As the music played in the banquet hall gearing everyone in a jolly mood, a flying disk zoomed in. Everyone gazed at in astonishment. No ways! This cannot happen. Definitely it can’t be an UFO. But then, why was gravity not working upon it? It should fall, that too with a thud!
The banquet hall started buzzing with whispers. Everyone had their eyes fixed on that dome shaped disc. In this high security area where everyone had to undergo several security checks, who managed to get this flying disc inside? This was a question running in most of the minds present there.
A beam of light came out from the centre of the hovering disc and fell upon her like a spotlight. Everyone turned to see what the beam focused. Tiara flickered her eyes, narrowing her pupils as the light flooded her.
She was wearing a beautiful silk sari. Her hair was loose and had a small rose tucked behind her ears. She wore a baali which dangled as she moved around. As a part of her makeup she had just worn kohl in her eyes, lip gloss and a small bindi on her forehead.
As the beam fell on her she looked dazzled. Everyone’s eyes turned towards her. The light coming from the disk blinded her and she kept her hands above her eyebrows to protect them from the glare. Even before she could make out what has happened, she found herself getting shrunk and sucked. Within split seconds she was not there where she stood.
There was a buzz in the banquet hall. It was as though the flash of light had eaten her. All were baffled with what had just happened. Was there a girl standing there or was it their imagination. Everything happened so quickly that it left them perplexed.
The disc zoomed out of the hall in double the speed it had come.
Tiara was zapped. What place is this? Where am I? She looked around tensed as she found herself in a cell with the bare minimum furnishing. All it had was a bed attached to the wall and a liquid crystal display screen on the wall. There was a small window and a door in that cabin.
Tiara went near the window to look outside. She could not believe what she saw before her eyes. Was it a dream or some kind of hallucination? Or was she too drunk in the party? She felt giddy looking outside.
She tried to put in all the pictures together. What she remembered last was seeing a flying disc which looked like an UFO. The blazing light came out if it, literally blinding her and then …
And then she was here! Inside this cold cell, with silver walls. Bizarre, she thought looking outside the window. If she was seeing what actually she was thinking, then she was several light years away from her home. Home for her now was not just the tiny apartment in which she lived, but the planet which had nurtured her for so long.
She trembled with the thought of what might follow. Again, she looked outside. For a minute she was mesmerised. There was darkness all around initially, but then, she saw a star twinkling and slowly she saw more and more of the stars. Soon she saw that she was making her way through several galaxies. She remembered the feeling of how the mountains, rivers and the paddy fields passed by, while she looked out of the window of a train while travelling with her parents.
A beep from a machine made her come out of reverie. Her heart skipped a beat as to know what may follow. As she sat in anticipation, some instructions emerged on the screen of the LCD wall.
“Welcome Tiara,” it read. “We are fortunate to have found you on Earth and now we are taking you back to the place where you belong. Lama will escort you.”
“Let me go!” She screamed on top of her voice. “Let me go, please, let me go.” She broke down.
Tiara couldn’t believe all this was for real.
She sat near the window and looked outside sobbing. Mesmerised by the view she got lost again. She could see her reflection on the glass pane. And beyond the reflection was an ebb of light and darkness. Millions of cosmic bodies were hanging in the darkness, scintillating light in various colours. She was captivated by the shimmering, twinkling, coruscating lights in the void space. Suddenly she saw a reflection on the glass pane. The door was opening and something was behind it. Startled, she turned around.
Tiara held her breath, as she did not expect anything normal to fall before her eyes. She gasped as a tiny red creature came inside with a most funny gait. Every step it took, it bounced. It appeared as though it had springs attached to its feet. And its feet! They were no ordinary feet but looked like those of ducks. They were webbed! Its eyes were in the shape of an egg kept vertically and protruding. It had no eyebrows but a thin sheet of eyelids which opened and shut adding some moisture to the eyeball, making them gleam. It had no hair, no nails, no ears. It wore a silver jacket covering his torso.
