

They

have

our

lives
will
have
Let

this

my

the

decision

is the

tradition.

time,

said

better
you

Gunas

The

Gunas

was

not

just

Shiva

the

what

were
based

on

know

to

Nandi

us

today.

to

said

go

the
and

with

Bhadra.

out

his

change

them

invitation
the

to

on

to do.

of
But

hand.

I follow

their

tradition.
but

be

the

the

time,

convention,

Your

will

pointlessness

This

clear

I want

the

I want

speak.

you

with

holding

I believe
than

of

of

the

Meluhans.

Meluha.

But

alone.

That

told

All

pointing

trust.

Shiva,

completely.
be

my

chief,

decision.
Not

Shiva,

earned
be

are

you.

shoulder-to-shoulder

cannot

You

from

continued

They

this

secret

decision

This

will

the

better.

for

violence

choice

we

to go

is

our

change

Anything

face

or not

our

daily.

is yours.

you.
But
also

on

the

respect

his

character.

for

Shiva
He

had

led

the

and

sheer

They
It

Gunas

been

caravan

had

camped
the

men

stationed

around

the

the

Shiva

women

ambush.

It was

prime

lands,

knew

that

legend
land

for

as

well

detested.

as

an

one

of

been

case

to

in the

tribe.

the

any

The

great

the

tied

of

ring

free

vall

camp

in

around

the

intruders.

fight

The

if there

innermost

was

circle,

second

and

that

there

a
just

the

most

delighted

It was

nothing

be

to

the

not

Shivas
this

this,

front.

But

allow

them

than

to

Gunas

weird

there

access

lake

better

defeated

like

have

the

would

precisely

atmosphere

to
of

chief,

had

would

of time.

like

he

believed

occupation

Pakrati

that

He

been

would

Pakratis.

In

in

his

organized

defenders

worst.

a matter

the

claiming

the

had

were

first,

of

had

alarm

children

have

Yakhya

for

genius

decision.

uprooted

base

intermediate

the

only

Yakhya,

by

the

the

yaks

an

and

should

peacefully.

his

inside.

prepared

Pakratis

as

had

Shiva

The

Expendable

at the

at

Meluha.

act
in

was

The

to

to

fire.

vulnerable

through

is our

Shiva

in a nook

circles.

circle,

And

victories

decision

since

route

concentric

battle.

military

Your

days

outermost

an

voice.

five

dotting

were

greatest

bravery.

in one

had

three

their

personal

spoke

eys

to

tribal

was

to

leave

become
and

logic

never

Shiva

won
that

any

the
Shiva

hope

for

peace.
Shiva

relished

the

call

that

ultimately,

the

battles

He

turned

an

alert

to

twenty-five
camp

Meluhan

of

battle,

revelled

in his

land

Nandi

soldiers

in its

were

sitting

were

an

art.

exercise

some

seated

But

he

arc

Why

not

knew

in futility.

distance

in an

also

away.

around

The
second

circle.

Why

did

Shivas

he

pick

the

thoughts

distance.
light

played

And

then

He

he

were

stared
tricks
saw

Gunas

broken

hard,

in this
the

to immigrate?
as

but
part

shadow

he

saw

everything

of the
again.

world.

a
was
Shiva

the

shadow
still.

Pakratis?
move

in

Sometimes

relaxed

his

stance.

the
the

TO

ARMS!

The

Gunas

positions

screamed
and
as

thought

animals.

The

Pakratis

before

through.

And

young

wildly.

chest.

was

through
out,

a smooth

the

twisting

Shiva

it as

turned

jumped
Pakratis
Meanwhile

hump

did

weight
him

to
of

Bhadra

die
the

for
battle

were
trained
avoiding

and

left

to

find

from

the

this
at

his

soldiers.
killing,

wall

battle

of

in

panicky

A few

skirmish.

at

strike.

many
slipped

his

cut

on

his

the

his

flank.

in brutally,
he

pulled

to a slow,
to

cutting
the

blade

painful

strike

slicing

sword

Pakratis

opening

instantly,

ready

swinging

brought

sword

Pakrati

Shiva,

He

back,

elevation

the

art
with

his

with

sword

of

neatly

battle

a sword

movements

Pakrati

death.

Guna.

He

through

the

on

his

his

right

his
down

on

His

transferred
throat.

As

was

hand.

cutting

out.

brutally,

he
his

hand,

eye

Shiva,

in each

as

left

as

the

ending

his
Leaving

across
soldier
the

the
fell,

suffering

enemy.

Meluhan

end

of

camp

was

very

different.

They

wellBut
as

they
far

Outnumbered

and

Pakratis

beaten.

were

rushing

their

swung

the

gouging

left

hapless

exceptionally

of

injuring

a superficial

at

swung

soldier,

the

up

it.

adept

the

he

other

took

uncontrollably,

Pakrati

to impeded

striking

brought

quickly

did,

simultaneously,

slowly,

charged

Almost

severing

seem

with

pushed

Pakratis

easily,

face

The

arm,

He

as

not

met

and

Bhadra,
two

they

the

inflicting

enemy.

swung

sword

fighting

he

and

stupidity

novice,

cursed

his

around

high

The

avoiding

needed.

of

in.

begin

arc,

warrior

gut

and

clashed.

back,

Shiva

weapons

kicked

even

obviously

young

as

and

could

weapons

all

hard

bucked

they

their

charged

them

stepped

in

The

That

hit

Pakrati,

up

drew

Pakratis

yaks

Shiva

back

Meluhans

fifty

without

Shiva.

led

were

as

not

vicious.

They

were

following

rules,

possible.

poorly,

it

was

but

short

while

before

the

Almost

half

begging

for

One

of

them

debilitating

the

was

Sir!

the
is

the
You

Once

and

be

for

continued,

same

or different?

deep

by

Nandi,

his

or slow

sword

and

Shiva

raised

high,

ready

painful?

could

speak.

Shiva

turned

begging

for

mercy!

Killing

them

is

against

even

said

if there

Shiva.

They

is nothing

are

brutal.

They

to

gain.

This

has

to live

here

anymore.

will

to

end.

You

are

not

going

You

will

silent.
How

looked
can

the

towards

the

Chance

turned

back

Release

you

at Shiva.

show

Destiny?

want

to end

is up

to you.

More

of the

Waiting.

Pakratis

that

you

horizon,

seeing

of a better

life?

to

this

Bhadra.

are

the

Disarm

better,

said

massive

them.

Nandi.

Shiva

mountains.

Take

all

their

provisions.

them.

Even

if

rearm

and

the

Pakratis
come

shocked

are

back,

the

Nandi

at

gazed

reverberated

walked

enough

would

stared

be
at

to

long

go

back

to

their

village,

gone.

Shiva.

But

immediately

started

order.
Shiva

with

through
Please,

mad

we

Bhadra

implementing

Shiva

cut

in Meluha.

Nandi

potential.

easy

Pakratis!

ending.

stood

knees,

all.

Shiva

He

their

arm.

chief,

before

are

the
us

It is already

turned

and

They

know

attacking

You

on

Meluhan.

keep

Bhadra

were

of war.

dont

soon

rest

shoulder

sword

Pakrati

Nandi,

wrong!

rules

the

his

of his

the

quick

intervened

This

and

Yakhya,

behind

Shiva,

towards

dead

movement

stood

to strike.

lay

mercy.

of

Bhadra

them

let
back

his
it be
to

the

hope.
mind.

him.

There
Shiva

I pray

young

was

but

one

has

the

heart.

to you

Lord

Ram,

soldier

he

had

thought
He
let

stabbed.

that

has
it be
He

the
him.
lay

writhing
out

on

of

his

Pakrati.

the

ground,

guts.

For

this

his

sword

He

After

drew

marching

crested

Srinagar,

the

excitedly

about

himself

to

imagined
the

homeland.

Jhelum
the

was

painted

this

country
Dall

was

the

outskirts

Nandi

he
could

was

invited
of

had
had

talked
prepared

could

not

have

have

primed

paradise.

cow
of

Further

as

she

him

Meluha

she

The

green

masterpiece

that

was

Kashmir.

all

colours,

Gods

trees,

tribe,

slowed

the

vall

meandering

her

broke

from

away

ey.
way
the

sea.
a lush

of

mountains,
entered

Kashmir,
down,

to the

covered

in the

by

their

offering

singing

of

accustomed

border

province,

whispered

Lake

Meluhans.

canvas

of grass.

Rows

brilliance

majestic,

the

birds

only

to

lay

the

had
hectares

the

the

upon
broken

yet

warm

calmed

the

the

rude

On

it

rows

of

only

by

Kashmiri
exhausted

howling

of

icy

been

the

site

of

grand

in size.

an

banks

town

raised

perfect

must

the

rest

of

the

of

the

in awe.

western

frontier

into

how

Shiva

was

Upon

encampments

hundred

reach

Shiva

suffering.
of

nothing

tigress

land

Lake.

melodious

the

be?

Srinagar

for

winds.

is

Jhelum

pity

caravan

which

certainly

a roaring

journey

Chinar

Shivas

mountain

The

ey

The

of

what

heavenly

her

arrayed

welcome.

But

slowly

the

land.

sights,

felt

soldiers

Kashmir.

perfect

a languorous

Dall

the

soaring

ears

of

the

vall

flowers

If

beat

continuing
vast

the

river,

immense

The

of

of

oozed

Shiva

young

to

blood

life!

caressed

lake,

weeks,

his

simple

mighty

the

of

in his

spectacle

four

ey

as

life,

the

vall

incredible

The

into

the

glories

his

mountain

some

of pure

She

the

in

ended

for
final

of

in pain,

time

and

the

capital

sheer

to

first

see

land

down

contorted

continuously

immigrants

for

face

of

that

The

the

had

Srinagar
upon

ancient

platform

lake,
grown

. Literally,
massive
built

army

camp

by

the

side

beyond
the

respected

platform
of earth,

its

of
towered

of

the

simple
city .

almost
almost

five

metres

were

high.

another

simplicity

and

would

have

recurrent
into

from

the

was

that

his

would

In contrast
of

to the

Srinagar

whites.
sobriety.
Now

an

additional

And

their

leader

that

terrible

I have
The

the

day,

had
city.

which

Nandi

was

wait

outside

folded

Chitraangadh.
your
believe

single
your

his

he

went

I will
point
leaders

of

of

souls

called

just

of being

contact
name

specially

block

and
living.

structures

mans

house

of Kashmir,
greys,

Srinagar

arrived
he

from

hadnt

the

city

blues

and

order

and

their

home.

Mount

Kailash.

experienced

I can

camp

since

the
into

tribe

the
The

on
to

camp.

namaste.

for
is Shiva.

all

the

office.

Orientation

the

He
gave

he

step

Shiva

soon

up

to

returned,
smile

to Meluha.

you

of

Office,

Think

whilst

The
side

a practised

Executive.

Will

southern

requested

Welcome

issues

Srinagar.

Foreigners

Nandi

official

forget.

outside

platform

official.

your

divided

urban

cleanliness,

beginning.

his

in a formal
be

was

halls

a rich

picture

had

and

outside

a young

the

It had

restrained

immigrant

just

hands

in

a separate

Shiva

as
by

a new

the

on

led

placed

accompanied
and

built

against

ago.

make
to

the

city

sophisticated

landscape

only

was

years

traveled
been

natural

a lightness

I can

raised

meeting

differentiate

solid

bigger.

hundred

many

escaped.
caravan

camp

felt

to

it

pattern.

multiple-storeyed

thousand

two

for

platform

essentially

the

gardens,

The

enemies

strategy

walls,

grid

required

painted

twenty

effective

a neat

against

purpose:

fort

which

thick.

on

was

vital

walls,

metres
city

which

the

way

be

city

wall

simple

only

was

entire

Nearly

be

extravagant

itself

The

in

four

city

protection

temples,

like

The

block

fort

the

entire

strong

Inside

out

would

outside.

an

extremely

areas,

looked

and

another

an

laid

that

houses

land.

roads

else

the

city,

market

everything

served

in this

by

up

were

height

building

was

fight

the

floods

constructed

All

to

of

blocks

It

platform

in

of

platform

level

the

metres

Gunas.

The

ground

of

brilliance

the

ground.

top

twenty

astounded
who

On

of
are

please?

I am
me
here.

as
I

Shiva

took

a step

excellent,
to

said

the

of

implementation

Any

all

be

You

you

are

directives

so

will

kind

be

communication

Since

of

you

please?

tribe.

you.

Shiva.

Would

desk

your

through

I am

Chitraangadh.

registration

caretaker
go

forward.

me

as

the

them

will

concerns

designated

within

to follow

registered

that

the

as

your

tribe

speech

to

leader,
would

the

be

your

responsibility
Nandi
you

cut
will

arrange
Shiva

into

Chitraangadhs

just

excuse

the

temporary

noticed

smile

for

me,

that

a fraction

face

once

again.

Shiva

course,

you

the

may.

But

to the

in

immigrant

arrangements

as

smile

turned

for

Nandi

your

Shiva,

Sir,

if

quarters

and

tribe.
face

interrupted

returned

and

tell
camp

ever-beaming

of a second
and

Shiva.

go

Chitraangadhs

quickly

said

I will
living

recovered

Of

officious

his

had

lost

its

flow.

But

he

to his

looked

at Nandi.

You

dont

need

to

take

my

return,

you

have

to

promise

permission,
me

Nandi,

something,

my

friend.
Of

course,

Call

Sir,

me

replied

Shiva.

Not

Nandi
Sir,

bowing

grinned

slightly.

Shiva.

I am

your

friend.

Not

your

Chief.
A

surprised

Nandi

mean,

yes,

Shiva

turned

looked

back

to

more

me

registration

The

newly

They
carefully
Shivas

genuine

camp,

them

Chitraangadh,
now.
desk,

registered

immigration
led

bowed

again

and

said,

Yes

Sir.

Shiva.

appeared
to the

up,

in.

were

The
laid

paved
own

we

tribe

roads

of

the

neat

in

He

said,

will

reached

see

footpaths
land.

He

to

out

whose

Nandi

the

the

sharply

something

if you

residential

just
and

some

formalities

outside

were

for

Shiva,

complete

north-south

contrasted
noticed

Well

waiting

camp

smile

main

those

strange

the

follow

quickly.
in

of

dirt

he

Srinagar.
grid.

about

the

gates;

east-west
with

will

quarters
the

like

reason

tracks
the

The
in
road

though.
Nandi,
the

what

centre

are

those

of the

road?

asked

Shiva.

They

cover

the

waste

water

of the

and

differently

underground
camp

coloured

drains,
out.

stones

Shiva.

It ensures

running

The

that

drains

the

through

take

camp

all

remains

the
clean

hygienic

Shiva

marvelled

at the

almost

obsessively

meticulous

planning

of the

Meluhans.
The

Gunas

reached

them.

For

leader

in deciding

storeyed

the

the

large

umpteenth

time,

to come

building

had

Each

room

copper

plate

on

rooms

had

clean

linen

the

cloth,

a bewildered

Feeling

Chitraangadh
in our

There

was

the

lands

warmth

Notches
on

on

each

wall

sloping

floor

that

drained

it out.

the

ground

contraption
The

side

water

walls

to flow

end

culminated

some

cotton,

the

cloth

each

flow

is this

that

wall

bathroom
hole.

The
clothes.

material?
plant

the

light

a controlled

to

The

and

flame

bathroom

was

is

hold.

to allow

with

polished

The

you

naturally

in a large

kind

each

some

Shiva.

attached

to the

for

reflection.

even

What

Its

an

each

their

and

had

of

their

with

a hole

which

a paved

basin

purpose

of

this

tribe.

of device,

which

when

turned,

allowed

through.

whispered

Beside

the
and

right

a mystery
had

Magic!

doctor

the

to

of

a highly

see

rod

to

quarters

including

a metal

water

assigned

wisdom

living

asked,

on

room
the

the

could

into

been

three

towels

Shiva

supported
Each

which

was

sheets,

window

enabled

At

they

fashioned

picture
sun.

lighting.

The

enthusiastically,

of the

for

on

top

thanked

furniture

which

bed

and

a broad

on

had

separate

luxurious

wall

replied

grown

they

comfortable,

had

that

to Meluha.

family.

the

building

main
her

Bhadras
door
nurses

of

mother.
the

walked

building
out

of

was
the

an

house

attached
to

greet

house.
Shiva.

A
The

doctor,
white

petite,

cloth

tied

called

dhoti

chest

while

another

left

The

been

called

around

a choti

centre
clean

across

cloth

her

forehead

string
torso

was
legs

was

an

except

her

and

called
of

. A loose

shoulder

waist

white

cloth

shaved

woman

her

. A smaller

shoulders.
had

wheat-skinned

dressed

in

tied

a style

as

was
white
of

a knotted

tuft

called

a janau

was

to the

right

simple

Meluhans
around

draped

for

the

a blouse

angvastram
bore

in

over

dot.
hair

her

at

tied

down

With

her

Her

head

the

back,

from

her

side.
Nandi

was

namaste,

genuinely
he

stature

said,

Lady

at

Ayurvati!

seeing

her.

I didnt

expect

reverential

doctor

of

your

here.

Ayurvati

looked

strongly

at

believe

team

follows

recognise
name

it

met

but

is

strictly.
Have

you

exaggerate.

There

are

many

far

smile

and

experience
I

polite

namaste.

programme,

am

terribly

Captain.

sorry

but

Nandi.

We

My

didnt

before?
my

know

I think

Ayurvati

met

Nandi,

Captain

However,

we

doesnt

you,

with

field-work

Captain

who

Thank

Nandi

in the

you.

My

you,

lady,
the

Nandi,

said

superior

to

answered

greatest

a visibly

doctor

in the

embarrassed

me.

Turning

Ayurvati,

your

assistance

for

havent

land?

Ayurvati.

quickly

towards

But

Shiva,

continued,

Welcome

to

nurses

and

these

quarters.
no

earnest

voice,

houses

that

comfortable.

at

will

friend!

am
your

from

These

which
my

be

reaction

You

quarantine
no,

Meluha.

I will

Hearing

Oh

starded

are

be

all

have
will

not

The

Shiva,

designated
the

time

Chitraangadh

temporary

quarters,

ocated

to

tribe

to

stay

last
quarters

here

more
are

than
more

only
seven
than

that

said

just

your

doctor.

in

Shiva.
will

for

the

you

be

My
are

his

in

most

The

actual

much

more

period

of

the

They

are

days.
comfortable.

beyond

anything

grinned

Shiva
with

cut

have

too

come

in

doctors

in.

And

new

gently

advised

Shiva.

It is

Lady
If

at Nandi

are

and

one

of

He

those

is considered
free

right

now,

I can

diseases

standards?
while

Please
we

give

the

Ayurvati.

frown

best

may

period,

to control

Hygiene

that

dont

ailments.

apologetic

the

to

immigrants

to follow

mumbled,

to be

We

sevenday

said

things

back

precaution.

such

have

an

this

whispered,

into

Mausi?

turning

Sometimes,

standards,

crinkled

just

just

of any

you

acquiescence.

Ayurvati

you

that

say

quarantine?

During

hygiene

forehead

the
is

you

What

before

Meluha.

cure

guidelines

grimaced

Nandis

in

and

strict

why

quarantine

diseases.

observe

is to maintain
Shiva

the

imagined.

mother,
But

diseases

of the

have

Bhadras

Shiva,

with

one

could

a frown.

many

will

we

at

Chitraangadh
Nandi

that

have

to

doctor

you

go

hands

along
do

in the

your

his

with

in

it,

Meluha.

land.

instructions,

said

Ayurvati.
I am

free

right

to charge
Bhadra

clearly

I dont

said

softly,

not

case,

Ayurvati

raised
in the

medicinal
Yuck!

with

a straight

we

Ayurvati

at the

what

uncouth

Shiva

while

amused

walked

These

Shiva

face.

But

I may

have

later.

understand

any

Late

you
giggled

face,

In

now,

begin

into

the

at

Shiva

with

blank

pun.

youre

will

stared

trying

at the
guest

to

say,

said

Ayurvati

frostily.

bathroom.
house,

muttering

under

her

breath,

immigrants...
his

eyebrows

evening,
drink

after

in their

grimaced

towards

Bhadra,

a hearty

Bhadra,
meal,

grinning
all the

impishly.

Gunas

were

served

rooms.
his

face

contorted.

yaks

piss

tastes

This

tastes

like

Yaks

piss!
How
slapped

do

you
his

know
friend

what
hard

like?

laughed

Shiva,

as

he

on

the

back.

Have
my
I

you

Now
seen

go

the

beds?

room.

I think

I need
this

to sleep.

is going

to be

the

best

sleep

of

life!
have

seen

experience
left

excited

by

their

the

the
for

what

of their

lives.

Shiva

tossed

and

A half
This

lit chil
cursed

Shiva
lay

him.

floor

of

which
missed

usual,

Its

not

It was

Their

entire

would

in for
his

want

to

wasnt

be

the

tribe
the

only

had

one

rushed

most

to

comfortable

a surprise.

bed

taken

constantly.

not

as

He

was

wearing

an

the

for

a low

chair

by

the

wall.

it on

the

floor

on

hygienic

the

his

tossed

Sleep

at home.

of

on!

mattress,

was

He

shril

stealthily

missed

winds

determined

excessively

washed

to sleep

better.

missed

stench

were

lying

the

as

most

be

side-table.

off

a little

He

comforting

the

to

Impossible

strongly

hut.

through

was

sheet

was

away

on

soft.

bed

This

it was
the

then

that

he

spinning

lightly.

of

efforts

tiger

to

skin.

comfortable,

No

but

creeping

the

rough

Mount

Kailash,

ignore

them.

doubt,

they

cold

his

were

He

current

unfamiliar

dislocated

which

noticed

that

sweating
He

to
great

in days

brought

up

the

truth:

you.

right

seemed
if

instincts

Shiva

was

frostbitten

as

his

room.Its

breeze,

knee

Now

alien.

As

His

is too

the

surroundings
and

been

lay

own

the

on

forlorn

But

broke

He

beds.

were

um
bed

his

They

angvastram

down.

in on

loudly.

anticipated

cotton

yanked

and

soft

they

had

His

Shiva.

dhoti.

skin

reasons.

grinned

laughing

turned

coloured
tiger

room,

unnaturally

sleep

The

dammit!

out!

Shivas

rooms

orange

bed,

it. Get

Bhadra

felt

to your

be

profusely.

felt

as

if his

toe

felt

as

getting

hand
past

he

was
and

body

if it was

stretched.

was
The
was
on
His

remoulding
never

sweating.

completely

Despite

room

appeared

being
fire.

the

drawn
His

battle

tired

and

them.

His
healed,

out

to
of

scarred

aching
shoulder
appeared

cool
be
itself.
left

muscles
bone,
to be

ripping

the

muscles

in turn

seemed

Breathing
But

might,

opened

could.

The

wind

And

gasps

Knock!
The

light

pain

still

side

the

their

job.

in

his

as

again.

He

all

his

air

as

he

as

Shivas

lungs

with

much

rustled

air,

muscles

help

concentrated

of

began

The

to

window

gush

hungry

mouth

sucked

of

joint.

to do

Shiva

and

battle

his

his

in.

sudden

the

on

breathing

The

at his

Whole

and

body

focused

kindly
relaxed

and

willed

body.

Shiva
neck

Shiva

at

still

was

disoriented

twitching.

his

knee.

gasping

late.

Very

as

his

my

for

The
It

for

breath!

it.

familiar

didnt

hurt

He

looked

check

toe

was

made

its

also

cracking

first

sound

movement

an

unfamiliar

pulled

the

in

tingling

cold.
insistent

now.

to
and

face,

mother

to

his

There

more

a panic

But

bent

room

warmth

veiled
in

He

staggered

for

whispered

should

He
was

down

vanished.

hard!

A little

darkness

so

Shiva.

shoulder

looked

the

neck.

bewildered
his

His

now.

breathing

Knock!

around

had

through

in his

Knock!

He

scar

alerted

hard!

complete

still

coldness

door

toe.

reverberated
years.

the

missing.

down

you

the

the

bones

opened

wide

the

into

to the

flowed

mouth

then

tapping

anymore.

He

air

With

of air

was

The

He

by

to re-engineer

Knock!

moment.

his

feet,

opened

the

but

Shiva

stricken
has

door.

could

voice,

still

Shiva,

suddenly

angvastram

got

recognise
Im

a very

sorry
high

Bhadra.
to

disturb

fever.

What

I do?
instinctively

Bhadra.
As

his

as
way

effort.

enough

in.

so

giving

curtains

a bit.

giant

an

not

rushed

just

to be

was

along.

aside

Go

Shiva

to your

raced

many

more

fever!

Help!

Shiva

sprinted

touched
room.

down

doors

the

opening

down

the

Bhadras
I will

get

corridor
with

steps

forehead.
the

to

now

the

too

have

fever

doctor.

towards
the

You

the
familiar

attached

steps

he

message.

building

encountered
Sudden

where

the

doctors
it

were

housed.

immediately,

as

Ayurvati,

almost

fast,

need

they

Ayurvati

shook

Ayurvati

He

Shiva,

Dont

are

He

everybody

nurse

was

The

Ayurvati

stood

Ayurvati

okay,

at the

all over
go

and

said

calmly.

en

have

ill.

Please

come

a fever?

turned

into

the

and

ordered

building,

up

to

are

her

Chitraangadh

suddenly

The

cover

Im

are

doing

call

fell

ill.

moment
nurses

the

were

do.

end

of the

her

superbly

asked,

turning

he

entered.

back

of

to

All
from

walked

each

into

the

into

the

the

torches

room

to

for

on

such

hands

and
the

second
Nurses

room,
scared

each

palm-leaf

eventuality.

her

hips.

troops.
and

in

with

an
on

efficient

him.

the
along

patient

her

trained

ran

advising

prepared

about

Shiva

going

scribe

corridor,

What

Nandi,

and

details
clearly

of

were

medicines
should

going

Nandi.

search

the

third

have

Like
Shiva
floor?

already

building.

supervise
all the

incredibly

a worried

tribe

Look,

people

in

without
the

Well

people

dont

in my

Ill

away

Meluhans

to her

stabilised.
You

my

noting

answered

will

how

lit.

they

supervising
up

spoke

go.

fever.

adding,

been

what

booklet.

reached

surprised

meticulously

rushed

have

administering

a general

opened

heavily

to see

had

on

Ayurvati

Shiva
fall

She

rushed

Practically

sped

methodically
patients

You

Lets

nurses

nodded,

building

begun.

happened?

Chitraangadh

the

him.

suddenly

surprised.

What

I want

building.

her

I dont

Chitraangadh
As

has

door.

No.

sweating

worry.

building.

the

of nowhere.

know.
too

on

expecting

forehead.

Its

and
out

You

hard

tribe

clearly
on.

appeared

I dont

was

entire

head.

Come

asked

she

Shivas

his

Ayurvati

knocked

help.

frowned,

nurses,
As

if

my

touched

Shiva

He

Shiva.

once
patients
efficient

the

situation
in the

but

next

I pray

on
half
that

this

floor

has

hour.
everyone

will

be

Ayurvati
and

turned

hint

Were

of

look

will

there

Yes.

be

Her
on

are

eyebrows
her

were

serious

capable

of

raised

face.

handling

slightly

Dont

worry.

any

situation.

fine.
I can

go

Shiva.

hovered

We

anything

Please

at

smile

Meluhans.

Everybody
Is

to

take

do

to help?

a bath.

What?!
Please

go

to look

take

at her

please

must

Mastrak,

be

in five

Yes,

my

now,

said

Ayurvati

as

she

turned

back

remember

that

all

children

below

the

age

of

Ill

be

tonsured.

please

there

Right

team.

Everybody,
fifteen

a bath.

go

up

and

start

the

secondary

medicines.

minutes.

lady,

said

a large

cloth

bag.

Youre

still

here?

a young

asked

man

as

Ayurvati

he

as

hurried

she

up

the

noticed

steps

that

carrying

Shiva

hadnt

left.

Shiva
my

spoke

softly,

bathing

I dont

make?

have

take

a bath

said

Ayurvati,

Shiva

controlling
My

the

at

curses

that

wanted

to have

or

are

the

rising

anger,

in trouble.

patience

to

What

I want

argue

difference

will

to help.

with

you.

You

will

rein

in

go

now!

clearly

glared

people

time

right

his

not

trying

Ayurvati

wanted
an

to

as

to control
he

leap

made

out

argument

her

of

heroic

his

of their

rising

effort

mouth.

own

with

temper.
to

His

the

clenched

fists

But

was

Ayurvati.

she

a woman.
Ayurvati
She

too
was

expected
experience
from

the

a
it

glared
doctor.
to
she

nobility.

be
had

back
If
done
also

at

Shiva.

she

told

without
seen

She
a

was

patient

question.
a few

used
to

But

patients

do
in
like

to

being

obeyed.

something,
her

long

Shiva,

she
years

especially

of

Such

patients

a simple

had

immigrant.

Controlling

with

If you

cannot

be

dont

of any

Chitraangadh

help

He

with.

some

nobleman!

great

effort,

wash

it off,

to your

banged

cursing.

reasoned

Not

herself

sweating.

up

to be

wrenched

on

the

kill

if you

the

. Yet,

said,

you.

are

door.

door

instructed

Ayurvati

it will

tribe

loudly

Not

was

you

are

me.

You

Shiva,

Please

trust

dead.

A bleary

open

this

and

eyed

growled,

Nandi

This

woke

better

be

Picking

up

important!
Come

quickly.

Already?
his

Shivas

But

this

angvastram

Lets

is only

he

has

the

fall

first

en

ill.

night!

exclaimed

Nandi.

said,

go!

The

bathroom

seemed

splashing

about

ablutions.

The

magical

device

strange

cake-like

rub

the

body

be

used.

in

scar.

He

realised
new,
His

chilly

Mansarovar

bathroom

felt

the

hours

looked

it wasnt

devil

still

felt

is going
out

which

were

of
strict

around
It was

was

the

at

his

the

a soap

to

soap

had

to

towel.

As

he

parts,

but

he

His

No

toe.
his

had

shoulder

knee.

healed

the

used

development
back.

to

felt

pain,

And

no

then

entire

body

he
felt

ever.

intolerably

cold.

on?

the

stained

turned
He

The

up

used

bi-monthly

He

clear.

completely

than

his

said

picked

awe

injured

was

of water.

flooding
in

at his

stronger

very

and

came

the

flow

mystifying

down

just

and

Ayurvatis

door.

few

the

for

Meluhans

been

off

Shiva

Lake

the

the

had

water

in wonder

Again,

angvastram

the

He

though,

stepped

that

a bath.

constricted.

to increase

Ayurvati

past

new

that

the

wall

vigorously,

stared

neck,

the

for

strangely

substance

rejuvenated

What
He

the

in

turned

ignored

than

place

on

He
himself

better

a strange

clean.

rubbed

the

tribe

bathroom
instructions

by
his

Ayurvati.

his

neck

and

quickly

were

not

sweat.
for

Shiva,

some
can

As

to

he

warmth,
you

open

wore
wear

a
his

was

putting

there

was

the

door

new
old

dhoti.
clothes
on

a knock
please?

the
on
I

just

want

Shiva

to check

opened

nodded

smiled
I

I know

you

a raised

eyebrow.

up

in

and

checked

You

seem

to be

well.

The

trouble

has

passed.

skills

and

are

we?

that

rude,

you

to

for

the

arguing

meant

from

polite,
not

stepped

Thanks
sorry

looked

all right.

said,

as

truly

Ayurvati

Im

and

quickly

am

are

Shivas

normal.

gratefully.

unnecessary.

Being

Ayurvati

slightly

is recovering

team.

door.

it was

Ayurvati

Shiva

you

the

temperature;

tribe

whether

with

healthy.

And

your

efficiency

of

your

earlier.

It

was

smile

and

you

well.

her

palm-leaf

know,

grinned

booklet

with

Shiva.

a slight

You

people

are

just

too

supercilious!
Ayurvati

suddenly

stunned
How

look
had

legend.

Was

her

your

very

asked

noticed

she

going

for
as

some
he

back.

Her

covered

hand

scattered

on

collapsed

with

off

Tears

You
Before

the

floor.

her

Brahmaye

flowing

down

stared

had

at

first

never

one

she

to

Shiva

with

believed

see

mumbled,

and

Is it something
angvastram

through
her

the

it

in

come

Why

the
true?

have

you

knees

against
through
Om

My

Lord,

you

Shiva

could

noticed
her

face.

in

Ayurvati

room
shock

were

too

the

wall,

her

proud

Brahmaye

worried

about?

as

Ayurvati

while

the

weak

never

to hold
once

eyes.

She

staggered
palm
her

taking

leaves
up.
her

kept

She
eyes

repeating,

namah.

asked
have

a worried

Shiva.

come!

react
on

to get

off.

silent

mouth

Is it serious?

a bewildered
in

the

back

namah.

come!

rushed

hands

Her

broke

happened?
have

she

She

the

reason.

pulled

loudly

What

be

her

resounded

Om

it before?
to

with

A cry

Shiva.

as

neck?

cold

Shiva

listening

face.

not

weakly

covered
Its

on

she

Pointing

stopped

the

to her
ground.

strange

reaction,

Copious

tears

Nandi
were

What

happened,

Ayurvati

just

shone

an

long

eerie

The

at

My

Neelkanths

feet

The

of

neck.

blue.

With

released

You

bent

a startled

Shivas

just

Lord!

Captain

object

asked

iridescent

animal

knees.

lady?

pointed

caged

his

my

low

Nandi

a cry

from

have

come!

and

Nandi.

brought

looked

up.

that

sounded

captivity,

Nandi

The

Neelkanth

his

head

The

like

neck

that

of

collapsed
has

down

on

come!

to

touch

the

reverentially.
his

adoration

however,

stepped

back,

befuddled

asked

agitatedly.

and

perturbed.
What

the

Holding

is going

a hand

copper
his

hell

plate

neel

to his

and

kanth

CHAPTER
Land

of Pure

that

in the

other

frontier

Srinagar!

But

turned

around

astonishment

at

to the
the

polished

reflection

of

the

door

frame

saved!

He

towns
bird

for
has

support,

sobbed

like

come!

was
Most

legend.

appropriate

news

the

emperor

ordered

Shiva

though,

utterly

perplexed

had

the

was
by

arrived

, the

abode

of

the

send

in

almost
of

had

Shiva

with
not

the

supposed

the

exact

words

in the

the

sudden

informing

most

devotion

of

orders
had

to

an

to

be

escort
told

to
about

Neelkanth

in

an

message.

Shiva

amenable

. The

Shiva.

along

advise

His
from

Neelkanth

seen

the
Not

or Lothal.

gods

the

was

city.

immediately

the

of

to

capital

Karachapa

himself

of

broadcast

in his

arrival

himself

to

will

privilege
not

the

Shiva

were

appeared

had

to

emperor

wanted

Takshashila,

courier

The

manner,

Chenardhwaj

like

importantly,

The

Kashmir,
had

Devagiri

until

Chenardhwaj

of

Neelkanth

clear.

secret

Devagiri.

the

capital

crystal

kept

governor

the

Meluhan

the

throat

Were

the

world

be

he

Life

entire

were

neck,

Chenardhwaj,

the

blue

saved!

Shiva

in stunned

holding

Were

here?

freezing

stared

; his

Chitraangadh,
child.

on

about
of

every

the

moods.
Meluhan

journey.
He

was

around

him.

Since

where

he

he

lived

had

access

My

Lord,

weeks

had

we

will

be

and

Im

not

till

going
damned

Lord,

And

most

legend

be

resources

said

the

gubernatorial

important

residence

citizens

tell

my

tribe?

you

lands

me

they

need

being

held

hostage?

than

what

of

You

will

when

you

reach

to

lead

as

he

he

ever

Shiva

here

in

capital.

Srinagar

few

to bend

had.

on!

asked

know

It is a

struggled

is going

in us.

right

that

lower

Neelkanth?

faith

our

Chenardhwaj

tells

will

given

to Devagiri,

frame

of the

have

about

will

here,
muscular

please

what

you

somebody

himself

They

the

escorting

from

enormous

emperor

only

to

to him.

his

My

transferred

in luxury,

journey

is this

been

What

the

hell

angrily.

the

truth

soon.

The

Devagiri.

Kashmir,

my

a comfortable

life

Lord.

will

All

be

the

provided

for.
Are

they

Oh

no,

your
the

tribe,
rest

even
the

my

Lord,
my

of

for

Lord.

their

visibly

If I had

lives.

But

disturbed

my

the

way,

laws

can

only

give

them

of

time

my

Lord,

you

can

Then

we

would

cannot

We

necessary.

Chenardhwaj.

they

you.

course

feel

said

be

what

like

broken,
had

decide

could

live

to

certainly

my

been

They

are

nobility

for

Lord.

Not

promised.

change

the

In

laws

accommodate

you
them

anywhere.
Please,

my

imagine

how

a very

long

Please
The

me!

memory

of

years

ago

Your

destiny

guilt,

they

pleaded

important
time

help

Nonsense!

Lord,

returned

you

for

you.

would

are

We

Have

to Meluha.

need

your

faith
We

in
have

us.

You

been

cannot

waiting

for

help.

Please!
another
to haunt

is much
I dont

Nandi.

larger

deserve
stop

this

desperate

plea

Shiva

as

than

these

any

destiny.

bullshit

he

instantly!

from
was

stunned

massive
If

distraught

these

into

woman
silence.

mountains.
people

knew

my

I dont

know

Shiva

was

while
chil

his

what
sitting

As

impatiently,

No.

Thats

Why

will

the

sat

the

Thats

you

friends

lit stick

who

for

for

council

on

carefully

a cue

a cue

not

gardens

side,

used

actually

same

royal

at his

Bhadra

said

Bhadra.

in the

friend

um.

to do,

me?

of

filling

some

marijuana

the

to hand

the

the

um

you

you

Shiva

made

chil

to speak,

asked

never

banks

to bring

you

me

the

Lake
into

to life,

Shiva

fool.

chil

um,

in anguish.

a move

Dall

without

Shiva.
We

are

consulting

still
each

other!
Bhadra

smiled.

lives

and

dies

persons
to

to

your

raised

are

We

are

You

is

eyes

are

the

It cannot

not

like

the

is supreme
his

not.

decisions.

whoever

wisdom

Shiva
be

by

we

influence.

listen

chiefs

No

the

be

on

the

in exasperation.

now.

corrupted

Pakratis,

loudmouth

amongst

Chief

where

their

Gunas.

tribe

any

other

the

council.
That

Some

by

The

is our

traditions

Chief

has

Only

the

tradition.

are

meant

to

chil

um

spread

its

broken!

Bhadra

stayed

from

Bhadra.

munificence
Ive

just

Stretching

took

body.

one

line

his

deep

about

Meluha

hand,

Shiva

grabbed

puff,

letting

the

the

legend

of

is in deep

trouble

the

marijuana

the

Neelkanth,

and

only

the

said

Neelkanth

them.

I cant

perfect.

one

his

Apparently

save

But

He
into

heard

Bhadra.
can

silent.

seem

If they

to

see

want

to

any

see

trouble

real

out

trouble

here?

we

Everything

should

take

seems

them

to

our

land!
Bhadra
makes

laughed
them

slightiy.

believe

Damned

if I know!

yet

worship

they

you

can

They

are

me

blessed

blue

throat

their

medicines

the

think
hump

on

my

But

back

like

are
has

what
save
so

it

about

the

blue

throat

that

them?
much

am

magical
reduced

is

more

some

god.

though.
a litde

advanced
Just

Have
bit?

than

us.

And

of

this

because

you

noticed

that

Yes

it has!

You

know

Like

Ayurvati?

Yes.

Their
their

But

Talented

people,

have

all,
a

Brahmins,
and

Really?

Even

apparently

they

are

No

wonder

The
Bhadra

they

are

And

they

traders

and

business

farmers

and

workers.

Hang

on,

would

not

said

stupid!

How

to Bhadra.

people.

They

intellectual

are

also

profession.

a long
So

in

Kshatriyas,

be

addition

who

are

to

the

the

warriors

Kshatriyas!

their

too

inhalation.

army?

many

female

Kshatriyas.

But

yes,

army.

loudly

at

puff

from

have

the

strange

the

Vaishyas,

people

Shiva.

allowed

called

into

And

be

cure

back

in trouble!

another
then

um

specialisation.

arent
the

laughed

took

story.

into

chil

any

can

women
there

allowed

friends

of

women

allow

just

in between

a group

the

the

Shiva.

Bhadra,

have

They

Well,

passing

basically

sniffed

gifted.

Brahmins?

dont

concept

they

rulers.

Shiva,

priests,

said

seriously
called

Brahmins

lawyers,

They

are

asked

teachers,

not

are

doctors

the

Thats

doctors

and

one

That
to trade

who

are

craftsmen,

the

Shudras

that

at the

the

um

cannot

means

of

chil

finally

caste

ways

before

do

since

continuing

who

another
you

Meluhans.

are

castes

are

his

the
job.

a warrior,

you

marketplace?

Yes.
Bloody
the

only

Shiva

thing

leaned

all

right.

chil

um

Were

Take
from
talking

you

would

you

get

are

useful

for!

to

avoid

the

it easy!

he

back

Bhadra
about

and

me

playful

laughed.

took

everything

my

marijuana?

blow

from

Stretching

another

deep

except

what

After

Bhadra.

out,

he

all

All
grabbed

that

is

right,
the

drag.
we

should

be

talking

about.
Shiva
what

became
should

serious
I do?

again.

But

seriously,

strange

as

they

are,

What

are

Shiva

looked

the

you

of doing?

away,

garden.

What?

thinking
as

I dont

if contemplating

want

asked

Bhadra,

repeated

Shiva

the

to run

away

not

hearing

loudly,

I cant

roses

once

in the

far

corner

of

again.

Shivas

tormented

whisper

clearly.
I said,
once

again.

That

wasnt

YES

IT WAS!

Bhadra

fell

eyes,

Shiva

Bhadra

for

hand

terrible

away

from

them.

think

You

have
the

Shiva

threw

was

Shiva,
The
realm

the

as

governor

Covering

pressing

it

gently,

Im

asking

help,

I cant

his

I do?

If they

need

time,

how

away

his

can

face.
my

I leave

our

tribe

all

I do?

shoulder.

the

wisdom

um

few

days

and

party

for

leader

He

Shiva,

breathed

deeply.

He

his

friend

. But

was

it

yourself,

Shiva.

at Bhadra

and

Shiva

had

been

been

oiled

and

ensure

that

for

that
as

That

is the

made

the

tradition.

they

to

moved

soon
be

He

wanted

away.

caravan

scheduled

to

consisting
leave

quickly

as

to

Srinagar.
through

possible.

recognised
go

of

the

Governor
quickly

down

in

by

the

history

as

hair

had

Lord.

presentable

smoothened.

stormed

minor

Shiva

Neelkanth.
found

was

Devagiri
anxious

true
who

later
soldiers

would

was
the

back

three

reached

Chenardhwaj
empire

that

chil

and

running

you!

Nandi
small

said.

turned

answer

Shiva,

the

only

be

shoulder,

should

Shivas

correct

for

to find
with

What

hold

the

answer

hell

same

of

answer.

been

correct

the

guilt

could

Shiva

should

the

it was...

friends

pass.

At

that

Yes,

his

What

to

of an

have

on

here?

continued

It may
the

out

nothing

again.

moment

friend.

themselves

was

once

my

could

In

There

his

the

Bhadra

silent.

advice,

turn
by

fault...

sighed

put

letting

your

bear

Lines

for
of

the

emperor.

expensive

clothes,

His

attractive

ear-rings,

necklaces

muscular

frame.

Ayurvedic

herbs

been

His

been

fair

out

had

years

darned

necklaces

jewel

face

of cotton

cleverly

traditional

other

to remove

fabricated

had

and

ery

that

to

brought

been

scrubbed

of dead

skin

to cover
on

were

his

the

Meluhan

to

clean

with

& decay.

glowing

cravat

to

men

wore

adorn

his

special

A cravat

blue

throat.

make

it look

while

on

had
Beads

like

the

religious

exercises.

The

cravat

I will

felt

be

was

back

amazed

Their

warm

on

soon,

said

that

the

medicines

old

are

As

a morose

Bhadra

the

tribe.

are

You

his

I am

your

friend.

do

it, you

fool.

Bhadra

than

stepped
eyes.

Shut

up!

Listen

to

dont

think

the

Gunas

we

ask

were

nodded,

Ayurvati
This

the

moment

Though
slightiy

she
different

had

been

Bhadras

a little

Shiva

less

mother.

He

noticeable.

the

whispered,

Take

care

of

back.

Shiva

And

I am

you

reason

dont

have

I have

not.

her

at

wll

all.

any

to

tribe

to

do

that

i that

just

you

are

again
the

she
days
to

look

about
by

be
her.
the

her

It

left

May
into

divine.

At

She

the

smiled

sadly.

least
feel

not
you

showed

the

tears

as

much

need

help,

tremendous

had

his

in,

my

Lord?

presence
like

self
the

room.

I come

seemed

confident

She

Bhai

if you

and

come

back.

as

ill.

notice

trusting.

door.

had

frie

dreams.

here.

was

Shiva
on

out

e\ then,

is worth

appeared

touched

the

his

my

Shiva

risk

But

lest

even

She

politely

seven

Not
said

Kailash.

time

Shiva,

carefully,

hugged

first

him,

till I come

are

us

knocked

was

fateful

who

save

was

embraced

me

I saw

commitment
Bhadra

Shiva,

at Mount

Ayurvati.

hugged

starded.

and

in his

as

he

me.

up

No

throat.

limp

at

in charge
back,

capable

as

looked

because

more

Shiva

magical

stepped

to

cold

ladys

truly

Bhadra

I have

still

again,

appearance

since

lifetime
there

that

to

her.

was

of someone

Come

in

still

same

the

I am

Ayurvati.

sorry

that

and

And

uncouth
about

I am

that

willing

please,

none

of

immigrant

you

met

comment,

my

Lord.

to

accept

you?

Why

any

this

Lord

a few

business.

days

It was

am

ago.

wrong

punishment

that

of me
you

to

may

say
deem

fit.
Whats

wrong

truth?

Why

should

You

will

head

bowed.

the

heard

Speaking
they

be

my

Indian

form

of

What
are

this

bent

change

Lord,

whispered

for

centuries

for

holy

lake,

for

speaking

the

anything?

my

the

my

Lord.

tribe,

Ayurvati

with

her

I do

that

you.

why?

Suffice

if there

hell

doctor,

I have
I hope

gesture

are
a

that

down

to

What

it to say

is one

them

can

that

person

from

worthy

all

that

of

being

that

if they

need

any

help,

is all right.
any

assistance

touch

respect.
from

bent

told

to provide

showing

Ayurvati

the
a

tribe,

honour

she

as

you,

you.

this,

accepting

throat

you

cant?

your

my

Saying

back

tell

request

It would

of

I punish

it is you.

of

can

name

from

Neelkanth,

waited

people

will

blue

reason,

have

smart

emperor

I have
the

In

should

bloody

the

We

of you

The

this

discover

Centuries?!
any

with

Shivas

Shiva

most

to them,
feet

had

Meluhans

but

in

my

the

resigned

Lord.

traditional
himself

immediately

to

stepped

down.

you

doing,

Ayurvati?

giver

of

life.

up

Shiva,

Dont

asked

a horrified

embarrass

me

by

Shiva.

You

touching

my

feet.
Ayurvati

looked

devotion.

This

certainly

a man

at

her

eyes

shining

with

admiration

and

was

worthy

of being

Nandi

entered

Shivas

room

Ram

stamped

across

every

around

his

shoulders.

As

the
carrying

inch
Shiva

Neelkanth.
a

saffron

of it. He
complied,

cloth

requested
Nandi

with
Shiva

muttered

the

word

to wrap
a

quick

it

short

prayer

Our

horses

ready,

for
wait

said

Nandi,
name

Oh

no,

Lord.

outside,

an

is Shiva.
my

can

I take
eyes,

door.

I give

up!

Can

course,

my

stepped

outside

while

tethered

close

The

his

leave

leave

when

many

times

must

your

are

head

you

are

I tell

you?

Lord

the

Neelkanth.

slightiy

You

are

the

and

turned

towards

the

now?

to see

three

mounted

them

were

three

third

was

the

spread

enough

all

provisions

could

more

for

comfortably

horses.

Empire

major
just

had

buying

rest

each

carrying

As

and

long

traveller

fresh

for
their

houses

routes.

day,

patiently,

One

for

travel

one

keep

waiting

assigned

Meluhan

across

soldiers

as

carrying

provisions

to last

of months.

Nandis

horse

platform

had

was

not

You

well-organised

coins

a journey

can

name?

while

stores
were

Nandi.

we

How

friend,

shook

to

Nandi,

provisions.

Meluhan

We

Lord.

They

and

your

your

his

there

Lord.

Shiva.

gasped

rolled

provision

my

I am

Lord,

How

Shiva

to Devagiri.

exasperated

Shiva

Of

journey

Nandi.

said

My

a safe

had
steps

convenient

tethered

leading

up

infrastructure

cumbersome

to

enormous

been

climb

form,

onto

then

at

laws

in

his

next

to
the

to

it from

for

obese

riders

horse.

Shiva

unfortunate

small

other

platform.

side.

who

Clearly,

found

looked

horse

and

The

it
at

then

this
a

little

Nandis
back

at

Nandi.
Arent

there

Shiva

with

Oh

yes,

fact

there

any
the

my

Nandi

sincere
Very

strict

against

cruelty

to

animals?

asked

of expressions.

strict

laws.

guidelines

as

In Meluha
to

when

ALL

life

is precious.

and

how

animals

joke

had

finally

can

and...

Suddenly
Nandis

Lord.

are

slaughtered

most

Meluha

Nandi
slow
hard

on

stopped
wit.

They

his

back.

speaking.
both

burst

Shivas
out

laughing

as

Shiva

breached
slapped

In
be

Shivas

entourage

resumed

its

Himalayas.
down

the

sail
From

to

through

Punjab,

literally

meant

grasp

the

enormous,

all

destination

though

is

covering
The

Far

to

move

of their

Lord

Ram

Lord,

replied

years

ago.

everything.

Rajya

must

be

He
right

to be

as

saffron

not

barges

and

to

marked

land

eastern

of

Punjab
the

rivers
to

west.

on

of

Indus,

aspired

the

the

succour

mystery

road

reaches.

. The

and

he

to
at

lived
our

laid

journeys

looked

rode

at

to
They

rich

plains

in the

the

oceans

down

first

final

at

the

word

polite

distance

any
sign

behind

conversation

of

trouble.

but
It was

rules.
established

around

our

one

systems,

is known

overhear

the

who

reign

enough

cloth.

in quickly

created

river

unravelled.

emperor

is considered

is still

here

The

was

administered,

must

ocean.

service

He

turbulent

thousand

our

simply

as

way

rules,

Ram

of
two

my

hundred

our

Rajya

life,

ideologies,

or

the

of how

an

rule

term

Ram

Meluha

comfort

enough

He

lower

transport

farthest

found

Meluhan

His

. The

convoluted

soldiers

Nandi.

had

the

Smooth

northern

four

after

standard
the

on.

well

rivers

The

Shiva

of his

Nandi.

enough

part

Ram

inch

five

flowed

yet

accompanying

and

close

was

which

enquired

every

three

Shiva

embracing

the

public

empires

Beas.

itself

down

plains,

many

by

the
the

and

Indus

Ram?

east

of

spectacularly,

the

which

of Brihateshpuram.

of

Indus,

The

of

went

Ravi

of Punjab.

What

one

land

grand

succeeded

smoothly

flowed

Jhelum

crashed

and

heart

the

it

the

flat

town

they

Chenab,
the

on

as

of

magnificent

again

to the

on,

course

roar

the

get

down

there

Jhelum,

on

once

group

quickly

the

thunderous
Once

calmed
for

folowed

run

have
on

to

according

been

earth.

to be

quite

the

create
to his
a

man!

gold
a

standard

perfect

principles.
For

he

life

for

Jai

Shri

truly

all

its

empire
citizens.

Ram.

created

paradise

of

Shiva
a

did

not

paradise
This

was

an

every

was

supported

everyone

They

were

truth

hit

nobody

conscious,
Shiva:

if

would

need

Shiva

elses
too

Shri

left

role

and

obsessive,

fight

Nandis

their

was

cry,

their

which

The

country

which

without

The

average

serious

people,

flawless

society

duties.

The

simple

its

duties,

conscious

of

individual

rights.

automatically

Ram

be

to

it perfectly.

was

for

be

to

about

society

emperor.

a slightiy

from

perfection!

laws,

wealthy.

were

played

just

million,

seemed

and

. Lord

City

of

taken

care

Since

of

through

a genius!

signifying

mounted

their

his

Glory

freshly
of

Srinagar

and

seemed

seriously

about
a delay

construction
erected
everyone
the

Shiva
journey.

the

to

Lord

Ram.

Jai

trip

on

its

existing

hell

do

they

made
At

the

magnificent

to

Devagiri.

grown

his
the

the

outside.

too

to

larger

that

Hariyupa,

to

or

slight
having
on

city

than

thought

would

have

Shiva

platform

populous

Shiva

but

new

at

shadow,

much

city

Hariyupa

crossing-house

was

Next

executed.

had

saw

was

being

accommodate

platform.
raise

a mental
a

from

Hariyupa

to

Hariyupa

beyond

horses

from

being

Hariyupa

just

authorised

close

admiring

grand

exploring
in the

Ravi,

there

ocated

government

river

waited

Ravi.

project
as

lingered

all

the

the

soldiers

side

meant

at

crossed

Hari . Shiva

while

other

horses

they

distance,

How

It

entire

their

crossing-house,

the

civil.

would

repeated

healthy
They

to

duties

eight

was

different

ethereal

and
the

if there

Ram.

Having

the

the

rights

nearly

that

very

of almost
codified

high.

nay

been

including

fed,

his

believed

have

clearly

of

and

knew

everybodys
someone

by

well

polite

truly

of abundance,

exceptionally

unfailingly

He

couldnt

population

was

this.

subordinated,

seemed

where

it

ruled

was

exception

but

said

a land

empire

Meluhan

intellect

he

somewhere,

Meluha.
It

lie when

distance,

note

these
to

visit

Jattaa,

magnificent
the
the

platforms?

construction
captain

site
of

the

on
river

his

return

crossing

house,

was

to mount

his

Avoid

the

attack

there

All

the

The

talking

to Nandi

fresh

road

was

about

to climb

the

platform

Jratakgiri,

advised

Jattaa.

There

terrorist

was

night.

Brahmins

terrorists

he

horse.

via

last

while

were

killed

escaped

and

as

the

usual

village

before

temple

any

was

backup

destroyed.

soldiers

could

arrive.

When

in Lord

Agnis

country!

snarled

by

swear

terrorists,

Jattaa!

We

the

they

kill

That

such
follow

unarmed

men?

not

Meluhans!

mean

said

did

not

Nandi

Is

he

his

We

of

should

these

pieces

attack

their

the

rules

of

can
his
He

you?

and

feed

it

to

the

We

cannot

even

think

they

attack

us?

Dont

Nandi.
war

act

Chandravanshi

tight.

Suryavanshis.
said

Nandi.
with

fists

that!

shaking

one

minute

as

we

back?

find

into

of the

that

counter

at a distance.

I ever

body

owers

fight

Nandi.

clenching

terrorists

does

Jattaa

foll

warfare

if

his

Jattaa,
are

of barbaric
Do

cut

we

angry

Indra,

I will
growled

will

a visibly

Lord

dogs,

name

when

the

same

way,

Captain.

We

are

head.
was

he

distracted

by

Shiva

still

waiting

asked.

Yes.
He

doesnt

Yes.
about
And
Jattaa,
rumours
Nandi

wear

replied

a caste
Nandi,

amulet.
getting

Is he

a new

immigrant?

uncomfortable

answering

questions

Shiva.
youre

going

looking
coming

to

Devagiri?

harder

towards

from

interrupted

asked
Shivas

an

increasingly

throat.

suspicious

Ive

heard

some

Srinagar...

Jattaa

suddenly.

Thank

you

for

your

help,

Captain

Jattaa.
Before
platform,

Jattaa

could

mounted

act

on

his

his

horse

suspicions,
and

rode

Nandi
towards

quickly
Shiva.

climbed

the

Reaching

quickly,

he

said,

Shiva

wasnt

proud

Captain

Shiva

be

sure

crying.
We

from
He

Shiva

turned

Shiva

looked

Nandi

goading

surprised

to

back

not

merely

The

first

The

second

bull.

One

of

you

state

secret?

He

gold

chains

with

rays

streaming

me

the

have

had

object

my

Lord,

replied

had

been

tied

This
it

is the

are

couldnt
was

road,
around

riding

and

yet,

jewel

amulets

ery

on

which

his

Shiva

animal

a pendant

at
not

with

serrations

small

ery

not

exactly

the

too

He

far.

wore

was

thick

right

arm.

could

not

fathom.

Probably

like

other

jewel

was

Nandi

shaped
The

observing
and

etching.

outwards.

your

action.

perfectly

pendant

was

all over
or

is

that

He

pointed

it.
also

Shiva.

I can,

thread.

turned

the

an

of

at

Captain

into

straight

close,

lines

significance

teased

gold

Nandi

around

amulet

symbol

which

of

the

earnestly.
his

massive

represents
shoulders

arm
my

of

the

caste.

with
The

at the
a

silky
lines

Parmatma,

the

representing

the

means

that

I am

I am

sure

there

are

other

castes

as

well.

Right

you

No,

symbolic

seed-like

He

two

directly

Shiva
the

horse

the

that

wore

the

louder.

soldiers

too

to

a litde

on

suspicious

his

that

This

Not

that

his

along.

saw

Why?

kicked
rode

he

looking

quickly.

seemed

bodyguard

before.

appeared

amulet

almighty

three

one

first

on

he

as

namaste.

Nandi,

horse

some

tell

course

drawn

his

was

whispered,

and

as

had

ell iptical

Can

and

again

very

it

repeated

left

ornamental.

sun

brown,

head

at Nandi,

one

circular

but

nodded

as

Jattaa

distance,

valiant

see

knees.

once

something

his

distance

his

Lord,

his

perplexed

mumbling

to him,

to

glanced

Of

my

Lord.

in a respectful

his

go,

my

folded

that

shook

should

same

be

was

on

hands
to

leave,

He

Jattaa

his

appeared

should

listening.

with

He

We

I am

are,
not.

my
You

a Kshatriya.
clearly

Lord.
people

codified

You
are

are
just

guidelines

exceptionally
exceptionally

for

intelligent.
predictable.

Nandi

smiled

What

are

as

Shiva

what,

The

symbols

Well,

if the

my
for

mean

the

would

be

lines

And

the

feet

Brahmins,

are

would

So

what

are

they?

Lord?

the

lines

the

continued.

drawn

wearer

and

to represent
is

forming

of the

Vaishyas

the

Brahmin.

on

head

The

a symbol

Parmatma

Shudras.

of

the

of the

symbol

the

thighs

amulet

Parmatma,

for
of

would

the

it

Vaishya

Parmatma.

make

the

wearer

a Shudra.
Interesting,
are

not

Nandi

said

Shiva

too

pleased

was

quite

understand

about

a slight

their

symbol.

at

Shudra

But

he

frown.

I imagine

most

Shudras

He

couldnt

placement.

surprised

why

ordained

with

Shivas

would
kept

comments.

have

quiet

for

problem

fear

of

with

this

disagreeing

long

with

his

Lord.
And

the

other

This

second

takes

on

amulet?
amulet

jobs

their

parents,

years

old.

asked

Shiva.

depicts

which

fit its

applies

for

Brahmins

my

profile.

chosen-tribe.
Every

Meluhan,

a chosen-tribe

choose

from

Each

when

birds,

chosen-tribe

under
they

while

the

turn

advice

of

twentyfive

Kshatriyas

apply

for

animals.
Flowers

are

amongst

fishes.

the

basis

all

of

life

that

tribe.

to your
this
And

amulet

All

Vaishyas

ocation

Board

and

you

a tribe
My

your
will

dont
too

all

Shudras

ocates

process.

both

achievements

talents.

while

examination

mighty

Choose

own

to

represents

is too

if your

lowly

chosen-tribe

the

You

and

embarrass

and

you

will

is a bull.

skills.

to

the

not

be

That

on

qualify

for

Choose

yourself
up

choose

chosen-tribe

must

ambitions

measure

must

throughout
standards
doing

is the

of
justice

animal

that

represents.

if I am

Kshatriya
Well,

that

that

your

The

a rigorous

chosen-tribe
a tribe

ocated

not

being

rude,

what

does

a bull

mean

in

your

rank

of

chosen-tribes?
its

not

as

high

as

a lion,

tiger

or an

elephant.

But

its

not

rat

or a pig
Well,

either!
as

far

elephant,

as

smiled

am

concerned,

Shiva.

And

the

what

bull

can

about

the

beat

any

pendants

lion
on

or
your

chain?
The

brown

Rudra.

It

divine

seed

the

My

Lord,

sun

Shiva.

Of

not,

course
the

Lord,

that

last

Mahadev,

Lord

of

Even

regeneration

life.

it protects.

the

law.

dishonourable.

never

always

that

are

I am

the

and

Nandi.

foll

ower

of

descendants

of the

queen...

teased

some

All

the

We

to

foll

owers

that

we

are

promises

We

forget

strive

the

our

Like

to others.

may

are

it denotes

break

give

fact

laughed

we

keep

are

must

life

who

down

and

never

we

kings

word

We

that

the

the

it

means

is

the
Sun
an

that

we

calendar.

terms

our

always

and

the

came

say

practical

the

my

solar

could

honour

destroy

Sun

incredulous

In

of

protection

represents

kings
The

you

the

cannot

the

What?

So

representation

Sun?

Suryavanshi

follow

symbolises

weapons

And

is

deal

them.

be

honest,

that

Lord

strong
even

we

our

at the

Being

take

into

our

and

sun.

steadfast.

with
from

We

of our

lives.

those

who

anyone

but

consciousness

a Suryavanshi

brave

of the

cost

even

never

duties

path
and

honourably

Sun,

sear

of the

means

above

all,

so
that

we

to

the

loyal

truth.
A tall

order!

Yes,

of

was
Jai

the
Shri

Jai

Shri

Nandi

river

course,

Nandi,

Ram
his

was

a Suryavanshi

chest

puffed

up

king?
with

pride.

He

king.

Ram.
Ram,

be

repeated

Shiva

waited
to

replied

Suryavanshi

and

soldiers

I assume

crossed

to cross

crossed

Shiva.

after

the
on

the
which

river

Beas

following
stretched

on

craft.
the

a
The

boat.
Beas

straight

Their
was
road

three
the

last

towards

Devagiri.

Unseasonal

crossing-house
across
the

as

captain

the

river.

morning,

Shiva

rain

However

Nandi

the

boatman

existing

horses

the
the

shared
who
at

previous

consider

allowing

and

the

captain

to

boat

with

rowed

the

cancelling

weather

the

night

them

the

had

been

keep

the

two

across.

crossing-house

had

for

made

days

the

crossings

relatively

calm

service

since

operational.

other

passengers

as

well

They

had

in

their

fresh

traded

horses

on

the

other

side.
They

were

burst

of torrential

on

a short

do

to list
The

his

conch

other

overboard
They

to

knew

tossed
to tell

fell

he

save

two

Nandi

but

they

tried

if

The

winds

valiant

as

to stay

with
had

sudden

effort

took
to

it surrendered
low

for

safety.

weight

caused

rows

to save

his

the

emergency

other

when

row

to

the

But

he

the

boat

overboard.

so,

an

considerable

as

blow

heavens.

violently

boat

did

the

bank

made

the

he

opposite

Shiva

His

he

The

that

from

to steady

and

side.

down

boat

and

Even

the

boatman

enough.

tried

from

The

stretched

dangerously,
boatman

the

the

it gently

passengers.
out

but

Nandi

not

came

ferocity.

across,

elements.
did

rain

sudden

quickly

distance

presence

call

to

the

passengers

his

massive

to

save

him,

other

of mind

to

pull

crossing-house

should
build

the

have

made

they

on
jumped

them

would

hesitate.
most

likely

drown.
Shiva

felt

no

angvastram,
Shiva

pulled

swam

drowning
Nandi

such

to

weighed

the

He

surface.

that

Srinagar

immigration

swim

had

to

the

Shiva

one
bank.

shoes

felt

and

spite

all
of

than

camp.
around

weight

and

his

into

buoyed

made

He

turbulent

it very

the
man

the

river.
rapidly
to pull

water,
would.

first

himself
used

his

strength

by

since

positioned

aside

reached

normal

ever

chest.

the

considerable

any

than

tossed

quickly

of his

what

Shiva

quickly

dived

being

stronger

Nandis

he

strokes

more

arm

as

to use

In

significantiy

wrapped

his

powerful

fortunate

and

off

with

Nandi.

hesitation

Nandi
It

night

at the

behind
his

exhausting

other

was

Nandi
arm

work,

to
but

Shiva

was

able

emergency
Shiva

to tow

staff

helped

the

from

Meluhan

the

them

captain

to the

crossing-house

drag

Nandis

came

limp

body

shore

soon

as

rapidly

towards

to

land.

on

the

the

them.
He

was

unconscious.
The

emergency

started

pressing

count

of

would

The

they

as

lips

with

would

in

as

procedure.

quick

own

the

all

on

commitment

but

of

them
to

the

emergency

breathe

procedure

of

motion

another
and

going

One

rhythmic

stop,

his

was

the

would

repeat

what

well

a strange

chest
he

understand

knowledge

began

moment

Nandis

Then
not

then

Nandis

five.

cover

mouth.
did

staff

hard

over

into

again.

trusted

the

staff
his
Shiva

both

Meluhan

the

medical

personnel.
After

several

anxious

considerable
was

Your
A

amount

disoriented

towards

but

Shiva

with

stretcher

to

carry

him

increasing

caste-unmarked

was

that

the
staff

CHAPTER
Enters

other

into

man
was
the

3
His

must

Life

up
his

why

never

Nandis

the

with

a start.

wits
did

risk
back

rest

staff

rest

boat
They

soldier,

soldier

Lord,

medical

into

curiosity.

