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Excerpt for The Gift : sequel to Gifted by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Last 4 lines in ‘GIFTED’:

‘You mean you teleported us from there? I guess you are gifted like me.’

‘Yes. I almost forgot to make a call to my friends. They live here.’

‘You want to celebrate with them for having impressed me?’

They laughed together as Vivaswanth made a call to his friends and said, ‘She is here.’

Chapter 1

After an hour, his friends came to the beach along with their female colleagues.

Vivaswanth introduced them to Geetha from right to left, ‘they are Harish, Shankar, Kaushal, Rohit my best friends. They are Vineesha, Madhuri, Kanika their job colleagues. We had get-together every six months that is why I know them so well.

In the evening they went to a hotel and had dinner. They stopped on the beach road and saw the pleasant Rishikonda beach with small waves coming and going. While the girls took Geetha with them and formed their own group and Shankar, Kaushal and Rohit were busy talking to each other, Harish and Vivaswanth were sitting beside each other and watching the moon in the sky.

Harish asked, ‘you normally tell us before you come here, you gave us a good surprise. Your girl is good; finally I am happy that you found someone who could understand you. I think she is deeply in love with you. Please don’t leave her, pal.’

‘Thanks for the compliments, but I had no idea that I would end up here.’

‘I didn’t understand what you just said.’

‘We came here via teleportation. It was accidental.’

‘I will tell the others later. They will get frightened if you tell them now.’

‘Sure.’

‘I want you to stay here until tomorrow evening.’

No, pal I can’t. I told my mother that I will come home by tomorrow evening. I am leaving tomorrow morning.’

The next morning, Geetha, Vivaswanth and his friends went to the railway station where the friends gave the send-off to the couple. After a while, in the train, Geetha asked, ‘I hope your jobless situation doesn’t create havoc in our lives. I have no problem with it but my dad is very particular about these things.’

‘Hey, apart from the similarities between you and me in job and lifestyle, there is one more; our love for each other; that is the only reason that I can count upon the most. My dad also objects to my lifestyle but I can’t go and sit before a computer just for the sake of money. There are many righteous ways to earn money.’

After that, Geetha stayed calm, resting herself upon him while he caressed her hair. They reached their respective homes that evening.

The next day, Geetha was in a park when she responds to an anonymous phone call by saying, ‘Hello.’

The mysterious voice with a funny tone on the other side said, ‘Darling, it has been long since I have seen you. I see you every day in the bus stop and I am very much interested in you. Why don’t you come and meet me?’

‘I am very much sorry but I am in love with somebody else. Please don’t call me again.’

As she was about to cut a call, a male voice on the phone said, ‘Honey, don’t cut the call.’

Vivaswanth, whose number is this?’

It is mine. My old SIM card malfunctioned and I had to get a new one.’

‘When can I expect you in this park?’

‘Turn to your right, honey.’

Geetha turned to her right and saw Vivaswanth approaching her. They then sat together on the grass where he put his head on her lap and lied down.

Geetha said, ‘I heard from Vineesha that you topped a test even when you were blank about it.’

‘Yes, it was astral projection. Hey did you go to Darjeeling?’

‘No. Did you go?’

‘No. I heard that it is a beautiful place, especially the sunrise. In the beginning of sunrise, Kanchenjunga looks red but with time it slowly turns white.’

Geetha looked into his eyes and said, ‘I feel like going there, honey.’

After a while, they left the park. In his home, Vivaswanth read the newspaper where he saw a headline in a corner which he read to himself, ‘3 people go missing in Chodavaram.’

He put aside the newspaper and made a phone call to Geetha and said, ‘Hello.’

She whispered, ‘Look my parents are nearby so no asking me to say the 3 word phrase.’

‘Okay, what are you doing?’

‘I am watching a movie.’

‘Listen I am coming to pick you up in the morning at around nine. I have a surprise for you.’

‘I want you to pick me up from the same spot.’

The next day a car came in front of Geetha while she was in the bus stop and she got into it.

The car reached the railway station and they got out and went to a platform. She asked, ‘Are they coming from Vizag?’

‘They aren’t coming here. We are going somewhere you wanted to go.’

‘You could have at least told me earlier. I didn’t bring any clothes.’

‘You can buy clothes later in Kolkata. Do you have any problem otherwise?’

‘I would not miss a chance to be with you, honey.’

It is good to hear that, and by the way, the train arrives in half an hour later here.’

‘What are you going to say to your dad?’

‘I am making a call now. Watch this and learn.’

She made a call and said, ‘Dad, I am going to Darjeeling. I am sorry I couldn’t say about this to you earlier as it is a surprise for me. I will call you before I reach home.’

