The Guardians of the Parasmani

Deep in the dense forests of Satpuda (yes, I know I’ve written about these forests before, but it’s a big forest, and this story is about a different set of animals, so SSSSSHHHHH, let me concentrate) lived a tribe of hippopotamuses. Their home was by a large lake, where they seemingly frolicked and snoozed in alternate order on an infinite loop. At least that is how it appeared to the casual observer.

However, hidden beneath this veneer of frivolity and aimlessness was a secret of epic proportions- the hippopotamuses were actually an elite band of warriors, tasked with the protection of the Parasmani, the legendary gemstone, known as philosopher’s stone by the western world, and sorcerer’s stone by the Americans for reasons unknown. As everybody knows, this gemstone has the power to convert base metals into gold, and to make its owner immortal.

The Parasmani was kept in a bulletproof glass globe, placed on a gold pedestal at the end of 50 meter long titanium rod, bang in the middle of the lake, covered by 30 meters of water. And even if some cunning intruder did manage to make his or her way to the globe, they would have to contend with the hippopotamuses, with their tough as kevlar hide, their rock-chomping teeth, and their rippling muscles. They were the best of the best, and they maintained their peak fitness levels through an intense training regimen. Well, all except one that is.

Though Rhombus had been born into this tribe of warriors, he had never felt or behaved like one. Maybe he was just born like that, or maybe, just maybe, it was the result of the red pyjamas that his mother had put on him when he was but a child. The pyjamas were of a strange stretchable material that no one had ever seen before. How a warrior hippopotamus had come into possession of such an item of clothing, no one knew. But the red pyjamas were super comfortable, and super stretchable, and her dying instruction to her son was, “As long as you keep wearing these pyjamas, nothing bad will ever happen to you.”

And so, Rhombus took her advice to heart, and right from his childhood to his youth, he slept in them, moved around in them, even took his daily bath wearing them, but he never ever parted with his red pyjamas even for a second. As you can imagine, this made Rhombus the butt of jokes amongst his peers, but he did not care. He was rejected thrice from the guard force because he insisted on wearing his red pyjamas during training, and they filled with water and became like balloons in a jiffy, but he did not let it trouble him too much. He was happy and content in his red pyjamas, for his mother had told him to never remove them.

And then, one day, something happened that changed the lives of Rhombus and the hippopotamuses forever.

It was a bright and sunny day, when suddenly, a plane with its tail on fire crashed into their lake. The hippopotamuses rushed to the crash site to investigate, and found that the pilot was still inside the plane, trapped in the cockpit. Rescuing him from the wreckage was child’s play for our warriors, and they immediately took him to one of their caves for treatment. Rhombus saw all this, but he was the only one who noticed something strange- The injured man, despite being in such grave condition, was still clutching at his hat, and refusing to let go of it.

Days passed, and slowly, the man, who was an American explorer, recuperated. The hippopotamus medics were experts in battle-related injuries, and with their help, the man was soon back on his feet. Every day, he started spending a considerable amount of time trying to repair his plane so that he could leave, and he was surprise when he found that the hippopotamuses could help and guide him in that also.

And then, finally, his plane was ready to fly, and he decided to leave.

The warriors were sad to see him go, for they had formed a strong bond of friendship with him by then, and so, they threw him a grand farewell feast. The feast was being held partially under water, while a stage had been constructed on the banks. Poor Rhombus, of course, could not participate, as he could not go into the water in his pyjamas. So the poor hippo spent the evening moping around in his room, for he too wanted to celebrate with his tribe, but it seemed that they did not want him.

Finally, Rhombus could take it no more, and so, decided to sneak into the party and have a drink or two. “Nobody will notice me in the hustle and bustle,” said Rhombus to himself, and tightening his red pyjamas, walked stealthily towards the bank of the lake, where the feast was taking place.

But imagine his surprise on reaching there, when he found that though the music was playing loudly, he could not see a single member of his tribe. He walked up to the water, and what he saw there, filled him with shock and horror.

For all the hippo warriors were lying unconscious in the water, while the American was standing on the stage, fiddling around with a strange rope that he had in his hands. And before Rhombus could say or do anything, the man had formed a lasso from that rope, and thrown it into the middle of the lake….and within seconds, he had pulled the glass globe with the Parasmani from inside its hiding place in the water, and was now holding it in his hands, gazing at it lovingly.

A shriek escaped Rhombus’s mouth when he saw this treachery of the man whose life they had saved. He quickly suppressed it, but by then, it was too late, the man had heard the sound, and was now looking directly at him, a strange looking gun in his hands.

“I took care of the rest of your tribe by mixing Roofie in their Punch Cauldron, but it seems that I will have to handle you the old-fashioned way,” said the man, and pointed the gun towards Rhombus. Seeing no other means of escape, Rhombus dove into the water, but could not go very far, as his red pyjamas soon filled with water, and he floated upwards, unable to walk.

The man, recognizing his opportunity, shot a tranquilizer dart at Rhombus with unerring accuracy. Realizing that he was done for, Rhombus closed his eyes and turned his back towards the incoming dart….which now hit him right on the seat of the red pyjamas….and bounced back straight towards the direction from which it had come, hitting the man on his neck.

Two hours later, the fierce warriors of Rhombus’s tribe woke up dizzily to find the villain all tied up, and Rhombus, in his ubiquitous red pyjamas, sitting on top of him. And when Rhombus told them the entire story, they felt extremely ashamed of the way they had treated him, and begged his forgiveness. He was inducted into their elite force as Chief Strategist, and for all you know, is still standing on the banks of the lake, guiding his warriors, for he cannot possibly go inside the water in his red pyjamas, can he?

And what of the villain you ask? Well, the hippos handed him over to the cops, who were already on the lookout for him since he had robbed a temple and caused the death of a pious priest previously. But he escaped and somehow made his way back to America. And even till today, he is ready to jump into a cave-full of deadly vipers, but ask Indiana Jones to look at a hippopotamus in a zoo, and he starts screaming in terror like a little girl.


About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
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2 Responses to The Guardians of the Parasmani

  1. Dahlia says:

    A fun and enjoyable read!

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