Friday, 30 March 2012

The weaver and his fate

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"There are times when you work extremely hard and you don't get the benefits. Fret not"

The following is a tale that I had had as a lesson in school... The original tale is in Sanskrit, this might not be an exact copy.

There was a town, well known for its weavers. Every other house had a weaver, and they were very talented. They used to sell their wares in various other cities and they became prosperous over the years. But among them was one man who was not satisfied. This weaver was the best weaver in the entire village, so good that no other weaver came close to him in talent. The cloth he wove resembled pure gold in quality. However, he was never able to sell his wares for some reason or the other, and lived the life of an average man. He was unhappy because other weavers who were far inferior than him were far richer. He didn't understand the reason for this.

One day, his wife asked him to not lose hope and go to Puri to sell his wares. She said that she had heard that the patrons there were very generous when it came to rewarding quality cloth. She asked him to make the best quality cloth to sell there. And so he did. He made the best silk cloth, one so high in quality that it shone brightly. The lustre was remarkable. He went to Puri and sold all his wares within the first day. He had made an enormous amount of money and was very happy. On his way back, he had to pass through a jungle. The darkness, the wild animals and the fear of dacoits made him feel that spending the night on top of a tree would be a lot safer than venturing out in the forest.

As he slept, he had a dream, or maybe it was a vision. He saw two people standing and talking. And one asked the other, "Where did you get that money?" And the other replied "It belongs to that weaver. He is good at weaving, but his money belongs to me." They began walking away. The weaver awoke, startled. It was daytime. He quickly felt his money bag and found that it was empty. Bewildered, he started running around like a mad man, searching for the men in his dreams. But the forest was a deserted one. Only the trees and the birds around him seemed to be the lone living creatures around him.

Disappointed, he walked back home. His wife asked him how he was back so soon, and if he had made a lot of money. The weaver narrated his tale. She listened, patiently... Then she asked him not to worry, for God favours those who work hard. She asked him to work hard again, and make better quality material, to sell it and make a better profit, for she knew now that his efforts were getting rewarded. Sure, the money that disappeared was a strange event. But then she didn't like to see her husband so disappointed. And so, our hero began weaving once again and produced cloth far superior when compared to its predecessor.

Once again he made a fantastic sale, earned a lot of money, reached the forest and took the same decision of spending the night in a tree. He again saw a similar vision. And when he got up, the money was gone! This entire cycle repeated again, a third time. The weaver was disgusted, disappointed. He found that there was no way that he could get out of the rut... He decided to end it all.

And so, he made a noose out of the climbers, and was about to hang himself when suddenly the two men of his vision appeared in front of him, they were floating in the air. The first man said "Don't make this foolish move, oh noble weaver" The weaver looked at him, tears in his eyes "I see no reason to live. Why should I? No matter how much I earn, I lose it, or I am just not able to make money. What more can I do?"

The second man replied "My dear friend. This is fate! This is destiny... It is not every time that you get what you deserve. It is not every time that the harder you work, the more you reap. You need to accept life, accept what is given to you. I am not asking you to not put in effort, but when it doesn't pay, understand that that is not the end of the world. Go ahead and work hard. Maybe you have great fortunes awaiting you in the future." Having spake thus, the two men disappeared. The weaver sat, pondering for a while... And then walked home, with renewed zest.

The moral of the story is not to be gotten wrong - It doesn't tell you to not work hard. It says that there are times when you work extremely hard and you don't get the benefits. It could be as simple as studying hard for exams and not clearing, or trying to stabilise your relationship and failing, or trying to master a skill that your friend has. In the last case, if you have a friend who is an expert artist and has a knack, then no matter how hard you try, you may not be able to beat him. Talent and hard work are not the same. This reminds me of the character Rock Lee vs someone else like Sasuke from the anime Naruto. The latter is extremely talented and can master things quickly. The former becomes really good through hard work, never giving up. But he lacks the ability to do it in one go. He practises a lot over time and gains skill. But if Sasuke, the genius, works as hard as Rock Lee, the hard worker, Sasuke can easily go beyond Lee through sheer talent combined with hard work. Rock Lee should realise his limits.

Lots of people get depressed due to failure in exams and in love... Note, this was perhaps your fate or destiny. As Krishna said, "Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachanaa" which means work and don't worry about your fruit. If you must get it, you shall surely get it.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Why visit temples?

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"If you are blind, it doesn't mean that the world around you doesn't exist... It just means you can't see it"

WHY VISIT TEMPLES ? (Scientific Reason)
There are thousands of temples all over India in different size, shape and locations but not all of them are considered to be built the Vedic way. Generally, a temple should be located at a place where earth's magnetic wave path passes through densely. It can be in the outskirts of a town/village or city, or in middle of the dwelling place, or on a hilltop. The essence of visiting a temple is discussed here.

Now, these temples are located strategically at a place where the positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of north/south pole thrust. The main idol is placed in the core center of the temple, known as "*Garbhagriha*" or *Moolasthanam*. In fact, the temple structure is built after the idol has been placed. This *Moolasthanam* is where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum. We know that there are some copper plates, inscribed with Vedic scripts, buried beneath the Main Idol. What are they really? No, they are not God’s / priests’ flash cards when they forget the *shlokas*. The copper plate absorbs earth’s magnetic waves and radiates it to the surroundings. Thus a person regularly visiting a temple and walking clockwise around the Main Idol receives the beamed magnetic waves and his body absorbs it. This is a very slow process and a regular visit will let him absorb more of this positive energy. Scientifically, it is the positive energy that we all require to have a healthy life.

