There are stories of bravery, sacrifice, valour in the face of torment that pass from generation to generation, thus becoming Legends. Rest assured, you guys will have to pass this story while really drunk/ doped /imaginative for it to become a legend, though if you do, I'll make sure my grandkids send your grandkids a cheque.
This is the story of the travels of 2 of the more "sane" adventurers of the batch of '99 :
Indiana 'Vj' Jones & Alan 'Pytho' Quartermain.
Our destination : the land that time forgot.

Before we embark on this journey, it is important that we inform people of the history of this mythical place.
" There is a place on Earth where for years gone by, planes and ships have mysteriously disappeared. The place came, in time, to be known as the Bermuda Triangle. The triangle allegedly comprises of 3 points joining Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. The main theory is one of electro magnetic disturbances that rattles these planes/ships to their doom"
This is a conspiracy theory made up at the FBI doughnut counter because they got pissed that they weren't getting any more UFO sightings during those times.
The truth is that this area is a lot closer to home ( my home actually !! ) It's about a 7 bucks train ticket away from Kannur, Kerala. While the Fbi call it the Bermuda Triangle, here we know it by it's real name.. " Payangadi"
P.S. Wherever the words have a different colour, CLICK!! It's a link to a related picture.

I have never ventured into this land in my 15 years stay nearby. Though my knowledge of Payangadi was limited to folklore, I knew certain facts and folklore -

  • I knew the locals were friendly. Some were/are my best friends from school through college. ( Arun B, Najla, Ramna )
  • I knew that phone numbers were just a digit long ( yup, nine phones ). Ramna will verify this.
  • I knew that unlike other parts of Kerala, this place was not NRI funded..they just carried the parts from the planes and ships which crashed and sold them- phoren goods. Ani will verify this.
  • There were rumors of vampires living in Payangadi. Najla will deny this.

CHAPTER 1 : THE JOURNEY

It was thus with trepidation that I and Indiana Vj beheld the evil threat that was in front of us. To anyone else, it seemed innocuous enough.. it resembled a wedding card, informing us of the wedding of Anees and Ramna. But then again, the veiled threat was not lost to us.."to be held in Payangadi" Imagine getting a card from a Count Dracula inviting you for "dinner at Transylvennia". Or a letter from the Godfather inviting you for a "coffin trial at his place."

But brave adventurers don't back down from threats. That, and the fact that we hadn't taken our psychiatric medication, helped us reach the decision to make the journey. We had a week to say our goodbyes to our friends and families. They were so brave - hiding their sorrow with brave smiles, waves..parties and high-fives???

D-Day :

The train journey was filled with plans and counterplans. How do we locate the "secret wedding hall"? How do we avoid the zombies and demon dogs ? How do we activate roaming in this damn mob?? 2 hours into the journey and the train stopped all of a sudden. Everyone turned to the see the station. Then turned to see which insane fools would venture to get down at such a spot. Mustering up our courage, the two of us got down from the train, being helped ( pushed ?) by the others in our compartment. In the blink of an eye , the train did a 0-100kmph and was gone. We looked at each other. Hmmmm.

Vj tried to ease the moment by getting me into the adventurer mood by humming the theme song from "Indiana Jones"..for some reason, the best I could do was the theme song of WWe's Undertaker. " Jump over the tracks or use the stairs?" he asked. Payangadi was a land divided by the railway track..you had the "north of railway" and "south of railway" sections. We decided no adventure was incomplete without a scary bridge walk. So we took the stairs to cross over from Platform 2 to 1. It was there we realised how multi-tasking worked in Payangadi.

The stairs were no ordinary stairs. These were magical stairs.Etched on the pillars were a name and mobile number. As we walked the distance, we came across yet another name and mobile number. Could it be...

"Vj ! Do you know what this is ? I thought it was a myth like the island of Atlantis, but its real." "What are you talking about, Rosh?" "It's the phonebook of Payangadi!!! They've disguised this Holy book which contains their secret leaders,the ones capable of having phones/soda cans with a lot of string attached right here in plain sight,where no normal mortal would look for it - in the bridge itself" We felt so humbled by this discovery so early on in our adventure..it was a 'Tom Hanks final scene of THE DA VINCI CODE'' moment... only we weren't being paid insanely huge cash cheques.

