Meerjung- The mermaids and the Yakuski’s jewels

Caution: A very long story.

P.S: I forgot to add credit to Varun for creating this story with me on GTalk on one boring evening few months ago. I am sorry for waiting this long to complete this story dear.. And its nowhere near what it was supposed to be.. I know… but I atleast completed it ūüėõ ūüėõ¬†

They say words have magic. Words. How many tongues twirl around them, savoring them, confiding in them, saving it in memories and then  repeating them, enriching them with their experiences and weaving them into a legend a story par excellence.  
Legends. They are so fantastic , so improbable that they cannot be anything but true. They cannot be fiction. And today I am going to tell you one such legend. It is not a story of heroes and valor. And yet, it is a story that would keep you riveted till the end. (hopefully)
Oh yes! The legend is about mermaids. Luscious females with beauty that had no rivals. Full of magic and of treasure hidden deep in the sea that only these mermaids knew about.  
Once upon a time, oh yes, most of the stories don’t say just when, for its immaterial. ¬†So, once upon a time, in Germania, there was an oasis of ice called¬†Meerjung. Surrounded by very thick evergreen forests and impregnable rocks, shrouded in mystery–
”¬†It was said that in the land of the mer people, deep into the ice-land, under the enchantment of full moon night, mermaids came to land to roam and to play. ¬†Turned into humans. And anyone who can catch these mermaids become the owner of the secrets of the 7 oceans¬†

¬†Just how did the ice remain frozen? How is it that the forest surrounding the oasis was so thick with trees and yet this patch remained barren, untouched, pristine…. And most important of all.. from where did the mermaids come to the pond? It was nowhere near the sea. It was inland surrounded by mountains and forests! No one knew.
For generations, this story enthralled the people¬†equally¬†— the one who told the tales and the one who listened. ¬†No matter how many times its been repeated, it still remained ¬†fascinating. Many have tried to go to this land but none of them ¬†ever successfully returned from there. And yet, the legend survived. It was whispered long in the night by harried mothers while putting their children to sleep, ¬†discussed under the willow tree in the play grounds by teenagers late in the afternoon. It then sneaked into dreams of adventures and persisted till these boys grew ¬†into adolescence wherein they dreamt of finding a mermaid and falling in love. Poets wrote about it longingly and heroes-in- making planned for the conquest.
  
