How the lotus came into being

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Once there was a girl who fell in love. She fell in love with the green undulating, grass swaying on the riverbank. She fell in love with the ripples that lapped the wet shore, with the lovely golden oriole, with the open blue skies and the soft clouds floating by. She fell in love with the tall Jacaranda tree and the lonely koel that sang its song every morning and evening.

And then came a breeze laden with the moisture of verses that garlanded her very soul. Her being danced to the rhythm of the trees that swayed, to the waves that swished, to the bees that buzzed and to the colourful wings of the butterfly that flit silently past her. She had the magic to weave silence into her words…an amazing gift as words normally destroy quietness.

She spun a world of magic around herself with her simplicity and imagination. She lived dreaming of rainbows and unicorns till a strange steed flew to her from the skies and turned into a young traveller from a distant land where wild blew the golden sands. He had travelled through desserts and snows in search of his soul mate and at long last the lilting songs of the girl had touched his soul and he became again a man from a stallion. He had a story to tell too….

As he travelled through the Arabian sands, he was followed by a beautiful creature, winsome, doe-eyed with pale skin and jet-black hair. She had a perfect figure and a sinuous walk. She followed the young traveller from one caravanserai to another till he, who was still untouched by the wiles of the young damsel, noticed her. When she threw herself on him and declared her undying love, he turned his face away from her. For, in his soul, he did not love her. There was something in her kohl-blackened eyes that seemed to rankle in his pure heart. And he was right, for the beautiful, sensuous creature was a wicked Jinn who had escaped the confines of her bottle when a drunk looking for free wine in a caravanserai uncorked the ancient jar that had been her home for a thousand years. She had been tricked into the bottle by a clever magician when mankind believed in magic and magicians roamed the world. The first man the wily Jinn saw was our young traveller. He was so young, pure and handsome that she fell in love with him and started following him.

She was infuriated with the young traveller for turning her down. She turned him into a winged stallion who was forced to fly till the strains of his soul mate’s melody bought him back to his original form and life…

He had flown for a decade in the clouds, living on dewdrops and rainbows, till he suddenly heard the melody riding on the waves and touching his heart and soul. A strong draft of breeze came and carried him down to the young, innocent girl in love. Her song and innocence reached out to the purer and rare air where magic had led the winged stallion. This time the magic that had been woven by her song was stronger than the magic that imprisoned the traveller in the body of a stallion. As his hooves touched the ground, the winged stallion transformed back to his original self.

The maiden saw the young man and fell in love with him too. The two of them twirled and danced amidst the trees, sipping nectar of flowers, eating fruit and drinking from young springs.

Then came the mists of the night. They whispered through the forest as the young couple slept on the soft grass. The mists of the night were minions of the doe-eyed Jinn. She had cast a spell on them. They spied the young couple and saw that the stallion had turned back to the young man. They whispered the story to the Jinn when they visited the desert sands. The Jinn was furious. She turned herself into a crane and flew to the tropical paradise where dwelt her heart throb. She did not want anyone to have what she aspired and could not get.

She descended to a branch of an Angsana tree.

“Look, a crane!”cried the young girl in surprise. “How beautiful it is! Pure and black. I have never seen anything like it!”

The young traveller started. He had seen the worst of black magic in his travels and he wondered if it could be…the Jinn. As he thought, she transformed herself back into a beautiful woman with cloudy, wavy jet-black hair, red lips, a pale skin. The boy recognized the Jinn as she shouted, “What I cannot possess, neither can she. I will destroy her and you if you do not come away with me.”

The young man, with a downcast face walked over to the Jinn, to save his loved one. The loved one looked on startled and said, “Where do you go?” As she spoke, the Jinn cursed her to turn to ashes and dust and dissolve  into the marshes near the river. The spell flew out of her mouth and where the young girl fell sprouted a beautiful flower, so clean and pure that none of the mud or slush from the marsh could stick to it. The boy, astounded and stunned, fell to his death as he ran to catch his beloved. He fell right where the flower was sprouting and he turned into it’s leaves, which remained as unsullied in the marshes as the flower. As for the Jinn, she was so angry that she dissolved into ashes and mud and the marsh swallowed her up.