‘“Tiara” the computer beeped again. “Meet the captain of our ship Lama. He will guide you and make you feel comfortable before we reach our destination.”
What crap is this. This slimy creature will make me feel comfortable. I feel like running away from him. God please save me from this horror.
“Tiara, I have been sent to save you and take you back to your own people. Please put your trust in me and listen to me.” It was as though Lama read through what was going inside her mind as he spoke to her in her language.
“My people…” Tiara sniffled. “My people are there from where you have kidnapped me.”
Lama stood in silence as Tiara continued sniveling. Tiara hoped all this was a nightmare. How she hoped that Lama would disappear like a dream and she would find herself in her room, snoozing in her comfortable bed.
However, Lama stood there waiting for Tiara to calm down so that he could explain her everything.
Tiara had no option but to lend her ears. Though her heart urged her to bang Lama’s head on the wall and take charge of the spaceship and direct it back to the earth. But she had no idea how this silver machine operated. She felt like a prisoner. She expected that within a couple of hours they may put her on a table and tear her body with a scalpel to investigate about homo sapiens. Probably they will use her as a lab rat for experiments.
“Are you from Mars?” She asked with a little tremor in her voice. She had never imagined in her life that a Martian would kidnap her one day and take her to a planet about which the people on earth would prospect about the possibility of life.
“No,” said Lama gently with a smile. “Mars is in the Milky Way galaxy. We are going much beyond that. We are heading towards our galaxy… our planet, your home.”
“My home, my planet… Are you joking with me? I am an ordinary girl, with an ordinary life. My home is on Earth. For heaven sake, send me back there.” Tiara said trying to convince him as she got chocked with tears. Her beautiful eyes, lined with kohl was now all smudged.
“I will tell you everything. You are not at all… ordinary. Your father Cito was our precious leader. But he lost his heart to your mother and left all of us to be with her. He was in touch with us constantly, but after that unfortunate bomb blast which took your parents away, we lost all kind of contacts. With great labour we have managed to find you Tiara.”
Tiara was shocked listening to this. Lama knew all about her parents. However, she never knew that her father was not a human. He did not look like Lama! But she remembered how in the silence of the night he would often show her the stars and tell her names of various planets and galaxies. He would tell her stories about different planets and spaceships which would leave her awestruck.
“Tiara you have many extraordinary powers about which you are not aware. I shall tell you everything, but first, time has come for you to shed off this body of homo sapiens which has provided you with protection and shelter on Earth from so many years. This is not your body. I shall assist you to come out of it.” Lama moved forward.
No ways this is MY body. I cannot let it go. This clever Martian or whatever it is thinks that he can fool me. He will make me lie on a table on this pretext and do experiments on me.
Lama sensed what she was thinking. “Tiara let me show you that I am telling you the truth. I will just help you get your superpowers first. Maybe then you will trust me.”
Saying this Lama pressed the centre of her forehead with his red pointed finger. Tiara felt some needle pricking her with a force. She could not take this force and fell on the ground with a jerk. Lama leaned forward to help her get up, but her ego refused to take any help from him. As she tried to get up on her own she felt a bounce while standing up. It felt strange. She took a step back and felt the bounce again. It felt as though a spring was attached to her feet. She realised that her gait was now similar to that of Lama.
This joker is doing some sort of magic on me. Beware Tiara.
“I have not done any magic.”
Again, he read my mind. Wait…superpowers he said! If I have got them maybe I should head this spaceship back to earth with its help.
“No, you cannot take this spaceship back now. The fuel is about to get over and we are going to land on our beloved home.”
“August…” Whispered Tiara softly looking blank.
“Yes Tiara. August… That’s our planet, our home.” Lama said brimming with excitement.
Tiara was perplexed. How did I get to know the name?
“It’s the new superpower which told you the name. It’s just one of the superpowers. You will gradually find more powers within you. Augustians are eagerly waiting for your arrival. Tiara, I request you to shed off this human body now.”
