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Adventures in Aipotu
By Sanat Mohanty
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Adventures in Aipotu: Episode 11, Part 2

"Do I live here?", the man asked himself. "Now let us see. Let us see. Of course I live here. I mean I have a home on Earth but who wants to live there? So I just come and live here."

"Why is this place called Kreyzimen?", Damini asked again.

"Oh! Is it called Kreyzimen? Who said that?", the man asked back. Then noticing the board, he went up and read it. "Who put this board here? No wait, the board should stay here. Only it should point the other way."

He attempted to turn the board around. Finding himself unsuccessful, he said, "Let me get some of my buddies and we will turn this thing around." So saying, he began to stagger back.

"Mister Singer", Damini called back to him. She was clearly not done with the conversation yet, and had no intention of letting him go. "Mister Singer", she called again.

The man turned back. "You called me?", the man asked. Damini nodded her head. "You called me Mister Singer?", he asked again, clearly pleased with that name. "Yes Sir", Damini replied, being very polite. "You want to speak with me?", the man asked again, clearly not sure whether he should believe himself. "Yes Sir", Damini replied. "That is very strange. Not too many people who are part of the club want to speak with us." Then peering closely, he said, "You do not belong to our club. I have not seen you." Suddenly he became suspicious - "You are not here to take me back, are you?"

"No Mister Singer", Damini replied, "I just wanted to ask you what is special about this place and what does your club do?" "Oh! This place? We call it the Oasis of Sanity. It's the only place that we can come to for our Sanity. You see, we find it very difficult to stay sane on Earth. So they call us mad. So we come to this small town in this world of Aipotu to maintain our balance." "But why is it difficult to stay sane on Earth?", Damini asked.

"Don't you see?" the man asked innocently. "There are contradictions all around. Enough to drive one insane. They say one thing and do another. Parents teach you one thing and do just the opposite. Do not lie, they say. And they lie to each other, to their friends, to their neighbors, and to their children. Don't fight with each other, they say. The politicians, the teachers, the parents. And then they do exactly that - fight with each other. Believe in Jesus they say. And then they use the name of the person who said we should turn the other cheek to go and start a war." The man was becoming visibly agitated as he spoke. "Believe in the words of the Prophet, they say. And then they use the name of the person who said that only God could judge, and only God can do justice, to decimate other people because they are judged to be bad. And believe in God they say. And then use the name of a man who said that a camel could pass through the eye of a needle more easily than a rich can enter heaven to amass huge amounts of wealth. So I do not know what to accept and what not to accept. It is driving me insane." "But Sir", Damini interjected.

"No wait", the man continued. The man was finding it traumatic to relate his experiences. His breathing had become heavier. "I am not done yet. They say that we need to be ambitious and strive for individual greatness. And then, when people do just that, leaving everyone else behind, friends and relatives get upset. Individual success is feted. But obviously, it comes with the breakdown of community. How can you have both? But you can't ask these questions on Earth. Else, everyone thinks you are mad. Or just simple. And then they treat you as if you have no intelligence. So all of us, who can see these contradictions, have formed our own club. We live in our dreams in Aipotu. Here, in this Oasis of Sanity, there can be no violence. Physical violence towards each other is completely absent. All who come here also try to reduce mental and emotional violence too. Each individual is responsible for being non-violent. We realize that life is full of contradictions and we try to reduce contradictions in our lives within this Oasis. You are welcome to come in but you will have to follow the guidelines of non-violence."

He then turned around and began to walk back from where he had come. As Filo and Damini watched Mister Singer walk back, more steadily now, they could hear him singing quietly in his own unmelodious manner. Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for No religion too Imagine all the people living life in peace…

"Well", Filo asked, "do you still want to go in and look at this town?" "It does seem interesting", Damini replied. But realizing that it was getting late and Filo had a long day ahead of him, she said, "Can we go and just look around for a little while?"

Filo smiled at her and the two of them walked into the town of Kreyzimen. A slight wind had picked up and it was getting cold. Filo wrapped his hands closed around himself. Damini dug her hands into her pockets. Her fingers found some soft powder in the pockets and began to play with it - squeezing the powder and then letting it run out. Her fingers tingled and a quiet warmth began to spread from her fingers into the rest of her body. Damini took her right hand out of the pocket and took Filo's hairy hand as they walked along. Immediately, Filo felt warmth spreading into his body as well. He looked down at the little girl, surprised and worried.

