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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Episode 3/Chapter 23: What, If Our Dreams Come True!

Chapter 23

Luckily for us, other than the tourists there was no one else inside the temple. The tourists were bewildered by our sudden appearance from behind a wall, but the people behind us were agitated.

“What the hell are you all doing here?”

“Are you trying to swindle anything from the temple?”

“Are you robbers?”

There was none from the temple administration yet. I decided to confess at least partially. I didn’t want more trouble.

“Look! We are not robbers! We don’t intend looting anything from the temple! We had some evidence about a tunnel passage from a mandap near the riverside to the temple. We also apprehend that there is some hidden treasure somewhere here. We don’t know yet. But if you all help us, possibly, we will be able to use the treasure to benefit everyone in the village. But if you refuse to cooperate with us and call the authorities and the police, then we can’t guarantee that any good at all would come out. Now, you decide what you wish to do with us. Hand us over to the police if you want to.”

I was clear and firm in my address to them. I had no doubt that they were going to help us.

There were some hectic discussions among them. In between, one of them shouted, “Why is the foreigner here? Is he going to smuggle out the treasure abroad?”

I pacified the man, showing the camera, “You see, the whole world is going to know that a treasure is being recovered from underground from this temple. These Englishmen have shot everything in their camera and they are going to show it in their television channels all over the world so that no one can cheat anyone about the treasure.”

Welsch was busy shooting film and interviewing a few. One of the tourists had now become the interpreter.

They consulted amongst themselves again. Many seemed to favor helping us unearthing the treasure. We wanted to finish the job quickly before they changed their mind. It was mid-afternoon and the temple priest must be here any time now, to close the front doors.

The villagers started digging the place below the red arrow mark found on the wall. When they had dug about a foot, they were met with a metallic sound and they stopped. They removed some more crust from the ground.

And there it was! A medium sized metal box!

They lifted it out and one of them hammered the lock which easily broke off. Everything happened in quick succession that we had very little control over the happenings. I grabbed the box quickly in my hands and opened it for all to see.

Inside the box, there were precious stones on the top layer and some jewelry beneath. I removed the precious stones outside and displayed it for everyone to see. The crowd immediately gathered around those valuables and was busy discussing their worth. What they did not care to notice was, there was another layer that I quietly removed and underneath there was another still smaller box. I opened the box and saw the copper plates inside. When no one noticed, I quietly closed the box, removed it, handed it over to Adhi Kesavan and whispered to him to run from the place without creating a suspicion or commotion. Adhi was a versatile actor and in the next few moments, he disappeared. Welsch was continuously shooting every action in his camera adding his commentary and I was very sure that he filmed even my lifting and removing the smaller box. No one in the crowd was interested in things other than the valuables and they were discussing about them heatedly.

In a small village like Brahmadesam, everything was an open secret. By this time, somehow news had already spread outside. Velu, the village chief, appeared in the temple in no time. He was accompanied by a number of his bodyguards.

I smelt danger now. When everyone was engaged in heated discussions and when I saw Velu questioning someone about the incident, just outside the mandap, I hurriedly told Welsch to leave the place through the tunnel quickly. I believed someone chasing him through the tunnel is a lesser risk than being caught by Velu and his bodyguards. Welsch understood and quickly disappeared behind the wall inside the tunnel.

Velu’s bodyguards quickly took control of the situation. They took into their custody the box and its valuable contents. Someone brought a lock and some sealing wax. The box was locked and sealed. He rounded up all the villagers and told them to be present in the village panchayat meeting to be held in the evening to dispose of the matter. The box and its contents would remain in his safe custody until the matter is settled, he told the crowd.

“I would go with you and the box.” I insisted.

“Who are you? What is your name? What are you doing here?’ Velu approached me menacingly. I told him my name and refused to say anything further. Seeing me obstinate, he told his bodyguards, “Take this fool too with you.”

Someone had just told him about Welsch with the camera and about another short bulky Englishman.

“Where are they?” shouted Velu arrogantly. “Run! Find out where they have disappeared.” Two of his men ran outside.

He ordered two more to get inside the tunnel. They hesitated, but obliged - frightened at his stern look.


My book: "What, If Our Dreams Come True! An Uncommon Meeting with Lord Siva" is available for Kindle reading on and the print version is available on

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