Excerpt From Matsya
At the time that we begin the story of Matsya, one kalpa was coming to an end and by now, the tired Brahma was yawning away as his day was finishing too. The lord with four heads, all with long white beards, golden crowns perched on snowy white hair, each facing in a different direction, was finding it difficult to keep his eyes open. He turned to look at his consort Saraswati and wasn’t really surprised to see that she had kept her veena aside and had slid into a deep sleep as she lay on the soft back of her swan which was also snoring away softly.
From his residence at Brahmaloka, he turned his attention towards Devaloka—on another sphere altogether—where the devas lived and was greeted by total silence. The space around him had become dark. Maybe it was time for him to go to sleep too. The exhausted Brahma, despite his ability to see in all directions, didn’t notice the Asura Hayagriva who was eyeing him from far away Earth.
Hayagriva, the asura with the head of a horse and the body of a man, was built like a small mountain. He was over twenty-five feet tall, with wide and well-muscled shoulders, his arms and legs strong and muscular, even more so than a horse’s. With his thick, dark mane swaying in the gentle breeze, Hayagriva stood there, his arms akimbo, avidly watching the creator, hoping to get something out of Brahma when the latter was in the throes of deep sleep.
The brilliant blue sky was greying by the minute as twilight was taking over rapidly around Brahma’s abode that was positioned way above the Earth, while Hayagriva was standing close to where we have the north pole today, keeping an eye on the creator with the help of his mystical powers. Yes, the asuras who were evil, also had powers of mysticism, same as the devas. The only difference was that they were mortal unlike the immortal Demi-Gods.
Hayagriva’s waiting didn’t go waste. As gentle snores emanated from Brahma, out jumped the four Vedas from his nostrils. It was not as if they all slid out at one go. But then, Hayagriva was patient. He had waited for this moment since a couple of thousand years. First came the Rig Veda. Hayagriva pounced on it with agility and swallowed it up whole, confident that no one could prise it from him now that it was sitting tight in his abdomen.
By now, Brahma was snoring a bit louder and quite rhythmically too. A few human years passed before the Yajur Veda slid out noiselessly. Hayagriva was wide awake unlike the creator and smiled broadly as he stood right below to catch the second Veda in both his hands. It took him but a few seconds to send it down his throat to settle down next to the first Veda.
Two more years went by before Sama Veda fell down with a thud. Yes, by now, even Hayagriva had fallen sleep. But the whirring sound of the Veda falling down through the air just before it touched the Earth woke him up. He galloped across on all fours and picked up the Veda from where it was lying on the Earth’s surface to swallow it up whole, almost choking on it as his throat was all dried up due to the deep sleep that he had woken up from. He quickly turned around and dipped his mouth into the sea, gulping down a few litres of water before the third Veda wound its way into his stomach. The sea close to that area contained fresh water due the melting of the icebergs and hence helped quench the asura’s thirst only too well.
The completely refreshed Hayagriva was grinning by now. There was just one more Veda that he needed to collect before he could take off. Then would follow what could only be called unadulterated entertainment! Let the Trimurti try to resurrect the next kalpa without the Vedas that were the very basis of orderly life for human beings. Hayagriva couldn’t wait to share his success with the other rakshasas. They would all be so happy with what he had done and will definitely make him their lord and master.
Just then he remembered all those apsaras in the court of Lord Indra. Hayagriva laughed softly, careful not to wake up the sleeping creator, too excited at the thought of having the heavenly beauties for his playmates. What a life!
He didn’t have to wait very long before the last one, Atharvana Veda, slid out of Brahma’s nostril. The alert Hayagriva caught it with alacrity, his laughter loud and triumphant now, not really caring if he woke the sleeping Brahma. Pushing the fourth Veda into his mouth, Hayagriva took to the air, flying far away from there, hoping to find a hiding place for the next thousand years. He knew that it wouldn’t be long before one of the Holy Trinity would come chasing after him to retrieve the Vedas. The chances were high that it would be Lord Vishnu since he was the one who helped preserve everything in the universe.