Suryavanshi

woke

coughed

and

At

jump

it for

me!

first

turned

you

and

up

he

abruptly

in after

whispered

me?

calmly,

friend.
the

The

fair,

She

my

Shiva,

crossing-house.

My
You

suddenly

regained

supported

to relax,

Nandi
and

quickly

precious.

Agreeing

medical

he

is too

need

senior

water

screeching,

surprised

with

of

Shiva,
life

You

moments,

safe.
house.

house

knew

Lord.
They

that
by

his

placed

that

passengers

judging
his

quickly

was

attached

were
the

fat

Strange.
dispersed

looking

man

amulets.
But
as

Nandi

was

to
at

a
the

Shiva

a relatively

Yet

he

all

that

Shiva

on

called

this

mattered

followed

the

Nandi

lay

in

medicines
by

semi-conscious

administered

his

side,

forehead

by

tossed

the

repeatedly

to control
and

fever.

in his

for

doctors
the

Nandi

sleep,

several

worked

changing

the

turned

state

on

wet

kept

making

hours

his

body.

cloth

babbling

as

on

Shiva

his

task

that

sat

burning

incoherently

Shivas

the

as

much

he

more

difficult.
Ive

been

thought

searching...

I....

Shiva

tried

fever

down.

Hes

find
to

Shiva

so

Neelkanth...
ignore

But

been

long...
Jai

Nandis

his

ears

searching

had

for

long...

Shri

hundred

never

Ram...

babble

as

he

caught

on

to something.

a hundred

years...

focussed

on

keeping

the

years?!

frowned.

The

fevers

affecting

than

twenty

years!

Ive

been

Nandi.

his

searching

...I

bloody

for

brain!

a hundred

He

doesnt

years...,

look

a day

continued

the

older

oblivious

found...

Neelkanth...
Shiva
his

stopped

head
had

Beas

for

explore
Nandis

he

had

The

There

he

rhythmic

Nandi

had
to me

on

questions.

continued

his

a paved,

of

an

out

so

that

resdess.

like

He

The

road

had

left

against

dismissed

do

at

Will

the

rest

River

house

rapidly

to

recovering

had
be

soldiers
them.

along

the

they

could

could
three

but

Captain

Shiva

shaking

ministrations.

danger,

the

Then

to

wait

strong

the

rest

had

tried

for
enough

house

you

and

to shadow

please

stop

leeches?

sung

by

breeze
hilt

of

at Nandi.

signposted

hour.

much

angrily

hard

much

was

not

tender
the

stared

himself,

hymns

A cool

persistent

by

to feel

to stick

hand

part

was

and

on

nevertheless,

but

Shiva.

walking

area

begun

Shiva,

he

better

advice.

travel.

his

the

days

trying

been

the

to

a moment

dismissively,

Shiva

few

for

of

the
teased

his

gentle
his

scabbard

waters
thick
as

of
lock
his

the
of
mind

Beas
hair.

soothed
He

swirled

rested
with

Is Nandi

really

And

what

And

why

so

the

road

into

Staring
seen.
flight

name

craqy

of the

thoughts,

him

in the

It was

built

of

was

stairs
by

topped

gods.

old?

But

Meluhans

holy

the

lake

thats

need

is my

impossible!

me

bloody

for

throat

anyway?
still

feeling

seen

so

was

oddly

Temple

face

led

up

was

not

ars

by

a giant

the
with

to

pill

the

realise

most

that

he

around

beautiful

white

top
its

and

of

had

strayed

building

he

marble.

An

platform,

off

like

carved

The

a giant

upon

had

the

ever

imposing

which

circumference.

spire,

were

pink

a high

entire

triangular

sculptures

spent

far

There

were

of
for

clearing.

were

stal

where

the

temple.

had

been

ornate

roof

namaste

every

to

available

the

space

small

The

were

What

are

you

Shiva

turned

calm,

left

the

mane.

to

remain

the

Meluhans

buildings
this

he

had

particular

signpost

appeared

around

one

announced,
to

leave

their

shoes

the

others
required

were

reserve

their

for

and

at

magnificence

the

courtyard

as

they

designs

the

food.

a puja . There

walked

of the

in

selling

footwear

there

stared

up
and

still
was

went

up

to

the

steps.

sculptures,

architecture.

here?
to

find

a Pandit

a flowing
Wearing

look

that

the

items

he

sheer

sported

gende

chosen

his

temple,

around

silvery

entrance,

hawkers

could

doing

face

all

However,

flowers,

assorted

Shiva

by

of

selling

worshippers

mesmerized

and

efficient.

the

crowd

main

Meluha

places.

selling

the

wizened

At

religious
a

in
and

Brahma.

Some

Entering

days

functional

Lord

was

others

many

flamboyant.

creativity

realised

did

structure.
had

his

Shiva

entirely

Elaborate

Shiva

had

these

years

a clearing.

adorned

the

do

a hundred

cold?
in his

by

than

hell

in the

Lost

on

more

of a man

Pandit

on

earth
was

staring

white

beard

a saffron

dhoti

who
to
the

had

at

some

first

truly

quizzically.

matched
and

already

fulfil

him

length

angvastram,
attained

heavenly
old

in

His

person

only
he

nirvana
duties.
that

had
, but

Shiva
he

had

seen

in Meluha.

I am

sorry.

Of

course

house

Am

I not

allowed

in here?

asked

you

are

allowed

in

Everyone

of the

Shiva

smile

How

the

The

Pandit

enters

he

again,

But

disappeared

hell

does

he

place

who

built

work

of the

is

allowed

into

the

respond

dont

however,

believe

quickly

as

the

in these

Pandit

gods,

do

you?

it came.

know?
question

worship

notices

this

you

the

of

nobody

could

as

answered

this

Almost

Before

once

Shivas

politely.

gods.

smiled.

questioned

here.

Shiva

lovely

looks

the

efforts

temple.

architects.

Shivas

eyes.

only

at

idol

and

You,

You

in

have

the

the

brilliance

however,

have

not

yet

cast

Everyone
of

Lord

Brahma.

of the
eyes

even

who

architects

only

a glance

for

the

upon

the

idol.
Shiva

grinned

symbolic
flow

gods.

of

the

winds.

not

speaks

respect
dont

the
us

your

all

;my

you

will

to admire

its

will

find

Why

do

these

Shiva

find

trees,
All

we

believe

around

us.

all
in

some

friend,

All

the

whisper

need

to

offence

smiled

godliness
are

a temple

might

it when

you

Meluhans

do

is

in not

the

in

In

the

of

the

listen.
showing

Pandit.

comes

different.

worth

the

Pandits

words

flee

the

temple

before

Its

time

to

back

that

are

But

walking

There

is

from

the

same

I have

feeling

into

just

for

prayer,

his
that

to

talk

my

did

welcome
my

rest

not

friend.

in bizarre

expression

he
his

be?

ready,

always

politely,

get

exists

I dont

beauty.
temple

nodded

the

caused

god.

day

You

god

time.

my

manifestations

Which

the

right.

god.

the

Really?

of

apologise,

or

guessed
real

rustle

Just

one

the

if I have

to

god

You
that

to

for

need

your

source.
that

in

I apologise

proper

no

I believe

river,

He

However,

You

apologetically.

riddles?

pretending
truly
was

house

an

feel.

He

stretched
now,

Pandit

appreciation

thought
any

for

it wise

further.
ji . But

eagerly

to

look

forward

meeting

to

you,

Placing

his

said

rose,
away

with

admiring

karma

. The

Shiva

reached

and

this

is a service

charge

for

Shiva

smiled.

Thank

you.

in

deeply

of

back

The

moment

She

rode

let

for.

The

in

the

picture

of

his

feet.

gently,

Jai

Guru

Looking

at

Shiva

the

Pandit

his

fellow

shoes

and

declined.

black

from

people

We

temple

whispered
traveller

offered

in

a coin

Thank
of

the

As

you

Meluha.

for

Sir,

There

blue

angvastram,

still

lovely

which

curves

as

that

longs

only

but
is

no

everything.

down,

Sir.

he

with

every

The

lucky

breathed

him

a soul,

for.

a few

its

unrealised

clinging
second,

on

to

that

in

men

experience.

expertly

into

life.
the
by

her
in

an

binding

and

ignited
lay

sat

moment

life,

bronzed

Her

she

he

instant

goddesses.

duty,

our

that

spell

eyes

doing

The

tied

for

suffuse

his

was

a system

atmosphere

guiding

danced

concentration

steps.

companion
hair

the

only

gods,

enters

have

are

previous

chariot,

a lady

magnetic,

sense

pleasure

karmasaathi

government

unforgettable

she
a

piercingly

long

my

tranquil

of

on

strands

the

back.

of its

irreverent

in

Pandits

steps.

recognised

on

it happened.

when

her

jealousy

the

said

earshot,

politely

You

the

then

while

for

had

out

by

to the

a conspiracy

Although

he

the

of

all mine,

course!

memory

courtyard,

out

stall,

smiled

and

purest

spite

to touch

Pandit

down

shoe-keeper

Of

craves

the

was

provided

And

heart

the

It was

it.

walked

serenity.

destiny.

down

head,

for

shoe

shoe-keeper

Shiva

my

bent

clearly

smile,

The

he

walked

him,

the

service.

as

of

Vashishta.

pleasure

the

The

Guru

from

temple

Shivas

turned

walking
an

on

Jai

the

Shiva,

hand

Vishwamitra.
Shiva

finding

body,
Shivas

beneath.

manoeuvred

horses
side

held

on

to the

understated
kathak
skin
though

were

the

the

flawless
chariot

wind.

an

covered

imagination
Her

railings.

bun,
in

the

few
Her

invitation
demurely
enough

face
skilfully

was

to
a
into

its

parking

place.

confidence.

It was

distance
to

let

towards
a beholder

stared
rain

at her

like

She

dismounted

the

a calm

confidence

which

arrogance.

Her

walk

know

she

was

that

a parched

had

was

with
not

piece

of earth

wise

to

air

covered

dignified.

detached,

an

the

Stately

but

not

mesmerised

of
ugly

enough

cold.
by

Shiva

passing

cloud.

Have

mercy

My

lady,

on

me!

I still

feel

its

your

entourage,

said

She

answered.

Krittika,

doesnt

mean

once

break

that

The

that

year,

law,

lady

a valiant

eyes

were

followed
She

from

the

rest

of

Ram

clearly

visit

Lord

Brahma.

inconvenient

into

it is to the

her

as

a surprised

to tear

his

in

his

control.

the

top

know

Lord

to

at

dont

glance

she

annoyed

away,

but

She

law,

stated

that

I will

not

bodyguards!

passed

and

the

by

him.

Her

frown.
realised

continued

Shiva
that

his

walking

up,

at

at

to walk

of

the

a distance,

into

the

still

main

immigrants!

temple

steps,

staring

temple,

As

if

well

out

of

sight

at

she
find

to

see

her

the

unabashedly.

muttered
our

caste

to

Krittika,

saviour

amongst

barbarians!

was

only

again.

As
helpless

was

leaving

down

the

to

at the

tried

took

one

temple

steps

normal,

on

the

once
he

cucumber

obvious

finally
her

from

seller

that

gather

his

decision

getting

again.

by
left

to

before

consecrated

road
the

was

desperately

the

been

she

mind

on

returned

when
he

and

past

far

others

it.

has

staring

arched

uncouth

these

ignore

how

Shiva

around

turning

These

because

woman

matter

immigrant

Before

can

longer

so

companion.
just

attempt

wander

Krittika.

turned

unmarked

had

no

no

by

her

we

eyebrows

made

not

pious

noticed

delicate

It

chariot

another

As

his

recent

presence.
she
near

notice

had
the

could
his

was

look

at

the
He

turned
banyan

breathe

overwhelmed

there

breathing

to

standing

wits,

began

where

Shiva

no

her.

and

in.

She

tree.

he

He

sat

heartbeat

surroundings
stared

way

once
had

that
again
ridden

Incidentally,

why

He

just

my

concern.

He

followed

its

seems

left,

to

the

around

taken

a sharp

of the

garden.

Incidentally,
Shiva

lot.

right

turn

the

itself.

slightly.

Before

had

just

seen,

see

her

walking

still

finding

No.

He

The

there

react,

could

steps,

up

with

him

had

the

then

entrance

asked

just

entered

the

to

information

turned

the

had

appeared

the
He

into

who
not

and

Krittika

taken

man

nod

that

he

immediately

walking

obviously

and

silently

foreign

in

a firm

but

that

I had

seen

to
behind.

man

staring

polite

voice,

you

before

a problem?
problem.

I just

a flustered
sure

appeared
cut

to

chariot

again.

caste-unmarked,

no

not

Krittika

together

the

of

to

It had

at

inexplicably

piece

down

replied

had
shepherd

presence

any

swerved

courtyard.

another

the

her

is there

was

to

it had

standing

the

stood
but

wares?

it is not

as

of the

his

sheep?

path

chariot

to hawk

taken

shepherd

the

complex,

rude,

had

shepherds

felt

Theres

lady

the

trying
Anyway,

centre

the

this

turned

walked

somewhere,

past

not

temple.

chariot

down

Shiva
he

me,

No.

to

the

at the

were

temple

this

she

Excuse

but

fountain

seller

at

her

to look

temple

her,

that

the

Next

into

cucumber
staring

path

continued

walked

be

where

parking

at

is the

how

felt

Shiva.

to

respond

to

to be

a sincere

voice

in rudely.

Is

the

that

this.

It was

behind
best

obviously

it. Before

line

you

she

could

lie

could

come

up

with?
As

Shiva

from

the

sword
to

the

behind
reached

to

retort,

seller.

was

Shiva

chariot

also

stood

poised

drawn.

Shiva

immediately

hand

him.

She

into

the

shawl

aside.

protectively,
however
folds

deftly
of

her

by

to

The

in

to

alerted

turned

tossed

left

his

he

he

swords
his

about

cucumber

as

their
out

was

see

his

the

object

side-stepped

pulling
the

out
man

positions

sword
of
his

and

movement

and

fighter

drew

angvastram

him

shepherd

traditional

pull

a quick

and
his

out

next
with

stretched
fascination

protective

drew

hand,
her

own

sword.
Shiva

glanced

smile.

Her

yet

at

eyes

there

Krittika

protested.

NOW!

she

Krittika

turned
to

all

the

in.

Two

The

Shiva

of

would

down

in

very

strange

The

attackers

behind

unexpected

back

The

the

to

draw

to

his

into

the

the

the

raised

charged
other

came

the

for

his

sword

close.

into

The

kill

three.

up

shepherd
low.

stood

covered

attackers

shepherd

in

lady

They

to join

sword

move

quickly

three

trees

movement
dropped

and

position.

the

have

moved
opening,

his

fight

from

he

right

tried

arm

in from
as

back

agony,

unexpectedly.

an

shepherd

wound
and

and

in

dug

it deep

of

taking

to

this

attacker

swung

torso.

As

right.

He

the

dig

too
Shiva

to

know

what

to

be

fell

Shivas

shoulder.

viciously,
the

have
and

into
back

realised

inflicting

shepherd

swung

swing

deep

left,

Instead
strike

merely

avoid

action

the

the

it would
to

to

and

shepherds

moved

smooth

in the

they

Run

Shiva

as

a move,

in

steps.

defensively

the

stepped

Screaming

good

admiring

heart.

across

smart

Shiva

the

Krittika,

attack.

tempted

Shivas

Not

But

in from

raised

wound

nick.

to

temple

possible

however,

quickly

too

a quick,

acknowledging

defensive-partner

Shiva

shepherds

attacker

to be

the

been

another

joined

up

attack,

advantage

deep

ran

sword

shepherd,

Shiva

lady...

sideward

have

the

my

of any

his

aggressive

into

her

is over.

But

jumped

raised

response,

back,

breath

in a standard

more

should

her

till this

and

back

Feigning

flashed

ordered.

directions

Shiva

right

under

Stay

back

and

partnership.

whispered

temple.

surprised,

flashed

providential

She

her,

the

from

a
a

brought

his

attackers
another
this

back,

distance.

inflicted

As
that

fell

was

surface
sword
thigh.
attacker
indeed

assault.
seemed

they

were

doing.

dance

of

They

seemed

warriors.
also

seemed

in

a bizarre

avoidance.

They

did

not

appear

to want

injure.

It

Merely
they

were

attack
shoulder.
blade

out.

the

Suddenly

swords

exactly

giant

He

too

was

slow

pace

corner

with

as

Shiva

realised

finish

the

men

with
the

swung

his

avoid

lady

with

Shiva
them

and

of

was

behind

cloaked

the

mans

him

off

the

were

only

visible

parts

eyes

the

lady
with

The

hooded

he

agility.

skilled

the

and

as

other

being
carry

trees

a black

on

fleshy

But

he

compensated

Shiva

registered

was

fighting

would

impair

were

his

hands.

order

picking

shaped

body

an

were

robe

mask,

barked

attackers

carrying

hooded

of his

strong

arms.

figure

the

in a black

The

the

mans

hood

could

from

the

he

stepped
of

be
to

other

his

back

right

to

He

his

men.
for

his

from

up

the

a brilliant

lady

him

back

side.

But

his

back,

hand.

the

hooded

pushed
He

to defend

back
was

had

the

injured

rearguard

side
to

that

opponent

noticed
sharp

flanking

while

left,

Shiva

the

lady

could
to

swing

it.

on
Shiva

effordessly

attack

same

the

band

on

aside

enough

at the

up

Shivas

symbol

a brutal

That

the

a leather

moved

just

vision.

was

deflected

figure

keeping

himself

so

he

Shiva

It

his

Moving

peg

wrist.

but

hand.

exploited.

slightly

right

left

sudden

from

face.

He

engaged

another

to seriously

by

blow.

the

attackers

hidden

hoping

sword

his

the

was

battle

figures

the

surely,

that

retreated.

move

hooded

pushed

injuries

off

into

Shiva

face

that

As

a deft

in

man

that

that

job

check

parried

as

many

ran

unusually

ferociously,

challenge.

All

his

eye

his

in

viciously

his

and
to

a weakness

swung

man
The

Shiva

withdrawing.

was

while

large

action

but
too

Shiva

sword

pain

almond-shaped

of his

and

of

hands.

impassive
upon

in

suffering

a human

charged

easily.
his

Slowly,

themselves

long.

to toe

like

large

to

were

in both
head

pushed

hand.

held

very

screamed

left

for

they

back

and

man

They

assault

from

left

The
his

because

beaten

the

with

worn

was

being

from

to kill.

from

distance
time

the
from

keeping

in combat.
the

hooded

figure

disengaged

from

the

battle

and

stepped

back.

both

swords

his

men

had

distance,
chasing
rush
Shiva

you

injured?

Nothing
In

turned
but

and

to the
she

I am,

nodded

turned

helped

a very
did

The

the

trees.

behind

and

before

asking

he
came

My

lady.

answered.

he

the

other

As

his

continued
at

he

men.

the

lady.

His

reached

safe

Shiva

decided

against

inquired,

Are

to point

considered

it. He

might

just

and

important
seem

with

you

a sombre

alright?
expression.

Are

grinned.
running

Are

you

Thanks

Shiva

down

temple

steps

and

alright?

to this

said,

the

Thank

foreigner

here.

you

much.

very

You

have

woman.
to

mistress

conceal

and

warrior

Krittika

to

not

Krittikas

ran

Ill survive!

she

Krittika

Shiva

Shiva

immediately

lady

breathlessly,

Yes

at

as

ambush.

meantime,

asked

backwards

into

almost

serious.

the

one

he

turned
I am,

to tread

ahead,
disappeared

an

Yes

began

all

him

into

He

as

be

listening

if

he

though.

were

He

continued

possessed.

to

Krittika

stare

at

struggled

to

a smile.
noble

politely,

woman
I

am

averted

sorry,

but

her

eyes

in

embarrassment,

am

quite

sure

that

we

but

said

not

met

have

earlier.
No

its

women

That

Excuse

came

too

about
for

badly?!

a smiling

You
out

she

upset
either

said

fight.

me?

clearly

Not

that,

dont

O hell!

badly

not

move

Shiva.

your

Its

sword

just

quite

that
well

in

for

our

society,

a woman.

all wrong.

said,

the

slightly

bell

igerent

for-a-woman

remark.

tone

in

You

her

dont

voice,

fight

too

a barbarian.
Im

an

exceptional

sword

fighter!

Do

you

want

to

try

me?
O

bloody

hell!

What

am

I saying?

Im

not

going

to

impress

her

like

this!
Her

expression

resumed

its

detached,

supercilious

look

once

again.

have

no

interest

No.

No.

Dont

wanted
at

to

other

fact

get

tell

me

you

things

that

mean

in duelling

you

that

I am

as

well.

fought

for

losing

the

needed

it the

Krittika,

with

you,

wrong.

filter

it came

at

you

to

duel

all

are

a very

are

judgement,

with

you.

sword-fighting.

out

You

fact,

of

want

good

yourself.
In

foreigner.

I didnt
quite

And

a swordswoman.

Shiva,

with

I am

wrong.

quite

I rather

good

at

just
good

like

the

swordsman.

a woman...,

exactiy

the

bumbled

time

when

he

most.
her

head

bowed,

smiled

at

the

increasingly

appealing

exchange.
Her
his

mistress,
highly

bound

by

foreigner.
you

I call

Shit!

What

She

glared

hand,

words.

the

code

Meluhan
you
my

on

wanted
But

to chastise

he

had

of

conduct.

and

you

call

on

if I dont

the

saved

her

Thank
will

not

you
find

foreigner
life.
for

me

for

She

was

your

help,

ungrateful.

If

me.

need

your

help?

foreigner

who

I saying?!

With

caste-unmarked
superhuman

said,

that,

life
do

even

at the

and

my

help,

you

am

place.

politely

other

inappropriate

need

Can

With

the

I owe

ever

his

on

the

effort,

she

clearly

controlled

did

not

herself,

know

nodded

Namaste.
aristocratic

continued

to stare

However,

on

woman

at Shiva

seeing

her

with

turned

admiring

mistress

around

to

leave.

Krittika

eyes.

leaving,

she

too

turned

hurriedly

to

follow.
At

least

tell

me

your

name,

said

Shiva,

walking

to

keep

pace

with

her.
She

turned

Look,
For

how
a

city

will

staring

I find

moment,

seemed
You

around,

she

reasonable.
can

for

find

Lady

us
Sati.

you

more

if I need

was
She

at

even

out
turned

Devagiri,

your
of

gravely
help?

words

towards
answered

at Shiva.
asked

or
Krittika
Krittika.

Shiva

glare.
and
Ask

sincerely.

The

request

nodded.
anyone

in

the

Sati...,
My

said

name

Shiva,

letting

Shiva.

ever

my

need

And

I promise

help,

said

chariot,

followed

by

Krittika.

Expertly

turning

the

chariot,

Without

he

a backward
at

the

fortunate

For

the

to

the

over

honour

my

his

tongue.

sped

dust

touched

this

she

turned

urged

profile
the

I will

her

away
of

climbed

horses

from

the

with

and

word

into

the

her

a smooth

Once

intense

you

into

temple.

chariot.

if

trot.

Shiva

kept

it was

jealousy.

gone,

It had

been

her.

country.

the

journey,

city

of

the

Shiva

actually

Meluhans.

looked

He

forward

smiled

and

to

started

quickly.

Abode

of the

What!

Who

towards

Gods
attacked

Shiva

replied

adventure
The
sorry,
alone.

you?

to check

Nandi,

serious.

you

roll

house.

to Devagiri

CHAPTER

I am

in

capital
rest

to get

she

at

to like

as

Sati

to have

time

the

towards

your

stare

going

first

reaching

Relax

look

enough
Im

Have

name

you,

Sati

disappearing

continued

I think

ethereal

is Shiva.

Namaste,

staring

the

in the
doctors
my

It will

Pushing

Nandi

nothing

to forgive,

Lord.

cried

his

Nandi

as

he

rushed

wounds.

Shiva.
water.

You

are

Its

just

in worse
a few

have

already

dressed

Its

entirely

my

never

happen

gently

back

my

a concerned

friend.

again.
on

to

shape
superficial

the

I should

Please

forgive

bed,

Shiva

I am

cuts.

wounds.

fault.

the

than

I am
never
me,

after

Nothing
alright.
have

my

said,

left

Lord.
Theres

How

can

will

not

Once

this

do

be

your

Nandi

dont

think

your

fault?

health

had
they

Please

any

calmed
were

calm

down.

Getting

overworked

good.
down

trying

a bit,

to kill

Shiva

us.

continued,

It was

very

be?

asked

Nandi.

the

attackers

In

any

case,

strange.

Us?
Yes,

there

But

who

were
could

thought

dawned

crescent

moon

Shiva

by

on

a mask,

disturbing

wear

a pendant

strange

man.

with

But

there

was

this

one

The

best

all.

kind

head
Ive

to

seen

toe

in a hooded

you

people

wear

robe,

his

at that

face

colour

veiled
festival

the

Lord?
holi

and

his

with

a strange

What

kind

hands.

up
the

His

my
a

side

frowned.
word

of mask.
only

symbol

symbol,

Picking

Nandi

it?

from

the

Did

Then

is it called?

Yes,

from

Nandi.

No.

covered

Holi , my

the

on

involved.

attackers

of them

was

What

women

these

frowned.

swordsmen
He

two

Aum.

case,

distinguishing
on

you

feature

could
was

only

see

a leather

his

eyes

bracelet

it

Lord?

palm-leaf
table,
That
But

In any

booklet

Shiva
is an

drew

and
the

ancient

the

thin

charcoal

that

some

writing-stick

symbol.
symbol

people

used

for

who

would

Aum?
My

asked

Lord,

be

the

holy

to use

Aum

that

is the

for

how

was

this

all

are

Think

of

foll

India

as

many

the

they

follow

the

Yes,

my

Lord.

They

with

no

rules,

like

principled

The

Chandravanshis

But

what

lunar

Bharat

Suryavanshis

are

a blot

up

The

bottom

half

in red

The

part

The

crescent

Chandravanshi

symbol.

so

it

by

coming

to

our

conquered

He

had

was

even

rare

married

perpetual

war.

Shiva.
of

us,

my

descendants

Lord.

They

of the

moon

untrustworthy
cowards

their

kings

are

are

the

and

lazy

people

never

attack

corrupt

and

selfish.

humanity!

have
with

out

and

are

to do

this

represented

common
moon

and

the
of

the

with

symbol

Chandravanshis.

Chandravanshis.

the

insult

had

ago.

They

on

symbol

the

represented

not

who

years

of ending

the

honour.

the

orange

ruler

of

antithesis

represented

in

aim

Even

Aum

great

a crooked,

came

and

It was

calendar?

are
or

asked

very

are
the

universe.

would

respecting

the

Kshatriyas.

does

people

thousands

who

morals

of the

to

about?

worth

with

kings

It is considered

form.

was

of the

religion.

hymn

most

Chandravanshis?

them

King

ennia,

Bharat,

And

Well,

The

Lord

princess

owers

in our

come

who

the

of

word

symbol

by

Chandravanshi

Who

mill

in written

devised

Suryavanshi

now?

of nature.

many

did

practically

symbol

holiest

sound

it down

Then

this

Shiva.

primeval

putting

It

want

this?
of

The

unity
top

between
half

the

in

white

two

parts

Suryavanshis.
meeting

of

these

path.
the

right

of

the

symbol

was

the

existing

And
To
a

the

sun

signify

above

that

mandate

it was

this

for

was

the

the

existing

Suryavanshi

a pact

blessed

pronunciation

of

by

the

this

symbol.
gods,

symbol

Lord
as

Bharat

the

got

holy

word

Aum.
And
As

then

what

happened?

expected,

Lord
and

the

Bharat
the

word

was

war

Aum

pact

died

gone,

the

began

to

the

good

king.

Chandravanshis

once

reverted

with

again.
its

The

original

Once

were

symbol

form

up

was

of

the

influence

to their

old

forgotten.

word

ways

And

without

of

the

written

representation.
But

the

symbol

coloured.
lines

It was

to me.

Naga!

touching

Now

who

They

are

They

the

terror

Rudra
hell

extra

Sapt

Sindhu.

The

Sapt

Our

land,

citizens

parts

Nandi,
for
the

my

hands

didnt

not

look

like

serpents.

mumbling

asked

gasped
sins

horribly
skills.

They

was

a soft

prayer

protection.

of the

and

man

symbol

of three
before

Lord,

or

hooded

of the

Nagas?

because

heart.

this

a drawing

are

strength

of

the

pendant

deformities

tremendous

Shiva.

Nandi.

They

of their

previous

misshapen
The

Naga

are

not

even

the

seven

are

faces.
name

allowed

born
births.

But

they

alone

strikes

to

in

the

of

the

live

Sindhu?
my

Lord,

Saraswati,

Suryavanshis

like

people,

like

Narmada.

And

looked

cursed

in any

bracelet

black.

bloody

hideous

Indus,

the

a shocked

his

Deformities
have

all

exclaimed

and

with

on

This
and

the

land

of

Yamuna,
is

where

Ganga,
Lord

Chandravanshis,

Manu
live.

rivers.

Sarayu,
mandated

The

land

Brahmaputra
that

all

and
of

us,

Shiva
the

nodded
south

is bad
But

as

of the

luck

why

Nandi
Narmada,

to even

would

Cursing

speak

a Naga

under

his

Using

Nagas

they

dont

even

city

the

border

of them,

my

Lord!

Or

any

me?

breath,

What

demon

The

beyond

attack

Chandravanshis!
the

continued.

levels

in their

realise

how

During

the

lands.

In fact,

they

that

people
hatred

are

for

inviting

to
it

matter?

Because

In their

sins

exists

for

two-faced

attacks!

Nagas

of our

said,

these

many

the

Meluhan

Nandi
have

of

of

the

sunk

to?

us,

on

their

own

souls!
Shiva

frowned.

was

being

him

like

the

It took
the

used

by

Naga

another

the

the

even

in

her
Unlike

the

was

Saraswati

days

were

thrust

her

on

to

the

was

reach

west

of

In

the

Devagiri.

bank

of

Sudej

severely

way

the

fact,

The
the

and

reduced

to

Like

platforms,

an

platforms,

hectares,

Naga

it looked

capital

to

city

Saraswati,

of

which

Yamuna

rivers.

compared

to

each

its

Sadly,
her

once

metres

and

still

massive

rivers
seemed

did

not

of

and

the

Punjab,

to sense

fight

she

in complete

that

her

aggressively

unselfishly

contrast

Devagiri
against

sheer

larger
high

she

cities,

where

was

to

gave

her

treasures.

was

of them

river

Instead,

her

protection

in

The

survive.

Meluhan

she

tempestuous

Yet,

to seek

significantly
eight

end.

However,
was

the

calm.

and

effective

cities

of

though,

all

enemies.

Meluhan

an

came

Devagiri

Saraswati.

state,

achingly

through

who

soaring

against

many

coming

all to those

nearly

them

abbreviated

awe-inspiring.

giant

soldiers.

that

size.

But

The

of

appeared

leader.

for

flow

it hadnt

platoon

confluence

Saraswatis

mighty

the

stood

at

small

was
week

Meluhans

emerged

the

attack,

floods

Devagiri
size.

spreading

too

The

city

over

than

other

were

bastioned

was
and

was

on

a sturdy

ow
giant

defence

from

other

sprawled

over

three

hundred

The
with

built

mell

different

three

cities.

to the

giant

and

platforms
blocks

fifty
were

of

cut

stone

interspaced

Tamra

and

man,

with

Rajat

whereas

citadel.
made

, literally,
the

The

baked

bronze

platform

platforms

of stones

bricks.

were

and

baked

Two

and

of

silver

named

Svarna

connected

to

bricks,

the

, were
or

for

gold

each

which

platforms,
the

common

was

other

rose

named

above

the

by

tall

the

flood

royal

bridges,
plains

below.
Along

the

walls,

with

regular

periphery
giant

had

must

ever

truly

Shivas

be

to
metal
on

intrigued
per

Yes

that

are

power

of

turn,

facilitating

there

was

the

sides

enemy
The

pride

The
around

gates

had

turrets

at

approaching
anything

of

a city

across

the

had

been

roughened

seen
he

that

like

this

baked

bricks

not

slip.

across

the

empire

Are

field

of

reinforced

would

asked,

Nandi.

There

these

laid
was

that

bricks

had
made

at

city
this

walls

did

his

you

bricks
given

in Meluha

are

by

the

Chief

and

his

Lords

guess?

empires

efficiency

platform

rose

up

of

and

the

of

the
a

at

the

straight

platform
metal

that

end
in

up

In
the

extended
vall

ey

from
Shiva

the
gende

addition,
incline

steeply

of
this

of

one

chariots.

platform
it

the

summit

and

leading

making

to attack

to

horses

stairs

slope,

made

the

guidelines

spiralling

of

All

dimension.

passage
flight

enough

how

same

road

were

drawbridge

and

The

the

foolish
city

the

a broad

pedestrians.

drawbridge

had

Nandi

But

observation.
with

construction

chariots

a surprised

all exactly

drawbridge,

beyond

and

he

to

empire.

in

was

The

specifications

beamed

spectacle

city

process?

replied

of the

where

the

and

bricks

standard

were

from

the

bottom

horses

the

per

to

platform.
the

There

towering

achievement.

up

Turning

Lord,

Architect

Nandi

so

some

as

They

at

Shiva.

my

made

Tamra

were

walls

mind,

greatest
rode

about

city

his

platform

outwards.

This

In

mans

bars

top

something

as

seen.

the

the

repelled.

entourage

spikes

out

be

enormous

facing

along

could

Shiva

each

spikes

intervals

enemies

with

of

death

for
onto

for

any

area.
had

never

seen

before.
had

just

very
At

Nandi
been

the

blazing

out

Satya.

the

gates,
city

was

There

footpaths
for

drains

constructed
bricks.

as

On

were

buildings

walls

blank

drawings

depicting

green

appeared
of

green,

the

just
The

to

the

all.

ous

that
was

Ram.

the

blue
above

the

marked

that

roads

were

the

were
of

the

baked

height

of

structure

their

strictly

bore

of

the

of

specific

on

striking

the

side

black

line

Suryavanshis,

colours

of

background
mind,
of

the

colour

in

there

buildings

on
built

on

road.

It

spectrum.
act

green

in

of

while

grey,

light

colour

blue
sky.

every

above

blue,
though,

was

the

holiest

was

just

above

Meluhans,
nature,

the

colour

were

about

who

thought

it

spectrum

earth.

illustrations
His

lanes

made

city
The

streets.

increasing

were

Meluhan

design

by

the

simplicity.

the

Shiva

sober

in the

lived

However,

course,

All

for

colour

rays

paved

structures

common

was

of

centre.

main

the

the

and

legends

the

they

and

depending

in the

the

its

within

pedestrians,

main

available.

awestruck.

by

to

but

etched

that

efficiency

block

the

earth,

greater

recurring
Lord

was

of the

some

sky

It

for

metals

with

platform,

blocks

doors

most

In

the

in its

clarified

painted
The

of

that

Shiva

extensions

different

blue.

colour

see

most

emperor,

be

top

the

facing

the

white.

them

marvel
as

or

left

storied

faced

was

to

colour

was

that

background

light

liked

never

walls

had

and

motto

Honour

internally

windows

of buildings,

The

the

All

the

directions,

Nandi

differed

requirements.

sun

it was

metal

easily

circular

side

wooden

not

red

of square

two

if required.

it was

the

a bright

through

standard

top

building,

the

running

all

was

the

in different

of

gates,

city

the

a new

city

both

on

traffic

strongest

Duty.

at

a grid

of iron,

the

Below

breathtaking
into

of

witnessed

truly

were

covered

the

he

the

top

of the

made

to make

: Truth.

much

divided

street

on

Maan

this

were

required

Suryavanshis

that

was

ore

in all directions.

just

sight

they
It was

entry,

Dharma.

Seeing
the

The

platform
of

that

discovered.

expensive.

symbol

the

clarified

victories

on

the
over

walls
his

enemies,

his

the

great

subjugation

of

the

wicked

Chandravanshis,

statesmanship
was

deeply

like

a god.

greatest
good
As

and
revered,
They

of

the

had

and

gods

to

lovingly

recreated.

been

many

referred

that

Meluhans

him

meaning

as

had

Vishnu

protector

come

, an

of

proved

the

to

Lord

Ram

worship

him

ancient

world

his

title

for

the

& propagator

of

.
Shiva

learned

consisting

of

to

and

centres.

Nandi,

eight

most

years

which

populous

city

back

had

Each

any

from

in the

divided

district

poll
the

had

its

markets,

entertainment
was

The

belied

districts

own

activity

districts.

empire.

many

and

uting

functioned
entire

into

temples

other

Devagiri

pegged

was

areas,

away

with

city

blocks.

or

quarters

smoothness

the

residential

Manufacturing

separate

the

from

four

commercial

in

wisdom,

incidents

conducted

efficiency

the

fact

and

that

it was

The

last

census

just

the

city

at

hundred

the

population

of

three

soldiers

to one

two

two

thousand.
Nandi

led

Shiva

guest

houses,

built

for

both

business

and

leisure.

area

outside

the

guest

themselves

and

similar

to

There

was

rooms

were

My

Lord,

the

Sounds
Also,
them

its

check

all

up

their

rooms.

The

with

have

some

since

our

seen
the

and

dinner,
food

second

in

walked
guest

numerous
Devagiri,

the
in

house

throughout

building

designated
to

register

had

their

built

for

style

journey.

around

it.

speak

with

The

spacious.
said

Nandi.

arranged.

appointment

of the

citys

frequented

horses

party

furnished
for

their

had

of the

that

the

Shiva

time

a good

if it is

Tying

courtyard

beginning

like

tourists

house,

that

almost

sleep

at the

many

into

many

and

back

the

comfortably

enough

fixed

the

a central

housekeeper
get

and

I will

We
with

prahar

the

should
Emperor

eat

early

the
and

has

been

and

send

tomorrow

idea.

right

to Srinagar?

with

you,

shal

I dismiss

the

soldiers

That

also

you

are

Nandi

almost

on

just

his
be

really

mattered

for

the

him

idea,

said

of brilliant

with

Shiva,

a smiling

Shiva.

Why

Nandi,

be

cause

ideas!

always

happy

to

the

of

face.
my

down

finish

give

along

back,

lay

a good

a fount

Lords

Shiva

Ill

like
like

laughed

smile
Ill

sounds

Lord.

on

his

bed

and

was

quickly

lost

in the

thoughts

that

to him.
meeting

with

whatever

the

the

Emperor

bloody

hell

asking

Nandi

as

he

soon

wants

as

and

humanly

then

possible,

scour

the

city

of

Sati

Sati.

Shiva
but

had
had

had

considered

eventually

made

less

meeting.

If she

that

she

wasnt

the

issue

He

smiled

by

the

the

romantic
He

that

transferred

sighed

swayed

weight

sensuously

was

painfully

face

to find

He

didnt

he

had

men

of

soft,

his

him

swung

each

sword.

move

of

at

their

it only
to

he
first

meant

compound

back

to him.

her

tribe.

delicate

captivated

with

want

seen

upon

her

her,

flooding

qualities

swing

her

that

to others.

came

her

aware

on

killer

to

whereabouts

him

her

most

recalling

so

him.

when
for

brutal,

had
her

sights

for

about

of her

the

impression

by

moments

developed

curves

stirred

memory

of

it. He

it easy

casually

magical

divine.

suddenly

made

terribly

the

against
spectacular

hadnt

replayed

it was

than

speaking

as

most

decided

about

fighting.
But

being

Shiva,

which

had

attacked.

smoothly

The

Not

for

body,

sober

He

The
as

she

tied

hair

had

He

breathed

the

sword

arm.

and

Nandi

crossed

deeply.
What

a woman!

It was

early

between
The
the
shoot

in the

the

bridge,
sides

Tamra
another

by

arrows

a massive

morning

and

thick

a final

Shiva

Svarna

marvel

or pour
gate,

when

of

wall.
hot

platforms
Meluhan

Holes
oill

on

protection

had
enemies.
just

to

reach

the

engineering,
been
The
in case

royal

was

drilled

on

bridge
the

the

the

was

other

bridge
citadel.

flanked

on

walls,

to

bisected

by

platform

was

lost

to an

When

enemy.

they

crossed

completely
but

by

taken
the

of

nobility

the

royal

citadel

no

special

structures
as

and

glorious
on

solid

gold!

well.
the

sign
to

built
just

like

The

concession

structure

Shiva

and

Daksha

on

furnished

room,

Daksha,

greeting

He

was

too
he

between

by

was

much
be

sized,

dark

eyes

Meluhan
the

baked

that

would

with

others.

royal

have

had
of

wood,

plated

with

only

common

was

that

Significantly

for

good.

far

end

and

a woman.

formal

namaste,

his

standard

larger.

office

the

right

preferred.

private
at

built

the

royal

far

reserved

for

however,

the

a man

were

block

also

cupola

was

There

the

Bath

its

of

in the

to

temple,

bricks,

empire,

same

found

The

no

structure

The

was

The

was

platforms.

to be

architecture

throne

by

sun

to

the

exercise.

could

with

simple

be

said

body

about

men

and

symbol

of

emperor

to

find

Emperor

of

the

modesdy

said.

women.
the

While

obese

hope

Suryavanshis

large

your

it had

not

head

Just

manifested

Shiva

average.

his
a

was

strained

face.

wore
bore

difference

been

complexioned
He

country.

major

strapping

either.

nose.
The

the

the

that

wheatish

a straight

such

Shiva,

showed

wasnt
his

of

than

musculature.

He

flanked

an

shorter

Dakshas

same

most

the

marginally
was

built,

too

entered

young

them

powerfully

left.

emperor,
than

Shiva

of

Ram

larger

flanked

the

area

comfortable.

looked

Though

Lord

to

royal

there

The

aristocrats.

Bath.

was

wealthy

other

were

the

that

and

structure

or ones

to the

Nandi

the

special

fact

the

Shiva

of

manner.

like

Public

Gods

how

was

sitting

journey

that
the

simple

for

Indra

the

a massive

exacdy

Great

platform,

grandeur

by

magnificent

Lord

for

the

such

foundation

Probably

block

by

all of Meluha

only

It seemed

only

over

almost

The

a raised

structures

Svarna

shocked

concessions

temple

stood

not

was

dominated

sported

the

in a conspicuously
was

that

citadel

He

ruling

lived

to

surprise,

it.

Despite

the

were

by

lack

opulence.

over

The
Average

hair

long

like

majestic

crown

in

centre

the

through

sparkling

hung

down

ery,

including

average
His

the

two

who

it was,

empire

and
on

his

elegant

dhoti,

a large

amount

right

arm,

with

an

of

angvastram

functional

jewel

complemented

Dakshas

feature
all

wore

your

the

his

was

way

to

royalty

highness,

his

his

smile

eyes.

which

Emperor

spread

Daksha

its

looked

lightly.

replied

Shiva.

The

infrastructure

in

your

is wonderful.
are

an

Thank
my

amulets

conviction

a man

You

An

shoulder

distinguishing

innocent

Yes

right

stones.

appearance.

only

like

gem

extraordinary

you.

But

emperor.

I only

deserve

reflected

credit.

The

work

is done

by

people,

You

are

too

modest,

your

Smiling

politely,

Daksha

aides?

Without

waiting

his

This

left,

is my

administrative,

except

did
for

knot.

most

a tuft

She

down

the

the

excess

flesh

She

had

and

dark

noticed

pigeon.
bent

wore

Not
low

Pointing

to his

forces,

General

forces,

police

Parvateshwar

did

bore

ery
second

high

her

Daksha

Parvateshwar.

tied

between

He

of

all

was

white

on

from

her

left

evident

like

dhoti.
all

her

conservative.
arm

the

like

and

and
and

in

young

clearly

Kanakhalas

amongst

tied

blouse

restrained

shaved

been

looked

complexion

was

amulet

said,

on

care

was

across

as
the

smooth

Namaste

woman

takes

had

She

overweight

that

important

the

head

which

torso.

chosen-tribe

a formal

right,

little

Her

back

janau

of

incredibly

the

a very

and

she

jewel

that

the

side

to

She

Shiva.

at the

called

pointed

most

matters.
to

hair

my

Kanakhala.

namaste

was

he

protocol

right

but

from

countrymen,

and

I introduce

answer,

minister,

string

to

May

an

prime

formal

Meluhans,

Shiva

for

of smooth

had

shoulder

asked,

revenue

Kanakhala

Highness.

showed

Brahmins.

Shiva

in reply.
And
looks

this
after

is my

chief

of the

armed

the

army,

navy,

special

etc
looked

like

a man

that

Shiva

would

think

twice

about

taking

on

in a battle.

muscular

physique

and

hair

long
his

crown.

signs

of

long

hair

to

been

His

combed

smooth,
in

from

the

normally

sign

be

curled

of

amulet

on

chosen-tribe

arm

No

Please

at

wait

His

body

greeted

outside,

was

thick

his

advised

took
up

rare
body

for

this

moustache
reflected

his

The
a

curdy

head.

with

proud

in

tiger,

nodded

from

the

long

eyes

curly

neady

who

and

as

proud

His

by

character.

Parvateshwar

Captain,

fell

make

His

He

of

him.

men
to

righteous

immensely

hairless,

Probably

edges.

an

marked

Kshatriya

Kshatriyas.
bow

around

was

had

and

Parvateshwar

the

and

skin

the

showed

and

fastidiously

and

elaborate

warmly

space

maintained

amongst

Namaste.

the

hirsute

strong

his

Shiva

machismo.

upwards

uncompromisingly

than

swarthy

battle.

Parvateshwar

which

taller

dominated

years

deficiency,

smiled

was

that

had

under

departure

He

second
very

at Shiva.

Shiva,

a formal

high
No

however,

Namaste.

Parvateshwar,

looking

at

Nandi.
Before

Nandi

alright

if

Nandi

companion
trusted
Of

could
stays

since

Your

he

Highness,

clearly

state

presence

and

relax

my

cut

with

me?

homeland

may

Nandi

slid

on

the

for

religious

As

Nandi

replied

it is

not

said

in.

My

apologies.

He

has

been

and

has

But

my

become

is

it

constant

dear

and

that

he

not

stay

Turning
we

see

cravat

to

pulled

only

there

for

neck

Shiva
convey

Daksha

case,

his

guest

a matter
your

to

into

of state
service

witness

service
the

to
rules

emperors

is discussed.
rules

continued,

be

If

too

seriously

it is alright

with

now?

to untie
the

Daksha

Shivas

any

escort

take

Shiva,

a Captain

In

while

You

your

reasons,

appropriate

can

to

behind

Daksha.

Parvateshwar.

Parvateshwar.

sometimes.
you,

here

I left

may,

discussion,

Oh

Shiva

friend.

course

this

respond,

the

cravat.

impression
smiled

cravat

off,

Seeing

that
and

the

whispered,

Daksha

and

the
throat

beads
was

Good
Kanakhala

darned
covered

idea.
came

close

to inspect

step

forward

Daksha
The

but

and

the

their

and

Kanakhala

ecstasy

that

the

and

get
by

and

each

did

better

what

in awe,

It is true
at

to

stunned

whispered

a dye.

Parvateshwar

slightly

clearly

glanced

her

her

looked

look.

they

The

not

saw.

colour

comes

genuine.
other,

tears

glistening

in

hands

up

at Shivas

coursed

a namaste

face,

through

discomfort
Dakshas

emperor

into

and

began

mumbling

breath.

of Meluha

Despite

neck

detail.

eyes.

Daksha

any

throat

Kanakhala

under

you

his

It is not

folded

Emperor

in greater

seemed

the

astounded

chant

strained

felt

inside.

Daksha

throat

Kanakhala

emperor

from

Shivas

his

said,

1 hope

since

your

controlled

and

his

prime

trying

desperately

insides.
we

With

have

a controlled

not

arrival

in Meluha.

reaction,

Shiva

minister

were

to suppress
smile,

done

anything

could

guess

taken

the

aback

the

to cause

that
by

both

his

blue

throat.
Just

how

Umm,

none

back
In

important
at all

around
fact,

have
Im

glad

for

to

rest

Would

you

rumoured
That

blue

Highness,

throat

for

replied

Shiva

delighted

by

the

Meluhans?

as

he

tied

the

cravat

and

I have

been

the

hospitality

head

politely.

that

we

here.
that,

smiled

a litde
like

that

is a very

Daksha

your

bloody

neck.

tribe

received

want

name

his

my

is this

turned

bit

to
the

and

shift

offer,

could

here

and

are

his

talk

residence

your

Nandi

bowing

we

your

quarters

kind
to

Daksha,

in
to

a litde

more
the

more

detail

royal

You

may

tomorrow.

citadel?

It

is

comfortable.

Highness.
asked,

Captain,

what

did

you

say

your

was?

My

name

is Nandi,

You

too

are

care

of

our

arrangements.

your

welcome
honoured

Highness.
to

stay
guest.

here.

Make

Kanakhala,

sure

that

please

you
make

take

good
all

the

Yes,

your

Highness.

Kanakhala

called

out

of the

As

Shiva

great

in one

royal

office.

exited

the

room,

and

touched

ceremony

had

just

stood.

look

at Kanakhala

He

impatience

understand,

mark

was

What
his

you

second

him

he

is the

he

has

been

That
Well,

if he

if he

is the

in his

your

me

to

has

do?

Neelkanth,

tell

ground
and

Nandi

haunches
on

with

which

stood

up

Shiva
again

eyes,

to

however,

The

blue

him?

me

to

just

Daksha.
accost

This

him

and

is
tell

saviour?
all our

then
he

Kanakhala.

a surprised

want

our

then

his

Kanakhalas

cried

You

throat,

the

glared

not

to solve

a blue

on

and

of anger.

you

Neelkanth,
sent

eyes.

Shiva

down

sofdy

Highness,

did

escorted

to

a prayer

in Devagiri.

that

head

a touch

Why

who

went

his

tears

expect

day

Daksha

and

genuine.

did

aides,

mumbled
with

betrayed
didnt

of her

problems?

he

is the

is our

Neelkanth,

saviour.

He

isnt

has

to

he?

And

accept

his

that

are

destiny.
An

exasperated

talking

like

have

Parvateshwar
this.

created

barbarian

We

the

with

interjected.

are

Meluhans!

greatest

no

We

civilisation

education,

I cant

no

are

ever
skills,

believe

the

we

Suryavanshis!

We

known

to

man.

And

merit

is

going

to

no

some
be

our

saviour?
Just

because

That

is what

he

has

a blue

the

legend

says

Daksha

interrupted

both

legend.

My

believe

my

reign

Meluha

to

can

end

they

inflict

from

the

the

people
appear.

a land

the

truth,

terrorist

us

will

attacks

Parvateshwar,
ministers.

in the
will

legend.

and

crisis
be

over
to

the

countered

Kanakhala.

Parvateshwar,

transform

duty

Chandravanshi

upon

Saraswati.

his

He
of

throat?

The
all

of

honour.

I believe

Neelkanth
India
With

once

and

shortage

of

for

has

to
his

all.

the

in the
chosen

ideals

leadership,
All

the

to

the

of
we

agonies

Somras

killing

of

Then

why

more

days

You

delay
we

know

not

enemies

far

and

strength
tell

empire

But

has

Neelkanths.
true
be

If

willing

to

accept

his

to

A few

CHAPTER

so

weak,

will

our

the

Lord

give

And

whole

we

face,

he

We

have

it.

weeks

influence

stand

us

think
with

will

not

by

of

the

him.

Once

fight

with

waited

for

us

far

fraudulent

First

Only
the

So

out

us.

that

destroy

you.

found

destiny.

truth

will

than

if people

the

be

more

at

that

the

we

then
best
he

must

will

we

way

to

sees

to destroy

centuries

the
evil.

for

the

us.

of Brahma

Shiva

was
things

and

were

in the

afternoon

being

reaction,

the

significance
of the
sect

in
could

to the

of

in Kashmir.

the

Shiva

red

was

and

back

the

morning.

understand
even

whatever
If the

of

the

royal

royal

guest

sat

down

white
a smile

to

house
on

roses.

guest

The
his

house.
by

Nandi

comfortable

charming

face.

cool

It was

early

deserted.

going

Meluhans,

Neelkanth,

into

brought

garden
kept

gardens

aide.

gardens

Emperor
Shiva

moved

a bed

thoughts
the

verdant

efficient

open

and

Shivas

legend

in the

overlooking

breeze

with

walking

Kanakhalas

bench

small

people.

attacks

time,

Neelkanth.

His

our

consequences

is to share

takes

Tribe

morale-sapping

to

of the

that

the

refuses

is

back

tell

It

farsighted

but

he

must

people.

more

come

him

unfairness

faced

to be

has

him

convince

trying

the

that

announce

our

people.

days

becomes

We

The

of our

a few

reaction

Imagine

Neelkanth
sure

to

resolve

just

Highness.

Kanakhala.

enemies.

I am

only

our

arrival

cruel

the

attack

As

your

his

asked

becomes

terrorist

bolder,

our

Highness?

weaker

Hariyupa.

announce

him.

your

another

from

to fight

I will

the

was

become

quickly

him,

waste,

there

a village

our

telling

Emperor

to

the

conversation

Despite
that

his

to the
it was,

Dakshas

blue

throat

Emperor.
was

himself

he

not
took

had

controlled
was

It meant
restricted
it so

had

of
that

great
the

to some

seriously,

all

of Meluha
But

must

what

more
His

the

need
bloody

advanced

than

thoughts

and

pavilion

from

the

dancer,

would

No

that
my

was

Its

not

trying

too

hard

me

The

last

Sati.

He

up

from

She

interjected.

convey

voice

manner;

the
was
being
Sati

much

percussion
Someone

himself

the
a

to the

dance

passionate

rhythm

floated

of the

in from

the

and

and

did

notice

that
was

uninhibited
absent.
told

The

were

wasnt

using

You

are

letting

the

are

shows

on

she

She

was

was

varying

emotions

is

moves.
platform.

voices.

on

Coming
platform.

in

characteristic
of

her
her

dancing

bliss
And

the

with

the

shapely
waist,

once

moving

was

enacted

moved

precisely

Sati

It

in accordance

mesmerised

that

her.

as

sides

right.

her

It was

a small

the

was

end.

on

danced

She

entire

You

them.

dancing

She

though

in

on

to enjoy

of the

hands

He

right.

sound

her

surrender

the

than

is

learn

up

to

to

right.

missing

dance.

concentration

I can

Sati

her

dance.

male

bit.

the

dance.

placed

the

Guruji

The

stand

rigidly

of the

Guruji

it.

saw

then

distinguished

rather

lady,

Then

he

Enjoy

steps

My

followed

raised

left

to do.

the

hair

hedge,

said

you.

first.

and

of the

mood

the

dancer,

the

up

have

a little

Shivas

got

the

correctly,

so

dancers.

words

go,

enjoying

right

made

side

the

are

separated

in to move
Some

through

to relax

hands

the

Shiva,

all

not

steps

quickly

he

story

have

the

However,

dancer

but

You

to

by

garden.

you

voice

first
to

that

ladys

her

They

a dhol , a

worn
A hedge

yourself

flow

movements

steps
hips

a chore

behind

various

let

dance

had

of

garden.

stepped

of the

get

for?

sounds

preoccupied.

must

correcdy,

Let

have

remember

face.

the

, anklets

the

to

dancing
your

of

was

you

voice.

Then

help

dancing.

lady,

emotion

rest

mind

Neelkanth.

want

by

in the

normally

his

they

ghungroos

practising

group

do

some

to be

but

hell

of the

distracted

seemed

beat,

help

us!

were

instrument

the

to

again.

all

her

steps

mechanical
of

natural

and

anger

of

the

unlike

proficient

Her

steps

were

small,

which

kept

her

movements

her

and

playing

constricted

to

the

centre.
The
her

dance

teacher

beats.

Her

teacher

who

Krittika

turned

Shiva

surprise

Sati,

in

noticed

sincerely,

Krittika

Shiva
as

in front

of them.

blurted

and

well

out,

characteristic
Is

sat

first

around

and

her

facing

companion

standing

her

sat

and

to

the

a dhol

right.

to

It was
stood

were

astonished

Unlike

clearly

Sati,

Krittika

give

Sati

the

immediately

up.

dance

Sati

and

to

could

not

find

control

Shiva?

composed

everything

on

alright,

and

restrained

Shiva?

Do

you

manner,
need

asked

my

help

for

something?
How

have

Shiva
not

you

continued
on

even

his

lips.

more

No,

I dont

his

heard

that

Oh,

A smiling

Krittika

Sati

need

I could

much.

were

like

Dont

you

words

ever

running

looked

at

very

politely,

replied

Shiva

the

bhav

or

body

participate,

Sati

smile?
through

for

her

Can

his

mind,

reaction.

I help

An

you

with

steps

come

on

learn.

It comes

happened

talk.

were

as

Your

reality

to be

dance

dancing

very

seemed

in the

steps

to

area

were

accurately.

and

not

so

Actually,

all...
You

know

a little,
to

far

to

you

Shiva

My

and

emotion

their

about

kriyas

missing.

soul.

When

even
The

if you

can

to Krittika
Sati,

As

was

not
own.

the

dancing,

apologies

methodical.

mudras

would

a bit
said

Sati.

too

without
she

I just

your

it. You

back

being

from,
the

the

help,

again.

Just

rapidly

But

any

hear

it was

not

come

you.

repeated,

I mean

interjected.

turning

it.

at Sati,

dancing.

technically
Krittika

to stare

consciousness

your

hard

missed

Shiva?

no,

enter

Ive

serious

something,

You

been?

need
bhav
create

they

say

were

all

And

emotions

to

remember

you?

with

a smile,

but

Guruji

in

the

is

land

right.
that

correct.

without

bhav

of

the

the

steps.

something

that

the

in your

space

before

technically

a dance

the

is

do

you

is

dancer
The
cannot
heart

for

Sati

listened

patiently

were

raised

more

than

that

he

slightly

as

saved

glowered

at

he

best

Shiva

gathered

life.

You

dare

in the

he

may

in all seriousness.
way.

was

offence

about

reminded

herself
him.

caste-unmarked
than

that

you

know

foreigner

her

mistress.

know

more

offence.

He

She

than

one

realm?
have

I am

Sometimes

he

to honour

dancing

think

eyebrows

could

she

bound

this

Her

How

But

duty

at

to

a word.

spoke.

dancing?

She

more

dancers

saying

barbarian

knew

Shiva.

of the

in any

the

took

that

without

about

her

however,

pretending

Sati

Shiva

a Suryavanshi

had

Krittika,

to

caused
terribly

I just

some
sorry.

keep

talking

I didnt

mean

without

realising

turned

to

to insult

you

what

I am

saying.
No,

no,

dont

replied

Sati.

You

the

essence

of

with

Gurujis

feel

sure

that

Seizing
you,

his
may

correct

Sati

looked

managed

the

dance?

I am

you.

But

that

will

guide

well

put!

She

This

pick

as

it up

sure

there

say

much

Shiva

through

cant

Perhaps

the

in due
If

be

correct

right.

But

am

time.
it is

I am

may

are

I should.

said,
that

you

not

alright

as

with

technically

something

in

the

steps.

no!

was

unexpected.

Umm,

okay,

she

to say.

the

Krittikas

quick

forgotten

quickly
began

Flexibility

me

surprised.

angvastram

into

perhaps,

me.

as

I will

I perform

took

body

guidance,

Sati,

Shiva

though,

dance

impress

A delighted
off

the

insult

to

sentiment
was

not

chance

as

That

did

immediately

the
was

covering

anger

at

as

she

to

moved

wonder

the

his

contortions

that

usually

sacrificed

the

upper

perceived

sighed
how

to

at

body
insult

Shivas

Shiva
were

of

and
to

bend
for

human

the

stage.

tossed

it

her

rippling

would

required
by

centre

this
body

He
aside.

mistress

was

physique.
such

style

of

at

the

Sati,
muscular
dancing.
altar

of

strength.
Playing
that

you

lightly
are

on

his

comfortable

dhol,

the
with,

Guruji
young

asked
man.

Shiva,

Tell

me

the

beat

Shiva

folded

could

you

his
just

hands

give

into

me

a namaste,

a minute

bent

please?

low

and

I need

to

said,

Guruji,

prepare

for

the

dance.
Dancing

was

something

he

closed

on

his

knees

Standing

up,

left

leg

his

off

above

eyes
and
he

the

knee

himself.

of

almost
and

left

Krittika

what

he

as

looked

in

and

but

slightly.

Then

his

face.

feel

the

down

with

his

head.

he
till

a calm

the

audience.

Shiva.

They

energy

his

foot

was

to

balance

between

breeze

the

broke

The
did

that

raised

the

exactly

Only

at

bent

slightly

direction

enveloped

could

knee

east,

he

Then

movement

right

Facing

ground

outwards.

his

in amazement

doing

warfare.

arching

bent

that

as

the

foot

pointed

foot

well

head

right

he

foot

as

touched

his

silence

was

his

in a graceful

right

deathly

bowed

turned

height,

his

knew

reverentially

floor

His

bearing

and

Shiva

the

Guruji,

not

Sati

understand

Shivas

stance

was

emanating.
Shiva

raised

sides

to

bring

moulded
small,
its

that

left

come

arm

then

moved

the

this

pose

stared

in

wonder

Yet

it

effortlessly

as

of

with

the
was

like
his

time;

as

its

facing

pointing
time.

Shiva.
a
body

He

And
was

completely
moved

hand

open

with

some

glowing
his
of

very

down.

then

The

showed

right
its

hand

own.

the

left

Its

posture

surprised

height

divine

face

Then

shoulder

Sati.

position
arm

stopped

at

began

the

dance.

the

same

steps

dance.

His

hands

different

magically.

the

to

directiy

performing

almost

was

Somehow,

almost

was
,

a mind

to

hand

the

dumru

his

audience.

from

right

receiving

if it had

to

imaginary

world.

protection

palm

some
at

was

own

the

left

it

as

slowly

for

looked

facing

an

His

his

almost

movement
His

holding

like

into

circular

shoulder.

was

some

feeling

hand

held

her.

for

and

convey

when

Shiva

it

his

instrument.

forward,

of him

elegant

almost

to

in front

moving

like

pose

open

an

with

withdrawing

now

seemed

moved

this

was

was

line

upward,

effortlessly

palm

Sati

in

in

percussion

held

Shiva

arms

position

facing
He

moved

as

handheld

energy.

his

them

into

palm

His

both

left

foot.

How

could

a body

helplessly

to

wasnt

this

get

his

necessary.

beat

for

the

The

dance

muscular
dhol

For

to

it

also
give

was

various

beginning

it conveyed

her

feelings

with

husband.

he

flexible?

The

Guruji

tried

beats.

But

clearly

that

leading

the

the
feet

which

emotions

of

were

dhol!
the

wrongful

so

Shiva

Shivas

conveyed

her

be

death

Then

of her

managed

to

it

Even

the

joy

conveyed

mate.

convey

of

her

with

tender

and

woman.

lust
fury

Shivas

yet

as

strong

she

and

rough

At

the

cavorted

pain

on

masculine

emotions

of

realised

that

the
body,

grieving

woman.
Shivas

eyes

oblivious

were

to

them.

the

audience.

He

the

music.

He

his

dance

was

was

right.

After
Shiva
as

the

did

not

had

slowly

left

an

eyes.

him.

opened

Guruji

gaping

at him

in complete

I am
No,

was

the

first

himself.

to find

dance

held

the

almost

his

had
came

final
like

eyes

to

did

pose

he

not

find

dance

for
like

that

Shiva

come

to him.

to

end,

with

a long

time

an

returning

Sati,

for

seemed

for

was

was

dance

realised

dance

he

not

it almost
Sati

the

did

He

force.

the

He

He

Rather,

and

It was

gradually

world.

appreciation.

eternity

Shiva

Guruji

for

himself

world.

The

own

a celestial

opened

his

audience

in his

for

by

like

the

dance

only

shutting

glow

was

guided

seemed

firmly

But

Shiva

danced

He

what

open.

Krittika

to this
and

the

am

awe.
his

voice.

who

are

Who

are

you?

Shiva.
no.

Shiva

Not

the

body.

crooked

his

I meant

eyes

together

in

you?
a

frown

and

repeated,

Shiva.
Guruji,
Of

may

course

you

Turning

to

dance?

Was

Yes.
The

Its

I ask

asked

Sati.

may.

Shiva,
it some

called

Nataraj

a question?

the

pose?

Sati
kind

asked,

of preparatory

Natarajpose.
What

What

does

The
it do?

was

that

you

did

before

step?
pose

of the

Lord

of dance!

the

It

aligned

my

emerges

on

I dont
Well,
the

its

like

world

is

the

universal

energy

so

that

the

dance

own.

this:
a

objects,

our

biggest

carrier

Mother
What

carrier

of

that

anything

of

that

the

you

with

Earth

energy

are

your

The

plants,

transmits

we

everything

walk

animals,

energy.
in

in

But

touch

the

with

is

on.

dance?

need

energy.

comes

herself.

that

physically

that

energy

believe

and

we

you

The

or

ground

do,

we

carries
that

to do

you.

Mother

people,

shakti

energy

have

around

our

everything

herself

does

energy

amongst

bodies,

Earth

from

to

understand.
its

For

energy

You

You

from

have

have

to source

people,

to

ask

from
for

the

objects,

that

energy

respectfully.
And

your

want?
It

asked

to

me.

seems
are

Oh

no!

Nataraj
Well,
the

my

are

Turning

like

him,

honour
looked

access

any

energy

that

you

for

my

The

a dance

a thought

favours

the

Lord

Shiva.

Nataraj

that

to come

am

be

child.

young

pose

wants

to

to me,

helps

come

I would

to
have

he

said

the

Guruji.

medium

of

the

medium,

young

boundless

medium.

efficient
said,

If you

man,

just

the

a particularly
to Sati,

you,

of dance!

can

to excuse
at Sati

for

for.

meditate.

Anyone

you

to

energy

energy

energy

exclaimed

Guruji.

Shiva

the
Nataraj,

then

you

the

energy
and

that
the

for

the

energy.

friend

I want

respectfully

cross-legged

You

helps

Guruji.

what

If I wanted

to sit

be

on

ask

pose

the

depends

me

It

Nataraj

You

want

to

dont
be

need

taught

me

man,
if you

by

Shiva,

much

better

said
have

it

would

myself.

expectantly.