After she cut the call, he said, ‘You didn’t miss anything, you are a natural actor.’

They got in the train and got down in Kolkata the next morning. Geetha bought some clothes and they reached Darjeeling and checked into a hotel. They waited for the next morning to see the sunrise. After they went to the tiger hill and saw the sunrise, Geetha said, ‘I love the mountain, honey but don’t think of getting married here because we both will freeze before you tie the Mangalsutra in my neck.’

Vivaswanth laughed out loud but immediately silenced as he saw people nearby turning towards him which lead him to abandon his laugh and concentrate on the sunrise.

They returned to Hyderabad two days later. After she reached near her home, Geetha knocked the door and to her surprise, she saw her father standing nearby after opening it. Her father was staring seriously at her. She said, ‘I already told you where I headed. I will show you the tickets if you want.’

Chitralekha went to her grandmother’s home a week ago and returned today morning. I thought you went with her. What is happening around you?’

‘Dad, I am sorry to say this but I am in love.’

Chapter 2

The next morning, Geetha was sitting at the bus stop where she meets Vivaswanth as he came by in his car. Geetha got into the car and said, ‘My dad wants to talk to you.’

Vivaswanth took the car to the apartments where Geetha stayed with her parents. After he entered into the apartment, he saw Geetha’s father who told him to sit on a chair. Geetha left the apartment and went downstairs while her mother was near her father. Her father said, ‘Your name is Vivaswanth, isn’t it?’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘Where do you work?’

I used to work in a software firm two years ago. I worked there for a year. I couldn’t adjust to the work.’

‘You both are jobless. Until your parents and we are there for you there won’t be a problem. You need to think beyond that. Just having a good behaviour isn’t enough. One should be self-sufficient. I can’t agree for this now. I already told Geetha about this. If you aren’t good enough within a year, you need not wait for her after that.’

Vivaswanth came down to the parking place near Geetha with a dejected look. He said to her, ‘Why don’t our parents understand that doing something half-heartedly is the worst thing ever? That one year I have worked was a bloody for me. My dad had already told me that I would be asked the same thing. I don’t have an answer for them now.’

Geetha said, ‘I don’t know whether or not you will get a job or something. What I do know is that we are made for each other. If we believe in ourselves then maybe we can find a way. I will help you in any possible. Just go home and relax a bit, honey.’

They hugged each other and Vivaswanth left home. In the afternoon, while he was sitting on a chair by his table, a newspaper flew by the air of the ceiling fan came in front of him. He saw the newspaper and read a headline to himself, ‘10 people missing from Chodavaram.’

He thought, ‘This is yesterday’s newspaper. Last week, it was 3, and now it is 10. 15 missing in a fortnight is not a normal thing.’

He read the following news about a question which the reporter asked to one of the town residents, ‘How did they go missing?’

The resident answered, ‘Even if I offered you a ransom, there is no way you are going to believe us. So, don’t waste my time.’

Vivaswanth put the paper and stood before the mirror in his room and said looking into his reflection, ‘I believe them which is why I am going to do something whether you like it or not.’ Half an hour, he left with a backpack from his home at 4pm. He made a call to Geetha and said, ‘Honey could you meet me at Lakidikapool bus stand?’

He went to a private bus stand in Lakidikapool where he saw Geetha coming out from a cab. After she came nearby, he said, ‘I am going to Chodavaram. Something in me said that I should go there.’

It is about the missing people isn’t it? I read it today morning. Call me once you reach there.’

After a while, the bus came and Vivaswanth got in and Geetha saw him as he waved goodbye from the bus window. The next morning, he reached Chodavaram and took a lodge to stay. After freshening up, he left the lodge and started enquiring about missing people. The answer was the same; all of them went to the nearby forest before missing. After an hour later, he headed towards the forest when he was stopped by a group of people. The head of the group said, ‘I heard that you were conducting enquiries about the missing people and now you are going to the forest to search for them. Please don’t go there it is not safe for you. Take out your luggage from the lodge; we are taking you to the priest home, which is beside the city goddess’ temple. You will stay there until you are in the town. The group along with Vivaswanth headed to the home of Uddhandan Sharma, the chief priest of the town. The head of the group told the priest, ‘This man is from Hyderabad. He will stay at your home until he leaves this place. He should go to the forest at any cost. We don’t want any more people missing.’

In the afternoon, after the people left, the priest looked at Vivaswanth and asked, ‘You seem to be different, like the one who has a purpose. It also seems like you are in a serious relationship.’

‘Yes, she is the one who encouraged me to come here. How do I go into the forest? What had happened in the past?’

