Team #Alphabet Soup
“WHEN THE DIAMONDS DANCED“
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Cyrus opened his eyes. The green drapes, the white bottles of glucose and the green bedsheets screamed at him that he was in the hospital.
Roohi was next to him. Her two ponytails waved in the air as she stood up in excitement. She placed a tiny palm on his cheek.
“How are you uncle? Aryan uncle was bad. Did he harm you?”
“No princess. What about you?”
“I don’t know. I slept off in his house and woke up when nambudi uncle was taking me here.” She thought Namboothiri was his name.
“How are you Cyrus?”, the doctor had walked in along with Tara and Shekhar.
“I’m fine doctor.”
The incidents were coming back to him. “Tara, It was Aryan. He was the culprit. I didn’t do anything.”
“We know Cyrus. Don’t worry.” Tara consoled him.
The doctor checked his eyes, his heartbeat and was writing something on his prescription pad, “Cyrus, you are good to go. Fit as a fiddle! Here, you’ll get this medicine in the pharmacy. Buy this and you can leave.”
Jennifer walked in with a flask in hand, “Hi Cyrus! Good morning! Have some coffee.”
He couldn’t stop smiling at the sight of her. He looked at Tara, “What happened yesterday? How long have I been out?”
“You have been out for about 7 hours after we found you. We’ll fill you in with all the stories later. Now have some coffee and breakfast first.”
He looked at his watch. 10.20AM. The previous day by noon, he had met Aryan and things had gone wrong. The search must have run into the night. He looked at Roohi. She was playing with her Pappa’s phone.
“Pappaaa… you got a text.” She ran with the phone to Shekhar. Tara’s phone beeped too.
Meeting in the office.
It was Sudheeran’s text. Jennifer looked up in time to see Tara and Shekhar look at each other, tensed.
Cyrus looked at Jennifer for some update. She told him they were called for the meeting and asked him to join her.
Sudheeran was his same old, smiling self again. He greeted everyone with a smile. His smile faded when he saw Jennifer.
“You were released only because we realized that you were not involved in the idol theft. But the fact that you disguised your identity is inexcusable.”
Tara piped in, “Mr. Varma, don’t forget that without this Christian woman, you might not have found that idol at all. The rules she broke and the photos she clicked showed us the hidden chambers. Why don’t you accept that fact for once?”
“These are the rules followed since many years. We can’t change them.”
“Why? Tell me what Jennifer’s mistake cost you and the temple? Give me one logical answer and I’ll agree with you.”
Sudheeran opened and closed his mouth.
Jennifer said, “Mr. Varma, every temple has a Garbhagriha where the main idol is placed. However your temple’s main idol is safeguarded inside the secret chamber. The Garbhagriha instead, houses a tiny idol of the Goddess made of Panchaloham (Metal compounds).”
“That is just for the satisfaction of the devotees. Devi resides in the secret chambers. If a devotee wants to pray, they can do so in front of the Garbhagriha.”
“There will be something else in the Garbhagriha, Mr. Varma. Some metal sheets with divine chakras and Shlokas. While building the place, they place these sheets on the point where the magnetic field is high. The deity made of metal or stone is placed above the sheets. The energy from the magnetic field is transferred to the deity and the same is emanated around the deity. When one takes a pradakshina or circumambulation, this energy gets transferred to the devotees. This is why people get energized in temples.”
All looked at her dumbfounded.
“The temperature is comparatively low inside the temple. The temple’s temperature is affected by our body temperature. People, before going to a temple, take a bath. This is to ensure that the heat from their body does not increase the temperature in the temple. This is the reason why women are prohibited from entering the premises during their menstrual cycle. The temperature in our body during those times are much higher. Taking a bath before going to a religious place is not strictly followed in other religions. This is one of the reasons why non hindus are prohibited from entering the temple.”
She looked at everyone.
“Mr. Varma, I am well aware of many of your customs and the reasons for the same. I am not saying that they are wrong. But they can be flexible. I mean, since I know the reasons for the prohibition, I ensure that I take a bath before entering a temple. Every single time! What more should I do? Why should the fact that my parents are Christians stop me from entering the temple?”
