The sun was setting. The night was falling. The birds gathered up their younglings. The Nightingale sang a song. The Robin mourned over her offspring who had fallen out of the nest, and now two crows were tormenting him, impatiently waiting for his death. It was the end of the monsoon season as God had no tears left to shed for the wellbeing of humanity. Everything and everyone was quiet and peaceful, the only noise made was by the Crows, even the little Robin baby respected the peacefulness of nature and kept quiet, even after being tormented to death, a little life source was left in him, he was beginning to realise it and a certain state of blissfulness was also beginning to show itself. Alas! It came, the bird shed his body and dissolved into nature. The crows after waiting or so long got what they wanted and cherished it delightfully, the Robin gazed upon the sky, as if searching for her son.
Dusk finally came. The fire was extinguished in the nearby settlement, the children and the women went to sleep, the men stayed behind guarding their homes but eventually fell asleep. One child, in particular, was drained of his sleep he didn’t know why, so to pass the time he…
One child, in particular, was drained of his sleep, so to pass the time he, imagined. Just like people in today’s time watch televisions or read a book and enter the world of imagination, he did this to sleep. He thought it was quite fun and entertaining. He imagined a world beyond his home, he perceived something he had not seen, he imagined about wars, swords clanking to each other, blood, slaughter, then he imagined a tree full of green leaves and fruits which he had never seen, he himself was eating them and then sowing them, the new life was growing when he saw the old tree lost all it’s leaves and died. From the new trees, the kids were plucking fruits and eating delightfully. He then lifted himself up and saw the new trees becoming old and dying, the next generation of trees flourishing, then dying.
He should’ve been surprised and confused at the same time, as his imagination was not in his control, but he had something else in his mind, he thought,”what is the point of all this? Humans take birth then die, I’ve taken birth and I’ll die, Grandpa took birth then died, what should one do in life, if one shall die at the last”. After this interlude, he opened his eyes then closed them, then opened them again, just laid there not thinking anything, he saw himself laying there.
He thought of nothing, did nothing, which is quite impossible to do, try it yourself! He was awake, fully awake, so much so that he’ll remember every second of it. After this state of awakening, he realised that all memories he has of his childhood are those in which he thought of nothing, like playing Gulli danda, (ball and stick)when he played he thought of nothing, or when he played with animals in the forest, which by the way he loved. Eventually, he fell asleep joyfully.
It was dark outside and a wide variety of stars were resting peacefully in the twilight sky. The sun was on the horizon, the Morning Star was beaming at the sun from east. Light from the sun started their work of shining the world. All this was seen by a by a person we’ve met before, a boy of 13 years old, his name was Ish, which meant the Supreme Being, the Divine, the Creator, the Almighty Formless energy. He was the most ordinary person, the only thing that differentiated him from others was his way of thinking, that is, he had very fewer thoughts. He thought when needed, but the need to think never occurred to him, only last night, but I would consider it an intuition rather than a thought. The difference between the both is that when a thought occurs on something judgemental, it gives you reasons of all kinds, to prove itself right but when an intuition occurs it just rings a bell declares what is right without justifying itself. Very few people can listen to their intuition because intuition is not something coming from outside, in fact, it’s you yourself forming them.
People have forgotten who they are, and to realize oneself leads to wellbeing, you become the part of another dimension which has been there amongst us, but to experience it you first need to experience yourself. So Ish sat gazing the twilight sky, thoughtless and meditative, as it was a very special day for him and his people. Ish belonged to the Santhal tribes in the regions of present-day Bihar and Bengal, in the eastern part of India. He waited for today for many months eagerly (as this event occurred yearly). He knew something would happen today which will change his life forever. He told everyone about it but, they replied by saying that they didn’t care although they did care, they secretly did because Ish had done so many tasks that were near to impossible and believed that he was the incarnation of God himself. The tribal priest Dehuri also foretold his specialty before his birth but also warned that if he even gets the gist of his peculiarity, he will be the reason for the destruction of himself and his whole tribe.
