Continued from Maya Chapter 2, at http://www.storyhut.net/maya-chapter-2/ , where, Adi lands up at the spot marked ‘Man Eating Tiger Sanctuary’, as indicated in the mysterious note passed on to her, and a stranger in a funny attire, hails her by her name and welcomes her……
This was not the answer that I expected from such a group or an individual who fitted perfectly into such a group as the one I was standing amidst! I looked for the source of the voice; a man was walking towards me, he was removing his dark brown’ kurta’ (the long Indian style shirt). I took a couple of steps backwards, ready to bolt from there – screaming if needed and hurriedly glanced at the road to see if the path was clear and I could hail some help down.
When I turned my attention back to the person, the metamorphosis was already complete, the person who stood in front of me, certainly did not resemble his old self; he was dressed in a pinstripe suit, with cufflinks and all the works; he was slim, tall and looked like a successful executive at a multinational firm; the only aspect that probably did not fit the ‘executive in an MNC’ image, was the Rudraksha rosary entwined around his right wrist and fingers. He repeated his welcome, making it more personal this time; “You are welcome Adi; welcome to the Sanskritam”!! I suppressed an overwhelming urge to giggle – If the name of the funny helmet fashion pageant was Sanskritam, Mr. Pinstripe suit certainly fit the bill, of the event manager. I swept my right arm, pointed to those strangely clad men and asked – “This is Sanskritam?” His answer to my question was – “This is the charade”. I thought I heard him incorrectly, he probably meant ‘parade’; so I asked him if the parade is done and if there was any other event left; I had to endure a smile similar to that of an indulgent parent’s, at a three year old child’s, innocent and ignorant questions, in response. Sending my confusion, he clarified, “Parades attract attention, this charade is meant to ward unwanted attention off. You heard me right; this is a charade and not a parade. ” I squirmed. I was not too comfortable, with a total stranger, treating me like a ‘not very smart’ three year old; I was not too happy either, with the fact that I was in the midst of something, which I, in my rationality, could not comprehend and hence, did not want to be a part of. I started looking around for an escape without sounding too rude. “Nice charade” – I said; “I am sure no one can make out who you really are”. Not that I was aware who they were, but that seemed to be the most polite escape line that I could think of, at that moment. My statement was again rewarded with the same smile; “Yeah you are right. Even smart ones like you can’t; more so because they are too busy trying to find excuses to run away”. Now this was getting serious; this person seemed to be able to read my mind! I smiled politely again, as I did not want to offend the gentleman, who had really not done anything to offend me except calling me by my first name and reading my mind at every step. I gave my thoughts of a quick get-away up and decided to critically examine and ‘judge’ the charade or whatever it was!
My feelings changed from those bordering on total disinterest to amazement and wonder within (as far as I can recall) a fraction of a second. The helmets and funny attires were being removed to reveal immaculate, trendy suits. Mr. Pinstripe suit was right. The whole thing indeed was a charade; olive green denim and linen overalls and raincoats were actually carapaces for grey, navy, black and pinstripe suits!! Clean shaven, intelligent and wise faces started emerging from under the strangely worn helmets!.