The daytime breeze that watched the whole drama carried the story to the village of the fisher folk. The fisher folk came to see the new flower and named it after the girl who fell in love, Lotus.

People from far and wide came to see the flower and said, “How beautiful is the Lotus with her unsullied purity and lush, clean leaves!”

 

 

 

 

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Book of the week

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Title : Pebble in the Sky
Author: Isaac Asimov

Published in 1950, Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov makes for racy reading! It has an optimistic projection of the future.

Most of the story is set in a galactic empire, where Earth is but a pebble in the sky. Mankind has spread through the galaxy as Earth has become radioactive. A small population lives in the unaffected part of the contaminated Earth, which has become a part of a large galactic federation ruled by a representative of the galactic government, the procurator.

Joseph Schwartz, a sixty-two year old tailor from 1949 Chicago, is transported in time through eleven millenia into the radioactive Earth by some mysterious force.The people from the future initially regarded Schwartz as an imbecile as he did not comprehend or speak the common language. They used him as a guinea pig in an experiment to enhance brain powers. After the experiment, he not only picked up their language, but could read others thoughts and even kill without touching a person. His intellect was enhanced to a point that he uncovers and prevents a plot to destroy all the planets except Earth. The brotherhood that rules the earth, the Ancients, had developed a biological weapon to destroy mankind that living in the extra terrestrial world.

The Ancients were power brokers who sought to be exclusive.They had even installed euthanasia as a practice for majority of people over sixty, arguing that as most resources on Earth were contaminated and radioactive, they could at any point support only twenty million people. To make space for the younger population, at sixty, people were sent to die. However, some people, like the rulers themselves, were exempt of euthanasia.

Schwartz, with his enhanced intellect that he christens  Mind Touch , towers above the normal Earthmen and brings peace and sanity back to Earth. At the end, the new forces that govern the Earth set to rebuild the planet by replacing it’s radioactive top layer with healthy soil so that it could support more people and become self-sufficient.

The book starts and ends with a refrain from Robert Browning’s Rabbi Ben Ezra(1864). Shwartz is reciting these lines as he walks, ruminating on the hope for a happy retired life with his wife at the start of the book before he travels into the future.  At the end of the book, as he walks the new Earth that is being rebuild he again recalls,

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made…

The Ancients had taken away this privilege of growing old from Earthmen. In a way, Schwatrz, an old man from the past, returns it to them and the future that the best is yet to be. There is hope again for a wonderful future.

Interestingly, a year before Asimov published this book, Goerge Orwell published 1984. In 1984, Earth post world war is painted as bleak and hopeless. To love or live outside the box created by the Big Brother is hopeless and leads to death and desolation. There is no hope for the future. It is frightening in it’s depiction. In Pebble in the Sky, Asimov has started with a depiction of a bleak Earth but has ended his book giving hope for a fantastic future among the stars where mankind can flourish with his dreams and visions and look forward to an infinite of space and time… suggesting the best is yet to be.

The Creators

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The river steamed, frothed and bubbled. The water was hot, above 90 degrees Celsius. The vegetation around it was strange, like something out of a primeval forest, tall, lush trees of unusual colors…. Some had turquoise leaves and some had multi-colored barks. Some of the creepers were colored orange. The grass below was lush and maroon and green in patches. Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge had never seen anything quite like it! The flying horses, which had carried them hither, grazed on the strange grass at a distance. Gorge and Jacaranda were given the task of keeping an eye on them.

Jasmine moved forward with Janice, Halon and Anouk. 

Janice said, “In our dimension, we use telekinetic energy from our minds to help, heal and create. We used this energy to create this dimension, the nature around us, animals and, sometimes even dreams, and suggestions to imprint onto minds in the womb or minds already developed. Our queen has the most powerful and creative mind. We are all basically healers and nurturers in our group. For big things, we meet in an enormous group and we all put our energies together to create or project what we need exactly.”

