The Plant of Immortality part 2

Vibhor Agarwal By Vibhor Agarwal, 16th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2a99ry8k/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

this is the 2nd part of the 3 part adventure of finding the fabled medicinal plant Sanjeevani,they embark on a journey to Sri Lanka...

The Plant of Immortality part 2

Ashok rose to the dim morning light entering through his mosaic glass window pane, He heard the doorbell and opened the door with a bowl in his hand as he yawned wildly, asking 1 litre o milk, but the milkman didn’t responded, Ashok then rubbed his eyes and saw a faint image of Ajit on the doorsteps through his sleepy eyes.

“Good Morning.”

“What’s so good about this morning...” forayed Ashok to this greeting but Ajit continued “We have got the financer for our venture, your plan has worked Raja Raijada agreed to back our trip but on a condition that he alone may use that magical plant. Only, that fool doesn’t know that this venture is to help us to set up our own pharmaceutical company and there is no medicine or plant that could make a man immortal.” He managed a hearty laugh; Ashok was now listening attentively and was amused himself

“I want to save lives and perhaps by finding Sanjeevani, I may have the cure for my leg and also to honour her memory. The meeting was necessary to get one of those big shot investor on board and it was an easy task considering the alluring nature of the immortality. It is desire or rather fantasy of human nature that he wants to conquer death but he forgets that death is not a disease but a necessary remedy to all of his maladies...”

“Ok! Ok...you are Dr. Ashok Kashyap and not Socrates Kashyap” Ajit cheekily intervened; they both laughed and started to discuss their plan of action for searching a plant that they believe may not give immortality but possessed the power to cure many terminal disease...


As Ashok entered the private jet, he was expecting a grand reception but alas the only welcome he got was empty seats, as he accustomed himself to the window seat and the luxurious Krug 1969 with caviar, he closed his eyes...

She was holding his hand, he kissed her and hugged her tightly, she was smiling he kissed her again, they both lied on the floor kissing and hugging each other, a boom shook the silence of the night and Ashok suddenly woke up and welcomed a sarcastic ‘good morning’ from Ajit.

They were already in the air. Ajit introduced Ashok to rest of the team members –“this is Akash, Shweta, Vijay and Raja Raijada our financer. Akash and Shweta are trainees under me and Vijay is a historian, a D.Phil from Oxford.”

The presence of Raijada made Ashok conspicuous of his plans but he was curious of the boyish faced historian who had earphones on and never looked as an attentive PhD holder, so Ashok asked a casual question “Tell me something about the history of Sanjivani?”

Vijay took of his earphones and asked for repetition of the question and then started with his answer “Sanjivani, clearly the plant of Ramayana period first mentioned in Shiva purana and as the story goes It was brought Lanka by Hindu monkey God Hanuman so as to save Lord Lakshman’s life who was severely Injured in the battlefield.”

“Hmmm ...interesting” Said Ashok, Vijay took that complement and passed a smile at Shweta. Shweta blushed at him; the rest of the journey was peaceful.

Kimbu was waiting for the private jet to land in the hangers of Colombo international airport; he looked upon the sky and thought why these people are risking their lives by visiting the Sinharaja forest. It was the most dreaded and dense forest of Sri Lanka apparently no one knew how big the forest was, even the residents a mystical tribe that live in the inner circles of the forest perimeter.

He saw a jet landing on the airstrip and two men in business suit came out, one of them was walking with the help of crutches followed by three men and a young lady. Kimbu moved toward the jet and offered a shake hand to the first person in the row and introduced himself as their guide. Raja Raijada shook his hand with all his firmness; he has a smirk on his face as he greeted him with “I believe you had prepared for our stay well.”

Ashok recognised this sense of pride and false control in Raijada; this was the reason why Ashok chose to lure Raijada to invest in the pharmaceutical business and it is this sense of command that helps Ashok to secure his large open ended funding to Cowden’s meagre amount of finances.

Ashok saw Ajit was carrying a big holdall and the rest of his luggage was dragged by Akash, his assistant.

“What’s in that bag?” asked Ashok while walking towards the gypsy.
“Plan b” replied Ajit. Ashok didn’t press further.

They all moved in a hotel from where the group moved in the abyss of dark passage that leads to the mysterious Sinharaja forest. It was dawn and the Sun was about to break its cocoon and spread its wings to wrap the forest in its warm protection.

Ashok dragged himself behind the team rather forcefully; the uneven surface of forest bed was making it even harder for him. Though he was constantly moving the whole group has to slow down with him.

“Are we ever goanna make it to that village” mumbled Raijada, eventually he was cursing Ajit too for bringing Ashok with them.

Kimbu was leading them deeper into the peripherals of the darkest secrets this forest holds. The group has accustomed itself to the silence of the forest except for the chirping of the sparrows and the whisperings of Shweta and Vijay in the background.