Further, the Sanctum is closed on three sides. This increases the effect of all energies. The lamp that is lit radiates heat energy and also provides light inside the sanctum to the priests or *poojaris* performing the pooja. The ringing of the bells and the chanting of prayers takes a worshipper into trance, thus not letting his mind waver. When done in groups, this helps people forget personal problems for a while and relieve their stress. The fragrance from the flowers, the burning of camphor give out the chemical energy further aiding in a different good aura. The effect of all these energies is supplemented by the positive energy from the idol, the copper plates and utensils in the *Moolasthan*am / *Garbagraham*. *Theertham*, the “holy” water used during the pooja to wash the idol is not
plain water cleaning the dust off an idol. It is a concoction of Cardamom,*Karpura* (Benzoin), zaffron / saffron, *Tulsi* (Holy Basil), Clove, etc...Washing the idol is to charge the water with the magnetic radiations thus increasing its medicinal values. Three spoons of this holy water is distributed to devotees. Again, this water is mainly a source of magneto-therapy. Besides, the clove essence protects one from tooth decay, the saffron & *Tulsi* leafs protects one from common cold and cough, cardamom and *Pachha Karpuram* (benzoin), act as mouth fresheners. It is proved that *Theertham* is a very good blood purifier, as it is highly energized. Hence it is given as *prasadam* to the devotees. This way, one can claim to remain healthy by regularly visiting the Temples. This is why our elders used to suggest us to offer prayers at the temple so that you will be cured of many ailments. They were not always superstitious. Yes, in a few cases they did go overboard when due to ignorance they hoped many serious diseases could be cured at temples by deities. When people go to a temple for the *Deepaaraadhana*, and when the doors open up, the positive energy gushes out onto the persons who are there. The water that is sprinkled onto the assemblages passes on the energy to all. This also explains why men are not allowed to wear shirts at a few temples and women are requested to wear more ornaments during temple visits. It is through these jewels (metal) that positive energy is absorbed by the women. Also, it is a practice to leave newly purchased jewels at an idol’s feet and then wear them with the idol’s blessings. This act is now justified after reading this article. This act of “seeking divine blessings” before using any new article, like books or pens or automobiles may have stemmed from this through mere observation.

Energy lost in a day’s work is regained through a temple visit and one is refreshed slightly. The positive energy that is spread out in the entire temple and especially around where the main idol is placed, are simply absorbed by one's body and mind. Did you know, every Vaishnava(Vishnu devotees), “must” visit a Vishnu temple twice every day in their location. Our practices are NOT some hard and fast rules framed by 1 man and his followers or God’s words in somebody’s dreams. All the rituals, all the practices are, in reality, well researched, studied and scientifically backed thesis which form the ways of nature to lead a good healthy life.

The scientific and research part of the practices are well camouflaged as “elder’s instructions” or “granny’s teaching’s” which should be obeyed as a mark of respect so as to once again, avoid stress to the mediocre brains.

Very often, people don't understand the actual principles behind most practises and term them as blind beliefs.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Inception in real life

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Are you really capable of thinking originally or has someone done inception on you. Without you even realising..."

If you have not watched the movie Inception, go watch it now... It's awesome.

Nonetheless, have you ever thought of the way in which your mind works when you see or hear something? Have you ever wondered why you think the way you do? Many jobs require the applicant to be an engineer, though many BCA and MCA guys are as knowledgeable in terms of knowledge in computers. Apparently, the reason is "You have gone through an engineering course, you can think like an engineer". Big deal, what's thinking like an engineer anyway? Knowing how to mass bunk? Or booze? Or finish studying last minute? Surely all students are like that, no? Well, apparently, training makes a great difference.

So, what I am trying to say here is that, the way in which you react to anything is dependent on the kind of environment you have been in, the kinds of experiences you have gone through, the kinds of experiences you have seen others go through (which also adds to your understanding several times) and the kind of training you have gone through. But, notice, not every bit of reaction is original - Many times, a lot of ideas and reactions are not at all your original. Rather, they were placed there by someone else.

Think about it. If you touch something hot, you move your hand away from it - This is an original reaction, instinctive. However, keeping away from bad people - is not always experienced, it is driven into you by your parents and teachers. Surely you also read the consequences of being a rowdy in the newspapers, when someone gets hacked or shot. But you see, the idea was in your head due to someone else. And with that, the definition of what is good and bad is also put in by others. Stealing is bad - is what you were probably taught. Stealing to eat because nobody is willing to give a job to me and I have to survive, is probably something a guy who stole for that reason would say. From his perspective, it is right. But for the guy who was robbed, it was wrong.

Now put this along with an idea that is made to bombard you no matter where you go. Take the example of the organisation RSS. The moment you hear or see RSS, if you are not a geek who quickly goes to RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) you are one who pictures saffron. For you, RSS implies saffron, and you may even go ahead to think of them as Hindu fanatics. Some may even go ahead and think of them as right winged Hindu based terrorists. And so on. I don't know how deep you think, but step back for a moment and think again. How much do you know about RSS directly and how much do you know about it as a perception - And where did such a perception originate? If you are able to identify the source, how authentic is the source? Is it possible for a source that seems authentic to be contaminated and thereby spreading false information?

Did you know? It seems media channels and media companies are often bribed - which is why you see that some things are all the time on news and then suddenly vanish without a trace - this is due to an exchange of money... <== Conspiracy theory? Well, think about it. Read on.

Many of our ideas come from the media - and news channels. When something is aggressively followed by the news channels coupled with the newspapers, we tend to swing with it. You may not even have heard about some of the things, but then you start actively supporting things. You start developing opinions. But note that they may not even be the ones you would have had if you had thought of it yourself from the beginning. Let's take homosexuality, for instance. People are divided into two groups, one who claim that it is unnatural, because nature created males and females and wanted them to unite for spawning new generation. Homosexuality just doesn't fit in. The other, well, they may not have a reason. Rather, a more emotional approach in a way, or democratic if you will, in the sense that they say that everyone has the right to be as they want to be and as long as they are not hurting others, what right do you have to say what they should or shouldn't be doing. When I asked people, most of them had only one answer "I don't care what they want to do, as long as they are not bothering me... Let them do whatever they want to do" and interestingly, this point of view never appears in the media. All you can see is a mass of people holding placards and banners, shouting slogans FOR homosexuality. What happens when an average man with no opinion sees this? He begins to think that this is the general idea. And he tends to swing towards it, though he may originally not have had that idea.