Jasmine asked, “ Why did they call us creations of Janice? Who are your creations? Me, Jacaranda or Gorge?”

“Gorge is your friend. You and Jacaranda were both induced with our thought process in your mother’s womb. I was the initiator of your thoughts, though we all worked in a team. There are the others in various dimensions who have heightened telepathic and mind control skills and can think positively. These were seeds we sowed because we could sense that at some point the creators in their dimension, being largely human, would give in to greed and the need to be exclusive… You will know more when you meet our queen tonight.”

They had stopped by the river as Janice went on with the explanation.

“I think we need to proceed with the task at hand now,” said Halon. “We have come here to heal a creature in the woods by the river. It is in pain.”

“I am sorry I asked now,” said Jasmine.

“As long as we can talk as we walk,” said Halon. “ So, you are free to ask and we to answer as long as we move on.”

“ Are all your rivers made of hot water?” asked Jasmine.

“No. Of course not,” said Anouk. “This one is an experiment to help diffuse the geothermal energy of the earth. It get’s heated by the geothermal energy in the fissures of the earth. We have no volcanoes as they bring destruction in their wake. We created a few of these rivers to let the heat escape without destruction. These rivers can be used for cooking or making Ambrosia. They have their own unique forms of life. Most of the creatures here are eyeless and have very thick hides which do not get affected by the boiling temperatures.”

They walked amid the vegetation, which grew lusher. Finally they came to a patch of grassy clearing. A strange creature was lying in the grass and groaning. It looked like a rainbow-striped unicorn. Its legs were bent as if broken.

Janice walked over. She was chanting strange words. She put her hand on the injured foot. Anouk waved his hand over the animal’s eyes and hummed a strange tune. The animal seemed to doze off. Halon straightened the foot. Then the three of them hummed and held their hands over the injured area and the leg slowly healed and straightened. The creature opened its eyes and stood up slowly. It tried its leg and moved forward. It gave a toss of pleasure and in a deep voice said something strange. The three healers nodded and smiled. Janice patted it on its back and Anouk held out a blue leaf from a tree. It munched the leaf and moved on. 

“Can this animal drink from the hot water river?” Asked Jasmine.

“No, it can’t. But there are cool pools in the woods from which it can drink. It knows the hot water river is dangerous, as do most creatures here. We have conveyed that to them. So, we rarely have accidents,” explained Halon.

As they came out of the woods, they discovered Jasmine staring into the river. She had come forward because she heard some strange gurgling sounds. It was coming from a huge toad like creature purple and silver in color. It seemed to be frolicking in the pool.

“Can it see us?” asked Jacaranda as the group walked up to her.

“ No,” said Halon. “ But it can use its other senses to sense us. We can send it mind waves.”

“ Wow!” said Jacaranda.

“Let us proceed to the hills to meet the queen” said Anouk. 

“We will stop at my home so that you can be in appropriate wear to meet the queen,” said Janice.

They moved towards the horses and Gorge.

“It is really beautiful and nice here,” said Gorge. “I have spotted so many unusual birds and dragonflies!”

“You will see more,” said Janice with a smile.

The three of them took on the three visitors on their rides and the horses took off, flying high over strangely colored meadows and plants. They crossed a stream and soared over mountains. At a distance, they could now see a peak covered in snow. 

They stopped in front of what looked like a cave at the foothill of a mountain. They went in. Inside, the temperature was perfect. The floor shone like glass as did the walls. There were comfortable looking couches where Jasmine, Gorge and Jacaranda were happy to rest. 

“Not for too long. Give them a drink of Ambrosia and let them change. Then we can head for the Crystal Mountain, where the queen stays,” said Halon.

“Yes. We should not be late,” said Anouk.

Janice, who had disappeared into the kitchen, came back with tall glasses for all six of them. They slowly drank the amber liquid and felt rejuvenated. Janice showed them to three rooms where the three of them found white robes with silver girdles, the standard dress of all lemurians. They donned the robes and came out into the hall.