This

had

gone

than

he

expected.
Say

yes,

dammit!

Sati

however

seemed

see

the

signs

first

to
of

withdraw

into

vulnerability

in

herself.
this

Shiva

woman.

was
She

starded
bowed

to
her

head,

an

softly,

I mean

the

skills

But

you

act

do

the

Sati

looked

heart.

the

I am

very

her

disrespect

to

anyone,

training

of this

You

up

hell

at

far

said

for

very

Shiva,

her

profound

towards

Before

Shiva

level,

easily

reach

eyes

showing
they

Shiva,

found

manner

turned

the

perhaps

You

have

that

level.

just

whispered

I do

the

the

conveyed

With

Shiva.

mumbled

strength

returned

could

and

not

have

bearing.

You

slightest

took

hint

Shiva

of

aback.

on?

Sati

puja.

bearing

but

Shiva.

sadness

any

that,

proud

level.

argued

can

from

my

not

skill,

is going

proud

time

suit

the

The

What

politely

no

have

dampness.

she

did

to receive

have

As

which

Sati.

to control

to her

face.

The

your

permission

Guruji,

It was

a pleasure

meeting

respond,

Sati

turned

herself

mask

was

I must
you

quickly

again.

The

back.

It is

leave.

again

and

left,

She

Shiva.

followed

by

length,

he

Krittika.
The

Guruji

bent

low

my

with

lifes

Then

continued

was

late

entered

in

the

the

Kanakhala

waiting

Highness.

I thought
I hope

Daksha,

who

said,
so

No,
that

we

my

Lord.

wouldnt

towards

left.

morning
royal
for

a flummoxed

Shiva.

Shiva

and

At

said,

It has

been

Shiva

was

left

wondering

at

the

Meluhans.

the
office

him.
we

I havent
had

at

dance.

and

of the

private

prahar.

you

turned

ways

stare

namaste

to see

too

inscrutable

It

a formal

honour

he

to

stood
You
keep

next
to

day

find

Daksha,

A surprised
were

to

Shiva

meet

four

kept

you

waiting.

up

with

a formal

dont
you

need
waiting.

when

to

Shiva

Nandi

Parvateshwar
said,

hours

I am
into

namaste,

apologise.
It was

and

our

sorry
the

bowed
We

your
second

low

came

honour

and

to

in

and
early

wait

for

that

his

you.
Parvateshwar
emperor,

the

rolled

his

eyes

ruler

of

the

at

the

greatest

extreme
civilisation

subservience
ever

established,

showed

towards

this

surprise

at being

referred

towards

Daksha

My

Lord,

before

Neelkanth,

his

It

the

my

Lord.

his

face

You

Shiva

was

years.

In

Nandi

that

There

is no

extreme

the

emperor,

about

the

legend

you

would

like

mind

first.

defined

and

bowed

low

of
to

the
ask?

Somras,

to

not
live

mentally

what

is the

You

most

pertinent

did

not

understood

said

Shiva.

back

towards

exceptionally
question

intelligent
first.

continued,

look

Brahma

temple.

Highness?

old.

years

Crinkling

Last

month

day

older

Except

than

for

thirty

the

Pandit

old.
asked

flabbergasted

Shiva.

possible?
my

Lord,
of

drink,

of

postpones

our

entire

and

physically

Somras?

most

four.

brilliance

only

the

he

turning

are

Daksha

a hundred

the

important?

be

Highness,

Then

looked

at all

the

to

unless

your

Meluha

this

so

itself.

said,

eighty

your

makes

is

times
us

be,

answered

grin,

at the

appeared

Kanakhala.

Daksha

than

this

throat

is?

the

in

blue

question

he

asked

sorcery

possible
the

smile,

nobody

this

be

unusual

at

is more

sorcery

not

in surprise

met

blessed

though

a conspiratorial

had

What

that

age

awed

fact

can

it?

his

down.

to Shivas

is my

your

stunned.

How

But

what

hundred

Shiva

youth

sat

questions

of Meluha

an

have

into
one

allows

like

an

turned

called

by

monologue

came

could

society

looked
with

this

any

him

it

I ask

Daksha

that

Lord

and

my

name

told

sound

may

Shiva

lakes

question,

may

So

holy

about

But

off

question

instincts

obvious
more

a namaste

have

obvious

in the

But

the

controlling

Daksha.

most

Why

you

Shiva,

to as

I start

do

enquired
The

with

barbarian.

Eves

Where

explained

our

Daksha.

scientists

who

make

the

gods

our

death

considerably,

if

are

as

does

we

. Taking

it come

in

What

the

the

from?

makes
a

potion

Somras
but
prime

Who

at

it

also

of

our

invented

So
to

many

questions

answer

them

thousands

of

ever

His

lived.

I think

Lord,

one

years

there

by

ago

name

was

At

a place

Yes

my

Lord.

Lord

Brahma
of

his

inventions

realised

early

on

that

misused

by

What
He

kind
did

After

its

not

give

of

of

seven

into

the

only

or

of Lord

The

Lord

to be

known

Yes

my

Saptrishis.

have

he

many

scientists

on

for

the

powerful

lived

never

was

that

the

way

and

took

always
good

as

the

an

to

worked.

any

of

the

interested
of

in

mankind.

Somras

elaborate

the

He

could

be

system

of

They

born
and

Lord
were

Brahma
not

character
He

chose

The

Somras

these

boys

Since

the

Somras,
the

the

numerous

minds

men

for
were

could

of

from

each

almost

that
their

medicine

was

practically

to

be

known

Somras,

inventions

achieve

so

mould

the

powerful

the

that
than

they

anyone

superhuman

of knowledge

seven

select

were

more

men

boys

came

other

to

title

they

strength

became

one

young
he

Daksha.

chose

of society.

Indian

used

he

and

group

Saptrishi

survey,

. With

their

continued

gurukul

to

chosen

Saptrishis
Lord.

his

boys.

due

ancient

Brahmas
as

these

honed

everyone,

India.

at

this

to

impeccable

helpers

Brahma

They

Since

him

twice

in

intelligence.

ancient

life

produced,

history.

of

on

collectively

these

best

invented

I visited

He

country-wide
of

with

additional

And

But

freely

boys

selfless

dwija

training

to

implemented

Somras

regions

administered

as

that

said

used

as

he

a rigorous

live

character

an

Indian

himself.
were

So

the

adolescent

would

given

greatest

my

of controls?

group

they

was

try

use.

conducting

the

is

inventor.

a potion

men.

Somras

to him

he

for

his

I will

Meru?

a prolific

that

on

the

But

Brahma.

where

ensuring

controls

Lord

inventions

evil

of

dedicated

is

was

Daksha.

The

one

named

That

smiled

one.

by

is a temple

Devagiri.

benefits

my

in number,

was

Rishi

they

came

?
their

skills

instituted
allowed

to

for

the

strict
rule

or

good
rules
to

of society
of

practice

conduct

for

the

any

trade

essentially

anything

They

to

had

doctors,

use

powers

anything

do

the

them

task

of

professions

society.

services

caused

They

and

to

not

live

teachers,

they

could

allowed

on

gain.

priests,

where

were

had

personal

alms

to

and

use

charge

donations

others.

Tough

service

rules,

Parvateshwar

did

guffawed

It

probably

come

But

they

was

Over

selected

many

the

administered
knowledge

their

simply,
But

foll
the

as

time,

code

that

for

Saptrishis

Some

Lord,

misused
accumulate

Nandi

lamp

that

be

Their

lived

by

Sati

the

would

Lord,

continued

the

Saptrishis

foll

by

their

to

without
that

Over

the

as

the

owers

and

lives

reason

known

all good

answered

the

many

code

swore

were

the
asking

ages

also

pursuit
for

society

of
any

accorded

the

Tribe

of

over

long

gave
using

kingdoms

wealth

Brahmin

that

their

for

the

for

Saptrishis

themselves.

went

Saptrishis
Brahma

or

their

own
over

ruling.
and

periods

of

right?
head

by,
had

misusing

influence
start

his

Brahma

started

and

of

ennia

Lord

them

code,

shaking

mill

They

inventions

systems

Daksha,

As

strict

started

fabulous

my
grew,

society

this

following

Somras

conquer
other

prahar
time

tribe.

respect.

with

frailty.

the

and

stopped

the

of

for

to

happens

Brahmins
to

is

propagated.

that

people

being

came

forgot

powers

devoted

well
It

their

They

owers

human

The

responsibilities

Saptrishis

devotional

people

familiar

the

stricdy

the

almost

too

the

the

return.

my

at Parvateshwar.

Kanakhala

at

conduct

to join

Somras.

Absolutely,

look

prahar.

of

their

people

it usually

Brahmins

as

Brahmins

some

third

wink

Daksha,

a quick

code

more

in

but

a slight

to dance.

time,

gain
people

and

the

their

and

material
these

almost

the

with

respond
took

out

same

Shiva

Shiva

followed

Daksha.

joked

not

loudly.

window.

by

to

intellectual

help

their

have

skills

other

to

for

would

their

amongst

their

from

that

at

the

some

of

enforced
the

Some
Lord

the
and

awesome

personal
large

all

gains.

number

of

Brahmins
Brahma

to

And

some

sense

of

the

of horror,

Saptrishi

even

were

the

Kanakhala.
the

end

of

as

his

successor.

purposes

the

Yes,
this

my

Lord,

Brahmins
their

the

higher

allowed

to

enticed

by

Yet

they

code

despite

Yes,

my

Lord,

The

town

bell

out

loudly.

All

of

the

lamp

what

turning
yet
all
that

that

you
four
the

obviously

yours,

the

for

the

people

the

in

the

gurukul

all

practical

like

rebelling

castes

in your

room,
time

due

not

to

even

they

change

Parvateshwar

get

to

he

your

the

old

had

in,

reset

the

I have

some
prahar

reminded

in the

are

quick

learnt

Shiva

dance

This

sounded

said

Shiva

and

pride.

prahar

Shiva,

Nandi

right?

to

with

Highness?

everybody.

to a revolution,

third

In fact

youthful

up

came.

her

else.

Shiva.

came

and

Somras.
look

the

Shudra

start

anyone
loyal

puffed

chapter.

would

due

fact,

lest

before

including

Sati

given

In

remained

of

now

is now

of

chosen-tribe

Vaishyas,

chest

as

empire

higher

part

actually

asked

quiedy

the

worrying

swans.

of evil

as

taken

the

and

pigeons,

the

most

were

left

You,

have

the

her

new

caused

clearly

and

beginning

Meluhans.

anytime

by

Kshatriyas?

the

and

happened

to

world.

the

the

Somras

coming
his

for

was

the

led

temptations

indicating

to Daksha.

clarified

was

from

treated

And

material

Kanakhala,

revolution

he

Uttradhikaris

being

replied

of

was

Kshatriyas

to the
like

precisely

himself
So

of the

welcoming

ways

Lord,

a man

chosen-tribes

the

working

prayer

that

appoint

peacocks

these

succumbed

chosen-tribes

it was

under
lure

And

short

that

status,

the

would

Kanakhala.

eagles,

work

themselves?

was

like

particular

Uttradhikaris

my

knew

Saptrishi

answered

corruption

himself.

the

Saptrishis

Saptrishi

Saptrishis

successor

Saptrishi

against

the

Saptrishis

he

This

the

rebelling

life,

the

with

Shiva.
to

of the

mortal

like

against

inquired

any

Kanakhala

against

successors

When
his

interjected

rebelled

Uttradhikaris?

They

So

Brahmins,

garden.

asked

Shiva

Kshatriyas
seen

healthy.
change

and

people

This
must

of

means
have

Yes,

my

Lord.

And

greatest

emperor

Jai

Ram!

Shri

His

ideas

the

that

and

was

radically

altered.

may

I make

and
I

your

into

the

partake

think

an

we

second

hour

be

all

my

very

kind

a namaste

quickly

out.

My

The

Meluha

history

itself

Rams

tale,

dining

room

Lord

his

prahar

said

an

your

him

time,

is not

going

There

said

is

perhaps

another

continue

Parvateshwars
kept

Lord.

Will

all right
for

Highness.

was
a smiling

our

the

with

covered
face.

beginning

Of

of

the

of

my

you?

this

inconvenience.

Daksha.

Can

But

up

with

arent

running

I will

one

go

there

myself.

We

his

Shiva

and

Nandi

walked

at

Daksha.

hands

for

The

calm.

Its

emperor
all

right.

we?

out
his

room,

accusingly

gesturing

Kanakhala.

to cause

in the

looked

to accept

got

Highness,

again.

are

Give

story?

to you?

smiling

of

tomorrow,

needs

ever

your

we

apologies

destination?

head,

we

be

the

this

time?

however,
my

My

you,

some

while

tomorrow

Kanakhala

Neelkanth

Parvateshwar

of
of

to

with
lunch

is suitable

to everyone

meeting

Lord,

course

move

Could

to your

once

Bidding

are

Ram.

society

with

we

for

Daksha,

Highness.

you

apologies

We

the

have

immediately

second

Lord,

to

I have.

if that

meet

of the

take

nodded

fact,

continuing

excused

grin.

your

just

the

Should

before

that

fell

could

Absolutely,

My

Lord

room.

I continue

idea

tomorrow

course

Thats

In

now.

excellent

face

chariots

in the

before

lunch

a contemptuous

at

Ram!

transformed

But

engagement

Kanakhalas

Not

everyone

prahar

may

conversation

with

Shri

as

Highness.

third

is

But

pressing

known

Jai

Daksha.

of some

it

Shiva.

was

a suggestion?

course,
is

lived!

leadership

continued

It

ever

repeated

dramatically,

Of

revolution

of

time,

responsibilities

said

Kanakhala.

The

immediately!

have

waited

for

bowed

low

towards

so

long.

A few

days

a collapse!
suddenly,

Daksha

and

said,

With

your

more

permission

practical

educating
You

things

speak

Kanakhala.
speak

some

real

of

him

I be

excused?

attention

There

as

are

compared

to

your

with

on

merit.

Enough!

Or

everybody

will

CHAPTER

6
the

Nandi

have

you

growled

earned
I

fundamental

Not

your

it

through

respect
rule

birth.

Not

Our

entire

only
of

Lord

your

sex.

society

is

that?

I respect

the

Neelkanth.

That

means

him!

of Bad

Fate

had

already

convinced

realised

has

throat.

forgotten

the

hour,

he

the

your

behind

for

in the

However,

Sati.

that

somebody

garden

hedge

he

walked

I can

help

filled

waited

for

be

silendy

back

asked

area.
his

The

Lord

with

larger

dance

to,
silent

would

hope

the

no

my

been

dance

was

find,

had

that

would

you

he

the

Nandi

having
there

as

to

Shiva

After

disappointed,

there

of

went

expectandy

Deeply

important.

Daksha.

there.

Shiva

is

a distance

anybody

when

is

at

stage

Parvateshwar,

Parvateshwar.

That

colour

Carriers

Shiva

dance

else.

respect

waited

only

snarled

the

exclaimed

Vikarma,

respect

karma

not

respect

Neelkanth!

nothing

certainly

based

Is

my

with

achievements,

Only

find

may

need

him

is the

achievements,

while

that

of

He

I will

And

Highness,

a barbarian.
will

Ram.

your

not

and

waited

part

of

practice

an

today.

to Nandi.
Lord?

asked

an

earnest

Nandi.
No

Nandi.

Trying

to

Forget

it.

change

hungry.

Should

No,

Id

like

fate

would

to
be

the
we

go

topic,
back

see

a litde

kind

to

him

Nandi
to the

said,

guest

more

of

and

he

the
would

My

house
city,
run

Lord,
and

said
into

you

must

be

eat?
Shiva,
Sati

hoping
in

the

that
town.

Shal

we

That

go

to one

would

be

of the
wonderful!

Brahmin-influenced
He

missed

restaurants
smiled

vegetarian

the

spicy

on

Nandi

food

meats

the

served

that

Rajat

platform?

who

hated

at the

were

royal

served

in

the

simple

guest

house.

rough

Kshatriya

restaurants.
Yes,

what

My

is it Parvateshwar?

Lord,

I am

some

disturbing

Well,

what

is already

What

have

eyes

sorry

for

the

sudden

news

and

had

to tell

meeting.
you

But

this

I just

received

in private.

causing

you

got

trouble.

against

the

Neelkanth,

groaned

Daksha,

raising

in disapproval.

Why

cant

This

has

please

Daksha.

is it?

Shiva

his

asked

you

believe

nothing

listen

to

to

that
do

my

the

with

Neelkanth

my

news.

views

has
on

come

Shiva,

Chenardhwaj

to save

my

saw

us?

Lord.

Shiva

in

If you

the

will

gardens

yesterday
Chenardhwaj

is here

Yes

your

after

tomorrow

Highness.

Anyway,
He

so

is also

safely

what

right,

He

saw

So?

His

that

Shiva

let

watched

did

I believe

Is there

Please

His

you.

dancing

me

in rapt

interest

taken
he

a law

review

with

Chenardhwaj

sickeningly

assume

All

already?

So

what

banning

continue,

the

have

in the

been

fixed

did

dance

Neelkanth.

any
he

gardens,

your

has

for

the

day

I think

we

can

see?

in by

doesnt

you

that

So

prejudice.
see

the

Neelkanth

answered

I am

Highness.

He

do?

Parvateshwar.

not

aware

was

of?

dancing

while

Sati

to

ask,

attention.

suddenly

captivated,

Daksha

leaned

forward

And?
Sati
familiar.

behaved
But

correcdy
Chenardhwaj

and

left

heard

the
Shiva

moment
whisper

Shiva

tried

something

to

get

when

too
Sati

left.
Well,

what

He

did

he

whispered

anything

be

Lake,

you

ever

my

help

me

get

her.

I will

not

ask

for

again!

delighted.

with

horrified

If

from

Highness,

You

Holy

appeared

in love

Your

else

Daksha

whisper?

You

mean

the

Neelkanth

may

actually

daughter?

you

cannot

forget

the

laws

of the

land,

exclaimed

Parvateshwar.

know
the

that

Sati

Neelkanth

cannot

marry

decided

to

marry

Sati,

no

law

on

earth

can

stop

him.
My

Lord,

nobody

forgive
is above

Thats

what

the

the

Nagas.

can

this

barbarian

Dont

you

Parvati

us

Not

Sati

she

who

entire

we

basis

are.

Lord

of

our

be

Better

than

was

above

Ram

considered
to

a reason

because

the

even

be

want

for

But

civilisation

is

that

law.

makes

and

its

me.

so

happy?

the

Chandravanshis

the

law.

Then

how

important?
asked

Daksha.

Shes

also

called

is your

goddaughter.

Dont

you

want

her

to

find

joy

again?
I

love

Sati

like

Parvateshwar,
anything
That
not

the

with

for

her.

is the

daughter

a rare

Except

difference
any

She

has

suffered

enough

her

happy,

Shiva

and

main

Raj

towards
freshly
had

Nandi
at
one

cooked
not

been

do

of

it. No

tied

platform
his
meat
satisfied

law.

matter

brought

what

in the

me.

Walking

eyes.

the

said

I would

do

My

sake,

flesh

some

would

and

way

blood.

to

make

consequences!
designated

forward,

a long-lost
two

Satis

find

restaurants.

past

For

daughter.

in the

forth

Highness,

in his

If I can

horses

favourite

and

is my

already.

market.

your

law.

you

She

their

had,

of emotion

the

between

breaking

never

display
break

mind

I will

days

area
Nandi

The

royal

to

guided

inviting

hunger
at the

next

the

Shiva

aroma
in

Nandi

guest

of
that

house.

The

owner

however

stopped

Shiva

at the

the

matter,

brother?

asked

Nandi.

deeply

sorry

Whats
I am
at this

time,

said

around

his

throat.

cannot

serve

Nandi
He
the

the

Nandi.

ow

religious

out

in surprise,

dont
the

his

street.

spread

It

evenly.

commerce
None
wares.

done

in our

at

down

at

of vikarma

The

tone

was

under

and
no

is

that

his

eyes

nodded

at
and

street
out

my

Lord,

There

I will

just

taken

his

vows.

off,

Shiva

with

are

some

and

check

restaurants

was

bursting

scream
and

in

an

able

to

we

around

people

and

if

and

of

not

good

looked

number

to

softly

go

explained

shops
and

the

with

noise.

advertise

their

unfailingly

polite

bargaining.
would

not

be

get

any

business

market!
about

the

the

strange

announcement

of

practices
the

town

of
crier

the

till

he

him.

turned

procession
criers

the

women.

him.

with
Nandi

vows,

area
large

thoughts

Shiva

vows

beads

religious...

throat.

hurried

the

mountain

behind

not

Nandi

came

hear

taken

side?

right.

spoke

of vikarma

surprised

the

market

idiots

not

right

Procession

looking

As

were

his

to the

the

downwards

religious

has

conducted,

in
did

almost

who

despite

if they

of

vows

keepers.

has

his

on
the

busy

boisterous

lost

Meluhans,

Shiva

lane

well-mannered

Shiva,

was

wait

customers

even

pointing

one

signalled

for

shopkeepers

The

These

you

But

the

manner,

year

being

of

the

ascent.

was

who

religious

restaurant.

owner

nodded

politely,

vow

around

of the
of

on

who

undergoing

that

But

cravat

a restaurant

Shiva

Shiva

out

Why

have

to fell

time

restaurants

the

meat

by

am

owner
know

Shiva
is

restaurant

covered

followed

I too

you

stopped

bead

This

the

But

And

blurted

was

brothers.

entry.

Please

around
Would

women
demeanour
illusions.

to
you

needs
was
The

move!
find

like

to

to pass

tall

Meluhan

move
for

their

unquestionably
crier

was

not

Kshatriya

aside,

sir?

prayers.
courteous.
asking

Shiva

But
to

move.

He

pass

as

telling

Nandi

I have
One

was

touched

found

his

food

to stuff

kitchen

is

gendy

on

restaurant,

going

ourselves

laughed

back

his

my

to

let

the

procession

arm.

Lord,

said

an

ecstatic

Nandi.

loud.

enough

laughed

to

run

for

at

least

an

hour

more.

that

just

one

lot

of

with!

out

make

Nandi

stepped

favourites.

And

actually

Shiva

him

a good

of my

Shiva

him.

Its

food

along

a wonder
to satisfy

good

your

naturedly

as

restaurant

can

hunger!

Shiva

patted

his

friend

on

the

back.
As

they

turned

vikarma

walked

into

Lord,

said

the

lane,

Shiva

asked,

Who

are

women?

Vikarma
who

and

people,

have

my

been

punished

birth.

Hence

they

their

present

wipe

their

karma

men

have

their

in

have

to

sufferings

own

this

live

with

clean

of

birth

this

of

sighing
for

life

grace.

the

order

Nandi

sins

of

the

out

This

sins

with
is

of

people

their

previous

and

only

tolerate

way

previous

and

are

dignity

the

their

penance

deeply,

they

births.

women

have

can

Vikarma
a

different

order.
There

was

Is their

puja

Yes,
to

a procession

my

a part

Lord.

follow.

They
purifying

They

are

not

They

are

well

could
you
No,

to

Fire

allowed

asked

many
pray

to

rules
for

God,

women

the

road

the

vikarma

forgiveness

every

just

left.

they

may

women
month

a specifically

since

we

Shiva.
that

through

marry

on

have
to

Lord

mandated
poison

puja.

others

with

fate.
not

or is not
as

order?

are

have

the

bad

of the

There

Agni,

their

of vikarma

part
that

meet

to touch

of their

normal

I am
up

all about
I am

allowed

not

not

with

interested

duties.

completely

a Pandit

vikarma

any

at the

person

who

There
aware
Agni

are
of.

is not
many

If you

temple

related

to

other
are

later

them

conditions

interested,
and

he

we

could

tell

people.
in meeting

the

Pandit

right

now,

said

Shiva

with

a smile.

abstruse

people

Their

own

obvious.
would

disease

and

universe

was

to a still
was

say

that

Nandi,

that

honest,

Meluha.
said.

But
After

all,

dejected

Nandi,

that

was

strange
people
As

there
at

a smile

was

overcome

entered
softly

the
behind.

for

pointing

to a still

born

committed

of his

did

be

to

sins

opinion,

him

take

why

terrible
incurable

unless

the

given

birth

proper

care

while

can

previous

struggled

the

have

How

of her

at

life.

could

a disease.

the

the

child,

an

previous

not

that

some

contracts

A woman

just

sofdy,

Its

law,

to

he

such

counsel

was

his

Lord.

but

Shiva

anyone

birth?

find

words

to

unfair
was

some

logic

has

some

fear

many

disappointed

law

concept

of opposing

him

the

over

to me.

profoundly

gendy

works

to it. Your
of

law

fundamental

for

If the

carried

Lord...

patted

opinion.

it

my

that

his

my

being

a rather

kept

be

ever

on

for

most

what

Shiva

the

back.

your

society

people,

might

honest

about

be

and

a litde
decent

met.

returned
by

like

showed

Nandi,

must

of karma

the

understand

just

times,

I have

it could

concept

Shiva

sure

sins

and

birth?

it happen

she

in the

also

Seeing

am

the

because

face

not

he

would

decides

eyes

suddenly

to me.

it sounds

en

did

for

had

confusing

a Meluhan

mumbled

crestfal

why

Who

birth

she

if a man

Shivas

believed

Shiva

Or

punished

by

gives

unless

him

Or

was

to be

Nandis

thus

is being

He

He

Well,

his

simply

shocked

births.

Nandi,

ridiculous

child

she

deeply

said

paralysed,

pregnant.

respond.

my

if a woman

pretty

born

she

previous

Lord,

thing.

very

in their

penalising

sounds

some

sins

birth.

gets

with

committed

punished

previous

tell

me
one

example

be

bore
me

had

For

in her

and

just
But

karma,

she

That

might

philosophies!

vikarma

sin

He

almost
his

restaurant

instantly

immediate
as

a man

to Nandis

problem.
on

His

a mission,

face,

his

debilitating
with

Shiva

whole

being

hunger!
chuckling

He

A short

distance

women

walked

which
low

were

away
silently

dyed

in

in penitence,

Lord

Agni.

silent

as

blue

So

setded
We

were

about,

your

renegade
Thats

an

problem

how

issue

in

him

think

of luxury.

what

Some

all

Lord

got

the

become

a member

of

draped

toe,

her

Shiva

Lord
the

did

the
in

face

and

Nandi

Ram

rebel

defeat

problem

was

brought
ion

the

went

did

But

be

birth

not

of

the

renegade

deeper.

follow

natural

It

wasnt

the

code.

The

karma

and

what

them

and
exist.

resources
own

so

and
caste.

father

support
So

process,

said

needed
the

caste

became
Shiva.

of selection

would

live

Brahmins.

people

The

and

and

that

Brahmins.
on.

the

Kshatriyas

money

process

became

with

to being

decreed

this

be

make

examination
time

problem
to

Vaishyas,

Bralimins

his

wanted

had

over

to

essential

confined

Kshatriyas

of

the

them

Brahma

ceased

children

that

a persons

to

their

of

soon

centre

morning.

Ram

who

of

wanted

Lord.

became

deathly

of Sati.

as

defeated

core

a competitive

Children

Kshatriyas
selection

it,

that

my

almost

low,

figure

to

Highness.

However,

through

is true

fairness.

your

them

I thought

offerings

to do.

about

of

the

between

Brahmins?

Some

he

Brahmins

a conflict

If

That

some

to

Daksha,

changes

Lord

view,

the

head

next

of

bowed

Shiva.

Daksha.
his

of

understand

Brahmins

answered

said

But

renegade

the

And

I didnt

But

office

Highness.

forced

life

private

full

bowed

forlorn

said

the

society

rule.

Lord?

the

were

At

head

from

trudged

discuss

was

you

her

to

right,

her

heads

became

by.

vikarma

angvastrams

plates

street

of

in long

Their

lumbered
with

procession

draped

prayer

market

my

Brahmins,

Brahmins.
just

in his

all

or

covered

we,

the

colour.

thalis

dignity,

about

blue

Shiva,

that

were

down

holy

road,

were

quiet

by

of resigned

main

women

unseen

where

They

puja

pitiful

angvastram

picture

on.

normally

the

procession,

the

the

their

The

on

lost

its

Children

formal

system

of

that

his

up

and

ensure
to

grow

system

of

became

rigid.
So

did

that

enough

also

to

be

would

not

asked

Shiva.

Yes
He

the

that

In

Lord

transactions
His

was
karma

No

reason

other

That

is nice

Rams
on

should

upbringing

and

born

in a Shudra

this

to

unfair

merit

in this

That
was

was
of

judge.
that
else.

You

karma

system

nation

universe!
remarkable
Begging

him

to

and

conducted

could

not

decided

Shiva.

call

that

born

would

So

this

him
its

be

stable.

only

the

But

on

that

the

Shudra

you

would

from

grow

that

up

Shudra

family?

do

he

different

would

than

how

family,

be

child

talented
in

Shiva.

in a Brahmin

which

less

Ram,

general,

is

said
greatest
is
The
and

your

Shiva,
a

legacy

is

smiled

brilliant

the

is

determined

what

has

made

the

role

underestimate

Rams
elixir

be

time

to

boy.

be
Isnt

Where

is

the

Parvateshwar.

administrator

system
only

he
by

and

created

his

Meluha

to

abilities,
what

He
fair

ensure
nothing

it

is

the

in history

Parvateshwar,

The

was

brave

persons

cant

Lord

he

sex.

is born

of Lord

greatest

greatest

merit

should

family.

child

his

That

first

over

argued

resources

if he

genius

course

parents,

system?

the

But

If a child

the

fawn

Parvateshwar,

get

even

the

society

his

Shudra

talented

interfere.

in theory,

a Brahmin

to

for

any

caste

a person

a Brahmin?

not

Not

been

born

besides

birth.

it in practice.

of a child

did

anything

his

was

speaking

a persons

. Not

have

to become

view,

ensure
the

if he

Parvateshwar

that

persons

but

could

Parvateshwar,

based

view

there

opportunity

said

noticed

Lord.

that

a Brahmin

get

Shiva,

mean

what
Somras

that

Somras

has

played,

Daksha.
act
makes

was

to

provide

Meluhans

is what

has

near

perfect

society.

pardon,

your

Highness,

the
the

given

said

us

Somras

smartest
the

Shiva

ability

before

to

everyone.

people

in

to

create

turning

the
this

back

to Parvateshwar.
The

But

system

is simple,

society

is when

karma.

Not

that

by

any

said

ensured

this.

a great

south,

just

north

travel

there

for

the

As

we

are
To

called

Narmada

river.

Only

by

up?

the

was

and
system

Meluha
this

built

are

is

deep

women

women

best

abilities

that

pregnant

pregnant

his

in

ensure

All

set

a practical

born

Maika

Ram
agreed,

created

that

city

delivery.

Lord

only

Ram

empire.

hospital

their

Lord

the

that

is decided

children

by

of

system

Parvateshwar.

factor.

All

methodically,

the

caste

other

adopted

are

done
in

the

have

to

allowed

into

city.

Nobody

else.

Nobody
No,

else?
there

and

What

are

exception
parents

in

who

of

The

hospital

care

Parvateshwar.

Once

weeks

for

the

health

for

hundred

years

ago.

child

were

expression

are

of Lord

well

while

the

to

enter,
that

he

system.

in Maika?

trained
he

This

Husbands

showing

Rams

woman

Shiva.

one.

allowed

clearly

is born,

reasons

asked

except

families

pregnant

They

parents?

rule

corruption

of the

staff.

this

noble

this

her

three

his

with

takes

to

around

women

disagreed

Then

husband,

exceptions

voted
of

her

Parvateshwar,

violendy

a few

about

no

was

answered

own

was

a persons

compulsorily

the

what

in

this,

continued

or she

is kept

in Maika

mother

travels

back

to

for
her

city

Without

her

Yes,

replied

most

obvious

Gurukul,
Every

child?

asked

a clearly

Parvateshwar,

with

fact

in the

massive

single

child

world.

school

surprised
a

The

created

receives

the

Shiva.

slight
child
by

benefit

frown

as

is then

put

the

empire

of exacdy

if

this

into

the

close

the

was

the

Meluha

to

Maika.

same

education

available

to them.

system.
They

grow

Do

they

Of

course

only

with

up

with

maintain
they
the

all the
records

do.

But

record-keeper

resources
of the
the

of the
parents

records
of Maika.

are

empire

and
kept

their

children?

in utmost

secrecy

and

That

would

nobody

mean

would

Shiva,

as

every

child,

exacdy

know

he

same

Thus

succeed.

At

the

children

of

this

examination
to

are

cut

caste-specific

their

Kshatriyas,

green

thats

why

my

With

from

applied

to

was

of the

they
the

are

hearing.

So

would

get

system.

As

all

same

have

or

given

reached

caste

or Shudra.

children

are

given

white

for

for

Shudras

to

adulthood,
The

the

Vaishya

the

opportunity

examination.

varna

schools

won

system

child

one

results

will

be

more

all

years

their

the

was

a very

For

a child,

one

child

is

perfect,

So

and

for

retreat

varna

system,

said

very

are

randomly

up

conclusion
happens

they

in the
with

observant.
Parvateshwar

what

example,

caste

grows

are

difficult

sixteen,

caste.

the

red

education.

the

Kanakhala,

asked,

Brahmin

called

You

at

turn

is

their

Brahmins,

right?

look

Shiva

black

to complete

Kanakhala.

that

and

smiled

adopt

Then

to draw.
after

all

if some

Brahmin

chosen

student

these

that?

ocated

examination,

to

applicant

parents
from

will

adopted

added

be

parents

had
Maika,

allotted
as

to
their

child.

And
the

reasoned

Shudra,

proud

they

bands

colour,

children

parents

own

when

means

barb,

the

had

clearly

exactly

which

caste

Yes,
the

When

has

Vaishyas

withering

sarcastically,

them.

for

your

Lord,

Ignoring

adolescence,

colour

caste

Varna

Yes

who

varna

respective

Shiva.

empire,

are,

he

the

Gurukul?

of

the

of

training.

wear

So

or

was

then

rest

of what

Brahmin

Kshatriya,

And

the

parents

a comprehensive

decide

in.

in

birth

He

fifteen,

given

Brahmin,

at the

age

of

childs

to

child

age

the

Kanakhala

the

or

implications

treatment

every

all

to the

the

born

enter

Somras.

They

out

Gurukul

the

Parvateshwar.

children

ocated

the

who

worked

smiled

the

in

whether

the

Yes,

that

society
system

society

based

enveloped
only

marvelled
his

on

his

mind.
own

Shiva,
Each

abilities.

as
person
The

the
is

simple

brilliance

of

given

a position

in

efficiency

and

fairness

of

this

system

Over

is astounding!

time

higher

my

castes

Lord,

interjected

actually

going

up

in the

has

the

ability

everybody

in

child

to be

given

Then

the

Shiva.

the

world
a fair

chance

lower

castes

must

gave

them

He

Yes

they

did

love

most

loyal

foll

owers.

But

I guess

I cant

not

imagine

born

with

But

its

And
one

the

Nothing

can

be

worse

to her

pass.

can

Brahmins

added

reforms.
Ram

fought

Those

of

see

today

So

your

Yes,
people.

problems.

No

lost

just

him

up

ever

is

for

for

this?

asked

They

were

been

happy

with

child

as

his

said

her

soon

this.

as

he

is

again.

Parvateshwar,

who

wants

who

suits

child

a mother

scowling

at

than

an

offspring

can

her

position

and

having

been

their

Many

The
No
of

us

on

upper
but

the

apply

for

dreams.

a child

who

does

but

the

argument

even

that

far

not

believe

upper

Lord

Ram.

castes

like

the

power.
did

Kshatriyas

oppose
and

Lord

Rams

Vaishyas.

Lord

them.

survived

are

the

Chandravanshis

we

back?

Chandravanshis
ethics.

let

the

castes

to defeat

who

go

of
with

stranglehold

battle

morals.

many

unhappy

Brahmins,

Daksha.

explanation,

that

vanquished

Some

Ram

have

mother

for

have

differences

said

it takes

that

to succeed.

giving

good,

imagine

a great

the

All

Lord

would

willingly

Daksha.

Not

means

Ram!

Parvateshwars

also

they

Which

of

expectations.

at

would

all,

percentage

Parvateshwar.

mothers

every
ocated

frowned

excel.

loved

chance

of meeting

all

Shiva

to

the

question.

case,

up

Yes,

many

be

measure

have

Shri

larger

stupid

and

After

too

found

population.

answered

Jai

chance

for

in any

him,

we

to succeed.

actual

a woman

no

seemingly

an

Daksha,

They
that

are
are
Lord

corrupt
the

Ram

and

source
was

disgusting
of

too

all

our

kind.

He

should

have

them

live.

completely
In

fact,

Chandravanshis

destroyed

we

rule

have

them.

to

over

Lord

react

to

face

But

the

Rams

he

forgave

them

mortification

of

and

seeing

let
the

birthplace

Ayodhya!

Before

Shiva

prahar

was

could
rung.

subsequent

Everyone

time

chapter.

A look

of expectancy

Daksha

smiled

as

now,

my

for

lunch

But

if

could

you

have

the

That

the

quick

prayer

immediately

appeared

on

Shivas

bell

of

to

new

welcome

the

towards

the

looked
his

the

face.

expression.

We

could

break

Lord.
engagement

you

would

like

to

attend,

He

knew

we

tomorrow

Parvateshwar
what

said

observed

another

continue

information,

Shiva

window.

he

this

glared
emperor

would

at

was

be

Daksha

trying

nice,

your

disapprovingly.

exacdy

to do.
Highness,

smiled

Shiva.

Is

my

face

that

transparent?
Yes

it is my

Lord.

than

honesty

in Meluha.

Why

dont

here

again

Thanking
Shiva

you

tomorrow

alone.

hedge

to find

the
the

Nandi

to

He

for

your

profusely,

heard

despatched

is a gift

let

you

have.

engagement

Nothing

and

is prized

we

could

more

convene

morning?

approached
he

that

leave

Daksha

moment

be

But

out

Sati

Shiva

hedge
sound
have

left

with

a deep

practising

sigh
under

room

excitement

of the
lunch

the

dhol

coming

at

the

of

ecstasy

the

with

Nandi

and

trepidation.

from

guest

the

house.
as

watchful

he
eye

in tow.
The

garden,

He
crept
of the

he

wanted

to

behind

the

Guruji

and

Krittika.
So

good

to

with

a formal

The

pleasure

touch
Sati

the

see

you

Shiva,

said

the

Guruji

as

he

stood

up

namaste.
is

all

Gurujis

watched

again,

silendy

feet

mine,
as

Guruji,
a sign

at a distance

said

Shiva,

as

he

bent

down

of respect.
with

her

gaze

on

the

floor.

Krittika

to

said

enthusiastically,

Shiva

blushed

Now

I just

at the

youre

fishing

I was

wondering

Shiva,

turning

towards
that.

Sati

her

strange

felt

Shiva

that

with

him?

respectable
I will

my

your

views

your

dancing

best,
on

Why

smiled

Sati

a deep

Energised
she

had

The

emotions

the

dance

to

the

really

love?!

What

said

teacher

was

law

men

long

as

as

or

it

in

about

speaking

she

kept

guilty?
would

be

I really

enriching
do

to

respect

hear

you

for

her

inside

told

him

the

moment.

girded

her

angvastram

Nataraj

shakti,
she

pose.

her

stood

into
Sati

saying

around

Shiva

energy,
upon,

that

anything

her

smiled

waist

and

he

felt

as

Sati.

began

her

dance.

And

improved.

but
a

not

spoil

the

earth

seemed

technically,

radiated

Why

your

the

It

myself.

Something

breath,

project

by

felt

to be

time,

dance.

feel

formally.

last

breaking

to

she

good.

left

again.

improve

would

herself
Earth

Shiva

Sati

respect?

of time

committed
Mother

talk

we

I have

you

was

should

I can

politely.

point

took

to

Why
said

how

she

mind!

skills.

Respect?!

at this

that

of my

Krittika.

returning

allowed

distance.

try

Shiva

was

think

out

that

where

to see

discomfort
feel

dance

it wasnt

off

I dont

wanted

your

teased

start

Sati.

her

She

could

I just

made

Oh

compliments,

if we

like

get

compliment.
for

anything

couldnt

to

the

passion

dreamy

sense

a magnetic
steps.

hold

course

through

elevated
of
on

him

her.
her

unreality
as

she

She

dance

was
to

overcome
moved

always

good

next

level.

the
him

her

lithe

again.
body

Sati
into

For

some

was

longing

When

moments,
for

she

Shiva

in her

finally

imagined

that

he

was

the

man

that

Sati

dance.

came

to

I have

ever

stop,

the

audience

spontaneously

applauded.
That

was

the

best

seen

you

as

she

dance,

said

the

Guruji

with

pride.
Thank

you

Guruji,

expectandy
It

was

you

fantastic,
you

I thought

had

That

Rising

swiftly

right

too

on

yourself,

consoled

hard

made

only

your

to his

feet,
towards

the

correct

angle.

Sati

the

something
sorry,

Sati

continued

The

Guruji

Tell

you
What

Please

go

through

her

never

looked

Didnt

tell

the

attacking

sequence,

be

Nothing

will
rule

the
need

and

Shiva,

with

where

your

first

to

in touching

her

Shiva

eyes.

look

of

on

your

you.

elbow

to move
as

there

instantly

his

ceremony
. Go

it

to

was

realised

that

into
wits

Shiva,
something

was

just

immobility.
and

. Go

would

regret.

be.

before

Why

If

sincere

should

recover

shudhikaran,

to forgive
happen

just

angle

Ill show

in horror

stunned

a shudhikaran

proud

touched

elbow

at Shiva,

purification

one

was

odd.
See,

Krittika.

That

missed

recoiled

as

is a shudhikaran?
for

able

the

you

continued,

Sati

well

Shiva.

happened.

to stare
was

What?

some

you

undergo
him

as

had

said

to show

must

she

fabulous.

at

a little

immediately

Guruji

terrible

move

Shiva

quickly

from

because

next

walked

trying

Absolutely

it exactly

He

am

Shiva.

get

It happened

elbow.

Then

critically.

error.

gasp

bowed.

it in you?

I didnt

being

slight

exclaimed

that

Sati

Youre

Sati

at Shiva.

that

said

said

realised

to

your

the

said

Shiva

Pandit,

day

I need

that

Shiva.

is over.

it?

Sati,

happened

as
to

tears
you,

broke
I

would

myself.

to

me!

you.

Look,
I will

not

I am

really

do

it again.

sorry
Lets

if I have
not

make

broken
a

big

deal

out

IT

IS

The

of this.

A BIG

DEAL!

violence

Why

the

shouted

of Satis
hell

is

Sati.

reaction

this

threw

simple

Shiva

thing

off

being

balance.

blown

completely

out

of

proportion?
Krittika

came

We

should

No.

No.

With

go

look

nightfall.

look

advised,

had

her

touch

turned

of the

hedge,

Please

go

not

and

whispered,

you.

I promise.

to

leave,

followed

she

turned

around

for

your

on

Shivas

on

Just

then

to be

of

think

like
what

CHAPTER

cant

by
and

shudhikaran

before

royal

purified
her

me?

Am

An

inferior
true,

that.

She

if its

true?

your
his

at

guest

face,
own

the
good.

disturbed

silent

Guruji

thoughts

acceptance.

He

house.

He

had

not

even

bothered

to

to spend

all

was.

thought

be

as

efforts

for

touching

in every

a shudhikaran

a troubling

for

Shiva

shudhikaran.

touching

caste-unmarked?
That

the

undergoing

it because

No.

at the

ceremony

I need

speaks

desperate

bedroom

the

She

yelled

undergone

what

mutiny

Shiva.

his

remainingyears

But

again,

to her,

through

would

keep

Is

touch

I wont

Sati

uncomprehending

in his

out

my

edge

nonsense!

broke
lying

Why

of

bloody

finally

find

once

Listen

What

He

Shiva.

despair,
the

to

lady

pleaded

At

not

Please.

the

was

my

hopeless

Shiva

careful

home,

Guruji.

beseeched

Sati,

stay,

of

and

to

back

Please

Krittika

At

close

I not

possible

every

entered

Sati?

day?

Shivas

allowed

to

I want
way.

Am

I going

to

Ridiculous!
mind.

touch

her

because

am

Sati

doesnt

barbarian?
whispered

is a good
Maybe

Shiva

to

himself.

woman.
if she

knows

I am

the

Neelkanth...

Lord

Rams

Unfinished

You

seem

to

be

a little

Task
distracted

this

morning,

my

Lord.

Are

you

alright?

asked

Hmm?

said

a concerned
Shiva

a litde

distracted.

Daksha

looked

seen

But

Do

you

Of

course

not,

refused

that
said

image

of Satis

The

Maika

Ours

was

crime.

People

social

order

Highness.

was

at

Kanakhala.

He

Satis

at

dinner

previous

face

the

had

Daksha.
Its

alright.

My

about

in society

head

slightly

his

plea

of his

one

out

apologies.

Please

hundred

world

has

by
what

we

Our

they

compel
with

lands

any

on

shot

the

richest

citizens

are

suited

them

to

other

get

Our

have

become

far.

talking

to

well.

wealthiest
years

were

about

the

the

disturbing

society

boomed.

mind.

fantastically

of the

Meluha

wars

we

brought

worked

do

Daksha,

shaking

would

unprovoked
perfect

Ram

two

in the

your

anything.

Highness.

system

else.

country

sorry

expression

asked

concerned

last

always

everyone

lead
for
do.

country.

earth.

But

in the

dramatically
and

ideal
and

We

dont

In fact,

ahead

most

lives.
not

ours

last

powerful

There

what

is

an

force
has

of

no

unfair

or

fight

become

society.

Yes,

your

Highness,

conversation.
is more

of

a near
Why

Shiva,

thousand

to say

Im

Shiva.

Lord

Yes,

up.

on

later?

your

continued

changes

looked

despair

to meet

said

Well,

of

had

want

he

a concerned

look

she

continue,

one

with

a similar

night.

as

Daksha.

I dont
a journey

perfect
do

agreed
believe
than

Shiva,

that

slowly

perfection

a destination.

can
But

your

getting
ever

be

into

the

achieved.

society

is

It

certainly

society.

you

think

we

are

not

perfect?

argued

Parvateshwar

aggressively.
Do

you

think

everything

it is perfect
in

Meluha

Parvateshwar?
go

exactly

as

asked

Shiva

politely.

Does

Lord

Ram

would

have

mandated?
Parvateshwar

fell

silent.

He

knew

the

obvious,

even

if he

didnt

like

the

answer.

The

Lord

things

is

Parvateshwar,

said

wonderful.
to

about

the

I dont

that,

me

do

then,

future.

see

seem

is

Daksha.

is the

There

away.

This

is not

you

wouldnt

challenges

Neelkanth

that

is

we

cannot

other

countries

lead

their

never

interfere

with

them.

Meluha

beyond

societies
And

the

leave

us

presumably
they

they

your

are

obviously

always

We

We

to lead
dont,

our

your

we

we

would

be

are

so

there

are

to

and

let

but

we

foreigners

its
way

with

societies

uninvited

the

faced

ourselves

other

think

lives

required?

to begin!

with

allow

So

concerned

disaster

where

keep

trade

dont

towns.

that

because
We

so

is
make

is a Neelkanth

where

needed

society

doesnt

are

homeland

know

lives.

What

wrong

my

your

people

Why

confront.

frontier
alone

and

like

Shiva,

ordered.

problem?

is so

Lord,

well

you

that

that

spoke

very

why

What

problems

My

Highness,

anything

a breath

many

your

Things

sense

No

said

to improve.

Having

just

right

only
we

fair

want

into

that

other

to.

Highness?

dont.

Why?
One
our

simple
superior

The

fact

us

lives.

I can

more

Our

we

rather

to their

level.

hence

the

have

care

had

best

of

land

avoided

take

tribe

used

in the

bloodshed

our

of

face

the

region.
if

is an

we

shore

had

eyesore

of the

them
lead

want

jealousy

to

in

pull

Mount

Mansarovar

sometimes
shared

to them.

They

they

of

hate

makes

themselves.

a lot

But

They

country

themselves,

to

over

in

care

improving

Jealousy.

system

everyone

than

control

Daksha.

family

cant

My

we

replied

efficient

they

And

since

Lord,

take

understand.

Kailash

could

ways.

because

down

and

my

that

unhappy
sorry

word,

Lake

I wonder

if

good

fortune

our

we

willingly.

But

we

And

yet,

do

share

jealousy

our

good

blinds

our

fortune
enemies.

with

those
The

who

wish

Chandravanshis

it,

my

Lord.

realised

that

it

was

enough,
have

the

even
not

Somras
they

learnt

reaped

all the

Sorry

to

that

have

to

the

mass

benefits

guaranteed

our

knowledge

produce

it

like

superiority.

of

the

we

do

Funnily

Somras.
and

But

they

hence

havent

the

Somras

of it.

interrupt,

your

Highness,

but

where

is

produced?
It is produced

at a secret

powder

is

manufactured

empire.

At

designated

it with

water

Alright,
The

and

said

had

other

source

We

dont

know

tried

the

Yes

the

the

The

distributed

Meluha,

Lord.

asked

as

up

by

Somras

Somras

throughout

the

Brahmins

mix

trained
it to the

powerful

their

and

waters

work

Really?

population.

of the

cant

will

do.

is

to harm

us

since

they

us.

One

they

devised

of the

Saraswati.

Water

key
from

Why?

scientists
That

as

jealousy,

hence

The

Shiva

said

become

is the

not

Saraswati

Lord!

explain

why,

it.

the

But

only

the

Chandravanshis

us.

incredulously.

Daksha,

as

his

childlike

eyes

flared

two

mighty

up

at

the

perfidy.

the

Sutlej

Both

comes
Sutlej

and

and

Yamuna

from

the

the

Yamuna.

used

Chandravanshis

confluence
In the

to be

and

of

neutral

we

visited

olden

days,

rivers

the

up

course

of

territory.
the

land

to

draw

waters

for

Somras.

But
They
south,
You

my

Saraswati

north

the

does

the

Chandravanshi
The

Mandar.

to administer

Eaten

Somras

Saraswati

river?

my

Mount

then

across

not

Somras.

the

to kill

Kill

could

in the

of

and

ingredients

to destroy

any

waters

called

Shiva.

way

ingredients

the

other

enough

a devious

there
temples

Chandravanshis

never

location

how

did

they

diverted

the

it started
can

of a river!

do

try

to kill

course

flowing

that?

the

asked

of
east

Saraswati
the

Yamuna

to meet

Shiva

in

their

your
so
main

amazement.

Highness?
that

instead

river,

of

flowing

the

course

Ganga.

Change

Yes,

of course

We

were

you

livid,

to make

can,

answered

interjected

amends

for

Parvateshwar.

Daksha.

their

But

we

still

gave

them

chance

duplicity

And?
What

can

you

expect

Daksha

in disgust.

that

the

river

made

due

to

some

minor

since

the

would

river

We

of

any

earthquake.

course

to accept
to

do

They

said
claimed

in its

course

all by

even

worse,

they

claimed

its

was

that,

Brahmanayak,

of this.

Lord?

change

of

what

my

knowledge

And

changed

King

Chandravanshis,

a dramatic

refused

of

the

denied

such

have

course

leadership

They

had

simply

from

own

accord,

essentially
said

his

we

Gods

that

Meluhans

will!

Parvateshwar.

Highness

itself,

Under

father,

we

the

attacked

Swadweep.
The

land

Yes

Shiva,

The

of the

Chandravanshis?

said

Parvateshwar.

Chandravanshi

them

keep

their

didnt

even

ask

only

term

of

restored

the

army

any

Yamuna

it

routed.

and

even

war

reparations

surrender

was

King

their

was

her

original

resounding

the

victory.

Brahmanayak

system
or

treaty
to

Shiva.

And

was

lands
for

the

asked

of

yearly

kindly

governance.
tribute

return

of

course

the

to

let
We

either.

The

Yamuna.

We

meet

with

the

Saraswati.
You

fought

Yes,

said

in that

then.

But

Turning

to

Daksha,

Highness?

why

is the

We

believe

dont
two

that

in that

Shiva

asked,

enemy
still

the

reclaimed

it.

That

We

to

our

yet.

with

pride.

I was

a mere

the

problem

now,

war.
Then

was

what

is

comprehensively

the
the

are

After
into

included
of

en

defeated.

Then

dying?

made

part

swol

Chandravanshis

it as
was

chest

fight

Your

Saraswati

countries

his

I did

understand

stuck

Parvateshwar?

Parvateshwar,

soldier

your

war,

their
a

to

defeat,

no-mans

early

bargain

up

the
land

course
and

something

never

of

area
and

the

again.
between

our

jungle

has

the
Yamuna

disturbed

We

that

as

well.
region.

It appears

that

they

didnt

Are

you

sure

of

Has

this

been

discussed

your

empire?

Are

you

True

Suryavanshis

trying

that

to

to

me,

is no

harm

the

bless

Lets

not

last

us

have

have

told

we

of the

Has

the

promise.

area

been

Chandravanshis

are

lying?

checked?

representative

countered

in

Parvateshwar.

lie!
Daksha

angrily.

said

poindess

resort.

The

for

Lord

was

not

If

I have

politely.

of

my

is another

young

implying

soldiers

land,

it

solution

is

learnt

that

wars

possible,

life.

A mother

great

saviour

there

somewhere

it.
Wonderful!

muttered

What

under

something
you

Shiva

batdes

If there

some

fight!

Parvateshwar
You

the

in saving

would

that

the

Parvateshwar,

from
be

end

that.

something
should

say

their

Highness?
with

scolded

like

Listen

your

dont

Parvateshwar!
anything

honour

to

his

say

before.

we

have!

breath.

Parvateshwar?

You

will

not

you,

growled

barked

insult

the

Kanakhala.

Neelkanth

in

my

am

presence!
I dont

take

Enough!

orders
ordered

sorry

my

being

sure.

facts

of

the

And

last

controlled
regarded

You

That

for

the

few

ends

And

the

Somras

flow

fifty

years.

mother.
in an

the

inland
be

made

just

horrible,
death

just

declare

till

now.

of

the

south

war
But

has

said

doesnt

without

continued,

Saraswati

Saraswati

delta

he

a war

the

been
slow

The

cannot

of

have

Shiva,

shouldnt

avoided

The

at

to

We

I have

years

tears

and

her.

last

Parvateshwar.

Turning

right.

is why

the

her
as

are

case.

now

continued

Daksha.

Lord.

depleting

The

from

without

look

been

slowly

Kanakhala

river
even

at the

most

as

she

Meluhans

reach

the

sea

of Rajasthan.
water

from

the

Saraswati,

Daksha.

Chandravanshis

know

that

and

that

is why

they

are

trying

to

kill

What

does

the

Swadweep

representative

say

about

it?

Has

he

been

questioned?
We

have

no

diplomatic

relations

with

Swadweep,

my

Lord,

said

Daksha.
Really?

I thought

of

innovative

your

understand
a

Then

why

You

dont
ower

and

of

this

the

Shiva

frowned

You

dont

previous
their

know

Terrorist
Yes,

my

war,

the

dirty

I had
two

better
heard

days

of
ago.

well?

are

will

in

to

untrustworthy
his

soul

people.

by

even

No

speaking

anything.
they

have

on

said

And

because

confrontation.

So

repulsive

people

I didnt

understand.

They

send

have

even

us!

said

the

but

to fight

back

spread

Thats

like

sunk

started

to

using

Kanakhala,

our

have

them

bands
public

my

Lord.

the

cursed

with

defeat

cannot

Over

the

Nagas

a disgusted

in

look.

exactly

do

Their

who

launch

idea

or Shudras.

public

baths

whose

destruction

Even

the

but

do?

areas

in
us

of

Terrorist

they

of assassins
places.

a form

to.

quiet

victory

to

turn

them

overpower

resorted

kept

overwhelming

could

Vaishyas

where
will

try

the

many

previous

in

an

assault

open

that

only

attacks.

surprise

is to attack
They

for

attacks

non-combatants

to devastate

there

may

wreck

the

on

not

places

be

soldiers

empires

morale

terror.

barbarians,
said

Their

they

What

disgusting!

complete

of

they

Brahmins,

temples,

Daksha.

that

small

non-military

Yes,

they

Lord,

believe

and

say

levels

attacks

they

like

a war.

one

attacks?

decades.

didnt

years

terrorist

into

as

was

opportunity

coming

They

way

countries

willingly
but

few

Lord.

Suryavanshi

to a Chandravanshi

an

jumping

Swadweep

my

other

you

Mesopotamia

with

them,

of

gives

avoid

from

have

know

It

maybe

mission
not

representatives

systems.

them

diplomatic

foll

having

would

Parvateshwar.

not

Pakratis
do

These

that,

in
said

my

land,

bunch

of

Shiva.

Chandravanshis

dont

fight

like

men.

They

fight

Then

why

like

dont

cowards!

you

attack

my

Lord,

their

country?

Finish

this

once

and

for

all.
We

would

like

defeat

them.

Shiva

observed

army,

before

have

defeat

to

Daksha.

Parvateshwar
turning

well

But

seething

towards
and

efficient

my

Lord.

Firsdy,

not

sure

at

the

insult

silendy

Daksha.

trained

I am

Why,

force.

we

can

to

his

your

Highness?

You

sure

your

can

I am

army

them.

Two

reasons,

outnumbered

even

significant

They

of

can

cancel

margin.

population

But

said

our

technological

the

your

age

million

larger

army

But

not

estimate

that

compared

to

at us

less?

You

We

their

by

they
our

were

have

eight

sheer

very
a

million.

numbers

will

superiority.

population

of

outnumbered.

back.

we

eighty

a much

should

beyond

than

are

years

today,

throw

out
why

hundred

But

more

we

two

be

hundred

years!

have

Your

people

population

who

live

should

be

higher.
Sociological

causes,

Children
adopt

are

children

or two,

so

Fewer

and

Swadweep,

from

that

So

And

the

The

second

with

rules

the

like

ruthless

enemies

that.

of war?

as

reason

for

With
And
can

asked

I fear
exploit.
Shiva.

that

giving

birth

has

duty.

on
at

bonded
they

rich.
would

may

their

labour

be

one

upbringing.
as

well.

In

to supplement
the

larger

is

Parents

Maika

have,

a far

country

numbers,

attention

avoiding

norms

than

more

are

a whole

Our

in small

children

is something

war.

nothing

children

country

reason

system

are

more

Daksha.

more

devote

poor,
The

second

of

Maika

mothers

the

said

choice,

could

fewer

that

Lord,

of

they

income.

family.

Rules

matter

for

familys

my

less

poor

a
the

population.

war?
that

and
this

is under

our

ethics.

The

is

a weakness

control.

We

Chandravanshis
in

us

fight
do

that

our

Yes.

For

armed

example,

person

person

like

like

attack

we

and

Begging

your

difference
persons

what

ethics

in bad

times

But

however

that

people

who

character

assault.
My

If we

apologies

never

said

been

asking

as

fight

once

again,

we

should

that

our

But

your

are
us.

which

Highness,
fight

for
we

as

in any

not

if

We

back.

But
Ram

Parvateshwar.
eager

we

under

will

lose.
I have

war

rules,

by

is

to attack.

declare

only

dharma.

of life

can,

attack

said

our

It is

under

way

that

said,

is to his

we

to

without

victory

way

I am

permission
fight

Our

attack

times.

not

The

will

Lord

he

never

unethical.

in good

steadfast

decent

back

repeatedly

Chandravanshis.
ethics,

and

dont

how

will

They

like

tested

Daksha.

ethical

is

armed

Parvateshwar.

are.

superior

inferior

to ensure

said

not

shows

that

niceties.

we

are

an

swordsman

expedient

who

man.

attack
A

such

find

us

sighed

are

not

Highness,

a person

unarmed

because

for

they

makes

Parvateshwar,

will

waist

your

and

an

foot-soldier.

care

pardon,

is

man

his

dont

whomsoever

attack

wielding

below

Chandravanshis

not

cavalry

spear

person

will

our

I have
on

the

codes,

our

then
way

would

of

have

At

the

as

everyone

life
won

ringing

wondering

is

of

the

said

turned

good

without

prahar

would
to

as

even

destroyed.

fighting
town

a quick

if Sati

Daksha

as

Shiva

the

Shiva

dancing

the

Chandravanshis

us!

bell,

prayer.
be

And

conversation

turned

was

towards

the

halted,
window,

today.

expectantly.

Do

you

need

to

leave

my

Lord?
No,

your

inside.
At

Highness,

I dont

this,

Shiva

the

believe
smile

continued,

continue

our

said

Shiva,

I am
on

If

it

hiding

expected
face

is

with

conversation?

pain

anywhere

Dakshas
alright

the

Perhaps

and
at this

disappeared
you,
we

confusion

your
can

have

point
with

felt

of time.
his

Highness,
our

he

hopes.
may

lunch

we
little

later.
Of

course

we

may,

my

Lord,

smiled

Daksha,

pulling

himself

together.
I have

got

the

your

reasons

plan,

in which

Yes,

we

giving

in

will

not

story
for

do

so

not
blue

have

not

of

has

made

that

save

the

Swadweepans
Swadweepans?

Yes,

my

Lord.

soul.

Save

of

like

there

us,

This

is the

it is the
That

is

will

to your

side.

want

them,

Shiva

remembered

what

was

spoke

problems

going

Daksha.

an

emperor,
of

people

my

our

of

rulers

way

have

people

Swadweep

and

forward

their

for

way

us

is

to

rulers.

army

my

Ram

by

their

them

they

live

their

from

giving

Once

will

the

become

like

brothers.

Brahmanayak.

said

But

it is

and

missionaries

In

fact,

Shiva.

a very

who

big

have

putting

It

is

task.

You

to bring

them

Neelkanth,

Shiva
facing
had

is

many

destiny

away

himself

much
why

bigger
I did

years

lies

once

refocused
were

about

not

Lord.

spoken

Your

That
my

words,

concerns

forth

Swadweep.

it or run

Lord

them

Highness,

I am

you

are

We

empire

life.

again,

life.

infects

easy.

another
fulfil

this

King

reason.

the

of

that

Save

do

fight.

your

reforming

uncles

can

father,

and

we

philosophy

way

on,

in

surprised.

Ram.

to be

many

once
that

evil

to

their

without

almost

As

continued

take

his

Whether

clearly

some

genuinely

we

my

and

of

this

mountains.

The

of

to defeat

are

to launch

Daksha

And

Swadweep,

to

the

of Lord

to

It is not

Shiva,

reason

kindness

attacking

the

understand

to play

as

of

only

treacherous

task

task

There

challenge

no

task

its

that

that

Suryavanshi

be

soldiers

agree.

even

superior

big
in

need

their

unfinished

role

anger

The

from

existence.

will

you

Chandravanshi

evil.

them

from

unfinished

sweeping

the

I feel

I believe

asked

Save

meaningless

benefits

now,

strange

Lord.

I can

themselves.

the

them

some

It is their

While

right

righteous

them

Save

sorry,

the

evil.

attack

my

problem.

are

Highness.

has

plan,
to

themselves
life

to

throat

unthinkingly
our

your

wanting

my

solve

far,

attention

prophesied,
said

beyond

again,

his

that

back,

is up
on
my

any

in
the

to you .
him.
Lord,

philosophy,

no

matter

how

of nature

perfect,

and

that

when

the

Neelkanth

cannot

the

Neelkanth.

task

of

Lord

of

and

restore

have,

the

war.

Will

Shiva

confused.

would

I do?

I dont

know,

my

They

our

leader.

want

me

people

by

Shiva

spoke

to

myself!

your

understand

how

If

that

wide
he

man

not

smile.

Why

miracle

is

so

one
you
and

your

the

will

on

travel

throat

has

on

the

be

able

it, they
You

will
are

the

you

are

unfinished

us

defeat

country
destroyed

you

lead

your

the
to

the

that

we

in

years

us?

Highness?

destination

What

and

that

you

to you.

way

of

life

with

your

of

eighty

million

be

can

said

quite

people

honest,

make

and

their

dont

really

a difference.

Daksha,

his

moist

eyes

opened

of

universe.

that,

being

your

Highness,

present

make

such

fingers

and

cause

the

difference,

snap

my

said

Shiva

with

a difference?
bolts

weak

I am

no

of lightning

Chandravanshis.

through

to

to

me

Lord,

itself

you

entire

empathise

like

presence

invite

is up

evil

around

Will

our

the

faith,

I cannot
the

know

But

entire

my

help

be

understand,

take

the

is

men,

Lord,

complete

will

us

ordinary

My

beautiful

Lord?

tell

destroy

good.

law

mad?

man

will

is the

also

Swadweepans
this

my

the

they

my

sure

worker.

to descend
It

is

change

I am

we

destroy

legends

and

Meluha,

only

Highness.

in devotion
can

us

path

us

that

I didnt

carefully.

hardships,

can

the

of

We

Are

You

rally

help

Lord.
The

of

That

for

he

forces

lead

society

But

exactly

be

must

you

the

that

us.

I fear

perfect

of endless

will

save

Otherwise

what

period.

insurmountable

the

must

a finite

But

And

You

You

near

was

can

Ram.

good.

for

become
appear.

You

only

avoided.

will

Chandravanshis.
side

be

problems

Chandravanshis
the

works

people.
to do

Neelkanth,

that

will
the

Once

make
empire.

my

people

See

the

believe

effect
that

my

Lord.

your
they

blue

can

do

it!
my

Lord,

added

Kanakhala.

The

people

have

faith

Will

in the

you

Will

help

you

But

us,

run

how

all

my

says

you

know

throat.

They

will

have

faith

in you.

again?
that

Shiva.

know,

there

my

may

blue

throat

be

many

It

cannot

makes

me

Meluhans

the

with

genuine

a blue

throat

discovered!

Lord,

that

blue

Lord?

once

to be

No,

my

asked
you

waiting

of the

away

do

Neelkanth?
For

bearer

said

the

Daksha.

Neelkanth

Sapt-Sindhu.

And

will

that

be

he

be

Meluhan.

a foreigner.

He

get

throat

will

blue

The

cannot

be

on

legend
from

the

drinking

the

Somras.
Shiva

did

upon

him.