Tiara was in a daze. She was light years away from Earth. A lot of turmoil was going inside her. She felt some subtle, soft vibrations within her body, after Lama had touched her forehead. There was some tingling sensation on her back too. Already her way of walking had changed. Apparently, her intuition had also become stronger.
Something in her told to trust Lama.
She silently gazed at her reflection which fell on the stainless-steel wall. She could see her beautiful eyes, her silky straightened hair, her beautiful baali, her hands and legs. But according to Lama this was not her. Then what was she? Was she too a little creepy red ugly thing like Lama. Her heart skipped a beat thinking about this.
“If my father was an Augustian, why did he not look like you?”
“Tiara, Augustians have excelled in advance medical technology. It takes no effort for us to undergo treatment to morph into any being we like.”
Tiara listened to Lama in bewilderment as she stood there in complete surrender. Lama could sense all the turmoil she was going through. He held her hands gently. “Don’t worry. You are going home. You are going to be happy there.” Lama assured.
“With your permission shall I help you to get back to your original self?”
Tiara nodded expressionlessly.
Lama stood behind Tiara. He pressed her head from the back forming a coded geometric pattern. A splitting head ache ensued, but she forgot about it as slowly she saw her another self emerging out. Her beautiful eyes which she would line with kohl and make them sparkle now looked like an egg. Her ears, where she would put on different earrings, matching with her dresses were no more there. Her silky hair, which she took so much of care, washed and combed so affectionately and put flower on them were gone. Her lips were now like a thin line drawn on a face.
She pulled up her hands to see them. They were pink in colour, having pointed fingers with no nails. Tears welled up in her eyes as she realised that she was not a human. She felt lost. Lost, without an identity. Whatever she was, now she is not. And what she was not, now she is.
“You are now an Augustian,” Lama said softly as Tiara sat numb in her new avatar.
He stood there giving her time to settle down. He could see her eyes getting welled up, a characteristic which she inherited from her human mother.
The spaceship was gradually slowing down. Tiara could sense that August was near.
“What is my name?” She asked in a faint voice.
“You are Tiara.”
“Thank God for that. At least there is one thing which has not changed.” Tiara sighed.
“Yes, thank God,” said Lama. “It’s the same divine here Tiara which the people on Earth believe in. Your name is same and the divine power that creates us is the same. We have the same consciousness like the people on earth. And trust me, you will find many things same here but in a different format.” Lama assured her.
Tiara was surprised to hear such words coming out from the mouth of an alien. She was taken aback to hear words like God and divine powers in the spaceship, floating in the middle of stars and galaxies. It was bizarre, but at the same time it felt surreal.
‘Time has come to step out of this spaceship.’ Lama said as he guided Tiara outside towards the main door of the spaceship.
Tiara picked up her baali which was lying on the floor and looked at her beautiful sari, for the last time. With a heavy heart, she bid adieu to her old self and followed Lama.
With apprehensions, she stepped out to see what new things lay ahead. Her new gait adding spring to her, gave her some kind of excitement. She was gratified to see that this new place was not what she had imagined it to be like. It was not a hot and a red planet like what she had read about Mars, but it was beautiful. Purple skyline covered its horizon. She could see two heavenly bodies like moon above, moving in different directions. An ethereal feel hanged in this planet. August looked amazing to her.
And she made her way outside.
There were Augustians waiting to welcome her. Holding banners and calling out her name. She could hear her name resonating.
All this time, which seemed ageless, passed like microscopic second, she covered distance by light years from one galaxy to another. She saw a new life in her old self. It came with an emotional turmoil, making her life topsy turvy. It made her vulnerable yet more powerful. But widening her horizon, she embraced the whole new world.
She was ready for August.
Balli – earring
Saree – a traditional Indian dress
Bindi- a coloured dot worn on the centre of the head
Kohl – an eye cosmetic
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