There were no further incidents till we reached out of the railway station.Inspite of our amazing sense of direction, we were lost. The banyan tree outside the station pointed both ways..confusing us. We looked for a friendly local or a hostile native..whichever came first. Luckily it wasn't the latter. "Could you direct us to Rahman Hospital?" I asked,remembering something Ramna had told us. "A 1000 apologies. You are gravely mistaken..there is only the Ramzi hospital. If that is what you wish, you may take the road down there,walk a straight line, then hit a right after 200 paces and go till you reach the hospital. But MIND IT!! Do not stray from the path..the consequences will be dire." Sheesh! Good thing we didn't meet a hostile native, huh?

As adventurers, in adventuring college, we are thought to always have scorn for what locals say and just BE DA MAAN!! Then run like crazy when we find out the punishment. Jack Sparrow ( Pirates of the Caribbean ) does a pretty good job too, I heard. Anyway, since Vj and I are born adventurers, we walked the first few paces along the narrow path..it was actually a road, but trust me, I've seen mobile phones which are wider. Soon, temptation got the better of us. We stepped out of the straight line. "Hah! Consequences, my right butt!!! haha" We laughed aloud. It was when our hearty ( maniacal ? ) laugh subsided that we heard it.

RRUMBBBLEE!!!! Have you ever wondered how bowling pins feel seeing the bowling ball heading their way? We found out that day. In adventuring school, we're taught to ward off lions, mythical creatures, snakes.. Noone teaches you to ward off the big one though..the KSRTC bus!! As it came towards us, a sense of deja vu hit me..it's actually Indiana's deja vu but it hit me..the big rock ball hurtling towards Indiana in the movies. Deciding I only wanted to be hit by deja vu and nothing more, we skipped, jumped and hopped our asses out of the way in the nick of time as the killer bus hurtled through.. "Whew. That was close." "Lets just hail an auto man. We'll tell the others we trekked the jungles" "Amen, pardner"

The 1st 10 autos came and went without so much as looking at us. Finally an auto stopped. Seeing our hunky good looks and suave machismo, he determined we were outsiders. "The wedding, sir?" I and Vj looked at each other in amazement. "Umm.yes." Amazing. The place was actually so well knit that everyone knew an out of towner could only be going for the wedding!! Later, the bride would tell us some cock-an-bull story of her being so royal and famous that everyone knew of "her Majesty's" wedding. Ya right. These hunks come loaded with the brains too, honey.

