“Orei panduranga, why don’t you take all this so-called family heirloom and put them in the attic. I’m sure there is room for it and they can rot for another 300 yrs after which some museum will pay for them.”
Bilahari Basavaiyya had recently found out that their family owned an ancestral home in Guntur and was pleased to hand it over to the Archaeological Society of India. They estimated the house to be over a thousand years old and began excavating around to find artifacts. They unearthed many parchments, motifs and broken vases, some of which they handed over to the eldest living member of the family. Bilahari Basavaiyya retired after 35 glorious years at the ASI and even to this day oversees excavations as a consultant with a special liking towards translating ancient and believed to be lost scriptures.
“Bilba Thathayya*, I have told you multiple items to not call me like that. I have an image in society, I save the nation from disasters, women go weak in their knees at my very mention. Call me Pand, JMS Pand!“.
Pand was one of the best agents in the special officers fleet at Andhra Police for covert operations(APCO). Trained in the martial arts, adept at using the latest ammunition, able to tell which part of the country a jalebi was made based one the texture, oil, smell, color and the syrup, he was the best of the best of the best.
“Badwa rascol, Jandhyala Martanda Srinivasa Panduranga Reddy is such a nice name. You’ve shortened it to JMS Pand. What is next, you’ll name your kids suppi and kuppi?. Anyway handle these artifacts with care, they are very delicate and believed to be centuries old. When i get some relief from my varicose veins, I’ll examine them myself. ”
“Bilba Thathayya, look what I found. It looks like a platinum ring, why have you kept it here? Are you also a louw-failure case like me? I don’t think it it dropped from the cardboard cartons, I didn’t hear a sound, must have already been there before . After the dust cloud that arose when I dumped the cartons cleared, I saw something shining. It was almost as if the ring was speaking to me, begging me to pick it up and release it from the dust that surrounded it. Here, put on your glasses and take a look.”
“What nonsense pandu, there are no rings in the attic, it must have fallen from the bundle you were carrying. The soft thud of the bundle on the dusty floor of the attic must have overpowered the clinking sound of a ring. Hey look something is written on the inside, I’m unable to read the small inscription, get my magnifying lens.”
“Old man its JMS Pand, not pandu or anything. Also I think you are getting excited for no reason, this ring seems to have a very new age design, and look at how it is shining almost as if it came straight from a store. Here, you may look closely with this lens but it is probably some love message inscribed in a weird font.”
“Shut up your mouth, ignorant fool. It is in sanskrit and it readsnandini nandita maythini, do you know what this means? haha I know I know, let me prove it to you!”
“Hey you move fast for someone with varicose veins Bilba thathayya , but why will someone inscribe the names of three women on a ring? Its almost as if he wanted to propose to all three of them! Also what is such an exquisite and custom made ring doing in your attic?”
“Orei this is no normal ring, it is the nose ring of mahishasura, the demon who was slayed by goddess Durga. The power of mahishasura lay in his nosering which Durga sliced in one go with her sword. As the ring fell towards earth, the chants of the Mahishasura mardhini stotram in unison by the devas increased Durga’s powers exponentially as she slayed the demon. The cosmic forces generated by the chants, inscribed these words on the ring thereby subduing its demonic powers and preventing it from destroying the earth. The ring was believed to have brought the downfall of several kings and deemed unlucky. Possessors of the ring were banished to far away lands and despite the best efforts of valiant kings, it couldn’t be destroyed.” Bilba Thathayya was pleased as he read out passages from an ancient scripture that he had found on one of his excavations.
“The ring must have found its way to some ancestor of mine and has stayed with the family ever since. Must have been in one of those broken vases that came with the cartons. Here, hold this while I go dial that useless oaf gandoo. My dear grandson, we are in possession of what surely is the find of the century“.
Ganesh Damodaran was a Renowned Seer, Modern mystic and an exponent at kundalini practices. He was also a historian who specialised in relics, scriptures and the cosmic forces in modern spirituality. Having assisted Bilahari basavaiyya in various missions the two shared a strong bond and were the thickest of friends.
“Oh come on! You know how excited Gandoo thatha gets when someone mentions such things. No wonder you are best friends and neighbours. There he comes and he is already beaming! hi Gandoo Thatha please don’t tell me you believe in this cock-and-bull stories. ”
“Ah Inspector Pand, always looking at things with suspicion. Stop treating this like a crime scene and spare a minute to think how the ring walked into your grandfather’s attic. Even with our combined pensions we can’t afford such a ring, if you wish to think that we wanted to humour you. This surely has come from the excavation and Bilba’s story checks out. The cosmic power that generated from the chants of the devas that were tormented by by the invincible asura got etched onto the ring. Mahishasura’s power lay in the ring and this demonic power is bound by the spell of the inscription. ”
“I knew that I could count on you gandoo. Now we must find a way to destroy the ring before it falls into evil hands who can then invoke dushta shaktis to erase the inscription and unleash the demonic powers. It could put an end all that is good on this earth and spread the the reign of terror bringing darkness & gloom to the earth!”
“The only power that can destroy this nose ring is the makaravilakku that can be seen near sabarimala marking the start of Uttarayana. The devas atop the hill perform an aarathi as Lord Ayappa revelas his divyaswaroopam* and only that flame has the power to quell the demonic powers of this nose ring. I must consult my spiritual guru Saruggan who is currently in the Elephanta caves. You, Mr.Inspector may embark on a journey by foot to carry out this great responsibility bestowed upon your family. Clearly we are too old for this you can see.”
“Hullo waitanimit for two minutes. Just because I love your tales of so-called adventures and I listen patiently when you explain the various punishments from the Garudapuranam, you think I’ll believe anything you say? Also what do you mean embark on a journey by foot, we are in Vishakapatnam and Sabarimala is on the other end of the country! I’ll walk you are thinking means you are madorwut? Also yougaiz realise how long it takes to reach by foot?, you oldies have lost it I tell you!”
“Precisely, leave today and you can reach sabarimala just in time for the makaravilakku. Take that istri-wallah cum watchman, Samrat reddy with you. I’m told he has Rayalaseema roots, will be useful incase you are ambushed by bandits or bears in the forest”
“Sam? that fellow is worse that ScoobyDoo. He runs even when a cat shows its teeth. The only thing he is good at is giving company while drinking and his stash of the finest Rayalaseema avakaya*.”
“Still two is better than one, we don’t have time to waste. Off you go, also think of the punyam our future generations will get by this brave act of yours.”
“Its probably better than spending my vacation with a bunch of oldies and their stories. Orei Sam, kerala podam ra, pack your stuff, we leave in a hour”
Continued in Part2.
PS: It started with the title and I just kept going from there. Not sure how I’m going to continue this or how many parts it is going to get broken into. Will keep posting as and when I write.
PPS: If you are going to be smart and point out a possible inspiration then please look towards the ceiling and put one #HaakThoo
(Image courtesy: wikimedia)
Thathayya/Thatha – grandfather
Divyaswaroopam – Divine/celestial form
Avakaya – mango pickle