[I as Krishna, as a student was closely associated with my teacher Sandipani. In fact, I believed him, my Guru. I study at his ashram along with Sudama and many friends. My brother Balaram and I picked up the knowledge so fast that Guruji called that he feels he is educating the son and the moon while teaching us. After my study, I asked him to name a guru Dakshina of his choice and he knew since I was an avatar of God, he asked me to restore his lost son, lost at Prabhaas. My brother and I reached Prabhaas and found teacher’s son had been taken hostage by a Rakshasa named Shankhasur who lived in a Shanka at the bottom of the ocean. My brother and I took that demon to Yama, who blew into Sankha, and teacher’s son was extracted. My teacher got his lost son back and I kept the Sakha as a remembrance and named it Panchajanya which I blew signaling the start of the Mahabharata. ]
Back to the way when I stop near hut of uncle Jagmal In the haze of the afternoon I can feel the loose shirt start to cling to my back in places as in semi-desert I passed through the searing heat from the sun was the only entity presence. My shadow is beneath me, looking shortest, and seems more exhausted than I am.
Jagmal is my teacher. I don’t know what it means exactly but he gathers small children from our nearby huts and gives them moral lessons every day for more than hours, but only orally.
He has no books but all knowledge in his mind. There are many such teachers in the wall. Secretly we have books but no one knows in the wall or beyond the wall. These books are favor of thieves who dare to steal books beyond the wall when they are on the work. The punishment of stealing a book is death – if you are caught.
My teacher says many things and I believe him. I believe in what he says. He says - each good book is like refiner. It refines your mind. It gives you the knowledge and the knowledge refines your heart. These are the books that teach you what is Dharma and what is Adharma. You should read as much as you can and absorb as knowledge as your brain can. Only knowledge can give you wisdom. Every day you have to gain more knowledge and in exchange, the knowledge gives you vision how to use your strength, how to be in action and how to live life. The person who has knowledge makes mistakes but only fewer while the person without knowledge makes nothing but mistakes.
My mother says that Jagmal uncle’s small brother was also among thieves. Once he was caught beyond the wall and never returned back but Jagamal didn’t lose courage. He Kept continuing teaching small children. Secretly he believes his brother isn’t dead. He is imprisoned in PATANAGAR like Padma's father and one day he would come back. Hope – he himself says hope is both our greatest friend and our greatest enemy. It gives us courage in misery but it forces us to keep ourselves alive in that misery, too.
Jagmal uncle is taller than me, almost six feet. His frame isn’t looking as strong as my father but he isn’t feeble as he has learned a technique called PRANAYAMA from an old book. He is teaching this technique to all the conversant-boys. His face is round and always smiling. The same smiling face his wife has. She is also kind and she has all futures like my teacher.
I have attended his school – a big open area covered by so many trees.
Yes – we have some areas covered with trees.
Such teachers also believe trees can prevent Pralaya and once we have enough trees then the rain come. So they ask children to grow and maintain a tree during their school days. I have attended his school for ten years and there is a mango tree maintained by me.
This place is near the channel which carries water in the wall. All of our huts are near the channel. So we don’t need to fetch water too far.
I feel proud of my teacher.
Another banned characteristic for Sunyas – PROUD.
They say only Devatas have the right to pride on their being. No Sunya has the right to pride. I don't believe this.
Though I've done nothing on that I can take proud but many have and I have proud of them.
My teacher - he teaches children without any money should I not have proud of him?
Padhma was eleven when she dared to jump in the channel so her mother wouldn't starve should I not proud of her bravery?
I feel proud about my people's capacity to bear every pain and still stay alive. I have right to proud and I think everyone has this right.
I know why they say you shouldn't have proud - they want us to make meek, bagger who just wishes no more than food to eat, live in the wall and in the poverty.
And they have got success in their plan. Many of my people have turned into inhuman. They have no emotion.