Chapter 3

Uddhandan started off with the narration, ‘A thousand years ago, this place used to be famous. People here used to be happy. Then, one day one man, of the people living in the city, had gone into the forest and found a cave in it, which seemed mysterious. After they went inside, they found a pit in it. They got into the pit and stood there. Accidentally, he dropped a diamond in his hand on the floor of the pit. He then found a pair of diamonds instead of one. He got surprised and threw both the diamonds on the floor. He picked up four diamonds. Gradually, over few days, the news among the people was all about the pit and it’s magic. All the people became so filthy rich that they even started to ignore the city goddess for many months altogether. The goddess showed the signs of anger, but they ignored. Then one day, two men went into the pit and they never returned. In fear, another group of men went into the cave, but instead of getting into the pit saw the pit in the fire lamps. What they saw was unbelievable! There were many stones on the floor of the pit. They tried taking out the stones by using a rope from the outside, but it was of no use, they never came out. They realised that the goddess had shown her anger by throwing several stones which doubled up and blocked the floor which made the pit unusable. They came back and since then whosoever went into the pit went missing.’

‘It is 5pm now. I will go into the forest after it becomes dark.’

‘What the hell! People disappear in the morning and you think of going in the night. Have some fear in your heart youngster.’

‘Sir, I wouldn’t come here had my intuition not brought me here. I have to go and find out. If those people come here, tell them that I have migraine.’

Vivaswanth left after the darkness set in the sky. After a hour, he got near the cave and as he took every step carefully, he stumbled on a stone and fell down. He saw an inscription on it and thought, ‘This seems to be like Sanskrit. I think I should go back.’

He walked back and reached the priest’s home, which and asked, ‘Please decode this inscription.’

The priest took the stone, saw it and said, ‘I am going inside. It will take a while for me. Could you wait?’

‘I will wait outside.’

After a minute, the priest came outside saw Vivaswanth nowhere. He thought, ‘Did he really come, or had I seen a ghost?’

In the cave, Vivaswanth slowly got into the pit along with a lantern. He got onto the stones and what he saw made him shocked. There were many people who were unconscious by the boundary of the pit’s floor. He took a few steps towards the unconscious lot and stumbled which made him think, ‘I think taking care of them is not the thing to worry about now. What should I do?’

He then was unable to move. Upon looking down, he saw that one of his feet was stuck beneath a stone. He took the stone and threw it by the boundary between the human bodies. He then thought, ‘if I lift each stone up and check underneath them, maybe I can find something. He took each stone that he could find and checked underneath but couldn’t find anything. He was tired by now and sat on the stones. All of a sudden, it struck to his mind that he forgot to check a stone to his right. He turned to his right, picked up the stone and found a coin underneath it. He took the coin and thought, ‘What should I do now?’

He heard a soft female voice whisper, ‘Where to, child?’

He replied, ‘Goddess of Chodavaram.’

He heard another whisper, ‘Close your eyes for a moment.’

He then closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them he was at the Goddess’ temple. He then went to the priest who was unable to sleep and said, ‘Come with me to the temple.’

The duo went to the temple and priest was spellbound by what he saw and said, ‘You have not only brought out the ones alive but also brought the diamonds. I thought they really were stones. What do you want me to do with the diamonds?’

‘Take a few of them and give the rest to the people.’

As Vivaswanth was about to step out of the temple, a small pile of diamonds fell towards him. The priest said, ‘Looks like the Goddess is gifting you something, take the pile with you. Your life is free of financial problems from now. That is about 30 to 40 crores in Indian currency.’

Vivaswanth went inside the priest’s home and brought his bag to the temple. As he packed the diamonds, he asked, ‘Sir, what does the inscription mean?’

‘It meant that whosoever finds this stone, will do something that others couldn’t. He will also have the danger of facing death twice. I bless the child.’

Vivaswanth smiled and said, ‘Ok, Sir. I will be leaving. My girlfriend is waiting by the outskirts of this town. She left on her car almost immediately after I left from Hyderabad yesterday evening. We will stay in some nice hotel. Tell the villagers that they are free of problems for a while.’

The priest said, ‘I thought that you were special but you were destined to save those people. It is nice meeting you, son. I hope we will meet again.’

Vivaswanth left the temple and made a call. Two minutes later, a car arrived he got in. He then asked, ‘Did you have to come here? You could have slept nicely.’

‘Forget about my sleep, did you save them?’

Yes, I did. The priest in this town said that 9th in February and 23rd of March of the following year would be auspicious for our marriage. You tell your father, I will tell mine.’

‘You are saying as if my father would agree instantly on seeing you and baggage.’

Geetha stopped the car. In a moment of bewilderment, she saw his face and said, ‘You didn’t tell me about the jackpot. What is there in it?’

‘There are diamonds.’

THE GIFT :

sequel to GIFTED


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