  *******
Tales have an amazing way of travelling to places that men haven’t even heard of! And this one reached the distant land of¬†Glitzernden Lichter¬†,the Land of glittering lights.
Emperor¬†Yakuski, who ruled this kingdom with aplomb, was an accomplished sorcerer who liked to use his magic on weak and unsuspecting beings. For dangerous campaigns he used his cohorts, a legion of females who were both lethal and beautiful. Courtesans with skills of an¬†assassin, they were quite well known for their infamous conquests. He called them his jewels.¬†Yakuski’s jewels.
¬†When the emperor¬†heard about this land of treasures and beautiful maidens, he was so intrigued by the story that he just had to plunder it. ¬†As days passed by, this fascination turned into an obsession that he couldn’t let go.
Soon he announced rewards for anyone who could capture one mermaid for him. Many brave and valiant souls took up the challenge over the period of years. Alas none returned.  Then the emperor bid one of his best warrior, Lena, to try her luck. The emperor waited for her painstakingly every evening until 11 years passed by. And then, he finally gave up.
Few weeks later a curious incident happened. A female visited his court and demanded his audience. She claimed she could make sure that a mermaid was captured for the king. This was so outrageous that the king first got annoyed and then amused by the daring of a mere female, that he granted the permission.
This female was a witch with many hidden powers and even more cunning. Robed in a turquiose flowing gown and studded with precious stones, she looked intimidating. She was very beautiful with seductory eyes and mysterious ways. She completely captivated the emperor at first sight.  She extolled the virtues of the emperor until he was red behind his ears with pleasure. And then, only then, she told him that she could help him  in his quest as she was an extraordinary  witch. She told him about the treacherous forests and the wolf like dogs which were neither animal nor human and of their avarice to human blood. She told him about the enchanted mirror that made a man lose his way..
Finally she told him about the spell of doom that made a man go into enchantment that makes him writhe in pain while it gave exquisite pleasure. A madness that had no cure and the land that had no gateway. And yet, she assured him, that these spells are ineffective on women. And whatever could effect them, she had the potion to nullify the spell. For she planned to go with them. The only stipulation was that the army accompanying her should be all females.
She said she has travelled a long way to come to him, to request his all woman army.  Also that, he was welcome to keep the mermaids for she had no use for them, but she needed a certain stone that was important for her witchcraft and he could use all the treasure.
He couldn’t believe it. It was too good to be true. He can keep everything. Even that stone that she talked about for you see he was a sorcerer and could make use of such a power as much as the witch. Once the mermaids are captured this female can be disposed off even if she is a witch. His foxy jewels can be trusted with it. ¬†Delighted with the plan, he agreed.
They set out one week after  the meeting with loads of provisions. A group of 26 jewels. Each one of them extremely stunning, it seemed like a procession of angels and all of the kingdom came to bid their beautiful daughters good luck. Amid lot of pomp and glamour and celebrations, they left for Meerjung.
The journey was without doubt full of adventure. They first crossed the land of shifting sands where the sand buried them to death if you don’t keep moving. And the howling winds filled your ears with roar so much that you can’t hear what the person next to you says. And in the night the desert snakes and deadly scorpions lurked. The food was rationed so was the water. They did have anti dote of snake bites and yet they lost two people.
¬†¬†Three weeks down the line, they reached the marshy lands. They had devised an ingeneous method of throwing the stones to find quick sands if any. And the witch enchanted the stones to float and the girls jumped on the stones to reach the safety. Even the witch’s sorcery couldn’t save the poor girl who slipped and fell into the quick sand.
Days passed by and they reached the Dancing rocks. Every day the mountains danced at sunset and the stones fell from height and the mountains changed shape. Witch had to take every girl on her broom to and fro before the sun set. It was incredibly risky few of the times. Luckily they didnt lose any one.
Once they crossed the mountains, they reached the enchaned forests. In this forest everything was topsy turvy. Sometimes the flowers walked at others the birds crawled. The pathways changed position every 5 minutes. It was like being lost in a jigsaw puzzle. ¬†Even the witch couldn’t save them from being lost. The closer they came to¬†Meerjung, it seemed like the witch’s power diminished. Still the girls were glad that the witch was there with them. They knew they would have been long dead if it wasn’t for the witch and were very grateful.¬†
By the time they crossed the enchanted forest and reached the land of optical illusions, the oasis of ice, only 9 of the Yasukhi’s jewels were left.¬†
They were so startled by the sudden change in the topography. For long they kep waiting for the view to change. But it didnt and they marched forward. They found themselves getting into a tunnel like formation. Only it was hard to tell what it actually was. The icicles and the mirror like quality of frozen snow and the reflected sunrays blinded their eyes. ¬†And yet, they were not cold. ¬†Each of them tried to explore and to find out the way to go forward. But it was hard to find out . Suddenly a snow leapord appeared in front of them. And yet, it was half human and walked on 2 legs. It roared and its slated silvery grey eyes glittered… The mirror-like snow reflected the image of the leapord-men thousand time over. ¬†It was difficult to know how many were there. There were certainly more than one. …
The roars echoed from the walls and the image leapt around. It was eerie. The witch’s magic had failed completely and now they were left to their own wits to defend themselves. And defend they did with tremendous bravery and skill and yet it was not enough. They were all saved by a lucky coincidence. One of the snow slab had broken down when one of the females fell on it forcefully, ¬†breaking the spell and in turn losing her life. 8 of them remained.
The broken slab also showed them a way out towards the ‘ der Meerjungfrauen‘, the land of mermaids. Enthused that they are at the end of their quest, the mermaids eagerly rushed towards the lake. The mermaids would come in the night yes but they finally could bathe and be clean. With a rush they jumped into the water. When they came out something sinister happened..
The enchantment that held this world together crumbled and these girls could see the world as it really was. The witch was an ugly woman, raxor thin with crooked nose and pointed fingers, like claws. 
Wasting no time she told them that they had only two choices, either to become a mermaid and be trapped here until they die or to die now and let the witch drink their blood. Blood that would enhance her magic and make her the most powerful witch in the world. 
They promptly replied her in kind. Reveling about their skills and tried to attack her. They knew instinctively that the witch’s spell won’t affect them now. However, they were wrong. The witch was stringing them along for a long time. She simply disappeared until the night.
In the night, they would either be killed or turned into mermaids. These women were not afraid to die. They were after all warriors. However, dying in a strange land and their people never knowing about their fate was too dismal to think about. And to think they would be snacked on by the witch was too much to contemplate. Being the “doers” they decide to explore for the escape route.
How much ever they try they never could escape. 
The witch cackled invisibly at their misery. She mocked at them and then told them that the whole mermaid story was her enchantment to trap females who then strenghten her. And they were extra special coz of their warrior status. She elaborately told them about her rituals of killing. 
Slowly the story tumbled out. Men who came to catch the mermaid were not important for the witch. Yet they provided ample blood and bloodthirsty instincts. Since she killed them, they never came back. However, she travelled like a gypsy and kept the legend alive. Like a black widow, she had spun this elaborate trap . Soon she was supposed to become the most powerful witch and then rule the world.
Soon it was night and moon appeared. Swiftly, she killed the strongest of them and turned others into mermaids.
Thus the legend of the The mermaids and the Yakuski’s jewels came to an end. The stories of the witch still make rounds in the country side by the fire place. I guess her ruthless acts would keep making rounds around the world….¬†
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Guilt