The interesting part is, very few people are open for confrontation. Most people don't like confrontation, especially if they are up against a mob or a large group of people. If you have seen debates among your friends or have been involved in one, you will see that one of the guys often becomes the underdog, and as the pressure of peers increase, he gets quieter. Most people don't want to be that underdog, when you can be on the same side of the winning group. You see, it is more satisfying emotionally. Especially when you don't feel strongly about something. I don't really care about homosexuality, but that group is winning, and I like to be on the winning side. I know it sounds funny, but pay attention next time.

Riots in some nations have been brought about successfully in a similar manner. A group of people are made to shout slogans and hurl stones and other things - Then this is aggressively covered by the media from all angles. How perceptive are we to differentiate if the people we see are the same ones or not. All we see is "Riots in Srinagar" and we see flames, thick dark smoke and stone pelters and some army men and police men with what seem to be cane shields and lathis. We start filling in the rest of the details ourselves. Oh, mostly the people in Srinagar or any other place, are not happy. Maybe the government there is bad. If the people there themselves don't want to be with India, is it fair that we force them to? When people in that area see their "brothers and comrades" fighting for a cause, and when they see that inhuman army man beating that innocent boy as he desperately clutches the dirt on the ground, pleading for mercy, they see red. They shout out "Enough of this. I am no coward to be sitting here while a younger boy is getting beaten up for a cause that we should all support." Probably the cause is not really as important to you as having a young boy rescued. Small nations have been toppled using this technique.

This may seem to be an elaborate conspiracy theory. But the next time you are forming an opinion, think once more if the opinion is indeed yours. Try to form a train of thought as to what made you think whatever it was that you thought. What were the probably factors that make you think the way you do. Are you really capable of thinking originally or has someone done inception on you. Without you even realising...

P.S. - I am strongly against newspapers such as Times Of India for posting Times View.

You may also like to read:
Homosexuality - It's a queer topic
Situation, Perception and Reaction

=== Comments From Facebook ===

Chiranth Ashok:
I agree with you that a lot of times our opinions are not really ours.. What is eveything, if not inception? Everything is taught to us in a certain way and that is what we believe and that will reflect in our thoughts when we do think..
Since everything is inception, what matters? when there are several opinions in front of you, your choice among them is what matters(that also comes from how you were brought up).
Perhaps you missed to mention that there is also a "Counter-view" in TOI right next to the "Times-view"?
There was something from you about free speech and how it is misused, I agree with that as well.. You have been excellently showcasing the problems in our way of life, but what is the solution? Can these problems be solved? I think these are the questions that need to be answered soon..

Nikhil Baliga:
Uhh Saar, I am talkin about the little box that appear with every news article, not that one where two people give opposing views...

And what's the solution? I suggest you read a book called I'm OK, You're OK. I think the solution is as in the post, think originally and don't get swayed. You need to develop an independent way of thinking. Logical, if I may say so. I would also like to suggest Six Thinking Hats.

And besides, if everything was taught to you, you are nothing more than a robot, according to you, who has been pre-programmed. Everything is not pre-programmed. But the way in which you perceive things is a result of your past experience and lessons. Which is not permanent. Instead, it should be assessed, and  checked if it is right. It would be a problem if you are judging with that same mind which has preconceived notions. For that would be like measuring if a length that was measured with a faulty tape earlier is right or not, with the same faulty tape. Thus, developing an independent thought system is the need, and not what is fed to you... I hope this clarifies what I was saying...

Chiranth Ashok: 
Yes, this clears any possibility of confusion. I agree with you as I have always strived to follow logic. Unfortunately, our society is full of robots (this is my personal experience). I will look into this book I'm OK, You're OK.. Maybe I can improve my thought process.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

What are we becoming?

Swami Gulagulaananda heard:
"Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking"

Imagine that life is a video that is constantly playing... For a moment pick up your remote control, and hit the pause button. Then, float out of your body, turn around and look at your frozen body stuck in the same position, reading this post... Now let's begin floating and looking around. Oh, and also, leave your ideas, opinions, prejudice and such behind.

We, as people, have evolved over a period of time. I am not talking about the biological evolution and loss of tail. I am talking about society. Just today, one of my uncles had come over and was talking about his grandfather's grandfather who walked all the way to Tirupathi from some town close to Mangalore, and back. He said, "Those were the days of 'Athiti Devo Bhava' and it was customary for people to stay in other people's houses, mind you, not relatives, and partake food as well, which would be gladly served." Today, do you think you would welcome some stranger into your house? Let alone spending the night, you probably wouldn't even consider allowing him to loiter in your compound. Food, probably you may give him, but you would ask him to be on his way... Why? Is it that we are bad people now? Not really. It's because the world today has become one where people take advantage of other people's kindness. Have a look at how seemingly poor hapless pregnant women or those with children are conning you.

Alright, let that go. Let's float to some traffic junction and hit the play button the remote control... See how many people flout traffic rules. What kind of traffic rules? Well, one type is  - two wheelers riding on the pavement at signals. Second, jumping red signals. Third, continuing to ride/drive in spite of the signal transitioning from green to red. There are more, but let's just see what's common in this three? Urgency, rather, impatience - I don't want to wait.

Why do you reckon this happens? It is most likely that the population has increased to such a great extent that you are going to be infinitely delayed if you keep following every single rule. Is that true? No. The reason is that there are several other cities in the world which are greatly populated, more so than any Indian city, and yet the traffic violations are certainly not like this. Why then? Is it that traffic rules are not stringent enough? No, they are. Just the other day, I was waiting at a red signal at a busy crossroad junction. A guy riding an Activa with a pillion rider came and stopped next to me. The girl had a vacant expression. The guy then asked her to get off, and to check if there was a traffic policeman around the corner. After she checked and confirmed the absence of one, he zoomed away. I read a very interesting quote the other day "Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking" and this was what I remembered at that moment.

You may become a very wealthy man. You may be popular among your friends. You could be anything. But if you are not a person with ethics, you are nothing. I really hope there is Yama and Chitragupta recording everything that's happening and storing it. When the time is right, Chitragupta will fire an SQL query and let Yama pass the judgement.