CHAPTER 2 : THE WEDDING CRASHERS

We stood at the gates. Ramzi hospital behind us, the wedding house in front of us.
"Dare we?" I asked. Our decision was made for us by the jostling of those behind us,
egging us forward. Fearless at heart, we entered the house. The natives obviously had
heard of our many great exploits all over the world and welcomed us as chief guests.
"Would you like to see the queen ?" asked Ramzi, brother of the bride. "Has the King
not arrived yet?" we enquired as he led us up the stairway. "The king is enjoying the
splendour of a nearby metropolitan city (Kannur, i believe it was ) and thus was
sluggish in leaving it for the jungles of this olden day Amazon.Sigh, if only there was
a way to fool him into coming faster. ""Rest assured, my man. We have the solution to your problems." Saying this, Vj whispered something into Ramzi's ears. "Why thats briliant, Mr Vj. I will get on it right away. Kindly show yourself in. I have to make the apropriate calls." We entered the Queen's chambers.
The queen sat over the royal bed."Ah, brave adventurers. You have braved the journey (
Click! Squeak! ) of a 100 miles to attend this ( Squeak! Click! ) auspicious day." "Actually, we just came to wish you HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!!" I intervened before she
thought we were actually here for the wedding. "You silly ( Click ! Squeak ! ) fools.
Ha ha ha. Maharani kush hua. ( Click! Squeak! Squeak! )" Though we failed to get why
she was laughing at our honesty, we laughed along. When in Payangadi, do as the
Payangadians do..or else. Something bothered me though.
"Maharani, I keep hearing Squeaks whenever the royal photographer takes a picture. Why
is that ?" She beckoned us closer. "It's a secret,adventurer. The cameras have no reel.
Inside there's just a mouse doing quick water colour paintngs..that's all the
technology Payangadi can afford. The flashes you see are actually electrical shocks
given to the mouse inside the camera.Here,let me show you a pic he just finished." I
and Indiana Vj looked at the picture (PIC 02 ) , then at each other. That mouse would
not leave this room alive, we knew. Compare with THE Queen's pic here and you know why.
The queen's eyes suddenlyfocused behind us. "There is one more you should meet,adventurers. You have crossed paths with her before. She stands behind you." We turned. "AAAAAAAHHH!!!"we screamed, in Micheal Jackson's 'Earth song' tones. It was an apparation..a ghost of the past. We thought we had banished her to the land of Beckhams and Queenies. Yet, there she stood before us..the former Head of Tourism of Payangadi of our college( if ever there wa such a thankless job...) , Najla stood before us."How the ?" "What the ?" "WHen the?" "How the?"
She had made it from Uk ( with Prince Charles permission, of course ) to surprise the
couple. She had had a big hand in helping the King find the Queen in days gone by so
this seems the perfect surprise. She had not aged a bit ( No, I'm not gonna tell you
how we suspect she's a vampire and that I used to spread those rumors in my earlier
days, both verbally and in written. I wont tell you, I say )
Our conversations though would have to wait ... Cries of "ALL HAIL THE KING! ALL HAIL
THE KING !' hit the skies. "Wow! That was fast. What did you tell Ramzi, Vj?"
"Elementary, my dear Roshan. I asked him to put signposts saying that there was a
nearby Coffee day outlet and lead him here. King Ani would never miss an opportunity
for a KAAPI NIRVANA, would he ?" he said, tapping his head. What can I say - brains and
an N-gage. Is there no end to this man's talents?
The King had arrived in his Black Stallion..a Benz S320, that is. Decked in designer
wear, he stood out as always. He seemed to be searching for something amidst the crowd.
When he saw us, a knowing look dawned. He had figured out there wasn't any Coffee Day
here after all and now he knew who had betrayed him. He mouthed something as he passed
us by. "Did he say -"Dude! See ya later?" I asked. Vj who was closer turned and looked
at me gravely. "Umm..actually, it was "Judas! Bloody traitor!" "Don't worry. I know how we can salvage this situation and avoid a beheading." I said,
then strode to the King and whispered something in his ears. He became much happier and
calmer after that. Just as we were remembering fun times, Ramzi came to the
King.."Guess what!! There's a surprise for you inside.Bet you a million bucks you can't guess who's here?" "Najla, right?" "How.huh? How did you know?"Ramzi stammered. "Rosh told me." Gulp. I could picture Najla when she found out I'd spoiled the surprise..I prayed the rumors of her vampirehood were exaggerated. I needed an escape.

"FOOD!!" That call has always and will always be my Shangri-la. I and Vj,walked towards
the food counter. "Have some Alsa" said Dr Shihad, another friend from days gone by.
"What's Alsa?" "Its an appetiser..payasam with chicken." I and Vj looked at each
other..then grinned. "Our kind of payasam!!!!" God bless this place !


30 minutes later: Having eaten enough for a family of 6 in China and having decided to
allow the other guests to graciously share from the feast which was meant for us
exclusively, we now sat, belt unbuckled. A tortoise could have ourun us with one arm
tied behind it's back. It was then that we saw it.Every adventure has a cryptic message that needs to be decoded. Ours lay on top of the Black Stallion ( Pic 5)..someone had left a weird something on top of the car. "Is that..' Vj started. "I think its someones underwear.." I finished. "Maybe they wanted to dry it out for awhile?" We were not close enough to get a perfect view. I
volunteered. After all, I had an A+ in cryptology. Actually, it was an F, but that was
probably just some cryptic code, itself. As i went closer the squiggles in the ancient
white papyrus began to make sense. I realised the words were not "JOCKEY FOR MEN' as i
imagined it would be. It was much more final in its judgement -" Just Married ".( PIC
06 )