As my teacher say this visible wall isn't dangerous but the invisible wall around our head and heart is dangerous. We can break this wall but we can't break that is invisible and most people have that invisible wall and the irony is that they don't know about the very existence of this wall.
Is there any way to break this invisible wall? I have asked once to my mother. Her answer was apt - you can break invisible only with another invisible.
And I've asked what?
Have you knowledge? She asked.
Yes - I answered.
Have you seen it? She asked, again.
And then I understood. Knowledge is also invisible - only knowledge can break this invisible wall.
They say about the equanimity - another crap.
If you have equanimity you aren't human.
How can I be calm when I don't know where I'm going?
How wan sixteen-year teenager can calm when he or she is forced to go beyond the wall?
I shake every thought from my head and enter the premise of my teacher. Uncle Jagmal is resting on a cot under the neem tree in front of the hut.
He rises from the coat.
“Samrat,” uncle Jagmal greets, “how are you son?”
“Fine uncle,” I say, crossing my arms around my chest out of old habit, “and you?”
“Fine,” he smiles, “you don’t need to do Adab.”
“Why?” I ask. Crossing hand around the chest is called Adab – a symbol of discipline.
“Because you aren’t a kid now?” his wife came out of the hut.
“How are you, Sneha aunty?”
“I’m fine,” she says. Her voice is calm and sweet. She is dressed like any other Sunya-woman. Her long black hair is pulled back into a pony-tail. She is among the respectable women in the wall. I’ve never seen her conversing loudly like common women,
I sit down on the ground, crossing my leg in asana called Palanthi. That’s manner of beyond the wall but we think it’s beneficial for one to sit in this position.
“Don’t sit there,” the teacher says, “sit on the cot.” He points to a cot across him.
“I am comfortable,” I say.
Aunty gets me an earthen glass of water. I drink and handed her earthen glass back.
“I am going beyond the wall.” My voice is happy or nervous I don’t know.
“When?” aunty asks, sitting on the cot across teacher.
“You are sixteen,” she reaches me and sits on her knee, to hug me, “you were ten years old when I first time saw you.”
“But you were as today,” I say.
“No, more beautiful and younger.”
“You are still beautiful like my mother,” I say.
“Oh! How is Jaya?” she goes back to her coat.
“My mother is fine,” I say, “She always remembers you for my good virtues.”
“It’s her greatness.” Now the teacher speaks, “we only do our duty.”
Our teachers are great. They do teach us as their duty without taking anything in exchange. Still, some of us do for them – some of us go beyond the wall on work in behalf of them. Though the creator doesn’t allow anyone on behalf but all our teachers pretend to be handicap so not useful for the creator. People think the creator is kind so he allows such disable people right to live but I don’t think so. I know the real reason behind it – he wants their children as his slave. In the wall is nothing but a farm for the creator where he grows his workmen, from where he gets his slaves.
Not all the teachers have books, they can read and write but they have no books. But my teacher has books, secretly.
We have no paper so the teacher teaches us how to write on the sand. Teacher writes in the sand with his finger and we follow him, imitating whatever he has written. Teacher says that’s how we have kept alive ‘knowledge of reading and writing’ after Pralaya.
“Don’t try to steal anything there? Teacher says, glancing around to make sure that no one heard.
“Why?” I ask, “We need their books to learn the secret.”
“But you can’t.” aunty says, her voice with worry, “to steal you must be a thief and you are not.”
“Why thief can steal?” I ask, looking at her. The muggy heat presses in on us, even in the shade of a tree, even sweating is no good. It trickles down my neck and back. I feel some braid of my hair clung to my forehead.
“Because they can think like spies of Devatas,” the teacher says, “in-wall persons who have mind power like a spy can’t get the job of spy so he uses his mind in stealing and becomes a thief while beyond the wall such person gets job and honour as a spy. Devatas have many spies so never try to steal anything.”
I can read and write, most of us can but our language, not the language of Devatas. They have a different language. I am trying to learn it, secretly, so secretly that no one knows about it except Padhma and some of my friends.