No, think about it. What motivates a person to be unethical? Forget big-time scams. Look at the small ones, like traffic violations. You may be a nice guy. But then you look around and you see people cheating. You will think that they are bad people, and that you should be good. The people who cheated didn't get caught - but heck, what just happened? He succeeded in doing what you have been struggling to do for such a long time. Maybe you studied all night for a whole week, while the guy next to you brought chits to the exam. And he copied and got more marks than you. You were the good guy, but he got that seat you had had your eye on. What went wrong? Or maybe he passed an interview and got the job, while you couldn't clear the written round in spite of being better than him. You feel this is all unfair. The guy who jumped the signal must, by now, have cleared the next two signals while you are still rotting there in the heat, breathing the hot fumes of the truck next to you. Hell, I should have followed that guy, you think. The next time YOU do it. You don't get caught, and you realise that there is a thrill. Meanwhile, another loser is thinking that he should have just jumped the signal... Notice, he is you, just behind by delta t. The vicious cycle has now been established.

Ok, enough of traffic violations. Let's look at the food we eat. Indians have always been the community to eat wholesome food every morning. But now, people are moving towards cornflakes. Incidentally, corn flakes are not even good - but wait, what's that? In India, they are awfully expensive. In reality, they should cost nothing, very similar to soft drinks. And corn is much cheaper compared to rice or wheat. And still people buy cornflakes. Why? More often than not, you are eating corn flakes because it sounds awesome when you tell others "I had corn flakes". Think about it honestly. Do you really enjoy eating corn flakes? Or would you prefer hot Idli Vada, Masala Dosa or Upma? Before you jump to "Who's going to make it for me in the morning?" answer that question. Don't you enjoy that as against corn flakes? But you rather eat it because it makes you feel awesome, cool... in sync with America. And don't give me the "Who's going to make it for me in the morning?" because there are hundreds of restaurants every where around you. If there is no restaurant which serves good breakfast around your place, let me know - I will start one there, because it is an awesome business opportunity :-) You see what I am saying here, don't you?

Very often, we don't think of what we are doing. We don't worry about repercussions. In many ways, the old customs and beliefs such "If you do bad, Karma will ensure you will get bad, if not in this birth, then the next" or "God is watching what you are doing" or "Santa is going to give you coal for being naughty this year" are great because you would have some fear before venturing out to do something bad. But in today's so called "science era" where most people are agnostic or atheists, they don't have the fear of repercussions except that of law (which is not so efficient) and thus we are becoming what we are becoming. Don't forget, every action of yours might influence somebody else. If you are not ruining an impressionable child's mindset, you are screwing that guy who was left breathing fumes of that lorry or eating your dust... YOU are the one who is setting examples, and YOU ought to be the one who cleans up his act. Ok, go back to your body and hit the play button, but remember, "Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking"

You may also like to read:
Yes we can... Or can we?

Comments from Facebook

Anish Bhandarkar:
cantt do much for those already grown up with such ideas.. but there is hope 4 the current gen kids..
a tried n tested option is C Rajagopalachari's RAMAYANA N MAHABHARATA.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Tarka - The story of the escaped convict

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"The chain always breaks at the weakest link"

You can now read the story from the book - Swami G's Short Stories

The wail of the police siren behind me served as a source of constant motivation to run faster. My footsteps seemed to resonate with my rapid heartbeats. The night was cool and dark, and all the residents of this peaceful locality seemed to have retired for the day. Sleeping peacefully; I made a scoffing noise at the idea. Concepts lost to me a long while ago... Sleep and peace. And then I saw that house with a low balcony with a convenient access to it. That door was unlocked.......

I was standing still in the shadow, watching her as she was washing her hands in the basin. As she was about to turn around, I rapidly closed the distance between us. I could see her face getting contorted into an ugly expression of terror as she saw me. I quickly covered her mouth with my palm and uttered words through gritted teeth “Please don't shout. I won't hurt you”. I could sense her body relaxing slightly. I continued “I understand how shocking this is. The police are after me, and I am trying to get away from them. Let me just spend some time here, and then I'll be on my way” I put my hands down and took a step back just to reinforce the idea that I was not going to hurt her. She seemed to relax a little more. The few seconds of awkward silence between us seemed like several minutes... it was eventually broken by the wail of the police siren as a police jeep went by the house.

She still seemed tensed. I noticed that she was staring at the ground, as if trying to recollect something. Then she turned to me and said “Aren't you Harish?” I looked at her, surprised, and then told her “Aren't you Savitri?”. She said “Yes! It's really nice to see you after such a long time. I haven't seen you since school.” She had been my classmate. “It's been a long time indeed. But tell me, why are the police after you?” She looked at my prisoner uniform and then at my face. “It's a long story, I'll tell you later. May I have some water please?” I asked. “The kitchen is downstairs. Come along”. She led the way down the stairs. It was a big house, but she seemed to be the only occupant. “Isn't there anyone else at home?” I enquired. I accepted the glass of water and drank it in one go. My throat had been parched for quite some time now. I drank some more water. “No, my husband has gone to Kolkata on a business trip. So, I am alone”. “I see, and...

Suddenly there was an authoritative knock on the door. “Open the door Ma'am, this is the police”. My heart skipped a couple of beats. I decided to hide and quickly opened the door of a large cabinet next to me to hide in it. As I unlocked the door, it began to open by itself, as if something was pushing it from inside and suddenly a corpse fell down from within. I looked at her with my eyes wide open. A man in a suit, with blood all over his shirt and a slit throat lay on the ground. The impatient knocks on the door continued. “Madam, please open the door, this is important”. What the hell is this?” I asked her with a look of terror in my eyes. I could see beads of perspiration forming on her forehead as she licked her dry lips “I'll explain later, first help me hide the body” she said.