” Good. Let us all start now,” said Halon.

They went back to the flying horses and soared up again. They were now headed for the snow covered Crystal Mountain, the abode of the queen of Lemuria.

 

Phantasm

 

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Flights of Fancy

Through the land of mists I glide
With thought beings by my side.
White, misty clouds shroud
Strange creatures that mouth
Hushed whispers, murmurs that grow loud
And emerge from the mists as beings thought out.
Robed in white,
With an inner light,
These creatures ride
Side by side
Through the woods.
Strangers flitting in hoods.
Silver girdles on their waist,
Ambrosia and honey they taste.
Sip off the little brooks that run,
Through the the patches of mists and sun.
When they emerge in light
They become beautiful and bright.
An emanation of the mind,
A figment of a fanciful flight.

The Creators

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In the misty forest, hushed whispers seemed to emanate from the very trees. Mysterious beings rode on strange horses among the trees. Everything seemed to have a fleeting sense of reality. A soft moist breeze twirled its fingers on the white robed, silver girdled riders. A sense of unreal surrounded Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge as they walked through the woods from the beach. None of these figures harmed them. They seemed intent on their own tasks.

A soft Zephyrus song seemed to pervade through the mists of the whispery creatures. Suddenly, the mists began to clear and the three reached a meadow by the woods. The meadow was grassy and had a little pond in the middle. There were flowers of different colors in the grass. The sun was peeping out from the mists. The music seemed to be coming from the mysterious white robed creatures that stood by the pond. There was a tall girl with beautiful tawny eyes and hazel hair wearing a tiara made of daisies. From the tiara hung a veil of diaphanous silver. It glittered in the sunrays. The clear voice rose from the girl drowning the earlier notes with its clarity and intensity. It sounded like the sunray had pierced the mists and was ringing out in clear notes.

At a distance, there were some enormous white steeds gamboling around. The sky had a vibrant rainbow on it. The steeds, on closer examination, had wings on them. A group of grey flying horses landed near the white ones and started grazing on the soft green grass. A blue bird chirped and flew out from a tree by the pond. Jasmine, Gorge and Jacaranda looked a little surprised because though they could all hear the song, the singer’s lips did not seem to move. Everything seemed to be in harmony.

As the song rang out, they could see the flowers in the grass bloom and a bright yellow bird flew out from a tree, followed by a red bird. The surroundings seemed to spring to life with the mysterious music. Again the whispers rose in a crescendo and the clear notes dissolved in it. The song slowly seemed to fade into the swiftness of a breeze. The tall, white robed beings now turned their focus on the three intruders.

“Welcome, O creations of Janice and friend,” said a strange voice in their heads. It felt as if all the surroundings spoke in unison. Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge looked at them with stunned surprise on their faces.

“We come for help,” said Jasmine.

“We can hear your thoughts,” said the voices. “But we will use voices if you so desire.”

Gorge could sense the speech too. He was absolutely quiet and a bit scared. He had never seen anything so weird.

“Some of you are scared. There is no reason to be scared. We will help and not harm. Trust us,” said the voice.

Three of the white robed creatures, including the girl with the diaphanous veil, came over to where the three of them stood.

Their walk was more like a glide. They were much taller than Gorge, had pale but tawny skins that seemed to glow like moonlight.

“Let us lead you to our halls before we start to talk,” said a tall grey-haired man.

“Summon the steed.” Now, they could see he was moving his lips and talking just like them.

Three of the white horses that had been grazing at the far end of the meadow gamboled over. The three beings got up on the horses each one taking one of the three outsiders with them. Then the steeds took off to the skies. They soared over woods, meandering rivers and meadows till they reached what seemed to be a silver cliff-like structure. The steed descended just outside the cliffs

The riders and their guests descended and they went in through an enormous opening. Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge stared in amazement at the hall made of some translucent, crystalline material. The walls seemed to diffuse a natural yellowish white light of their own. There were more of these creatures in the hall.  Most of them were seated in small groups on plush sofas of red and gold against the walls. The floor was covered with downy carpets of mustard color. The shelter seemed to be a kind of cafe as most were sipping drinks in tall glasses. There were some who were behind a counter handing out drinks from different taps. Hushed whispers emanated from the different groups. Sounded like a pleasant chatter. The group sat down on an empty sofa.

