Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))
Read Part 5 : http://shineofdawn.com/?p=153
“But how does it relate to Pandavas exile?” I ask Shankar’s friend. He remains thoughtful for a while and says “During the exile, for few years, Arjuna travelled to the Himalayas to worship Lord Shiva and gain some divine weapons. That is how Himalayas is related to Pandava’s exile.” We all remain silent for a moment lost in thoughts. Shankar breaks the silence and says “Our investigation on the script started in Kamyaka forest and ended in Himalayas. This seems to be a dead end now. I guess we should leave it here.”
“I feel it is not a dead end but just a loose end that we need to connect. I have come so close to finding about my family and also how the attacks are related. I cannot leave all these at this stage. If I do not find out now, I can never be peaceful all my life,” I say and before I can control my eyes are filled with tears. “It is just that we do not know how to proceed now. All we have is symbol and few directions. You have applied for your advanced studies also outside India and can expect admission anytime now. Why do you want to spoil your life with all these things,” says Shankar. “I will carry on my quest with or without you Shankar,” I say determinedly. Shankar looks at me, takes a deep breath before he says, “Very well! If you have made up your mind then I will also support you. We have to decide what should be our next step.”
“The script talks about the exile and also directs us to the location near Himalayas. As per my analysis, the location is somewhere deep in the forest near Himalayas. You have to mark the locations and proceed according to the map,” says Shankar’s friend. “We have no idea about those forests or how to survive there. Is there a possibility that we might get any help?” I ask him. “I know a guide there who know the forest very well. I can give you his contact. He used to work for our base camp when we were stationed there,” says Shankar’s friend.
“Thanks so much for your help friend,” says Shankar. “No problem Shankar. Just a word of caution, do not reveal about the symbol or your motive even to the guide. Just tell anyone you meet on the way that you are proceeding for research work. You carry your ID always with you. All the best,” he says. We thank him and cut the call.
“Let us make all necessary arrangements as we do not know how many days we might require,” says Shankar. We start doing the arrangements for our trip to Himalayas. “Let us make a checklist and divide the work among us,” says Shankar. As we are going to unknown place, I pack everything we might require from battery backups to medicines and first aid box. The day of our travel has finally arrived. I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation of what to expect in our search.
I reach airport and see Shankar already waiting for me there. “Let us proceed to check in,” says Shankar. We stand in the line and Shankar updates me, “I have arranged for vehicle to pick us up from airport and drop near to the village. The guide will meet us there and take us further from there. I have made the maps as well on how to proceed.” I feel a sense of gratitude rush inside me and tears fill my eyes. I realise that relations are not always blood but also through heart. Unable to voice my feelings I just hold Shankar’s hand and he turns to look at me. I just look at him and try to say thanks but my throat is chocked. He nods his head as if he understood my feelings. Sometimes silence can express feelings better than words.
Flight lands in our destination airport without any hiccups. We walk to the baggage counter and collect our baggage. As we proceed to gate, we see a driver holding a card with Shankar’s name on it. “Hi, I am Shankar,” says Shankar to the driver. “Hello sir, Please come,” says the driver cheerfully. He has a wide smile and appears to be in his forties. We load the luggage into the car and settle ourselves in the back seat. “The drive is long sir. The temperatures drop as we go further so I suggest you keep your warm clothing with you. Usually we never get any booking this far. But our manager said you are important people so he sent me as I am experienced with this kind of journeys,” driver says. He still keeps talking but I doze off and before I close my eyes I hear Shankar making a conversation with him.
I feel I cannot breath and somebody is trying to kill me. I gasp for breath and wake up in a jolt. Shankar looks worriedly at me and says, “Are you alright? I was trying to wake you up. You have slept for long time and dint eat your food too. Do you want anything?” I try to relax my cramped neck and stretch my hands. “No, I am fine. I will have just juice,” I say and open the Juice bottle from my bag. I take a swig and watch out of the window. Sun is raising and I can see the orange light spread across the mountains. There are no words to describe the scenic beauty. Road is surrounded by lush green valley one side and snow-capped mountains on other side. Fresh morning air hits my face through widow and I fill my lungs with this fresh air. “We have arrived our destination,” says driver. I force myself back to reality and get down the car.
Shankar got down before me and he is talking to a tall, well-built man. I walk towards them and he turns to face me. He appears to be in early fifties. He has many scars on his face and hands as if he lived with wild animals.
“Hello, I am Arjun and I am your guide,” he says to me.
To be continued….