We both lifted the body and hurriedly shoved it back into the cabinet. I too squeezed myself inside and she closed the doors. She darted quick looks to scan if there were any traces of blood on the ground, and being satisfied, adjusted her clothes and went to open the door. A smart looking police inspector was at the door. He asked her “I am sorry to be bothering you at this time of the night madam, but I have something really urgent to discuss.” I had managed to open the door of the cabinet by a few centimetres, just enough to enable me to hear the conversation as well as peek a bit. The inspector walked into the house and asked the constable behind him to wait at the jeep. He said “Did you see a strange man around your house some time back? He is a dangerous murderer and has escaped from prison.” Savitri nervously looked around and said “I am sorry, I was asleep. All the doors of the house are locked, so there is no way anyone could have gotten in.” I was confident she wouldn't rat on me with a corpse in her cabinet. I kept looking at the inspector. His trained eyes were carefully collecting data as he began looking around. “Well, that's alright. In case you see anything, please do report it. Uhh I also have something else to discuss with you.” He walked in the drawing room and sat on the sofa. She sat in the seat opposite to his. “Mrs. Savitri, your husband's name is Rutwik Kumar, am I correct?” She looked at him, and nodded. “He was on a plane to Kolkata, am I right?” he asked again. “Why, yes. As a matter of fact, he was. But how do you know that?”. “Madam, we have some really bad news. There was an explosion in that plane, we don't know the exact details yet. But everyone in the plane died. Including your husband. I am sorry for your loss”.

Savitri broke down into sobs, and covered her face with her palms. She started crying out loudly. I could see the inspector feeling uncomfortable. He tried to console her, uttering a few words of consolation that could have been soothing if only he had meant it. He then continued “I actually tried to call you, but there was no answer from you...” Suddenly he stared at the cabinet. I felt a knot in my stomach. Had he noticed me? I held my breath. Had I moved the door? Had he seen my eye? My heart started pounding hard. If he came towards me and opened the door now, he would catch me with a corpse with me. My breathing was now a lot faster. And I knew there was a constable outside. I knew there was no escape. I prayed, hoping I wouldn't be caught. He walked towards the cabinet. I was ready to spring out the instant he opened the door. I was waiting to see if his hands would go towards the revolver in his holster.

Ah, Mrs Savitri. Your phone is off the hook. No wonder it was engaged when I was trying to give you a call. Well, let me replace it”, he said. I let out a quiet sigh of relief. He had been looking at the receiver on top of the cabinet. “Alright, I will be off Madam. The department will get in touch with you regarding other details. I thought it is better that you knew about the tragedy in person rather than through the newspaper tomorrow. I am sorry again” and the inspector walked out of the door.

I waited for a few more minutes as Savitri locked the door and looked out of the window to confirm that the police weren't around anymore. Then she came towards the cabinet and opened the door. “He's gone”. She said. “Well, that's alright. But what in heaven's name is this?” I said, as I got out and placed the corpse on the floor. “I am really sorry about your husband. Who's this man?” Her eyes remained fixated on the dead man on the floor, “This is my husband

What?! Then who died in the aircraft? And who killed your husband?” I asked her. “I cannot be here any longer. I am already in trouble, it's best that I clear this place before I am charged with something more, like accessory or something” She looked at me with a pleading expression. “Please don't leave me and go, Harish. I am deep in trouble and desperately need your help. I killed my husband, but there is a reason for it. Let me explain to you first”. Savitri was a nice woman. She had even helped me out. Well, it could be because she didn't have a choice. But I felt sorry for her. “Alright, let me first hear you out.” I said.

She then narrated a very tragic tale. She had been married to Mr. Rutwik Kumar for just one year. And he had made her life hell. Rutwik apparently was a sadist. He had seemed nice in the beginning, but then his quirky behaviour began to surface when they had been to Nandi Hills for their honeymoon. As they were walking around, holding hands, they had come across a man who had been taking photographs of the scenic hills. This man, Satish, had been Savitri's classmate. He had been very happy to see her as was she. It had been after several years that they had met. She had excitedly introduced her husband to him and him to her husband. Satish had told her that it had been very nice to see her after a long time. But something had been wrong with Rutwik from that day. In the middle of the night, she had awoken to see her husband staring out of the window, drinking, smoking and muttering “So nice to see you... So nice to see you...”. She was a little terrified, and had asked him what had happened and to come back to bed. But he had just said that he was not sleepy and had asked her to sleep. She had done that, but then the same creepy situation had developed when they had stumbled upon another long lost friend of hers, in fact, an acquaintance who used to stay next to her friend's house a long time back. He had been a small time movie actor. A couple of days after that incident, her husband had sacked the driver, the household help, and his secretary. They had asked for the reason, but he had just yelled at the top of his voice, asking them to get out and never come back again. It seemed to her that Rutwik was ensuring that no men would be around her.

Only an old lady who had been cooking had retained her job. His behaviour towards Savitri had been rude. Her brother and his wife who had come over to invite them to some function had felt humiliated when Rutwik had refused to let her visit them, but then, her brother had chided her for not understanding his mood and not taking care of him. She had felt it very unfair. She had even tried talking to her sister in law who hadn't understood her either. The only person who had seemed to understand her was her friend Satish, the guy whom she had met in Nandi Hills. He had decided to stay in touch after that day. She had explained his odd behaviour, his flashes of rage. Satish had told her that if she had felt that being with him was so absolutely intolerable, then the only solution would be divorce. He had made it absolutely clear to her that it was entirely her decision and that he didn't want to come across as a home wrecker. She had told him to dismiss those thoughts, for she knew he only meant well for her. They had been talking quite a bit and eventually had fallen in love with each other; she had confessed it to him first and he had reciprocated.

On that fateful day, after Rutwik had left for the airport, Satish had come to her house with the divorce papers. It had been quite late, and they were talking to each other. He had held her hand to console her as they sat in the drawing room when suddenly the door had opened and there stood Rutwik. Their hearts had stopped beating, for it had been the most unexpected turn of events. He was supposed to be in the airport at that point of time. “I knew it, I always knew you were a back stabbing bitch. I took a lot of precautions to clip your wings, to prevent your promiscuity from presenting itself and yet, just as water always finds a way out, so did your prurience.” he had snarled. They had both stood up after their initial shock. He had thrown his briefcase on the ground, and started walking towards his wife with his belt in his hand when Satish decided to defend his lady. Rutwik had been a strong man or maybe Satish had been a mild man. Rutwik had thrashed Satish and driven him out of the house,  while the latter ran shouting that he was running to get the police to put a leash on this wild animal. He had never returned. Fearing Rutwik would thrash and humiliate her like he had done several times before, she had picked up a knife without much concern for repercussions and slit his throat when he had come closer. Then having calmed down and finding herself at wits end, she had just shoved the body into the cabinet with great difficulty and had wiped all blood off the floor. The TV had been on all the while when she heard the news reporter reporting the breaking news of the plane explosion. It had been the same plane in which her husband was supposed to be traveling, and she had seen a glimmer of hope. She had been washing her hands when I had come into the room.