Guilt is a mistress one can ill afford to have. Like the cloying smell of perfume that overpowers your senses long after that person has left. Guilt lingers. Until you finally surrender to it.
Guilt. It visited me once.With sunken eyes, wrinkled skin and crumpled body. It slouched through the pathway and hopefully stared into my eyes. Through a pitiful old man. That look still haunts me. Like a broken record stuck in the middle, his words still echo in my ears. Gripped with shame and inexpressible fear, I turned around and never looked back. I feigned a helplessness that marked me for life.

I wish it was not so. Wishes. Why is it that we fill our lives with wishes that can never come true? And then pepper it with regrets and suddenly find that the dish is not to our liking!

It was such an glorious day. A day of possibilities. Why can’t it be a morose rainy day? For that would make it easier to accept. Easier to deal with what was meant to be rather what was not. But no. It was a lovely spring morning. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, bathed in golden sunshine. Summer time.¬†
This visit was long overdue. I looked forward to it since that first day. And was a bit worried too. How would I face him? What would I tell. Can I be impervious to the blame, to the accusation that would definitely lurk in his eyes. Its his eyes that always troubled me and has done so ever since. Honest eyes that never held back its emotions. It was meant for his own good. As if I knew what is good and what is not. 
Why is it that we think we know ? Who are we do decide anyways? 
I went. ¬†I looked. And guilt clenched my throat choking me. Until no thought remained but shame. And yet I didn’t relent.
The hope left those eyes slowly as I slipped past the gate and the gate shut behind me. I didn’t look back. ¬†
He must have stood there waiting for me to return. ¬†Days merged into weeks and weeks into months. I never returned. I didn’t have the courage to look into those eyes and see the need, see the hope and then see the light darken into nothingness. A trust was broken. A heart was wounded. ¬†For his own good.
A check signed promptly. Few letters written that went unread. Reports followed assiduously. Calls made promptly. Can these assuage my guilt? That sharp pain in my guts that wrenched them clean ? Can it? 
Guilt visited me once again. Six months later. I returned too. It was too late then. The eyes was no longer there. Those wrinkled sunken eyes of my father. Those honest eyes forever closed in permanent repose.
The gate closed yet again. 
This time I lingered awhile trying to find shades of him in the setting sun. Trying to catch the elusive smell in the passing breeze. When a stray leaf wrapped itself on me, I tried to find traces of his touch. The board said “XYZ Mental Institution”
A simple non decorative planck. 
I never could find him. Guilt. It stays with me now like he never could. 

A call of duty

Few days ago Akshay asked me to guest post for his blog.. umm remember him?  Well so I decided to write a story there. 

Disclaimer: Its a total pot boiler of a story! So you might wanna miss it! But you are sweet enough to not wanna miss it.. umm please go here! 