Srinagar.
Thats

not

answer.

The

first

why

Daksha

Im

and

But

only

uncle

right?

me?
Do

Parvateshwar
I dont

for

stared

deserve

decision.

Gunas

have

destiny.

as

truth

how

my

suddenly

body

dawned

got

repaired.

waiting

for

ever.

right

at Shiva

any

than
at

the

I really

Thats

looked
his

All

stunned

Somras.

stronger

Kanakhala

Praying

looked

night.

feeling

decision.
why

He

Shiva

were

breathlessly,

given

the

Somras.

Was

his

my

a destiny?
with
But

narrowed

maybe

eyes.

this

is my

chance

to

redeem

myself.
But

first...

Shiva

asked

answer,

with

may

Of

course,

Do

you

controlled

I ask
my

agree

you

Your

Highness,

before

a question?

Lord.
that

honesty

Even

if it means

deeply

Yes,

of

replied

with

politeness,

course,

is required

offending

to make

your

Daksha,

friend

wondering

any
with

where

friendship

the

work?

truth?

Shiva

was

going

this.

Complete
relationship,

honesty
but

of any

is

not
stable

just
society,

the

bedrock
interjected

of

an

Parvateshwar.

individual

I couldnt
with

agree

said

Shiva.

And

yet,

Meluha

wasnt

honest

anything.

Shiva

continued

being

invited

I was

you

were

Turning

happy

werent

that

looked
with

the

to

you

was

wanted

eyes.

But

now

I realise

that

Neelkanth.
told
as

have

that

a medicine

soon

such

His

And

They

were

as

we

called

entered.

We

effects.

Lord

not

had

the

they
under

enters

right

to

be

No

doubt

the

Somras.

they

Both

tribe

was

seriously

Lord,

too

high

for

positive

my

first

said
that

that

night

in

Daksha,
I will

with

always

be

us.
effects

about

having

also

my

body,

on

to

Lord,

it

your

live

body.

said

Kanakhala
certain

It

long

and

immediate

cured,

never

recur.

Shiva.
and

The
I are

is actually
point
better

Somras

apologetically.

for

When

Hence,

Yet,

of

the

healthier

about
it.

the

occurrence

much

is not

that

Somras.

diseases.

the

tribe

the
of the

triggers

Your

tribe

given

because

towards

when

said

probably

ill, perhaps

risk

my

my

something

upset

till death.
are,

on

know

wryly.

which

healthy

you

way.

predisposed

the

diseases,

were

exactly

no

are

me

Its

considerably

my

fell

Highness,
to

dishonesty

stakes

Shiva

that

Your

administered

in any

said

people

continued,

that

has

am

know

remains

guilty

namaste.

the

you

life,

night?

these

But

harm

Somras

the

to us

would

tribe

knowledge.

about

Somras

know.

Some

my

in a penitent
of.

you

administered

We

my

impression

land.

be

probably

sorry

ashamed

Do

benighted

werent

with

the

When

to work.

said,

medicine

tone.

people

my

Shiva

was

hands

healthy

had

Shiva

Daksha,

truly

doesnt

we

for

the

without

the

firm

him.

Kashmir,

And

but

searching

down

Somras

I am

to escape

would

told

Turning

needed

systematically

Somras

angry

to Meluha,
you

to Nandi,

Nandi

a courteous,

because

And

the

in
to come

immigrants

said

me.

Nobody

his

more,

the

body
now.

effects

from

what

of
I

understand
telling

of

him

Meluha,

all

the

should

have

told

should

have

let

choice

for
but

Please

forgive

regret.

It

my
ever.

us

They

heart

since

the

are

truly

sorry

for

Lying

Lord

Ram

our

troubles,

am

deeply

Shiva

would

his

had

begun

been

no

no

you

than

you

making

come

to

Meluha

Daksha,
like

choice.
of.

with

guilty

this.

We

pride

are

truly

sorry,

We

They

speaking

done.

are

healthier

what

what

than

this.

in

Shiva,

every

done
No

always

ago.

have

was

to deceive

was

decades

You

condoned

right

said

many

I think

never

Then

lives.

silence,

way.

You

choice.

care

his

our

eyebrow

is the

is a true

right

we
to

be

is appalling

matter

someone

how

into

and
serious

helping

us.

foll

a bit.

only

ower

one

of the

apologising
great

king

instead
Rams

of making

excuses.

way

smiled.

Daksha

let

Shiva

out

turned

Highness.
could

an

be

audible

towards

Like

that

sigh

of relief.

Daksha.

I said,

improved.

societies
few

taken

has

have

way.

sorry

raised

Shiva

well

Kailash.

rather

Lord,

had

without

Rams

Mount

something

we

what

have

do

something

Lord

still

our

But

search

do

choice

productive

have

we

at

my

to

broke

is not

Parvateshwar
He

long,

finally

his

angry.

are

truth

been

way

honesty.

been

would

deception,

our

to

have

informed

have

the

live

Parvateshwar

an

probably

people

will

not

complete

it would

our

Your

the

We

not

somebody

would

make

us

on

Lord.

us

then

is

ourselves

facts

us.

anyway

getting

there

No

I have

Let

are

doubt

us

some

about

seen.

And

said

Daksha,

put

this

things
that.

about

But

it is worth

in

the
your

past,

your

nation

that

it is amongst

fighting

for.

the

But

best

I have

conditions.

Of

course,

At

this

that
saying

you

my

point
expect
is that

Lord,
of

time,
of

I will

me
try

I am
nor
my

not
am
best.

eager
saying

to please.
that

I saying
But

before

that

I can

perform

I cannot
that,

I want

do

the
it.

All

tasks
I

to understand

am

more

of

your

assuming
Of

that

course,

entire
whether
Of

will

my

Lord,

it

is,

he

committed,
that

Can

the

Of

tribe,

my

Instructions

me

Of

course

into

that

you

he

will

added,

to

like

take
for

that

make

help.

I be

am

misled.

population.

should

an

tell

informed

them

at all.

Nodding

I am

brought

not

to

But

them

the

decision

Is that

on

fair?

briefly

going

back

Devagiri?

with

itself

the

towards

to

Kashmir.

I would

my

Lord,

you

there

a quick

to bring

location

look

them

where

this

to do

Perhaps

be

nice,

And

of the

lastly,

like

them

Kanakhala.

to Devagiri.

you

drink

at

manufacture

of the

gods.

the

Something

so.

said

Daksha,

I would

like

to request

Daksha

and
to the

said

of his
Highness,

He

his

face

Shiva

there.

smiling.

Then

that

you

nodded

hesitantly.

you
face

had

stopped
was

a terrible

dont
fell

In

finally

breaking

that

like

for

feeling

that

a puja

a deep
to

is

at

the

breath

announce

Nandis

to the
him

family

the

now.

immediately.
listening

my

for

taking

would

do

tearing

fact,

tomorrow

meet

people.

that

itself.

after

to your

prevarication
I have

day

could

I guess

Kanakhalas
floor.

tomorrow

there
we

Neelkanth
Kanakhala

Your

me

today

a visit

and

enormity

will

your

you

Daksha.

to understand

Daksha

glued

that

invite

Daksha

visit

may,

temple.
would

arrival

nor

I can

smile.

scheduled

That

me

expand

them

said

said

it is important

Kanakhala

Brahma

to

dont

be

sent

like

a nervous

also

Gunas,

be

I would

tells

let

you

to

Lord,

will

I would

Somras.

from

how

me.

course,

Also,

of

immediately.

it is clear

with

sure

I think

and
Or

Furthermore,

to be

hidden

them.

here.

implement

my

be

immigrants

Meluha

to come

Kanakhala,

be

need

mislead

about

course

We

still

not

truth

will

I can

Lord.

you

should

before

nothing

my

Secondly,
you

society

eyes

were

conversation.

The

apart.
when

people

know

am

the

Neelkanth,

and

every

action

overanalysed,

enough
this

about

point

explained

your

society

or

word

of mine

Shiva.

I am

my

task

to

will

be

afraid

be

over-interpreted

that

able

to

I dont

know

handle

that

at

of time.

I understand

my

his

have

face.

the

and

You

people

you

Lord,

said

my

word.

allow

will

Daksha,
Only
know

willing
my

of

a broken

immediate

the

smile

staff,

Neelkanths

my

back

on

family

arrival.

and

Nobody

else.
Thank

you,

tribal

man

exotic
can

your
who

Highness.

just

medicine.
do

in the

And

Ill

say

that

man

Drink

had

and

behind,

You

it again

my

Lord,

can

change

Nandi

were

he

wanted

head

turned

around

right,

my

actions

on

immigrants.

didnt

say

Nandis

Nandi

know

said

Daksha,

with

entire

universe!

the

because

what

one

simple

of

man

some

like

me

face.

to

lunch

the

a child-like

royal

alone.

guest

Nandi

in self-recrimination.

smile.

If

house.

walked

My

Lord,

Shiva

a few
I am

steps

so

sorry

at Nandi.

We

Neelkanth

so

sorry

were

that

anything.

so

we

I misled

my

you
lips

lost

in our

didnt

you
He

realise

my

the

Lord.

continued

own

I lied
to

troubles

and

the

unfairness

of

our

to you.

stare

intensely

into

into

Never
and

I have

failed

you.

I will

accept

whatever

me.

signalling

message.
nodded

Lord.

give

broke

shoulders,

a clear

throat

I am

eyes.

punishment

his

again:

you

to eat

Lord.

the

Shivas

a blue

dont

back

to gaze

for

am

it

that

walking

bowed

search

odds

say

Gods

his

are

Shiva

get

I still

of the

decided

Shiva

to

face

he

I will

of the

Shiva

happened

Honesdy,

is you,

CHAPTER

But

a very
he

faint

had

forgiven

lie to me

whispered,

smile.

again,

Never,

my

He

patted

him.

But

my

friend.

Lord.

Nandi
his

I am

lightly

eyes

so

sorry

delivered

on

Forget

it Nandi,

said

Shiva,

his

smile

a little

broader

now.

Its

in the

Suddenly

Shiva

shook

his

head

at some

of the

past.
They
and

turned

and

chuckled

Strange

slighdy.

is it, my

Nothing

your

some

throat

can
that

even

speak

so

was

people
help

think

not

asked

Nandi,
to him

country

achieve
has

feeling

little

more

confident

again.
think

just

impossible
suddenly

the

tasks.
become

presence

Some
so

of my

people

holy

blue

actually

that

they

cant

hand,

continued
In

that

fact,

I need

Why

Shiva,

they

to get

would

some

even

people

think

that

a shudhikaran

you

need

my

clearly

think

that

touching

them

is

asked

Nandi,

done!

that

my

Lord?

concerned.
weighed

was

told

What?

his

that

words

I would

Who

did

you

a troubled

Nandi.

Only

the

of

need

touch

to get

Shivas

abruptly

suddenly

understood

day.

Her

hasty

from

the

Guruji

he

to undergo

touch

my

vikarma

changed
the

I touched

person

someone.

And

a shudhikaran.

Lord?

and
guest

towards

colour.

significance

withdrawal

to the

turned

Well,

Was

would

it

mean

vikarma

person?

that

you

would

a shudhikaran.

face

back

carefully.

need

asked

as

things

slightly.

required.

uting

Shiva

Go

interesting

it.

Shudhikaran?
little

wondering

in your

name

other

poll

Nandi.

speaking

you

my

smiled
the

just

Lord?

Shiva

Well,

Nandi

I was

my

that

asked

society.

Interesting,

I am

Lord?

really.

about

On

walking.

people!

What

now

continued

at

being

A veil
of

the

touched.

lifted
events
The

from
of
shocked

his

eyes.

the

He

previous
reactions

Krittika.
house,

Nandi.

I will

see

you

there,

said

Shiva,

the

guest

My

house

Lord,

Shiva.

what

Did

Go

to the

see

you

Shiva

guest

the

the

Nandi,

trying

shudhikaran

done

or not?

Nandi,

Shiva

walking

larger

an

said

moment

I am

such

replayed

when
even

hour.

He

to

But

sat

terrible

thought

a bloody

keep

rapidly

pace

with

away.

I will

on

it was

the

thought

that

Sati

in vain,

bench

had

for

by

Sati

himself,

entered

his

mind.

would

find

my

touch

poll

encounter

in

his

mind

and

idiot!
of

facet

something

of an

that

moments

every

part

appearance.

I have

analysed
If

for

could

He

the

house

make

cursing

uting?

get

asked

there.

not

How

happened?

you

waited

did

garden.

that

fateful

of it.

happened

to

you,

would

never

be

able

to

forgive

myself.
What

did

she

mean

by

saying

Or

is she

just

an

of

someone

elses

as

inferior?

This

entire

she

wasnt

honourable

that?

Does

she

woman

who

cant

misfortune?

And

concept

why
of

have
bear

should
the

feelings

she

vikarma

for

to be

the

think

of

is

so

me?
cause
herself

damned

ridiculous!
Realising

that

bench

hard,

getting

got

its

sensation

the

guest

something
pick
He

lying

it up.
had

Had

she

He

smelt

on

the

her

it on

it.

evening.

He

Smiling,

he

It

dance

right

brought
dropped

the

out
the
floor.

that
loud,

He

his

he

stage,

got

kicked

the

toe

had

numb
walking

noticed

went

He

once

started

he

up.

that

back
there

bent

to
was

closer

and

down

did

seem

broken.

sun-kissed

to

bracelet.

dropped
had

Shiva

reminder

past

bead

her

purposely

to come,

Cursing

Walking

It was

seen

a painful
back.

house.

going

hand.

the

string

not

it here?

fragrance
it

The

delicately
bracelet

of

the

to
into

his

holy

lake

on

lips

and

kissed

it

tied

around

the

pouch

gently.
his

waist.
had

He

would

to meet

He

would

fight

entire

incomplete
much

A visit

an

to the

most

Suryavanshis,
as

Kanakhala

safe,

been

an

And

The

prahar

its

the

Sun

exact

their

and
the

secret.

Who
My
of

Somras

her.

if required.
journey

it. His

soul

He

in this
knew

He

would

life

was

it.

Minister?

the

hub

asked

where

honour

for

the

Nandi,

left

of

drink

of

the

Meluhan.

their

Devagiri,

to Mount

on

carriage

the

how

much

why

behind

any

soul

journey

tell

the

For

empire,

for

Somras.
we

Thats

Captain,

said

Mandar.
windows,

time

I was

you,

but

has

I cant

gone

by

see

since

asking

Captain.

The

to

be

few

people

knew

was

an

empire.

He
the

the

by
its

road

blinds

are

down

the

blinds

were

To

keep

the

be

meeting

leads

the

country.

Mount

lost

Mandar

Of

of

the
travel

Arishtanemi

was

allowed

to

terrorists

Meluha.
asked
He

scientists

course,

the

the

Chandravanshi

for

Brahaspati.

called
and

nobody

Kanakhala?

team

soldiers

Mandar,

If the
be

there,

of

Emperor,

location.

Mandar.

of its

team
to

that

of Mount

of Mount

all would

meeting

entire

elite

scientists

know

would

understand

safety

the

for

could
the

Mandar,

we
we

He

authorised
or

for

I cant

protected
for

person

would

the

His

was

the

blinds

Very

who

Mount

Lord,

the

There

mountain

attacked

her.

rare

since

is right

it. Except

any

a days

protection,

location.

on

world

Mandar,

was

at Kanakhala.

Arishtanemi
ers

meet

protection.

smiled

location

the

Prime

Mandar

so

either.

lamp

own

for

and

child.

Its

outside.

see

Mandar

knew

Madam

hour

anything

of

have

was

it was

of

not

it,

Mount

because

Shiva

heart

Mount

Actually

your

His

excited

smiling.

cant

Mount

end
to

manufactured,

only

for

the

is

mythical

was

Its

from

race

her.

further

like

long

to

human

gods

as

her

without

behaving

back

her.
pursue

the

How

come

they

Shiva.

is the

Chief

who

manufacture

also

conduct

Scientist
the
research

in

many

other

fields.

informing

him

of

bird

your

courier

arrival.

has

We

already

will

be

been

sent

meeting

him

to

him

tomorrow

morning.
Shiva
As

nodded

Nandi

looked

book.

It was

fought

many

and

the

good
,

you
and

slept

at Mount

Yes,

I did,

in followed

by

were

There

corner

the

wheat-coloured

the

was

was

gods

between

of

Lord

the

as

Rudra,

Asuras

and

she

first

welcomed

office.

prahar.

a strange

Days

began

rhythmic

was

Shiva

blue.

sound

medium

skin,

deep

on

notes

alongside

had

There

was

centre

eyes

It was
over
of

the

much
and

well-

been

a large

many

centre,

of

of

room,
shorter

of

picture
the

forest

low
room,

at every

than

window

dense

simple,

his

the

conducted.

a frugal

style

different

each

clearly

At

simplicity

set

Shiva

throughout

tables

view

height,

her

office.

spread

organised

the

bowed

Brahaspatis

a breathtaking

in the

She

Nandi.

in a square.

celebrated

Of

into

instruments

leaf

mountain.

standing

explanation.

experiments

together

that

namaste.

help

Brahaspatis

of

and

palm

afforded

arranged

Brahaspati

the

Kanakhala

any

neatly

some

which

offer

to let

a restrained

of

a culture

, the

struggle

destroyed

outside

strange

were

was

with

said

there

not

office,

where

been

that

his

again.

hour

Kanakhala

various
large

had

to

night

door

foot

last

Though

the

room

Shiva.

opened

instruments

Lord,

the

had

world

chamber

did

heights.

war

Devas

eternal

with

back

terrible
the

you.

Mandar.

Brahaspatis

in

the

an

Thank

went

the

between

Devas,

Gods

my

but

and

the

of

of

smiled

There

at

into

the

Kanakhala

in the

The

in the

wel,

said

through

walked

God

beginning

early

The

the

Nandi

the

head

demons

said,

Shiva

about

ago,

evil.

and

again,

of years

the

and

lamp

manuscript

righteousness

I hope

on

at Kanakhala,

prahar

interesting

Asuras

established

It was

the

thousands

Mahadev

Shiva

smiled

at

an

opposites:
the

slightly,

seats
in

line

turn.

hands
Shiva,

folded
his

manicured
clean

shaven

gave
His

beard

his

gave

head,

face

an

shoulders

pronounced

if they

a vehicle

or

for

Kshatriya.

How

his

left

are

been

His

body

Kanakhala?

the

asked

expression,

slightly

overweight.

have
but

been

that

white

cotton
He

of his

Brahaspati.

markedly

Brahaspatis

temple

side

serene

was

shoulders.

right

appearance.

would

typical
his

to the

and

a bit,

not

over

down

choti

chest

and

loosely

distinguished

exercised

wore

shoulder

you

the

barrel

intellect

draped

his

for

and
had

look.

Brahaspati

angvastram
from

except

intellectual

broad

was

Brahaspati

body

it is to a warrior
dhoti

wore

and

an

a janau

tied

hips.

It

has

been

long

time.
Yes

it has,

namaste

and

Shiva
him

Brahaspati,
a low

noticed
as

This

is Lord

Just

Shiva

Shiva,

Brahaspati.

Alright

then.

Brahaspati,

is Captain

back

to

possible
Shiva

towards

moments.

As

Slowly
not

possible?

with

is.

your

Kanakhala

with

might

Kanakhala.

to

off

his

smile
hue.

gathering

means

who

showed

Brahmins.

towards

Shiva,

And,

arm

Shiva.
a polite

you

namaste

be?

asked

said
sound

Lord

Shivas

Brahaspati,
rude

aide.

before

Shiva.

But

turning

would

it

be

throat

took

The

pointing

Captain,

mean

blue

Brahaspatis

Nandi.

you,

His

a fraud.

This
said

he

throat.
bright

Brahaspati

among

smiled

answered

to see

radiating

Yes,

it

for

the

is

Shiva

I dont

nodded.

Kanakhala,
you,

Shiva.

on

chosen-tribe

thank

meet

me

greeting

amulet

select

Nandi,

to

examine

This

Just
turning

pleasure

second

said

do,

towards

This

the

A very

will

Kanakhala,

bow.

that

a swan.

said

cravat,

Brahaspati

disappeared
Brahaspati
his

colour

wits,

as
was

he

comes

he

saw

speechless

turned
from

came

towards
the

inside.

forward

Shivas
for

to
throat

few

Kanakhala.
How

is

this

that...
softly,

with

happiness

that

seemed

to

emanate

from

saviour

has

Well,

deep

embarrassed
try

reason
me

know

if I am

Shiva,

retying

my

that

best

I come

to know

how

Brahaspati

still

but

his

the

implications

to

means

the

the

attention

Neelkanth

said
here

you

tell

me

or

cravat
your

has

come.

Our

like
his

wonderful

that,

throat.

country.

tells

me

that

said
But

It

is

an
I

will

for

this

it is important

for

works.

to be

in a daze.

elsewhere.
true

He

He

Neelkanths

Kanakhala,
and

anything
around

Something

Somras

of the

the

the
help

seemed

into

a saviour

to you.

seemed

Brahaspati...
back

It

come.

I dont

certainly

inside.

as

continued

to watch

appeared

to

be

Shiva

working

out

arrival.

she

tried

to

call

the

chief

scientist

now.

Huh!
Can

how

the

Somras

works,

Brahaspati?

asked

Shiva

again.
Of

course,

front

said

of him.

the

Noticing

as

Nandi

his

he

eyes

asked,

refocused

Is

it alright

on

the

to speak

people

in

in front

of

captain?

Nandi

has

hope

been

felt

swore

once

again,

Shiva

you
noticed

deferential

on

Parvateshwar,

by

Thank
The
There

was

on

his

pain

Lord

still

of death,

Shiva,

that

Brahaspati

said

discovering

time

in Meluha,

said

trusted

him

openly.

was
that

Shiva

to never

felt

Shiva.

surliness,

the

by

his

while

Lord.

or

excessively

Neelkanth.
name

and

Parvateshwars

Brahaspatis

was

Nandi

warmly.

submissive

was

Shiva
that

smiling

not

he

so

lie to his

Brahaspati,

called

a distrusting

you,
royal

that

my

here.

say,

However,

assured

through

stays

Brahaspati

Lord.

driven

friend

if he

touched

Whatever

My

my

it is alright

Nandi

an

Brahaspati,

Just

like

attitude

was

not

driven

perhaps

by

affability.
smiled
procession
a pilot

Shiva.

So,

moved
guard

of

how
slowly

one

does
on

hundred

the
the
and

Somras
road
sixty

to

work?
Mount
cavalrymen

Mandar.
who

rode

before

the

five

rearguard

of

carriages,

in a similar

along

left

the

and

five

were

another

carriages

one

and

serving

the

royal

in

hundred

and

formation.
flanks.

Each

maids

seated

on

rode

guard

also

side

the

four

abreast.

behind

the

of forty

carriage
the

Arishtanemi,

of

sixty

A side

right

legendary

columns

each
had

supports.

most

feared

A
royal

marched

ten

soldiers

The

soldiers

militia

in

all

of

India.
The

five

carriages

apertures,

except

There

a gril

this

was
could

be

of

exactly

were

impossible
had

were
for

shut

the

see,

were

empty.

Veerini
and

he

The

and

some

his
of his

Father,

I still

pujas.

rider,

in

case

of

divine

vision

observe

key

dont

to

that

carried
Sati.

the

The

the

last

for

All

royal

and

the

air

and

carriages
making

family.

If a

what
and

fourth

family

Daksha,

carried

it

person

human

third

carriage

or

ventilation.

in light

beyond

royal

windows

appearance,

the

first,

no

top

attack.

and

look

the

at

an

carried
,

with

to allow

dimension

carriage

daughter

slits

the

which

second

wood,

behind

same

would

solid

pointed

instantly

divyadrishti,

of

upward

in front,

to say

could

made

eyes

carriages
his

wife

Parvateshwar

brigadiers.
understand

why

you

insist

attend

the

I am

not

even

allowed

to

told

you

many

times

before,

on

taking

main

me

along

ceremony,

to
said

Sati.
I

have

Satis
have

hand
seen

Father!

fondly.
your

to insult

Then
At

wore

shake
the

taking

I dont
Sati

of

her

Veerini,
a quick

distance

a small
light

of

my

pujas

are

care

about

the

with

an

head.

Daksha,
complete
damned

embarrassed

She

knew

as
and

patted

pure

till

and

slight,

of

her

father

law.

smile

it was

he

wrong

law.

mother,

a short

forest,

face.

whispered

reproachful

Satis

None

smiled

band

leather

looked

look

at Sati,

from
of fifty
armour

at

the

royal

soldiers
on

their

Daksha

returned

with
to her

procession,
slunk
torso

an

smile.

by

dense

book.
hidden

along
and

awkward

silently.
had

their

the

The
dhotis

soldiers
tied

in

military

style

swords,

a long

tied

to

loosely

knife

knives.

young

man

brown

turban

armour

had

ease

and

around

small

slipped

ensure

of

had

their

movement.

a hardshield

back.

Their

the

head

were

two

with

battle

scar

embel

been

out

signified

tied

a little

carelessly.

representation

of

loose

was

and

The

One

horizontal

them,

his

face,

wore

a gold

captain.
chain

had

crescent

moon,

leather
three

handsome
a

His

and

two

to hold

of

the

pendant

bore
and

grooves

ishing

he

them

of metal

had

men.

that

of

made

shoes

At

which

Each

dark

leather

pendant

had

beautiful,

the

white

Chandravanshi

symbol.
Next

to

him

walked

head

to

toe.

A hood

face

was

covered

except

for

his

the

the

captain,

visible.
An

eyes.

Put

embarrassed

and

puEed

He

had

two

your

strings

was

Very

Ettle

of

bracelet

tied

on

robe

pulled

his

it.

up

him

from

while

was

his

visible

expressionless,
to his

right

Without

Vishwadyumna,

wrist

turning
your

to

mark

is

armour.
immediately

on

a long

and

embroidered
said,

in

robe

a leather

Vishwadyumna

the

the

hands

figure

tighten

covered

mask.

symbol

hooded

it in and

onto

fleshy

Aum

the

a man

a black

strong

serpent

of

stitched

with

almond-shaped
with

a giant

the

side

pushed

of

his

the

shoulder

chain

to

inside

tighten

the

breastplate.
My

Lord,

we

could

begging
move

Mandar.

Once

correct.
are

I am

now.

The

hooded

attack?

delay

we

we
will

are
not

Vishwadyumna

to

know

sure

we

does

the

going

in

bring

the

swallowed

in

hard.

is

sure

the

that

back

any

of us

direction

heavens

this

to

case.

But

of

down.
There

being

was

perhaps
to

Mount

informant

kidnap
We

her

was

later.

We

cant

do

have

I ordered

an

outnumbered

come

in?

Mount
For

route

our

Vishwadyumna,

question

the

be

come

calmly,

Vishwadyumna.

that

well

can

outnumbered

replied

said

confirm

that,

that

figure

Where

pardon,

ahead

dangerously

right

And

your

Mandar.

now,

we

nothing

anything

few

hours

hated

more

follow.
he

than

opposing

views.

his

After

all,

sympathetic
This

it was

to their

the

know
amongst
The

the

his

leave,
have

heart

Queen

lord

who

had

make

it

possible

of Meluha.

doesnt

men

hooded

but

would

very

the

his

that

figure

voice

was

please

go.

found

the

rare

Suryavanshi

cause.

breakthrough

destroy

like

perhaps

turned

His

I am
get

them

softly,
is

is being
body

not

money.

show

of

rip
my

out

and

Lord,

you

unrest

brewing

lost.

seemed

losing

your

to

But

There

focus

sharply.

will

spoke

delays.
the

composed.
You

He

for

to convey

focus.
I will

If you

do

this

anger
want

alone

to
if

to.

Shocked

to

see

Vishwadyumna
I was

You

have

to

are

waited

The

the

imply.
right.

for

platoon

continued

Brahaspati.

The

into

emotion

No,

I am

sorry.

I will

few

hours

will

my

stay

on

Lord.

with

make

That

you

no

his

till

leader,

is not
you

difference

what

release
when

we

centuries.

level,

concept

immediately.

a conceptual

said

rare

retracted

trying

me.

At

lords

reality.

tracking

the

how

Somras

the

almost
That

was

royal

caravan
works

impossible

task

the

of

genius

silendy.
is ridiculously
was

Lord

to

simple,
convert

Brahma.

the

Jai

Shri

Brahma!
Jai

Shri

Brahma,

repeated

Before

understanding

process

dramatically,

said
live
Shiva
And
we
being
We

Brahaspati.

Shiva,

how
we

There

the

have
is

Kanakhala
medicine

to

and

Nandi.

slows

understand

a fundamental

down

what
thing

the

keeps

that

none

ageing

us
of

alive,
us

can

without.
stared
that
walk,
alive,
have

at Brahaspati,

fundamental
talk,
we

thing

think,

that

use

energy.

a similar

waiting

concept

for

him

is energy,

is when

amongst

we

to expound.

explained
do

our

anything

people,

Brahaspati.
that

said

can

Shiva.

When
be

called

Except,

we

call

it Shakti.

Shakti?

asked

not

used

been

of

the

where

am

really

when

the

getting

expend.
get

to draw

the

has

the

is the

medicine

woman

India.

in

my

Perhaps

if we

by

eating

that

In
be
come

we

term

Do

you

tribe

who

should

ask

Nandi,

stores

eat,

food.

back

body

we

He

to

without

was

important

feel

which

weak.

we

However,

inside

it to good

finally

people.

energy,

Something
put

our

timidly.

we

eat

getting

from?

of such

can

case,
by

in front

dont

we

any

done

suggested

why

into

we

The

very

eventually
also

energy

is

would

be

process
to

do

smiled.

What

thing
die.

well.

Because
that

as
keeps

When
free
When

and

done

the

can
you

body

has

use.

by

the

air

old,

The

become
you

we

breathe,

us

alive

leave

medicine
weaker

called
any

with

have

our

out

dont

would

die.

What

to

get

does

work

on

that

do

with

die.

something

has

oxidants.
fruit

has

oxygen,

we

Shiva.

and

what

If
we

said

nature

reacts

radicals

and

alive,

is also

is called

energy.

does

it appears,

oxygen

you

us

it?

I told

gases

of energy

keeps

with

of these

releases

starved

that

to grow

age.

in it. One

food

us

releases
as

our

have

causes

how

toxic

old

history.

energy

that

gases

with
body

Brahaspati

it

an

can

this

food

various

our

this

which

of

Shiva.

of

reacts

oxygen,
But

It was

has

Brahaspati.

air

which

people

word

lineage?

Brahaspati.

eat?

so

agreed

continued

our

food

just

conversion

about

to speak

also

energy

Absolutely,

The

we

The

energy

is

centuries.

the

Their

there

nothing

does

that

Thats

all

from?

smiled

know

right.

of

many

That

to Devagiri.

confidence

Absolutely

The

but

where

food

the

dont

sure

we

Now

From

came

should!

subject,

energy.

tribe

Interesting.

for

ancestors

comes

we

energy

everything

she

Perhaps
the

the

to know

Brahaspati.

describe

your

not

claims
her

to

Pandyas,

know
I

a surprised

to

a sense
causes

food

of
us

humour.

to age

to release
These

and

it

energy,

oxidants
goes

and

bad,

are
its

because

it has

make

it rot.

happens
same

The

oxygen

causes

A similar

us.
the

holy

life

of

rust

said

food

that

up

on

logical,

of it as

Absolutely,
On

the

most
few
be

even

into

energy.

But

into

inside

Shiva.

hand,

out,

It doesnt

body

and

which

hence

Nandi.

The

it

also

reacting

and
thing

iron.

oxygen.

start

age
very

die.
that

gives

the

it.

tries

to

store

survive.

It

stores

a few

days

you

wont

of thirst

will

The

outside
dont

that

world

eat

a few

body

body

for

days

needs

to

something,

not

kill

it keeps

you.
some

shortages.

the

minutes.

our

about

If your

agreed

body

eat

so

possible

component

the

in

if you

water

crucial

that

breathe

from

for

other

we

Think

right?

backup

when
we

discovered

It

us?

need

so

It stocks

It seems

kills

you

body
food

have

it to

to corrode.

our

exclaimed

Brahaspati.
that

enough

Agni!

metals

with

we

the

the

causes

reacted

metal

oxidants

from

slowly

everything

die.

release

have

new

to

convert

god

also

Yes,

happens

oxidants

process

the

helps

We

or the

oxidising
with

thing

the

inside

us

oxidised

especially

The

By

been

body
of

staying

make

realises

does

not
alive,

sense

that

store

at

despite

to
all.

enough

last

for

The

being

an

oxygen,

more

the

than

only

explanation

elixir,

oxygen

the

Somras,

just

a
can

is

also

a poison.
Hence
So,

it is dangerous
what

did

After

when

consumed,

expels

lot

Lord

them

Because
Is

that

time

of

Yes.

Your

drink

the

released

the

Lord
with

body

Somras,

the

sweat
Somras.
the

Brahma

as

are

the

body

even

invented

absorbs

them

which
and

then

or urine.
no

from

oxidants
the

left

body

in the

body

is poisonous

the

first

Somras?

particularly
Having

Shiva.

oxidants,

sweat

released

drinks
is

asked

the

there

sweat

a person

from

do?

reacts

of the

after

Brahma

research,

from

why

to store.

dangerous

said
after

that,

the

remember,

a person

has

first

time

sweat
drunk

after
and
the

you
urine

Somras

for

years

make

remains

sure

So,

that

thats
Thats

young

age

the

the

can

be

twice
carried

out

All
by

in

the

Manufacturing

the

produce
lot

of heat.
the

tree

before

of the

Shiva,

as

he

as

of

toxins.

everything

that

bathe

rooms

out

that

tree.
The

have

mixture

Sanjeevani
river

we

And

Meluhans

and

at

the

least

waste

is

city

remembered

words.

without

ingredients

trees.

So

The

strong

is not

Sanjeevani

these

keep

Somras

various

example,

water.

from

his

What

first

goes

into

Somras?

the

requires

and

absorber

excretes

safely

Ayurvatis

body

things

cleanest

and

in specific

smiled

two

is the

of

washed!
done

the

hygiene.

about

Water

drains

and

with

taught

gallons

are

it from

else.

generates

be

standards!

eject

obsessed

are

drink

ablutions

Kashmir

so

Somras
to

to

anyone

are

underground

manufacturing

It

affect

hygiene.

should

hygiene

day

the

taught

washed,

have

Meluhans
and

that

a day.

Strict

all

water

are

not

you

Meluhans

why

effluents

Meluhans

So

it does

why

Yes.

toxic.

are

to use

empire

processing

a lot

of

easily

procedure

with

the

waters

Water

from

other

hearing:

the

For

plantations

to

also

generates

the

processing

to

during

crushed

difficulties.

available.

giant

the

churned

begins.

share

has

of water

Also,

to be

fair

not

manufacturing

stable.

have

The

its

branches
of the

of

the

Saraswati

sources

doesnt

work
Is

that

Thats

the

exacty

massive
are

led

The

strange

at

in here

affectionately
Sagar

what

cavern

water

An

surprised
never-ending
It is a bit

noise
it

is.

the

We

base

through

of

have
this

a complex

is collected
call

I keep

in an

giant

churners?
churning

mountain.
system

enormous

machines

The

in

Saraswati

waters

of canals.
pool

in the

cavern

which

we

Sagar.

ocean

You

Shiva,

for

expanse
of hyperbole,

call
he

a pool

of

had

heard

of water

called

admitted

water

by

that

legends

about

name?
the

asked

massive,

Sagar.

Brahaspati

with

a smile.

But

if

you

did

see

off

the

the

size

I would

when

we

came

take

you

Shiva

certainly

you

to

night

him

in reply.

He

looking

would

see

so

realise

the

that

entire

I havent

noticed

we

facility.

seen

are

not

that

It was

too

late

much

of

the

mountain

said,

was

you

a measure

Kanakhala
namaste,
Why

followed

dont

you

CHAPTER

of

outside?

of

respect
rose

by
ask

Nandi.

me

the

felt

Nandi

might

to

the

ask

you

to

ask

Brahaspati
me

something.

commanded,
room

turned

question

checked

want

Kanakhala.

Brahaspati

Brahaspati
real

Shiva
and

leave

but

Nandi.

wants

that
to

something,

and

Shiva

to wait

immediately

to say

He

I think

the

Brahaspati.

Kanakhala

in front

and

said

about

hesitation.

to

I request

was

the
not

them

lunch,

at both

but

May

after

to Shiva
came

that

formal

with

a smile.

to ask?

and

its

didnt

Consequences

want

to

overwhelming,
like

after

something,

turned

Love

around

in time,

Brahaspati

an

like

in last

grinned

himself

pool,

yet.

I will

It

the

mark!

Well

as

of

question

explained

Brahaspati.

He

you
Shiva

enjoyed

in
with

being

front

of

them.

a wry

grin.

He

around

a man

Their
was

who

faith

is

beginning

treated

to

him

like

want

to

equal.

Brahaspati

nodded.

I understand,

my

friend.

What

do

you

ask?
Why

me?

effect

on

going

to become

me

that

unfinished
He

told

Emperor

asked
me?

I am

I might

can

the

and

that?
be

Why

have

to
destroy

asked
a little

did

a blue

saviour

supposed

work
you

Shiva.

the
throat,

of the
be

the
the

but

have

I dont

Suryavanshis.
one

who

will

this

know

The
complete

strange
how

Emperor
Lord

am
tells

Rams

Chandravanshis.

Brahaspati,
tiresome

Somras

his
at

times.

eyes
But

wide
suffice

in surprise.
it to

say

The
that

what

he

told

exactly

say

legend

says

you
that
two

Sapt-Sindhu.
evil.

the

destroying

There

on

many

back

this

need

to

your

will
be

The

be

from

of

Neelkanth

obviously
that

the

destroyer

the

are

other

not

the

that

mean

doesnt

Suryavanshis.

will

they

legend

the

will

evil.

But

Suryavanshis

problems,

besides

the

to solve.
the

Nagas?

hesitate

problems.

the

implies

many

Like

to

Neelkanth

doesnt

are
we

seemed

the

since

of problems?

are

that

The

save

Neelkanth

Chandravanshis

that

Brahaspati

coming

the

correct.

will
that

believe

saved!

kind

There

First,

second,

Chandravanshis,
What

things.

Chandravanshis,
the

be

completely

Neelkanth

Meluhans

destroy

not

the

And

The

will

is

We

question,

for

are

working

hard

did

Somras

why

moment.

the

He

replied

to

carefully.

solve

them.

have

this

But
effect

you?

Yes,
the

why

did

Why

did

of

my

degeneration

dislocated
It

it?

shoulder

repaired

an

impossible!
injuries.

Well,

it did

in my

Brahaspati

one

with

the

Shiva

the

Forget

Somras

about

actually

stopping

repaired

toe.

an

supposed

blue?

incredulous

to

prevent

We

will

Brahaspati.

diseases

and

Thats
ageing,

not

for

bit.
answer.

From

what

Himalayas,

For

have
now

I know,

you

to

do

though,

experiments
I can

come

from

the

the

mountains,

think

to
of only

high

lands

right?

nodded.

The

air

gets

Brahaspati.
body

thinner
There

was

harmed

That

body,

asked

a definitive

explanation.

turn

case.

thought

up

beyond

may

just

throat

a frostbitten

injury?

It is

repair

come

and

my

used
by

have
could

the
had
be

as
is

you

less

to surviving
oxidants.

go
oxygen
with

effect

one

reasons,

up

in
less

Therefore

a stronger
of the

higher

on

thinner
oxygen

the

air.
and

continued

That

means

resultantiy

anti-oxidants

in

your

was
the

less

Somras

you.
agreed

Shiva.

But

if that

was

the

case,

the

Why

rest

just

my

tribe

should

have

also

turned

cold

and

blue.

me?

A good
tribe

of

point,
also

conceded

Brahaspati.

experience

But

tell

me

one

an

improvement

in

air

you

all

have

tribe

did

thing.

their

Did

your

preexisting

conditions?
Actually,

yes

So

maybe

But

since

that

the

the
all

Shiva

of

your
air

throat.

looked

at

do

Brahaspati
and

going

to

rationale
miracle,
been

not

either.

for

why

their

be

blue

sure

there

is

he

dont

some

role

throats,

partial

as

You

at

Shiva

to

it is

We

a scientific

read

can

explanation

between
in

play.

obvious

explanation.

believe

want

to

only

say

the

He

anything

to

in science.

And

if there

explanation
as

do

awkwardly.

I believe

discovered

Then

develop

intently,

everything.

the

in did

the

the

lines

legend

of

of

the

you?

did
lie

not

I am

statement.

smiled

Shiva

lived

may

Brahaspati

last

Neelkanth,

theory

it more.

blue

Brahaspatis

is that

was

insult

beginning
him.

It provides

But

he

like

wasnt

a solution

and

that

appears

like

reason

for

is anything
a scientific

to

it has

not

yet.
people

of

Meluha

not

look

to

science

for

solving

problems?

I am

not

science
will

diluted

research

the

did.

thinner

always
for

they

not

that

you

people

sure,

Brahaspati

is a capable
solve

your

may
to

but

to

believe
rather

So

do

you

than
think

for

fight

that

thoughtfully.

cold-hearted

problems

need

problems
what

said

someone

solve
is

master.

you.

your

Perhaps

It will

own

else

Unlike

only

battles.
will

it is

a Neelkanth,

provide
Perhaps
come

because

you

the

it
tools

it is easier
and

solve

for
their

it themselves.
the

role

that

the

Neelkanth

has

to

play

in

Meluha?
Brahaspati

looked

at Shiva

sympathetically.

I would

like

to think

that

true

Suryavanshis

pressure

on

someone

true

Suryavanshis

and

strength.

duty
coming

of evil

you

take

up

pressure

is

that

and

I certainly

people

depend

on

say

that

I can

do

him

push

himself

the

Neelkanth

it

that

my

country

expect

is

you

to

than

their

the

limit

should

problems.

of

his

only

that

the

put
A

abilities

redouble
time

for

the

too

dont

much

of

a strain

really

want,

for

you

because

to

of

the

Brahaspati.
replied

want

all

rather

to solve

obvious

be

concern,

me

demons

nodded.

it may

asked

not

and

Shiva

responsibility

that

own

of

is near.

of faith?

their

since

concerned
a

fight

is to

efforts,

destruction
Are

else

The

Suryavanshis

No,

should

to

do

to protect
that

Shiva.

all

I can

them

to

and

is expected

This

from

is

help.

wonderful

But

what

if

your

I cant?

Right

now,

cant

me.

So

how

can

any

man

who

I give

my

took

his

word?
Brahaspati

smiled.

own

word

You

appear

seriously

pressure
blue

According
was

to be

in the

throat

a good

the

for

legend

is decided

Shiva

smiled,

the

glad

predicament.

And

man,

blind

to

have

more

Be

You

will

careful,

my

it generates,
land.

by

book,

Shiva.

faith

entire

rule

respecting.

days.

ramifications
or not

worth

coming

and

to his

probably
friend.

your

Remember,

history,

not

finally

found

importantly,

whether

of
will

of

man

the
have
is

ers.

a man
willing

a lot

Because

decisions

fortune-tell

was

face

who

understood

to at least

offer

his
some

advice.
It

was

late

afternoon
lay
A

on

on
his

few

for
them

bed,

the

accept

to

Having

tour

reading

story

he

troubled
behave

They
the

like

A spent

chil

was

reading,
The

demons,
attacked

way

of

thoroughly

Mandar

him.

routinely
Asura

spent

of Mount

a book.

the

Asuras,

Devas.
to

evening.

of

expected
the

the

a detailed

aspects

against
were

in

life.

with
um

having
Deva
This

Brahaspati,

lay

on

The

Asuras

enjoyable

the

Shiva
side

Righteous

were

War

demons

a pathological
cities,
was

trying
not

table.

and
hatred

to
surprise

force
to

Shiva.

What

Devas

behaved,

pursuit

of

seemed

Shiva

heard
first

family.

Some

the

second

The

surprise

through

just

There

wasnt

royalty.

seemed

to

of

in

balled
this

in
salute,

The

Parvateshwar
bow
He

started

politely
Shiva
was
all

had
not

his

could

two

senior

executed

Meluhan

the

rigid

body
rapidly
bent

in

and

low

back

due

be
to

just

row

at

the

far

the

royal

be

going

family.

expected
to the

in

front

usual

Here,

captain

of

Meluhan

attention
to
to

looked

at

Arishtanemi
in

front

salute

his

the

their

return,

the

and

violently

he

rushed

military

in respect

in

when

alit.

repeated

saluted

feeling

because

the

his

steps

general
see

had

of

the
left

chief

quick

right

hand,

chest.

After

of

the

captains

accompanied

of

army.

greeting.
with

slight

head.

surliness,

soldiers

be

out

from

royal

be

of the

looked

must

challenged

The

the

towards

fell

was

tizzy.

formally

of his

could

interest

seemed

would

Parvateshwar

at

this

theory

captain

soldiers

that

man,

equality.

brought

the

it

the

blind

salutary

assumed

the

their

caravan

disembarking

Arishtanemi

of

great

He

a neat

in receiving

that

in the

to be

which

heels,

a fist,

the

servitude

equality

and

the

that

royal

formed

Shiva

in

House.

the

had

motions

from

Parvateshwar
click

was

perceived

be

that

some

limits

Devas

Guest

appeared

carriage.

usual

carriage

the

soldiers

way

personally

of the

notice

people

Shivas

fifth

to

suspected

with

However,

indiscretions

normal

the

Shiva

obsession

the

the

though

outside

the

unethical

Rudra,

Arishtanemi

entrance.
of

the

was

unusually

Lord

balcony

The

though

to

a commotion

floor

arrived.

side

going

to ignore
good.

the

unexpected

victory.

larger

his

was

soldiers,

them,

while

the

captain

behind.
that

of the

the
post

admiration
he

Parvateshwar
respected
strength

inspecting

of that

held.
had

as

reserved
It was

for

the

a reputation
man

repute

whose
in the

for

Parvateshwar

man

of a brave
word

eyes

was

of each

himself.

For

warrior,
true.

Shiva

Arishtanemi

who

bent

A little

on

while

need
he

low

to

opened

the

unfamiliar

odour

left.

that

know

who

of

him

the

marijuana

assaulted

right,

general.
on

his

other

door.

side.

He

did

Sighing

not

sofdy,

asked

change

started
his

senses.

equally

Lords

as

the

Kanakhala,

perplexed.

Brahaspati,
the

litde

who
room.

stood
How

to

the

can

you

discomfort?
that

said

he

appeared

Daksha
should

feeling

is a smell

on

and

Emperors

to this

was

knock

disappeared

the

you

Highness,
It

a soft

stench?

Perhaps

have

heard

smile

to the

subject

Shiva

of his

door.

fixed

is

attention

it to

Dakshas

What

the

later,

open

standing

receiving

Shiva

is

comfortable

with

this

aroma,

said

Shiva.

your

Brahaspati.

that

travels

with

me,

your

Highness,

like

it.
Daksha
he

was

quickly

with

the

said

baffled.

His

face

recovered

his

composure.

malodour.

Daksha,

inform
Its

you
very

formal

his
that

kind

with

you

tomorrow

The

honour

and

me,

hide

his

After

all,

the

you,

my

Lord,

place.

I have

to inform

question

your

It is the

Isnt

basis

my

be

your

mine,

beamed

dominated

you

his

it really

the

had

reached
your

the

revulsion.

Lord

just

said

But

was

happy

thought

guest

Highness,

will

drink

find

you

the

would

house.
Shiva

with

honour

What
of the

as

he

do

you

breakfast

to be

see
heart

moved
think

on
of the

to

the

Somras,

Gods?
a miraculous

continued

it in your

eating

Highness.

appear

will

of

Lord.

Daksha

civilisation,

land,

have

mind.

It does

of our
of our

to

morning,

Highness.

a tour
sure

hoping

excellent,
that

Lord?

I were

would

excellent.

I am

in

to

namaste.
and

taken

nothing

to disturb

back

family

of you

family

Yes

sorry

smile

my

My

my

Im

did

the

Daksha.
goodness

to do

something

drink.
Once
of our

you
way

to save

have
of life.
it.

Your

Highness,

and

treats

is worth
do.

I already

its

citizens

is

such

potent

weapon,

is

joined

in supplication.
in yourself

more
on

very

days

our

as

in our

people,

Shiva

gave

smiled,

troubling

you,

will

Good

see

quietly

seating
Sati

breakfast

over

, had

her

father

She

had

earlier.

been
was
seen

Miracle

is for

I am
the

you

sure

effect

you

that

can

simple

his

hands

have

your

as

much

spend

a few

presence

has

do.

childlike
coming

It has

just

if you

that

can

is what

to

that

of life

belief.
to

been

his

rescue.

a long

day.

Your

Maybe

he

tomorrow?

are

right,

Brahaspati.

My

apologies

for

right

as

Daksha

glanced

left

were

was

an

Next

the

gold

Kanakhala,

empty
empty

Daksha

had

at

the

Brahaspati

chair.

to the

upon

who

to

low
eat.

plates.

The

by

refined

pulling
pin

preferred

replaced
really

nervously

For

chair

and

the

sat

Sati

agonised

and

deeply

to

her

over

the

right.

sat

men

night.

arrangements.

than

him

table

Veerini.

the

by

a good

in return.

Sati.

normally

replaced

cups

his

it exactly

rather

Meluhans

Daksha,

Have

the

mother,

to get

you

the

To

looked

been

at

To

her

said

Lord,

before

meet

Shiva

thought

was

my

is great

Lord.

wished

Neelkanth,

I am

Dakshas

at breakfast.

lamp.

and

to me.

could

Perhaps

Parvateshwar.

right

we

you

waited

prahar

tired

not

it is a way

civilisation

what

Shiva

that

It truly

about

see

against

country.

sure

in you.

realise

looks

my

night,

Sati

will

I am

is needed

and

at

and

Daksha

have

arguing

Shiva
retire

that

country

winked

Highness,

We

we

you

up

Brahaspati

should

All

doubt

what

advanced

Faith

of your

I wouldnt

an

man.
a

highly

However,

tribal

faith

well.

protecting.

Yours

think

his

out

had

turned

table
The

taste
silver

all

hopes

formal

on

stops
too
out

table
and

floor

beloved
enhancing
glasses.
for
many

to be

this

and

chairs

cushions

that

banana

leaf

had

kulhads

, or

mud

She

thought

breakfast

so-called
frauds.

for

that

meeting.
Neelkanths

She

hoped

that

her

father

would

The

crier

the

bent

down

My

behaviour

said

Kanakhala,

At

far

the

Shiva

and

next

holding

to

the

him.

His

whiff

of

politely

as

a low

bow.

her,

went

out

his

had

was

noise

made

again.

The

fixed

an

gaze.

shock

danced

As

rose

the

with

rolled
same

accidentally

his

eyes

instant,

Sati

knocked

over

clang

of

With
on

a duet

doing

Daksha
a

vikarma
of

Shiva.

at

the

who

right

touch,

wanted

this,

stared

blankly

daughter,

looked

at his

He
the

as

Sati

formal

came

Princess
life

the

back

that

aroma

up

Sati.

staring

swear

world:

in

glass
glass

the

which

she

fell

he
of

at

had

the

she

Sati

heavily,

did

Except
from

managed

breathing

What

room.

distracted

effort,
was

could

with

holy

mesmerized.

dumbstruck

had

everything

him

She

smile

is my

silence

rolling

know.

not

know

for

Satis

slightly

the
hand

from

her

to control

the

look

as

if she

had

just

was

that

her

soul

He

had

the

look

that.

standing

Suddenly

the

face.

exactly
gazed

Nandi,

was

unfortunate

with

director

in

superhuman

her

he

fragrance

the

the

already

namaste

a broad

rhythm.

uncomfortable

around

you

Veerinis

with

as

he

standing

Parvateshwar,

retrieved,

before,

people

Veerini.

Daksha

a frantic

by

the

returned

of Shiva

favourite

to

Queen

had

beat

at sunset.

part

At

she

and

he

said
she

heart

There

of

Daksha

Parvateshwar

Emperor.

pointing

wife,

glass

breath

was

As

Lord,

that

Brahaspati
is my

smiled

And

Daksha

right

namaste

of

a glass

again.

floor.

table.

lake

his

usionment

Nandi.

the

of

up

disil

and

to receive

to pick

Lord,

The

to face

Shiva

namaste
servile

to the

have

announced

reverential
at

not

he
at

seen

behind
became

the

was

just

shudhikaran

afraid,
would
the

couple
his

Shiva,
clear

support
couple,

play

to

him.
his

deep

every
in

thought

perfectly

see
The

Lords

reconciled
it in

glee.

being

could

and

another

with

executed.

Satis

expression.

dance

practices,

anguish.

While

to

it quickly.

way

possible.
about

the

If

his

the
some
Lord

Brahaspati
implications

of this

unexpected

Parvateshwar

looked

repugnance.

What

all,

ill egal.

My

Lord,

Please

said

take

Shiva

did

world

where

heavy

the

goings

happening

Daksha

pointing

your

not

at

was

seat

react.
the

and

He

only

breathing.

seven
My

situation.

we

had

tune

was

not

the

barely

concealed

immoral

empty

and

seat

worst

at

his

of

right.

begin.

heard

was

he

with

wrong,

to

shal

sound

on

Dakshas

the

could

words.

harmonious

blissfully

He

was

melody

dance

to

of

for

in

Satis

his

next

lives.
Lord,

repeated

A distracted

Shiva

Please

your

take

Yes

of

Daksha,
finally

course,

a litde

looked

louder.

at Daksha,

seat,

my

Lord,

your

Highness,

said

as

if from

another

world.

Daksha.

said

Shiva

averting

his

eyes

in

embarrassment.
As

Shiva

that

sat

the

and

then

ground

The

banana

for

into
in

was

along

banana

some

It was

Rice

batter.

small

leaves
was

with

in.

breakfast.

and

served
spicy

a simple

delicacy

some

cereals

and
portions

of this

steamed
while

lentils

for

into

still

draped

taste.

The

batter

cylindrical
in
dish

the
was

idli.

Youre

the

Neelkanth?

a still

as

had

willed

calmness

she

brought

a thick

preparation

leaf,
an

food

loved

wrapped

roundels.

called

the

Meluhans

fermented
were

down,

Apparently

so,

Sati

answered

was

back.

some
replied

that

Why

Shiva

question

would

shocked

I be

with
with

Sati

into

her

whispered

softly

to Shiva,

breathing.

a playful

grin.

a raised

Impressed?

disdainful

brow.

The

mask

impressed?

What?!
My

Lord,

Yes,
I

was

evening.

your

said

Daksha.

Highness,

thinking,
Yet

I have

said
said

Shiva,

Daksha.

to stay

here

turning
Our
for

towards
puja

two

Daksha.

should

more

days

be

over

by

this

for

some

reviews

with

Brahaspati.

thoroughly

bored

Thank

you,

vote

of

your

sporting

no

here

point

for

so

Highness,

in

having

much

said

Veerini

Sati

get

time.

Brahaspati

interest

and

that

with

the

royal

So

did

sly

family

grin.

Your

in

Mount

has

reassuring.

table

burst

out

laughing.

Daksha,

exhibiting

spirit.

know

Turning
you

is

in the

is most
entire

You

out

confidence

Mandar
The

There

what

back

were

I meant

to

Shiva,

planning

morning.

he

it

you.

for

may

The

said

continued,

to leave

think

accompany

Brahaspati!

rest

From

Devagiri

be

a
of

what

shaking

his

head.

I know,

my

Lord,

tomorrow

good
us

Daksha,

idea

can

for

catch

Veerini

up

and

with

you

Sati
two

to
days

later.
Sati

looked

that

she

she

had

spent

up

shouldnt
no

as

said,

I think

could

travel

Its

had
that
with

settled

he

My
of

into

two

Lord,
the

her

good

said

but

the

and

With

the

your

told

her

said

her
that

years

she

had

She

had

the

delight,

he

law.

wasnt.
very

back

visibly

of

eighty-five

what

idea,

something

part

broken

Highnesses

obvious

Highness.

Nandi

and

to Devagiri.

content

Daksha.

Turning

to

said,

groups

ensure

for

the

think

Arishtanemi

return

that
are

that

still

in

the

standing

reduced

under

any

circumstances.

for

caravans.

Perhaps,

the

said

escort

Parvateshwar.

Devagiri

contingent
We
we

Arishtanemi

are

broken

journey.

is wise,

Also,

tomorrow

never

why,

Another

In all

right,

transfer.

two

plan.

thoughts.

a very

please

I dont

was

such

both

Parvateshwar,
up

is

then,

Parvateshwar,

had

what
no

this

sure

scared.

she

to know

wasnt

to

to be

vikarma,

though

She

agree

reason

self-control
Shiva

in alarm.

could

preparing
in

Mount

may

not

all

travel

A
for

Mandar
have

large

the

material
cannot

enough

together

part

be

soldiers
day

after

I am

sure

always
Its

there

say

that

settled.

went

You

did

Yes,

go

ceremony

on

it. However,
he

he

last

night

want

I think

absurd,

whispered

In

fact,

the

entire

of

the

few

at

that

and

fifty

Sati

dont

you

enemy

soldiers?

leave

tomorrow

will

to his

thoughts

as

Shiva

and

Sati

again.

wasnt

knew

Though

one

He

his

didnt

other

a shudhikaran,

Shiva.

to

And

arrangements.
back

to each

for

said

all the

Daksha.

equal

Veerini

unhappily

whispering

said
is

Neelkanth,

make

Parvateshwar

a problem,

Arishtanemi

Lord

Please

started

be

each

The

morning.

And

wont

didnt

you?

lying.

He

had

Devagiri.

Sati

asked

He

would

ask

Sati

gone

for

didnt

him

seriously.
a

purification

believe

the

next

he
time

needed
they

met.

to lie to her.

the

concept

of

doing

shudhikaran

is

completely

is ridiculous.

I think

Shiva.
concept

of the

things

in

vikarma

Meluha

that

is

not

fair

and

that

is

should

be

changed.
Sati

looked

Shiva

up

suddenly

stared

thoughts

hard

running

It was

the

Veerini,

into

Nandi

Arishtanemi.

Daksha,

guest

to see

scheduled
The

any

caravan

had

come

mind.

trying

to

he

prahar
for

Parvateshwar
them

devoid

But

second

departed

face

hit

gauge

next

Devagiri

off.

Brahaspati

sit

in

had

been

of

the

wall.
day

along

Kanakhala

expression.

some

a blank

the

and

of any

when

with

Shiva,

hundred

stood

outside

detained

by

the
some

experiments.

entourage

guidelines

the

her

eyes,

her

of

and

house

her

through

beginning

Sati

at Shiva,

that

had

a minimum
that

in

to

carried

the

of four
the

five

carriages,

was

deeply

same
carriages

Emperor.
that

carriage
had
Since

left

only

as

to be
the

one

there

kept

royal

were

aside

for

procession

carriage

for

this

caravan.
Parvateshwar
which

members

carriages,

but

of
his

the

royal

objections

unhappy
family
were

about
had

to

overruled

the
travel
by

unorthodox
without
Daksha.

way
any

dummy

in

Sitting

on

noticed

one

that

your

throat

I am
the

of

the

Shiva

was

all the

time?

uncomfortable

blue

But

will

wearing

with

throat,

you

comfortable

the

replied
have

his

sofas

inside

cravat

again.

attention

that

the

carriage,

Why

comes

do

when

Sati

you

cover

anyone

sees

Shiva.

to

get

used

to

it.

The

blue

throat

is

not

I get

used

going

to

disappear.
True,

answered

cravat
As

is my
the

Shiva

with

smile.

But

till

to

it,

the

shield.

caravan

left,

Parvateshwar

and

Kanakhala

came

up

to

Daksha.
Why

do

you

have

Parvateshwar
How
it?

can
The

of
he

a person

capable

of it and

We

are

in

every

attack

from

need

a miracle.

when

we

But

has

when

Sati

will

change

My

Lord,

you

horrified
And

front

forget

so

that

the

no
he

do
faith

war

we

rule

laws

not

goes

all

to

Lord?

even

respect.

been

against

a task

asked

deserve

trained

for

rules.

In

our

only

if he

replied

is

found

the

same.

Daksha.

We

face

cowardly

Chandravanshis

can

them.

fight
Our

rules

of serendipity
and

have

And
are

terrorist

dont
our

not

is that

faith.

An

have

even

army

is

working.

We

miracles
faith

too

come
in

the

be

our

people.

in himself.

himself

has

given

openly.

first

my

he

be

my

nothing

Parvateshwar,
of

territory

done

man,

system.

These

rational
so

the

war,

week.

And

And

saviour

of

that

Neelkanth
to

by

in

when

the

a state

their

Neelkanth.
Shiva

of

but

the

to attack

has

to victory

state

other

small

He

trained

one,

attack

faith

is supposed

undeclared

us

concept

Meluha

much

Daksha.

lead

entire

so

doesnt

How
want

can
to do

you

force

him

to

it?

that.
are

going

to

use

your

own

daughter

as

bait?

asked

Parvateshwar.
do

because

you
of his

really
lust!

want

saviour

who

decides

to

help

us

just

IT

IS

NOT

LUST!

Parvateshwar

and

Kanakhala

kept

quiet,

shocked

by

Dakshas

reaction.
What
will

kind
use

with

of a father

do

daughter

so?

my

the

Lord.

happy.

And

She
if

in

you

has

think

She

I am?

just

suffered

doing

so,

asked

may

find

enough

I help

my

Daksha.

comfort

and

already.
country

You

happiness

I want
as

think

her

well,

to

what

be

is

the

better

of

harm?
Parvateshwar

was

about

to say

something,

but

thought

the

it.
We

need

And

the

only

lifestyle
be

to destroy
way

to the

grateful

in their

the
can

people

for

power

we

this,
to

but

stop

us.

they

cannot

Sati

is

the

Neelkanth,

against

But

the

your

side

is if we

can

The

give

stop

may

there

is

able
led

no

way

think

the

to
by

benefits

will
resist

the

he

Daksha.
of our

Swadweepans

rulers

be

a people

the

common

Chandravanshi

They

continued

will

try

everything

us,

but

try

Neelkanth.

would

as

And

refuse

to

if

lead

Chandravanshis.

Highness,

just

that

their

might,

us

do

ideology,

of Swadweep.

they

with

Chandravanshi

do

because

you

he

really

is

in

love

Lord

with

your

does

not

would

come

to

daughter?

our

asked

Kanakhala.
You
to

have
be

missed

on

our

civilisation.
One

has

the

side,

motivation

and

when

And

how

is

know

perfect,

he

is

see

moves

that

He

that.
to

to

is.

to be
We

all the

same.

the

Neelkanth

What
lead

need

already

great

closer

going

the

Lord

but

in himself

frowning
what

The
Daksha.

to not

belief

itself

Parvateshwar,

not

blind

assert

You

said

Maybe
to be

point.

us.

That

belief

are

and

needs
in himself

great

is the
will

to Sati.
happen,

your

Highness?

asked

slightly.
most

powerful

force

in

a mans

Daksha.
Kanakhala

convinced

Parvateshwar

looked

at Daksha

nonplussed.

life?

asked

It

is

his

intense

expounded
desire

Daksha.

after

driving

me

to

develops

at me.

of

a deep

desire

I have

want

as

life

the

me

to

the

to make

Sati

will

my

most,

father.

proud

of

me.

re-establish

And

proud

loves

My

today.

him

who

India.

he
loved

even

make

King

across

person

always

is driving

I still

destiny

way

impress

is what

death,
my

Suryavanshi

when

of him,

the

the
he

It

will

is

pure

Neelkanth
rise

to fulfil

destiny.

Parvateshwar
quiet

frowned,

all the

But

what

know

takes

if Sati

seeks

who
my

an

out

curiosity,

interesting

point

what

do

Daksha

laughed

out

most

powerful

Both

with

the

logic,

but

kept

before

my

Daksha

to speak

Oh

relax,

loud.

of view,
you

Why
force

asked

Kanakhala.

Like

her.
confidendy.

your

Parvateshwar,

think

is

do

you

in my

to

find

Lord,
the

smiled
most

ask?

life

know

what

it

Kanakhala.

powerful

Dont

is the

you

desire

Just

force

in

know?

to get

out

of the

up!

guffawed

seem

about

my

wakes

Kanakhala

didnt

way

with

Daksha

mother-in-law

and

Parvateshwar

different?

her.

life?

house

agreeing

time

replied

womans

the

all his

daughter,

Thats

Well

quite

something

spends

to impress

of

not

same.

a husband
I

him

his

to

Look

to impress

Even

his

desire

loudly.

it funny.

I am

sorry

You

take

but

that

is

no

mother-in-law.
said

Kanakhala.

everything

too

seriously
I think,
life

is the

said

Daksha

need

to

smiling,
be

the

appreciated,

most
loved

powerful
and

force

cherished

in a
for

womans
what

she

is.
Kanakhala
emotions.

smiled

and

nodded.

Her

emperor

truly

understood

human

CHAPTER
The
As

10

Hooded
the

out

caravan

from

went

on

After
barely

short

into

Veerini

and

Its

towards

said
his

The

platoon

The

dense

Yes,

up

Nandi

her,

was

the

on

of

and

to the

them

up

to

Highness,

and

with

putting

safe

Nandi

mountain

high

sixty

alert

years

Veerini

and

perhaps

its

a quick

down

know

my
eye

figure
without

ago.

was

with

an

said
time

with
to get

nod

got

up.

Sati,

the

scope

and

turning

him.

an

let

his

and

effective
eyes

the

caravan.

shield.
linger

the

scope

he

was

man

who

had

fought

him

Who

is that

at

on
in
the

Shivas
no

doubt
Brahma

man?

was

to

the

say

one

that

who
the

foiled

the

previous

last

attack.

attempt

failed

unplanned.

presence

of

Vishwadyumna

the

could
was

that
wise

caste-unmarked
not

unlike

objective
however,

was

from

using

He

wanted

it was

concealed

Lord.
on

Vishwadyumna

It

distance,
foliage

same

I dont

your

Even

weeks

was,

captain

hooded

some

ultimate

prayer

man

came
Your

the

at

temple

Lord.

