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Adventures in Aipotu
By Sanat Mohanty
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Adventures in Aipotu: Episode 1, Part 2

Suddenly, the web shuddered on its way up dropped sharply and then began to rise again. Damini grabbed at the central beam for support and pulled Ollie close to her in case he might fall off. "What was that?", she asked, frightened. "Just an air pocket", Ollie replied. "Often one finds downward drafts of air in the atmosphere and we might have passed through one of those", he added. There was another shudder and the web dropped a little more. Damini's face had turned pale with fright. The web had also begun to spin and all this motion was making her feel sick. Ollie, however, seemed calm.

Suddenly a group of eagles surrounded the web. Now, whoever has heard of a group of eagles? In fact, there is no term for a group of eagles since they never fly in groups. But these were special eagles. The eagles were stuffed cotton and wool eagles, just like Ollie was a stuffed cotton and wool elephant. "Hello Ollie", one of the eagles hailed. "We have not seen you for a while now". "Hello Goldee", Ollie shouted back, swinging his trunk. "I have not had an opportunity to catch the Sunraylevator", he added. "Oh, that is what this web is called - a Sunraylevator", thought Damini. The eagles guided the Sunraylevator through the turbulent air drafts. Away from these drafts, the web proceeded smoothly. "Thank You", Ollie waved at them. "See you later, Ollie", they shouted and then veered away soon disappearing from sight.

The Sunraylevator had now begun to rise quickly again and was passing through dense clouds. There were times when Damini could not even see Ollie but she held on to the beam with one hand and Ollie's floppy ear with the other.

"That was Goldee, the golden eagle", Ollie told Damini. "The others were friends of Goldee". They are the guardians of Aipotu."

"What is Aipotu?", Damini asked curiously. It seemed an outlandish name. But everything else that was happening to her did not seem normal either.

"Aipotu is the topsy-turvy world of your imagination", Ollie said. "It is like Utopia but it is not an ideal world. In fact, it is a chaotic world full of contradictions, just like your mind is and your beliefs are. It is a world that you can explore in a way that helps you explore yourself. It is your world, as only you know it. It is world very unlike the world you live in. So go ahead and explore. It is a world of children - for adults have forgotten about it. Sometimes they do stumble into this world but they cannot believe it exists. I will be careful that I do not say too much since I do not wish to bias you. Explore it with an open mind, Damini, for in a number of ways it is a reflection of your world. Ah! We are almost there."

Damini looked up to see that the Sunraylevator had begun to dock into a hole at the bottom of a cloud. Damini looked at Ollie who was stepping off the web. Ollie turned around to Damini and said "We will part ways for sometime, Damini. I will meet you later". Before Damini could comprehend what Ollie was saying and ask him to stop, another beam of sunlight fell on Ollie and he zoomed up out of sight. Damini was left there alone. She did not know what she should do in this new world. Apprehensively she stepped out of the web. As she stepped into the cloudy surface, she sank a foot before her feet rested on something hard. The cloudy surface came up to her knees. It was like walking on water except that there was little resistance to her motion. She was initially rather apprehensive, since she did not know what lay below her foot. She walked gingerly, very carefully placing her foot before she put her weight on it. She looked like one of the cartoon characters on TV. Slowly she gained confidence. Walking through the clouds was not so difficult after all.

Suddenly, she lost her footing and sank down. She was falling. With all the clouds around her, she could hardly see a thing. All she could see was a white mist. She spread out her hands to grasp at something. But there was nothing to hold. Suddenly there was bright light all around her and she felt her legs hitting a soft surface. She fell onto a cushion of feathery stuff. She had never seen anything like this before. It was a heap of sand like particles that felt like feather. And they shone brightly. She picked some of this dust and threw it up and they floated down sparkling. She picked some up and put it in her pocket. This stuff might be interesting to take home.

She looked around to see where she was. She was in a small green room. The room had one green door. The roof was a dark mass of clouds. She got up and walked around the room, touching the walls. The walls were soft. And they smelt like fresh summer rain on the Earth. She filled her lungs. She was beginning to like it here. She went to the door and knocked and then waited. There was no answer. She knocked again. She pushed the door open, just a crack, and peered. She saw a pier leading to a lake. A boat was tied to the pier. In the middle of the lake was an island with tall palm trees swaying in the breeze. The island was about five hundred meters from the pier. She pushed the door open and stepped on to the pier. The door clicked shut behind her. Alarmed, she tried to open the door but to no avail. "Well", she thought, "the only way to go now is to the island". She walked up on the pier and looked around. High mountains surrounded the lake. They looked rather ominous. She went up to the boat at the end of the pier.
 

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Adventures in Aipotu
By Sanat Mohanty
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