Recap : Gayatri, Satori and Jamshid had embarked upon
a journey driven by their inner callings.
Where all failed, the three reached their
destination to the valley of Shangri-La and the “other”
Mansarovar Lake where a devastating secret waited for them.
The undernourished trio, for want of food, liquid and breath, failed to grasp the meaning of the Elders’ outpour – “Thank you for coming to our rescue!”
Who was thanking whom?
Their recovery took a few days and with strength, they moved around in the warm structure, seeking answers from the Elders.
“So is this the Shangri-La of our dreams?”
“One of its many names.” Spoke an elder. “We call it the seed of the earth. We are here only to preserve and nurture the forms of life, isolated from the outside world. Very few are chosen to enter and if they do, they rarely leave. Some outsiders are given glimpses in their dreams and through some who choose to return.” He fondly held the hand of Satori, like a father would do to a long lost child.
“You seem to be waiting for some event to happen.” Gayatri sensed something was amiss.
“Child, never could we understand how big the burden would be,” said an Elder with tears in his eyes. “Our ancestors had recorded how this place on earth was like a larger living, like a composite organism, or a living inorgania. It spoke to other lives only through the matching oneness and opened doors to those with chosen compatibles.”
“So its true? Shangri-La is a paradise of some kind?”
“A life-giving abode. Like Earth was earlier for the life-forms, millions of years ago. Shangri – La’s final legacy is preserved for an unknown, ultimate, inevitable situation.” Sighed the tired Elder.
The three had patches of information. They were left to use their intuition to connect the dots and unearth the mystery of the real Mansarovar.
From a distance, this “other ” Mansarovar looked more impressive. The proximity to ice mountains and the beautiful sight of many waterfalls flowing into the lake made it look delightful. Jamshid walked on the natural path around the lake and was curious about the swans floating in the centre of the lake. Were these the swans that Gayatri had learnt from her grandma?
At the farthest end, the lake water flowed into a large cave. Jamshid had to return as a dinghy was needed to enter the cave where a few swans lurked, as if they were resting. He came back to the base point and discussed the approach to the cave to unravel the mystery of the swans.
The Elders arranged for a raft and the three paddled to reach the distant cave where most swans had now gathered.
“It seems the Elders want us to do our own searching; they appear so apologetic and almost guilty!” He muttered.
They spent a few hours paddling and felt the change in the environment as they neared the cave.
“Are we tired or is the opposing current getting stronger?” queried the silent monk, sensing a change in the water resistance and heaviness in the air.
“Something strange is changing the water colour; the surrounding caves are almost humming like some big chemical …..”
Before Satori finished, they were shocked to see swan-like shapes moving out of several caves and heading towards a large opening which had clearly darker and denser water.
“My swans are stained! Look at their bodies covered in what …………is that Oil?” shouted Gayatri. The swans hardly noticed them and moved swiftly towards that dark cave and disappeared.
The trio now clearly felt the drag. It was like rowing through a sewerage; the water had now become black. They moved towards the cave that had swallowed the swans and saw a staggering sight. There were a few hundred swans all in a circle with their heads raised high as if receiving some material from a chute.
“There appears a large opening in the cave and the sky outside is covered by dark clouds; almost like acid clouds. What is happening here and what are these swans swallowing? Is this your Shangri-La , Jamshid?” Gayatri gasped.
“We need to move closer. I see a few swans moving towards some caves. Let’s follow them. Maybe we will get the answers. Look at the air purity levels. Dangerously low! With such temperatures, we better hurry and find a safer place.” Jamshid cautioned.
The “Cave with the Hole” could not be approached due to suffocating fumes, poor visibility and dense water. As they followed the few swans taking their exit from this cave and moving to the smaller caves, they could grasp the nature of the swans.
“These are not birds; they are more like human forms.” Gayatri said in extreme shock.
“Their bodies are twisted to receive and hold the flow from the hole.” added Satori.
“What is this madness? Few seem to be resting in smaller caves, replenishing and going back to the cave with the hole like a factory working in shifts.”
Unable to comprehend, the three returned to the Elders with dismay and disbelief.
“Children, this is what has become of Shangri – La.” One of them said.
“This part of the valley is so different; so pure; so nourishing. So why the difference?” The trio asked.
“It was like this everywhere. A place; a point of nature at its supreme; which ironically, became its Achille’s heel. As humans increased their carbon levels, the opposites attracted. The carbon got sucked in this valley and flowed down as pellets into our rich Lake.”
“So those swan-like-things were receiving these pellets? And absorbing in their structures?” uttered the heart-broken Gayatri.
“Yes my child. The younger among us, whose bodies, nourished in the valley for years, had this strange gift of diluting, offsetting the carbons and matching their atoms to the respective carbon atoms!”
“So my dream swans are humans in pain?” cried the very disturbed Gayatri.
“They had no choice. We could stem the flow and preserve a part of Shangri – La. We could also slow down the process of carbonisation on other parts of the Earth. But the flow is overwhelming. We have no resources, none to sacrifice. And sadly, we look upon you to rescue all of us.”
“How can we make a difference, when the ones in Shangri-La could not?” They asked, almost together.
“You three are the chosen ones. Your atomic level absorbents have a magnifying quality. You three can reverse the flow as we learnt about such avatars from our ancestral records.”