Akash was dragging himself under the weight of an extra baggage which Ajit gave him, he was even slower than Ashok, all the way he was mumbling to himself, complaining and ranting that it is always he ‘who is treated as a servant, why Shweta cannot carry the baggage Oh! Yeah that’s right she is a girl. She will not carry the luggage but will romance with that stupid historian...’ he heard a strange sound in the boulevard but ignored them thinking of some animal and continued his ranting.


The evening dews were settling on the leaves Ashok staggered through the bushes displacing the water on the leaves. Kimbu and others were ahead of him, Akash was following the trail. Kimbu suddenly stopped and motioned his hand to silence others, his eyes searched in the wilderness of the Jungle.

Then he heard a sharp squeezing sound as he held his hand high just above his shoulder and caught an arrow just in a reflex of a fraction of second. “Too slow for a Makabi hunter...”

“Come out brothers...” Kimbu growled in the forest. It was then five men climb down from the trees, they were all naked except a frock that was made animal skin, they all held a bow and a quiver full of arrows hang around their shoulder.

Kimbu moved forward and embraced his tribal friends, meanwhile the other were first shocked then surprised and then it dawned on them. Apparently Kimbu belong to the Makabi tribe, the tribe that holds the key to Sanjeevani and the tribe which Ajit had mentioned in the meeting.

Kimbu introduced his brothers to the others and they greeted the team members by making a loud shrill voice and started to converse with Kimbu in Tamil. No one knew what they were talking about’ the others were just whispering in each other’s ear trying to interpret the conversation, except Ashok was the only one who was silent.

Kimbu turned and smiled back at his party of reputed scientist, Ajit felt an uneasy feeling about his look, and Ashok felt the same but both chose to reserve their belief for some reason. Kimbu started at once “My brothers wanted you all to spend the night in their premises and enjoy the hospitality of the Makabi tribe...”

The forest was draped under the shroud of dark murky clouds that was growling over the heads of Ashok and party. Kimbu guided the way to the Makabi village. They walked through the dark passage that was clustered with long trees and bushes that were clogging their path.

Ashok wiped his glasses and the vision became more blurred than before, he could though make out two orange flames burning on two symmetrical trees. That might be the presumable gate of the Makabi village.

As they crossed those two symmetrical trees they heard drum beats, some music playing from a string instrument and some tribal songs that the tribal were singing while dancing around the fire. It was a perfect dream, seeing men and women engaged merry making and celebrating.

Kimbu roared his voice inside Raijada’s ear to make it audible over the drums “I forgot to tell you that today The Makabian tribe is celebrating the auspicious day when Lord Rama set his holy foot on this land and made this forest sacred and auspicious for its residents. Hail Lord Rama”

Some of tribal women came with garlands made of a wild flower to welcome the travellers and after preliminary introduction they pulled Shweta’s hand and lead her to dancing group. Shweta soon mixed up and Vijay also joined her.

Few kids came to Akash and started poking at his belly while making fun of him, he reacted with intense anger and tried to grab one of the kids but he got off-balance and fell with his face touching the ground....

Ashok, Raijada and Ajit accompanied Kimbu as he introduced them to the eminent tribe members. A man seated on his chaupai was smoking a chillum; he saw Kimbu and embraced him. He was Kimbu’s father; he offered the chillum to his friends, two of them declined but the third one accepted the offer and took a large chunk of smoke inside his lungs.

Ashok and Ajit saw this act and Kimbu urged them to leave Raijada with his father, Kimbu led Ashok and Ajit to a cottage, the roof of which was covered with haystack and wall were made of bamboo, the door was small enough that Ashok had to cram his neck to its natural extend and Ajit brushed his forehead with the door ceiling. But once they entered a punk fragrance of mushy old flowers tickled their nostrils.

As soon as their pupils adjusted to the dimly lit room, their eyes focused in the centre. A man wearing saffron clothes was enchanting the name of Lord Rama.

“He is Ramsewaka, oldest person in our tribe...” whispered Kimbu in Ashok’s ear “You both should ask for his blessing for the tribal believe that he has certain powers bestowed upon by the Lord Rama himself”

Ashok glanced at Kimbu for a second and asked “Exactly how old he is?...”

“I don’t know, the last time I checked he was celebrating his five hundredth birthday...”

Ashok and Ajit glanced at each other with astonishment and surprise, and then they saw his face, the mantle was shining under the orange light of the flames, even in the dimly lit room one could clearly see the calmness his face bore and his white beard hanging up to the length of his chest.

Ashok and Ajit bent low to pay their respect by touching his feet, he opened his eyes placed his hand just above their head and said

“When darkness surrounds you
And devotion is being suspected
Go deep inside the sea of faith
And you will find your lighted answers...”

Tags

Adventure, Jungle, Mysterious Verse, Mystery, Old Man, Sanjeevani, Sri Lanka

Meet the author

author avatar Vibhor Agarwal
For me writing is all about expression, like any other art I can express myself better and accomplish my creative pursuits

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