Car Trouble

It was a rainy day. Nothing special about it. And Derek was frustrated. He was tired and wet and had a long way to go. If that wasn’t enough his car broke down in the middle of no where. And he was hungry! And he kept walking down the road , dripping wet and extremely frustrated.
A perfectly pitiful sight. Indeed.. and yet it was one of the luckiest day in his life! Lucky you ask ? Yes very much. A perfect stranger came into his life at that moment. No it wasn’t a hot babe . It was an old man with a kind smile and a kinder heart. He parked besides him and inquired what was wrong. Then simply handed over the car keys to Derek and left with an umbrella. Derek was astounded. He ran behind the old man and asked., ” Whats wrong with you? How can you loan a car to a total stranger.”

The old man replied with a smile, ” Ah I am not loaning you! I am giving you as a gift”

“Are you crazy?” Derek screamed at him.

” There is an old saying, don’t look inside the gifted horse’s mouth. Just drive home”

“You are crazy! I don’t want your car.. I don’t trust you”

“Well choice is yours.” Saying this the old man walks away and soon is hidden behind the curtain of rainfall.

Left alone, Derek examines the car for anything out of order. But everything was perfect and was totally new! After dithering for sometime he decided to use the car and left with it.

And the old man hidden behind the trees smiled softly.

Few months later,

Lisa was driving along a lonely stretch of road. It was high noon and she was tired. She was driving since last night. Running away from an abusive relationship, she was afraid and tired. And her car ran out of gas! She hyper ventilated!

She was in middle of nowhere. No farm no house in sight and the sun burned down her skin. Frustrated, she sat in her car smoking endless cigarettes , looking furtively here and there. Every once in a while some vehicle passed by, however never stopped. And then a kind old man came by and stopped his car. He gave her a lift to the nearest deli and they started to talk . She found herself telling him things about her past about her boyfriend. He lent her money to buy gas. And then he drove her back to her car. Towed the car to the nearest gas station and then when she started the car the car won’t work. And he offered her his car.

“Oh no! I can’t take it. You have already been too kind. Why would you do something like that ?”
“I can afford to. Don’t worry child. You need it.”
She was not easily convinced. ¬†After a a lot of arguments, he said,” I leave the car keys here” placing it on the the dashboard of her car. “The choice is yours honey” and leaves.

She dithers for a long time but something freaks her out. She decides not to take the car and tries to start her car again. And surprisingly the car starts and she is jubilant ! 
Somewhere down the road a car explodes and an old man smiles knowingly…. ¬†
Life ¬†had so many things to offer, some don’t seem to have the guts to accept the gifts.¬†

The story of a frog

Once upon a time, there lived a small community of frogs. As it happens in those days they spoke beautifully. In soft tender tenor they would sing songs of the pond. The lotus would go to sleep listening to their songs. The flies mesmerized by them would stop mid air alas would be caught dead. The birds would keep quiet in envy. Move away high up on the trees to sing.. to not to interrupt. Few of the brave souls would try to challenge them but most either slinked away or joined them in their symphony keeping time.

It was an ideal world. A paradise.

Into such a world came one poor frog. He didn’t have a sweet voice. He croaked. And to balance this defect out, god had given him the skill of enterprising and the intelligence to use it. He marketed himself as unique artist. When he spoke people listened. Simply coz he was different. He was very much in demand.. and the whole of next generation imitated him blindly. Especially the Toad X.

Toad X was such an imitator that he surpassed his idol. He talked like him walked like him. And inculcated it onto others as the ‘cool’ thing!

Many generations passed as it happens and all the frogs forgot that they can sing. They all croaked now and thought, croaking is how they sound. Until one day Mr X jr was born. Interestingly, he was left alone by everyone coz he sung. And when he sung, the flies stopped mid air. All the members of the pond envied him and hated him.. coz he was so different. Which he wasn’t.. he was more true to what they really were than any body else. And that my friend was his crime

He was suppressed, tortured until he gave up singing until he died. And when he died, he was celebrated as the one and only singing frog who was brave enough to survive in this cruel pond…

And that is the story of every being in this world….

Blogging life…

She tiptoed quietly out of the room. The early morning sounds were quite familiar to her.. the chirping of birds, the ticking of the clock.. and fuzzy sounds of the intermittent traffic on the road, made loud coz of the utter silence that surrounded her. She made a hot cup of coffee as she liked it. Strong, with little milk and no sugar and not like her husband who liked it with lot of sugar and lot of milk, one of the few luxuries that she awarded herself… And now she is going to indulge in the second luxury of the day.. Blogging…. This she indulged sparingly.