The girl in the diaphanous veil broke the silence. “Come partake of some refreshments with us and let us talk over your issues,” she said. “I am Janice.”

“I am Halon ,” said the grey haired man.

“I am Anouk,” said the third man.

“We are from a distant planet called Lemuria,” continued Janice. “ We came here long, long ago. Earlier, we lived with mankind in the same dimension. Then the conflicts between different groups of mankind started. To keep out of these conflicts, we receded to this dimension.”

“I have read that,” pleaded Jasmine. “But we really need your help…”

“I know,” said Janice. “But this will be for the queen and her council to decide. I would like to help as you were an emanation of our ideals. We poured the emanations into your multiple selves as they were being formed. Your parents at some point were visited by dreams from us, which they would have forgotten. The dreams would translate to a physical reality…enough of this. You must be tired. Come, let us have some drinks.”

Janice and Anouk walked to the counter and carried back two trays. There were six tall glasses of a delicious drink. The drink was amber and filled Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge with a sense of peace. Their hunger disappeared and they felt rested.

“ Wow!” said Gorge. “What is this?”

“It is delicious,” said Jacaranda.

“This is Ambrosia, our main nourishment,” said Anouk.

“I feel really energized drinking this,” said Jasmine.

“So do we,” said Halon. “ It is our main diet. I would suggest that we adjourn to the queen and her council this evening. This is the time for our refreshment and then, we go back to work.”

“Perhaps, you would like to come with us to another meadow…” said Anouk.

 

The Creators

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Lemuria… the land of mists and murmurs came into being tens of thousands of years ago when mankind was in its throes of infancy. The ancient man saw the lemurians as gods from the skies. The modern man did not know they existed!

Lemuria was a strange land shrouded by white misty clouds. They had green hills and loud raging seas with patches of sunshine peeping through the clouds and mists. Flitting in the mists were tall and graceful lemurians. They were robed in white. Their skin seemed to glow with the light of the moon.

The lemurians descended on Earth because they needed a planet to live on. Their own planet was facing destruction from an aging sun. Some remained on the planet but many left to find planets they could terraform and continue living their lives as they had been used to.

Few of the space ships landed on Earth. In those times, Earth was scarcely populated. This suited the lemurians. They lived in harmony with nature terraformed by them. Their children were thought beings they developed with emanations from their minds. To reach out and make friends with mankind, who seemed rather primitive to them, they made some thought beings look human. These creatures were sent out as lemurian ambassadors to mankind. When people met these creatures, they thought they had descended from heaven, as they seemed to appear from nowhere. In reality, they were teleporting. But in those days, man’s comprehension did not stretch beyond the confines of his land and experience. Instantly, he gave these tall well-dressed, glowing creatures a divine status. They became the gods of mankind.

Lemurians had conquered disease. Death was a process that occurred in a five hundred years. After a full life, death was seen as a process of regeneration. The lemurians just dissolved into the mists when they died.Every lemurian was replaced by thought beings, who had powers similar to their parent. Some, who were made to interact with humans, had multiple biological systems that could adapt both to human and lemurian needs. Life went on peacefully for sometime.

The lemurians communicated telepathically. They did not have a language problem. It was easy for them to understand man’s words as they could read their minds. They could pick up the language very quickly and easily without man figuring out they did not know the language. The lemurians used a hundred per cent of their brain while man used only a small percentage.

