Death is an absolute entity. It is the supreme truth,the ultimate end to the human life. Many cultures believe that there is an afterlife beyond death. The truth, whatever be it remains unknown.
Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan Emperor, the first king to unite most of the provinces of the current India had an empire with a magnitude extending from Bengal in the east to Baluchistan in the West and even contained the extreme regions as of the Himalayas in the North.
One day, the emperor along with his group of royal spies, all of them disguised as local mercenaries, mounted on black horses, moved along the markets of what was then known as Hastinapur. This was the favourite pastime of the king, a warrior by nature, he would take a keen interest in the intelligence wing of his government, often coming across issues and people which he would have never known while sitting on the throne.
His troop was tired from riding all day along their horses. Chandragupta, upon sensing this commanded his officers to halt nearby a river.
He got down from his horse, washed his face and then proceeded to lie down on a cool grass field after he had drank to quench his thirst. Just a few feet to his location he saw a hermit seated upon a saffron coloured cloth. He had a long moustache,a thick beard and matted hair tied into a majestic bun at the back of his head. His forehead covered in holy ashes and his eyes green.
The King rose from his composure, went upto the hermit and knelt in front of him in respect, with folded hands. The hermit lifted his eyes from his regular trance like state and looked at the king…
There was something odd about the way he looked,the kind thought to himself. His eyes were dead cold,as if they belonged to a cadaver, as if they had no life..all the life had been sucked out of them.
The sage smiled at the king in a mysterious manner and rose from his seat and without saying anything, started walking in a trance towards a nearby bush..The king sensed something off about him and decided ro follow him..
He quietly tiptoed the sage without letting the sage know that he was being followed. The hermit walked for a long time deep into the woods and then stopped near a banyan tree. Chandragupta, by now was confirmed that this sage must be a thug in disguise ,hid behind a tree.
The sage had paused mysterically infront of that well and to Chandragupta’s surprise starting shedding his skin..
His skin fell as rust falls through a metal body revealing a fresh surface of metal underneath…
Underneath the old skin lay a fair, a young skin of a ….woman!
Yes, the king realised with horror, that what was earlier an hermit is now a very pretty woman in her early 20s, the kind of woman who would raise bouts of passion in a man with her smile, had a body that any man would lust for…
Two soldiers were passing along that way when they saw this beautiful woman. Struck by her beauty, they both stopped right where they were and stared at her lovely face..
A gust of wind blew her long hair away from her shoulders exposing the fair scintillating nape of her neck..Both the soldiers had been trapped in this fatal attraction. She looked at one of them and signalled him to come closer. He walked towards her,as though he was in a dream and stuttered “y..y..yes” .
“What is your name soldier?”,the woman asked.
“Ramsingh, see, I have lost my way in this forest and I dont know how to get out of here. Also,I havent eaten since days. Could you be kind enough to get something for me?”
“Rightaway” came the soldiers reply
He walked gallantly, striding his hands mid-air, thinking to himself “If this beautiful woman gets impressed by me,I would marry her, she is so pretty..”
Meanwhile, in his absence, the woman walked closer to the other soldier and smiled very meaningfully at him while looking into his eyes..
” and what is your name mister,?”
” I am Ranawat”
“Dear Ranawat, I have been following you since so many days..Whatever I said to Ramsingh was a lie.I am charmed by you Ranawat and I wish to marry you..”
This was enough to melt Ranawat’s heart and he pulled her into a tight embrace.
Ramsingh, unaware of these recent happenings,was returning with a plate full of sweets for this woman..Upon reaching the well he was dumbstruck,.. The plate of sweets fell from his hands..
He saw his comrade Ranawat, in a compromising position with the one woman whom he dreamt to marry.
“You are a dead man”, saying this he pulled out his sword from his hilt and sprung upon Ranawat.
Poor Ranawat, before he could say anything he was attacked on his chest by Ramsingh who made a deep cut which was sufficient to wound Ranawat but not kill him..
Ranawat pulled out his sword and continued duelling. The fight lasted for a good fifteen minutes after which Ramsingh ran his sword through Ranawat’s stomach. Ranawat fell upon his knee, blurted out blood from his mouth and then fell upon a heap to the ground..
Ramsingh, now ,truimphant laughed valiantly washing his face off the blood of his comrade started advancing towards the woman.. He looked at her and she smiled in a very seductive manner.
Ramsingh was just inches away from her when the wounded Ranawat came running behind him and with a blow,cut off his head… Ramsingh’s headless corpse fell and Ranawat looked faintly at the woman who had continued her mysterious smile all way along…
He then fell for the final time and died..
The woman looked at both the dead bodies and laughed devilishly to herself…
Chandragupta,the King, was sure that he had met a supernatural being today and he decided to chase it and find out its mystery…
To be continued…