Jagmal teacher has selected us to learn it. He has provided us those books of Devatas. I’ve told you we’ve thieves in the wall – they steal books and many things from beyond the wall during their labour days there.
“What I need to do there?” I ask. My voice is faint, barely audible. That’s how we talk if our words mean to break the rule.
“You have to observe everything, never ask a question to anyone but just observe and try to understand what our people haven’t understood yet.” He says, “There is no other way to fight back.”
“If no one has, how can I?”
“Because you are trained,” He says, “we teachers have selected children like you with more intelligence than others and trained them to understand the world beyond the wall.” he takes a breathe, “Remember the person you’re supposed to be, and remember well, You are pretending to be a Sunya, but you’re conversant. You are now conversant in the head, Sunya on the Skin.”
“Why we need to understand their world?” I ask.
“Because we need to go there,” he lowers his voice, “with all of our people.”
“Because Samudra often gets angry after the Pralay, some says still the Parlay hasn’t ended, it’s inside the Samudra, “he pauses, “one-day Samudra would reach us, swallowing all in the wall.”
“That’s why they have built this wall?” a shiver of fear shoots through me as what I’ve guessed happened to be true.
“Maybe or maybe not,” he says, “we don’t know their intention.”
“So will Samudra not swallow beyond the wall?” Trying my best to keep my voice steady, not allowing it to shake.
“Because it’s very high, so high that Samudra can’t reach,” he again lowers his voice, “Samudra can’t swallow the mount of Madhya Pradesh, so it is always safe beyond the wall.”
My voice quivers, but I ask, “So I have to observe?”
“Yes,” he says, “and learns as much as you can, but without asking anyone. If they know you have the curiosity of knowledge they will kill you.”
My heart pounds as he speaks. Though his words sound like an advice, I feel it as a warning. No matter how much I want to look be brave, my eyes reveal my fear. As my teacher notes my fear he gives me the smallest of encouraging smiles. “They would if they know”
“They think a Sunya shouldn’t have a curiosity if he has then it’s a danger for them so they kill him.” he says, “a Sunya doesn’t have curiosity but some are like an accident. Some can think, reason and compromise. But still we need to show them we are Sunyas and our lives depend on maintaining the illusion.”
I keep mum, just nodding my head.
He continues, “You have to remember whatever you learn about beyond the wall. We need every single detail, without missing a small even.” He pauses, “in next trip, another troop will go and that time we will also send one or two scholars who can get details from there.”
“Which type of details should I focus on? I ask, unaware that exactly which details are useful to us.
“We don’t know, “he says, “but whatever you think we can use against them.”
“So we are planning to fight against them?” my voice low and trembling under unknown feeling or maybe of fear.
I wonder why Nirbhaya never feels fear. Why do we feel fear? Why do we feel sympathy? Why do we feel love, anger, hunger, hatred and so many emotions which we shouldn’t?
I have no complaints about them except fear. I hate fear. Why? If Nirbhaya can then why we can’t?
“We believe or not we have to break this wall one day,” teacher’s voice breaks chain of my thoughts, “we have to fight against them.”
“But you say no one can fight against Nirbhaya except another Nirbhaya?”
“And what you say?” he asks instead answer me.
“Have anyone tried yet?”
“Then we should check over,” I said.
“I also think so but first we need to understand their weapons, their equipment, their vehicles like car and motorcycles.”
“How will we?”
“We are trying,” he says, “we have made some sketches of their weapons and vehicles and our scholars are trying to understand it.”
“I don’t think it can work.”
“Because we are studying just their shape, we need to look inside.”
“So what should we need to do?”
“We need books by which they have got the knowledge to make them. We need to learn their language and if possible then we should have some of them in our favour.”
“The last one is impossible,” he says, “we can’t risk taking help one of them, they aren’t trustworthy.” He pauses and rubs his chin, “any other idea?”