He didnt seem to understand why she wanted to write and that too online.. wanting others to read about their life. She could very well do it in a diary.. She cannot explain or justify it so she stealthily blogged when she knew he would be sleeping for a long time and cannot see.

Today she wrote….

I don’t understand why people claim that marriages have little or no romance. Or that to keep romance alive one has to have a lot money, time or inclination. For me, romance is about attitude. If one is romantically inclined even the mundane things can be made very very romantic. Figure this!

The other day I was teaching our kids the virtues of brushing teeth regularly. Also, I make it a point that I change their brushes every 2 months. And yet, when I found that Ritu was using her old toothbrush instead of new one, I gave her a special lecture about how important it is to change toothbrushes….

The next day I found a new toothbrush in our bathroom with a note stating..

Dearest,

You take care of every one of us but forget yourself. Why haven’t you changed your toothbrush?

At first I was irritated that he had pinpointed my mistake! And yet when he came from behind and hugged me and whispered, .. this is what I am here for.. to take care of you when you forget yourself…. I couldn’t help but be touched. Who knew something as trivial as toothbrush can be romantic? So people don’t think that romance is lost.. just find new ways to enjoy love !

………..


Smilingly, she closed the laptop. It was time to start the day. And when she went to the bathroom, and saw the oft-used brush languishing on the stand. She smiled wryly and replaced it with a new one.


P.S: A silly romantic story after a long time…

P.P.S: The seed of this story started from one of your blog post Nancy.. hope you don’t mind me dedicating this story to you ūüôā

P.P.P.S: Dedicated to Nancy ūüėõ ūüėõ

P.P.P.P.S: Please look at the last line carefully…. ūüėČ

The Silent Symphony

Silence…. Utter silence pervaded him. Comforting him like a canopy of flowers.. soft.. warm.. and fragrant. He felt safe here. Alone atlast. With no pressure no expectations. Free… He flew in the silent skies reveling in the joyous abandon. He knew it will soon be broken. Someone will soon wake him up. For surely he was sleeping ? Or may be dead…. He didn’t mind dying. He had achieved all he ever wished for and some more. He bled for it, thousand time over. And if this was dying, it was really very sweet. So he waited….

*****************

He waited for a long time. And yet no one disturbed him. Silence stretched taut . Inviting him to play.. to create music and to put an end to this ennui. He wanted to reach out and pull those strings.. to make some noise but couldn’t. Tired by his effort he slipped into nothingness yet again. Sleep took him with open arms. Away from the confusion that mired his existence. And grateful for dreams, he slept. When he resurfaced, Victor tried to pull those strings again . It felt like a burden now and was choking him. He was thirsty and angry. He wanted to scream loudly…. He wanted to cry..

******************

The life that he led was not like he imagined it to be. The joy of creating had given place to greed.. and the pleasure of music turned to malice. Soon he found himself alone. For he had lost his ability to listen. The subtle nuances of stringing metal that created a perfect symphony was lost to him.. Victor Bruhn, the world renown musician, was an yesterday’s news..

The accident in his old studio, where he had gone to nurse his broken heart nay, broken pride, had taken his talent away. and now without his music he was a nobody.

******************

Music crept in stealthily in his dreams. As if it was afraid to be lost in the darkened cave. The chirping of birds, the music of a leaking tap sneaked in slowly… until music permeated his dreams. He could create music play then and listen to them all in silence. Silence finally resonated in thousand waves and each wave held tunes of wayward form.. complete in itself.. A song that would never be heard by anyone but him.. for it was his soul that sung…The Silent Symphony’

******************


Though Victor can never listen to music like before.. he knew he will enjoy it thousand folds. And in the little oasis , he finally found the perfect audience.. for now he played for himself ..

So what if he can never talk or walk out of this room.. In his mind he flew over thousand suns.

Binded in tubes, in his hospital room, incapacitated by coma, he was now, finally free….

P.S: I know this took a long time to post.. and it is not what I intended it to be.. but its finally done.. ūüôā