That's bad. But is Satish going to be coming back with the police now?” I asked. “If he wanted to come, he would have come long back. The police station is just five minutes away from here. I think he got too nervous about Rutwik and went home.” She seemed to be pained by his cowardice. I looked at her face and asked “Well, what do you want to do next?” She didn't seem to be a grieving widow. She didn't seem to have a reason to grieve. Instead, she was beginning to think in a cold calculated manner, an attitude that I felt was fitting in the current situation. “We have to dispose off with the body. We have an old well in our estate. It's around 60 kilometres from here. My car is parked in the garage and I know to drive.” I liked brevity. “Very well, let's get the body into the boot of the car. Before that, get rid of all clothes and ornaments that may make it easier to trace him.” I bent over and closed the eyes of the corpse. I didn't like that eerie feeling of being watched. We stripped the body of all the clothes and wrapped it in a bedsheet. We then carried it and placed it in the boot of the car. We decided to cleanup and eliminate the evidence in the house after getting back. It had to be done thoroughly and could be done in daylight. But the disposing of the body needed to be done before sunrise.

I got into the back of the car and lay flat on the backseat so that nobody could see me from outside. The streets would be deserted at this time of the night. She drove the car to the estate. On reaching the place, we quickly inspected the area to see if anyone was around. Feeling confident that we were the only ones in the area, we got the body out and carried it close to the well. We tied a rope to the feet and the other end to a heavy rock that I had found closeby. And then pushed the body and the rock into the well. There was a loud splash, and that was it. We looked into the well and used our torches to inspect the scene. There seemed to be no signs of a submerged corpse. We hurried back to the house. On reaching, we took the clothes to the bathroom. I asked Savitri to get some kerosene and then set fire to the clothes. We thoroughly wiped the areas we had been to, the insides of the cabinet, the floor, and even the boot of the car to eliminate all traces. The ashes were flushed down the toilet.

I asked for some of her husband's clothes. He had had an excellent taste. I took a few pairs of clothes, and told her that I would be staying in her house for the next couple of days, but that it was to be a secret. The next day when grieving friends and relatives would be in her house to console her and to pay their respects, people would assume that I too was one among them. They wouldn't know when I had come. I would look natural. But there was one little problem. There were only three people who knew that Rutwik wasn't on board that plane. And two of us knew he had been dead. Satish knew Rutwik was back and had never been to Kolkata. And he might let the cat out of the bag. He had to be told about the situation. I told her that I would let him know that the first thing the next day. My mind was rapidly chalking out plans.

Grieving friends and relatives had gathered in her house. I had been hiding in the top room where nobody came. Everyone was busy downstairs. I could hear words like tragic, young girl, fate from the din downstairs. When I felt that the time was right, I took a suitcase which I had filled with some clothes and climbed down from the balcony, the same way I had gotten in the previous night. Then, I walked into the house as if I had just heard the news and had come to visit her. She too saw me and said “Oh Harish, thank you for coming.” Her eyes were swollen from all the crying. I was wondering how she could be so natural in crying, having known that he was dead for quite some time now. “I am really sorry for your loss” I said. I shook hands with another man who told me that he was her brother.

I walked inside and set my bag in the guest bedroom. There was a phone in that room. I picked up the receiver and dialed the number to Satish's residence. I had taken the number from Savitri earlier. Everyone was busy around the widow and nobody seemed to noticed me. “May I speak to Mr Satish please” I asked the feminine voice that answered the phone. “I am sorry, but my son has been admitted to the hospital. Who is calling please?” I felt that knot forming in my stomach again. Had Rutwik beaten him that badly? In that case, he might have told the hospital authorities about that cruel wife beater. The police would then come to investigate the next day. And find that the house belonged to the same Rutwik who was believed to be dead in the plane explosion. This would be followed by an investigation and I could see the whole plan crumbling. I remembered the wise Swami Gulagulaananda's words – A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Satish was the weakest link from the beginning. I regained my composure. “Oh, I am so sorry. What happened to him? And which hospital is he in?” I enquired, concerned, although not for him.

It seems that he was hit by a car. He has been unconscious since last night. We were really worried about him. But the doctor says that there is nothing to worry about. He'll regain consciousness in a few hours is what he told me” she answered. “Oh thank God! By the way I am his friend, Ravi” I said, deliberately using a false name, and then got the name of the hospital from her. I was just about to leave the house when I saw that there were two policemen at the door. I was still inside the same room. I saw that inspector from last night, his alert eyes scanning the place as usual. I went to the phone again and placed a call to the hospital. I asked for Satish, and if he was able to come to the phone, for I had to discuss a matter of utmost importance with him. The nurse asked me to wait for a few minutes. Then I heard a soft voice at the other end. “This is Satish. Who's this?” he asked. “Listen, my name is Harish. I am a friend of Savitri's. I know everything that happened last night. No matter what happens, don't tell the police or anyone else for that matter that Rutwik hadn't been to Kolkata. I am coming to meet you right now. Remember that you shouldn't utter a word about Rutwik being here last night. Got it?” I asked. He sensed that I didn't intend to waste time, and agreed to meet me. I carefully peeked again and was relieved that the police had left. I walked outside and within a few moments caught an autorickshaw. I told him the name of the hospital and asked him to take me faster than he could to earn a twenty percent tip.

Satish was sharing that hospital room with another patient who had been reading a newspaper as I walked in. I knew that people would recognise me as the guy who had escaped the previous day and this was a huge risk that I was taking. But then, I didn't want to risk getting caught in another murder case. I had taken minimum precautions of wearing dark shades and a hat. I walked up to him avoiding looking at the other patient, who I realised seemed to be trying to get a good look at my face - I am sure he found me familiar, having just read the newspaper. A photograph of mine had appeared in the newspaper, explaining that I was an escaped convict. I had to get out quick.