It was the happiest day for the Santhals, everybody had such smiles on their faces, that it seemed as if, they would bust out of the face and come out. Today was the Karam Festival, the day of the Karam Devta. It was the 11th day of Purnima (full moon) in the month of Bhado (August and September). Karam Devta is the local deity of the tribe and today everyone does the Puja (worship) of this god. Ish was happy too and was busy in preparation for the festival. Although the preparations of this festival start 12 days beforehand, there was much to prepare. Ultimately everything was completed and the music of drums was heard, this marked the beginning of the festival. Everybody came out of their huts to see the holy sight, Mirza the head of the tribe and Ish’s father led the men, on the other hand, Pihu, Ish’s mother and the wife of Mirza led the women, both had one instrument in their hand, men were beating the drums and women were playing the flute. Ish was also there, just behind his father, happily beating the drum convenient for his size. One more person was there, a girl of 9 years old, the most cheerful person you’ll ever meet, her name was Isha which meant the feminine form of the Supreme energy. She the most beautiful girl in the tribe, with sparkling blue eyes which hypnotized every boy of her age, long and gorgeous hair which made even the adult women a little jealous of her, and fairest of the fair skin. Shee absolute beauty and made her mother very proud, she was well-trained in sword fighting, gymnastics, and wrestling. Ish loved her sister dearly. But something happened and…
So, Ish and his sister Isha were celebrating the Karam festival and following all the rituals, but as far as Ish predicted nothing happened, but he was not disheartened, in fact, his will grew stronger and stronger every second. Now it was the time for the sacred worship to end, Dehuri the tribal priest recited how the Karam festival originated, this was a custom followed every year.
“Once upon a time, there were seven brothers who labored hard at agriculture work. They had no time even for lunch; therefore, their wives carried their lunches to the field daily. Once it so happened that their wives did not bring the lunches for them. They were hungry. In the evening they returned home and found that their wives were dancing and singing near a branch of the Karam tree in the courtyard. This made them angry, and one of the brothers lost his temper. He snatched the Karam branch and threw it into the river. The Karam deity was insulted; as a result, the economic condition of their family continued to deteriorate and they were brought to the point of starvation. One day a Brahman (priest) came to them, and the seven brothers told him the whole story.
On hearing it, the Brahman told them that the Karam Rani was angry and she must be appeased. If it was not done their condition would further deteriorate, the Brahman told them. The seven brothers then left the village in search of the Karam tree. They kept on moving from place to place and, one day, they found the Karam tree. Subsequently, they worshiped it and their economic condition began to improve.”
This story always kindled Ish’s spirit and filled him with hope though he considered that the story was inadequate. What made him look forward to this story was its last part when the brothers go in search of the Karam tree, which is actually just a branch of a tree, he considered this something very inspiring because he felt an attachment to those who did something intense or do something without thinking profit and loss, like who will go looking for a branch of tree for days. So now according to the custom, it was the time to celebrate, everybody sang, danced, jumped, ran, and relished every moment, Ish and Isha performed the tribal dance and everybody danced with them everything was delightful, cheerful and lovely, even the Karam tree appeared as if enjoying its experience. As there is always Tit for a Tat, Tails for a Head, Yin for a Yang, there must be an opposite of this delightful situation, despair is approaching rapidly towards the Santhals…
“Sultan, we are approaching the Santhals”, “Good, prepare the sacrifice”,
This conversation happened between a ruthless brute of a king and the most loyal slave of his.
“Ma where is the heaven?” “Heaven is where the Sun and the Moon come together, where the ocean and the sky come together, where the stars and space come together. It’s that place where you close your eyes in one world and open it in another, the place where you sleep in one world and wake up in another.”
“But Father said that after he conquers the entire world he will go to heaven, I too have to do that to go to heaven?”, “No, Son you don’t have to do all that, we all are children of Allah, and if one devotes oneself to him, that person will surely go to heaven”, “Okay Ma, but now I am feeling sleepy, I want to go to heaven! Well, then close your eyes and feel the joy and happiness of being alive, being healthy and being wealthy, you are very lucky that you have everything.”
This conversation happened between the Sultan’s wife, the almighty Queen of the Sultanate (Sultan’s kingdom) and the heir of all that, the Sultan’s Son. He was on 7 years old at that time.