Varma looked at Ravi and then back at Jennifer, “I-I don’t know Jennifer.” He looked down.
“I really didn’t know.” He thought for a while and said, “You are right. I-You, just carry on with your covering the procession. Ravi, brief them.” And he walked off.
Tara had a feeling that no woman in his family had spoken to him in that manner. He was unable to accept women being smart and inquisitive. But this revelation by Jennifer about something that was supposed to be in his expertise had shaken him.
“Now that the idol has been found and things are all clear, the processions will be held in a week’s time. We had given a month’s notice to the villagers to buy time. But now, that is unnecessary. Memana Namboothiri here has fixed an auspicious hour for the procession.”
“Wait! What happened to Aryan uncle?” cyrus asked.
“Cyrus, he is Manu. An FIR has been filed. We’ll ensure that he gets the maximum punishment possible.”
“Ravi, what happened to the priest?” asked Jennifer.
“Manu had gone to meet the priest before kidnapping these two.” He pointed at Cyrus and Roohi.
“The priest had given us only half the information about the chambers to Cyrus. He feared that another theft might occur if the details about the chambers were published in a novel. Manu apparently got to know our moves and decided to shift the priest so that he doesn’t disclose the details about the secret chambers. In that manner, he could buy more time.”
Jennifer looked at Shekhar. He was the insider giving information unknowingly. It wasn’t me.
She felt guilty for doubting Cyrus.
“And the madman?”
“He vanished from the scene after that. I feel guilty I ill-treated him. Without him, we wouldn’t have saved the child or Amma.”
***A few days later***
The streets were teeming with devotees. The beautifully adorned elephants were making their way towards the temple pond. Roohi was giving a broad smile from atop the elephant. The auspicious idol was in her tiny hands.
The head priest, Shekhar and herself went down the pond stairs. She took the royal dip, bathe the idol and they all came back. Sudheeran had permitted for one of the child’s guardian to join the child. He had accepted the proposal the moment Shekhar had suggested it. Sudheeran watched the child walk up. He felt a sense of elation. He felt he was becoming a better man. Amma had her own way of teaching people. All we needed to have was faith.
Tara and Jennifer were busy doing what they love. Covering the news and photography respectively. They watched as the apple in their eye trotted up the stairs. Jennifer felt a strong bonding towards the child. This trip had given her a new family. Tara had become a sister she never had. So, automatically Roohi became her neice. She smiled.
Cyrus had a strange feeling of satisfaction. A case that he had his eyes upon was closed. And he was right. He sure did have his father’s talents and observation. His father had this knack of picking the right places and the right topics for his historical research. Everytime, he hit jackpot.
Not bad Cyrus!
He thought to himself.
Shekhar saw the madman amidst the crowdd and made his way towards him. He folded his hands and asked him, “O great one! Who are you?”
The madman smiled and said, “Bhranthan!” and walked away.
Shekhar realized there must be a deep meaning in what he had said. But unable to comprehend it, he didn’t think any further.
After the procession the team left Vajrakshipuram. Cyrus had paid a final visit to the priest’s house. He gave his loyal translator some money and returned. Jennifer had apologized to Cyrus to have doubted him.
“I rang you up and told you that I kidnapped Roohi. It wasn’t your fault. Chuck the formalities!”, he had said smiling his boyish smile.
She smiled back, “Formalities and me? Hahaha! I was just looking for that genuineness in your voice. That was the first thing I liked about you. Your honesty. Don’t ever lose that. People rarely have that these days.”
“Listen! I need to get going. You must come home some time. My mother always tells me that she wanted to have a daughter too. She will love you.”
“Really? With my tattooes and piercings.”
“Ah! She is different. You’ll see. Just keep in touch and come home sometime. Alright? Bye Jen!”
She watched him leave. She bid farewell to The Duttas and promised to visit them too.
In the flight, Shekhar looked at Tara for a while, “Tara!”
“What if I hadn’t written that article when I was in Mumbai university?”
Tara’s eyes twinkled. She looked at him, “I love you Shekhar.” was all she could manage. She had no answers to his question that day.