CHAPTER 3 : AFTERMATH


The couple left on the Black Stallion around 2pm. There was another function in the
Kings kingdom too to be celebrated. Despite repeated threats of the death penalty, we
decided to stay back. After all, an adventurer we may be, but we needed to be tucked in
our own beds with our teddie bears at night and the lights on.We had time thus to kill till the Ghost train appeared in the station once more. Najla invited us to her ancestral mansion nearby..across the railway line to the DARK SIDE.
Bound by her magic spell, we followed. The narrow pathway that led to her mansion was a
hindrance though . Her lithe size and other worldly powers ensured that she could enter
this "Trail of Doom". But what about us? "No fear, Vj.." It was time for the show of
immense strength that any adventurer must possess and we would not be found lacking. I
and Vj pushed the narrowing walls with all our might. Or atleast so I thought. I turned
to find Vj taking a snap of me as I struggled to broaden our path. ( Wait till you get
stuck in quicksand , I cursed him. ) The broken pathway unearthed a hidden drainage system. Ahead of us, Najla stood annoyed. Her mansion was locked. Grandma had gone out ( hunting? ) and left us marooned. "Oh well, atleast we're safe from the dangers that lurk within the mansion."
"LOOK!! LOOK!!" screamed Vj( pIC 09), pointing into the water that was beside us. I
stared at the water. I couldn't make out what had excited him so much..then I saw it.
In the brown waters, something surfaced. I thought it was a log, then my mind's eye
pictured a snake, before finally settling on what the brain registered. If you find Vj,
he may tell you that he saw a big catfish. HAH!! I know what I saw. ( PIC 010 ) Yes,
people. You heard it here first - The Loch Ness Monster was vacationing in Payangadi
this Friendship day.Since I hadn't bought my scuba diving set,wading in after it was out of the question for now.

Near beheadings, eerie trains, ghosts of the past and now the mythical sea creature! We realised that we needed to escape this place if ever there was to be another adventure. It was time to be men, to stand up for our selves or die trying. Anyway, we chickened out early on and were soon reduced to begging Najla for refuge ( PIC 011 ) She put a couple of calls through and voila!! another auto drive later, we were at her house, being fattened up further as she changed into a blood red outfit..someone was gonna be haunted tonight in the alleys of Payangadi. "It is time",
she finally said. We turned around, expecting tribals to come in and gut us alive or
start seasoning us for dinner ( Roshan a la King and Vj Manchurian ?). But no..it waas
indeed time. The bats had indicated that the train was nearing and we headed off to the
railway station once more. Najla bade us farewell as we boarded, extracting promises to
visit her REAL ancestral home the next time we came here. And then the train left the
station as quickly as it had appeared and we were gone.We were exhausted, but satisfied. After all, the King had got his queen, there was a feast, we'd solved the puzzles, overcome natives and sea creatures..and yes, still home in time for dinner. "what're you doing tomorrow?" I asked Indiana. "I dont know. Thought I'd solve the JFK assassination. Coming?" I grinned.

An adventurer's work is never done.

10 Comments

  1. all hail your creativity....amazing imagination dude....did any of the people mentioned in this blog bring you up on libel charges...

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  2. an also that i am linking you up on my blog

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  3. an also that i am linking you up on my blog

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  4. I am commenting b4 reading .....
    maan thats a big one. i need to find time to read it... :)

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  5. @kartik..
    thanx. And til date, none have brought up charges...till date, i repeat.

    @mogamboo..
    ya, the more I wrote the more i remembered. realised it was gonna be really big. but no choice!!

    @white forest..
    thanks.

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  6. haha!!i have been reading al ur previous stories!!i loved this one!

    Amazing Creativity!!!

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  7. Most awesome..well spun..
    lightened up after reading the serious post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

    ReplyDelete

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