Friday, September 14, 2018

The Lost Place

At 55, Chandra K Lamohra was still a curious fellow. Being a government archaeology officer, that was a favorable trait. He would mostly be on the road, traveling to the far lands to dig out lost cities, each telling its own stories which were buried deep into the ground. Inch by inch, dusting layer by layer, his team would unravel the mystery of the people who were long gone, but their shadows were left imprinted in the things they touched.

This time, his project had taken him to the green lands of Bihar.  A small city was found hidden just kilometers away from a local village. A farmer was trying to sell an old artifact in the market that he found while drilling an illegal well. The archeology department got hold of the news and send its team for investigations. Small tents were made around the site of excavation for the officers to stay in.
After seven rigorous months, a mysterious world stood before them, lapped inside the green lands of Bihar. It was late evening when Chandra finally decided to take the first stroll inside the new found city. He took his torch and walked on the tattered pavement. The city itself was very small, but there was something very systematic about it. It felt as if things were placed in a specific location for a reason. The straight lines of the lanes and pavements were very advanced for its time indicating that there was a unit of measurement already in place. Small lines of huts stood in a neat array. Chandra looked at them closely. It was positioned in a way so that each house is lit by sunlight for the whole day and was airy. Articles gathered from the homes were minimalistic, like they had just happened to stop here for a few years before starting back on their journey. Each house had three small lanes dug in their floor, used for sanitation. It was a very complicated architecture for its time. The inclination angle was used to draw different types of waste in different sections of the city. Reusable waste was being used as a fertilizer or as a fodder for animals.  The communal bathroom had the drainage system that would seep through the natural filter of the soil and could be used to water the vegetation outside the community garden. It was amazing how they had even thought about it at a time when the metric system was yet to be discovered. Or maybe the people of this city had already discovered it.
In the center of the city stood a huge rock structure. It had round dome-like head. Chandra assumed it to be a temple of the sort, but its surface was shiny without the symbol of any kind of Deity or Gods. It looked more like a mirror that could reflect the light from the dome to other parts of the city where lights could not reach. Law of reflection used to provide continuous light in the city round the clock.
Chandra was mystified with who these people were and how they knew so much, in the time when other civilizations of their era were far behind. He had not seen any cities of this era that was built with such a precision.
He went into the broken structure. There was a sense of complete serenity inside it. So much so that he could hear his own breathing, his own blood flow through his body. It was a little uncomfortable feeling. What was this place used for? Meditation? Prayers? Meetings?
 It was completely empty apart from the strange symbol that was drawn on one of the walls.As the last ray of sun dropped down on that symbol, its edges shone with gold like lines. Chandra walked near that symbol but the light had further slipped below and it was too dark to study it. He decided he should come back the next day to study this place better. Just as he turned the first light of the moon spilled through the top of the structure and lighted the whole place with milky white light. He stood there astonished.  It seemed like it was bright as day in there. He looked up and found that a small object in the middle of the roof, reflected the light from the moon inside, providing visibility during night. He realized this city was not any normal one. This must have been occupied by the scientist or researchers of the time.
The laws of reflection were discovered much later in the century. But this city seems to have exploited it masterly. He walked further towards the symbol that was carved on the wall. It appeared to be a womb of a mother. This could be a hospital. A maternity ward? He ran his hand around the carving when suddenly, it clicked like a button and a small safe opened in front of him. Chandra stood there rattled. A secret safe? Why would a place like this need any kind of safekeeping? What could they have to protect? And from whom? The last of the worker had left for the day. He could look into the safe or wait for the workers to come back and retain whatever was inside. That would be the right protocol. But the curiosity of Chandra got better of him. Something was pulling him towards that secret safe.  He carefully placed his hand inside it and pulled out what seemed like a bunch of parchments bonded together by a string. He placed them delicately on the stone slab that was placed right at the center of the structure. Under the moonlight the dull writing on the parchment light with a red blood colored ink. He touched the ink, wondering what it was made of. How come it was not eroded or washed out with time? There could be some kind of preservatives in the safe to keep it intact even now.
Chandra opened a parchment and studied the symbols on it. He recognized the language. It was the same one used in Harappan civilization’s documents, one of the most urbanized civilizations discovered from the Bronze Age. It was a baffling discovery since their team had calculated that this city was built much before Harappan culture. Then how could it use the same language? It was possible that the descendants of this city started a Harappan civilization. This would be a great discovery.
It was getting late so Chandra decided to take those documents and study them in his tent on the site. It might take some time to decipher these parchments. He came back to his tent and lit an electric lamp near his small table. He pulled out the translation books that he had carried with him and translated the first letter of the first parchment. It vaguely meant “Creation of life: chapter 1”.
It appeared to be some sort of religious book. Like the Bible, which lists down the fundamentals of life. Where did we originate from and who were we? The wonderment that started all religions in this world.