As mankind advanced in intelligence, time and history, lemurians realized that they could no longer continue to live in harmony with these creatures whose wants came not from just needs but also from their greed. When battles started over land and violence became an accepted reality among mankind, these graceful aliens decided to create a separate space for themselves. The lemurian quest for ages had been to harmonize with that source of energy that created life and eluded all comprehension. War, hatred, anger were all emotions that took away from the positive. The lemurians wanted to experience only the positive energy so that they could focus more on understanding the energy that creates and destroys life, as it did their own life-giving sun. To keep negativity at bay, they decided to create dimensions. They did not violate or hurt man but, one day, they just seemed to fade out of existence. They had gone into a new dimension.

Some of the mythological creatures on the magic dimension’s island of wonder were children of thought beings and humans. But, no one except the lemurians knew that. The gods of mankind were lemurian too. The lemurians continued transmitting thoughts to people who were able to communicate with minds.

The lemurians, disappointed at the turns mankind’s history was taking, decided to create the creator’s dimension, which would help mankind evolve into a more positive being, into a creature that would live in harmony with nature and each other. The first five councilors were thought beings with human functions only. They mated with humans and founded a new dimension.

The councilor’s job was to experiment with different ideas to create a perfect civilization and home for man. They had not yet achieved this.

Sometimes, when people thought there had been a mass disaster where many died, the creators had merely generated an illusion and moved a group of people to new dimensions. Their minds would be wiped out and they would restart life on a clean slate, thinking what the creators would have them think.

People from the other dimensions who could communicate telepathically were also brought in. Sometimes, they made sure that some of the minds were replicated in a number of dimensions, as was Jasmine’s. These replicated people had  powerful minds and had their origins from the creator’s dimension.

Over eras, the creators had developed biases and some of them, felt a little more equal than others. These people made sure that they became council members. When this group rose to power, they wanted all creators to be in sync with their thoughts. Any aberrations were not tolerated. Jasmine with her open thought process became an exception. She wanted a dimension that would be open to all dimensions. The creators, like other humans, wanted their dimension to remain exclusive. That is why it was important for them to eradicate her and her multiple selves from the multiverse.

Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge had pinged to Lemuria. They landed by the raging sea when they arrived. Jasmine knew very less about this dimension. She had not ever met any of them in the mind stream. In fact, the lemurians were never sensed in the mind stream. But she knew there was a seaside in Lemuria from her history lessons. She knew that every creature in the creator’s dimension looked upto the lemurians.

The sea raged around them and there was a strong breeze. The little group moved inwards towards the green cliffs at the end of the beach. Jasmine could sense soft, reassuring murmurs rising from the sea. Despite the turbulence of the sea, she felt calm and at peace at last.

 

 

The Creators

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Jasper had spent more than three hours in outer space hovering between stations. He was starting to worry that he would run out of his supply of oxygen if he did not go for a refill. Yet, he was worried that the mind police somehow could have figured out things and might have spread their web to the outer rim filling stations. He decided to make a desperate bid to contact Jasmine. He focused his mind on her.

He was desperately looking for her in the mind stream. But, there was no response. There was so much chatter.

The mind police could sense Jasper in the stream. To entrap him within the stream, they created a chatter web. This would make it easier for them to trace his coordinates.

They were now near the cloud where the two mind policemen were keeping a lookout for Jasper. They knew Jasper had not descended and was not on earth. The mind police decided to use the outer space button to locate Jasper. They jammed on the button. They rose swiftly and suddenly higher and higher at a very high speed… Confronted with the bareness of outer space, they felt bewildered. However, they were still in touch with Jasper’s mind stream.

Every time they spotted a red vehicle,they tried to tally the number plate . The mind police had  a blue car.

As they circled around , they spotted Jasper’s car hovering near a space station. They went near the car and tried to lasso it from the back with a laser loop. But, Jasper still had his shield up. The laser bumped off. Jasper swerved. He realized he had been hit. He could see the blue car behind him. He recognized the car belonged to his assistant, Rudolf. But Rudolf would never hit him. He realized the mind police must have somehow got hold of the car and had traced him. Instantly, he quit the mind stream and zoomed away. He was a more practiced and adept driver than the mind police. The mind police followed him as he re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. He went behind thick rain clouds and disappeared again. He had managed to re-enter his hideout.