Shiva

the

beard.

impenetrable

the

that

his

over

Bhabravya

at

was

body.

The

Watching

Vishwadyumna

muscular

because

a short

that

Lord.

said

Keep

requested

Sati,

offered

leading

followed.

and

this

Veerini,

passage

carriage.

looked

Shiva

Veerini

a strapping

impatience:

the

chiselled

Mandar,

and

and

while,

carefully

minute.

Bhabravya,

concealed

back

knees

moustache

benefaction.

Arishtanemi

intimidating

the

Mount

for

their

continued

from
of

stopped

down

the

depths

be

its

Returns

emerged

the

carriage

for

Figure

understand
him.

was

enough

man
the

Perhaps
clouding
to keep

recent
it

his
his

had

was

litde
irrational

the

judgement.
thoughts

role

to

play.

decisions

closeness

of

of
the

Vishwadyumna
to himself.

Perhaps

we

could

will

be

this

over

was

correct

No,

well

days

them

safe

distance

with

Yes,

Lord,

said

tactical

And,
The

more

Yes,

my

It was
the

time

that

maids

quickly

of

clearing.

stood

on

take,

they

Their

quickly,

more

at

can

the

informer

least

get

half
have

to

arrives.
see

added

people

It

We

carriages

back-up

happy

done

are

Lord.

immediately.

before

diminished.

that

new

signal

not

the

of the

the
the

get

in

was

about

that

the

his

Lords

hooded

figure.

hurt.

crack

of a twig

down

sound.
who

and

the

There

realising

the

made

instincts
a

mistake,

to

Queens
centre

closer

to

the

Bhabravya

eagle

eye

the

Arishtanemi

half

rice

at

back

it in the

an

mid-way,

His

The

sitting

others
of

cut

Devagiri.

party,

while

none.

had

were

stopped

been

heating

keeping

Stopping

was

had

towards

rear,

caravan

impossible.

helping

road.

he

forest

Shiva

royal

to eat

the

started

direction

a second
the

the

and

in the

down

when

attack

food

the

from

take

Here

party

ground

sat

prahar

surprise

the

caravan,

Apart

another

royal

also

third

lunch.

made

higher

had

predator,

for

The

Shiva

for

when

it

unpacked

surroundings.
soldiers

more

had

clearing

distance

of

hours

Vishwadyumna,

beginning

half-way

head

Queen

is done

my

back-up.

to the

Mandar.

attack,

Lord.

the

the

we

Arishtanemi

emergency

I want

we

back

task

brilliance

remember,

before

report

an

our

hour

the

Mount

send

to ensure

my

famed

a few

can

an

from

from

that

need

around

and

for

distance

We

for

quickly

wait

systems

track

kept

told

the

watch.

when
he

on

he

heard

the

listened

intently

him

was

was

this

now

keeping

still.
Shiva

looked

over

at Sati

to see

was

staring

intently

down

the

foot

on

broken

twig

eased

been

the

missed

by

most,

except

if she

road.
its

had

There

was

pressure

a focussed

heard

the
a soft

slightly.

listener.

sound.
crunch
It

would

She

too

as

the
have

Shiva
his

immediately

shield

on

Bhabravya
well,

his

too

whispered

to

and

disconnect
dont

Come

with
on

No,

Im

staying
rushed

locked

it from

his

their

his

and
men

sword

and

fixed

drew

to

his

do

the

sword

as

same.

The

of seconds.

swords

and

got

into

traditional

dont

darted

before

being

wrong
objective

you

either.

her

maids

We

may

not

followed

by

on

southern

up

pretend

the

the

pay

for

to

Sati

a high

sit

get

are

in

the

them

not

to

retreating

rushed

have

the

to pull

much

out

time.

maids

who

quickly

I know

their

tactics.

by
What

of

thoughts

out

We

will

draw
will

us

send
into

chase

They

whispered
target.
you

a defiant

difficult

and

them.

have

those
run

into

carefully,

think

would

be

more

Nothing
think

in surprise.

enemy

They

mistake.

and

I said

border.

losses.

this

Do

aide.

retreat

one

profile

family.

at Shiva

her?!

to

single

replaced

with
of

royal

the

about

will

for

the

eyes

hurry.

every

aiming

carriage?

Whats

But

We

to his

turned

wait

face

as

too.

first

whispered

care

They

than

in the

Veerini

carriage

party,

destroy

be

carriage

kidnapping

cowards

significant

Satis

the

meanwhile,
must

in

please

inside.

Arishtanemi.

they

maids

the

Please

suicide

and

Mother,

carriage.

these

turning,

the

enemy

Bhabravya

advance

Shiva,

without

pleaded

into

seen

bastards

the

the

stronghold.

Shiva

out

caravan
to

out

Take

here.

a distance,

will

pulled

in a matter

from

Sati,

the

Veerini

I have

it.

horses

me

holds

main

ready

Veerini

want

the

the

the

signals

pulled

lock

the

we

an

across

battle

Nandi

carriage

At

down,

positions.

Sati

and

plate

silent

were

and

fighter

Shiva

quick,

Arishtanemi

his

back.

saw

giving

Sati

put

that

A pained
glare.

you

too

look

crossed

her

going

to fight...

is completely

logical.

Make

the

to

they

lose

the

get

I am

should

at

and

will

to fight.
pushed

these

of

his

mind

to

focus

on

the

road.

The

rest

of the

movement
was

from

the

may

the

enemys

have

turn

Shiva

making

the

Shiva

Arishtanemi

false

sound

Though

impatient

to

and

Kicking

it

open,

chimney-like

in

feet.
the

Devagiri
fire
the

box.

of

if the
that

the

highest

back-up
He

attack

began,

A small

band

One

blowing

Another

head

hard.
with

did

not

cloth,

last

of

hard.

did

the

signal

was

scouts

the

nearly

both

from

the

right

six

side

the

away.

the

Nagas

of
the

hours

intend

not

at

signifying

was
not

tubular

for

a branch
on

of

box

chimney,

Bhabravya

the

ten

soldier

the

to

side.

the

slots

each

That

standard

rushed

smoke

picked

Help

kill

it was.

the

the

by

the

the

battle
and

to
the

that.

from
of

seen

of

was

to announce

the

from
the

four

Mount

bottom.

danger.

to

before

that

what

forget

on

up

the

of

However,

who

button

be

out

not

aide,

soldier

of

intended

Then

Arishtanemi.

The

level

rode

long

Mandar.

could

it

shell

Whatever

blown

at the

ensured

direction

exactly

It was

straight

fumed

Chandravanshis
the

Mandar.

smoke

long.

pressed

and

it into

the

fixed

chimney

Mount

Red

box

extended

forest

pushed

presence

last

aide

The

dense

and

and

Four,

the

a red

structure

twenty-five
lost

out

that

conch

sound.

an

It

them.

did

ordered

any

ambush.

move.

knew

conch.

for

thought

of

cacophonic

Bhabravya

He

pulled

not

the

they

the

towards

border

fight,

procedures.

carriage

the

as

from

intentiy

for

sound

did

rapidly

of a Nagadhvani
attack!

Just

but

to Esten

prepared

the

road

southern

of a Naga

operating

the

recognise

launch

were

alarm,

moving

the

nerve

a move.

around

was

from

the

make

turned

not

every

They

down

noise

could

to

from

Mandar.

strained

enemy.

been

reverberated

was

caravan

of

the

road

Chandravanshi

was

amongst
except

side

holding
them

for

small

leading

soldiers
the

had

Naga

covered

slits

for

charged
conch
his

his

to

at

the

shell

entire

eyes.

Mount

and

face
The

and
Naga

himself!
Shiva

move.

He

could

see

the

battle

raging

at

the

far

end

of

the

caravan.

did

not

There

were

any

support.

need

where

they

were.

Sati

only

ten

He

Chandravanshis.

signalled

agreed

for

to

she

too

The

Sati

and

expected

Arishtanemi

Nandi

this

to

stay

attack

to

be

a ruse.
The

battle

was

viciously

but

turned

Most

By

and

yelled

time

not

some
left,

with

back

towards

from

which

Kill

them

behind

hear

towards
calm,

expected,

they

all.

their

Shiva

cry

captain

out

the

princess

Nandi

and

side

crack

back,

in

loud.

No!

tight

look

he

spoke

no

the

middle.
The

are

The

Arishtanemi

pursuit

of

Stay

here.

order,

the

Dont

and

who

into

Then

the

hooded
Suryavanshi
stationary,

leader
the

formation

real
figure

emerged
caravan.

waiting

for

a voice

come

facing

that

return

to fight

in that

Shiva

liked

nothing

exactiy

what

by

began.

Forty

Shiva

turned
direction

the

The

outnumbered

he

to come

steady

back

for

when

and

Keep

the

about

five

they

nodded.

more

trees,

both

realise

direction.

and

and

Pointing

direction.

than

was

doing.

They
a

were

clearheaded
They

quickly

waited.

Chandravanshi

from

enemy

the

the

from.

will

knew

in

Shiva

was

Arishtanemi

They

their

that

will

have

at

left

Arishtanemi.

them

ordered

attack

to Devagiri

to hold

looked
men.

soldiers.

remaining

fours,

will

was

majority

come.

attack

in

other

had
the

actual

Shiva

leading

with

Chandravanshis

batde-hardened
calm

at

We

Shivas

twentyfive

road
twig

formation

minutes.

there

of the

to

heard

Chandravanshis.
just

of the

is where

in the

ten

the

again

This

Arishtanemi

chasing

Sati,

his

into

of the

the

turned

got

Bhabravya

fought

them.

clearing

Get

soldiers

fast.

Bhabravya.

did

already

He

Chandravanshi
As

retreated

dashed

them

the

had

The

Chandravanshis.

of

chase

fierce.

outnumbered.

Arishtanemi

retreating

or

time

them,

The

and

were

in no

After

short

soldiers

walking

slowly

Arishtanemi
to them.

led
towards

by

a
the

remained

Surrender
figure.

the
We

The

want

same
but

We

dont

want

we

promise
re

the

any

Brahma

will

leave,

said

the

hooded

temple?

He

strange

got

either,

said

Shiva.

Leave

quietly

and

you.
looking

at

conveying

death

anger

remained

eerily

in the

through

face,

his

barbarian,

posture

said

rather

than

composed.

the

brown-turbaned

He

clearly

figure.

we

bloodshed.

bloodshed

whos

noticed

and

well.

to kill

which

hooded

the

fights

one

us

unnecessary

figure,

voice,

Shiva

he

the

to

from

not

hooded

his

no

joker

costume,

You

princess

officer

wanted

to

look

attack

impatiently

fast

and

at

the

get

this

over

And

its

soon

with.
Dissension
The

in the

only

going

to

face
be

brainless

ranks?

Im

looking

shoved

at

down

lieutenant

of

is a stupid
your

yours

festival

pathetic
that

mask.

little

he

throat!

shouldnt

Also

give

tell

that

battle

plans

away.
The

hooded

figure

remained

calm.

Not

turning

to

look

at

Vishwadyumna.
Damn!

This

This

is

Hand
Sati

last

warning,

her

over

suddenly

grill.

Blow

loud

plea

The

hooded

towards
The

for

help

the

hooded

figure.

the

carriage

new

emergency

emitted

from

as

she

conch

shell

realised
close

something,
to the

front

Arishtanemi
said

the

carriage.

Bhabravya

and

his

summoned.
figure
He

cursed

as

very

little

had

Suryavanshis

Steady,

repeated

now

turned

been

away.

other

barbarian,

it now!

had

taken

right

Mother!

men

The

is good.

the

shouting,

man

would
stayed

Shiva.

be

he
time

back

realised
to
soon.

his

advantage

complete

his

had

operation.

been
The

Charge!

in position.
Wait

for

them.

All

you

have

to

do

is buy

time.

Keep

the

Our

princess

friends

As

the

will

and

of

Shiva

moved

Chandravanshis.

to

unbalanced.

of

Shiva

Vishwadyumna
left

with

to block

right

shield.

the

attack

the

slowed

no

choice.

tigers.
flank

of

Sati

as

close

Shiva

out
left

the

blow

Nandi

meanwhile

Chandravanshis

trying

an

to

of his

advance

parried

through

had

dangerously

Shivas

his

surprise

vicious

to force

easily

back
of Sati

sword

broke

Arishtanemi

the

got

speed

Satis

like

protect

his

suddenly

The

Chandravanshis

swung
the

Sati

figure.

Vishwadyumna

However,

her.

way.

Vishwadyumna
and

pushed

moved

rapidly

to charge

down

side.
the

meantime,

blows.
and

The
was

Shiva

not

same

his

Shivas

shield

attack,

Nandi

was

able

right,

Shivas

and
had

to

Shiva

long

Nandis

thigh.

another

the

pulled

his

himself

unharmed.
shoulder

Grimacing,

Shiva.

sword

shield

that

had

Vishwadyumna

from

his

fierce

to defend

and

attack

brought

with

arm

in to

With

up

the

to

protect

thrust
himself.

of

was

slash

Shivas
his

prompdy

brought

move
an

sword

unsettled

excellent

chest.

Stepping

swifdy
his

down

shield

him.

swordsman.

back

He

up

and

in a

brutal

to block

staggered

It was

the
back

going

to

be

duel.

already

a law

alive

back.

brought

unorthodox
Shiva

broken

off

intent

across

pushed

quickly

Vishwadyumna

that

her

figure

enough.

to his

realising
a hard

was

to fend

Shiva

quickly

While

wanted

Vishwadyumna

Vishwadyumna

jab.

He

hooded

seemed

savagely

he
up

the

however,

back.

when

torso.

jumping

attacking

Vishwadyumna

movement,

not

was

figure,

striking

exposed

brought

But

Sati

hooded

cut

been

at

closer,

hooded

quickly

Vishwadyumna

to the

the

at the

advancing

In

soon.
came

the

charged

that

back

attacked

charge

They

be

Chandravanshis

cordon
the

safe.

brought
combat

Bleeding

down
of

one

Chandravanshi

never

attacking

profusely,

Nandi

below
was

soldier
the

waist

ferociously

who

had

and

cut

battling

another

soldier

who

Chandravanshi
making

brought

him

stagger

man.

Raising

bring

it down

brutal

deep
arm

from

the

his

from

the

in a smooth

hand,

Shiva

his

shield

knew

they

to pull
figure

would

quick.

the

Taking

be
of the

She

moved
out

outwards

stomach.

back

back

a knife

slashed

his

the

Nandis

left.

The

injured

leg,

thought
hands,

he

he

arched

The

to

knife

arc

her

his

was

had

his

about

to

forward,

as

buried

sword

if a

were

knock
to

deep

sliced

saw

release

of

up

to

the

left

dagger.

a vicious

his

to

her
left

too

feet,

go

long.

cut
Shiva

The

behind

Sati,

unconscious
to

folds

the

Shivas

to block

back

tried

across

through

he

taking

the

knife

again.

angvastram

cut

the

in front

and

saw

up,

stumbled

He

swifdy

Nandi

from

soon.

head

of

fell,
Looking

brought

behind

too

on

suddenly

he

back.

Nandi

on

he

As

down

hooded

the

back.

As

her

hard

both

but

Vishwadyumna.

Arishtanemi

by

job

from

Chandravanshi

with

Chandravanshis

right

reached
The

the

down

The

high

him

had

continue

With

shield

fall.

sword

to finish

him
in

attacked

his

and

his

force

pounded

had

the

face

her

enemy

with

her

left

hooded

robe

but

but

effect

to

club

she

was
again.

hand,

figures

its

other

she

immense
was

broken

armour.

And

then

with

Arishtanemi

rushed

resounding
back

to fight

Seeing

themselves

vastly

choice.

He

his

from

chasing

Let

them

ordered
the
go,

chances

to

the

family

royal

Bhabravya

looked

fought,

not

the

politely.

It makes

to

Right

sense,

retreat.

now

of

the

foreigner.

the

other

mates.
hooded

figure

stopped

had

no

Bhabravya

again.
Shiva.
primary

admiration
which

and

Shiva

said

with

throat

the

once

Bhabravya,

at Shiva
blue

their

outnumbered,

soldiers

them.

Bhabravya

alongside

Chandravanshis

brave

get

roar,

he

We

will

objective

for
was

the

way

unaware.

have
is

to

this
He

other
protect

foreigner
nodded

Bhabravya

quickly

perimeter

and

touched.

pulled

At

life

maker

rather

Bhabravya
front
rescue

than

party

of

cried
party

the

Nothing

I think

that

restored.

who

saved

clearing.

any

low

arrows.

and

reveal

keep

their

they

were

not

had
to

and

And

one

tight

while

Better

hands

stay

lives

last

escape.

enemy
to

their

The

to

in

Daksha

nine

taken

his

meet

ones
secrets.

shields

waited

You

his

are
said

had

Sati

so

in

till

the

Daksha

injured,

Sati

tight.

reached

by

and

warnings

whispered

are

the

fourth

Kanakhala

Parvateshwars

grip,

not

hugged

Brahaspati

despite

from

he

soldiers

Daksha,

caravan

father,

as

hundred

prahar.

eyes,

bravely,

because

as

had
of

the

a small

tear

you?

self-consciously.

Just

Shes

shes

impressed.

She

isnt

Daksha.
beaten

few

cuts.

You

ied

we

too

she

figured

everyone

beat

them

generous,

as

beamed
her

the

pride.

serious

continued,
out

at

with

the

expression
It

real

crucial

was
plan

moment.

Shiva
of

the

It

was

back.
said

Shiva.

Finally!!

being

back

that

rall

He

she

Sati,

Shiva,

father.

and

as

said

towards

day,

of him

Veerini,

bias,

Turning
the

I think

said

is a mothers

Chandravanshis

But

five

Sati

very

was

for

lost

bodies

serious.
fought

Oh,

soldiers

anxious

the

alright

She

his

second

his

am

wounded

alive

of

Releasing

escaped

too

against

an

accompanied
risks.

in the

Dead

into

arrived.

rescue

hour

lay

soldiers

within.

Arishtanemi

fall

protection

God,

The

was

ordered

for

My

he

Arishtanemi

wounded

three

bodies

since

the

the

least

Chandravanshi
own

formed

generous
have

a terrorist

at

started
attack.

all,

your
You

my
magic
dont

Lord,

said

already.
know

a
We

visibly

grateful

have

actually

how

significant

said

Shiva.

this

is

us!

it wasnt

a terrorist

attack,

your

Highness

It was

an

attempt

to kidnap

the

asked

Daksha.

Kidnap?
That

hooded

man

What

hooded

That

was

seen

Naga,

trying

that

The

colour

her

husband

was

best

intruding

Father?

on

no

Perhaps
I will

that

they

while

been

stabbed

Yes,

my

Lord,

Who

did

this?

I think
to

in the

it was

protect

said
Who
the

Chandravanshi.
combat

rules

Parvateshwar
to cower
Rules
your

at

having
turned

slow

fighting

Veerini

fear

in

Sati

he

glared

at

and

anger.

uncomfortable,

The

as

if

he

alright?

Shiva

turned

family

other
his

are

men,

Sati

and

said,

If you

dont

mind,

alright.

checking
help,

with

Chandravanshi
He

to

alone.

soldiers

medical

Nandi.

roared

who
in horror,

on

the

injured

Bhabravya
had

two

been

This

killed

man

has

back!
Bhabravya

Lord.
who

his

head

rules
But
had

bowed.

of combat?
I heard
been

Chandravanshi

attacked
with

sacred

my

Nandi
the

with

the

foreigner,

And

you

to your

to the

broke

Captain

feel

around

protecting

A little

while

face.

Shiva

Are

the

up

But

of

received

came

warrior.

Dakshas

Daksha,

and

and

Shiva

surprised

moment.

speak

walking

same.

mixture

made

from

if you

He

the

family

was

by

Shiva,

her.

Sati.

if Nandi

behind.

unharmed.

said

excellent

from

faces

Parvateshwar

steps

all

strange

a private

best

ensuring

and

alarmed.

is an

to hurt

a worried

check

He

completely

response

its

go

not

their

asked

Hearing

fight.

with
on

alive

Highness,

excellent

drained

expressions

Daksha,

your

man
but

his

her

response.

movements,

was

wanted

cried

hysterical

I have
his

certainly

man?!
the

Dakshas

princess.

that

was

the

waist.

below

a withering

look

was

attacked

himself

Nandi

he

at Bhabravya,

not

trying

by

this

following

the

causing

him

in fear.
are

enemy

rules,
ignores

he

growled.
them.

They

are

meant

to be

followed

even

if

Yes,

my

Go

Lord.

make

sure

that

the

dead

get

proper

cremations.

Including

the

Chandravanshis.
My

a surprised

Bhabravya.

be

terrorists,

snarled

Suryavanshis.

We

are

that

we

even

get

proper

Lord?

They

asked
may

follow

my

Lord.

Why

do

you

Arishtanemi
had

the

other

If one
that

just

they

just

other.

Some

few

in the

face
is my

But

is

he

He

I cant

spend
answer

The

we

There

are

are
norms

Chandravanshis

will

clear?

Your

point,

ago.

Lord?

asked

an

hour

it would

be

impossible

were

talking

half

mates

beginning
was

Lord,

in

Meluha.

so

much

the

an

with

injured

Nandi

to

simply.

and

believe

with

the

You

had

But

him

each

fall

en

Kshatriya

foreigner,

doubt.

for

way,

family?

get

to find

said

there

so

royal

will

with

to

of a man.

unmarked

makes

they

In the

Nandi

no

What

friend.

battle.

mark

warrior,

jovially

how

ultimate

caste

time

my

about

of the

answered

is a brave

that,

They

their

foreigner.

warriors

does

Ram.

enemies.

spending

this

of death

he

brave

Lord

But

at the

Arishtanemi.

at

ribbing

Because
he

after

hours

were

red-herring

laugh

terrorists.

soldiers.

fought

are

to Nandi.

injured

had

of

foreigner

departed

the

battle

the

next

injured

saw

the

they

Parvateshwar.

owers
our

Is that

call

lying

foll

towards

cremations.

Yes,

Shiva

the

But

are

special?

out

when

so

the
many

And

why

the

time

is right.
The

Arishtanemi

and

smiled.

and

now.

case,
my

He
Bigger

I think
friend.

looked

the

was

at

a soldier.

questions
time

Nandi

is

He
did

right

not
to

quizzically.
bothered
dwel
tell

you

Then
himself

too
that

long
you

shook

his

head

only

with

the

here

in his

mind.

In

any

are

a brave

man,

I saw
the

you

fight

word

That

surrender.

was

that

was

the

rank

a big

of

other,

each

would

other

the

The

be

truth,

to

could

Lord.

nose

bhraata
be

the

was

the

teary

on

that
of

willingly

meaning

my

bhraata!

bhraata

equal

rank.

the

up

to

The

two

together
world

would

of

system

soldier

fight

fight
and

the

each

always

woman

and

for

always

each

tell

each

bitter.

to

of

his

the

own

Arishtanemis
of

now,

empire.
kind.

offered

tears

He
the

the

Arishtanemi
knew

had

to

that
stay

brotherhood

to Nandis

chorded

An

Nandi

bhraata.

being

to bring

me

would

as
The

meant

soldiers

honour

you

a mate

same

only

enough

army

would

elite

know

Arishtanemi.

who

how

were

But

get

the

matter

really

Arishtanemi
Dont

They

no

be

never

the

other.
love

Arishtanemi

offered

brothers

dont

to have

assigned

like

never

the

Meluhan

was

You

proud

from

in the

a captain

for

injury.
be

statement

would

out

your

I would

followed

bhraatas
look

despite

he
with

of

an

eyes.

Arishtanemi,

wrinkling

his

in amusement.

Nandi

burst

out

in

laughter

as

he

slapped

the

Arishtanemi

we

shal

on

his

arm.
What

is your

Kaustav,

name,

replied

Chandravanshi
Ram,

we

By

kill

Agni,
interesting

as

watched

friend?

asked

Arishtanemi.

Nandi.

Someday

together,

all those

we

It was
he

the
army

will

Lord

my

my

friend.

And

by

the

batde

the

grace

of

main
Lord

bastards!

will!
how
Shiva

you

got

getting

into

the

Nagas

the

gash

mind,

on

his

said

torso

Brahaspati

cleaned

and

dressed.
Shiva

had

after

every

Well,
just

insisted
other

I cant
seemed

Well,
Really?

I can

soldiers

really
so

explain

obvious

explain

What?

that

it!

his

injuries

wounds
it,
to me.

said

receive
had

been

Shiva.

medical

attention

only

tended.

How

the

Naga

would

think

The

explanation

cannot

be

conjuring
They

out

gave

down

leaf,

You

will

doctor

need

to

pointing
to do

it for

you.

avoid

the

Somras

for

doesnt

need

done

all the

damage

Shiva

and

Brahaspati

doctor

walked

attack

you?

I dont

area

since

you

the

The

primary

they

went

kidnap

he

The

immediately

the

a cotton

get

cloth.
said

in Devagiri
wet

will

medicinal

foreigner,

doctor

together
distance,
his

for

not

be

the

will

a week.
able

to

be
Also,

take

Brahaspati

Brahaspati.

Its

already

him.

collapsed

into

shaking

his

helpless

head

not

anybody

the

attack

was

Thats

even

harmed
on

me.

more

specifically

for

laughter

again

as

the

in exasperation.

have

down.

I think

Why

it was

for

would

they

Sati.

bizarre.
Sati,

said

Shiva.

I think

the

target

wasnt

there,

family.
target

for

did
and

was

the

a royal

probably

secondary

and

use

not

respond.

bringing

deep
chil

on

joked

You

royal

Brahaspati

Somras,

calming

wasnt

was

doing.

this

Brahaspati

Sati?

It probably

out

and

slightly.

it with

day,

royal

said

think
Why

the
it can

away,

seriously,

Sati!

period

wide

bath.

he

But

this

let

name

wound.

with

second

The

which

covering

wound

every

dont

eyes

back

to the

and

the

rock

at

tending

bandage.
And

to

look,

paste

that

his

whose

magician.

stern

finish

N,

opening

Shiva

bandaged

the

omnipotent

ancient

him

change

at

able

Oh

an

Ayurvedic

doctor

the

causing

let

the

the

complete

like

Shiva

and

applied

neem

up

are

Brahaspati,

laughing,

doctor

quietened

you

said

hands

burst

Having

that

spoken!

his

military

is

in

um,
turned

that

before
to

person
He

close

carefully
at

as

think

he
the

aim

was

to

leverage.

to

worried.
his

reached
filling

his

Since

Sati.

seemed

Shiva

look

Emperor.

target,

them

thought.

the

friend,

Clasping

face,
into

it with

he
his

some

unhappy

his

looked
pouch

into
and

dried
at

hands

what

the
pulled

marijuana.
he

was

Ive

never

well...
my

told

since

good

And

wrong,

actually

the

a free

it is my

best

worst

Shivas

face

good,

my

Shiva

lit

to draw

chil

could

prompted

have

with

this

marijuana

I consider

you

I have

seen

some

habit.

Its

not

grinning

broadly.

This

is

This

past

has

many

memory,

harmful

causing

side

effects.

untold

damage

knowledge.
uncharacteristically

a melancholic

serious.

smile.

idiot

who

smokes

this

um,

took

a deep

drag

That

is exactly

is scared
and

He

gazed

why

it is

of forgetting

continued,

They

are

sharply
his

at

Shiva,

friend

wondering

to get

what

addicted

to the

terrible

past

weed.

Unveiled

next

morning

spending

the
the

safe

wounded,

to

fifth

the

soldiers

who

the

privilege

of

Kanakhala

royal
had

containing
for

family

on

along

with

of the

ceremonial

its
camp

considering

the

lying

in the

journey
in

first

the

previous

days

relative

comfort.

the

rest

of

travelled

the

Parvateshwar,
wooden
martyrs.
submersion

the

three

Shiva

in

The
in

urns
the

Devagiri

clearing.

in

the

batde

that

were

in mourning
and
carried

would
Saraswati.

be

and

fourth.

Brahaspati

troops,

It
The

carriages

Bhabravya

palanquin

to

circumstances.

and

horses

Arishtanemi.

ashes

in

resumed

temporary

were

a make-shift

the

night

fought

riding

walked

bore

at

at

Nandi,

The

slain

caravan

night

including
one.

royal

travel

the

families

truth.

as,

11

Neelkanth

soldiers

the

shouldnt

forgetting.

stared

three

But

you

your

became

No

Brahaspati

the

Brahaspati.

Shiva,

Shiva.

on

with

his

of not

wasnt

I probably

world.

harms

suddenly

up

CHAPTER

in the

it even

friend.

said

know,

at Brahaspati

after

tell

Karachapa

habit

of all,

ability

The

and

said

to

friend,

dont

to your

scared

Shiva

man,

duty

in

my

probably

back

before

you.

Youre

And

are

merchants

for

You

this

you

friend.

Egyptian

you

All
given
and
for

two

other

three

urns

given
Shiva,

to their
Sati

and

Nandi

too

condition

wanted

to do

walked

, as

forged

he

with

his

prayed

for

cowardly

own

them.

the

day

donate

slain

Even

I didnt

insisted

shown

bis
he

they
He

they

cursed

get

were

in no

soldiers.

His

the

made

for

not

was

six

metal

not

being

being
in

pledged

next

of
for

a chance

silendy

for

his

himself

she

finally

also

salary

were

when

would

of

himself

Sati,

He
his

bravery

castigated

Chandravanshis.

of the

doctor

the

furnace.

He

when

at

had

goddaughter,

anonymously

the

pride

them,

Indras

to fight

protect

with

called

in Lord

there

but

so.

Parvateshwar
boys

to walk

to

danger.

He

to destroy

the

that

months

there

he

would

to the

families

soldiers.
think

he

would

fall

to

these

levels!

exclaimed

Daksha

in disgust.
Shiva
by

and

Sati,

Dakshas

Veerini

up

from

to concentrate

Who,

your

Dilipa!

asleep

in

the

carriage,

were

woken

up

outburst.

looked

eyes

comfortably

book

her

husband.

on

Highness?

That

the

blight

asked
on

that

Shiva

humanity!

she

was

reading,

narrowing

her

barely

concealing

his

groggjly.

said

Daksha,

loathing.
Veerini
out,

continued

pulled

Satis

it gentiy.
Sati

rested

her

He

is

the

she

looked
tired

is Dilipa,

is the

kidnap

her

to force

Shiva

gazed

And

at

of the
to

be

on

of

my

her

mother

my

She

it close

hand

slowly

to her

lips

protectively

warmly

with

on

a hint

reached
and

top

of

kissed

of

Satis

a smile

and

shoulders.
asked

Shiva.

Swadweep,
of

husband.

brought

Veerinis

apple

eye.

answered
And

they

Daksha.
were

possibly

Everyone
trying

to

hand!

Daksha

with

Emperor

reduced

at

other

Highness?

Emperor

Sati

her

her

head
your

hard

in hers,

put
at

knows

outrage

stare

hand

Then

hand.

Who

to

at the
to

the

sympathy.
latest
level

He

could

Chandravanshi
of

even

using

understand

the

treachery.
a

Naga

for

this

nefarious

plan,

said

Chandravanshis
I dont

are

know

softiy.

if the

however

Shivas

insinuation.

the

leader.
diseases
have

show

skills.

and

most

enough

that

Turning

And

just

Your

are

my

Highness,

am

not

I will

man

At

least

my

Lord,

the

empire.

at

the

the

they

have

do

as

all

that

I can

cannot

just

that

they

power

all

Meluhans,

have

sunk

low

hate

us

They

they

Do
have

need

well.

are

bringing

to help

tribal

ranting
you
no

your

We

lead

a simple

of

Dakshas

We

family

and

tremendous

heart

embarrassed

demons.

They

to one.

be

on

Nagas.

continued,

ten

under

the

kind

code,

no

honour.

my

of

Lord.

Its

in danger.

you,

an

see

help

are

in silence.

said

army

leader.

What

Shiva.

But

against

the

difference

can

make?
let

me

announce

urged

Daksha.

Your

because

let

announce

your

you
of

you,

your

presence

Just

presence

difference

attack
me

are

Daksha

my

I am

Nagas

sins

this

deformities

The

the

Lord?

can

Chandravanshis

realise

my

Naga

horrific

deformed

with

be

crimes

to hear

general.

Chandravanshis.
one

but

The

of

certainly
No

in the

explore

leader

terrible

continued

us

people,

But

Shiva

even

for

terror

even

against,

outnumber

the

said

to

the

almost

with

birth.

those

interacting

up

born

well.

with

Shiva,

been

Chandravanshis.

strikes
as

anger

have
would

to anyone.

Veerini

what

leader.

a punishment

dont

by

and

we
they

not

they

towards

vermin

face

shows

Highness,

righteous

he

previous

consort

souls

Sati

but

presence

even

own

Shiva,

as

just

your

the

may

the

Swadweepans
to

was

people

in their

Their

much

their

of

used,

in his

Lord,

birth

their

he

Naga

cursed

committed

and

so

my

this

being

lost

The

are

in

to even

too

This

of!

was

command

They

Daksha.

though

was

platoon,

overall

capable

as

Daksha

furious

Naga

It appeared

particular

spend

will

made

raise

a few
the

yesterday.

because
arrival.

to the

That

of

your

weeks

morale
We

court

is all I ask.

the

travelling
of

actually

presence

and

the

of

through

people.

foiled
mind.

people,

Look
terrorist
Please,

Shiva

looked

Satis

and

What

am

All

Veerinis

said

Daksha

got

Thank

you,

embrace

You

come

weeks.

have

protested

air.

Then

He

could

feel

Satis.

Sati

to

our

daughters

in an

unyielding

Daksha,

as

I will

you

I will

will

is not

leave

personally

tone

life

in

presence

a tour

of the

all

as

that

Sati

from

his

at

the

empire

in

arrangements.

you

for

security.

well.

I am

danger.

the

with

you

anywhere.

withdrew

your

make

accompany

going

Shiva

for

travelling

in a harsh

grip.

announce

can

brigade

Veerini

use.

Shiva

for

Sati

mother
put

trepidation.

into?

full

and

with

Especially

exclaimed

up

three

Parvateshwar
No!

Lord!

itself.

will

him.

hugged

tomorrow

another

face

in resignation.

and

my

to

on

myself

Shiva

up

earnest

eyes

I getting

right,

court

at Dakshas

had
not

She

is

never

going
staying

heard

her

to allow

you

with

me

in

Devagiri.
Veerini,

dont

anything

would

She

is at the

She

is

not

Daksha

turned

will

also

said

happen

to

when

going.

Satis

I will

silly,

safest

clutching

Lord.

be

And

hand

that

if

You

Lord

Neelkanth

the

is with
is

calmly.

the

final!

really

think
was

that

around.

Lord.

glared

Veerini

in

a firm

voice,

tighdy.

all

travel

Sati
she

towards

have

Daksha

the

with

Shiva,

ignoring

arrangements
you.

Veerini.
made.

You

will

just

Dont

worry,

Parvateshwar
have

to

my

and

Sati

restrain

Sati

sometimes.
Shiva
Daksha
a litde
child,
sword,

frowned.
smiled
too
she

So

genially.

brave
had

to save

did

at

My

darling

times.

jumped
an

Sati.

in

like
all

old

woman

killed

for

daughter

this

by

one

the

time,

when

with

nothing

herself,

being

has

attacked

tendency
she

by

a pack

one

of the

was

but

to

be

just

her

short

of wild

dogs.

She

nearly

got

herself

her

pains.

It was

worst

days

of

my

life.

I think

it is the

same

impulsiveness

which

worries

Veerini

as

keep

her

well.
Shiva

looked

Thats

at Sati.

why,

restrained.
Shiva

continued
Then

again

with

the

boundless

She

did

what

The

next

The
a

had

Bath.

wood

The

figures

like

been

inlaid

ars.

Pennants

the
Lord

causing

another
the

Murmurs
was

how

had

ars

had

been

devas

and

gold

next

coupled

to Daksha

in

of the

court.

on

you

family

the

dismay

the

the

into

be

was

Great

Public

the

standard

made

set

grooves

sculpted
celestial

carved

designs

little

understated

the
of

was

of

teak

on

the

strong.
laid

rishis

had

to

floor,

extravagantly

walls

have

attack
the

next

constructed

yet

the

and

this

wooden

had

royal

red

to

apparent

in

top

colour

and

that

had

of

the

hung

depicting
admire

his

gods

roof

the

paintings

time

celestial

nymphs,

crowned

and

with

the

the

pill
from

life

of

glorious

speech

and

were

there

was

discomfort.

may

on

been

colour

would

considerable

built

ornately

blue

Since

reticence

was

silver

holy

expectations

of

you

admiration

wonderstruck.

been

An

and

niche

him

shaped,

ars

Shiva

terrorist

royal

of

seated

including

pill

But

of

It

itself,

others.

Each

him

many

a surge

Meluhan

had

and

of the

Ram.

Dakshas

As

pill

with

architecture

that

her.

left

usual

carved

amongst

ceiling.

court

platform

apsaras,

sages

face.

problem.

himself

bypassed.

wooden

platform.

the

structure

easily

Brawny

suggesting

felt

for

found

the

the
the

felt

her

do.

of

been

While

kiln-bricks,

he

no

on

court.

building,

designs

He

Shiva

magnificence
public

Sati.

at

expression

I am
be

I couldnt

royal

no

should

love

morning,

was

Daksha,

there

glanced

Meluhan

There

heard,

yesterday.
road

filled

Chandravanshis

the

announced
The

from

Mount

court.
had

The

Daksha,

Chandravanshis
Mandar
question

discovered

tried

to

harm

to Devagiri.
troubling
the

route

everyone
to

Mount

Mandar.

Shiva

terrorist

attack.

meanwhile

kept

It was

a kidnap

just

Chandravanshis

said

Daksha,

drowning

out

the

murmurs

The

talented

architects

of

the

court

that

across

the

decades,
An

any
entire

we

beaten

before.
dreaded

until

terrorist

attacks

on

soldiers

could

Raising

his

them

beat

day,

strikes.

the

court

wasnt

at

the

structure

platform
For

this

in

resonated

the

first

time

announcement.

from
had

and

voice.

in

attack.

terrorists

locations

deception,

booming

back.

assaults

the

his

royal

them

Meluhans

For

this

great

designed

terrorist

the

the

that

with

with

had

beat

military

non-military

the

Chandravanshis

found

no

usually
fled

They

answer

to

launched

before

the

the

surprise
Suryavanshi

arrive.
hand

back

We

open

in

attack

from

we

up

this

their

a cowardly

went

back

But

But

back

roar

planned

spoken

hall.

beat

exultant

had

voice

himself

attempt.

The

manner

had

reminding

to

quieten

because

the

them

messenger!

time

back

We

beat

the

crowd,

for

truth

to

we

were

because
them

Daksha

back

continued,

triumph

has

led

finally

by

because

our

the

Neelkanth

We

arrived!

Father

time

for

beat

Manus

justice

has

come!
The

murmurs

grew

Everyone

had

had

too

been

Daksha

And

Our

winced

at

being

statements

We

up.

true.

varying

be

He

are

had

heard

The

then

put

has
on

rumours,

on

elite

Lord.

arrived?

them.

There

past.

just

come!

in Shivas
my

for

finally

believed

jubilantly

display

Meluhan

nobody
in the

waited

saviour

buzzing
the

But

declarations

hand.

build

removed.

Had

rumours.

false

his

cravat

We

the

many

to

rumours
Shiva

heard

raised

anticipation

louder.

enough
bell

time

owed,

The

Neelkanth

the

royal

thronged

for

Yes!
has

platform

The

come!
with

around

the

him,

his
their

ears.
But

we

never

Lord.

The

believed

them

to

true.
have

nothing

to

fear

anymore,

my

days

of

evil

are

numbered!
Where

are

you

Mount

Kailash?

from,

there.

Answering

these

faith

chance,
A

of
he

few

around
By

the

Lord?

questions

and

being

disturbed

Shiva.

Daksha

later,
what

his

that,

people

requested

considering

is

repeated

these

hours

Lord?

Where

pilgrimage

blind

my

Shiva
had

sat

my

for

permission

in

the

happened

the

like

take

comfort

of

The

he

the

by

moment

to leave

court.

to

confronted

The

quiet

at

would

the

had

court.

his

chamber,

cravat

was

back

from

their

neck.

Holy

Lake,

can

really

deliver

these

people

troubles?
What

did

you

say,

my

Lord?

asked

Nandi,

who

was

sitting

patiently

at a distance.
The

faith

enough
take
am

of

for
on

any

beat

That

enemy

that
them

wasnt

small

organised

the

one

you

can

back

on

changing

Maybe
such

needed.

I am

not

some

lucky

is required,

my
man

and

not

Shiva

I am

no

could

leader.

and

not

to

it appears

that

Your

answer.
are

too

who

troubled
dont

will

kill,

And

my

too
know

with
many
what

we

Lord.

were
a

people

need

need
in your
A

solve

to
way

new
your

be

some
faith
adapt

in
to

of life

system

to
is

problems.

the

conviction

thoughts.

A new

this

system

new

well

may

is against

doesnt

all

face

situation

Meluha

innocent

magically

They

If

the

enemy.

Nandi,
by

kill.

country
Your

cold-blooded

said

anyone,

dismissively.

is to

you

god

I obviously

loud

battie,

against

aim

the

Lord,

But

victory

said

enemies.

times.
on

simple,

me,

is not

Shiva,

to Devagiri.

whose

ask

said

a one-on-one

people.

to

kidnap

That

right,

us
road

army,

take

are

the

to

actually

You

was

anxious,

of evil.

lead

ruthless

man.

there

victory,

If you
and

me

your

a destroyer

large

different.

If

makes

to protect

aiming

and

formidable
just

hear.

a genuine

platoon,

very

to

not

sure

You

people

Nandi

certainly

I am

your

of
system
should

be.

But

I do

we

faced

better

understand

similar

way.

I am

one

thing.

situation
sure

More

and

that,

than

Lord

a thousand

Ram

similarly,

you

came
will

years

and

lead

us

back,

taught
to

us

superior

path.
I am

no

Lord

How

can

Ram,

this

fool

Purushottam,
You

the

are

Stop

better

this

even
Ideal

than

Lord

Ram?

But

you

shut

up!

The

preparations

will

afternoon.

They

Bhadra,
been

were

Veer

in her

the

Maryada

When

the

empire

of
for

Satis

quiet

the
hell

for

the

compared

him,

my

were

Lord.

in

full

swing.
every

But

respect,

been

Shiva

there

summoned

to

accommodation

you

Just

lessons

friendship.

the

Gunas.

Neelkanth

first

be

was

no

of feelings.

with

did

even

dance

showed

had

stay

to

above

or expression

to

the

him

I done

comfortable

not

Nandi.

you

she

tribe

given
was

meeting

Ram,

better?

place

while

to accompany

bhadra!

Bhadra,

that

Shivas

however,

have

developing

fact

were

assigned

will

time

meantime,
they

that

found

of emotions

Lord

said

considered

still

softening

where

be

tour

the

to

Lord,

What

Shivas

over

the

my

for

agonised

In

Ram,

alone

deeds

however,

me

Man?

Nandi!

Let

do

compare

Lord

nonsense,

with

Shiva,

Nandi!

on

get

time

and
He

his

Devagiri,
jobs.

had

instead

voyage.

this

name?

since

his

Shiva

asked

departure

from

Kashmir.
Stupid

reason

actually,

disappeared

completely,

journey

here,

I saved

me

tide

the

You
Bhadra
Well,

fought

for

then

a brave

a tiger

nodded
you

the

Bhadra,

thanks

to

caravan

man

whose

the

magical

leader

before

single-handed?

feeling
really

smiled

my

from

slight
Somras.

a tiger

asked

to be

attack.

On
He

name.
Shiva,

clearly

awkward.
deserve

hump

called

Veerbhadra!

impressed.

had
the
gave

Yeah

right!

label

smiled

of destroyer

Are

you

that

with

of your

I am

going

with

despite

all

These

I certainly

if I can

this?

are

are

you?

the

flow

right

turning

not

now,

serious.

misgivings,

are

completely

mad,

do

ALL

that

a difference,

giving

my

my

cant

make

You

past,

Meluhans

And

suddenly

The

crazy

of evil...

okay

because

Bhadra,

these

pleas

Something

actually
no

help

just

tells

these

me

people.

doubt.

expect

however

to

friend.

can

they

in

of me.

small,

I can

But

I do

reconcile

feel

that

with

my

past.
If you

are

Dont

sure,

follow.

Walk

Veerbhadra

so

you

meet

am

beside

laughed

I missed
Lets

then

I. I will

follow

you

anywhere.

me!

and

embraced

his

friend.

I missed

you

Shiva.

too.

in the

garden

in the

afternoon.

Ive

got

a great

batch

of

marijuana.
Its

a deal!

Brahaspati

too

explained

that

essential

for

Karachapa
It

Daksha

tour

the

suggestion.

Three

if the

weeks

day
the

finally
day

You

is

Daksha,

team

be

pleasure
returning

good

okay

the

court

for

Shivas
walked

not

Shivas

to

check

idea

to

had

no

with

to

it. Shiva

Shivas
your

to

greeting

with
agreed

empire.

port

those

while

He

chemicals,

the

obtain

this

Shiva.

rare

at

about

of the

to come

come

dock

and
do

with

some

problems

tour
into

travel

carrying
was

me,

need

to

to

announcement

summoned
did

ship

had

he

was

Daksha
have

that

Lord

after

itself,

permission

experiment,

His

said

You
my

critical

dawned

could

namaste.
It

would

the

sought

a Mesopotamian

soon.

anyway.
Shiva.

had

city

of

materials

travelling

with

Brahaspati

joining

enthusiastically

the

Neelkanth,

On

the

to

the

morning

of

chambers.
Highness,

said

Shiva

with

here.

your
with

chambers,
a low

bow.

my

Lord,

I thought

smiled
I

would

introduce
She

the

arrived

Daksha

from

to see

The

pleasure

told

aside

you

all

embarrass

And

you

Ayurvati
How

can

the

shook

gently

touched

hours

Krittika,

his

her
later,
and

the

city
boats

by

back

due

road

Journey

to

through

in a brilliant

the

room.

smile.

Its

so

Ayurvati,

as

she

bent

side-step

Ayurvati.

have

You

my

are

a giver

of life.

Please

feet.

Lord.

The

destroyer

of

evil,

said

privilege

and

and

and

of

Kotdwaar

on

to

travel

the

off.

soldiers,

to

the

inland

Ayurvati

the
city

delta

by
touch

you?
his

feet.

He

her.

set

to

blessed

Parvateshwar,

security

east

let

blessed

Sati,

hundred

of being

Brahaspati,

Accompanying

twenty-five
comfort.
the

They

city

of

Lothal.

of

the

them

was

handmaidens

Beas

port

Ayurvati,

planned

river.
of

and

Saraswati

From

they
and

fifty

to travel

by

there,

they

Then

they

Karachapa.

Finally,

would
then

move

by

boats

Meluha

was

Manu?

to as

the

Father.

seven

into

12

Who

from

entourage.

to Devagiri.

CHAPTER

The

doctor

beamed

Shiva.

Veerbhadra

their

north

the

neatly

my

Shiva,

for

move

to

in despair

head

staff

would

back

the

head

support

use

lit up

touching

me

of fifteen

would

face

Lord,

Neelkanth,

deny

Nandi

till

show

my

said

by

brigade

road

your

devotion.

you

Shiva

few

moved

me

with

with

feet.

Ayurvati,

are

escort

his

mine,

Shivas

before,

dont

travelling

night.

his

Shiva,

immediately
you

last

be

again!

is

to touch

would

to let

exclaimed

good

Shiva

who

Kashmir

moved

Ayurvati!

down

physician

caravan
Devagiri
carriages

had
to

asked

been

Shiva.

travelling

Kotdwaar.
identical

The
to the

I have

for

heard

a few

central
ones

used

of

days

part

him

on

often,

the

consisted

during

the

broad
of

trip

referred

to

road
row

Mandar.

of

Five

of

travelled
with

them

were

in the

second

Ayurvati

every
did

and

rule
not

rest

of

Nandis

had

to

allow

him

the

cavalry.

Shiva,

carriage.

his

key

be

adhered

to

in the

forward,

by

their

rear

and

Brahaspati

Parvateshwar

was

The

Hence

carriage,
had

was

been

respective
side

and
in the

generals

strictly.

Veerbhadra

Led

Sati,

brigadiers.

to travel

platoon.

standard

empty.

fifth,

along

presence
Nandi,

riding

captains,

meant

whose

rank

a horse

inducted

defence

Krittika

as
the

with
soldier

brigade

formations

the
in

were

in

around

the

caravan.
Both

Brahaspati

and

Lord

Manu

was

the...

They

both

stopped

After

you

No,

no,

the

story?

He

knew

Of

course

Will

with

the

answer

Sati.

a warm

smile.

Neelkanth
How

Why

would
can

dont

you

tell

him

you?

It would

be

prefer.

I supersede

me

or

are

you

two

going

to

keep

up

this

forever?

alright,

might

actually

laughed

hilarious

Brahaspati

revered

anything.

manner
chief

of honour
you

Brahaspati.
people

someone

and

And

are
He

Brahaspati.

Brahaspati,
get

inappropriate

the

simultaneously.

Shiva.

is

Well,

said

Brahaspatiji.

protocol

That

code

Shiva

improper.

Alright,

the

voice

not,

elaborate

As

Brahaspati

somebody

asked

answering

Brahaspatiji,

whose

completely

started

talking.

please,
said

Sati

in

any

forbade
right

to laugh

the

seemed

case,
it. He
about

turn

Shiva.

blue

Keep

in a hundred

chortled,

in which

is considered

of India.

smiled

Shiva

scientist

Dont

Sati

was

conversation

how

could

she

had

saved

her

Manu

the

progenitor

now.

this

and

astounded
on.

would

reprimand

the
But

not

if
say

Shiva?

Her

Twice.

being
of

you

at

going

she

life.

up

years.

was

comfortable,

Lord

all over

the
our

Father,

civilisation

said
by

all

Including

Swadweepans?

Yes,

believe

we

and

half

asked

so.

In

any

thousand

apparently

case,

years

prince

from

river,

where

the

That

is the

Sangamtamil.

incredulously.

Lord

Manu

before
south

Narmada
land

Shiva

the

India.

earth

lived
present

ends

more
day.

land

and

the

than

way

great

eight

He

was

beyond

the

ocean

begins.

Sangamtamil?
Yes.

Sangamtamil

the

world.

family,

generations.
by

Having

time

fall

pleasures

for

their
and

God!

Lord

into

He

to

and

had

ruled

records

left

most

powerful

country

in

he

gave

up

for

priests

Pandya.

Interesting.
formidable
The

years

harsh

on

Manu,

many

we

know

of honour.

spent
than

for

their

being

days

in

focused

calamity

the

on

their

occurred.

The

civilisation.

called

would

Mehragarh

how

Lord

had

old

in fact

country

prepared
had

fall

en

gods.
led

of

a band

ships.

He

his

foll

owers

established

western

a moral

became

Manus

of

in the

establish

is a derivation

did
see

and

and
his

deep
to

robes

pandit,

With

he

in a fleet

Wanting

we

of the

calamity,

princely

come

decadence

wrath

lands

immediately
them.

the

the
the

in India,

India

land

Lord

code

a terrible

entire

day

it was

Meluha.

So

their

this

incurred

his

rather

Then

by

old

they

wealth

that

Shiva.

higher

day

their

ways,

life.

that

at a place

present

richest

lost

corrupt

destroyed

escape

northern,

had

spiritual

knew

had

Wanting

camp

kings

the

fabulous

believed

that

the

from

exclaimed

Manu
it.

the

Pandyas,

on

of their

rose

My

the

en

and

seas

the

However,

his

duties

then

Lord

Manus

that

was

of Lord

first

mountains

and

a priest.

his

to

In

just
fact

Manus

society,
the

family

litde

band

grow

arrival

at

Mehragarh

of

into

term
name

the

today?
following
each

years

their

monsoon,

the

flooding

were
and

sea

tides

would

force

of

become

Lord

Manus

waters

stopped

original

levels.

This

means

the

were

river.

and

six

Ganga,
Lord
of

to

great

Sarayu
Manu

our

land

rose

had

the

gods

however,

deep

men

the

and

with

abated

never

south,

sea

the

and

receded

the

had

Once

came

minor

rivulets

rivers

stream

emerged

the

down

across

started

with

huge

Himalayas

sea,

of

years

the
to

still

its

covers

of

stopped

the

mountains.

Indus

had

northern

sea

Indus,

India

They

become
too

had

Saraswati,

a
swol

Yamuna,

Brahmaputra.

the

temperatures,

that

rivers

said

his

other

and

anger

Brahaspati.

and

see

Many

many

cities?

Manu

shocked

after

in the

answered

Lord

massive
en

somewhere

so,

advancing,

the
The

Sangamtamil

believe

But

prayers,

advancing.

that

ancient

We

stronger.

the

wrath

channels

started

flowing

of

melting,

of
ice

because
the

or

creating

the

gods.

glaciers
the

temperatures

With
frozen

the

rise

in

high

in

the

Thus

our

of

the

rivers.

Hmm...
villages,
land

and
of

the

destruction

seven

But

descendants
could

The
our

to

never

So

what

There

are

treatise
the

south

the

of

of these
was

creation
river

the
is

rivers.

born

out

of six

already

existed.

Lord

law

in North
It is the

Manu

strictly

And

if they

Narmada.
a

rivers

that

we

India.
Narmada

forbade
did

believe

his

so,

they

even

the

to.

Manus

other

laws

laws?

actually.

Manusmriti.

Would

They
you

are

all listed

be

interested

in an

extensive

in listening

text?

Tempting,

smiled

With

permission,

your

banks

border.

This

numerous

called

entire

go

Lord

the

southern

adhere

are

the

Sapt-Sindhu,

seventh

return.

Chandravanshis

on

rivers,

mentioned

true.

it became

grew

Sangamtamil.

you

thats

and

cities,

of the

Seven?
Yes,

later

Shiva.

But
my

I think
Lords,

Ill pass.
perhaps

we

can

further

discuss

to

Lord
At

Manus
a short

guidance
distance

traveled,

from

a small

band

Beas.

One

head.

It was

typical

boats

made

of

carried

in two

by

Each

of

adorning

he

unfathomable
He

brought

was

a leather

on

was
head

His

hand

up

bracelet

embroidered

on

said

the

here.

Whenever

we

come

away

from

within

two

river

my

impression

Queen

trudged

rope,

with

along

coracle

made

small

portable

the

on
and

enough

relative

safety

a young

man

with

crowned

with

brown

figure.

With

his

head

was

his
light

to

be

speed.
battle

turban.
bowed,

his

At
scar

little

his

eyes

mind

lost

in

hard.

to rub

his

wrist

with

right

and

a proud

steps,

breathing

his

silently

a small

locals

methodical

hooded

figure.

close

to avoid

Lord?
that

outside

No,

men

caravan

masked
the

forehead.

serpent

There

Aum

symbol

to

We

will

populated

detection.

We

enter

the

areas,

have

river

we

from

will

to reach

move

Karachapa

months.

Karachapa,
the

Neelkanths

it.

Vishwadyumna,

the

the

Krittika.

head.

languidly
on

which

carried

and

a hooded

thoughts.

suggested

The

people

slow

lunch,

platoon

his

took

his

forty

cane

his

on

region.

two

walked

scrunched,

the

platoon

face,

of him

of
this

ferry

the

his

about

man

over

road

of

bamboo,

could

head

ahead

of

society

the

men

a single

boat

the

of our

asked
we

Vishwadyumna

were

to

have

surprised.
a

secret

I was

audience

under

with

the

Lothal.

answered

the

hooded

figure.

We

will

meet

her

outside

Karachapa.
Yes,

my

direction
dearly

Lord,
of the

liked

also

knew

the

strength

they

were

the

Queen

to
that
of

answered
road

to Kotdwaar.

make

one

it was
the

behind
urgently.

Vishwadyumna,

more

foolhardy

force

schedule

He

as
knew

attempt
to

their

that

to

the
main

looked
his

to

the
do

in

would

the
have

princess.
so

caravan.

mission.

back

Lord

kidnap

endeavour

accompanying
for

he

They

He

considering
In

any

had

to

case,
meet

Turning

towards

place

your

Lord

through

one

coracle

of his
in

this

soldiers,

the

part

river

of the

immediately

did

as

hooded

figure

the

first

Vishwadyumna
their

boats

hooded
the
to

women
her

wet.

Their

side

Having

spied

women

see,

however,
one

could

of

strange

was
them

robe,

his

frantic

gestures.

swiftly

pushing
women

them
and
the

He
row

two

men

were

almost

of the

on

Thinking
the
rowing

away

the

from

an

the

of

boat

avoid

on

getting
from
had

the

womens

not

opposite
meal,

boat.
women,

as

he

direction.
What
them.

they
They

head

This

to

did
could

toe

in

man

was

making

large

number

of

soldiers

That

was

the

warning

were

their

the

the

One

appetising

from

men
all

river,

women

towards

river.

placing

dangerously

distance.

river.

coming

effort

hooded

all

behind

figures

towards
the
boat.

oar
Into

crocodile.
the

hooded
oar

rapidly.

He

was

shortening

not

fast

enough.

diving

from

figure.

the

and

the

were

put

of the

to

a mask.

that

side

from

like

covered

the

a boat.

in their

rowing

women

grabbed

But

to

on

river

figure

from

duo

the

to

the

the

down

the

the

rapidly

with

the

boats

the
looked

a giant

covered

intent,

hastily

shouted

women.
boat

their

evil

started

No!

him

needed.

with

path

hear

Behind

the

and

started

the

that

hooded

not

face

row

men

to sway

towards

to row

was

I will

enter

attempt

boat

have

the

to Vishwadyumna

from

saw

swiftly

his

further

entered

must

to

carelessly

their

had

shouted

as

hopeless

figure

swimming

you!

The

caused

what

was

rowing

water

making

that

oar.

platoon

lounging

hooded

crocodile

your

Sriktaa,

Vishwadyumna

the

splashing

game

me

a distance

women

was

motioned

the

two

The

behind

see

At

who

crocodile

Look

waters.

sloppily

side.

detected

the

the

childish

to

bank.

started

was

friend

of

already

saw

give

instructed.

had
into

figure

and

ordered,

journey

Sriktaa

were

Vishwadyumna

underwater

Vishwadyumna,
the
The
charged

using
distance

crocodile
at

his
between

closed
the

powerful

craft,

them

in on
rocking

the

arms
and

to
the

womens
it with

its

massive

body.

women

into

Screams
The
it

The

the

of

between

the

hooded

Before

the

swam

towards

to the

Lords

had

dived

into

the

battle

raging

Varun,

One
when
It

the

god

hooded

nick

river.

of

had

flung

tight

those

crucial

boat

arrived

Vishwadyumna,

his

robe

between

into

reassured,

aside

his

the

I am

vigorously

his

other

towards

the

of

and

teeth,

he

boat.

She

had

coming

back

towards

soldiers.

the

Row

soon.

bank.

On

quickly.

The

about

time,

the
he

two

of the

Chandravanshi

My

Lord,

please

get

where

turned

soldiers

and

to

emerged

crocodile.
on

had

The

water

area

the

the

red

said
seas,

hooded

with

blood

silent

hoping

figure

that

from

prayer
the

to
blood

Lord.

was

the

water

water.

figure

was
of

The

of the

to their

who

in the

rescue

towards

women

paddled

paddled

soldiers

that

woman

of

The

held

the

he

and

under

the

the

was

of

some

the

belong

of

delay

around,

is in danger.
soldiers

not

The

afloat.

women.
he

knife

stay

crocodile.

woman,

passed

other

did

his

one

other

The

Lord

the

to

Turning

Turning

react,

advancing

turned

he

life

the

consciousness.

Vishwadyumna
way

them.

fought
dash.

women.

Save

With

pulled

Turning

throwing

in its

women.

could

river.

Vishwadyumna
lost

capsized,

women

ahead

the

and

ordered,

the

already

and

the

far

for

crocodile

the

as

struggling

Vishwadyumna
into

tilted

air
too

fateful

figure

dived

the

the

moved

towards
proved

the

rent

had

seconds

vessel

Beas.

terror

crocodile

swam

tiny

He

verge
pulled

the

into

onto

the

swam

her

boat,

the

water

surface,

forcefully

of losing

soldiers
into

jump

with

his

sword

soaked

in

blood.

the

other

towards

consciousness.

head

out

dived
said

of

off
one

the

their
of

Reaching
water.

her

Meanwhile,

coracle.
them.

We

will

swim

ashore.
Help
The

the

woman

soldiers

pulled

first,
the

replied

the

unconscious

hooded

figure.

woman

on

to

the

coracle.

The

hooded

figure

shore.

By

other

woman

the

disoriented
Are

then
time

the

was

the

revived

by

asked

looked

On

carrying
to

his

blood

the

the

over

towards

river

body.

the

bank,

the

She

sat

woman.

river

other

his

the

Vishwadyumna

massive

all

rowed

Vishwadyumna.

the

beyond

around.

and

reached

Vishwadyumna

glued

crocodiles

figure

of events.

ashore

were

aboard

chain

turned

coming

clothes

been

woman

Vishwadyumna

climbed

hooded

rapid

alright?

In answer,

the

had

at the

you

carefully

and

bank,

the

womans
To

screamed.

hooded
limp

the

figure

body.

disoriented

clothes,

seemed

shrieked

the

like

His

woman,
that

of

her

friend.
What

have

The

you

Naga

done,

looked

however,

you

up

abruptly.

refrained

unconscious

from

woman

face

came

with

horror.

on

undone.

Naga!

she

Before

Vishwadyumna

The

Naga

looked

at

shut

the

windows

to

Vishwadyumna

seen

normally
Seething
the

As

next

he

mild
He

did

so,

surprise.

gently
the

He,

laid

mask

to Vishwadyumna

A Naga
the

turned

the

on

stared

his

at him

rare

emotion

expressionless
in anger,
wench

No,

Vishwadyumna,

of

intense

pain

feet

melancholic
shook

his
his

her

and

fled

eyes.

He

friend!

and

see

lowered

to

with

soul
to

leapt
my

woman

meanwhile

the

just

fleeing

immediately

she

is eating

tormented

He

had

react,

his

years.

ungrateful

turned

woman

showed

anything.

ground.

could
Help!

had

eyes

woman.

screeched.

Help!

in

His
saying

the

The

screaming,

time

beast?

Lords
gaze,
and

his

head

face
but

for

not

sorrow

slightly.
the

first

before

in

his

he
Lords

eyes.
Vishwadyumna

drew

his

sword,

swearing

to

slay

he

saved.

to his

other

ordered
soldiers.

the
Revive

Naga.
her.

Pulling

his

mask

back

on,

he

My

Lord,

Lets

argued

leave

this

Vishwadyumna.
woman

Her

to her

fate

and

friend

will

bring

others

here.

go.

No.
But

my

Not

till weve

The

Lord,

saved

royal

together
had

someone

their

at.

needed

scorching

Half
all

heat.

his
A

the

had

was

of

eating

had

come

in

concerned
He

was

one

of

they

meal.
to

to

sitting

rest-house

their

gather

voice.
were

the

could

them.

calm

Veerbhadra,

they

to join

escape.

usual

courtyard

too

especially

refused

must

in his

and

in the

energy

We

Naga,

Nandi

brigade

was

soon.

the

lunch
the

He
he

said

Parvateshwar

arrangements.
However,

come

including

enjoying

They

her,

party,

stopped

may

march

check

on

in
the

about

Satis

going

to eat

this
food

comfort.
later

with

soldiers.
loud

commotion

disturbed
Nandi

Shiva.
and

heard

the

Please

racket

not

got

and

her!

sorry,

are

He

the

Veerbhadra

save

I am

from

answered
to

up

to

to

remain

was

cried

leave

area

of

investigate,

woman.

the

captain.

the

the

A Naga
But

vicinity

of

to

guards
Brahaspati,

Parvateshwar

towards

the

perimeter

motioning

seated.

moving

the

have

this

had

uproar.
is eating

we

too

her

strict

rest-house

alive!
orders.

We

under

any

circumstances.
What

is the

Turning
My

matter?

in surprise,

Lord,

attacked

said
her

the
the

nothing

than

orders

Sati.
was
to

more

Their

were

Parvateshwar

at
to

protection

the

the

He

was

to say

alleges

that

not

something

He
and

of

would
restrictions
when

would
destroy

to leave

objective

the

Naga

has

her.

party

of Kshatriya
at

low.

intensely.

Naga

only

bowed

to help

the

Seething

about

us

woman

the

kind

and

woman

asking

was

weak?

This

clear.

What

was

saluted

chase

crystal

a Kshatriya.
protect

captain

Shes

looked

Parvateshwar.

captain.

friend.

Parvateshwar

his

asked

the
the

he

have
them.

Neelkanth
brigade.

be

if he

forced
Shiva

liked
But
and
But

didnt
upon

appeared.

he
fight
him,

Whats
My

the

Lord,

actually
woman

matter?
said

the

captain

getting

chance

claims

concerned

that

that

me

his

his

respect

all

to the

captain,

was

cry.

one

smooth

immediately

follow

us

with

put

the

imaginary

with

be
ran

The

own

on

safe

We

are

about

the

woman,

Take

mild,

but

it

sword

and

was

turned

alert

for

any

surprise

at all costs!

the

woman

who

larger

part

sprinting

for

the

the

riverside

to

find

heavy

breaths,

in

the

seemed

coming

out

The

captain

eyes.

at
Turning

around

the

being

to

floating
fighting

in

her

friend

Shiva
the

and

river.

viciously

There
river

the

to

lead

going

had

led

you,
alive
He

its

entrails.

they
on

the

shock

at

an

over

her

footsteps

back

in.

them

here

ordered,

with

Form

It could

be
the

a trap.
woman,

unharmed.

pointed
flock

of

sitting

all

screeched
and

hour,

many

and

he

platoon

an

blood

Neelkanth.

tell

A large

in

were

soldiers,

calmly.

over

woman

was

who

his

alive,

to see
said

of the

woman

General

eaten

stunned
wasnt,

the

her.

his

half

staring

There
to

with
of

dazed

was

distance.

to be
looked

she

appeared

carcass,

his

them

that

the

the

It was

trailed

injury

crocodile

heard

told

captain

no

she

Nagas.

her!

he

brigade

behind

strangely,

No

This

platoon.

kept

but

absolutely

was

road.

respect.