“We should know the weakness of Devatas?
He says after a long moment that makes my heart race, “They have no weakness till we know.”
“They must have,” I argue.
But my teacher shakes his head, “We are trying to know since years.”
“Since how many years we’re trying?” I ask, expecting it would be some years but the answer comes differently.
“More than two hundred, my father and my forefather were also teachers and trying to know their weakness but couldn’t.”
“What they keep away from others?” I ask.
“A tower,” he says, “they call it the temple where the creator lives. No worker has seen that place, not even all of Nirbhayas or Devatas allowed visiting it. Some special can do visit the place.”
“So the tower or the temple whatever is it, is hiding their weakness.”
“Okay now you should go.” he looks at the sky, the sun is in the east just an hour far to approach the dusk.
“Okay.” I stand up, still looking at the sky and wondering why the sky is so blurred above ‘in the wall’. My people say sky in beyond the wall is clear- clear blue while our sky is obscure- perhaps due to dust or we don’t know.
“Remember one thing the creator is the Kaliyuga,” here he lowers his voice, “and this time five conversant are going beyond the wall in the train to gather as much knowledge as we need to go against the creator.”
I know already in the pit of my stomach the creator who claims to tame the forces that controlled the world is nothing but a lier and how he convinced all god knows. Wherever I go in the wall and whomever I ask what are Devatas the answers are same – Devatas have direct access to the God, to the Creator, only living God on the earth.
But for me, God lives in the stars and never talks with cruel people like Devatas. I think they pray to false God. Though I know everything I can’t convince my people, they are so innocent about the ways of the world. They are so innocent… (I should call them fools.) They are too foolish to understand their God is manipulating them.
“If knowledge is the power then we’ll gather as much as we can,”
“You should,” he says, “no matter what others say don’t believe them. People will say you that the knowledge is only for Devatas.”
“And what you say?” I ask.
“Knowledge has no limit.”
“Then I believe you,” I say. A smile sparkles on my face.
“I know it,” he says, “now you should go. The dusk is approaching.”
“Okay. Goodbye uncle,” I bow to the great soul and say before leaving, “goodbye aunty.”
They both say me goodbye. The last thing I see is deep thought lines on my teacher’s broad forehead.
I keep thinking about my teacher as I walk back to my hut. Then thought shifts to what I’ve to go beyond the wall and with each step fear tries to eat me.
I fight back my fear but I won't deny I’m feared. I am feared of losing many things. I’m feared that my people may fall prey to battle. I am afraid that some battles might claim my innocent people. I’m afraid of that one day the ocean wash away every hut and each person into its immeasurable belly.
I am aware with every step towards the wall I take that I take steps towards my death. Not only me but every person for whom train is coming knows that. I believe in what Padhma say when I try to stop her jumping into channel – SURVIVAL ISN’T CERTAIN IN KALIYUGA.
But I do not fear. This is wrong – I feel fear.
I feel fear of the fear.
I fear so much so I deny its very existence but I know it’s somewhere inside my head, inside my heart. But as my teacher says fear isn’t something that we deny of. It is the fear that helps us remain prepared for dangers that we must face one day. It is the fear that makes us understand that there are things that we can’t control and helps us to find ways to overcome things beyond our limits.
The fear is something that makes us ourselves.
Without fear we are nothing but inhuman – each needs fear – fear while doing something wrong. Fear while snatching something that isn’t ours. Fear while forcing someone to do something against his wish.
This is the fear who keeps humanity inside humans. And that is the fear one day we have to make the creator feel it.
My mother also says about the fear. She says if you have a fear it doesn’t mean you are coward. Fear sleeps somewhere in every heart, even in the hearts of Nirbhayas who claim that they are fearless.
If one claims he has no fear means he is a fool or he is making you fool. No matter where but everyone has a fear landscape in his heart and no matter of what but everyone feels fear of something or someone.
To be continue.....
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