The mind police again lost him at his new coordinates. They decided to post some more guards at the new coordinates. What they did not know was this time unknowingly they had hit on the coordinates of his hideout. His hideout on the surface looked like a wild mountain.

Jasper felt the roof of his hideout close above him and heaved a sigh of relief as he got out of his vehicle.

Meanwhile, Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge followed Daedalus into his office. It was a huge dark cavern lit by fluorescent lights made of phosphorus. The office glowed with bright lights when it heard Daedalus’s voice. The lights were obviously voice-activated. With his fascination for technology, Daedalus experimented with science and magic to come up with unique products every now and then.

“So, tell me now…,”said Daedalus.

Jacaranda related all their adventures to him. Jasmine pitched in to explain how the issue had started.

“Well, I have one thing to say that you youngsters have a lot of spunk! I have one suggestion to make however. The moon is not as safe as you think. They technological dimension has a strong base there. So do some of the other dimensions, including the magical one. Rather, I think you should start thinking of involving the Lemurians. They are the only ones that can negotiate an amicable solution with the creator’s dimension. They are the only ones the creators fear,” said Daedalus.

“The Lemurians!” Said Jasmine. “I have never met one.”

“I cannot leave this isle without risking my very existence,” said Daedalus. “Otherwise, I would have come.”

“What do you mean … risking your existence?”

“Oh! You don’t know…,” said Jacaranda. “When the residents of isle of wonder leave this island, they lose their bodily existence and remain a only as a spirit, which can occasionally show up as ghosts in other dimensions. The souls here have been given eternal existence by a magic woven into the air of the island.”

“Wow!” Said Gorge. “That means I and Jolyn could live forever here…”

“You do have to face a governing council. It consists of people from magical dimension and the Lemurians. We do not want villains to find their way here. That is why there are spells to keep out souls with black hearts in the air too!” said Daedalus. “I have seen Lemurians only once in the governing council. They are seven to eight feet tall. They wear white robes and are peace-loving. They have powers beyond our comprehension and will always help people in need,” said Daedalus.

“Can we pinge to the Lemurian dimension?” asked Jasmine.

“I don’t see why not,” said Daedalus. “I had started work on pinging but abandoned it! Well good to see it taken up again. But, you can’t pinge from the maze as it is magic proof, technology proof and mind stream proof. Come, I will walk you out so that you can start onto the next lap of your journey.”

They again trooped out behind Daedalus, emerging this time outside the labyrinth, near the stream.

“You can pinge here,” said Daedalus. “I want to see you pinge.”

Jasmine took out the tong.

“Now, what is that?” said Daedalus.

“The pinging tongs,” replied the three simultaneously.

“Use it!”said Daedalus. “I want to see it done first.”

Gorge and Jacaranda held onto Jasmine’s shoulder as she clapped the tongs and the three disappeared.

“Hey ! Get back!”shouted Daedalus. “Now, I want to see the work that went into the tongs.”

But, the three were beyond his reach…

In the dragon’s cave in the magic dimension, things had calmed down. Jolyn was still pining for Gorge but the dragon prince had them all out in the garden involved in mind games so that they could hone their telepathic abilities. Jamie had started opening up. He seemed to be getting over his fears. Jacinth had started communicating very basic issues with JaJa using her mind. For instance, she could figure out when JaJa was hungry. She could give a simple command like ‘wait’. But, when a more complex command was needed, she had to take help from the dragon or Jamie.

Jolyn was starting to discover that women could do things too on their own, without men. In her dimension, women depended entirely on men. They did not work outside the home and had very less schooling. Talking to Jacinth, she was learning that men and women were equal and women could have opinions independent of the men in their lives. Jacinth had told her about Emmeline Pankhurst and how women had moved forward in her dimension.

Jolyn wondered how Gorge would react to her new discoveries. She missed Gorge very much all the time…his smile, his touch, his warmth…