Satish, can we talk for some time outside? Can you walk? I would like to have some coffee in the hospital canteen, if you don't mind.” I told him. Satish was ready, and in a few minutes, we were having coffee in the canteen. “So, how did you land up in a hospital?” I asked him curiously. I was madly running towards the police station to report Rutwik's behaviour when a car appeared out of nowhere. Fortunately there were no broken bones. But I hurt my head and lost my consciousness. Nothing serious, so thank God!” I then explained the entire story to him. Satish was completely aghast on knowing that Savitri had killed her husband. “Oh this was bound to happen. I was expecting one of them to die. And I thought that she could get out of it when she still had the time. That's too bad. Don't worry Mr Harish. I won't tell anyone about last night. I don't want to get her into trouble at all” I was relieved. I shook hands with him and stood up. Then I told him “Listen Satish, once you are discharged, go out of town for a day or two. Anywhere, it doesn't matter. I just don't want you in town for some time. I'll explain later” I then went back to her house. Everyone had left. Savitri told me that everyone believed that Rutwik had died in the plane crash and that all was well. I was relieved.

I walked upstairs to relax. I had a feeling things wouldn't end so soon. I lit a cigarette to calm my nerves  when the phone rang. Savitri answered the phone downstairs and I picked the receiver upstairs. The man who was at the other end spoke with a slight drawl, but his voice didn't seem very clear. “...carefully. I know very well that your husband is not in the ocean where they are looking for the remains of the dead passengers. Oh no, he's submerged alright, but in the well in your estate...” My throat went dry. “I also know you took help from one other man who's currently staying in your house. Now if you don't want to be inviting trouble, do as I say. I need Rs. 5 lakh to be given to me. And I will tell you when and where that should be given. Don't worry, this is a one time payment, and I am not going to continuously bleed you white. Oh, and I don't have to be telling you not go to the police. Hahaha...” and the call got cut. I walked downstairs to see a perspiring Savitri replacing the receiver. She turned around and was startled to see me there. She looked very pale, a nervous wreck. “Harish, that was...”. “I know, I heard.” I said. “What do we do now? We are trapped. Who do you think it can be?” she asked. I had been thinking the same thing all along.

There were only two of us on that night when we went to dispose off with the body, am I right? We double checked, right?” She nodded. “The only other person who knows about this is Satish. Do you think it was his voice? Do you think he might be the blackmailer? Do you think he used a cloth to cover the receiver to change his voice?” I asked her. She gave it a few seconds of thought and said “It didn't sound like him. But then that's the only possible explanation, right?” I shook my head “Satish didn't strike to me as the blackmailing type. No, I think it's someone else.

Who else CAN it be? Nobody else is in this anyway. Money can make even the nicest people go bad. I can arrange for the money, but I really hope that this is the only payment I'll be making. Blackmailing never seems to be a one time thing, you know what I mean?” I looked at her. She didn't seem to be the helpless damsel in distress like she did last night. She was spitting venom as she uttered the next few sentences “I have a confession to make. I didn't kill him. Satish did! Actually everything I told you was true, except that when he chased me, I ran into the room and locked it from inside. I could hear him banging the door asking me to open it so that he could peel my skin when I heard him say – 'Oh, it's you. And you have some audacity to come back. Get lost, before I whip you.' There was some struggle outside. I didn't know what to do. I then heard my husband's cry. I walked out to see him dead on the ground. The rest is as I told you. I think Satish had come back to save me, and then killed him in the ensuing struggle. On knowing that you thought it was me who had killed him, he must have decided that since he was free, he might as well make some money out of it. That bastard!” I didn't say anything to her except – “Whatever has to happen will happen tomorrow”.

Nothing eventful happened for most part of the next day. Around the same time as last night, the phone rang. It was the blackmailer. I was standing next to her as she spoke over the phone. Then she hung up and said “He has asked me to come to the railway station. Then to keep the bag in the cloak room, and keep the receipt behind a public telephone that's closest to the room. And leave the place. I am sure he will be watching the place from a vantage point. Once I have left the place, he will swoop in, and then use the receipt to take the bag back. Simple and effective, that bastard!” I nodded. Whoever it was, he knew that I was involved in this whole set up for sure.

I decided to go with her to the place and observe the situation from a convenient position myself. The next day we did things as planned. I was standing next to a big pillar right across the cloak room. I saw Savitri walking briskly towards the cloak room with her bag. I lit another cigarette to help me focus. In a few moments, she was out with a small piece of paper. She walked towards the telephone and pretended to talk to someone over the phone, looking around. Then, she slowly slid her hand behind the phone and put the paper in place. I was looking around to see if I saw any familiar places. Suddenly I saw Satish walking across the platform with a small luggage bag in his hand. I surmised he had been back from his trip. My eyes were following his movement when I saw the inspector from the previous night walking across just a few steps from Savitri. He was busy talking to two other people as he walked. Savitri had not noticed him, because he was looking towards my direction. But I had. And I slowly moved a few steps behind. I couldn't afford to be seen. I was thinking how interesting it was that three people from one case were within a few feet from one another. I was about to turn around when I happend to look at another man who was looking at Savitri. The man was wearing a hat that looked like a beret, dark shades and had a beard. It looked like he was intentionally hiding his face, just like I had done the other day. But then I knew he looked very familiar. I had seen him on the previous day, one of the friends or relatives who had come to console the grieving widow. I tried to memorise his face, but I couldn't see him very clearly.

I walked away from there towards the car. I saw Savitri was already there, and walked towards me as I approached her. “I found this note on the windshield of the car under the wiper.” I opened it and read it. It simply said that due to some reasons, the place and time had to be changed. Savitri went back to the cloak room to recover the money bag while I sat in the car, thinking. We drove back to the house in silence. Once we were inside, she broke the silence “Who do you think it is? Did you see Satish around there?” She asked me. “I still don't think it is Satish. Well, to be honest, I did see Satish there, but I am guessing he is back from that trip I had asked him to take. But I saw another man at the station, I had seen him the other day, but I don't know who he was”. The phone rang. She answered the phone, listened for some time, mumbled some words of agreement. “It's him again. He has asked me to come to Cubbon park near the stone statue. And he has asked me to come alone” I raised my eyebrows. “Alone, uh? Very well, I will come with you either ways, and you stop the car a little distance away. Let us part ways and you walk by yourself while I scout from a safe distance.