The Delhi Sultanate was at its extent at that time, it was ruled by none other than Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, a very powerful, wicked and a little of a basket case ruler. He was from the Tughlaq Dynasty, and he was on his expedition to the East, to the Santhals.
On the other hand, the Santhals were enjoying unprepared for the danger heading towards them, it was late and everybody was tired. No one sat for the guarding that day, Ish too was very tired and he instantaneously went to a deep sleep and like him, Isha too was tired so she went to sleep but before that, she saw the sky for one last time, here she noticed smoke coming away but she ignored it went to the bed.
It was midnight, the brightest midnight ever, for it was a full moon The nocturnal animals were active and the owl was at the top of the food chain and ready for a hunt, it spotted a pair of mice, roaming around freely, it saw the opportunity and then attacked, in less than a fraction of second both mice were in it’s talons.
The Sultan’s army is now in Santhali territory, his family is safe and sound in the fort, the Santhals are resting and the Sultan knows that. He prepares the sacrifice, there are two bulls, one stolen from the Santhals another, Sultan’s very own very powerful one. If God is with him his bull will kill the Santhali one and if not they have to go away, both bulls face each other, Sultan’s bull charges at his opponent, an overconfident smile clear on his face, his horns are sharp and big. The Santhali bull takes the impact but still stands, he cannot run away, he has to fight for his life, so now he charges in speed towards Sultan’s bull, everybody is worried to accept the Sultan. As the Santhali bull tries to land on his opponent, the Sultan’s bull in lighting fast speed doges the attack and charges immediately at his opponent, his horns are inside the Santhali bull’s gut, he vomits blood, struggles a little and then stops, he is dead, out cold.
Chapter – 8
“Goddess of Gold, Daughter of Wealth”
“Energy of Life, Embodiment of Ecstasy”
It was very harsh for Bambard, the horse, he didn’t want to walk any further, it was not that he felt tired or something, he felt fine, in fact, he felt healthy and fit but the emotion was gripping him, it was crippling him, fear. He looked at the horses who accompanied him, most importantly he searched for only one horse, Megha, his daughter and she was nowhere to be seen. It was as he expected, nowhere to be found. How could he? As she was . . . giving birth . . . to a colt (young male horse). His Warrier became a Mother. “She’ll survive Bambu, don’t sweat it”, said his friend.
The Sultan observed his horse, Bambard, he seemed depressed, “why are you so grim?”
He scanned him searching for something, and he found it, hope.
Bambard now felt a bit relieved, he thought about all that had happened in the last week…
“Papa, I too want to come with you to the battlefield”, demanded Megha, “I am old enough now”, “You will my child, but not now”, this was her father, Bambard, “Noo! I’m not buyingit, I wanna go!”, “Hmm, you know what, fine, if you prove yourself to be worthy after I return, I’ll think about it”, “Really? You are the best father in the whole world!!”, exclaimed Megha, “Now, Now, don’t get too excited, you have to prove yourself first”, “Oh daddy…Get ready to be amazed. Oh yeah, also, take care of yourself and don’t get killed, will you?”
Bambard comes late at evening, with the mighty Sultan on his back. After escorting the Sultan, he moves to his stable. On reaching he doesn’t find Megha there and so he immediately realizes that she’s up to something.
Without even calling her, he sits comfortably in the stable, as if preparing for a show.
In a distance, he can see something coming to him, a sandstorm? Not possible, there’s no sand. When his vision clarifies, he sees many of his horse friends, “Maru? Bubbly? Bitti? What are you all doing here…and what’s up with those… pieces of equipment?”, he exclaimed, obviously startled on seeing his friends at such time, dragging and carrying some tools on their hooves and backs.
In a distance, he also sees a tall object…Megha is standing on it…
Shri? What are you doing here? And Megha what are you doing on his back? Shri was the strongest horse in the ownership of the Sultan and everyone respected him greatly. Bambard was surprised, and just as he was processing what was before his eyes, Megha jumped and landed on the ground, just a few feets away from Bambard, “We are gonna Horse Fight and I am going to win”, firmly said Megha, almost with authority, “Don’t take it too far Megha, prooving yourself doesn’t mean engrossing in a fight”, Bambard said, “You’ll see Father, You’ll see”, after saying this Megha sprang and landed just opposite of Shri, “Give me all you got”, and the fight began
Shri charged with all his might, and came towards Megha, propelling and kicking his limbs, Megha waited, searching, for an opportunity, then she stood upright and as Shri appeared, she jumped by the support of his limbs and head. Shri was taken aback. Bambard wondered where she learned that. Everyone gazed at Megha as she elegantly trotted towards Shri, who was still surprised, “You’re one tough girl”, exclaimed Shri.