After

vision

was

by

Help

drew

your

entire

must

a local.

With

She

he

She

reached

perimeter

backl

that

Neelkanth.

have

motion

He

ease.

suspicious

the

Mandar

Go

same.

soldiers.

clothes,

We

Mount

Shiva

obviously

ground.

the

believe

attacked

trap.

voice

Parvateshwar

with

finally

not

with

been

at

princess

and

thirty

has

looked

Vraka,
The

them

in

could

converse

be
on

inner

the

Brigadier

Shiva

to

He

friend.

Parvateshwar

attack.

in awe.

may

sword

to your

Shiva.

friend

duplicity

heard

Drawing

her

it

Chandravanshi
Shiva

asked

of

at

the

crows

corpse
had

of

settled

the
on

Somebody

just

Whoever

it

captain,

saved

was

has

pointing

Why

would

her

rowed

towards

from

Naga

crocodile.

across

the

risk

that

the

heavy

his

river,

my

footmarks

own

life

to

Lord,

close

save

said

to the

this

the

river.

woman?

asked

Shiva.
Parvateshwar

seemed

usual

blood

thirsty

My

Lords,

could

retire

All

here.

to their
to the

right,

said

This

had

with

completely

If I have

safe.
your

and

rejoin

unlike

the

till now.

addressing

appear

village

was

dealt

captain,

women

to stay
back

they

the

The

everybody

surprised.

Nagas

said

Parvateshwar.

women

as

both

Perhaps

Shiva

it is

not

wise

permission,

I will

the

at Kotdwaar.

caravan

and

escort

for
these
You

rest-house.

Parvateshwar.

Take

four

soldiers

with

you

just

in

this

bizarre

case.
Both

Shiva

and

Parvateshwar

walked

back,

baffled

by

event.
It was
sat

late

in the

quietly

evening.

around

distance,

on

the

the

Shiva,

camp

rest-house

fire.

serious

conversation.

among

his

soldiers,

personally

of the

camp

and

Its

ready,

Shiva,

Nandi

turned
along

and

to see
with

of his

Sad

as

the

Veerbhadra
sitting

Ayurvati

Parvateshwar
supervising

comfort

said

Shiva

veranda,

having

the

Brahaspati,

and
usual,

security

at

Krittika,
moved

arrangements

boys.

Veerbhadra,

handing

over

the

chil

um

to

the

Neelkanth.
Shiva
visibly.

brought
Feeling

passing
Nandi,

the
the

it back
who

glances

What?

asked

understand

what

you

to

for

friend.

at Sati.
Shiva

hoping

He

who

for

lips

and
he

pulled

smoked

hard.
some

He

relaxed

more

before

Veerbhadra

offered

it to Brahaspati

Brahaspati

stared

at

smiled

had

longing,

his

respite,

declined.

your
are

up

need

to his

both

stealing

pipe

and

noticed
my

is quite

friend,
difficult.

shook

his

Brahaspatis
whispered
Almost

Shiva

who

and
kept

head.
gesture.
Brahaspati.
impossible.

But

When

its

so

Brahaspati

valuable,

smiled

Veerbhadra
always

and

knew

people

Private

sing

and

dance

this

Secondly,

continued
it, like

the

the

said

Veerbhadra.

I agree,

said

Shiva.

immediately
any

songs

Shiva

favourites.

Brahaspati

singing
Shiva

Its

is when

for

to

sing,

at Shiva,
in

feet.

time

A flabbergasted
on!

in a mock
only

or a public

with

the

greatest

apology.

when

an

occasion

performance.

you

do

it for

suddenly

burst

Veerbhadra

was

Veerbhadra

rose

dance

suddenly

here?

festival

and

louder

not

It

different

wretched.

dance

of marijuana

The

come

we

friend,

no

out

reason

at all,

one

of

the

singing

one

of

his

slowly

and

began

Shiva

into

group

in shock

a
moved

and

in,

by

immediately

reached

joined

before

accompanied

dancing,

They

and

first

their

rhythmically.

Oh

not

tone

together

now

pattern

of

hands

tune,

stared

abandon.

his

is

lilting

to their

matter

his

the

combination

Nandi

music.

region.

at

to

repeated

country.

Veerbhadra

Continuing

and

silent.

warning,

smiled

noticed

wretched

of dancing

fell

of his

dancing

in this
Nandi,

his

Holi

Captain,

folk

Dance

Nandi,

joy

Without

hand.

needed.

country

put

greatest

Nandi

his

world.
playfully

But

on

it?

friend

said

Veerbhadra

demands

Can

mood.

firstly,

in the

easy.

Shiva

his

Veerbhadra,

subordinate,
land

his

be

patted

what

improved

Dont

it cant

together

then

with

pulled

at first.

Brahaspati
in

his

a circle

The
mood.

pleasure.

six-step

and

tentative

reluctant

changed

smooth
out

Shiva.

He

combination
Brahaspati

But

and

it was

was

dancing

around

the

only

a
with

fire,

the

livelier.

darted
Sati
If you

out
shook
can

of the
her
dance

ring

towards

Sati.

Dance

with

me.

head.
while

your

Guruji

and

I watch,

why

That

was

So?

for

Is it wrong

I didnt
Fine.

that.

Have

it

not

your

Sati.

dancing

way,

for

said

knowledge?

Shiva

with

frustrated

gesture.

come!

A starded

Ayurvati

a course

circle.

of

didnt
action,

Veerbhadra

boisterously
night.
the

got

up,

when

Shiva

sang

to react.

held

loudly,

her
in

turned

and

the

at

even

could

into

group
otherwise

Shivas

back
as

the

danced

in an

higher

decide

her

The

a racket

rose

she
pulled

well.

glared

anger
towards

Before

hand
as

making

agitated,

Shivas

he

how

Krittika

clearly

rest-house.

absence

know

lured

and

Sati

into

said

if were

say

Ayurvati,

on

knowledge!

quiet
and

ran

noticed

her

of pain

and

he

veranda.

Damn!
He

got

joy.

back

He

dance,

once

again

turned

Whos

behind

Shiva

was

that

later

veranda.

He

Only

his

heart

towards

in a strange
the

mixture

veranda.

There

was

nobody.

curtain?

dragged

moments

him.

to his

into

that
could

the

next

Shiva
see

was

Sati,

move
in

outlined

by

Veerbhadra.

position

to

behind

the

back

into

It was

look

few

at

the

staring

at

again

curtain,

at him.

Wow!
A surprised

and

in his

form.

prime

CHAPTER

13

Blessings

of the

Kotdwaar

was

been

lit

across

pennants,

He

the

fort

come

outside
exhibition

Shiva

had

swung

to impress

his

dance,

moving

her!

Impure
in all

its

the

fort

embel

down

formal

delighted

with

In
city

of

the

to

receive

perimeter

ished

walls.
the

glory

the

a rare
to

as

Neelkanth

Neelkanth.

if it was

Suryavanshi

breach

personally

the

of
receive

for

the

Diwali.
Sun,

protocol,
the

Torches
Red
had

the

and

elite

blue

been

hung

governor

had

Neelkanth.

Kotdwaar

had

After
at

the

the
local

court,

public

function

Sixty-five

thousand

Kotdwaar,

had

the
that

A speech

by

trouble
have

he

every

soon

to

the

people

with

could

to

support

the

dont

of everything,

said

a woman.
with

to

was

chief

scientist,

are

solve

not

our

solitary

Parvateshwar,

something.
good

And

well.
as

arent

didnt

Neelkanth,

earn

But

Brahaspati

number

city

that

platform

Meluhas

effect

Shiva

that

Meluha,

the

public

be

days

of

seemed

The

he

to

said
Neelkanth

publics

reaction.

entire

society

is

follow

anyone.

not

done

I think

good

intentions

for
he

he

cares

are

such

first

on

laws

expected

miracles

from

blind

to

faith?

respected

enough

the

Turning

based

greatly

take

platform,

We
for

to deserve

politely,

man.

speakers

hope

man.

will

the

and

do
their

one

the

Our

would

made

on
at

blindly

destroyed,

now.

Sati

man

of

him.

want

step

towards

a believer

in the

to

do
any

deed?

of the

on

this

is a good

Parvateshwar

to

has

vast

the

them

finally

ourselves

said

Shiva

to

the

telling

anything

said,

supposed

What

of

unhappy

he

problems

man.

I think

deeply

population

to him.

words,

and

day.

accommodated.

Kotdwaarans

people

about

entire

outside

remarkable

his

Brahaspati

Parvateshwar

we

be

will

to worry

care

and

could

Chandravanshis
have

Seated

organised

a revelation

careful

cursed

the

was

following

Considering

been

The

was

The

to

end.

the

the

event.

the

he

interpretations.

We

person

were

own

the

had

convinced

Though
all

event

organised

practically

for

Shiva

on

been

people,

converged

of attendees,
to ensure

had

his

a silver

though

the

station
platter

intentions
Here

completely

in life

are,

he

is

that

every

training

and

preparation,

of a blue

throat.

enough.
putting

our

an

saviour.

Never

thought

with

because

arent
we

general

agree.

They

have

untrained
For

all

to
man

we

man

or

that

be

backed

on

a pedestal

know,

he

woman

not

Yes,

may

might

legend

by

had

just
be

get
true.

ability
and
lead

it

as

acting
us

to

complete

disaster.

We

are

acting

on

faith.

Not

logic

or

laws

or

even

experience.
Sometimes

one

situation.

needs

Rational

a little

bit

answers

of

faith

dont

when

always

faced

work.

with

We

also

difficult
need

miracle.
Youre

talking

You

can

about
have

miracles?

A scientist?

scientific

miracles

too,

Parvateshwar,

smiled

Brahaspati.
Parvateshwar

was

platform.
touch

As
his

holding

he

down

The

soldiers,

back.

There
be

looked

like

he

might

Nandi,

let

that

man

Nandi

and

man

Let

in as

him

The

son

seemed
the

well,

rushed
lost

Father,

in

Shiva.

and

held

his

sons

He

Neelkanth

rope

man

the

wanting

to

Veerbhadra,
amongst

were

them

who

smiled

right

in

from

the

blind

to guide

The

warmly

to

front

in.

me

hand.

close

is

him

needs

fathers

led

people

and

to let

He

hand,

was

of

off

melee.

son.

his

stepping

Shiva.

the
his

Shiva

Nandi
blind

in the

said

touch.

the

one

of

a surge

by

said

I am

without

familiar

was

injured

sight

was

led

lowered

shouted,

the

there

through,

Veerbhadra

Another

by

came

hand.

them

distracted

Shiva

of

him.

blind
as

man,

he

and

recognised

the

you.

Can

eyes.

Without

who

son

you

said,

sense

his

thinking,

he

presence?
Copious
bent
as

tears

down
he

Shiva
the

to

pulled

Father!

loving

lost

try

and

the

sorry,
control

I am

sorry,

Sorry

for

the

stunned
manner
my
due
my
what?

touch

man

scolded
was

I am

flowed

back

Shivas

feet.

His

son

cried

out

in

shock

sons

tone

compared

far.

What

sharply.

son.
by

the

in which
Lord,
to your
Lord,

mans

harshness
he

apologised

had

in the
spoken

the

son.

so
He

didnt

mean

happened?
to.

He

presence.
said

the

blind

man,

his

tears

flowing

to

stronger.

just

He

is a vikarma,

my

him

twenty

ago.

He

years

should

Sati,

not

who

have

was

conversation.
torment
had

tried

I am

now

to do

anger

greatest

Lord,

with

me

The

blind

namaste.
He

still
he

Tears

welled

a man

stop

Shiva

disbelief

father.

understand
his

Shiva

rose

I find

the

The

blind

mouth

the

She

impure.

as

and

blind

entire

knew

But

the

what

he

dont

let

what

the

please

our

country.
it

his

It

from

he

bent

so

is

the

the

evil

realised

Even

unfairly.

he

was

looking

at

to.

at

Neelkanth

penitent

Why1?

treated

that

man.

unfairly.

The

Neelkanth

was

in

blind

being

down.

the

hands

of the

hes

unkind

saw
man

But

Save

him

to think

very

he

man.

dignity

treats

eyes

as

blind

folding

the

that

The

stood

strength

in front

to fight

man

for

stood
He

forward

the

sea

flabbergasted
touch

for

the

feet

a moment.

had

done,

his

of the

blind

man.

Bless

a man

as

son
of

his

When

hand

shot

he

up

to

in shock.

and

bewilderment.

heard

man.

protecting

cry

by

been

forward

cover

found

had

stepped

vikarma

blinded

Lord.

appear

nonsense.

in

blind

created.

to

in Shivas

fate

from

my

shaken

even

up

the

the

you

us,

this

trembled

step

stop

country

doesnt

whom

I will

did

disease

had

considered

Parmatma

was

loves

worse

touch

continued

Shiva

since

Shiva,

for

continued

Save
man

near

your

ever

you.

sympathy

that

Chandravanshis.

son,

ill egal.

my

land

his

standing

even

was

said

to touch

felt

having

sorry,

your

tried

She

of

Lord,

to
strength

caught

was

hold

dumb-struck.
about

him,

to say,

The

son

hold

The

entire

crowd

was

had

done.

Forget

the

patriotic

lest

to

His

collapse

he

fall

to

Vijayibhav.

of his

fathers

stunned
gravity

into
of

tears
when

the

May
limp

dried
Shiva

as
by

be

so

up

that

victorious

what

in

took
The

Shiva

a vikarma,

sir,

you.

ground.
you

body

silence

touching

as

me,

his

quick

blind

man

released

him.

the

Neelkanth

the

Neelkanth

had

just

asked

to

be

blessed

by

one.

Shiva

turned

to

see

Parvateshwars

enraged

face.

public.

Shiva

Next

to

demeanour
What

him

broken

stood

the

Sati.

law.

Her

Broken

face,

it brazenly

her

eyes,

and

her

in

entire

expressionless.

the

hell

Brahaspati
alone.

had

is she

and

thinking?

Sati

Shivas

entered

smile

disappeared

on

at

Shivas

seeing

hearing

chambers

his

Satis

two

as

favourite

voice,

You

soon

people

must

as
in

get

he

was

the

world

shudhikaran

done.
He

looked

No?

at her

What

I mean

do

No.

Kashmiri

you

said

matter.

I agree
and

Get

the

But

I just

said

I dont

said

immensely.

Your

above

the

shudhikaran.
Well
then

the

Sati

was

law

law

stunned
listen

can

harmful

You
India.
Its

are

not

to

meant

Dont

good

words

too
He

for

no

in the

measure.

composure.

a pandit.

This
was

waits

is no

worried

laughing

about

outside

as

your

we

speak.

now.
to.
to

Your

You

have

is the

law.

says

the

that

my

her

usual

intelligence.
touched

touching

tone.
Your

poor

respect

talent.

a vikarma.

that

But

You

have

blind

man

you
you

to

are
get

is ill

egal,

is wrong!

Shiva,
be

governor

for

valour.

That

if the

The

reverting

law.

for
his

want

Sati,

adding

keeping
Sati.

done

No.

Shiva,

dialect,

arranged

ceremony

Shiva,

not

with

has

said

Kotdwaar

Brahaspati,

simply,

no?

Nako,

the

Shiva,

answered

mean

Nahin.

and

safety

and

put

obstinacy.

into

silence

me,

argued

by

Shivas

attitude.

Brahaspati.

Not

doing

shudhikaran

to you.
for
your

bigger
own
You

things.
person
tell

me,

You

are

at risk
honestly,

out

important

to

the

future

of

of obstinacy.
how

can

it

harm

me

if

happened

to

country
He

touch

despite

may

be

way

your

he

man

man,

has

who

been

Shiva,

but

I might

add,

ostracised
the

sins

and
of

his

still

loves

his

ill-treated?
previous

birth

will

fate,

Brahaspati.

Then

let

feel

them!

If the

weight

on

that

mans

shoulders

lessens,

will

blessed.

What

are

you

punishment
Firstly,
sins

I dont
of his

was

my

choice

It is not
Look,

Is

Sati,

heart,

plain

about

Shiva.

he

and

was

carry

punished

simple.
elses

you!

Dont

this

is about?

Me?

what

Shiva
you.

of an

DONT

You

said

care

you

to face.

Shes

we

subjected

glared

me

to

cried

tell

me

for

you?

fight

the

for

the

Secondly,

so

called

if it
sins,

is

why

Brahaspati.

you

believe

in this

rubbish.

I want

the

to save

Stop

this

unfairness

that

to.
asked

immediately,

It is about

Sati,

then
vikarma

them

outraged.

added.
and

from

Actually
the

yes.

unfairness

This
that

is
they

leading

outcast.

NEED
Sati,

this

that

of someone

has

shouted

you

rubbish.

about

with

weight

society

life

should

to anyone?

retorted

Shiva

the

a disease,

want

have

the

by

you

No,
also

nonsense

dont

that

Why

sins?

in the

infected

because

on

Sati.

birth.

to carry

It matters

asked

elses

believe

it matter

Come

Shiva?

previous

just

should

your

saying

of someone

He

the

a good

contaminate
said

a wronged

YOUR

PROTECTION!

before

storming

at

retreating

her

out

of the

form

in

CANNOT

BE

SAVED!

room.
irritation.

What

the

hell

is

woman?!

right
agree

Shiva,
with

Brahaspati.

advised
her
Dont

on

Brahaspati.
this
you

vikarma
think

Dont
business?

it is unfair?

go

there.
Answer

with

your

it

I wasnt
Shiva

talking
continued

mind,

body

would

be

be

and

go

The

caravan

vessel.
to

at

soul

told

him

friend,

confuse

Brahaspati
that

Sati.

defiantly.

he

should

her.

That

reiterated

river

large
of

about

Everything

pursue
his

Sati.

souls

That

in

his

his

life

existence

would

her.

the

two

talking

without

my

Typical

were

glare

left

by

I was

to

without

there,

folowed

that.

meaningless

incomplete

Dont

be

about

city

boats

the

of

of

Kotdwaar

equal

Meluhan

any

Brahaspati.
on

size

and

security

attacker

a royal

barge

grandeur

system,

the

about

which

boat

the

second

boat.

of

soldiers.

led

as

the

additional

the

royal

and
royal
boats

family

may

the

three

on.

The

entire

large

boats

were

five

royal

party

was

manned

small

convoy,

was

and

keeping

in

by

a brigade

quick

pace

cutter

and

boats

on

protecting

Each

Additionally,

both

the

of

sides

sides

there

of

in

the

case

royal
of

an

ambush.
When

the

are

the

all

major

monsoon

best

way

is not
to

cities,

it

active,

travel.

my

Though

cannot

Lord,

we

match

the

said

have
rivers

Ayurvati,

good
in

the

roads

terms

rivers

connecting

of

speed

and

safety.
Shiva

smiled

much

conversation.

Sati
he

had
had

The

at Ayurvati

not

spoken

refused

royal

seemed

barge

It was

a kind

Why?
about

grace

the

asked
the

of

disquiet

at

would

reaction
land

Shiva

since

was

that

not

in the

frame

of mind

fateful

day

at Kotdwaar

along

the

river.

for

when

many

cities

The

routine

same.

exuberance
Neelkanth.

He

a shudhikaran.

stopped
the

of the

didnt

to Shiva

to undergo

much

Extreme

politely.

unnatural

every
of

in his

manifest

itself

in each

in Meluha.

But

city

then,

on

the

arrival

Neelkanth

day.

Brahaspati,
troubled

after
heart.

many

days

of

keeping

quiet

Why

what?

You

know

what

narrowing
She

his

eyes

talking

about,

Brahaspati,

said

Shiva,

in irritation.

genuinely

answered

am

believes

Brahaspati

that

with

she

a sad

deserves

to

be

vikarma,

smile.

Why?
Perhaps

because

How

it happen?

did

It happened
What!

during

Sati

Yes.

of the

That

with

one

was

Chandandhwaj.

deliver

marriage.

around

ninety

years

noble

families

of

the

the

She

child.

was

still

born.

Oh

my

god!

she

became

a vikarma.

married?!

was
of

in which

earlier

was

her

manner

It was

said

got

the

back.

It was

the

empire.

pregnant

and

monsoon

Shiva,

empathising

worse.

On

the

same

to

pray

for

the

a political

Her

husbands

went

season.

marriage

to

the

name
Maika

Unfortunately,

with

the

pain

to

the

Sati

child

must

have

felt.
But

it was

the

Narmada

drowned.

On

Shiva

stared

widow

and

But

how

Shiva.

was
can

She

wasnt

was

because

But

that

that

the

woman

cursed

she

husbands

local

still

considered

their

had

child,

gone

to

accidentally

destroyed.
to

react.

the

same

be

considered

She

became

day.
her

fault?

argued

birth

because

to a still

to

any

of

born

reason.

her

husbands

death.

It

child.

Maybe

there

was

mistake

committed.

happen
born

to become

was

who

ridiculous.

due

doctors

of

stunned

death

a vikarma

gave

be

life

too

is completely

could

her

husband,

birth

a vikarma

declared

day,

declared

her

safe

Brahaspati,

the

doesnt

Having

be

at

That

That

that

day,

in
child

Meluha,
is

a vikarma.

worse.

Thank

Shiva,

probably
Only
god

said

one
giving

that

of
birth

didnt

Brahaspati

the

worst

ways

to a Naga
happen.

calmly.

child

Because

for
would
then

she

would

have

This

has

to be

Brahaspati

saved?
Im

still

born.

many

she

has

been

have

royal

source

of

his

questions

doesnt

deserves

this

punishment.

woman

others

was

and

noble

fifty

before

the

want

to give
her.

be

birth

to

birth

There

to

a still

the

born.

to

to

will

be

Her

emperor.

vote

for

unanimity.

This

for

families

back.

It

fate
raises

to

one

of

their

have

them.

birth

national

birth-children.

per

cent

of

the

chosen-tribe

been

Only

around

the

a particular

There

his

nobility

in

ninety

above

change.

of

keep

provided

is not

right?

Apparently

allowed

was

Sati

relaxed

Vaishyas

the

lineage?
Maika,

were

and

his

from

amended,

Kshatriyas
status

give

come

years

families

can

to

about

law

Brahmins,

save

ancestry

That

laws

might

who

embarrassment

friend.

interest,

such

woman

have

hundred

You

Meluhan

been

is unfair.

a woman

she

first

also

two

job

the

would

my

save

believes

She

No,

this

first

it raise

daughter.

intensely.

you

society.

of vikarma

friend

is not

from

her.

about

would

ostracised
concept

do

must

after
the

Some

how

sure

was

of

But

his

genuinely

She

and

at

There

questions

The

She

more

How

changed.

Shiva.

Why?

completely

looked

vikarma,
be

been

rare

one

instances

man

opposed

change.

Who?
Lord

Satyadhwaj,

vowed

not

to

have

Parvateshwar
But

if the

why

grandfather
any

honours
birth

couldnt

Because

the

law
the

there

birth

that

could

of vikarma?

arent

enough

harsh

truth.

But

all this

goes

completely

correct.

Rams
Dont

teachings
you

want

also

since

to this

changed,

law

is the

Lord

children

promise
be

That

of Parvateshwar.

to question

Shiva

families

against
say

this

Lord

that

the

that?

law

family

was

had

passed.

day.

said

noble

Their

working

affected

Rams
concept

by

things

out,

that

law.

teachings!
of

the

vikarma

is

Shiva

glanced

at

Brahaspati

silently,

before

questioning

Lord

looking

out

over

the

river.
There

is nothing

said

with

Rams

laws,

my

friend,

Brahaspati.

There

were

someone
for

many

elses

wanting

attracted

to

Sati

think

I found
before

stood

is that

Is it because

itself

you

himself

question

law?

law

and

he

want

down

what

because

are

your

of

motives

you

is

unfair?

Or

is

it

because

to

remove

an

inconvenient

you
law

are
which

path.

genuinely

Even

The

the

the

in your

moment

when

rationale.

think

stands

times

to change

genuinely

wrong

the
out

about

I knew

But

Sati

doesnt

But

she

is

vikarma

a good

is

unfair.

felt

that

from

the

it.

Sati

think

law

was

the

a vikarma.

law

woman.

is unfair.
She

doesnt

deserve

to

be

treated

this

I have

ever

way.
She

is not

met.

She

just
is

man.

You

Shiva

turned

looked

into

their

boat

fanned
Ive

are

Neelkanth.

the

my
throat,

finest

brave

hands

dense

But

on

forest
The

night.

The

on

said

every

in the

in the

his

friend,

to think

Sutgengarh

the

a woman.

water.

have

city

in

the

You

late

Neelkanth.

at

of

and
you

the

intelligent

are

crafts

along

the

soothing

not

just

railing.

He

riverbanks

evening

as
breeze

locks.

before,
blue

want

rested

across
long

It was

the

and

distance

glided

ramifications.

erupted

the

is one

straight-forward,

could

the

unfortunate

of

honest,

around

you

She

a man

Shivas
told

woman.

beautiful,

everything

any

a good

the

now

predictable

The

saviour

Brahaspati.

decision
many

royal
Indus.

convoy
The

routine
of their

times

Because

you

take

before

you

act.

set

sail

had

just

emotions
of

at

exuberance

civilisation

had

of

has

that
many

from

Sutgengarh
at

finally

the

the
had

sight

arrived.

of

Their

saviour,

maintained
torn,

however,

her

was

distance

experiencing

from

pain

in

his

Shiva

and

own

for

private

hell.

the

last

at

depths

city

of Mohan

dismay

few

Sati

weeks.
he

had

He

was

didnt

think

fathomable.
The

convoys

Platform
The

next

stop

of Mohan
city,

the

philosopher-priest

Jo
This

Shiva

temple

Indus.

The

Neelkanth

Lord

ago.

Once

expressed

governor

of

there

some

solutions

in

He

temple

felt
for

itself

nondescript
The

only

gates

in the

Shiva,

four

who

he

had

Jo

main

to

Daro

cardinal

Nandi

and

his

comforting

the

or the

had

temple

region

further

felt

many

of

Mohan

to

Mohan.

down

take

however

He

great

of Lord

offered

Shiva

people

platform,

temple.

the

the

Lord

insisted

that

on

it would

have

heart.
Much

the

the

to

in this

with

city

like

announced
of

lived

met

Daro

the

troubled

dedicated

to visit

Jo

simple.

sign

Mohan,

procession.

drawn

was

was

Mohan

grand

his

Indus,

the

structure

sage.

famous

a desire

outside

alone.

by

called

stood

going

The

mighty

of years

Daro,

the

on

thousands

was

Lord

itself

temples

as

himself.

the

of

the

along

was

the

massive

As

their

small
of

the

compound.
with

birthplace

significance

directions

Veerbhadra,

Mohan

instructed

platoon,

waited

outside.
Shiva,
the

with
steps

feeling

entrance

and

you,

my

Shiva
the

a long

against

a pill

an

oddly

around
time.
ar

with

familiar

his
He

neck,

rang

his
voice

walked

the

eyes

bell

shut

asked:

up

at
in

the
quiet

How

are

friend?

14

of Mohan
opened

pandit

another

down

back

after

Suddenly,

CHAPTER
Pandit

tranquil

sat

contemplation.

cravat

his

he
life.

Jo

eyes

had

He

Daro

met

sported

to behold
at

the

a similar

a man
Brahma
long

who
temple,
flowing

was

almost
in

white

what
beard

a replica
seemed
and

of
like

big

white

mane.

face

bore

much
he

taller

had

met

I am

alright,

respect.
It

He
almost

because
Meluha

was

look

man

smiled

And

who

might

The

next

time

Why
At

this

What

;us
you

easily

for

mistaken

wizened

this

him

pandits

for

the

one

using

why,

as

the

but

though
to

pandit

ji as

form

meet

term

intrusion

was

the

down.

Indian

the

he

sitting

was

drawn

pandit.

welcome

to

Do

this

all

to

temple

pandits

in

Not

be,

all the

pandits.

Just

us.

Panditji?

meet

one

of

us,

we

will

tell

you,

said

the

Pandit

is a promise.

now?

point

of time,

our

is that

want

to talk

about

Shiva

took

a deep

identity

is not

you

disturbed

are

important,

smiled

about

the

Pandit.

something.

Do

you

it?
breath.

Gut

instinct

told

him

that

he

could

trust

man.

There

is this

task

I know.

Though

He

much

does

continued,
Shiva

looked

what

The

problem

more

aspires

to.
practices

example,

that.

a wry

And

is the

society.

than

with

have

dismiss

of cotton

up

perfect

I supposedly

I wouldnt

society.

Then

What

that

Pieces

wonderful

For

follow

warmly.

is important

this

If it wasnt

the

Shiva,

destined

That

not

The

alike?

The

cryptically.

said

seemed

he

have

repeated

couldnt

angvastram.

temple.

friend?

Panditji,

and

smile.

could

Brahma

my

dhoti

welcoming

Shiva

at the

you,

a saffron

and

frame,

are

him.

wore

a calm

How

of

He

the

Pointing

at Shivas

cover

smile.

Well,

to do

for

Meluha.

Neelkanths

cannot

I want

to do

divine

as

throat,

the

task.
Pandit

brilliance.

Meluha

all I can

role

does

to protect

seem
it from

like
evil.

problem?

is that

I find

And

are
the

this

you

way

some
is

inconsistent

referring
the

grossly

vikarma

to?
are

unfair

practices

with

asked

the

the

treated.

ideals

Pandit.

in this
that

nearly
Meluha

Why

is it unfair?

How

can

anyone

previous

birth?

And

It might

be

Youre

right.

vikarma

is about

Isnt

be

sheer

sure
that

bad

It

that
their

luck.

could

people

present

Or

be.

them

these

sufferings

a random

But

committed

do

act

you

sins

are

in

a result

their

of

that?

of nature.

think

that

the

fate

of

the

personally?

it?

No

it isnt,

The

explained

vikarma

the

Pandit.

acceptance

of

It is about

their

fate

is

the

society

integral

to

as
the

whole.

stability

of

Meluha.
Shiva

frowned.

What

any

stability.

successful
Why

society

would

you

need

person

has

warrior

could

have

the

society

needs

to

flexible

vocation

different

from

change,

so

selves

and

achieves

that

its

to

true

and
to

potential,

Because

businessman.

great

allow

this

have

the
And

society

as

in

space

birth

son

Flexibility

to

also

of

Then
change

his

society

person

a whole

single

son

allows

to discover

if every

with

every

be
to

potential.

flexibility

The

enough

members

is

capabilities.

profession.

their

Neelkanth,

flexibility?

talent

fathers

all

grow

his

dreams

be

his

needs,

their
in

true

society

achieves

its

with

said

true

potential.
I agree.
But
Ill

what

does

come

Pandit.

to the
If we

Maika

system

what

the

The

credit

Stability

obvious

believe
is

what

I agree.

Nobody

have

or

else.
allows

Maika
blame
this

with

question
that

of

their

But

to do

to
his

natural

vikarma?
Just

is key

achieve

talent

it in

only

himself

is about
the

almost
for

flexibility.
freedom

practice.

are.

inspires

is

bear

me,

to a successful

birth-parents

system

a person

the

in a bit.

flexibility

designed

professions

to pursue

can

this

No

They

them

What
of

child

are

the
knows

independent

to do.

breathtakingly
what

society,

the

he

fair.
does

about

choice,

with

person
his

life.

stability?
my

friend.

People

can

pursue

survival

their
is

stability,

we

we

are

curse

of constant

It makes
why

us

situation
All

know

society

society

True,

but
for

lead

to chaos.

that

they

the

fear

the

And

too

Lord

Rams

There
remain
follow
flexibility.

better.

their

codes

my

homeland

to live
was

allow
all

or

be
were
is a

turn

We

and

to

it takes

and

fast.

better

humans
All

into

can

forget

ethics.

were

a better

artists

ideas

humanity

and

no

better

than

life!

possible,

beautiful

for

Neelkanth.

That

is

the

First,

When

are

way

put

each

That
other

potential

with

when

situations

their

they

is
in

cause
lives

scares

is difficult

by

them
too

change

in which

a change

happens

causes

their

happier

happy

face

This

change

dont

human.

and

steady.

two

people

others

being

achieve

people

are

change

by

of

we

increasingly

there

when

that

people

make

understand.

so

People

But

part

survival.

become

forced

change

others,

almost

fast,

can

situations

as

they

their

much

resist

as

it.

to accept.

instability.

That

is

the

bedrock

of

of life.

laws

stable.

forget

and

Nothing

fragile.

laws

letting

partially.

rapid

are

is very

security
or

way

with

stable

it should

of death.

change

is the

very

most

would

would

cannot

Yes,

to

over

life

to fight

why

only

lives

then

take

want

remain

In fact,

hence

even

the

must

instability?

mode.

where

strife.

forget

But

flight

can

in

a better

of having

right.

tribes

without

or

That

to

in a society

businessmen

chance

us

beings,

didnt

didnt

for

living

or

Civilisation

natures

The

They

the

are
society

fight

pursued?

chaos

sentient

They

is

societies.

understand.

animals.

in

to be

base

intellectuals

Where

of

they

In

constantly

formed

Our

when

threat.

no

is

decades

animals.

are

or dreams

before

only

daily

animal.

nurtured

that

Man

an

few

not

there

geniuses.
than

dreams

which
At

dreams.

the

help
same
He

a society
time,

created

change

it allows
an

ideal

its

slowly

and

allow

citizens

the

freedom

balance

of

stability

it

to
to
and

You

mentioned

The

second

improve

is when

their

exceptional
disease.
odds
injustice
society
threat

a second

lives
warrior

He
are

is

that
meted
at

still

people
for

who

loses

fighter,

he

will

be

out

to
Many

as

cannot

reasons

large.

to society

situation...

him.

beyond
his
but

He

their

hand-eye
not

frustrated

such

a whole.

make

the

transition
control.

is likely
discontented

to

Say

coordination

extraordinary
about

they

blame

he
his

people

to

is

an

there
due

any

what

want

more.

perceives

doctor,
can

or
become

to

The
as
even
a

Shiva

frowned.

the

main

uncle

He

reasons

years

desperate
warrior

up

could

Vikarma
misfortune
resign

himself

But

suppressed

But

they

possible.

times,
they

would

were

led

better

men

said

the

concept

of

believe

previous
on

can

that

birth,

society

work.

his

he

will

at large.

It would

lead

you

saying

that

to

know

good

of society

you

created

this

And
how

by

farsighted

of

life

for

the

their

lot

in life.

by

And
before

who

is

a vikarma,

And
men

these

are

wherever
they

cant

system

has

was

rebel

ion

of

the

most

thought

man.

rebel

frustrated
said

They

who

common

order

the

common

empire?

led

by

fields,

Do

anyone

to being

chosen

this

went

himself

members.

others.

way

decades

family

influence

vikarma.

and

subsidised

What

like

chaos

is

in their

protect

not

the

living
with

with

much

resign

the

person

fury

vikarma

discontented

caused

simply

was

exceptional

themselves.

Ram

were

create

to

years.

ions

very

are

why

in his

his

ence

to

Lord

People

So

sins

interact

fight

thousand

rebel

by

his

chief

an

of

by

violence,

is

Their

excel

also

before

the

the

still

in a position

one

in India

can

can

be

for

that

vent

ostracised.

personal

They

worked
was

not

gain

is ever

even

make

not

ostracising

They
to

And

to his

and

old

being

one

offer

and

of

that

peace

diseased

unrest,

you

knew

Gunas.

to

that.

also
the

reputation

lead

is due

fate

rejected

the

If

he

anger.

are

government.
allowed

birth

that

more

can

But

their

initial

being.

to his

I disagree

his

sensed

into

in this

had

defeated

rage

came

logic.

because
to

Ram

the

Pakratis

have

combined
Lord

like

was

live

who

Pandit.

do

the

ago
to

Their

didnt

ions

They

usually

restored.
with

life

should

Shiva.

Why?
For

the

Shiva

was

deeply
but
one

larger

aghast.

disliked

I think
twentieth

this

the
system
of the

He

could

arguments

not

believe

being

is completely
people

in Meluha

what

he

was

hearing.

to

him.

I am

heard

that

presented
unfair.

I have

are

vikarma.

Are

you

He
sorry,
almost

going

to

keep

so

many

people

as

it.

You

outcast

forever?

This

system

needs

to

change.
You

can

system
In

change

is absolutely

Lord

Rams

events

which

terribly

due

position

of

kingdom.
to

the

no

easy

tumble

so

was
you

Pandit.

Or

of

karma
that

But

remember,

no

triggered

of

queen

of

one

and

Would

that,

maybe

that

it can

I have

the

suffered

put

her

over

of

have

are

lead

to

solution

fate

led

better

There
right.

are

Maybe

a tipping
to

entire

been

a vikarma?
you

in

the

victim

it not

said

Do

thus

series

had

fate

maladjusted

declared

now

She

then,

been

chaos.
find

lives.

had

vikarma

face

of
And

followed.

person

could

millions

a powerful

the

into

Manthara

deformities.

over

this

point,
problem?

it.

away.

He

believed

in his

heart

that

the

vikarma

unfair.

concerned

is

loss

Having

his

Neelkanth.

called

physical

many

you

turned

What

the

if this

society

system

lady

destruction

Maybe

Are

her

answers.

are

Shiva

to

Therefore,

everybody

there

influence

for

No.

led

mass

the

perfect.

time,

to

are

just

the

about

one

all

the

vikarma,

Neelkanth?

asked

the

taking

too

in particular?

Lord

doing

in

there?

asked

Nandi.

He

is

long.
I dont

know,

needs

to do

Why

do

Because
Nandi
Tell

you
that

smiled
me

spoken
Spoken

said
something,
call

for?

All

I accept

the

Lord

is his

name!

at the

simple

Captain,
for?

Veerbhadra.

said

by

his

answer

Veerbhadra

I know

is

that

if Shiva

says

he

it.
name?

and

turned

coming

to look

close

at the

to Nandi.

temple.
Is

Krittika

I mean,

continued

Off

limits?

You

know

widow,

Veerbhadra.

what

I mean,

said

Nandi.

Her

husband

died

Oh,

thats
it is,

your

question,

said

Lady,

Sati

off

limits?

Veerbhadra

years

Nandi,

may

turning

beet

red.

She

is

back.

Suryavanshi

Well,

said

he

smiled

spoken

I ever

always

Krittika.

Veerbhadra.

right

asked

guest-room

Have

at

for

something?

the

frown.

A true

as

is not

I say

from

surprised

Sati

fifteen

she

turned

control

said

she

terrible!

Yes,

My

Is

answer

Krittika.

stopped

to

you
her

Sometimes,

to

now.

window

speaks

But

look

from

at

Krittika

speaking

with

your

mind?

mind.

it may

not

be

that

harmful

to

lose

of yourself.
frowned

Krittika

even

spoke

about

him
finest

and

worships

Sati

glared

at

my

He

ground

is

you

apparently

so

as

and

on.

saying

deserted

Just

intelligent

didnt

was

courage
Lady.

walk

she

she

continued,

her

Neelkanth,

Krittika;

what

were

before

seen.

the

for

Krittika

the

I have

Krittika
which

quickly,

being

the

more.

a man,

brave,

Is that

her.
I think

funny

really

so

he

and

is

kind,

bad?

know

if

she

was

more

or

herself

for

having

at

Forget

upset

at

feelings

evident.

Maybe,

just

maybe,

breaking

the

rules

can

Rules

are

lead

to

happiness.
I am

a Suryavanshi,

said

Sati,

I live

by.

I got

to

speak

to me

Yes,
why

What

there

the

that,

right

now

want

her

about
is this

I think

I know

have

is
to

this

said
your
think

the

with

vikarma,

dropping.

happiness?

Dont

admitted

law

is unfair.

Pandit.

But

relationship
that

do

voice

all that

ever

dare

to

is

not

again!

particular

vikarma

her

you

with
would

I also
that
change

Shiva.

know
one
the

that
in

But

what

particular.

law,

however

that

troubles
You

you
dont

justified,

just

to

get

her.

Because

if Sati

believes

that,

she

will

never

come

to

you.
How

do

you

We

know

many

My

entire

life

I know,
Shiva

know

her
things,

frowned.

the

Pandit.

This

was

You

want

her

dont

even

understand

to

Yes,

you

do

what

she

wants.

kept

confused
You

can

with

What?

asked

It makes

fabric
what

Indulge

me

for

Yes,

that

Or

in the

how

can

she

when

you

you

dont

the

understand

Pandit

was

her.

right.

You

He

dont

was

know

thoroughly

towards

you

theory

what

she

wants,

continued

the

of transactions.

Shiva.

does
while,

wear

is

this

have

to do

Neelkanth,

with

said

created

when

threads

that

weaves

together

Sati?
the

cotton

Pandit.

You

threads

are

know
woven

Shiva.

its

case

are

when

woven

together

make

culture.

of a person,

their

character.

nodded.
want

weave.

closely

But

of society.

transactions

a society,

its

her.

of the

a little

answered

up

If you

you.

right?

Similarly,

Shiva

love.

I love

guess

the
but

together,

your

a flummoxed

me,

cloth

help

unexpected.

knew

help

Excuse

the

I can

Sati.

the

up

her.

Perhaps

But

He

hazard

Pandit,

flabbergasted.

her?

her.

quiet.
about

without

her.

love

Shiva,

friend.

reciprocate

I understand

Shiva

my

asked

is meaningless

smiled

I think

name?

to know
If

you

at their

Alright,
transactions

said

the
want

strength
to

interpersonal
Shiva

are...

slowly,

of a cloth,

understand
behaviour
absorbing

you

inspect

persons

or their
the

the

quality

character,

of
look

transactions.
Pandits

words.

But

Ill

explain,

between

interrupted
two

farmer

individuals.

offering

grain

beyond

material

society

in return

Shiva

nodded

someone,

you

have

do

and

could

money

you

Transactions
be

trading

from

like

are

goods,

a Vaishya.

Kshatriya

interactions

like

But

Shudra

it could

offering

also

protection

be
to

power.

in agreement.
going

Try

It

for

for

So

what

Pandit.

concerns,

Exactly.

So

the

Transactions

by

this

to give

think

that

she

understand

logic,

if

about

you

person

wants?

Satis

are

want

and

take.

something

something

asked

give

they

from

want.

Shiva.

transactions.

What

do

you

think

she

wants?
I dont
No,

know.

she

isnt.

eminent
She

the

since

against
like

is very

There

vikarma

has

spirit

She

most

is

power

to

never

rebel

vikarma

Neither

and

live

and

others.

However

unfairly

dignity.

Why?

That

she

is,

transaction,
return.
feel

She

to

do

think

you

all this
Respect,
Exactly!

no

doubt.

you

give

it.

life

probably

to.

She

the

most

answered

fade

she

not

into

the

she

not

the
rebel

background

She

whine

has

does

anonymity.

her,

is

the
who

not

the

and

conducts

reason.

because

unfair

most

transactions

beamed

that

an

a person

in

does

something

to

she

life

treats

But

certainly

follows

the

complain

to

herself

with

person?

But

And

contribute

in her

is

a fight.

does

she

is a righteous

about

talents

She

wants

from

her

yet,

is accepting

guilty

off

law.

commandments,

she

Think.

if she

backs

vikarmas

Because

a pattern.

in history.

she

the

confusing

law

you

without

importantly,

good

of

Remember,
want

trying
she

society

in

something
to make

continues

whenever

to

she

in

anyone
use

can.

her
What

is giving

with

society

wants

in return?

Shiva.
the

Pandit.

And

what

do

you

think

you

do

when

you

try

to protect

Absolutely!
good

I know

person

to Sati.
She

such

doesnt
Shiva

it comes

who

her.

many

in need.

And

she

things

get

is what

looked

at

from

she

the

Disrespect

naturally

appears

Respect

gets

a person?

But
feel

the

people

the
with

you

to

control

will

craves

Pandit

to

her.
want

that

irresistibly

protect

feeling
drawn

who

most

to

love

any

in

relation

towards

you.

What

she

her.

respect.

a grateful

smile.

He

had

found

his

answer.
Respect.
After

two

weeks,

Karachapa

at

was

a glittering

was

built

years
platform
The
of

the

was

even

where

the

the

of
had

Dwitiya

an

Governor,
and

which

The

on

Neelkanths

confluence

city

on.

ago

the

or

the

the

long

grander

than

elite

Vaishya

the

city

Western

the

Sea.

one

had

been

the

first.

of
It

platform

it

erected
The

fifty
Dwitiya

lived.

called
of

the

beyond

platform,
scale

tradition

into

grown

Karachapa

new

reached

Indus

second

a diminutive

followed

convoy

Jhooleshwar,

receiving

the

had

heard

Neelkanth

outside

city.

Karachapa,
frontier

with
trading

Therefore

years

gilding

ago.

its

eastern

part

further

While

into

Sea

on

sea

and

the

was

at

its

very

first

fascinated

the
day

Brahmanayak,

a Vaishya

was

Karachapa
to

its

the

heart

long

as

its

Mesopotamians

express

royal

permission.

Neelkanth

on

in
by

Karachapa.
the

near

an

had
expanse

most
on

the

premier

city

of

and

Egyptians

allowed

excursion

Shiva
infinite

not

and

Lothal

Meluhas

were

over

extraordinarily

wisest

overtaken

they

Emperor

governor

city

considered

become

city,

as

ruled

had

such

liberal

Lord

had

and

without

escorted

was

citizens,

by

appointed

empire

this

Meluha

his

foresight

foreigners

into

Jhooleshwar

of

in gold

ever.

of

allowed

thousand

Jhooleshwar

fate

governor

commerce.

act

to have

efficient

were

an

father,

hundred

hundred

city.

it was

Dakshas

well,

its

to the

to

travel

Western

never

seen

the

of

water.

He

spent
on

many
the

at the

various

shipyard
them

hours

to

types

of

to

the

the

to

check

port

merchants.

At

state

evening

announced

that

organised

the

auspices

of Lord

Ashwini
navigated
Their

next

day

Varun
twins

ocean

maps,

learning
After

jagna

for

this

dinner,

city

vessels

manufactured

and

Brahaspati

on

imports

due

the

organised
,

for

in

honour
the

legendary

from
and

ancient

Meluha

stories

to

him

the

was

being

under

the

Kumar

twins.

The

seafarers

who

had

Mesopotamia

were

from

proudly

Neelkanth,

Ashwini

celebrated

the

accompanied

sacrifice

the

at

Jhooleshwar

fire
of

expounded

for

Shiva,

ceremonial

were

guidance

proudly

port.

and

routes

Jhooleshwar

Karachapa

dinner

Kumar

where

ships

attached

Mesopotamian
the

port

and

a source

of

beyond.

inspiration

and

of seamen.

Shiva

visited

the

chambers

where

Sati

and

Krittika

were

housed.
I

was

gone

wondering,
back

said

to being

Shiva,

formal

still

with

careful

him,

will

with

you

be

Sati

since

coming

she

to the

had
yagna

tomorrow?
I am
not

very

be

sorry,

Lord

possible

for

attend

such

Shiva

was

about

would

be

attending

Perhaps

That

me

to

could

would

be

a long

time,

Shiva

nodded

have

Krittika

CHAPTER

the
nice.

said

him.
glanced

15

say
with

remember

tormented

to

attend

said
the

Sati

courteously.

ceremony.

I am

But

it

not

allowed

her

since

may
to

yagnas.

we

I cannot

Neelkanth,

that

nobody

the

would

Neelkanth.

a dance

question

But

practise

he

thought

better

she
of

tomorrow?

last

time

we

had

a dance

I have

not

had

the

benefit

session.
of

your

instruction

Sati.

unhappily

at

Sati

Bidding

goodbye,

at Sati,

shaking

the

he

turned

her

head

it.

freeze

in

to leave.
imperceptibly.

their

relationship

in

Trial

by

The

little

sharp

Fire
boy

stones,
on

trees

lining

terrible

if he

sun

was

fast

darkness

by

the

forests.

He

stood

an

still

chancel

He

crept

did

not

sound.

but

a few

heard

his

mother

being

difficult.

He

out

his

had

short

heard

The

voice.

through

too

from

his

body.

it, but

never

seen

foliage,

his

sword

far

when

a small

he

clearing.

He

bid

from

monsters

of

sound.

his

himself.

by
the

behind

felt

The

heard

upon

had
as

accompanied

a monster!

act

It

He

now

dangling

came

He

attack

familiar.

had
the

elders.

the

was

He

being

sound.

of the

not

say

liked

an

vaguely

was

the

front.

direction

This

The

love

the

about

heaving

on

away.

heaving

the

seemed

it before.

the

the

and

male

stories

were

pounce

have

trouble

attackedfrom

to determine

there

to

suspecting

many

never

rhythm

go

sword,

beyond

grandmother

would

a strange

heard

that

hours

and

the
forest

see

Monsters

he

into

It came

was

avoid
wet

waiting

mountains.

about

to

foliage,

to

to

sure

as

run

have

was

a beat

grunting

slowly

village

difficult

didnt

in giggles

his

boy

dense

dense,

monsters

heard

excitement

the

The

as

straining

a heavy

The

trying

was

the

cowards

had

It

behind

was

repetitive
he

coat.

trail,

elder,

friends
The

a peculiar

whisper

His

drew
His

though

down.

skipped

immediately
behind.

in

he

fur

path.

lurking

had

when

heart

felt

narrow

he

accompanied

by

the

his

goat

menacingly.

setting

repeatedly

His

path

slowed

a dusty

into

the

monsters

him

through

bundling

encroached
the

hurried

friends
This

his

was

side.

source

a tree

boy

of

trunk

He
the
and

peeped.
It was

a couple.

disrobed
like

a frontal

breast,

seemed

completely.

a bear.

wavy

They

The

view

hair,
with

boy
of

long
deep

the
and

The

man

could

see

woman.
lustrous.

red

to

welts

be

was
just

in a hurry.
extraordinarily

his

She

was

The

partly

due

to

They

the

back

hairy

from

this

astonishingly
torn
brutal

had

blouse

not

angle.

even
almost

He

beautiful1.
revealed

intercourse.

Her
a

Her

had

firm
skirt

had

been

excited

ripped

and

beyond

revealed

imagination.

exquisite

Wait

till

long

his

best

legs.

The

friend

boy

Bhadra

was

heard

of

this!
As

he

enjoyed

amiss.

The

passive

lover.

was

she

within

boy

shut

up.

And

then

his

sword
he

him.

He

The

boy

could

back
There

was

sound

was

Help!

Please

The

little

Go

back!

He

by

down
be?

have

woman

lay

side.

Her

her

her

The

picked

cheeks?

mans
up

to

the

Or

knife

lay

blade

and

tried

to

silence

his

would

haunt

him

conscience.

Just

fell

the

dropping

the

the
at

searing

trail

heavy

pain

of

his

The
boy

on

that

monster

quickly

his

the

hairy

picked

frost-bitten

man

was

up
foot

chasing

breathing.
and

sped

breathing.

suddenly

The

thought

heavy

goat

sword.

calling.

the

mans

the

rest

him.

his

was

ignoring

the

the

help!

woman

hear

upon

for

swerved

It
to

towards

was

his

his

drawing

left,

pivoted

village.
closer
and

He
every

slashed

sword.
nobody

the

there.

haunting

No
plea

sound

of

heavy

of a distraught

breathing.

The

only

woman.

help!

boy

hesitated

could

that

back,

terrified

boy

his

He

Please

fell

onto

The

that

the

encouragements

rolling

could

suddenly

was

hear

with

out,

fled,

leapt

still

second.

eyes

and

could

lifeless

whispering

ecstasy

how

moment

who

He

lay

while

seemed

look.

boy

ran.

of

She

head.

the

to see

passion

hands
not

Something

wanted.

his

cried

startled

grew.

of

was

reach.

womans
she

turned

But

came

The

The

forced?

me

throes

She
tears

if she

disquiet

Her

those

shook

his

the

dead.

womans

Ijet

HELP!

as

being

in

shut.

Were

him

The

was

tightly

the

stabbed

show,

almost

was

her

life.

man

mouth

the

looked

Help
for

her!

back.
cried

a moment.

That
his

poor

inner
Then

woman.
voice.

turned

and

fled

towards

his

village.

NO!

GO

Shiva

BACK!

woke

turned
To

up

terrified

face

He

pulled

the

only

He

cried.

The

eyes

that

platform.

typical

of Meluha.

colours
a

that

bright

pennants,
from

The
for

many

back

no

to

He
that

shut

his

on

your

rested

his

head

instinctively
dreadful

redemption.

branded

been

set

frontier

The

eyes.

But

day.

womans

how

do

you

mind?
on

The

platform

them.

the

Then

he

did

square

of

the

usual

decorated
itself

austere

the

area

had

been

poles,

cloth

symbol

entire

central

decorated

shamiana

The

the
not

had

Suryavanshi

poles.

at

city

Colourfully
a

the

up
it was

attention.

aloft

with

go

be
He

Karachapa,

hue.

held

would

and

had
For

vied

to

madly.

helped.

golden

flowers,

up

platform

Dwitiya

pounding

back.

image

knees

thing

there

flooding

to an

his

heart

desperately

But

came

yagna

his

wanting

himself.

your

HER!

sweating,

around,

redeem

shut

HELP

canopy

painted

atmosphere

with

bright

painted

in

festooned

with

Red

blue

on,

was

affair

and

hung

that

of

proudly

pomp

and

show.
Jhooleshwar
him

to

received

his

ritual

requests,

while

Veerbhadra

had

also

that

the

sake

many
of

exchange

of goods,

square

in the

the

expediency.

for

looked

and

people

towards
distance.

from
services
Satis

At

the

Ayurvati

strict
His
a wide
and

to

sit

for

the

sat

to

sat

to

behind

acceded

cosmopolitan

liberal
variety

attitude
of

duration

his

right

left.

Shiva.

races

be
made

the

of

the
and

Though

the

could

of

Nandi

this

Neelkanths

border

had

guided
repeated

the

to

laws

and

governor's

had

Meluhan

platform

the

cravat

invited

governed
of

of

Brahaspati

Jhooleshwar

a magnet

Shiva

his

and

been

head

yagna.

removed

Jhooleshwar

believed

the

the

Jhooleshwar

unorthodox,

request.

for

had

at

at

Parvateshwar

Neelkanth

was

seat

Shiva

ceremony.

Shiva

city
bent

and
slightly

Karachapa

and

a hub

overlooked

the

for

the

ideas.

balcony,

which

central

Though
was

Sati

being

was

not

allowed

conducted,

to step

she

safe

distance

of

her

the

balcony

curtain,

could

on

look

chambers.

the

on

at the

Shiva

with

Krittika

platform

while

proceedings

noticed

her

her

side,

by

the

yagna

from

standing

the

behind

observing

the

proceedings.
As

was

the

asked

formally,

please

speak

This
to

was

be

before

If

anybody

now.

just

cried

Nobody

Tarak,

taken

the

look

to

it upon

himself

strained

his

an

Since
to be

the

to

wasnt

up

this

the

actually

yagna,

the

groan

voice

came

had

come

to

police

when

from.

ultra-conservative

moral

and

supposed

collective

where

Tarak

stood

peace.

audible,

recognise
from

pandit

objection

which

was

immigrant

the

any

your

question,

I object

empire.

has

hold

loudly,

an

of

forever

there

to

a yagna,

here

Hence
out

needed

regions

Or

such

a traditional

answered.

a voice

was

custom

northwest

Karachapa,

of this

It

he

decadent

had

city

of

sin.
Shiva
standing

at

Satis

the

back,

balcony.

brutally

due

miners

bulging

obvious,

He
to

to

at

giant
of

his

the

of

strife,

looking

made

had

of

arms.

even
had

who

edge

lifetime

muscular

who

see

the

was

without

Kshatriya

neck

puja

his

with

an

fair

working

Tarak
close

to

cut

up

face

stomach

awesome

amulets,

saw

very

immense

cut

at

He

platform,

man
an

He

living

objections.

that

in the

and

figure.

It

Tarak

was

lower

rungs

a
was
a

of

the

army.
Jhooleshwar
time

glared

we

have

the

colours

used

for

Tarak

in

ensured

Chandravanshi
being

at

the

exasperation.

that

in our

ceremony

we

What

have

not

decorations.

Or

is not

correct

at the

do

is

it now?

used
you

the

think

the

temperature

This
white
water
as

per

Vedas?

The

gathering

sharply.
reference

sniggered.

Before
to

the

he

could

Vedas,

Parvateshwar
reprimand
Tarak

spoke

looked
the

Governor

up.

The

law

at

Jhooleshwar

for

his

cavalier

says

no

vikarma

should

be

Yes,

said

vikarma,
Yes

allowed

on

the

yagna

Jhooleshwar.

I dont

platform.

And

think

that

law

unless

you

is being

have

been

declared

broken.

it is!

There

were

raised

his

shocked

murmurs

from

the

congregation.

Jhooleshwar

hand.

Nobody

is a vikarma

here,

Tarak,

said

Jhooleshwar.

Now

please

sit

down.
Princess

Sati

Shiva
as

and

as

said

the

the

the

rest

of

Jhooleshwar.

on

You

yagna

her

presence.

sharply
the

abiding

the

with

looked

guest-house,

present

yagna

Parvateshwar

stunned

Tarak!
in

defiles

at

Tarak.

assembly
go

by

too

the

platform.

by

far.

Taraks

Princess

laws

Now

Jhooleshwar

of

sit

the

statement.

Sati

is

yagna.

down

was

confined

She

before

is

not

have

you

whipped.
On

what

charge

Standing
But

up

the

Yes

law

it has.

the

the

law

has

not

been

being

conducted

same

platform,

mean

the

platform,

should

not

yagna

legal,

city

be

accurate
He

tried

princess

could

was

the

law
is

defiles

correct.
not
like

on

would

yelled

Tarak.

in Meluha.

city

momentarily

being

people

be

the

The

city.

By

be

on

yagna

being

interpreted

prayer

Meluhan
the

entire
have

can

is

on

the

yagna.

most

the

vikarma

conducted.

Most
on

no

of the

the

of

either

is that

platform

interpretation

or outside

Jhooleshwar

of the

Dwitiya

anywhere
she

a crime

Governor?

broken!

Karachapa,

strict

whipped,

a yagna

the

a vikarma
since

me

is not

words

technically

that

have

while
on

However,

the

exact

platform

was

you

for

The

same

Tarak

will

move

to

the

built

mean

platform

that

. To

other

law

to

platform

was

would

Dwitiya
to

ceremony
cities,

law

that

on

Sati

keep

the

platform

of

walls.
taken

aback

as

Taraks

Tarak.

You

objection

was

in principle.
a

rally

weakly.

Come,

come

are

being

too

conscientious.
No,

I think

Shri

that

is too

Jhooleshwarji,

strict

an

interpretation.

reverberated

loud

I think...

voice

through

the

gathering.
Everybody
come

turned

out

on

her

interrupting

the

We

which

time

Shiva

clenched
he

was

the

out

of

whom
ensure

that

is

respect

the

looked

He

was
that

Sati.

did

What

with

at

apologies

for

sorry
leave

the

not

third

wring

But
to

have

the

city

prahar,

by

Taraks

effort.

Within

Krittika

and

and
that

neck

minutes
five

personal

Veerbhadra,
Shiva

Sati

wanted

both

of

them

to

city.

realise

of

to

Nandi

the

kind

of

had

namaste.

shal

wanted

understood

outside

you

terribly

who

over.

along

They

safe

I am
I

Sati,
my

formal

beginning

be

look

accept

and

the

from.

superhuman

to

Sati.

fair.

frantically

with

turned

join

she

to

by

came

with

entourage

guest-house,

disgusting

scornfully

Sati

to

is

should

himself

the

Sati

law

return

fist.

Shiva

rose

the

ceremony

controlled

sound
Please

said

My

will

his

bodyguards.

It

of

yagna.

immediately.

the

continued.

Governor,

interpretation

disturbed

where

balcony,

you,

Taraks

but

to see

this

yourself,

princess

are

Tarak

you?

said

Dont

you

law?
at Tarak.

debate

and

waited

I dont

understand

convoy

of

the

Her

face

patiently
what

calm.

for

her

a vikarma

Neelkanth.

She

She

refused

to be

guards

to prepare

woman

is doing

is poll

uting

the

drawn

the

horses.

travelling

entire

into

with

journey,

the

raged

Tarak.
Enough!

intervened

Stop

your

diatribe

I will

not!

screeched

challenging
Tarak!

Lord
yelled

challenge

the

Shiva.
right

Tarak.

is

leaving

with

dignity.

What

kind

of a leader

are

you?

You

are

laws.

Jhooleshwar.
If

Sati

now.

Rams

law.

Princess

you

The
value

Lord

Neelkanth

your

life,

you

has
will

the
not

right
defy

to
his

authority
I am

a Meluhan,

shrieked

Tarak.

It is my

right

to challenge

anyone

breaking

the

Ram.

It

law.

was

his

and

renounced

Lord

Rams

his

The

congregation

not

too

And

this

I invoke

to

challenged

the

mans
to

urge

the

Neelkanth

brains

for

making

Lord
objection

learn

from

decisions.

was

stunned

into

silence

by

had

tolerated

Taraks

remark.

the

was

injured

right

person

She

endured

them

insulted

with

Shiva.

of Agnipariksha
could

worse

could

Agnipariksha

one

had

onlookers

soul

no

she
had

getting

was

snapped.

too

quiet

Her

many

insults

dignity.

Shiva,

But

she

this
finally

to herself.

stunned

these

acceded

Sati.

her

man

acknowledged

This

he

his

erupted

inside
long.

time,

The

use

washerman

Sati.

Something
for

mere

I would

and

TARAK!

a
that

wife.

ENOUGH

But

greatness

example

entire

dhobi

and

combat

escape

from

And

The

or died.

for

a woman

their

An

A trial

Agnipariksha,

place
duel

in control.

ears.

tormentor

take

ring.

back

Under

their

the

Sati,

believe

worse.

would

surrendered

days.

not

challenge

as

said

fire!

an

unfairly

to

a duel.

It was

called

within

a ring

of fire.

There

ists

had

to

Agnipariksha

to invoke

by

the

keep

was

right

was

fighting

till

extremely
almost

rare

unheard

of.
There

is no

his

subjects,

city.

For

reason
he

the

Emperors

You

And

be

You

want

time.

Then

Only

was

have

reverentially

not

be

lady,

pleaded

that

Princess

Tarak

would

terrible.

accept

this

Jhooleshwar.
Sati

might

certainly

Turning

to

be

Just
killed

slay

Tarak,

like
in

his

her.

The

Jhooleshwar

challenge.

a coward?
prove

fight
the

your

me.

referring
to Tarak,

she

You

fight

me.

with

bravery?

I will

right

Turning
will

my

terrified

would

will

called
to

this,

gargantuan

wrath

ordered,

for

to
to
said,

act

as

spoke
Satis

second

second,

appoint
Parvateshwar
I am

Parvateshwar

appointing

for

for

the

being
no

second.

first

challenge.

pitratulya

as

the

like

said
a

Sati,
father

You

will

Tarak,

do

no

the

of being

such

only

thing

reason

killed,

Tarak,

you

Brahaspati

wouldnt

objected

want

to fight

this

time.

is if you

are

afraid

said

Shiva.
Every

person

Turning

turned

to Sati,

Shiva

the

Princess

fight.

Sati

stared

at Shiva,

I accept
Sati

the

to

At

take

at

the

She

can

more

the

beginning

shocked

Citizens

defeat

by

his

of Karachapa,

anyone.

growled

Tarak.

climbed

on

of the

one

Neelkanth,

Even

words.

I have

the

gods.

steed

and

seen

shocked.

Tarak,

edge

the

continued,

challenge,

nodded

leave.

towards

look

square,

at

her

she

Shiva.

white

pulled

She

smiled

up

her

at

him,

turned

horse

and

turned

to

turned

and

rode

away.
It

was

stole

quietly

Tarak

into

With

day,

no

the

yagna

be

offended.

yagna

one

The

was

called

famed

Brahaspatis
assassinate

Shiva
What

are

Sati

is too

my
But
Ill

life

you

it

congregation

for

exercise
days

in the

went

Brahaspati

hall , to

yagna

princess

to be

and

had

would

die

ceremony.

conducted
through

been
the

a
next

However,

or the
the

observe

gods

motions

as
would

and

the

to a close.

with

blows

dread

tonight.

stunned

to meet

reputation

are

the

Shiva

and
She

on
he
will

his

came
not

disbelief

to

the

a fate

such

as

hapless
to an

die
chief

partners

immediate

filled
decision.

tomorrow
scientist.

Brahaspati?

saying?

noble

and

you
do

in

The

that

it had

as

, the

to participate

called,

him

turned

partners.

fearsome

soul

prahar
graha

petrified

inclined

been

third

varjish

two

everyone
was

the

local

with

had

Taraks

Ill

the

exercising

disaster.

of

a Brahmin.
you,

for

this.

I am

willing

to

sacrifice

her.
You

whispered

are

not

supposed

Brahaspati,

to kill.
emotions

clouding

his

judgement.
Shiva

You

came

soul,

my

close

friend.

Brahaspati

back,

required.

For

I am

A few

hours
not

to

practise

with
later

clearly

conveyed
to

her

hands

sure

seen
My

even

the

central

a hint

Dont

corrupt

your

sacrifice.

sun

any

case,

rises

in

Sati

your

the

east,

returned

room,

but

to

sacrifice

is

Sati

defeat

the

guest

summoned

drew

her

will

house.

Nandi

sword

not

and

and

began

her

walked
fear

that

in,

this

looking

broken.

His

expression

might

practising,

the

time

sheathed

namaste.

close

to

as

Sati,

last

her

Pitratulya,
his

though
in his

be

he

face

had

sword

she

would

and

folded

whispered.

distraught.

been

he

She

crying.

could

She

confident

eyes.

said

I am

happy

say

anything.

had

not
never

Parvateshwar.

I think

is right,

couldnt

find

considered

the

Sati.

strength

assassinating

to
Tarak

at night.

For
But

that

brief
would

ill egal.

Just

then,

Shiva

Parvateshwars
weakness

face.
in the

predicament,
I am

sorry

he
I am

did
late,

turned

Actually,

Brahaspati

for

Tarak,

and

Brahaspati

This

was

general.