Hayagriva flew around the Earth a few times before deciding that the oceans were the place that would keep him safe and out of sight. Being a mayavi with fantastic magical powers that most of the rakshasas were endowed with, Hayagriva could breathe in water. There was no dearth of food either since the seas teemed with creatures both big and small. He tilted on his head and took a dive when he came across the biggest body of water that he could see from the air—the area that is known as the Pacific Ocean nowadays—and went deep within before he touched bottom.
This Tour is Hosted by
About the Book:
chilling twists, from a unique new voice.
different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca
knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now
he wants to destroy her.
living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in
a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to
cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
‘That’s 11.30 gone now,’ someone said from the far end.
‘Show must go on.’ Keller mumbled.
There was a crackle and then an audio test from the speaker in the corner. Keller imagined that President Descher had arranged a televised viewing and that all over the State the people could see and hear this: factory workers, grandmothers, schoolchildren, stopping what they’re doing and watching. From the audio speaker, Keller recognised words from the phonetic alphabet, then the date, today, June 23rd 2021, the location, the prisoner’s name and number HCI 72259-931 and the time scheduled for execution.
Keller knew that the duration for the poison to act was ten minutes maximum and that the ratio to be injected was set against the inmate’s weight and height.
Somewhere behind him, Keller could hear mumbling about the victims’ families and an officer explained that they were seated separately, in another viewing room. He imagined that the families’ room was crowded, since eight victims had lost their lives that day.
At 11.45 am, the time was announced once more on the speaker and the blind was pulled up manually, revealing the execution chamber. Keller had forgotten who was seated directly next to him now, but whoever it was flinched.
The prisoner was already strapped onto the gurney. There was a sheet over his body but you could see where the constraint buckles jutted up into the clean white cotton. His left arm was exposed however and the intravenous tube was already in. He was clean shaven. Keller had never seen him without a beard. He could almost pretend he did not know him.
Three Harfield guards came into the chamber now. They did not look at the window, which to them was a mirror. Who would want to see themselves doing what they were about to do, even if it was their duty. The three guards were each handed a syringe. The content of one of the syringes was deadly and the other two contained a harmless fluid. The guards would never know who among them administered the lethal injection.
The condemned man’s chest began to rise and fall. He blinked rapidly and his Adam’s apple bulged in his throat, as he struggled to find an impossible place between dignity and the screaming of his nerves to stay alive.
Keller murmured, ‘There is nothing to do now but die.’
A man in the chamber who had been out of their view, moved into sight. He was dressed in a plain dark suit. He identified himself as Warden James and held up a chart. His hand was steady enough, his white knuckles though suggested a very tight grip on that chart.
Keller stared down at the inmate who seemed to be staring back, though Keller knew that the glass was one way and that all the condemned could see was a reflection of his own final scene. All the same, their eyes met.
Warden James turned to the prisoner. ‘Is there anything you would like to say or read before we administer this lethal injection?’
Keller frowned down at the neighboring lap. It was the redhead next to him, the PhD student, twisting that engagement ring. The girl who more than likely had it all, the girl who could not cope without her cell, was barely coping at all. Keller could feel her trembling against the length of his torso and the anger in his veins burned. The young woman held her hand up to her mouth and whispered into it, ‘God, dear God.’
The Warden lowered his eyes to Prisoner HCI 72259-931 on the gurney and blinked several times. He said to the inmate, ‘Go ahead, what do you want to say.’
‘I would like to ask a question.’
‘What is your question?’
‘I would like to ask a question and have it answered.’
Warden James looked around the room at the other officials.
‘Go ahead and ask your question.’
‘Not until you tell me that I will have an answer.’
Keller smiled and nudged the redhead. ‘You see? Make the most of every goddamned moment.’
The young woman was on the edge of her seat and on the edge of tears.
In the chamber, the suits and uniforms huddled and muttered amongst themselves and the Warden came free of the pack once more.
‘We shall try to answer your question. And cannot commit beyond that. I ask you therefore again, is there anything you would like to say?’
The inmate tried to lift his head but the strap across his brow was held tight. He cleared his throat and said in that thick Carolina accent that Keller thought he’d forgotten but which now reignited in his memory and ripped through his heart.
‘I want to know if my son can see me.’
dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended
a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in
smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone
deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted
spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order.
Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with
assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.
Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very
happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and
living with inspirational child in Thaxted, Essex.