© All copyrights reserved by Ambarish Deshpande, 2011. No part of this publication may be reproduced any which way without prior written permission of the author. Any person who does so will be liable for criminal damages.
"Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore..."- H. P. Lovecraft
He woke up from the weirdest of dreams...Obscure fragments of which still danced in the twilight of his sleep...A swamp...weird ritualistic chanting...A serpent-like creature...a dark abyss...a scream which he couldn't hear...the Sleeper...It was all he could remember.
His head felt-like it would or at least should explode just for relief. Covered in sweat, he found out he had woken up on the backseat of some vehicle. He wanted to get-up and look out but was just too drained. A sudden vibration rattled him. It was his cell-phone. He picked it up, it was a message-
"Don't believe anything, its not real..."
Even before he could make an attempt at clarity, a sweet voice startled him.
"Hey, you are awake."
There was a face at the window...he finally woke up to look at it. Secretly he thought that he could not have wished for better company in the midst of such a Kafkaesque situation. Beautiful caramel skin, a frail face, long black hair and...deep...hypnotic...eyes...she looked quite a bit like his ex-girlfriend.
"Who are you?..."
She smiled and said "Oh come on, I pick you up and care for you...and we talk...and you can't remember my name." she ended with a grin.
He was going to say something, but without even making an effort the name came to him, as though summoned
"M...M...Maya...?..." He answered inquisitively.
She answered with a nod and a smile.
"Its O.K...I was just joking...I am actually surprised you remember my name...you were actually delirious when I found you...we talked...I mean I talked a little bit...while you were mumbling stuff...then you kinda fell asleep again..."
Found...Delirious...he was finding it hard to make sense of things. He couldn't remember talking to her before...but he did remember her eyes and her name.
"Where did you find me?... I can't remember anything..."
"About half a kilometer that way..." She pointed in the direction. It was only then that his eyes looked at the surroundings. It was the full moon and there was nothing around them but silvery white sand. He could see a shrub nearby where their 4x4 was parked. The dry wind...the salt patches...marshes in the distance reflecting the glowing moon...it almost seemed like they were in...
"Are we in the Rann of Kutch?" he asked somewhat bewildered.
"Yes..." She answered somewhat confused at his behavior.
"How did we...I mean...I get here..?" he asked scratching his head. He had always wanted to go to Kutch. The desert, the salt marshes...the mangroves...the swamps...it all seemed very mysteriously attractive to him. He then remembered one more reason which had beckoned him here.
Just after his break up, looking for something to occupy his mind, he had come across on the internet, articles about an ancient forbidden, ill-mentioned text- Tamas Veda. i.e. the Dark Veda. Also called the Fifth Veda, it actually predates all the Vedas by an unbelievably, self-proclaimed millions of years. Although, many versions of this text existed in legends world over since ancient times, it was not until Lord Edward Munro managed to steal an actual copy from an obscure town called Bhantale in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, in the early 19th century that it came to notice of the world again.