Everyone

pray

In

her

of a tear

what

he

him.

a big

courtyard,

stopped

mumbled

moment,

to

it seemed

doing

hugged

prahar,

a respectful

Parvateshwar

be

up

came

but

and
such

the

third

go

his

into

child,

I am

the

She

Parvateshwar
be

as

Parvateshwar

Sati.

friend.

them.

A little

talk

worth

my

whispered,

sure

into

Veerbhadra

her,

to Shiva.

as

tomorrow.

lose

not

Shiva

Tarak

did

not

to Brahaspati

clung

Stepping

She

will

not

like

said

to look

said

While
the
Shiva

the
he

walked
first

time

could

effect

in.

he

had

Shiva
seen

understand

it was

having

noticed
any

sign

of

Parvateshwars
on

Sati.

cheerily.

at him.

and
Shiva.

I had

gone

to

the

Lord

Varun

temple

to

We

prayed

would

be

Sati

that

out

Bhadra,

But

fast.

you

duel

with

to

Sati,

Sati

Use

Suddenly,

Yes.

Its

Then

idea

you
my

can

Thats

Sati
not

and
the

The

arena

was

Not

so

twenty

the

other

in the

world

courtyard.

practise,

your

Tarak

said

Shiva.

agility.
practise.

His

blows

that
and

not

stands

thousand

be

too

that

come

with
Sati

to

stop,

he

asked

weapon?

challenge.
reach

while

of

his

strikes

my
of

could
so

the

Almost

while

the

watch

the

same

to

Nandi,

one

Lady.
a circular
which

stadium.
was

steer
the

and
the

to

main

the

immigrants

for

an

clear

combat

in

agnipariksha.
of

would

a capacity
most

was
in its

next

required

This

gargantuan

Mesopotamian

simply
that

nodded.
at

Giving

constructed

ground
to

Brahaspati

knives.

dimensions

small

around

practise

movements,

Nandi

the

two

been

person

his

quicker.

centre

had

into

kill.

combat

Practise,

exact

had

could

the

with

the

strength

her

slower

immediately.

concerts

Nandis

of Karachapa,

one

of the

resumed

Parvateshwar,

at

his

movements.

reduce

much

to Sati.

Turn

She

the

It will

out

down.

Instructing

I threw

emerged

music
loved.

were

Shiva.

as

stood

Karachapa

contestant

that

Rangbhoomi

for

big

in a strike

agreement

This

stadium,

to

knife.

her

Tarak
main

the

saw

word.

compared

concurred

other

proportions.

There

to

party

control

his

to choose

Veerbhadra
the

for

him

against

every

in and

signalled

gave

slows

struck

the

move

instant,

take

of the

opponent

prerogative

brilliant!

Sati

rest

continued,

agility

allowed

choose

you

your

rapidly

an

Are

the

And

blows

to succeed

Sati,

would

princess.

absorbing

Moving
able

did

right

the

of the

nodded,

was

soul

power.

force

Nandi.

the

Shiva

tremendous
the

his

So

not

too

weakness.

he

are

move

Turning
have

laughing.

you

Nandi

journey

comfortable.

burst

You

the

crowd

important

the

other

end
of
duel

fast.
over
in

Karachapa

for

There

a prayer

so

was

that

and

ancient

Sati

Varun

blessings

on

to
at

his

Shiva.
left.

every
would

fight

the
the

of

God

Or

the

and

Water

right

to

were

in their

now

courier

been

sent

Daksha

the

duel.

However,

At

long

last,

fist

Maan!
The

but
to his

An
rest

Tarak

with

The

lamp

central
The

rang

Sati

echoed.

Satya!

the

holy

ground
for

turning

stand

they
the

He
As

statue

of

asking

for
had

Varun

for

and

Krittika

to

right.

Nandi

Shiva.

informing

to expect

and
bird

him

of

a reply.

nervous

about

custom,

he

the

raised

Dharma!

Honour

.
Satya!

Dharma!

stadium

an

of Lord

day,

per

Satya!

the

behind

was

Both

Jhooleshwar

to Shivas

time

up.

Eve.

bowed,

Ayurvati

previous

miracle

repeating
to

statue

with

enough

least,

Seas.

the

Dharma!

Maan!

Maan!

keeper

who

lit the

ceremonial

oill

fire.

was

Jhooleshwar

Then,

in agreement.

to the

its

the

the

cause

namaste,

position,

Duty.

stadium

spilled

ring

to Truth.

nodded

sat

boomed:

of the

Jhooleshwar

with

composed.

and

invocation

and

lamp

heart

very

left

stood

appeared

the

famiEar

wasnt

Jhooleshwar

agnipariksha,
balled

there

at

below

Parvateshwar

to

Manu

and

Shivas

Veerbhadra
had

Father

main

of the

sat

Brahaspati

win.

honour.

seat

governor

Let

other

with

top

years.

lip.

each

ceremonial

The

hundred

greeted

from

vacated

five

Sati

pledge

Lord

last

Princess

Tarak

his

the

fire

on

to

the

oill

channel;

the

periphery

your

instructions

of

the

aflame.

pariksha

turned

to

had

been

Shiva.

set.

My

Lord,

to

start

the

turning

to

the

duel.
Shiva

looked

stadium,
In

the

Tarak
front
that

he

at

declared

purifying
and
of

him,

played

Sati

fire

Sati

with

to his

confident

smile.

Then

loudly,
of Lord

immediately

like

most

Agni,

truth

will

drew

their

knives.

traditional

strengths.

fighters.

Keeping

his

always

He
knife

triumph!

Tarak
had

held

his

chosen

strategy

of him

allowed

in front

knife

in

him

to strike

allowing
Sati,

the

Sati

to make

breaking

She

all

shifted

keeping

the

about

The

was

now

Sati

leapt

that

with

her

a feint.
play.

She
Sure

arm

up

his

out

Sati

from

retreated

transferring
her
to

arms.
the

it from

one

knife

which

suddenly

moved.

Tarak

do

her

any

not

bear
let

What

is she

Why
Shiva
face.
Unlike

it be

is she

the

her.

other,

aim

was

the

other

while

to

confuse

hand

was

arm

flex.

right

leftward

right

to

to the

bring

right

viciously,

He

knew

movement
her

and

prepared.
cutting

was

knife

into

brought

Shifting

in her

his

Sati

to hurt.

moved

She

knife

across

her

A collective

and

whispered

charging

in so

to

at

look
had

gasp

Some
were
not

her

left

in a slow

to

as

to
she

enough

arm

fervently.
painful

her

close

eyes.

on

move

for

rapidly

their

a panic-stricken

eye

arm

right

retreated

praying

her

come
his

again,

a close

waiting

even

shut

back

expected

with

Sati

her

kept

swinging
could

and

cut

as

the

They

could

If it had

to be

manner.

Brahaspati

to

Shiva.

recklessly?
Brahaspati,

a surprised,

knew

He

ferociously

Most

to

immobile,

did,

shoulder.

swiftly

he

hand.

arm

horror.

knife
Tarak

remained

her

in

the

other.

left

He

swung

left

doing?

Brahaspati,

the

her

much,

behind

stationary.

the

it appeared

in her

anymore.

Parvateshwar

saw

was

to the

left.

He

done

turned

to

She

did.

moaned

done,

He

knife,

moved

but

before

the

to look

on

remained

Tarak

hand

her

acted

congregation

move

ied.

she
to

in

Tarak

slashed

was

damage.

deep

Tarak

too

knife
to

The

stir

audience.
rall

swerve

to

cut,

and

The

right,

a deep

her

hand

opponent.

the

motion.
he

not

hand.

quickly

arm,

one

a hawk.

left.

to

Sati

the

held

attack.

holding

have

left

It wasnt

right

the

hand

enough,

to

went

to

in a stabbing

quickly
torso.

in her

would

combat,

her

like

did

of him.

from

of her

He

in front
of

from

movements

right

close.

continuously

direction

Satis

Suddenly

rules

distance

the

came

moves

known

watching
knife

Sati

her

knife

a safe

Tarak

moment

what

was

also
yet
going

noticing
admiring
on.

Parvateshwars
grin

Turning

on
back

his

face.
to

look

at the

duel,

At

centre,

the

behind

Shiva

her

Sati

time

did

the

right

arm

Tarak

was

slowly

bleed

to come

holding

which

she

did

in a swift

he

sliced

with

his

right

right

spurted

back.

Sati

stumbled

entire

stadium

up

was

alarming
do

was

Then

almost

as

Then

she

The

stadium

Suryavanshis
magnanimous

looked

it wouldnt

but

keeping

was

waited

for

Expecting

Sati

neatly

had

her

left

arm
back.

to her

immobilised

dropped

his

knife
and

to

to move

pirouetted

leapt

pressure

going

her

blow

it down
her
had

with

right

and

The

knife
Tarak.

and
dug

have

in victory.

dear.

had

the

staggered
the

knife

the

his

in

heart

out

Shiva,

the

a slight

smile.

been

and

all

the

as

Defiant

of

I forgive
Varun

perfect.
when

meet

his

It

was

sat

inside
on

his

you.

had

It had

at
she

energy
evil,

to

All

again.

negative

destroyer

if Lord

would

calm

it

mouth

hands.

Tarak

the
had

twisting

Taraks
her

became

whispered.

Even

from

of
anger

slowly

both

The

expression

repressed

out,

with

expression

and

of

out

knife

motionless.

the

knife

spewed

on

ground,

years

sucked

in joy.

the

face

pulled

raised

held

to

Eighty-five

at Tarak,

erupted

he

the

Satis

around.
at her

left,

arm,

chest.

the

Blood

suddenly,

turned

left

the

Taraks

collapsed

She

She

bring

staring

fight,

fury.

if someone

She

throne,

and

damage.
rate.

to

hands

hilt.

instant.

maximum

He

veer.

of

He

stunned.

in

her

that

onto

shock

right

her

relaxed.

Sati

brutally

between

flexed

hand.

react,

mouth.

her

hand.

maintained

back

in that

to

his

to the

goddess

maker.

the

from

right

in
The

ruthlessly

Tarak

her.

hand
lung.

left

could

from

confident

left,

Blood

had

closely,

in her

Tarak

knife

and

was

Taraks

an

loose

knife

pierced

inflict

knife

a trap.

the

She

the

her

surfaced

the

knife.

to death.

brought

mother

the

Sati

a surprised

deeper,

a move

her

in,

Before

transfer

laying

transferring

feigned

watching

then

Shes

still

She

not

believed

right,

was

back.

this

He

whispered,

himself

everything

under

pressure,

scripted
that

the
yet

Sati

raised

The

entire

Sati

turned

Jai...,

Shiva

loved.

Regaining

Emotions

that

her

being

as

any

longer,

The

princess

an

was
in

loathed
But

there

were

for

asked

Shiva.

tears

looked

for

admiration.

believed
preacher.
for

were

said

on

Shiva

with

to hear
the

to

back

the

at

woman

her

with

too

long

When

she

rippled

through

couldnt

bear

it

that

even

had

few

rushed
six

they
the

the

Tarak

had
poem

balcony

had

been

own

to

Their

defeated.

Many

must

in the

moment
take

Karachapa.

mother

supporters

to

hours

in

his

the

in

night

Sati

him
save

his

liberal
had

to

have
city.

forgiven

the

hospital.

life.

To

much

succeeded.
of

of

the

sun

and

the

governors

the

earth?

palace

Sati

while

inside.
a seductive

grin,

sometimes

thinks

corning

a little

closer

to

her.

it

earth

sun,

that

Hence

for

about

raged

the

duels.

folk,

party

Apparently
to

town

standing

love

He

had

heard

boisterous

closer

in her

insufferable

laboured

the

you

Id

cry.

at Shiva.

celebration

The

rules

had

Have

But

safe.

paramedics

dismay

he

throat.

the
his

Ram!

eyes.

impromptu

surly

Surgeons

No,

her

Karachapa

the

Tarak,

shut

show

Shri

in his

complete

he

to stare

Shivas

knot

Jai

& Earth

was

people

saw

the

himself,

dormant

again,

16

Sun

There

she

been

by

lest

of

continued

had

she

CHAPTER

control

Sati

once

if I dont

Sati,

Ram!

Ram!

roared

time

from

Shri

Shri

clogged

this

away

smile.

and

were

mind

Jai

Jai

Shiva

words

wont

shouted,

repeated,

towards

glanced

radiant

and

stadium

Lord

They

knife

Shivas

The

he

her

said

Sati.

But

she

of

the

cant

do

possibility
that.

She

of
is so

coming
base

and

his

brilliance

draws

him

What

now?
said

is

reason

close
for

The

sun

himself.
the

He

for

the

earth

turned

solace

from

not

face.

going

destruction

if

she

believe

only

there,

as

long

as

the

there

would

be

no

It

exists

for

every

single

whom

he

to exist?

melancholic.
higher.

good

system.

And

The
He

if the

asked

waste

his

has
this

Shiva,

his

entire

not

His

earth

to destroy

moment

does

of everyone.

anything
do?

chooses

he

exist

for

luminosity

is

any

sense

of

balance.
hurt

life

and

anger

burning

away?

a distance?

away

anywhere.
But

The

anything

sun

more

and

the

earth

is against

the

looked

north

can

laws.

still
It

is

of others.

away

from

Sati

holy

lake.

he

looked

nothing,

burns

earth.

greater

Just

friendship.

his

the

became

do

from

interests

Shiva

sun

Shiva,

sun

earth

a warm

Feeling

not

the

his

isnt

the

solar
will

should

at the

against

the

she

Looking

share

cause

wasnt

for

at

exists

on

The

looking

calling

showing

for

choice

his

responsibility,

the

earth

just

suns

of

what

the

sun,

lifeblood

So

will

system.

Sati,
the

If

exist

the

said

became

she

to exist.

solar

it really

No,

that

I think

him.

doesnt

in the

Isnt

Shiva.

to

the

sun

planet

searing,

closer.

I disagree,
earth

so

up

in

anger.

at

the

He

skies,

towards

the

gods

to

seek

he

did

in.

Dammit!
He

banged

bricks

and

Outside
At

the

The

captain

the

duo.

Queen

stormed

the

a slight

balcony

city

He
herself.

with

his

powerful

fist,

dislodging

some

off.
wals,

distance,
of

railing

the
could

in a forested
two

platoon
not

hooded
of
believe

area,
figures

soldiers
that

a few
were

stood
he

was

soldiers

seated
rigid

on

lay
large

in attention

standing

next

in

wait.
rocks.

next
to

to
the

The

privilege

One
to

of

the

step

with

hooded

closer.

the

are

overwhelmed

my

where

he

The

Lord,
had

a feminine

hooded

figure,

detail.

I hope

The

other

the

Queen

Have

for

faith,

your

Apparently,

there

and

in

trying
do

have

involved
The

captain

this

an

bracelet

is where

we

hour.
This

is

exactly

obeyed

you

vile

his

without

wait!

trust

this

in a commanding

to

worked

territory

fleshy

question.

Turning

have

voice

That

the

other

this

out

in

in vain.

hands

in a motion

asking

that

will

the

they
an

city

man
never

Queen

fight
said

with

his

details.

our

to

giving

between

ear

hope

the

from.
the

Vishwadyumna

sharp

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key

recover

Agnipariksha

yesterday,

exact

is

for

suddenly,

local

that

our

princess

knowledge.
man

was

I
not

in it.

Queen

quickly

turned

why

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he

before

he

speaks

other

to

had

his

asked

the

hooded

figure

Id

you

told

There

is nothing

to be

stupid

attack

Mount

on

the

said

Lords

told

spoken

other

with

had

been

unless

the

wait

sensed

retreated
is

swiftly

Please

She s here?
The

This

the

Vishwadyumna

never

spoke

Nagas

Highness.

the

Vishwadyumna.

This

the

moved

was

to impress
not

sure

nearly

the

a leather

nervously.

to being

entered

a blow

man

by

you

for

patience.

Suryavanshis

of

figure

was

are

and

continued,

hooded

motion

come.

used

I havent

to

wrist

is late

turned

Queen
she

figures

He

would

A voice

the

hand

Vishwadyumna

figure

one.

makes

him?

he

hooded

his

Vishwadyumna,

replied
said

raised

hooded

to meet

other

man

the

Aum.

supposed

Yes,

figures

On

serpent

him.

in

hooded
other

figure.

back

to

soldiers.

something
stern

Then

he

gaze

training

shouldnt

could

school

that

have

reprimand

and
him.

a good

soldier

to.

Queen

with

barely

about

this,

suppressed

anger.

nodded.
to

forget

gained
Mandar

by

this
may

quest.
have

said
Do
let

the
you

them

Queen
realise
suspect

sternly.
that
that

your
we

have

a mole

The

male

Did

you

No,

your

figure

The

Queen

was

shoulder.

strike

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be

preoccupation
Do
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hooded
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The

hooded
poor

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The

Queen

gently

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patted

Queen

Like

respectful

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If we
said,

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hand

into

pull

we

will

the
on

he

her

makes
has

back

the

deal

is off.

Queen

Nagas,

my

the

shelter

to

look
The

surprising

greatest

clear

uncharacteristic

message

in surprise.

that

How

child,

she

at

Queen,

did

she

you...

interrupted.

have

chessboard.

Mandar.

making

take

at the

the

you

sent

the

continued

appeared
we

After

all I am

as

Naga

the

Queens

next

mistakes,

my

ever.

Dont

ashamed
words

child.

waste

about

added
You

to his

have

the

you

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it.

to relax.

are

Mausi
your

you

Whatever
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Highness.

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course,

of

are

refer

sufficiently

a deeply

to meet

the

difficult

her,

stared

at Mount

when

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very

Otherwise,

piece

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figure

call

potential

Of

you

figure

You

I think

us

victory
find

with

Queen

than

shame.

will

out

child,

biggest

the

touched?

more

his

hand

asked

with

robes,

decisions.

am

he

my

they

continued

your

where

figure

nodded.

black

The

hooded

her

our

that

of her

cannot

place

the

focussed,

a blow

And

her?

reached

it will

man

in apology.

said

the

Stay

The

up

for

Highness,

This

off,

midst?

looked

come

tone.

this

in their

for

are,

s sister

said

the

say,

weeks
the

now,

said

the

Queen,

figure

as

maybe

mother

you
two

alone

hooded

a smile

reached

his

mausi.
since

convoy

the
to

Agnipariksha.
continue

Sati
its

journey

had

recovered
to

its

next

destination.
Shivas
Its
for

Shiva,
chambers

agreed
us

Sati

Parvateshwar

then,

to

said

our

have

I think

sat

together

in

will

a week

make

from

the

arrangements

today.

By

that

time,

completely

is a suitable

Parvateshwar,

I will

journey

recovered

that

Brahaspati

guest-house.
Parvateshwar.

commence

should

Yes,

at the

and

plan,

not

be

agreed

Shiva.

coming

along

any

further,

said

Brahaspati.
Why?

asked

Well,

the

going

Parvateshwar.

new

back

experiments
the

chemicals
with

the

can

begin

consumption

I had

ordered

consignment
as

of

to

soon

water

have

as

for

come.

Mount

I was

Mandar

possible.

If we

making

the

considering
so

can

that

get

Somras

this

the
right,

will

reduce

country.

When

drastically.
Shiva

smiled

And

I you,

you

said

finish

sylvan

said

scientific
Both

near

skills

not

Just

tour,

Shiva

Shiva

our

and

any

Governor

not

my

friend.

leaving

Mandar.

Perhaps

the

Ill

you

a plausible
burst

private

Brahaspati,

show

joke,

you

reveal
for

around

looked

on

royal

send

some

some

the

laughing.

the

blue

your

throat!
who

politely.
I will

entourage.
soldiers

of

Parvateshwar,

Parvateshwar.

the

to

will

cause

out

said

from

Jhooleshwar

you

facility

Brahaspati

soldiers

I am

to Mount

a grin.

the

to miss

But

discover

understand
point,

going

come

with

and

one

divert

I am

Brahaspati.

your

forests

Yes,

did

sadly.

not

will

along

be

able

speak

for

your

to
with

return

journey.
Thank

you,

terrorist

be

There

was

kilometres
temple
Another

Parvateshwar.
interested
another
from

was

Mohan

said

I am

sure

I will

be

fine.

Why

should

in me?
terrorist

destroyed

one,

But

Jo
and

Shiva,

attack

yesterday

Daro,

said

all the

a village

Parvateshwar.

Brahmins

angered.

in

That

some
The

fifty
entire

killed.
is

the

third

attack

this

month!
Yes,

said

Parvateshwar.

they

escaped

before

They
any

are

back-up

getting

could

bolder.

arrive

And

to

give

as

usual,

them

real

fight
Shiva

clenched

his

fists.

There

was

no

attacks.
where

they

would

Chandravanshis
kept

quiet,

easy

answers.

to make

preparations

dinner.

I think

Nandi

and

Shiva

so

starled

Krittika,

he

That

wont

Parvateshwar

Thank

be

said

and

join

us.

stop

this?

knew

I will

Parvateshwar.
and

like

in the

people

evening

for

instructions

their

is

for

company.

very

are
even

bumpkin

my

no

uncharacteristic

Veerbhadra

a country

the

were

get

send

This

has

knew

Brahaspati

there

also

you

you

terror

Swadweep,

He

meet

the

nobody

Parvateshwars

kind

going

bought

next

to

of

you.

flute

some

jewels

to Nandi!

politely.
to dine

with

Parvateshwar

turned

to

I will

I know

Veerbhadra

like

a pleasure

you,

stopped

look
smiled

it will

Ill

Nandi
crazy

way

journey.

at

since

attacking

turmoil.

us.

to counter

them

continued,

to join

you

how

for

only

inner

finally

Thank

on

Was

the

our

can

Veerbhadra

tonight.

that

But

for

looked

recital

next.

Shivas

idea

prepare

country,

Sati

I believe

no

Parvateshwar

thoughtfulness.
But

to

strike

sensing

at Shiva,

had

way

own

Looking

He

as

you,
he

around.

Overcoming

I ever

told

this,

like

thank

said

got

up.

his

Shiva.
After

a few

hesitation,

steps,

he

he

mumbled.

Shiva!
Yes?

Shiva

I dont

think

But

I would

was

your

No,

no,

Of

course

confidence

got

clear
said

up.

to

thinking
Shiva.

you
you
which

It was

it

was,

said

and

the

strategy

said

for
led

her

Parvateshwar,

helping

Sati

in her

agnipariksha.

It

to victory

brilliance.

Parvateshwar.
to

uncomfortable.

show

But
her

you

brilliance.

gave
If

there

her
is

the
any

person

in

the

duty,

it is Sati.

You

are

world

that

I thank

welcome,

by

Parvateshwar

smiled

and

not

beginning
long

fall
to

en

that

around

and

walked

He

not

is

retreating

a
back.

honest

of the

sort,

said

may

you

dont

get

too

Shiva.

In

hands

not

into

to

of

just

begun.

While

fever,

Parvateshwars

only

embarrass

a namaste.

Neelkanth

he

esteem
The

he
was

was

General

turned

room.
Brahaspati,

be

a little

I have

a sense

conversation.

country-wide

had

beyond

sense

this

Earning

out

He

with

his

to the

a feeling
her.

Shiva,

Shiva.

Suryavanshis

hope

helping

folded

Shiva

bad

with

lengthening

prey

respect

journey

for

smiled

further

still

at

you

Parvateshwar

had

I look

ever

upset

surly.

met.

by

looking

at

But

is one

he

A true

the

foll

Parvateshwars

ower

ill-tempered

of

the

of Lord

things

most
Ram.

he

says

to

you.
I dont,

said

is one

man

Brahaspati
He

leaned

Shiva
I

whose

respect

smiled

seeing

closer

smiled

had

fact,

and

I think
I would

yet

said,

very
certainly

another

You

highly

of

like

instance

are

a good

Parvateshwar.

He

to earn.
of

Shivas

large

heart.

man.

back.

not

answered

continued

Brahaspati.

Honestly,

I have

you

never

the

last

believed

time

in the

you

had

legend

asked

of the

me,

Shiva,

Neelkanth.

I still

dont.
Shivas
But

smile
I believe

negative
I can

in

are
help

Saying
warmly,
swore

out

you.

the

a little

you.

energy
to help

You
the

became

broader.

If there
of this

is

land,

In whatever

brother

I never

one
I think

way
had

person
it will

capable

of

be

And

you.

sucking
I will

the
do

all

I can.

Brahaspati.

Just

your

presence

is all

I need.
so

Shiva

feeling
once

again

embraced
a sense
that

his
of

he

friend.

renewed
would

never

Brahaspati
energy
back

hugged

course
off

from

Shiva

through
his

him.

mission.

back
He
No

matter

what.

It

wasnt

just

for

Meluha.

It

was

also

for

Shiva.

His

that

the

convoy

set

friend.
It was
off

over

from

three

weeks

after

Satis

agnipariksha

Karachapa.

The

usual

six

carriages

had

been

first

time

Shiva.

seven

carriages

were

dummies.

joined
that

by

Veerbhadra

was

was

off

missing

more

than

with

and

was

begged

she

sat

Parvateshwar

had

that

in a row.

Shiva

Parvateshwar

Krittika

claiming

travelled

Sati

the

carriage

the

scenic
to

time

in the

Ayurvati

travelling

pleased

This

as

in

the

and

five,

but

third

and

they

was

the

well.

It

same

carriage

volunteered

beauty

ride

not

of

along

to

the

with

as
ride,

countryside.
her

in

Nandis

platoon.
They

had

journeyed

convoy

was

in the

opposite

inquire.

brought

is the
Lord,

They
Escap

by

a large

came

up

from

Karachapa

caravan

Parvateshwar

Vraka

are

refugees

escaping

to

when

travelling

stepped

from

a terrorist

ing ! asked

is still

out

Parvateshwar

the

hurriedly

of the

carriage

and

to

executed

the

village

of

Koonj,

said

Vraka.

attack.

a surprised

Parvateshwar.

You

mean

the

attack

on?

I think

so,

my

Goddamit!

place

Lord,

swore

opportunity
with

not

allowed

and

the

What
following

said

this.

a thousand

to

Vraka,

his

Parvateshwar.

like

in progress.

Whats

a halt

away

matter?

they

are

was

to

days

salute.

What

an

a few

direction.

Brigadier

military

My

just

And
take

yet,
on

Neither

To
five

face

be

present

hundred

mission

except

with

Meluha
at

rage.

nor

the

soldiers

Parvateshwars

any

filled

right

while
hands
to

he

had

time

ever
and

a terrorist
were

protect

tied.
the

got
right

attack
He

was

Neelkanth

Princess.
nonsense?
my
the

he

Kshatriya
matter,

thought
dharma!

Parvateshwar?

to

himself.

My

orders

forbid

me

from

Parvateshwar
were

turned

getting

answer,

out

of

a horrible

sound

Shiva

had

the

conch-shell

had

begun.

of Koonj

Battle
are

They

are

the

by

Tears

is

spilled

had

my

out
shoulder.

miserable.

Not

clear.

Sati

and

Ayurvati

Parvateshwar

quiet

forest

It declared

the

could

road.
evil

It announced

It was

intentions

that

an

of
attack

begun!

Lord,

said

the

Nagas.

They

gave

temple

were

detained.

his

good
of

headmans

the

here.

clenched

Panditji

and

Before

from

at the

Parvateshwar

well.

him.

Parvateshwar.

village,

five

as

behind

through

loud

distance

led

right

to recognise.

asked

in my

Brahmins

Our

tore

attack

they?

a short

soldiers,

noise

A Naga

The

Where

carriage

bearer,

17

Shiva

the

come

CHAPTER

Its

to find

his

Some

fists

my

eyes.

Vraka

But

the

knowing

five
us

fate

only

of

control

the

to leave.

despite

the

fury.

on

headman

priest

But

headman.
hand

the

village

his

village

comforting

made

headman.

Chandravanshi

minutes

said

put

gesture

the

his

Lord,

village

hundred

thirty

to regain

man,

scared

the
more

added

to

his

guilt.
We

wanted

to

stay

Brahmins,

sobbed

even

how

to

off

the

know

and
the

fight

alongside

headman.

raise

our

They

a weapon.

are

How

Pandit
men

can

of

they

and
god.
fight

the

other

They

dont

against

this

horde?
Vraka

let

go

But

Panditji

and

children.

written

headman

ordered
He

in his

us
said

fate.

But

Parvateshwars

nails

Chandravanshis

for

not

Kshatriyas

having

put

who
him

as

anger

to

leave.

he

would

He

if anyone
dug
yet

into
again

could

in a position

got
told

face
can

his

skin.

where

He
he

us

better
to

flee

whatever

be

attacking

retaliate.

the

saved,
He

livid

defenceless
was
could

incensed
not

with

Lord
they

was

of him.

take

our

women

Brahma

should
at

has

be.

the

cowardly

Brahmins
at

his

action.

and
fate

A part

for
of

him

wanted

to

ignore

his

orders.

But

he

was

bound

not

to

break

the

law.
THIS

NONSENSE

Parvateshwar
The

HAS

looked

expression

moment.

up

on

The
even

a Deva

We

good

people,

face

fury

visible

raged

Those

terrorists

should

feeling

the

of the

standing

us

But

have

at

we
the

We

of

will

headman

had

be

I am
All

and
the

the

were
did

am

show

we

by
stand

Neelkanth

would

are

not

chicken

run.

They

headman

said,

Panditji

five

scared

should

But

knew

hundred

cowardice.
four

be

they

that.

soldiers,

And

to one.

But

We

they

have

have

who

the

are

ones

terrorists!

That

said

another
can

have

against
of

another
tall.

threw

is

why

he

five

crush

Shiva,

irritated

hundred

them.

of

Teach

you.

them

Nagas!

They

are

supernatural,

such

mind

to

stronger

The

it away.

villagers
He

didnt

at

the

evil?

realise

that

superstition

belief.

He

climbed

stared

at

need

him.

can
the

He

only

carriage

ripped

off

his

it anymore.

Neelkanth!

soldiers

not

for

the

We

the

The

presence

overjoyed

legend
I

the

to

cravat

back

ers!

do

countered

pedestal

him

thoughts.

remember.

kill

Shiva

such

argued.

blood-thirsty
chance

on

the

them.

them

they

What

threw

his

Suryavanshis!

a thousand

outnumber

The

in

echoed

to run.

display

lesson

almost

Shiva.

be

behind

defeat

ordered

had

flee!

wrath

cannot

voice

to a standstill.

turn

A villager

which

Shivas

should

We

and

STOP!

to see

intense

brought
are

TO

know
come

looked

up

to see

him

of

the

alive

going

to

them

that

Neelkanths

right

fight
we

truly

before

these
are

not

destroyer
accept

his

arrival
their

of

evil

mesmerised.

destiny.

were

The

stunned

They

villagers
at

who

seeing

the

eyes.

terrorists,

roared

scared

anymore.

Shiva.
I am

am

going

going
to

to

make

them

feel

is not

going

Pure

pain

we

to roll

energy

Shiva,

coursed

coming

am,

bell

imposed

on

with

fall
Sati,

I am,

echoed

every

righteous

army.

To

and
letting
into

the

temple.

had

been

attack

enraged

crazed

bulls.

completely
Some
Nagas

rall

clashing

ied

that
their

that

stood

Meluha

in front

of

souls.

Naga

what
the

rest
the

of

the

together
and

of the

them

back.

against

the

them.

venerated

executed.

The

temple

The

of

more.

lost

gruesome

ground
when

the

Suryavanshis

itself

like

They

to retreat
against

shrine.

charged

chance.

They

on

the

They

no

The

concentrated

the

beginning

righteous

stormed

- their

sight

cart
them,

they

around

had

fought

the

behind

and

lay

overwhelmed.

They

village

Brahmins

even

were

ahead.

hit

most

Chandravanshis

villagers

from

As

Meluhans

aflame.

Chandravanshis

horses

transpired

and

Suryavanshis

oping

shell.

armoury.

charged

conch

into

The

gall

the

had

turned

travelling

and

Suryavanshis

any

and

the

unharnessed

of

destroyed

were
swords.

a horse

The

bodies

The

there.

from

mounting

restraints

Vraka.

could

distress

the

and

standing

they

suffocating

pronouncement.

their

than

would

the

drew

outnumbered

of the

inspiring

soldiers

clumped

ruthlessly

mass

soldiers

ignored

Decapitated

They
was

that

want.

and

horror
had

area

they

huddled

Shivas

soul

Shiva.

the

what

do

and

quickly

louder

Chandravanshis
on

Sati

behind

Koonj,

know

villagers

Shiva,

a cry

them

Veerbhadra

weapons

and

out

to let

feeling

by

single

The

yelled

raced

spines

away

scared

Parvateshwar

the

Nandi,

whatever

Koonj,

them

Parvateshwar,

echoed

the

let

going

me?

owed

Suddenly

and

their

him

I am

through

I am,

grabbed

feel.

over

straightening

Whos
I

the

were
quickly.
the

crushing

with

five

odds,

unexpected

courage.
Parvateshwar
seen

the

Parvateshwar

fought
General
knew

like

battle,
that

a man
was
the

possessed.

awed
key

by
to

his

victory

Shiva,
skil

and

were

who
valour.

the

Nagas.

had

never

Like

Shiva,
As

long

as

they

were

alive,

Chandravanshis
of them
The

would

with

Naga

Bringing

his

his

held

in a clip
His

penetrated

deep.

The

Naga

he

swung

into

the

the

his

slightly

a stab

but

the

The

Naga

pushed

fell

He

his

human

knife

the

too

his
The

his

quick

down

knife
and

He

stumbled.

That

Nagas

ripped
his

the

sword

life

up

out

in

drew

exposed

right

knife

had

admiration,

the

and

his

sword

the

in
left,

buried

shoulder

bone.

the

The

up

still

in a brutal

heart.

blocked

Swerving

knife

was

back

up

it.

through

the

sword

back

on

the

shoulder,

brought

hard

avoid

swiftly

the

deflected

chipped

he

in his

had

to

surprised

shield

and

as

that

buried

Naga.

shield

in pain

opening

that

upward

stab,

Naga

froze

as

of him.

deeper,

completing

the

kill.

fascination

with

The

motionless.
was

not

kneeled

to

The

form.

above

tear

the

Nagas

a bird-like
was

the

beak.

safe

to the

when
other

mask

was

His

he

off

pure

ears

constricted.

Parvateshwar
said

Meluhan

Nagas

nose

grotesquely

Suryavanshi
journey

the
brought

was

pushed

mouth

with

shield.
exposed

Nagas

to Parvateshwars

through

form

one

his

side

back

know

it ruthlessly

countenance.
almost

attacked

with

the

it at the

sword

Parvateshwar
face.

hurled

his

back

the

Parvateshwar

to
his

Bringing

Parvateshwar

and

Parvateshwars
that

to

needed.

Parvateshwars

Naga

He

from

shoulder.

Parvateshwar
he

arm,

Naga

strike

Swinging
clap

But

strike

snarled

He

attack

Parvateshwar

rammed

Nagas

terrified

them.

was

shield

Parvateshwar

Parvateshwar
in the

his

in fury.

weaker

to

exposed.

let

sword

batde.

from

know

behind.

cry

roared

tried

didnt

let

shoulder.

he

flank

Parvateshwar

a knife

feel

Parvateshwars

down,
he

left

inspiration

parried

What

would

aggression.

sword

deliberately

Suryavanshis

draw

frenzied
skilfully

shoulder.

blow,

the

bone

were
He

quickly
brought

side,

brave

down

to

and

a
had

ridiculously
looked

whispered
a worthy

warrior.

reveal

like

horrifying
grown

large
a
what

opponent,

Naga

to
while

vulture

in
every

Have

One

down

down,

to

go,

thought

to

go.

He

saw

three

distance.

Both

Shiva
see

four

Shiva

pointed

towards

a ferocious

turned

back

another

who

to

look
as

dashed
had

close,

with

The

Naga.

what

he

expected

Shiva,

The

held

his

much
As

Shiva

one

at

have

pushed

that

man

had

to

drew

his

bow

Shiva
little
back
He
own
He

tried

kept

He

charge
for

towards

own

as

Naga

he

ran

swinging

shield
to

up

at

him.

the

high

up

and

than

Naga

in

strike

to

down

fell

the

who

prevent
swinging

that

led
led

did

not

their

retreat.

the

first

the
of

sword

gashing

his

straightened

was

going

and
to

notice

assault

of time

to

his

be

Suryavanshi.

he

a matter

had

He

previous

have

in
and

Shiva

see

of having

Shiva

back.

Naga,

It was

thrusting
shield

that

could

would

by

Nagas

fearless

destroyed

unaware

Nagas
while

in vain

shield

to

was

before
This

failed

another
being

the

Nagas

Naga

would

attack.

And

counter-offensive.
the

mission.

he
That

for

the

future

The

Naga

of

the

danger,

had

wedged

his

Naga

grimly

fought

on,

stepping

Shiva,

who

kept

forward.

the

slowly

Naga

realising

back.

it was

meanwhile,
into

to

marked

leapt

orthodox

the

the

ignominy

be

nodded.
turned

turned

standard

his

the

in pain

Chandravanshis

see

enemy

This

the

He

brought

the

again,

fought

a distance.

to face

could

Shiva

formidably
grimly

the

had

owed

high

progressively
and

bell

shield

more

Naga

the

singlehandedly.

one

the

in

and

Parvateshwar

scene

prevent

circumventing

Naga

battle

two

Naga

other

Shiva

soldier.

to

each

to the

pitched

surprised

neatly

arm.

turned

in front

a gigantic

saw

nodded.

Correction,

height.

however,

sideward,

and

the

from

a good

down

Suryavanshis

a Suryavanshi

shield

the

from

Shiva

rising.

back.

five

Parvateshwar

his

from

strike

at

killed

bring

Parvateshwar

fighting

through

just

Shiva

Parvateshwars

Naga

Naga

Shiva

and

Parvateshwar

ramming
to swing

at the

fending

stomach.

The
Shiva

his

sword

with

his

down

sword

shield.
to slice

his

ready.
the

Nagas

blows

while

pressing

ahead,

pushing

the

sword

in deeper

Nagas

soul

gave

collapsed.

Shiva

These

people

Shiva

He

he

to

had

It was

up.

It slipped

looked

down
evil,

the

left

away

as

at the

but
to

a few

they

find

his

fall

en

are

that

more

seconds

body

bled

Naga

to

before

the

death

and

in awe.

fearless

soldiers.

Parvateshwar

too

had

killed

the

engaged.

continued

heard

deeper.

maybe

looked

Naga

and

to

loud

turn

slowly,

shout

from

trying

the

to

find

person

he

the

last

had

Naga.

come

to

Then

love

he

beyond

reason.
S-H-I-V-A.
Shiva

turned

behind

her

frowned.

to

his

to see

Before

right

to

if anyone
he

could

find

Sati

was

chasing

react,

racing

Sati

towards

her.

leapt

him.

There

was

forward.

He

looked

nobody.

A jump

He

timed

to

perfection.
The

Naga

, one
on

of

its

at the
the

tip

painful

burned

set

that

at

However,

someone

obstructing

twisted

arrow

her

body

A stunned

wild

elephant

was

momentarily

Neelkanth.

But

arrow

his

deflect

speed.

the
The

stared

neck.

in

mid-air

her

She

on

the

brink

increasingly

fell

of

credit,
loaded
barely
panic

she

The

births.

venom
slow,

arrow

on
the

arrow

The

unerringly

leapt

to Shivas

fury.

its

had

deadly

possibility

He

of

he
it and
missing
struck

ied.

let

Naga

or

the

her

motionless.

Naga

of

like

The

Naga

the

charging

drew

another

swung

decreasing

loaded

The

shattering.

swiftly

Shiva

Shiva.

raised.

sight

it fly.

a step

at

sword

He

and

heart

charged

fearsome
rall

of

propelling

limp

his

his

the

front

force,
left,

body,

insanity,
by

in

brutal

prone

in

staggered

arrow,

many

fire

causing

calculated

with

at Satis
roared

quiver,

people.

inside,

sped

not

as

chest

evil

his

had

the

for
It

their

or the

path.

of

to

soul

agnibaan

of

from

the

Naga

its

into

Shiva

destroyer

to

the

backward.

The

from

scar

the

arrows
body

Shivas

body

slammed

airborne

victims

would

straight

released

poisoned

its

mission.

Sati

had

legendary

death

been

distance

another

his

sword

his

manic

arrow

and

shot

again.

Shiva

swung

easily,

picking

up

another

arrow.

But

as

he

the
in

neared

the

Naga

with

a heap

as

still

pumping

The

Neelkanths

bent

and

to

No

too

was

flew

to

at

reached

sword

Nagas

the

not

quenched.
inert

no

gaping

to

draw

leapt

high

lifeless

body

fell

blow,

while

his

neck.
Screaming,

body,

Shiva

ruthlessly

articulation

of

Except

for

din

of battle,

in the

arrow

decapitating

mighty

the

Nagas

Shiva

viciously,

The
with

the

back

yell,

through

mind.

audible

deflecting

a fierce

sword.

reason,

barely

Naga

his

was

enraged

more,

With

blood

at the
of

Shivas

that

his

head

spewed

hacking

The

swung

of

severed

once

late.

He

swing

assertion

penetrated
voice

it was

vengeance

kept

bits.

speed.

Naga.

heart

sword

more

one
his

his

slashing

sanity

a soft,

could

have

muffled,

except

it

injured

to him.

Shiva...
He

turned

back

look

Sati

lying

in the

distance,

her

head

raised

slightly.
Sati!
He

sped

has

fall

towards

had

already

retreating

Ayurvati
Shiva

reached

She

was

motionless,

had

from

had

Parvateshwar!

her

Get

Ayurvati!

Sati

injured

body.

The

Chandravanshis

to say

he

his

as

Parvateshwar

But
almost

locked

She

lung,

the

something.

hands

alive.

left

mouth.

did

on

hearing

Shivas

first.

her

smile,

if trying

as

but

speak

a strange

kept

Satis

Sati,
her

pierced

couldnt

gush

seen

towards

call.

She

owing,

in haste.

ran

arrow

bell

en!

Ayurvati
were

her,

flooding

force
she

of

breathing
her

the

blow

continued

serene.
Shiva

was

to

She

desperately

together

as

he

the

with

her

blood.

had

made

the

blood

at

opening
wanted

tried

as

innards

stare

kept

heavily

Shiva.

Her

her

mouth

as

her,

but

to control

his

to hold

frantically

face

tears.
O
the

Lord
arrow.

Brahma!
Mastrak!

cried

Ayurvati

as

she

reached

Sati

and

recognised

Dhruvini!

Get

a stretcher.

Parvateshwar,
the

Ayurvati,

village

had

instruments
outside,

Shiva

wanted
back

job

by

Sati

as

agnipariksha.
the

at

into

Let

to

one

Ayurvatis

hut

and

do

of

other

setting

the

more

body.

Shiva.

and

one

of

doing

one

he

quickly,

turned

is

held
the

best

an

look

in

admirable

his

eyes

for

afraid

than
hit

Bending
he

as

hand.

Parvateshwar

was

it took

was

a thought

but

her

job.

who

But

Probably

hut,

her

Parvateshwar,

Parvateshwar

there,

the

raising

Ayurvati

her

emotions.

was.

nothing

the

to Shiva,

shoulder.

Shiva.

that

Ayurvati

his

look

Naga

Sati

closely

cleaning

Ayurvati

Suddenly

closest

Finding

said

follow

his

he

carried

surgery.

world,

to know

Dhruvini

following

begun

touching

to

and

Shiva

Lord,

controlling

Shiva

for

to

turned
of

the
my

in the

Shiva

with

already

for

Wait

doctors

Mastrak

houses

assistants

him

Now!

had
He

he

been

before

turned

checked
the

and
the

rushed

to

other

his

disturbed

mind

be

He

Satis

hurried

to

right

wrist.

Naga

dead

body.
Meanwhile,
realise
and

Parvateshwar

the

important

tasks

Place

guards

ordered,

attend

to all the

The

injured

Lord,

said

Vraka.

that
over

he

wasnt

task

at hand.
Lord,

interested

said

the
the

they

Vraka
in

Vraka,

done.
of war.

enough
called

Get

to
Vraka

doctors

to

Chandravanshis.
already

will

never

with

the

to

prisoners

have

know
at

ied

needed

including

You

looked

that

my

injured,

rall

Chandravanshis

Parvateshwar

Yes,

had

taken
want

a withering

details

and

acknowledging

their

poison,

to be
look,

Vraka

caught
clearly

should

my
alive.
saying

get

Parvateshwars

to

the

silent

order.
Arrange

Parvateshwar,
condition

perimeter
his

in the

house

for

consciousness
behind

him.

any

counter-attack,
already

And...

drawn

continued
back

to

Satis

Vraka
He

looked

had

up

never

sense

to

at Parvateshwar,

seen

not

his

say

Lord

surprised

hesitate

anything.

He

by

before.

waited

his

But

for

Lords

Vraka

his

Lord

hesitation.

had
to

the

good

complete

his

statement.
And...

continued

courier-pigeons
Devagiri.

still

To

Vraka

looked

he

not

did

Tell

the

by

an

Lord

Do

the

my

He

continued

blurted

Send

a red

Princess

had

no

Sati

news

be

coloured

Sati.

some
letter

is seriously

about

Parvateshwar,

Lord,

None

that

Shiva

who

had

kicked

had

to

injured.
But

wisely,

that

she

has

been

shot

raised

the

came

outside.

uncontrollably.

blank

stool
to

into

the

We

have

next

removed

to

the

the

last
had

dismay.

of

severed

limb.

wrist.

the

serpent

aum

The

hacked.

trying

the

four

one.

before

under

Parvateshwar

beside

the

holding

Veerbhadras

to

one
Shiva

find

his

Locating

it,

There

her

gently

side,

his

up

with

a weak

smile.

control.

Shiva

for

Ayurvati

arrow,
were

my

sat

to come

Lord,
standing

seated
hut

looked

to him

Parvateshwar

with

Shiva

to check

find

was
at

the

who

to find

standing

waiting

of

the

hatred

robe

wrists

reached

one

Parvateshwar

appear

distance,

and

hut

Veerbhadra

empty

shocked

was

no

him.

the

stood

the
bracelet

He

time

of the

was

expression.

leather

intense

some

to

Nandi

attempts

the

with

It wasnt

his

salute.

checked

wretched

remnants

Krittika

distraught

The

him

back

a weak

already

torso

bracelet.

Shiva

with

to recognise.

Sati.

It took

to control

Parvateshwar.

wore

come

Nagas

arm.

Vraka

of them

shot

unable

snarled

said

had

the

leather

Vraka

Brigadier!

meanwhile

Nagas.

Shiva

him

should

anything.

Indra!

Shiva

the

temple.

Tell

in disbelief.

Emperor,

it now,

right

in the

Emperor.

up

say

alive

There

agnibaan.

Yes,

he

Parvateshwar.

said
in

at

entrance,

Shiva
He

stunned
and

was

stool

her.

into

pointed

making

slowly

sobbing

comforting
face

down

on

and

to
brave

looked

out.
Ayurvati.
the

hut,

looking

at

an

unconscious
said

Sati.

that

Sati

Nobody

did

not

nobody

dared

argue

Mastrak

and

Dhruvini

medical
Shiva

officers

used

would

to

be

No

amount

sterile

and

wrapped
being
more

deep

to

a dry

been

the

grave

to

bloodied

the

out.

with

other

stay

the
for

that
That

the

make

lay

ensure

tong

arrow

would

it would

matters.

soldiers.

the

tong

And

medical

support

infected

chemicals

where

to

the

pull

clearly

infection.

on

out

to see

It had
or

increased

Ayurvati

to

had

tong

agnibaan

the

instrument

offending

one

full

it would

had

arrow,

day,

not

before

cause

any

harm.

Shiva

looked

to ask
I will

the

at

lie

raged

in his

my

Lord,

said

poison

will

result

in the

Shiva

looked

which
start

to

in

lose

look

causing

at

her

after

said

had

the

Nobody

fever

and

find

in the

find

intense

and

Lord,

to

an

tears
She

Ayurvati,

one

Sati

to

the

strength

heart.

good.

organ

control.

unable

penetrated

of one

down

moist,

into,

has

failing

rein

eyes

themselves
It doesnt

agnibaan

afford

that

will

circumstances.

to

his

to you,

doctors

hard

Ayurvati,

question

not

that

an

in

bed

Next

leaves,

of

Ayurvati

Suryavanshi

innards

heat

again.

in neem
buried

of the

in.

fanned

injured

again.
of

safe

already

Satis

used

risk

formidable

the

right

allowed

the

the

had

stretch

never

poison.

with

to the

was

need

treating

turned

been

else

of
in

detached

strength

manner

in

traumatic

in history

has

the

organs.

vital

some

time,

survived
The

which

will

another.

then

up

keep

her

many

pleadingly.

Ayurvati

fought

She

couldnt

composure.

lives

to

save

in

the

next

few

is no

cure.

We

hours.
I am
can

sorry,
only

Shiva

If

the

damaged,
being.

give

glared

Ayurvati

my

some

fever

medicines

angrily

looked
is
right?

Ayurvati.

at Ayurvati.

at the

ground,

kept

under

asked

Shiva,

But

to make
We

her
are

unable

not

then
a

really

end

to meet

control,
as

there

glimmer

easier.

giving

up!

Shivas
her

organs
of

hope

Is that

clear?

eye.
will

not

entered

be
his

Ayurvati

looked

solution.

The

broken.

If

stronger

once

Then

all my

The

fever

it and

kept

knew

that

Alright,

my

to Sati
a few

the
are

fever

say

She

can

fever,

that

only

it

will

is

be

not

final

delayed,

come

not

back

even

stopped.
forever!

cried

something

would

could

Shiva.

I will

but

thought

sit

by

her

not
in

come

be

this

to
back

saved.

futile

Shiva,

better

of

to Shiva

It was

in a few

impossible.

discussion.

Time

quickly

administering

hours.

She

Precious

that

could

time

be

used

lives.
Lord,

to keep

said

her

looked

up

Parvateshwar
Satis

Ayurvati,

fever

But

back

injured.

Let

I am

down.

This

you

me

are

deep.

If they

Shiva

did

hand

Parvateshwar
that

he

should

dress

your

Shiva,

not,

my

not

felt

an

the

the

Shiva,

said

catch

standing

keeping

too

towards

alright,

No,

at
knew

agony.

Turning

keep

the
her

medicines

fever

down

for

glimmer

wounds

said

infection,
just

the

his

back

down

for

would

of hope
said,

and

taking

Lord,

He

fever

Ayurvati

not

answer.

at

instant.

only

that

My

an

lengthen

Shiva

Lord,

felt.

you

too

are

Ill leave.
eyes

Ayurvati

off

Sati

firmly.

for

an

Your

then

it could

be

life

kept

looking

at

Sati

instant.

wounds

are

threatening.
and

waved

his

dismissively.

Shiva!

shouted

if you

become

Ayurvati.

Shiva

looked

up

at

her.

You

cannot

help

yourself

unwell!

The

harsh

from

his

quickly

agnibaan

But

hours.

She

Sati

to

wasted

other

control

the

about

Sati

to save

an

Lord.

rise.

silent.

being

by

my

if needed.
not

was

Yes,

medicines

control

will

Ayurvati

and

the

life

said,

caused

try

will

side

and

fever

we

we

was

up

tone
place,

tended

had
he

the
let

desired
Ayurvati

to Parvateshwars

effect.
dress
wounds

While
his
and

Shiva

wounds.
left

the

did

not

Ayurvati
hut.

move
then

Shiva

looked

since

Ayurvati

to

look

up

camp,

at

had

after

That

the

the

lamp

removed

the

other

since

was

prahar

the

convoy

that

misery.

He

to think

about

he

would

was

different.

never

run

from

could

do.

patiently

by

going

the

had

in Koonj

was

for

confronted

about,

himself

three

preparations

to stay

he

nothing

been

Parvateshwar

make

If

It had

he

in his

work

back,

he

did
so

hours

left

the

for

setting

some

with

not

he

time.

an

wall

that

hut

ow

did

ugly
in

not

his
have

crisis.

Shiva

he

do

drown

the

and

way.

could

hut.

arrow.

was

Parvateshwars

situation

nothing

injured

in the

her

Many

years

difficult

situation.

He

bed,

hadnt

Even

left

waiting

had

Satis

for

her

sworn

if

there

side

to

that

for

he

was

would

absolutely

a moment.

recover.

Hoping

He
for

sat

her

to

recover.
Praying

for

Shiva...
Shiva
had
He

her

a barely
looked

No,

his

evil.
Shiva
eyes

stand.
did

a bit,

is the

usually

the

courage

to

tell

you

Shiva

Her

the

silence.

eyes

were

slightly

not

to touch

You

open.

Her

hand

that

have

to stare
was

approach

come

trying

the

have
right

got

thing.

to Meluha

to lead

overcome

to take

her

last

destroyer
of

challenge

us

into

this

fight.

Someone
us

had

and

to

to destroy

this

in as

by
much

Sati

of Shiva

widened
as

her

she

could,

moments.
of a souls

very

every

grief.

aspirations.

destruction

constraint

which

and

Ironically,
gives

express

it

a soul

itself.

is
the

Express

dream.

to go,
the

did

at Sati,

were

ultimate

continued

You

never

her.

duty.

knew

time

I should

Sati.

a long-denied

It is my

broke

careful

Shiva.

your

she

she

Death

even

cried

continued

in what

face.

closer,

murmured

our
You

Satis

chair

sorry,

no,

make

whisper

indiscernibly.

pulled
so

audible

at

moved

Im

to recover.

last

Shiva,
few

to look

whispered
months

at Sati

have
with

Sati.

But

before

been

the

happiest

moist

eyes.

His

I go,

hands

I want

in my

life.

developed

to

a life

of

their

own

and

moved

towards

Sati.

He

checked

himself

in

time.
I

wish

you

secret

had

that

have

she

been

Shivas

come

so

hadnt

eyes

tried

the

despair

I wish

I had

told

I am

Shiva

you

on

frantically

to

deeply

The

dam

broke

and

You

are

going

to

sobbed

needed

earlier,
will

said
to

his

into

an

Sati,

letting

herself.

My

out

life

would

voice

struggling

Sati.
be

Because

the

the

first

time

last.

choked.
eyes,

poured

repeat

themselves,

outlet.

probably

Shivas

tears

restrain

murmured

also

at her,

looked

whispering

down

these

softly,

Shivas

words

for

I love

you.

grief-stricken

at

least

face.

another

hundred

Shiva.

You

are

not

going

have

to.

You

are

Sati

smiled

The

fever

Sati

earlier,

acknowledged

that

Sati

had

anywhere.
not

sadly

CHAPTER

life

even

you

telling

looked

years,

my

different.

against

that

into

going

and

begun

fight

the

god

of death

himself,

if

anywhere.

put
its

I will

her

hand

in Shivas.

Her

hand

was

burning.

assault.

18

and

the

Nothing

Fire

can

Arrow

be

done,

my

Lord,

said

visibly

corner

of

the

uncomfortable

Ayurvati.
She

and

Shiva

thought

was

Parvateshwar
Come
All

This

fever

for
We

the
are

moment

we

the

in

distance

standing

Ayurvati,

urged

have

to do

cannot

be

agnibaan
only

standing

safe

was

on,

land.

were

beyond

the

beside

them,

Shiva.

You

is break
broken,

the

range

holding
are

hut,

the

at

of

his

they

Satis

tears

best

what

ears.

back.

doctor

in

the

fever.

reasoned

Ayurvati.

There

is

no

cure

low.

The

poison.

lengthening
medicines

Satis
are

agony
stopped,

by

keeping

the

fever

the
will

fever
recur

with

vengeance.
Let

it

go,

turned
the

to

stare

I needed

Dont

give
find

up

a way.

Sati

gave

had

to

of

the

inevitable.

to.

I am

content.

on

me,

She

his
felt

he

I can

feel

my

fever

glanced

that

Satis

she

suffering

She

by

couldnt

do

up

the

has

come.

You

All

her

She

knew

Not

when

told

you

gone

yet.

We

knew

give
her

Sati
Shiva

had

find

the

medical

that

medicines.
training

was

stared

Shiva

her.

me

she

that

wouldnt

to save

that

medicines.

now.

he

possible

uncomfortably.

with

I have

not

also

And

Please

only

me.

She

death.

Everyone

comes

are

with

strength.

bed.

that
regrets.

Sati.

this.

the

no

bear

her

said

giving

give

Shiva.

everything

Sati

shouldnt

time

Just

with

rising,
at

cried

from

a smile

I have
My

have

tried

voice

bore

a way.

peace

had

frail

face

Sati,

find

own

he

her

Her

didnt

unless

Ayurvati

Sati.

I will

up.

find

mumbled

at

acceptance

what

will

Shiva,

just

hard
asked

told

increasing

at

Ayurvati.

her

to

hang

on.
Give

me

the

medicines,

Ayurvatiji,

repeated

Sati.

I know

what

am

doing.
Ayurvati

gave

expecting

to

Sati
find

Ayurvati

smiled

I know!

exclaimed

What

effect

The

the

that

the

life.

It also

What!
Somras
It did

Somras.

Somras

said
does
in my

work

on

dont

think

my

a visibly
not
case.

on

I know

repaired

cure

She
fear

walked

have,

repaired

of

Why

works

It doesnt

about

and

that

only

Ayurvati,

traces

Shiva.

will

Look

medicines.

some
gently

Somras

lifespan.

the

or

back
dont

gazed
anguish.

we

Lord?

the

oxidants

and

give

her

asked

and

Satis

There

to Shiva

my

into

eyes,

were

none.

Parvateshwar.

the

Somras?

surprised

increases

Ayurvati.
a

persons

injuries.
anyone
you

know

a frostbitten
dislocated

surprised
physical

truly
that.
toe

understands
What
that

you

I had

everything
dont

lived

know

with

all

is
my

shoulder.
Parvateshwar.
disabilities.

Thats

impossible.

The

But

that

could

Ayurvati.

also

You

are

be

because

you

are

special,

my

Lord,

said

the

Neelkanth.
I didnt
As

drop

human

Lets

from

as

just

try

Ayurvati.

not

need

My

body

is as

human

as

Satis.

it!
did

Vraka

sky,

yours.

Parvateshwar
find

the

sitting

on

any

a stool.

more

Vraka

convincing.

He

immediately

rose

dashed
and

out

to

saluted

his

commander.
Vraka,

said

Parvateshwar.

Somras

powder.

It

want

that

powder.

You

will

have

off

with

There

is

nothing

asleep.

The

usual.

his

need

guard

Are
Shiva,
do

We

just

still

centre

have
of

some

the

area.

shook

boomed

Vraka

as

he

tired.

the

Ayurvati

You

need

as

Sati

fell

a stronger

dose

than

to

from

your

recover

launch

glared

at

to wait.

You

cant

made
asked

would
And

listen.
you

her
them

impossible

patients.

turning

could

in this

hut,

continued

towards

is nothing

the

horses

those

reinforced

There

Wild

trust

on

belief

Ayurvati,

need

staying

at night.

Parvateshwar,

Lord?
he

I am

a counterattack

Kshatriyas
my

head.

stubbornly.

perimeter.

may

at least

his

said

Parvateshwar
at

bed,

have

wait,

sleep.

of the
to

just

Lord,

administered

are

soldiers

that

my

but

been

said

Ayurvati

hoping

now.

Shiva

and

They

going

do

you

machismo

you

to

had

go

Chandravanshis.

the

production

minutes,

else

my

frustrated

main

could

guards.

sleep,

with

the

ten

Somras

Please

I dont

that

in

Parvateshwar,

wounds.

was

temple

Now
it

rushed

The

you

can

rest.

not

drag

him

away

from

Sati.
We
sleep

could
here

arrange
if you

a bed
wish

so

that

you

can

keep

an

Ayurvati.
eye

on

You
Sati.

could

Thank

you,

Ayurvati

I will

Ayurvati

call

you

rest

check

the

the

corps

all-night

vigil
be

for

all

with

Veerbhadra

been

her

staying

would

be

busy.

injured

to

ensure

twenty-four

broken

into

you

hut.

You

wish,
needed

She

would

that

to

to

get

have

to
was

crucial.

keep

to

Lord.

recovery

were

at

go

my

She

hours

groups

looking

here.

As

own

first

briefly

Her

staggered,

emergencies.

the

are

whispered,

the

The

any

then

day

Shiva,

I am

change.

towards

of

had

Sati.

said

is any

and

next

properly.

medical

will

if there

wounds

to sleep,

towards

walked

since

proceeding

going

at Shiva

Ayurvati

some

not

turning

glared

tired

I am

before

sleep.

but

soldiers,

on

duty

Shiva,

said

outside

Parvateshwar.

along

with

Nandi

some

of

my

and

personal

guards.
Shiva

knew

call

will

Shiva,

what
you

as

looking

up

Parvateshwar
before

so
The

tell

when

much
day
as

That

fateful

vow

to

not

want

It was
returned

of Sati.

when
his

not

he

to say.

change,

Why

any

soldiers

wanted

the

Parvateshwar,

said

that

Shiva.

He

rushed

out

embarrassment.

to be

should

to

at

a respectful

left

alone.

a person

Almighty?

decided

He

distance.
Parvateshwar

like

her

be

remembered

here

was

a girl

first

and

only

They

he

put

her
would

was
through

childhood.
be

proud

to

goddaughter.
day,
have

any

a child

a lazy

when

like

the

belief

still

reigned

the

of

more

Gurukul

a passionate
over

the

his

own.

time,

Which

he

foolish

regretted
father

his
would

Sati?

afternoon

from

being

for

progeny

and

content

nodded

him

his

Lord

by

is

and

cause

silently,

suffering

have

weakly

their

in thoughts

there

wanted

General.

could

sat

actually

as

at the

feelings

Parvateshwar

lost

soon

smiled

his

could

Parvateshwar

family

than

at the
in Lord

land

of

man,

a hundred
tender

Rams
Meluha.
spending

age

years

of sixteen.

teachings.
His
his

ago.

son,
days

Lord
Prince
with

Sati
Full

had
of

just
verve

Brahmanayak
Daksha,

was

his

and

wife

daughter.
ways

He

of

showed

the

Kshatriya.

succeed

his

father.

On

day,

that

banks

of

the

but

far

had

He

enough

so

that

Suddenly

sat

off

into

she

the

to see

dogs.

She

Sati

It

Prince,

close
to

silence.

startled.

river

They

bend,
them

protect
from

woman

was

a recent

that

approached

pack,

which

Sati!

shouted

Drawing

was

with

an

the

obvious

the

their
Daksha
him.

human

had

four

A mistake.

of

sword
Even

to

protect
his

him,

wife.

Sati

close

to

the

Veerini

the

battling
a
the

have

the

a pack

of

wild

injured,

who

even

fair

that
did

the

not

sword

been

down

of

distance

and

edge

severely

without

to bring

down

Sati,

into

her

skills,

spirit

that
that

dogs
forward

though

the

know

to

protect

attacked

by

a charging

the

lion.

the

all

at

fought

the

batde.

was
at him
jab
the

support,

Daksha,

with
the

hacking

sudden

ferociously,

Daksha

felled

his

for

easily

once.

only

Daksha

protect

drawn

pack,

by

in a brutal

to

sword

comes

charged

river

fray.

rejuvenated

martial

Six

his

into

charging

sense

the

Daksha,

jumped

dogs

could

his

must

aggressively

enemies.

drove

She

followed

protective

animals

banks

charged

strikes.

lack

passionately
But

he

charged

back

to

in alarm.

they

quick

to
and

immigrant,

the

enough

Parvateshwar

Parvateshwar

fought

large

sword,

moments,

many

animals.

Daksha

his

daughter.
Within

wild

Devagiri.

Daksha,

rushed

to

caste-unmarked

from

the

bodyguard

distance,

ferociously

even

oneself

the

to

on

from

prince

the

seen

never

picnic

enough

the

warrior

ambition

family

as

in the

be

one

further

through

blocking

could

duties

the

slightest

distance

his

forest

up

at the

was

for

short

privacy

ripped

looked

bank

the

master

visible.

cry

Parvateshwar

the

to

show

down
a

some

was

he

well

near

give

inclination

settled

Saraswati,

to

Satis

woman.

did

remembered

wandered

river

had

river

then.

no

Neither

Daksha

Parvateshwar
Daksha

absolutely

with

being
weakest

at the
at the
dog,

despite

parent.
amongst

same

time.

dog

in front

his

the

sword

of
was

stuck

in

the

dead

animal.

dogs

needed.

One

right

forearm

in

as

tried

sword
left

leg,

he

charged

its

Parvateshwar

yelled

dog

to

clinging

Parvateshwar
another

of

dog
left

Seeing

Daksha

from

Daksha

angrily

as

their

numbers

yelping.

Daksha!

sobbed

Veerini,

husband.

He

losing

wounds,

especially

cry

artery.
for

reached

and

bound

Sati

dog
blew

hold

scouts

at
be

angvastram

up

tight

around

to

his

his
dogs

coll

bitten

apsing

numerous
through

conch

closest
them

half.

slashing

clinging

her

distress

with

in

in to protect

from

have

the

of the

remaining

rate

his

body

motion

the

his

trouble,

beast

dog

to

Dakshas
in

moved

the

must

quickly

would

his

front.

alarming

bit

Lord

the

smooth

to

on

at the

same

rushed

The

the

sword

stabbed

at an

leg.

paramedics

Parvateshwar
stem

the

Parvateshwar

help

Soldiers

blood

dog

other

Dakshas

held

his

depleting,

she

but

cutting

the

rapidly

as

pain,

his

the

seizing

Another

cleanly
in the

that

side,

Seeing

swung

arm,

flank

was

he

in

out.

opening

the

free.

flesh

as

the

from

arm

around

retreated

major

his

Dakshas

charging

all

roared

his

in fury

pirouetted

Dakshas
leg.

Daksha

wrestle

some

was

viciously

jaws.
to

yanking

That

shell.

crossing-house.
in

few

minutes.

Dakshas

thigh

to

the

bleeding.