He started translating further. It was written in a form of a story of a female, a supreme power. Chandra made a quick deduction. It should have been a matriarchal civilization where women held the powerful position in the society, and hence the god was described in a female form. It was rare but not totally uncommon for women to be the ruler of a civilization. There have been few discoveries that suggested these types of civilization indeed existed in other parts of the world.
The book stated that this supreme power carried in her womb a holy particle which was the basic form of life. When she descended on earth she fell in love with it and decided to start a new life in here. She divided the holy particles into several parts which took the form of all kinds of life that exist on earth. An elaborate diagram was drawn below where a light was emitting and splitting up into different life forms, some into animals, some fishes, some into plants and some human and then some more which Chandra did not recognize.
Each species was marked with a combination of symbols that Chandra could not make out, but they looked like a chemical formula of some kind. This book did not look like a Story or a Bible. It was more detailed and specific than a religious book generally is. It was actually documenting some sort of formula or ingredients with which each life form on this earth could be developed from. Although it could be that religion presumed that they could generate each life form in some specific way. But then why hide such a book in a safe? Usually, such books are widely propagated to increase or bind a community. Why then keep this book a secret? Could it be that the religion was only for higher class people and lower class just followed what priests said?
Chandra kept reading the next lines, slowly translating each word. The book stated that the holy particle was the omnipotent being which was responsible for the creation and destruction of the whole universe. It was born out of nothingness and one day, when life around us will cease and melt away, it will start the life cycle all over again by being born out of nothingness.
This whole story strangely resonated with the scientific study of Stephen Hawkins’s theory that the universe was born out of nothing. It was just that this book stated it, in a form of a story, which was baffling. How could anyone come up with these theories? The scientific equipment needed to formulate these theories have recently evolved.
Unless…. Chandra thought, this city was built by someone who was not from this planet. A different species, who came to our earth and started a life here. Could that perhaps be someone we all call God? Chandra’s interest was suddenly piqued.  This city could potentially answer the questions we humans have been asking for long. Who the GOD is and how we came into being.
It could be that the divine female described in this book was an alien. A higher form of life that came to earth and created us. Or perhaps it was a team of aliens that came here to inhibit us and a part of them was woven into our very own genes, making us an intelligent being, a copy of the higher conscious itself? The interpretations could be endless.
 Chandra read every word with full concentration now. The book described how the divine female nourished every life form in her womb and melted away in the twelve basic elements of the universe. There were only four basic elements known to humans, perhaps there were more elements, which were patiently waiting to be discovered. Chandra read further.
Book said that the divine power was always around us, keeping a watch on us from the eye of the universe. Once in a while, she takes a form of human and comes to visit us, see what happened to her children. If she is pleased, our species would grow and prosper, and if she is displeased, a force of nature would wipe us out and she would start afresh, learning from her mistakes. It was stated that she had already destroyed and started afresh five times. This matched with the scientific fact that earth had five mass extensions before humans came into being. Such a close connection between this book and all the current known facts were astonishing. Chandra knew he had got something of immense significance. A story which was key to the secrets of life and death. But what was the credibility of this story? Who was telling the story? And whose story was it anyway? The words fluttered and flew in the wind. He looked out from his tent to the ruins of the city standing in front of him. He could imagine strange people walking its roads, making life on this earth in their simple huts. Where were they now? How were they watching us? Eye of universe… Where was it? Was the hole at the top of dorm some sort of telescope through which they could watch us.. or rather keep a watch on this book?
Suddenly the ground below Chandra began to shake. The tent poles shook violently as the cries begin to rise around him.
“Sir, it’s an earthquake, we should get out now” a man cried and ran outside the site. There was no time. Chandra followed him to the place where other staff members were taking cover. It wasn’t even a full minute, but he could see the ruins of the city merge into the ground in front of his eyes. Nothing was left, the tiny huts, the shiny dome ….everything was gone like it was never there. Just the dust in the air, which was slowly descending on the ground from the walls of the now ghost city.
As soon as the earthquake stopped, Chandra ran towards his tent in search of the book. But everything was swallowed by the earth in that half minute. It was so strange that an earthquake would occur in this place just when he was about to discover more. That too in a place where earthquakes are rare. Could it be possible that the gods watching from above, brought this upon them so that he could not read further? What was in that book that needed to be so protected?
Chandra’s team searched for the book for a month before packing and preserving the leftover findings and taking it back to government officials. There was no documentation on parchment since there was no trace found of it. But Chandra knew it existed. Somewhere deep inside the layers of earth, it still held all the answers.

He would often stare at the sky above him, wondering if an iris of an eye was staring back at him, judging silently if it was time to start over again. Where suddenly everything will go ‘puff!’ in the air and he will be born again, out of nothingness. 

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