He Was Not A Visitor After All

Aditya Kv Aditya Kv in Stolen Diaries on 25 October, 2016

He stood at the gates of the sacred temple at Sri Sailam. A smile slowly spread across his face,

"This is where it all began, and it shall be here that marks the beginning of the end."

The Bramarambha Mallikarjuna Temple at Sri Sailam was not estrange to the kind of visitor it had just received. The temple town which stood for over 2 millennia had played host to a deluge of visitors similar to the one that stood at its gate right now. Well he was not really a passing visitor but there was something still very strange about him. 

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The visitor turned south and towards the local graveyard. As he walked, his focus directed towards the graveyard, he caught the fancy of an excited tourist. The tourist hurriedly sprinted towards him for a photograph so he could brag to his friends about the 'exotic' man he saw wandering the streets of Sri Sailam. Almost simultaneously, like reading his thoughts, a group of stray dogs pounced on him and chased him away, lest he disrupt the visitor.  

The visitor approached the large iron gates of the graveyard. The gatekeeper, almost on cue, opened the gates to let him in. Samba, the gatekeeper had spent a lifetime at the graveyard, “He definitely belongs to the Shaivik cults. His attire says it loud and clear. But which sect does he belong to?” Samba thought.

Samba had seen quite a few Aghoris and Nagas during the 60 years he had spent in the graveyard, but he had never seen a Sadhu so fierce and frightening. One look at the visitor sent a chill down his spine. The visitor's hair was braided into dreadlocks and so was his beard. Samba dared not look at the man’s eyes. He studied the visitor again, who stood over 6 feet tall, muscular and looked battle hardened. His naked torso was covered with an array of tattoos, most of which Samba could not make any sense of. There was one that of a snake with a thousand heads, the Seshanaga.

As the visitor's appearance kept Samba busy, the man smiled at how perfectly, the two pyres piled in the middle of the graveyard were burning.

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Finally, Samba’s curiosity got the better of him. He mustered all the courage he could, approached the visitor and asked, “Baba, who are you, and where are you from?”

The visitor, oblivious to the presence of the gatekeeper, went on with his search in the graveyard which lasted a few minutes, he finally found the tombstone he was looking for. It read,  

Deepa .K
The light of our eyes taken away from us, so abruptly.
Born – 1987. Death – 2012
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His eyes drifted to the tombstone beside it.

Mallikarjuna
Born an orphan but the son of this town
Born – 1984. Death – 2012

The fearsome visitor closed his eyes and a tear trickled down his face. His face contorted and the gatekeeper could see him struggling to breathe. The smile on his face vanished and it was not difficult to understand he was in agony. An agony that tortured not his body but the essence of his soul. This tombstone stood as the symbol of his struggles, as a monument to the memories that had been buried along with his life,

He spoke to the gatekeeper without turning towards him, “Leave and do not turn back”. The gate keeper scurried away, wise enough not to object.
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The visitor proceeded towards the pyre which was burning nearest to him, entered the flames and sat atop the burning corpse, unfazed by the heat of the flames. He chanted feverishly. Few moments later, several small animals – bandicoots, bats, owls, crows, spiders and snakes, the creatures of the night- the ones that dwelt in the graveyard- gave him audience. He slowly opened his eyes, looked at the snake and said, “Let him know that Vaira is here and awaits his instructions”. The snake slithered away as though it understood every word, and was sent on a mission.

Vaira then closed his eyes and slipped back into his memories. He waded through all his travels, through the demons he fought and horrors he had faced. He forced himself to remember a life he lived before that fateful night. A life before the pain. A life of innocence, of love. A life he once lived on these streets.

A life in which his name was Mallikarjuna and he was in love with Deepa.

If this excerpt from Daitya Dairies: The Arrival, written by Aditya Kv, interests you and you want to know what happens next, let us know in the comments down below and remember to share this article!