"Did God give you anything, Damini?", Filo asked. "No!", he continued, "God could not have. Do you have anything in your pocket that you picked up in Aipotu?" Damini looked up surprised. Then she realized that the powder in her pocket was what she had picked up when she landed in that room before she met the Water Connoisseur. That was what was spreading the warmth. "Yes", she replied, "I had picked up some powder before I met the Water Connoisseur."

"Ah, the Powders of Peace is what you have", Filo replied, visibly relaxed. "There are a number of things that you could pick up at Aipotu - some that can bring you love or peace or relieve your stresses and others that can make you angry or violent. The Powders of Peace will also add some love and warmth. If you keep them long enough with you, they will become part of you."

Suddenly, Filo stopped, his ears standing alert as only a cat's can. "I can hear noises from behind us. Sounds like angry chanting." The two of them turned around, looking towards where the town ended. Damini could see many lights far away, slowly moving towards the town. Filo's cat eyes saw more. He saw men and women, with flaming torches and his feline senses picked up anger and hatred and he perceived this wave moving towards the town to destroy. His human-feline instincts were trying to decide whether to run or to destroy. He knew his powers - even a large armed mob could not match it. His feline-human wisdom knew that he had to protect the residents of the Oasis from those who were coming to destroy as well as save those who wanted to destroy from their own hatred.

He looked around the bend in the street and saw a large courtyard with lights. There were a large number of residents, meditating. Holding Damini's hand, he turned around and began to walk towards the outskirts of the town, towards the angry mob shouting slogans. The breeze had now picked up strength and was blowing away from the town. The odd couple of a little girl and a half cat - half human reached the board under the light that announced the name of the town and waited. Seemingly, an odd couple to take on the strength of the mob. This was a good place - the crowd could see them clearly.

The flames came closer. The crowd was approaching fast. Even Damini could feel the anger and hatred. A shiver ran through her spine - it was not the cold. She dug her hands back into her pockets and played with the powder. A warm feeling of assurance came back. She looked up at Filo. He looked at peace, confident. He put an arm on her shoulder as if to say, "Don't worry dear Damini."

The crowd came up to the two and stopped. There was about fifteen feet separating the two groups. They certainly did not expect a feline looking human standing there, guarding the city with a little girl to give him company. "There is one crazy creature", someone from the crowd shouted. "A mutant perhaps", another sneering voice piped in.

Filo sttod quietly. Then he turned and looked towards the signboard that pointed towards the town and said "Kreyzimen". The signboard creaked loudly and then began to twist around and did not stop twisting till it was pointing at the crowd.

The crowd gasped. "There is magic here. Lets run away", one voice shouted. "No, this man is a sorcerer. We have to destroy him", another said. "Kill him", someone in front shouted and the crowd surged.

Damini stepped in front of Filo, pulling out her hands from he pockets and spreading them out as if to protect Filo. There was a quiet assurance on her face now. She was not afraid. The crowd stopped, surprised at the action of this little girl. But then something else happened. As she pulled out her hands in defense, some powder fell out as well. The strong wind picked up the powder and spread it though the crowd. Someone felt a little tingle. And then another person felt it. Why were they here, with flames and sticks, one wondered. Why did they want to destroy this small town, another asked herself. And a third thought lucidly - that the people of this town were different was not enough reason to destroy them. And the leader of the group asked himself whether he should have incited the people thus, whether the greater power at the cost of a massacre was worth it. And as the wind spread the Powders of Peace, the crowd dropped the flames, dropped down on to the sand and cried.

Damini turned around and walked back towards the Oasis of Sanity. Filo turned around and looked at her, proud of his young friend's confidence and fearlessness. He then followed. The two of them walked into the courtyard where the residents of the Oasis meditated, oblivious to the storm that almost broke upon them. The two of them walked away from the mob, allowing them to wonder what had come over them. The two of them sat in the courtyard for a little while, quietly, at peace with the rest of the residents. Then Damini touched Filo's hand, telling him that she was ready to go and meet Sophie.
 

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Adventures in Aipotu
By Sanat Mohanty
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