Now it was Megha’s turn to charge and as she approached Shri, she noticed that he’s just standing there not doing anything, she immediately knew that he had something up his sleeve. So she stopped just a little away from him, expecting that he wouldn’t be taken off-guard. Shri didn’t flinch and just as he got his opportunity, he began kicking swiftly, but not one kick landed on Megha as she dodged every attack. Now it was clear that Megha was not inexperienced and everybody was impressed with her on defeating Shri the mightiest horse in possession of the Sultan but Bambard was not satisfied and his face exactly told that when Megha looked at him with pride and after their short glance at each other, Megha began to fear that his Father’d not select her. She then performed her last show, Acrobatics. It was for this only that she and with all her friends made that equipment. She flew through loops, landed excellently, but all this wasn’t gonna make Bambard select her.
Then suddenly a bray was heard and everyone immediately knew who this was a Donkey.
It swooped past Bambard like wind, the Donkey was running uncontrollably fast and fear was clear in its eyes, it was also braying very loudly maddening everyone around. Bambard then saw two soldiers appear, chasing the animal, then suddenly it all came to a halt, Megha had interrupted between the Donkey and the guards, and then all the horses, Bubbly, Bitti, Maru, and Shri joined her, letting them handle the guards, Megha dashed in the direction of the Donkey, Bambard quietly followed behind, the Donkey led Megha to the far corner of the settlement where the Donkey Stable was located, there she heard loud braying, and soon they found out that a Donkey was about to give birth and this female seemed to be the mother of the one running around.
Finally, everything became clear to Bambard, but there was no time to waste, and before Bambard could think of anything, Megha started neighing loudly, as if trying to attract attention, and sure enough some guards came running and after seeing the female’s condition went to call for a nurse. Megha then started to comfort the Mother by licking her which helped a lot. Soon enough the nurse appeared and treated the Donkey.
Megha went back and saw her father in a distance, smiling proudly at her, “My whole plan got wasted, but even if you don’t take me to the battlefield it’s fine with me, at least I was able to save that Donkey’s life”, Megha said, disappointed, “That is what one does in a battlefield, my child, we are trained for years and years for this only, and it seems you have this quality gifted to you”, “What Quality? Papa”, “The quality of saving a soul, the quality of a Warrier”.
The next day Megha woke up early and outside Bambard was waiting for her on looking carefully she saw the Sultan making his way to their stable, he was accompanied by his most loyal servant and Minister, Firoz Shah. Bambard had once told her that Firoz was a cousin of the Sultan and because of his loyalty, the Sultan had deemed him his successor. “Inshallah, she is the finest of all Warrier Horses”, Firoz said patting Megha on her head, “I heard she defeated Shri in a Horse Fight”, enquired the Sultan, “Yes, and she even helped a Donkey give birth”.
“I’ll be going on an expedition to the far east, I would need this horse”. Even though she couldn’t understand the conversation, Megha could feel that she has been selected, her ultimate goal in life has been fulfilled. This excitement was too much for her, she couldn’t help but neigh happily.
After the Sultan had left, everyone surrounded Megha to congratulate her, but she was searching for her father, who was nowhere to be seen. “Thank You everyone, now if you can excuse me, I need to meet Father”, saying this she escaped the crowd, but Bambard was nowhere to be seen.
The night had struck, but no sign of Bambard, Megha finally went to her stable after the search, she thought that he would come in the morning. And sure enough when the dawn came, Megha could see Bambard in a distance, but something was weird about him, he seemed to be constricted…chained and…he was…being dragged!
Bambard was snorting, neighing, and nickering heavily, he could only muster up some words, “Run Megha! Run! They’re going to capture you! You were not selected for the expedition, but for something else! RUN”.