A draw of a topless boy holding a long walking stick and a basket on his back.

Upcoming Novel: The Dravidian – Snippet

Prologue

“I am relying on you. You have to save my brother,” his master’s words rang in HanuMan’s head as he sped through the forest.

Whenever HanuMan’s body asked for a break, the picture of Ram’s brother Laxman lying in a pool of blood flashed before his eyes. Urging himself on, he slowed down for a few paces, took long breaths and kept going. It took HanuMan six arduous hours to reach his first destination, the Lankan coast.

 

HanuMan took his first break on the beach. He sat on the soft Lankan sand and planned the next leg of his journey, sipping the rejuvenating water. He considered two options. Cross the sea by the bridge his master had constructed and cut across the land to the Ghats, or travel by the sea and land on the shore by the Ghats. After weighing his options, he chose the second route.

 

When he was ready to go, HanuMan stood up, left all his belongings on the shore, and walked into the warm, saline water. When he was neck deep, he took a long breath and dove into the waves. The returning waves aided his cause, and he reached the depths very quickly. Then, he torpedoed through the ocean of water. HanuMan had mastered the extra-ordinary ability to   hold his breath under water for more than an hour, an art he learned from the wise, supremely able Dravidians, the peace loving Dravidians, the medically advanced Dravidians, who held the key to saving Laxman’s life.

 

Like a whale, HanuMan came up for breath after an hour and returned to the depths once again to continue his journey. Three hours later, his hands touched land, and he walked up the gentle slope to the beach. In the moonlit night, he was able to see the outline of the forest and Ghats beyond it. On the sight of the mountains, HanuMan’s fatigue vanished, and he was instantly re-energized. The forest was his home turf and   he moved through it like a monkey, jumping from tree to tree. Unlike the Lankan forest, the trees in this forest clung to each other, enabling his movement on the top. The thick, impenetrable plant cover on the ground made no difference to his speedy progress.

 

Two hours later, he climbed the familiar Agastyamalai Hills towards the Dravidian shrine. The Dravidians welcomed HanuMan and led him to the Chief Physician (Maha Vaidya) as soon as they heard his story. The Maha Vaidya, a three hundred year old man, heard HanuMan intently, asked a few questions and prepared a small pouch of herbal extracts. He entrusted the pouch to his most experienced deputy, and gave further instructions.

 

Thanking the Maha Vaidya, HanuMaan left with his deputy. Before leaving, they visited the secret garden and picked the life saving plants. Despite his vast knowledge of the forest, HanuMaan had never seen anything like the secret garden earlier, and watched in awe as the Vaidya went about his job.

 

Thanks to the energy leaves carried by the Dravidian Vaidya, HanuMaan’s return journey was quicker and less exhausting. Once HanuMan returned to his master’s camp, the Vaidya started his treatment. With every dose of the potent medicine, Laxman’s wounds healed quickly, and he was fit to fight within a week.

 

The Vaidya did not leave immediately though. As the violent war raged, the number of grievously inflicted soldiers multiplied at an alarming pace, and she toiled day and night. The Vaidya treated warriors from both sides, and managed to pull many of them out of certain death. When the war was over, she left without a word.

 

“Thanks HanuMan. I am in your debt for saving my brother” Ram said, embracing HanuMan after the war.

 

“No master. That was not my work. All credit goes to the Dravidians.”

 

“I know. I know very well. I will give anything for them. Even my life.”

 

“My Lord, they do not expect anything from you. They represent true love and altruism. The best we can do for them is to let them be. Let them live peacefully, and let them survive.

 

Since the Indus Valley War, they have been running continuously, and we must ensure that they do not need to run any more. Our ancestors have wronged them by displacing them from their homeland, and we must set that right.”

 

HanuMan knelt and pleaded, “My Lord, can you please assure that they do not have to run any more?”

 

“Yes HanuMan. You have my word. I will be their armour, their shield, and their defender.”

 

From then, Ram and his successors protected the Dravidians. They were considered as the God’s own tribe, and given utmost importance, respect and sanctity.

 

Image Source: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/PSM_V19_D317_Dravidian_hill_man.jpg

 

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