She walked upstairs and opened the drawer of the wardrobe and gave a slight shriek. “It's here” I said, showing her the revolver she had gone to get. “I think it's better I hold it for a while. It's not very ladylike to be carrying a gun”.

I was behind a clump of bushes, looking at the stone statue. There had been no traces of movement around. The entire park was deserted. The repeated chirping of some insect was the only sound I could hear. A cold breeze blew. Savitri was slowly walking towards the statue, looking around to see if anyone else was watching or following her. When she was close to the statue, we heard a voice - “Leave the bag at the base of the statue, and keep walking. I have a gun pointed at you. Any games and I'll shoot you”. I tightened my grip around the gun when I heard the words gun and shoot. Savitri did as she was told and began walking. I could see the silhouette of a man walking towards the bag. I was not sure what had to be done next. I was getting ready to creep behind him and tackle him when I heard a loud voice followed by bright lights focussing on the man. “Hands up, you have been surrounded by the police!” Several men appeared from nowhere and caught the man. He had been wearing a mask. One of the men had apprehended Savitri as well. I knew the game was up. They pulled the mask off the man and I felt like punched me hard in the gut. It was the inspector!

Come on out with your hands up Mr Harish. I don't want to go through the whole cat and mouse game again. We know where you are.” I walked out of my hiding spot with my hands up as a bright light was focused on me. We were all in the police station, the inspector, Savitri, Satish and I. The bearded man turned out to be a senior police officer who had been investigating the case. He told us that the investigation had led them to believe that the man who had died in the plane explosion was not Rutwik but a manager in his company. It seems Rutwik had told him in the last minute that something urgent had come up and that he had to take his place instead, that there had been no time for a ticket cancellation and that he had to go in his name. The manager had agreed, and had been the victim of the tragedy. But then the question had been that if the man who had died was the manager, then where was Rutwik?

The bearded officer had thus come to Rutwik's house along with another officer during the gathering. He had felt that some odd things were happening around the house and had tapped the telephone lines after seeing a drop of blood on the cabinet that had apparently been missed. The phone tapping had proved to be useful. They had come to know about the blackmail. The inspector then narrated his tale. He said that he had come to Rutwik's house to inform her about the death. But then he had also been looking for Harish. After speaking to her, they had been drinking tea in a nearby tea stall when they had seen Savitri driving away at that odd time. The inspector felt something was wrong when he caught a glimpse of someone in the backseat. He had followed her very discreetly. Training had helped him to remain undetected. He had seen the duo pushing the corpse into the well and had understood what had happened. He knew Mr Rutwik had been a very wealthy man and that he could make some quick money. And thus he had decided to blackmail them.

Now, the question is, who killed Mr Rutwik?” asked the officer. “I killed my husband” said Savitri trying to defend Satish. She loved him and didn't want him to get dragged into this mess unnecessarily. Satish had been innocent all along, and she had felt guilty for not trusting him. On hearing that, Satish quickly said “I am sorry, I am the one who killed Rutwik in reality. She is merely trying to defend me” “And how did you manage to do that Mr Satish?” asked the officer. “I used a knife to stab him.” said Satish. “Is that a fact? And where did you attack him?” “I stabbed him in the chest and abdomen repeatedly” The officer smiled at him and said “I understand you are trying to protect your lady love. But Mr Satish, I shall have you know that there was a single stroke, and the attack was on the throat.” Satish who hadn't known that looked at the floor with a dejected countenance.

You see, Savitri tried to protect Satish by taking the blame upon herself thinking Satish had committed the crime while Satish thought it was Savitri's doing and took the blame upon himself. But in reality, neither of you did the killing.” Everyone looked at him with a look of utter disbelief. “Who was it then?”.

I knew the game was up when he looked at me.

It was him” he said, pointing towards me. “We found your fingerprints on the knife” Savitri was looking at me with a look of utter disbelief. “Yes, I did it. And I am not sorry...” I said, spitting each word out as I spoke in rage. “Rutwik and I had been business partners. And I was in love with a girl, Prema, at that time. One day, we were having dinner in Rutwik's guest house when Rutwik and his goons arrived at the scene completely sozzled. They attacked us both and one of the goons hit my head with a bottle. When I regained consciousness, I saw Prema on the ground, her clothes tattered a large piece of glass in her abdomen. I ran towards her, and pulled it out of her, and tried to see if she was still alive, when Rutwik and his friends came there with some police officers. He told them that it was I who had killed her, that they had been the good samaritans. I was jailed for committing a crime I had not committed. I had sworn revenge

Somehow I managed to escape. It was just incidental that I happened to be in this area. When I got into this house, I was completely surprised when I saw Rutwik had just driven a man out of the house and was chasing a woman. I had already entered the house by then and picked up a knife. When I saw that his wife was inside the room and he had been hammering away at the door, I decided to make my presence known. Rutwik was arrogant and thought he could beat me again. But not this time. I had an axe to grind, and this time, I wasn't taken in by surprise. I was prepared with a knife. The fight wasn't particularly long. But after he was down, when I heard her footsteps, I hid again. It was then that I noticed that his wife, the woman whom he had been chasing was my classmate Savitri. When I saw how terrified she was, I decided I had to help her. But she had been busy removing the body and the evidence. She is a nice lady and she didn't deserve the problems due to me. I thought I should wait for the right time to make my presence known to her, so that I could stick around long enough to get rid of the body so that she was not in any kind of trouble. But then the blackmailing began, and I had to stick around longer... And you know the rest.

The officer smiled at me and said with a twinkle in his eye “Ah, a fine story indeed. By the way Mr Harish, this knife didn't have your fingerprints. But thanks for your confession”

-- Based on Kannada Movie, Tarka - starring Shankar Nag, Vanita Vasu

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