Then

closer

to the

Father,

are

he

quickly

royal

party.

you

alright?

helped

the

injured

whispered

foreign

woman

move

Sati

as

she

held

her

fathers

do

you

think

you

were

doing?

hand.
Dammit,
Sati
Who

Sati!

fell

silent

do?
What
Sati

at the

asked

daughter.

shouted

you

Where

continued

be

I go?
does

to

look

the

What

response

hero?

if something

would

difference

violent

to

What

Daksha.

And
life
down,

from

her

harangued

had
for

happened
whom

of that

were

woman

distraught

doting

father.

Daksha,

fuming

to

What

you?

you

at

his

would

risking

your

life?

scolding.

She

had

make?
at

the

been

expecting

rushed

praise.

to

the

stemmed

the

Satis

scene.

flow

minor

The

of

wounds

With

attention

As

saw

father

guilty

at

save

the

harm

woman

teachings
felt

her

that

soft

true

foll

Tears

of

ower

to

she

would

Jolted

back

his
in

Ram.

Fight

for

Shiva

had

lost

to

reset

herself

she

to call
the

and

track

of

of the

window,

wounds

burned,

crying
his

making

any

noise

Despite

the

searing

here
He

looked

His

felt

slight

Lord

trying

Rams
the

turned

to

to

primary

weak?

face

Strangely

the

looked

She
Captain

though,

his

You

with

away

a wan

nodded

a bird

call,

are

quickly.

smile

at

ancient

Taking
the

man

scanned

the

softly.

Parvateshwar
memory.

Shes

your

that

palms

world

so

He
true

next

with
He

Satis

and
you.
looked

lives

were

clutched

foll

his

ower,

her.

softly
The
down

still

Lord

danger.

of dawn.

Shivas

to

restraining
Sati

in.

himself
his

hand

Shiva

did

not

intense

whispered,

to

give

held

to the

choice

assigned
in

going

body,
due

been

signs

wasnt

bed,

feverish

sweaty

had

early

he

disturb

of her

Sati

see

But

to

nobody

many

could

relief.

were
at

twitch.

he

would

heat

this

Obviously,

when

for

chair,

longingly

or I leave

at

up
She

by

time.

out

He

only

deeply

her.

Looking

away.

was

Parvateshwar.

She

whispered,

lamps

hands

rooted,

protect

bodyguard.

looked

moist

prayer

on

She

eyes.

present

prahar

quietly

of
to

whispered

Pitratulya.

the

sat

His

Ram.

eyes

hands

child,

in Satis

into

perimeter,

shoulder.

burst

grow

and

a stretcher.

stayed

She

one

strong

severe

my

of Lord

control

it

the

quickly

smile.

you,

suddenly

time

her

fathers

a rare

proud

of

on

she

caused.

Wasnt

they

physician.

away,

had

duty

on

her

sported

I am

actions

paramedics

Parvateshwars

Daksha

royal

carried

distress.

touch

Dressing

carried

the

being

it is the

Parvateshwar,
face

from

her
in

they

and

movements,

blood.

rapidly,

needed

soldiers

efficient

Dakshas

wounds
Sati

crossing-house

He
from

tightly.
move

his

heat.

Either

you

stay

is yours.
see

Satis

hand

move

slightly,

allowing

palms.

It was

Is it Satis
Shiva

the

almost

It
of

was

perspiration

By

great

Lord

seen

anything

like

She

was

sweating

Brahma,

between

where

the

their

sweat

entwined

came

from.

his

up,

salvaged

its

hand

strongly.

temple.

towards

But

A burst

Satis

of

Ayurvati

there

Satis

were

elation

shot

in awe.

I have

aglow

never

his

bed.

The

still

and

bed

soaked.

garments

face

fever

looked

more

other

soft

through

never

this.

side,

is a miracle.

his

whispered

her

This

had

the

profusely,

agnibaan

Shiva

on

besides

The

with

even

standing

her

out

burning

being.

by

from

to say

reached

Shivas

stood

slide

or mine?

forehead.

the

to

impossible

immediately

beads

sweat

face

reason

with

breaks,

for

with

existence.

Sati

was

Parvateshwar

hope.
continued

shimmering

sleeping

the

May

stunned

ecstasy

the

Ayurvati.

of a soul

Holy

Lake

that

bless

the

Somras.
Parvateshwar

noticed

did

not

his

instinctive

of the
My

comment.

sweat

drive

said

must

However,

bliss

to

of

stop

Ayurvati

be

clutched

this

something

moment

tightly

in

had

finally

unacceptable

Shivas

but

crowded
under

the

he
out
laws

looked

softly.

We

must

bathe

her

quickly.

The

removed.

considering

to rub

Shiva

The

hand

land.
Lord,

have

Satis

her

that

her

wounds

cannot

get

wet,

my

nurses

will

down.
up

at

Ayurvati

and

nodded,

not

understanding

the

implication.
Umm,

my

the

room.

Of

course,

Lord,

said

said

Shiva.

Ayurvati.

That

means

you

will

have

to

leave

As

he

need

got

up

to be

Shiva

to

leave,

washed

looked

as

down,

and

nodded,

I will

This

is

miracle,

agnibaan!
given

said

up

Sati

noticing
do

It was
on

clothes.

A new

bed

sterilised

linen.

had

been

Oh

no,

No,

spirit

It

any

levels.

I dont

never

beaming
the

Lords

her

bed

had

been

of

saying

ever
to

hands

looked

would

up

at

Ayurvati

has

smile

brought

recovered

ear.

that

wearing

Ill

toxic

sweat

be

kept

from

honest.

you

and

in with

All

right,

said

the

end

of an

Much

as

work

to do.

an

again

me,

that

even

you

freshly

an
I

had

alive.

freshly

washed

laundered

triggered

by

of their

the

and
Somras

nothing.

Sati,

holding

It

was

Satis

have

have

saved

and
at

of

at

many

so

you.

me.

held

both

hand

me

to repay

to repay

Shivas

Shivas
them,

hand
now

tighter.

unhappy

at

love.

Ayurvati,

clapping

her

hands

together

chitchat

with

as

if to

signal

episode.
like

asked

to

sit

here

Shiva
team.

There

is nothing

Oh

there

is,

Lord,

said

the

Somras

medical

is big

council

news.

You

I know

saved.
my

and

playfully.

been

This

did

begin

gloomily

has

at the

said

broadly

on

exceptional

how

You

I can

more

I would

work?

Shiva.

Not

how

looked
display

Devagiri.

has
ear

tentativeness.

even

open

this

your

her.

you.

know

the

record

He

faith

of the

saved

was

Parvateshwar

have

sweat.

Nobody

self-conscious

hint

smiled

What

Lord,

immediately.

traces

that

Shiva.

Sati

My

removed.

without

By

All

said

fighting

so

Satis

Sati.

lying

said,

well.

Ayurvati,

hope.

was

Ayurvati

that
more

Ayurvati

can

cure

as

We

are
every

for
with

an

soon

must

as

single

you,

doctor.
injured

have

You
person

to do.

a smile.

agnibaan

research

of

a brilliant

you

I return

all

I have

wound.

I will

to

put
present

to

the

curative

properties

on

of the

Somras.

Shiva

smiled

There
fondly

Sati

whispered,

owe

my

You

owe

life

to do!

you

Ayurvatiji.

Like

thousands

of others,

I too

to you.
nothing,

bowed

Well,

of work

at Ayurvati.

Thank

me

Ayurvati

is a lot

even

Sati.

with

I...,

I only

a formal

did

my

namaste

mumbled

duty.

and

left

Parvateshwar

the

room.

awkwardly,

as

he

walked

out.
Parvateshwar

was

She

was

standing

was

that

she

surprised
at

to

find

Ayurvati

a safe

distance

to

about,

wanted

talk

waiting

from
she

the

did

for

him

guards.

not

outside.

Whatever

want

the

it

others

to

hear.
What

is it, Ayurvati?

I know

whats

Then

how

know

that

the

issue

No,

you

this

a rare

you

followed

say

the

by

correct

the

ion.

said

Ayurvati.

and

watch?

I dont

time

to say

anything.

Shiva

the

law.

I know

only

one

it is right,

Parvateshwar
not

followed

the

respect

Shiva.
He

did

Ram

think

it is right.

But

thing,

can

said

be

I will

raise

You

renegade

come
Brahmin

the

laws

had

that

even

he

wasnt

he

cannot

I wont

deny

above

the

Ayurvati,

know

that

But

law.

to

be

Otherwise

our

this.

determined.

If

the

Neelkanth

it is right.
at

Ayurvati

as

woman

he

law

without

exception.

not

one
that

all should

the

But

even

insisted

man.

above

Parvateshwar.

repeatedly

is a good

You

then

have

demonstrated

looked
be

not

Nobody

collapse.

a shocked

did

Lord

He

law.

will

asked

which

strictly.

society

faith.

stand

that?

rebel

above

could

Parvateshwar,

appropriate.

family

the

above

you

just

is not

Parvateshwar.

shouldnt

from

feels

you

when

can

be

bothering

can

How

during

asked

the

believe

knew

respect
that

Shiva

if he
and

didnt

recognise

admired,

the

Parvateshwar

had
was

not
the

turned
one

her.
woman

had
into
who

This
who

begun

unquestioning
would

complete

to

Lord

Rams

absolute
In

work.

In

Parvateshwars

obedience.

any

case,

Nobody

said

eyes,

only

Lord

Ram

deserved

else.

Ayurvati,

I have

to leave.

I have

a theory

to

think

about.
Realy?
the

asked

Shiva.

Emperors

first-born

Yes,

replied

Shiva

and

about

matters

was

still

time

as

Sati
Sati

better

to return

Sati

shifted

she

did

face.

his

off.

not

We

could
point.

But

in

would

and

many

All

right,

the

hypnotising

These
them

could

Obviously,
kings

before

a strand
at

who

was

not

Lord

each

from

the

so.

had

of

such

Lothal

had

Maika

was

to.

back.

Shiva

But
leaned

onto

see,

the

it

able

slipped

You

first-born

till

kings

Satis
around

were

system.

not

So

there

was.

that

for

You

the

see,

in

own

attention

formed

on

her

be

war

all

at

shaking

short
her

the

of

their

much

however

time.

that

one

with

as

probably

Rams

children

necessary

peace.

paying

Sati,

in her

that

till

that

soreness

the

another

and

overlord

to

were

doing

quickly,

Koonj

decided

continued,

the

at

wounded

while

and

back,

was

would

the

talking

first-adopted.

families,

smiled

that

week

journey

had

of hair

him

of knowing

dimples

be

Meluha

recovering

camp

The

the

hand

drawn

Shiva,

kings

of

were

stability

said

a bit

but

it

royal

in

previous

while

up

travel.

as

years

his

set

soon

fifty

This

for

to

the

Sati,

had

Shivas

know

over

Parvateshwar

relieve

of

hours

as

lovingly

succeed.

were

and

back

addition,

instituted

ready

to

smiled

only

Fair

were

go

question

necessary

him?

mundane.

convoy

to Devagiri

birth-children
no

and

The

pushed

hundred

not

succeed

many

Shiva

let

and

was

spent

slightly

She

two

had

injured

called

it is

smiling.

bedridden.

been

mean

son

important

the

forward

You

head

first-adopted

laws
the

olden

small

Lord

Ram

days

there

kingdoms.

to Satis

cheeks
the

that

child

time,

words

when

she

so

that

as

to

spoke.
one

of

a period.
at

the

foolishness

of

the

Well,

it

is

constant

same

warfare

Battles
and

the

for

futile

in his

to

where

instituted

consisting

of

created.

system

meet

the

rank

of

and

was

inviolate.

I have

Lord
he

Jai

Shri

first

He

was

was

the

elected

was
openly

Shiva

help

smiled

face.

Sati

along

the

closed
side

the

ruling

common
the

fed.

He

rank,

sanyas,

said

for

council

specific

could

who

father

other

the

was
council

Kshatriyas
not

be

Shiva

of

contested

with

broad

that.

a great

tenderly

of her

body

Ram.

how

come

After

your

all,

his

father

Highness

correct?
Emperor

that

your
I know

the

Bhrigu,

eyes,

me,

of

a ruling

father
my

Emperor.

followed

her

tell

Shri

Meluha.

Actually

emperors

son

it
was

proudly.

become

Lord

Jai

Emperor,

helped

had

her

were

amongst

decision

history

about

son.

at

kings

took

it again,

the

ridiculous

Brahmanayak.

every

Sati

sure

my

or

unnecessary

were

from

But

Lord

like

father

helped

say

many

was

of

enthusiastically.

grandfather

his

died

The

to

Sabha

Kshatriyas

Shiva.

said

man

Rajya

above.

in Meluhan

been

great

previous

just

time

it if my

their

after

of the

your

never

of

Emperor

repeated

elected,

But

egos

Ill

the

a genius.

Emperor

first

the

new

Sati,

Emperor,

Hmm.

liked

said

born

it

and

was

Ram,
the

is the

Ive

Ram

was,

became

land,

it before

remembering

suffered

felt

Emperor

or

who

Ram

and

brigadier

said

smile.

elect

led

Lord

Brahmins

and

kings

ones

where

the

Shiva,

world.
the

only

that

Whenever

would

Yes,

so

all

of the

the
Sati.

suffer

said

between

continued

people

part

supremacy

wars,

people,

everywhere,

rules

a great
deal

in his

running

his

exulting
to rest

in the
on

her

get

elected?

grandfather
But

of
sage

would

I also

know

Meluha

and

respected

have
that

he

would

not

across

the

election.
hand

across

sensation.
hand

again.

the

side

of

His

hand

He

squeezed

her

glided

softly.
Shiva

was

about

to ask

more

about

the

relationship

between

Daksha

it

and

Lord

looking

Bhrigu

deeply

Kanakhala.
could
Father!

cried
my

child,

knelt

next

to

face.

She

was

with

aide

placed

them

Daksha,
soldiers,
injury.

They

and

am

alright,

Turning
feeling

than

and

left
down

father,

better

Veerini

before

and

Daksha

movement.

left

Devagiri
the

Sati,

mother,
ever.

alone

day

me

her

next

their

the

to

private
them.

royal

couple,

by

two

thousand

the

news

of

inland

Satis

delta

of

the

Koonj.

mothers

hand

Seriously,

more

namaste

behind

to the
to reach

one

greeted

quietly.

hearing

continued,

and

in

for

as

on

daughters

waited

stood

holding

she

Give

Ayurvati

Saraswati

and

her

Veerini

Kanakhalas

chairs

just

bed.

door

accompanied

night

said

the

family

two

Satis
over

at

Krittika

Kanakhala,

ridden

her

lovingly

and

in

to

returned

and

bed

sailed

towards

Daksha,

were

the

next

royal

brought

and

had

noticed

hand

Shiva

the

immediately

then

hand

Parvateshwar

to the

had

his

remained

namaste.

silently

had

her

Veerbhadra

Veerini

him

kneeling

ran

leaving

next

following

had

Kanakhala

smile.

Nandi,

discrete

Daksha,
and

politely

moment.

Daksha

open.

Sati.

crying.

beaming

in.

swung

withdrew

But

sighed

a formal

Kanakhala,

river

it was.

Daksha

suddenly

stormed

a surprised

Sati,

door

immediately

where

with

the

exhausted,
Shiva

see

Shiva

when

week

gently.

mother.

and

Ill

dance

am
for

you!
Shiva

smiled

gently

at Sati

as

Daksha

and

Veerini

broke

I am

sorry

more

important

into

weak

laugh.
Looking
much
and

at
trouble.

you

Trouble?
but

her

had

Sati

I know

there

to rush

asked

source

imagine

how

Veerini

bent

proud

am

father,

proud
over
of

are

much

to

have

caused

tasks

at

so
hand

here.

Daksha.
of

continued,

joy

for

I am

My

child,

me.

And

you
at

are
this

my

life.

point

of

You
time,

are

nothing

you

cant

of you.

and

kissed

all

of

you,

Satis

forehead

continued

tenderly.
Daksha

looking

back

at

Parvateshwar
Proud

and

that

you

actually

fought

this

electrified

has

Daksha

and

back

Shiva

now

Dakshas

faith

Turning
her

way

Yes,

your

another
would

not

just

Daksha

proudly.

Oh

your

gently

case,

back
got

to

there
But

miracle

nod

and

as

you

We

how

in the

he

for

much

turned

fighting

right

to

for

us.

man.

awkwardly

and

acknowledge

a courteous

namaste.

How

is she

now?

She

should

be

Ayurvati.
weeks,

best

the

Daksha,

are

in fact

off

the

only

I was

able

memory

after

told

to

of

are
the

we

to

generation,
doctor

spirits

she

move

the

in

wound

far

might

cure

we

agnibaan

hope.

It

with

a grateful

was

at

me.

an

But

in

me.
before

had
out.

fever,
his

her

angry

than

Shiva

agnibaan

lose

get

not

I thought

the

holding

greater

Neelkanth,

the

said

of all time.

embarrassed

pulled

Ayurvati,

Ayurvati,

that

many

Lord

visibly

to

refused

best

continued,

medicines

Lord

evil

by

this

a flabbergasted

There
was

of
the

cried

Ayurvati
fever

no

doctor

are

towards

terrible

the

smile

three

the

ward

briefly

the

in

You

the

to

done.

imagine

hand,

Thank

faith

asked,

said

compliment.

Looking

cant

be

recovery.

Highness,

undeserved
this

to

a scar.

are

ears

our

but

Daksha

And

had

Satis

Lord.

put

a slight

Highness,

be

no,

have

to a total

week.

what

You

pat

my

nothing

to Ayurvati,

is on

to

you,

we

with

in

nation!

Thank

say

Lord
attack!

continued

that

could

the

a terrorist
the

said,

know

You

supported

soothingly

Shiva
We

Ayurvati.

lost
You

your

idea

to

turning
her.

She

know

that

Highness.

give

her

the

Somras.
Daksha
more
soul.

turned
thing

to

to

thank

you

have

been

I wouldnt
I did

Shiva

Oh

no,

nothing,

who

treated

her.

It is nothing

but

your

for,

my

able

said

humility

Lord.

to survive

Shiva,

speaking,

smile

and

My

daughter

without

self-conscious.

my

Lord,

said,

I have
is

part

one
of

my

her.
It

said

was

Daksha.

Ayurvati

You

truly

are

An

a worthy

astounded

knew

who

believe

Neelkanth.

Shiva
the

he

stared

previous

qualify

him

No,

your

Highness.

Oh

yes

you

to

for

at

be

you

Daksha,

Mahadev

deserved

not

In fact,

, the

are

a worthy

his

expression

God

compared

of Gods

to

Lord

Mahadev!
serious.

He

He

not

, was.

Rudra.

did

His

deeds

did

no

Mahadev.

that.
You

are,

speak

my

too

Lord,

highly

said

of me.

I am

Kanakhala

and

Ayurvati

almost

simultaneously.
Parvateshwar

looked

Not

to

wanting

Mahadev,
you

You

have

the
Why

then

Sati

did

him

never

believed
like

not

as

towards
of the

Shiva

Sati,

Lord

in the

risk

your

say

anything.

embarrassed

and

the

at her

issue

disliked

What

to take

legend.

I dont

the

You

being

called

understand

is

had

in

arrow.

have

never

faith

I have.

you

wearing

looked

turned
in front

did

silent.
the

jumped

Neelkanth

smile,

press

Daksha

why

on,

very

own

life

She

looked

ill-at-ease.

same

husband

for

Lord?

down

with

Daksha

sheepish

intently.

the

She

turned

expression
waited

for

an
to
as

him

uncomfortable
Shiva

to

Satis.

to rise

see

Veerini

and

speak

to Shiva.
Daksha
Shiva,
up

suddenly
holding

and

stood
his

returned

up

hands

and

walked

in a formal

Dakshas

around

namaste.

namaste

the

bed

A surprised

formally,

with

towards
Shiva

a slight

bow

got
of

his

head.
My

Lord,

perhaps

tongue-tied
said

am

in front

Daksha.

always

give

going

And
to

continued

I will

not

lie

daughter

the

I have

others
the

you,
as

time

come

in

her

to understand

but

never

ask

first

move

here.

to stare
to

first

life,

my

daughter

is

of me,

to make

Shiva

my

for

my

at Daksha,
Lord,

vikarma,

you

anything

for

over

time.

yourself.

You

will

Hence

frowning.

continued
because

Daksha.
she

had

The
given

laws
birth

classify
to

still-born

decades

It could

have

been

But

the

law

for

the

tragedy.

vikarma,

looked

law

seen
my

her

at her

Emperor

she

her

held

my

heart

law

that

at
in such

I cannot

sobbed

low

Daksha.

is ask

you

with

loving

that.

know

you

can

change

An

aghast

at her

dont

like

the

law

His

sank

heart
was

thought
here

that
he

to

be

if you

was,

her

that

of bad

fate,

for

he

thought

on

continued

her

bad

fate

to

have

is a good
But

never

woman.

I am

In

only

the

I cannot

he

served

an

the

happy

save

her

life

that

from

the

daily.

help.

are

You

fact

are

his

law.

I
You

want.

How
eyes

more

though

the

it if you

Daksha.

Then

are

even

above

override

at

you

Mahadev,

You

can

law?

In

that.

the

that

daughter

Daksha.

called
wish.

upset

eyes.

you

of

pass

unfair.

suffers

glowered

dismissive

could

fell

on

the
Shiva.

further.

staring
he

like

believe

Parvateshwar
so

clear

She

my

continued

I genuinely

be

Shiva

father

Neelkanth,

Emperor

eyes.

is

That

though,

than

of

esteem.

give

do,

the

blamed

category

Daksha.

Daksha,

What

are

be

law.

angrily

the

her

soul

You

the

father.

children.

condemns
the

will

wrong.

a good

looked

was

continued

that

Sati

childs

mother

in

inscrutable

humiliation
I can

put

she

remotely

change

who

deserves,

the

and

carriers

future

Lord,

even
that

are

with

my

glared

It breaks

of

father
was

again,

husband

law

I cannot

Parvateshwar

karma

expression

people

possibly

the

Emperor.

his

marries

anything

opinion,

the

a crime.

incident.

daughter,

do

life

daughter

vikarma

and

my

past
both

but

if she

looked

know

darling

serious

unfair.

that

husband

that

the

is that

of this

Hence

Veerini
I

land
My

It is believed

her

to

at Daksha,

vikarma

Daksha.

It is not

due

of the

because

Shiva
the

back.

would
quite

at

Daksha
have

sure

with

to convince
that

the

undisguised
the

Emperor

Emperor
was

delight.
about
about

to

He

had

Sati.

But

offer

his

daughters
If

hand

you

decide

earth

can

take

The

emotions

bore

in

an
He

lips

and

kissed

will

never

let

the

bent

down,

of her.

Sati

stared

week,

had

not

An

She

overjoyed

her

had

been

forgive

Krittika

and

furious

at such

Shiva,

at long
looked

Yes,

my

Lord.

The

vikarma

It doesnt

All

the

Of

by

the

gives
No,

power

being.

but

voice

gently

dared
now

on

his
brought

His
was

it to

and

whispered,

love

over

his
I

her

and

up

the

last

dream

Daksha,

was

stood
Rams

to

Lord!
Sati

almost
the

and

the

My

done

Shiva

heard

rooted

all

willing

room
Sati.

entire

and
Nandi,

conversation,
near

the

door,

way.

of himself.

your

said,

entered

Queen,

had

softly

at

Kanakhala

But

wildest

unfairness

looked

control

to

wife.
tightly

Lord

at Daksha,

Firmly

Highness,

gripping

I have

Satis

a condition.

law...
to be

changed,

said

Shiva.

will

be

it

Kanakhala,
Neelkanth,

your

his

the

regained

same,

birth

She

for

daughter,

towards

no

Shivas

at Daksha

And

Parvateshwar

my

course,

to?

hand

The

who

joy.

need

to marry

want

speak

had

Shiva

Emperor,

last,

he

hope.

and

disregard

hand,

She

to be

right.

Veerbhadra,
their

to

up

uncontrollably.

the

expressed

Lord,

through

Satis

looked

to

Ayurvati

congratulated

up

hugged

set

him.

you

tried

Shiva.

going

Daksha
sobbing

to

at

was

was

life

my

Never.

dared

Veerini

He

He

do

surged

picked

it lovingly.
go

true.

hand,

is:

universe
smile.

A stunned

coming

daughters

question

ecstatic

choked.

but

my

you,

Daksha.

the

face

to

stop

contended
All

to him.

Lord,

the

law

cannot

That

law

must

then

my

he
saying

to a still-born
Highness,

my

Lord,

said

continued,
that
child

interrupted

said

Make
from

will

now

not
Shiva.

be

Daksha.

stop
be

If you

you.

changed.

beaming

Daksha.

a proclamation
on

any

classified
That

decide

is

to be

noble
as
not

Turning
signed

woman

who

vikarma.
what

I asked.

want

the

entire

now

on.

Bad

past

lives

vikarma
fate

for

looked

comma

appreciated
of

and

Daksha
all

was

with

as

one.

Lord.

The

your

happy

A wedding

Daksha
to

the

I want

her
he

to

But

look

mind

in

to

their

blame

he

Once

likes

will

at

applies

are

starting

a grand

ever.

Call

he

cannon

to

everybody,

the

vikarma.

with

his

but

recovered

the

laws,

about

that

unexpected.

the

again,

in

the

not
best

Of

vikarma

law.

exulted

has

said,

entire

at Devagiri

world

His

daughter

and

become

ceremony

which

like

was

it, it will

Shiva.

not

This

itself

state

sign

did

a fundamental

shock.

smiled

of

Rams

to

quickly

you

days

Lord

law

law

proclamation

expense

joyous

said,

wouldnt

from

he

superstitious

wedding

no

turned

Daksha,

a vikarma

Though
of

same

vikarma

I want

magnificent

admire

was

Highness,

return.

land.

be

ridiculous

true

Shiva

the

scrapped.

to Kanakhala.

most

too

not

turning

the

the

he

daughters

The

Meluhans,

you,

is

any

remaining

at

been

My

was

in

looked

law

Thank

changed

however

my

It

will

surprise.

exceptions.

classified

has

in

without

course,

Nobody

anyone.

Shiva

principles

fairly,

displeasure
being

at

Shiva

Rams

equally

strike

being

that

Lord

Like

can

scrapped.

it.

Parvateshwar
even

law

Daksha,
when

seen

we

before.

organisers

in

spared.
Shiva

for

affirmation.

smile

and

glorious

All

I want,

your

Highness,

the

simplest

ceremony

Shiva

dimples.

looked
Turning

is to get
in

the

at

towards

married

world

or

Sati

to Sati.
the

most

magnificent.
As

long

as

all of you,

Brahaspati

and

the

Gunas

are

present,

I will

happy
excellent!

rejoiced

CHAPTER

19

Love

Realised

There

was

an

air

Daksha.

of

celebration

in

Devagiri

when

the

royal

caravan

be

arrived

three

earlier,

ensured

wedding
as

weeks
that

in a mill

always,

had

The

various

over

seven

the

usually

later.
all

city

splashing

and

seven

of

had

days
been

appear
A

massive

in

Filters

the

back
symbol

well-being

impression

had

away,

Kanakhala

Elite

had

festivities.

into

the

just

as

a lucky

revered
the

of

around

drawn

wanted

to

the

the

distinction

is

holy

at

drawbridges

In their

stead,

giant

all

the

it, citing
empire
ranging

all into
spikes

had

flowed
ancient

red

with
city

enormous
Suryavanshi

Some
of

of

the

the

three

visible

from

capital.
Devagiri,

reasons.

been

from

the

three

the

surrounding

security

others.

, an

rangolis,
the

channel

water

Saraswati.

entry

the

it entered

of the

royal

of

associated

any

the

clear

side

in

the

which

the

the

Devagiri

The

as

reverence
in

far

Swastika

From

to welcome

vetoed

across

in

Swastika

flow

soon

a giant

charm.

the

for

make

the

when

that

look

cleared.

of

to

The

buildings

underground

efficiently

the

All

the

diverted.

as

formed

from

day.

been

water

to

along

went

been

charge

All

cost

had
and

of

expense.

dug

had

colour.

free

By

exteriors.

blue

previous

rapidly

could

had

People

the

parts

been

from

settled

river

grey

spread

events.

proudly

sober

state

of
city

hung

sacred

government

translates

been
had

awaited

been

variety

customers
at

channel

spikes

Parvateshwar
families

The

by

giant

Devagiri

arrangements,

had

the

the

the

their

the

simply,

the

formed

platforms

it

Meluhan

of

protective

but

dye

literally

or very

platforms,

miles

river.

which

colour

red

removed

on

at

of

some

celebrations

banners

in

been

in

and
the

Her

exuberant

beauty

had

a part

open

in

most-eagerly

standards,

tiled

had

into

an

subsidised

that

injected

channel

with

painted

where

and

served

revelry,

channel

Saraswati
was

shops

a city

the

arrived

accomplished.

Colourful

freshly

freshly

like

day

festive

been

restaurants

been

Suryavanshi

extravagantly.

had

had

each

decorated

roads

for

ceremonies

sober

walls,

preparations

had

impeccable.

wedding
days,

who

the

ennium

been

Kanakhala,

invited

governors

to
to

attend
scientists,

the

generals

to

artists

and

even

sanyasis

celebrate

the

countries,

such

as

Mesopotamia

visit

to

the

for

rare

used

the

momentous

distinctive

additional

with

his

soldiers

had

been

that

days

had

been

given

security

at

permits

had

down

cannily

of

It was

Mount

some

from

staff

Mount

Arishtanemi

the

Mandar

to

eminent

to wrangle

come

mountain.

elapse

Devagiri
of

to ambassadors

at the

would

into

Jhooleshwar

a skeletal

behind

had

Meluha.

granted

Only

left

Egypt,

Brahaspati

retinue.

seven

of

trooped

Ambassadors

and

capital

quotas.

Mandar

history

occasion.

honour

trade

had

first

time

without

in
any

experiments!
The

first

Lord

day

Agni.

They

blessings

two

particular

the

celebrating

the

and

Sati.

excused

was

the

of India

and

and

their

And

an

event

mill

ennium

could

only

begin

their
The
the

the

the

of Koonj

Holy

warrior

form.

Meluhans

Neelkanth

massive

pretty
Sati.

the
seem
well

Suryavanshi
by

the

some
and

Lake!

behind

doesnt

echoes
The

Though

is only

teased

people

Indra

event.

reason.
between

followed

himself

chamber

you

of Lord

any

celebrating

to him,

puja

It

the

celebrated

the

of Swadweep.

This

the

for

name

as
with

Daksha

were
and

defeat

of

not

just

their

princess.

the

despised

at Koonj.

This

By

of

marriage

also

According
heart

gods

before

however,

explained

terrorists

in the

This

puja,

were

main

wedding

eloquently

They

the

organised

sought

as

sanction.

pujas

were

were

momentous
their

had

of

tugged

Sati

exclaimed

reverberate

vengeance

formal
the

would

had

marriage

Shiva,

with

were

in the

begun!

ceremonies

celebrations
along

deep

still

of

Shiva

on,

Shiva

to their

private

him.

shutting

the

door

to be

as

him.
first
to

day!
make

pleased!

Is every

day

a difference

going
to

you!

You

long?

walked

out

when

I dont
his

care

about

ceremonial

fervently,
Oh

turban

slowly

yes

of

what

The

is not.
yes

Sati

he

Neelkanth

he

to

do

aside.

He

breathing
with

decide

anything

Shiva,
stared

at

Sati

heavy.

playfully

what

is

he

ripping

theatrical

important

and

wants.

and

in one

her

ran

to

from

smooth

the

the

other

side

opposite

of

side

the

bed.

hurling

his

motion.

can...
what

worry.

What...

his

Sati,

can

towards
off

Remember
Dont

it

her,

gets

Neelkanth

dashed

yes

flinging

mocked

mischievously

angvastram
Oh

and

growled

can!

laughed

Shiva

ceremonies!

towards

course,
The

damn
off

moving

expression.

Oh

those

I told

The

Lord

whispered

you
will

to

say,

whispered

give

his

permission.

a groggy

Shiva

as

he

Nandi

was

to

woken

Veerbhadra.

up

gently

by

falling

over

his

Sati.
Wake

up,

face,

Shiva,

teasing

his

Careful

now,

Nandi,

Krittika

something

the

life

that

Theres
chaste

and

softly,

Veerbhadra

Shiva,
is

would

like

her

hair

Shiva

waiting

looked
at

at her

the

door.

longingly.

They

have

you.
as

he

walked
Isnt

to bother

you,

as

are

it Nandi?

like

better

all your

my

there

at this

Lord,

towards

the

someone

hour

said

and

beautiful

instead

Nandi,

door

glared
in

your

of troubling

with

a low

bow

me?
and

stop

this

nonsense

or

you

are

going

to

remain

life!

Shiva.

everybody

task

Sati

to tell

What

nobody

you

bachelor

As

you

tenderly,

namaste.

Nandi,

joked

murmured

growled
trio.

Sati

cheeks.

important

Hmmm?
at

whispered

laughed

out

loud,

Krittika

remained

anxious

about

the

at hand.

Well,

what

Nandi

nudged

did

you

want

Veerbhadra

to talk

about?

roughly.

Shiva

asked
turned

Shiva.
to

Veerbhadra

with

a quizzical

look.

Bhadra,
speak

since

when

do

to me?

asked

Shiva.

Shiva...

murmured

you

need

Veerbhadra

the

support

of

so

many

people

to

nervously.

Yes?
Its

like

this...

Its

like

what?

Well,

you

I am

see...

seeing

Shiva,

Bhadra.

please

Looking

towards

fearlessly.

make

havent

whispered

beetroot.

I am

A capital

idea!

woman

said

continued,

Shiva,

considering
said

he

is,

said

Sati.

Veerbhadra,

speak

wrong.

timidly,

his

amused

by

courage

already

could

And

shes

cheeks

the

colour

of

now.

Whatever

it is that

Not

blind?!

wide

disbelief.

Now

Sati

gently.

found

all you

have

to do

is convince

some

woman,

said

Veerbhadra,

before

his

him.

blind...
exclaimed
Then

births

married.

you!

desert

not

getting

Shiva.

to marry

Ive

seven

she
anything

than

permission.

reprimanded

Well,

nervous

it for.

Actually,

Shiva!

your

granted,

want

blind

done

more

Veerbhadra

I need

Permission

him

Veerbhadra,

You

Shiva,

you

dont

to

Shiva,
she

man

his

eyebrows

is stupid
who

enough

wants

humorously
to

tie

someone

arched

herself

else

to

for

the

determine

in
next
his

marriage!
Veerbhadra
contrition
I

have

gazed
and
told
of

amongst

them

Shiva

with

an

odd

mixture

of

embarrassment,

incomprehension.
you

customs

at

our

before,

tribe
is

that

that
the

Bhadra,
I dont
leader

said
like.
has

Shiva,

And

one

to

approve

There
of

are

many

the

primary

ones

the

bride

of

any

tribesman.

Dont

tradition

as

you

remember

how

we

made

fun

at

and

immediately

of

this

ridiculous

children?

Veerbhadra

glanced

Shiva

down

again,

still

unsure.
For

gods

you,

said

sake
an

looked

Krittika

with

massive

words,

Thank

Shiva

walked

Krittika

held

conquered

we

But

how

I am

not

Shiva

stepped

She

turned

believed
what
called
I

dont

said

I am

happy

for

permission.
as

Nandi

as

a long

held

Sati

and

silently

before

her

the

She

whispered

nudged

breath

him

escaped

mouthed

warmly.

warmth

We

of the

returned

Shiva.

said

Krittika

the

the

are

startled

Neelkanth

embrace.

quite

mad,

but

at

and

But

want

to

have

done

you

my

never

you

told

you

then

that

man,

about

to worry
said
But
you

how

always
but

married

too
life

anymore.
Krittika.

if you
are

me.
was

dependable

something,
Neelkanth.

accepting

you .

worried

reason

lady,

for

Thank

good,

I was

is no

of the
to

No.

is

women.

tell

Thank

said,
He

there

Shiva.

to Shiva.

Bhadra.
about

Veerbhadra.

smiled

back

can

worthy

had

do

to

of

never
Meluha

even

being

Mahadev!

want

to

Meluha

as

Turning

towards

oaf!

my

hugged

reserve.

Bhadra,

him.

and

instant,

know,

legend

the

then

people!

in the
you

an

tribe,

you

simple-minded

I too

her,

ecstasy

to

Krittika

for

about

Well,

surprised

relief.

good

you,

treat

have

Veerbhadra,

the

Thank

would

You

at

blind,

concerned

Shiva.

Suryavanshi

did

her.

with

looked

back

are

loved

happy

in

towards

to

heart

up

are

you.

her

Welcome

if you

exasperated

Veerbhadra
again.

man,

much

be
as

called
I love

Veerbhadra,

the

Mahadev,

Sati.
Shiva

I will

Krittika.
do

ordered,

all

You
that

Come

know

I possibly
here,

you

love
can.
stupid

Veerbhadra

came

whispered,
Dont

forward,

Thank

be

embraced

Shiva

affectionately

and

you.

stupid.

Theres

no

need

for

a thank

you!

said

are

going

Shiva

with

a grin.
Veerbhadra

smiled

And

snarled

listen!

to your
to

best

love

about

broadly.
Shiva

friend

another

over

in mock

the

next

woman

for

out

loud.

anger.

chil

so

um

long

You
we

share

without

on

even

to

how

answer

you

dared

speaking

to

me

it!

Everybody
Will

laughed

a good

batch

of

marijuana

make

up

for

it?

asked

Veerbhadra,

smiling.
Well,

Ill think

Doesnt
Sati

she

had

about
look

just

it!

tired?

gotten

up

from

excused

for

mother

had

for

the

bridegroom

and

for

the

puja,

would

Well,

it

pujas,

been

asked

which

has

been

said

Though

it is the

understand

Oh,

I wouldnt

said

Brahaspati.
asked

No,

answered

What?

say

player

platform

particular

father-in-law.

days

a few
of

looking
as

ceremony.
The

pandits

at Sati.

she

and

her

This

was

only

were

preparing

moments.

almost

continuous

celebrations

and

that

all

being

tired.

it has

anything

this

be

to

do

done

for

with

the

a royal

six

wedding,

days

of

pujas,

Kanakhala.

nights

Brahaspati,

of Brahaspatis

Ayurvati,
words

Parvateshwar,

mischievously.

I think

it has

to

do

with

exclaimed

who

Brahaspati

for

the

giggled

ladies

this

take

custom
her

No?

five

six

the

Ayurvati,

Kanakhala.

can

the

the

a concerned

the

then

dawned
was

highly
quietly.

on
sitting

improper
An

blushed

a deep

red

as

the

meaning

her.
next
remark.
assistant

to

Kanakhala,
Brahaspati
pandit

turned

glared
guffawed
around

at
as
in

irritation.
him,

But

he

on

seeing

immediately

the

seniority

swallowed

of

his

the

Brahmins

sitting

and

returned

annoyance

behind
to

his

preparations.
Parvateshwar
the

kind

however
of

walk

to the

This

made

conversation
back

pandits

making

them

fall

Daksha
regular

In between
and
Sati.

To

who

loved

his

recitation

spilled

onto

Dakshas
the

arm.

good

turned

and

It wasnt
warm
hint

sense

my

smile,

closely

the

it

He

rose

One

of

to

the

to begin,

choice.

the

Shiva

and

sacred

enough

have

been

pandit
cue
fire

he

noticed
on

took

for

Shiva

make

was

it would

As

fire

at

to

to

pulled

Daksha

decide

Daksha

animal

only

break

in
pour

little

ghee

the

chosen-tribe
the

Shiva

And

difficult

Swaha.

immediately

seeing

for

of Sati.

and

the

time

a momentary

Shiva

with

a comment.

napkin

amulet

on

but

had

had

also

there,

meanwhile

gaze.

My

father

wiping

the

in his

though,

into

spoke

stunned

Shivas

Both

They

sacred

off,

was

of embarrassment

looked

believe

about

shlokas.

other.

the

hands.

to not

while

chortle.
was

ghee

there

The

shlokas,

wipe

noticed

endure!

ceremony

of the

swahas,

more.

into

He

cant

Swaha.

observer,

Daksha
to

to

ceremonial

to each

princess

ghee

side

the

softly

the

the

invocations

successive

of

to

Ayurvati

that

saying,

neutral

the

more

his

while

any

some

on

the

to talk

forced

immediately.

to pour

two

Daksha

and

to signal

resumed

intervals

compunctions.

congregation.

silent

continued

such
being

Kanakhala

turned

pandits

no

I am

of the

even

senior

The

had

one

chose
ghee
voice.

could

it for
off

his

me,
hands.

said

Daksha,

There

was

with

not

If one

see

just

a hint

of

defiance

in

his

eyes.
Oh

no,

your

Highness,

mean

to look.

Please

Why

should

you

mumbled
accept

apologise,

my
my

Shiva,

little

mortified.

didnt

apologies.
Lord?

asked

Daksha.

It

is

my

chosen-tribe.
classify
But

It is worn

on

the

arm

so

that

everyone

can

see

it

and

me.
you

Shiva

are

much

politely.

beyond

You

are

your
a

chosen-tribe,

far

greater

your

man

Highness,

than

what

said

that

amulet

symbolises.
Yes,

smiled

Neelkanth
The

Daksha.
did

terrorists

mine.

And

will

be

the

He

not

one

more

Kshatriyas.

the

verbal

poured

cue

it into

asking
his

he

would

How

so

the

man,

reign.

didnt

He

They

I?

came

were

reformed

The

in

mine.

defeated

in his

reign.

conversation
on

lowest

in
They

its

wearer
towards

the

at

arm.

It

amongst

considered
could

niggled

Dakshas

chosen-tribes

people

pandit.

with

the
amulet

of the

back

the

goat

not

even

be

called

sacred

fire

on

receiving

some

more

Scooping

ghee,

he

a Swaha.

privacy

of

their

chambers,

Shiva

between

Emperor

relationship
But

to be

the

that

the

the

the

some

turned

Daksha.

have

was

not

at

one

low

fire

about

son,

old

reign.

about

glance

fact,

from

the
in

Sati

and

be
Shiva

nightfal,

his

in his
were

goat,

In
to

Kshatriya.

defeated

the
in

Something

a humble

full

appear

Chandravanshis

took

chosen-tribe

At

were

showed

to

cautiously.

represented
the

choose

really

in mine.

smiled

him.

not

reformed

Shiva

for

careful

some
in how

relationship

had

Brahmanayak

reason,

his

he

asks

the

Lord

Brahmanayak

between

considered

instincts

told

him

that

questions.
and

your

deep

father?
Sati

stopped

breath

and

different
The

that

characters.

is it?
Lord,

Scientist
he

with

whispered,

conversation

What
My

playing

Taman,
Brahaspatiji

must

It
But

was

growled

meet

Shivas
was

Lord

flowing
strained

locks.
at

She

times.

took

They

were

very

The

Chief

He

insists

Bhrigu...

interrupted

by

knocking

at the

door.

Shiva.
the

doorkeeper,
has

with

requested

you

tonight.

announced
an

audience

nervously.
with

you.

Shiva
the

was

always

doorkeeper,

and

he

nodded.

She

relationship
Let

with

my

My

said

never

need

a raised

importance

before

answering

eyebrow.

that

Shiva

for

disturbing

Sati

smiled

attached

to

his

Taman.

Brahaspati.

My

to apologise

apologies

to me,
said

my

Sati,

friend,

bending

you

so

answered

Shiva.

to

the

touch

late.

Chief

bhav

invocation

that

said

may

Brahaspati,

her

blessing

husband

always

be

Sati

with

alive

and

side .

Well,

said

Shiva

yourself

of bed

I didnt

I know,

said

with

ceremony

one

to Brahaspati,

out

Actually,

the

saubhagyavati

traditional

pull

of

with

But

feet.

Akhand

her

Brahaspati.

at Sati

Brahaspatiji,

Scientists

by

knew

meet

Lord.

Namaste,

the

looked

in,

friend,

You

to

Brahaspati.

Brahaspatiji

Yes,

happy

get

said

ceremonies!

In

personally,

the

Shiva,

know,

so

what

late

after

to speak

towards

since

that

you

had

to

to you

Sati.

earlier.

Our

days

have

been

full

another.

Brahaspati
any

important

at night?

chance

smiling

is so

nodding.

We

case,

I wanted

to

have

to

for

leave

Suryavanshis

come

and

Mount

speak

love
with

Mandar

you

tomorrow

morning
What?
last

asked

six

days.

I know,
have

a surprised
Surely

said

loved

stay

The

Mesopotamian
We
of

are
water.

correctly.
Right,

you

can

Brahaspati,

to

scheduled.

but

I
My
said

survive

there

have
other
Shiva

to

one

the

stability

go

early

scientists
sarcastically.

eyes

it

of the

will

this

apologetically.
that

going
has

for

the

here
really

been

for

months.

The

with
the

been

prepared.

lesser

quantities

experiment

to keep
do

would

already

already

that

had

on

Somras

check
remain

all

more?

been
for

to

survived

experiment

have

required

have

his

is an

preparations

to test

You

crinkling

material

going

Shiva.

love

you
their

starts
company!
constant

theorising

about

Brahaspati

laughed.

No

need

And

the

me

everything

to

do

my

to Mount

the

sun.

have

friend,

Mandar

to go,
said

short.

Shiva.

Shiva

You

I am

sorry

smiling.

are

not

Life

going

is

long.

to get

rid

of

easily.

Brahaspati

smiled,

to consider

his

He

I really

apologise,

road

that

under

stepped

his

eyes

full

of

love

towards

a man

he

had

come

brother.

forward

surprised.

It

Brahaspati

first,

and

was

hugged

usually

and

Shiva

Shiva

Brahaspati

tightly.

who

would

Shiva

would

was

move

normally

to

respond

little

embrace

later,

little

tentatively.
My

brother,

Ditto,

whispered

mumbled

Stepping

go

I would

never

thinking

that

land

to

to see

you

What
He

there,

my

wasnt

into

Patal

friend,
about

arms,
ok

Brahaspati

if it would

answered
to

help

Shiva

venture

into

said,

with

you.
a grin,

Patallok

the

warmly
on

at Shiva.

I hope

to see

you

soon,

Shiva.

it!

Brahaspati
get

the

said,
life

you

Take

care,

my

child.

It is so

good

deserve.

20

on

Mandar
you,

my

friend?

hell

am

I doing

the
found

of him

Meru,

many
called

Even

Shivas

Brahaspatiji.

front

You

holding

finally

you,

are

you

still
you.

himself

Sati,

CHAPTER

How

he

count

Turning

Attack

take

smiled

can

but
for

demons

Brahaspati

Thank

back

anywhere

of the

You

Shiva.

slightly

I would

Brahaspati.

himself
was

sitting
the

months
me

here,

Pandit

here?

asked

a starded

in

the

Brahma

whom

he

temple

had

back.
said

the

Pandit

smiling.

met

Shiva.
in
during

Meru.
his

Sitting
first

visit

in
to

But

how

As

soon

Ill

be

as

do

you

you

only

wrong

Well,

I think

deficiency

swear

here?

to sleep,

the

The

Pandit

with
it

asked

replied

Shiva,

the

astounded.

Pandit.

This

is a dream.

much?
the

asked

the

occasion

Pandit

frowning.

demands,

grinned

Shiva.

And

swearing?
reflects

poor

I think

strength

any

case,

tell

me

what

the

next

manners.

your

passion

It

shows,

you

havent

you

what

you

Or

something

I already

Shiva.

perhaps,

one

of you.

one

slight

already

to listen

what

said

to as

this

is about!

Pandit,

his

are

I was

here,

why

promised

This

in

you

mind.

you

the

exists

It shows

slightiy.

again.

know,

that

head

called?

of us

character.

your

Since

are

already

chosen

his

people

met

tremendous
to speak

shaking

I met

But

thats

it shows

continued

time

havent

and

guffawed,

In

your

you

I would

be

told

I can

only

tell

is a dream.

Pandit,

dont

smiling

mysteriously.

consciousness

that

you

yet.
You

are

here

to help

me

find

something

know!

Yes,

said

Well,

what

The

colour

many

so

when

contrary,

have

the

is it that
of

trees

we

that
that

ostentatiously
The

I get

in character.

the

So

did

went

swear

whats

On

when

damned!

Why
I

and

colour

are

leaf,
could

carved
of that

smile

supposed
beamed
be

pill

growing

more
to talk

the

seen

enigmatic.
about?

Pandit,

from

pointing

towards

the

temple,

through

its

the

ars.

leaf?!

Yes.
Frowning

strongly,

is the

colour

of that

Many

times

a good

attaining
importantly,

it

that
it

Shiva

sighed,

leaf

important?

much
helps

Why,

conversational
more
you

in the

journey

satisfying,

understand

to find
said

the

name

the

context

of the

Holy

knowledge
Pandit.
of

the

Lake,

makes
And

more

knowledge

much

more

Context

of the

Yes.
you

All
may

And

easily.
knowledge?

knowledge
not

has

its

understand

Ill know

context.

the

all that

by

Unless

you

know

the

context,

point.

talking

about

the

colour

of that

leaf?

Yes.
By

the

Holy

Lake,

man!

groaned

Shiva.

Lets

talk

about

the

leaf

of

that

then.
All

right,

laughed

the

Pandit.

Tell

me.

What

is

the

colour

leaf?
The
Is

colour?

Its

green.

it?

Isnt

it?

Why

do

you

Because,

think

said

No.

That

with

one

it appears

Shiva,

wasnt
of

green

amused,

what

it is green.

I was

Brahaspatis

to you?

trying

to

scientists

ask.

You

had

about

how

the

his

forehead.

conversation

eyes

see.

Light

falls

Didnt

you?
Oh

that,

object.
see

right,
And

that

said

when

And

about

what

Yes,

it reflects

you

normal

did.

since

put

question.

Why

does

frowned
on

white

from

that

object

light

is
is

as

that

leaf.

absorbs

the

colours

doesnt

absorb

the

his

when
two
leaf

mind

The

to

colour

the

your

on

eyes,

an
you

the

rainbow

is

theories

together

green

physical
indigo,

blue,
which

scientist

confluence

disperse

the

another

of.

raindrops

worked

green,

with

but

appear

leafs

violet,

is made

nothing

why

these
that

conversation

sunlight

it is formed

Now

falls

back

another

That

Correct!

Shiva

had

White

colours.

colours

slapping

object.

Exactly!

different

Shiva

made

of

seven

of

seven

up

sunlight.
and

answer

my

to you?

problem
properties
yellow,
is then

out.

White

are
orange
reflected

such

sunlight
that

it

and

red.

It

back

to

my

eyes.

Hence

I see

Exactly!

beamed

from

the

perspective

what

it rejects.

world,

except

Shiva

was

being

which
turned

shone

through

Shiva

continued

to

leaf

almost

also

with

the

absorbs

single

and

colour

to

even

the

in

the

argument

the

nothing

from

the

been

transformed

and
turned

squirrels

on
into

had

trees

outlines

it

the

another
from

that

green

colour

grey.

As

curved

lines
outline

stop
the

its

in the

to

pill

be

the

leaf.

which
their

his

panorama.

selves.

of

the

The

leaves

had

panned,

he

an

outline,

easily
Every

temple
same

and

journey.

into
out,

almost

black

eternal

and

black

It

the

eyes

the

discerned.

of

in

ars

till

colours,

transformed

to soak

Shiva

slowly,

surrounding

As

flowing

their

as

stunned

two

on

lines

the

its

leaf

of

a carrier,

magically

altered

of the

could

that

Pandit.

lighter.

outlines.

of

out

outline

but

the

gradually

its

the

their

head

the

may
as

in

asked

dissolve

of

curved

his

true

lustrous

to

to realise

into

white

Its

and

a temporary

Shiva

tree

what

looking

dissolving

of

Only

out

entire

be

youre

seemed

and

for

He

grey

in

time

also

as

lighter

numerous

some

of
appears

reality?

leaf

to be

be

as

versions

again.

shade

transparent.

used

black

the

the

lines

that

of

Whatever

another

grew

curved

smoothly.

leaf

sunlight.

at

was

the

that

see.

leaf

seemed

transformed

many

Pandit.

of seeing

itself

to

are

you

leaf

noticed

of

it

simplicity

reality

gradually

stare,

as

the

that

stare

moving

been

colour

is it every

perspective

if the

It took

colour

or

glorious

colour

appeared

white

What

may

towards

reduced

appeared

itself.

opposite

context

to

hue

green

white,

exact

capable

bright

and

the

by

the

in the

The

There

about

Or

silence

continued
the

continued

was

think

green?

There

slowly

eyes

slowly

colour

particular

appearance.

It

leaf

realities.

truth,
It is the

your

So

the

into

many

Shiva

Are

green.

to him.

unshakeable

moulds

Pandit.

stunned

obvious,

context.

the

of

as

green?

are

appear

leaf

Is its

presented

There

the

and
object,

had
black

all
and

white

curved

lines

Turning

to

see

the

that

former

the

self.

White

words

back

at him.

Shiva

looked

His

was

curved

an

explanation,

also

transformed

lines

Strangely

Look

too

transparent

were

he

was

into

an

flooding

though,

there

black

stunned
outline

out

of

were

to
of his

him

no

with

black

lines

appeared

were
like

white

fall

Shiva

at

the

Karmasaafhi,

transformed
of

looked
all.

Pandit

advised

into

black

at

the

They

an

pointing

the

outline,

curved

lines

were,

lines

closely

in fact,

positive

we

of the

Mahadevs
negative
But

I am

that

tide.
doesnt
done

They

at

balance
said

Pandit
role

to

energy

and

no

Mahadev.

work
your

the

that
deeds.

both

Pandit.

completely
were

to

tiny

gushing

notice

waves

you

way,

that

that

which

were

hint

of

the

is going
the

So
energy

The
The

they

white

waves

on?

black

negative,

Their

why

balance

around

white

said
crucial.

negative.

will

fulfil

your

lines

My

deeds

now

You

dont

dont

is

he

as

positive

to

transmit

pouring

Search

destiny

no

you?
role

whenever

the

till

is there

Vishnus

a bit

friend.

distance,

occur.

puzzled.

to flutter

my

slight

hell

and

will

Pandit.

important.

other.

absorb

the

negative

each

seemed
is

are

no

even

energy

Pandit,

And

even

What

cataclysm

the

me?

energy

wasnt

positive

of sync,
up

from

body.

are

outline.
out

that

There

outlined

around

Because

tiny

lines.

looked

energy

so

waves

Pandits

If they

He

of

damned!

been

lines

to Shivas

The

be

outline

in colour.

waves

close

Ill

the

my

Torrents

him.

not

by

at yourself,

had

into

were

The

stopped

inside.

furiously
they

were

down.

body

have

himself

for

of them.

the...

Shivas

It

ask

out

him.

What

out

in and

to

intensity.

around

the

Pandit

priest

frightening

jet

streamed

feverishly

spoke.

for

it.

And

Search

the
for

a Mahadev.
make

earn

me

a tide

deserve

after

you

You

do

your

already

are

about
be

deeds
the

what

because

of

Mahadev.

you

It

believe.

and

only

doesnt

Believe

after

you

matter

you

are

believe

what

the

others

Mahadev,

that

you

think.

Its

and

you

will

one.

Shiva

frowned.

Believe!

repeated

BOOM!

A distant

turned

his

towards

like

distant,

BOOM!

Pandit.

reverberation

eyes

It sounds
The

the

an

echoed

the

Another

whispered

voice

the

ambience.

Shiva

horizon.

explosion,

insistent

through

of Sati

the

came

Pandits

riding

outline.

in.

S-H-I-V-A...

explosion.

S-H-I-V-A...
It looks
Shiva

like

your

looked

decipher

wife

you,

in astonishment

where

Maybe

needs

you

the

at

sound

should

came

wake

my

friend.

the

outline

of

the

Pandit,

unable

to

from.

up,

advised

the

Pandits

disembodied

voice.
S-H-I-V-A
A groggy
was
he

still
had

Shiva

woke

a little

bleary

just

been

up

to find

from

yanked

Sati

the
out

staring

at him

outlandishly

with

strange

concern.

He

state

that

! But

Lord

to

them

dream

of.

Shiva!
BOOM!
What

the

Someone
What?

hell

is using
What

A clearly
Rudra

was

are

cried

daivi

astras!

daivi

stunned
destroyed

that?

Sati
all

astras?

alert

now.

spoke
the

Shiva,

agitatedly,

daivi

astras!

Divine

weapons

Nobody

has

battle

instincts

access

anymore!
Shiva
get
Sati

was
ready.

completely
Wear

responded

your
swiftly.

alert

by

armour.
Shiva

now,
Bind

his
your

slipped

primed.

Sati,

weapons.
on

his

armour,

coupled

his

shield

to

it and

tied

and

picked

smoothly
kicked

the

swords

drawn,

My

door

Lord,

Shiva

hard

We

hallway.

the

Noting
and

He

slipped

that

Sati

eight

their

other

Neelkanth
said

on

his

was

ready,

guards

against

Taman.

he

had

any

We

quiver

their

attack.

will

hold

the

make

sense.

One

pair

large

man
his

of

down,

Nandi

and

Are

you

her

with

her.

Sati

nodded,

The

to

my

sword.

well

I am

rushing

He

sorry,

in

strained

his

hallway!

This

their

ears

to

The

power

terrorist

to make

was

his

feet

didnt

clearly
move

faster

said

Did

the

the

are

corner,

admirably

of you

face

What

were

answered

before

turning

enemies

They

friends.

running

hard,

going

not

any
the

of breath.

attacks?

hell

to find

out

is going

on?

out.

Sati.

is barred

for

two

But

room

up

Nandi,

frowning.

asked

on

suddenly.

around

asked

Shiva.

room,

Shiva

ready.

Veerbhadra,

Veerbhadra,
Our

a royal

slightly.
will

Lord?

all safe.

check

shields

way.

Tamans

aside.

footsteps

attack

emerged

at the

Krittika?

Taman,

heard

to

ordered

Veerbhadra

know,

I want

at

stepped

his

dragged

soldiers,

are

in

frowning

allowed.

alright,

Wheres

men

considerable

answered

I dont

they
drew

two

footsteps

swords

We

eyes

you.
react,

Just

using

Stand

their

follow

his
immediately

immediately

girth

with

Taman,

threat.

footsteps.

your

waist.

inside,

Taman

could

Four

Safe

bow.

wait

at

will

Shiva

assess

No,

his

Taman

should

Shiva

Yes.

his

to defend

words.

Lord.

Before

the

ready

stared

than

up

to

here.

intentioned
my

sword

open.

you

attackers

his

the

Veerbhadra.
from

to Shiva.

Emperor

cover.
at

the

dont.

the

Sati
rear.

are

five

soldiers

inside.
What

first.
at

There

now?

Everybody,
my

Dont

side.
light

files
Nandi

any

of
in

torches.

two.
the
We

Keep
middle.
know

The

platoon

possible

moved

surprise

what

he

No

clash

of

steel.

as

Shiva

frowned

Where

Neelkanths

dont

waiting

alert

Shiva

opened

My

Lord?

Yes,

is,

Veerbhadra

stay

But
was

risk

we
dont

the

their

already

over.

him.

Maybe

there

attack

astras

that

Sati

spoke

his

guards

daivi

real

was

the

royal

attack

to find

guard

the

Shiva.

was

being
of.
at the

door.

the

they,

the

my

Lord?

explosion.
here
with

and

block

your

the

men.

And

Nandi

and

Highness?

Daksha.
said

into

first

here

Your

recognising

are

Stay

captain

asked

captain,

Where
since

the

Shiva,

as

chamber.

And

I would

suggest

Sati,

the

Queen?

scared.

answered
now

any

Parvateshwar.

You

begun

No

Shiva.

replied

him

till we

it maybe

strength

footsteps.

Maybe

chambers

Highness,

too

attack

the

that?

for

Perhaps

an

all right?

not

not

from

to

immediately.

your

know,

here

cannot

said

Emperors

followed

Shaken.

I dont

asked

support

Is Sati

the

occurred

itself.
the

from

battle.

Captain,

the

she

What

for

for

Taman,

remain

palace

by

sound

panicked

of

troubled

Apart

other

had

the

alternative

Dakshas

know,

doorway.

and

the

silhouette

been

late

in

Lord,

of

was

reached

my

sound

mindful

was

didnt.
no

terrorists

stealth,

Shiva

he

the

Emperor?

is inside,

what

Either

third

ready

terrorists.

No

with

and

is the

Weve

terror.

and

absolutely

a distance,

platoon
tense

the

was

Shiva

as

from

Shivas

Or,

terrorists

mounted

He

of

speed

rather,

there

Nothing.

yet.

no

from
Or

screams

attack

were

heard.

explosions,

palace.

considerable

attacks

had

repeated

door

with

Daksha.
know

advisable
harm

If

whats
for

coming

theres

you
to

going

terrorist

you

and

Sati

on.

to stay
you.

that

attack

here,

your

am

going

out

we

need

on,

Highness.
to
all

We
help
the

have.
have

to

go,

my

Lord.

This

is

Devagiri.

Our

soldiers

will

slay

all the

Before
the

terrorists

Shiva

dim-witted

could

enough

respond,

there

was

to attack

our

capital.

a loud

insistent

knocking

on

door.

Your

Highness?

Request

Parvateshwar
like

permission

! thought

to enter.

Daksha.

Observing

protocol

even

at a time

entered,

Daksha

this !

Come

in!

How

in

growled

Lord

Devagiri?

Daksha.

As

name

can

Indras

How

dare

Highness,

intercepted

in the

chambers

now.

could

not

especially
The

attack

his

allow

in front

impatience

plumes

of

believe
and
your

on

approval

The

his

smoke

station

He

Daksha

seemed

the

have
Daksha

torches

your

Parvateshwar
Shiva?

what

attack

on

edge.

in

My

already

front

given
We

first.

saw

Mount

orders
leave

them,

Parvateshwar,

scouts
of

were

of

on

glared

direction

ready.

Veerbhadra

is going

Highness,

the

gloomily

massive
Mandar.

for

in an

into
not

torches!

spread

my

to be

Sati,

silence.
be

sure

heard

his

Daksha.

ordered

their

Pitratulya?

they
at

towards

could

the

Mandar,
were

stunned

permission,

nodded

in

turned

Parvateshwar

As

An

and

insulted

out

on

to be

powerful

fears.

Devagiri!

your

Nandi

be

find

I have

were

deepest

on

General?

fly.

my

troops

hour.

I need

asked

Sati

to depart.

How

light

us

from

Arishtanemi

looked

Guards,

Sati,

to

Emperor

attack.

Parvateshwar

eyes.

Let

coming

explosions

incredulously.

Shiva.

Devagiri,

with

it is under

the

happen,

Parvateshwar
of Sati.

is not

this

let

they?

Your

He

Parvateshwar

silence

Your
Or

was

in the

conveying

his

Highness?
that

dim

Parvateshwar.

radiance,

in Devagiri.

Parvateshwar

frown

on

light.
There

is no

repeated,

attack

Do

Lord?

softly.
turned

to see

Shiva

looking

shocked.

his

What

happened,

Brahaspati

left

What?

for

Mount

startled

asked

chief

scientists

Lord

Mandar

yesterday.

Parvateshwar,

absence

in

the

who

celebrations

had

of

not

the

noticed

previous

the

day.

Agni!

Shiva

turned

slowly

towards

Shiva,

consoled

Sati,

drawing

strength

from

her

presence.
I will

find

I will
Im

him,

find

so

with

am

What?

I, said

clear.

You

Shiva

turned

As

you,

asked

I must

dont

and

Ayushman

little

time

at

fathers

his

agonised

apologies,

to leave
feet.

not

want

alive.

expression

your

the

Daksha
to

to touch

royal

chambers,

seemed

too

remain

her

Highness.

too

mothers

far

But

Sati

dazed

behind

to
her

feet.

Veerini.

odd

blessing

a battle.

She

wanted

to argue.

Sati

turned

May

victory,
and

not

raced

you

live

a long

behind

long . She

life!
Shiva

But
as

there
Nandi

was
was
and

closely.

21

Preparation

for

noise

of

much

Veerbhadra,
cavalry,

turned

said

followed

CHAPTER

Shiva

turned

the

making

My

me.

did

quickly

frowned

wasnt

is

to go.

needs

her

Sati

bhav

Veerbhadra

The

touch

light

frowning.

and

She

into

need

to Daksha,

to

her

going

he

Shiva.

the

Brahaspati

down

husband.

Sati

sure

Sati.

Parvateshwar

bless

said

Daksha,

both

go.

bent

I am

him.

coming

And

Parvateshwar.

War
the

explosions

later

that

accompanied
were

on

their

stopped
Shiva,
by

way

to

Parvateshwar,

a brigade
Mount

within

of one
Mandar.

an

hour
Sati,

thousand
Brahaspatis

of

the

first.

Nandi
five

It
and

hundred
scientists

rode

with

the

brigade,

sick

rode

hard

and

hoped

to cover

long

distance

almost

at

the

overhead
the

to

of

the

the

the

over

in

fewer

to

leaders

than

eight

prahar,

turned

cleared

their

fate.

They

day

second

brigade

cover

worry

mountain

end

that

forest

the

with

the

give

last

with

the

corner

them

their

hours.

of

sun

the

first

It

was

directly

road

where

glimpse

of

the

mountain.
A furious

cry

of their

had

crater

at

been

its

massive

core.

remnants

right

of

the

Shiva,

core

of what

was

the

and

heart

Sati

in the

Neelkanth.

They

reached

they

saw.

of

buildings

some

structures

parts,

ripped

It was

impossible

Shiva

tumbled

Nobody
did

the

still
apart

the

to even
off

his

could

have

the

terrorists

had

horse,

survived
get

Parvateshwar,

soldiers

identify

their

the
been

face

such

fire

ordered

into

still

stood
be

to

scooped

ruins,

their

churners
eerie

at
sound

the

up

the

pathway

brigade,
to

keep

horrified

by

broken

and

of the

strong.

op

on

heart

with
up

the

sight

foundations,

unrecognisable
were

with

strewn

body
all over.

dead.
devoid

on

of vengeance
to

his

a trap.

trying

be

limply

a lethal

hands

in

The

explosions,
the

his

right

fast,

Scorched

repeated

colossal

and

giant

mountain.

top

hung

struck

their

to gall

rode

the

smouldering.
by

The

hard,

the

lead,

had

were

It could

of

macabre.