Chapter – 1
Sixteen Years later…..
He sat in a small alcove, a place he had been visiting ever since his childhood. His eyes saw different things; both seen and unseen. A very clear vision he had, that pierced even the darkest cloud, and he could see farther than any normal human could see. He was tall; something rare for a child of his age and he had a mind of mystics. A fair skin he had; that glowed in the gathering dark.
Winds gusted about him, waving his curly black hair, as he sat with his legs folded, on the cool green grass. He swerved aside any hair strands that crossed his face. Clouds thundered and lightning smote the very earth; yet he was not afraid, as many children are. He looked up smiling as the cold rain fell upon him like water on rocks.
He wore a short red kurta and black shorts; that now drained with water. He stood up in a while and raised his hands sideward, allowing the rain to drench him completely. Beads of water dropped down to the ground from the tip of his pointed nose.
"Hey, Bhargava, You need to come with me. It is urgent." said a boy who came running up.
"What happened, Mitra? Tell me." asked Bhargava, noticing the sadness in his voice.
The boy panted for a little while. He had short black crisp hair, a somewhat brownish complexion and was a little shorter than Bhargava. He was his childhood chum, whom he loved dear.
"A tragedy has struck your family. You must come fast."
Bhargava's face dropped down for a while into sadness as he looked across the torrents of rain to his beloved friend. What tragedy was he speaking of?
"Come, Mitra, take me to the house. But I hoped you would have been clearer."
"I do not have words for such a tragedy, my friend. Do not ask me further as I would not able to control my tears any longer."
"The tragedy seems to be graver than your words. Then quickly lead me, friend, for I guess, as a son, it is my duty to help my family."
Mitra led Bhargava across many small fields and gardens. After a half an hour, they reached the skirts of their small village. They sped across, both of them panting heavily, many roads until they reached his house. A huge crowd had gathered in front of the small wooden gate that allowed entry into the house.
He made his way slowly and melted into the tearful crowd. He soon came to a small clearing where three human bodies were placed side by side, white cloth covering their dead forms. He could now see that the tragedy had bereft him of his family that he held dearer than his own life.
He strode with a slow heavy face, tears bursting from his young clear eyes; eyelids battling faster than usual. He knelt beside the first body. It was Shaitalya – his paternal aunt. He felt very sad for this loss. She was his favorite aunt and now she was lying dead.
Slowly, he moved across to the second body. He beat his forehead with his arms and knelt down violently as he saw his mother with many wounds upon her. The white cloth had almost become deep red.
"Why, O Mother, why did you leave me at so young an age? What will I do without you? Shall I wander aimlessly without love, without friendship, without the pampering that you showed me? Tell me, who did this to you? Why should God order this hour as your last? Why is He so unfair?" he shouted loudly into the air.
He moved across to the third body. He felt deep regret, more than any others, seeing his father in this state. He bowed his head and knelt slowly, wounding his knees on the small stones that lay on the garden path.
"Father, Mother and aunt, both have left. Should you leave too? Please, father, what mistakes have I done my entire life, that you should punish me thus? Who did this to you father? You have wounds that hurt you. But do you realize, O father, that your leaving me alone in this world will hurt me more than your wounds? Come back, father, come back."
He bowed again, this time fully, as he touched his forehead to his father's right hand. It came out as it was severed from the body and had been loosely attached back. He saw it in horror and anger welled inside him. His eyes brightened with a vivid flame and he burnt inside with a fire hotter than any that flamed in the forges.
"Who did this? Tell me, O People, tell me who did this? What brought this grave tragedy into my peaceful house? Who devastated my dear family? What happened here? Tell me." he shouted in a voice so loud that some closed their ears.
No one came forward and they just stood with their heads slightly bowed; not able to meet his flaming eyes.
Mitra came forward. "Friend, listen…."
One Hour Earlier…..
A burly man walked on a small gravel road that led to the skirts of his village. There his house was and there his family lived. He was returning from his sugarcane factory, situated at the other end of the village. He was early today; he had taken the evening off and he meant to give time to his small family that he had been neglecting due to ever mounting work.
He arrived atlast to the gate which creaked open as he pushed. For a moment, he looked back. There was a black gorgeous SUV standing just a few distance away, where the road gave way to the fields.
It was dark though, so he could not see a man inside smoking a cigarette. He wondered who the visitors were. The black SUV only meant that he had visitors and looking at the gorgeous vehicle, he assumed some rich folk from the nearby towns. Maybe some business he thought.
Without giving the matter a further thought, he strode faster than usual.
He climbed the small steps into the veranda when he found the door open.
How typical of my wife! He smiled.
He rushed inside and called out her name. The house was silent apart from a few whispers.
I am giving them a surprise and now I am about to get a surprise. He smiled again.
He moved into the hall only that his surprise turned into shock. Anger and sorrow welled inside him as saw his wife dead on the red sofa. At the corner, he saw three men wearing black jackets which covered them from head to toe, strangling his sister. Shaitalya was gasping for breath as the noose tightened on her.
He immediately took out a small knife that lay on the table; it was stained with blood. He rushed at them, as he was about to yell, a sword cut his right arm.
He fell, crying in pain. He looked at his already dead sister who had dropped down to the ground.
"Sorry, sister, I was not able to protect you. Sorry. Where is Bhargava? Where is my child?" he said in a small painful voice.
Three men gathered around him, gloating over him.
"So, Dhananjay Singh, how helpless you are now? Had you accepted the deal, you would have saved yourself and your family the torture? And your son, we shall find him soon. We shall send him to where he belongs soon." They laughed again.
It dawned on him then, his son was alive. A slight smile spread across his face and then vanished again.
"You, dare you do anything to my son? God shall not forgive you. He shall punish you."
"Dare me, eh? I can do what I wish and your God, he cannot do anything to me. He is a coward, your God, sitting on his throne, enjoying the danseuses flaunt their curves, thinking that he is powerful. Ah! Coward! And your son, we shall maybe not kill him, but indeed we shall make him useless to the world. You know us not."
"You bastards, I will kill you."
"Kill us. With what? Your hands, those are useless. Your right hand which lies there in a pool of blood? Your left, which is already devoid of strength? Your legs which have not helped you at all? Or with your mouth, slime? You cannot hurt me, not even a scratch, with either of them. You are a vermin and we shall slay you. It will be just."
The men laughed again.
The man who was speaking till now, ushered the other men to slay the fallen father, who was now deep in sorrow, crying for his son.
"Bhargava, Bhargava, where are you?"
"Your son shall meet you up there in heaven, Dhananjay Singh and I now bid my last farewell. Enjoy your journey, feller. Anyways, what will you do here? Your wife and sister both have taken a head start. Run otherwise you will lose them."
He laughed again.
"Bloody bastard, you shall rot in heaven." said Dhananjay as he made another effort to get up.
"Heaven or hell, I care not. What are you thinking? Slay him and meet me at the van. Bye, Mr. Dhananjay. Happy and safe journey."
He strode out of the house as he heard Dhananjay being stabbed by his men. The cries ended soon and the men came out. He closed the door.
"Good job!" he said, patting his men on their back. "Let us go before anyone sees us."
They put on their hoodies and walked out of the house and into the van which zoomed across the stony road.
"…this is what happened, Bhargava. Sorry, friend, I could not save your father, your family, even though I was present, I saw them from my hiding place."
Bhargava laid his hands on his friend's shoulders. "Weep not, friend. None of your fault. You came to warn me and so you did your duty. But tell me, can you recognize them?"
"It was dark my friend. It was very difficult."
Another man came forward. "Mitra, did you not have common sense to go and alert the neighbours? Instead, dumbheaded that you are, you stood there watching the drama unfold. What did you think it was? Some feature film?"
He was Mitra's father.
"Uncle, do not blame Mitra. Atleast he can help us find the criminals."
Mitra loosed his tears.
"Criminals would have long been beaten up and holed up in jail if this dumb headed fool had decided to alert us."
"Uncle, do not fret over what has happened. You cannot do anything now and maybe, those criminals would have escaped ere you would have come and then we would have no chance of catching them. Atleast, be thankful to my friend."
Bhargava then turned towards Mitra.
"Friend, do not shed tears. It is not you but I who should be shedding tears. But I shall not."
He turned towards his dead family.
He lifted his hands upwards and his eyesight smote the very clouds that darkened the sky.
"Hey, Gods of the Heaven and demons of the underworld, Hey, mortals who live on this insane world and those who live beyond, listen to me, Bhargava, son of Dhananjay, listen. I make a vow, in your name and in the name of those who stand here, who shall bear as witnesses, listen you to this vow, that I shall not rest myself nor shall my life force wither until I crack down on the criminal world and purge them of this earth twenty one times. Only after that shall I rest and shall I shed the tears that I am holding now. These tears shall then flow like great rivers."
Lightning smote the skies again and clouds thundered. The whole world seemed shaking and Bhargava's voice echoed.
"Twenty one times, Bhargava. A difficult task." said Mitra.
"Yes, friend, twenty one times. Have you not seen how many times they stabbed my father? Twenty one times."
Saying this, he strode out of the commotion.