Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

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Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 15 Jul 2010 17:15

Marten wrote:Links to Dileep saar's other wonderful works:
Spy Story 1
Spy Story 2
Spy Story - Generations


Folks, I am starting Spy Story - 4 The Glance of Saturn

This project is done a bit differently. It is written chapter wise, into a proper book form. Not that I expect it to get published or anything, but it might help to refine the trade. Ultimately, maybe after the fiction succeeds (and possibly exceeds in volume) the code, the trade might get refined enough to a publishable level.

Since it is written chapter wise, and often subject to refinement (that is inspired by Sanku, BTW), the post frequency is going to be low. There will be a gap of four to seven days between posts.

Thanks for the continued support and encouragement. Comments of all kind are welcome. Post them here, or send by e-mail. dileepks on jeemeyil would get me.

Enjoy!!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 15 Jul 2010 17:16

Spy Story – 4

Glance of Saturn

Prologue


“Unni, tell the next one to come in.” The septuagenarian told his young assistant, as he turned to the side to spit the pan out. The day was reaching its midpoint, and the clientele for Ettumanoor Rama Pisharody had only increased. “Lunch at 4:00pm today as well, isn't it Unni?” He asked with a smile, while collecting the pearl white shells on the table into one heap.

“Grandfather wouldn't listen when we insist to take a lunch break.” Unni complained with affection, as he turned back from the door after beckoning to the next client to come in. “You are not taking care of yourself, grandfather”.

Unni was the future for the old man, who dealt with the future of people. He was an astrologer. Though neither of his sons shown any inclination to getting into the field, no one objected when Unnikrishnan, the youngest of his grandsons, decided to apprentice himself. He did it more because he loved and adored his grandfather, than the love for the ancient science. As he knew more and more about the profession, and how the old man managed it, his resolve to excel in the profession has only firmed up.

The door opened and a couple in their thirties entered. Unni went back behind the small table on the side, keenly observing the couple. The initial introduction by the client was very important for astrologers, as they deduced a lot from that. The man, elegantly dressed in a traditional handloom mundu and a shirt of cream colour silk. The lady, evidently his wife, was in a set mundu with thin gold braiding. Both sported the sandal paste on the forehead, indicating that they had been to the nearby temple before they came to them. Both made the traditional salute by bringing the palms together.

“Come, have a seat..” Rama Pisharody invited, after a brief, but thorough glance on them. The man respectfully obeyed. The lady waited for the man to be seated, and then sat down herself. Rama Pisharody looked at the face of the man, and found the smile very familiar.

“Hey, isn't it Vijayan?” His face lit up in sudden recognition. “Unni, you know him? He is Vijayan. Son of Narayanan Master of Thodupuzha!” He excitedly asked his grandson.

“We haven't met.” Unni said, with a warm smile. He didn't really recognize either name, but he gathered from the old man's behaviour that they should be some one close.

“Where are you put up now, Vijayan! I saw you last at your wedding. How many years it had been? Six? Seven?” He asked, still excited.

“Eight years. I am now at Trivandrum, master” Vijayan said with a smile. Rama Pisharody was an acquaintance of his father, from the days when both were school teachers. As customary in the region, school teachers are addressed as 'master', or the shortened 'maash' by most.

“Oh, and this is the 'seventh house'”. He said, waving towards the lady. “Isn't it? Venus in seven, Guru in eight. Perfect match. I remember.” He laughed, almost congratulating himself in remembering the horoscopic chart he had matched long ago.

“I can't remember the name, that's all” He made an apologetic smile to the lady.

“Saumya.” She said.

“Hmm, Saumya. I remember now.” He smiled. He looked at the smiling faces, and intuitively figured that they are happily married. Must have a child too, looking at her forehead. He decided. Absent mindedly, he extended the arm to grab the rolled pan that Unni offered.

“How is Narayanan Master?” He asked to Vijayan about his father, while proceeding to chew the pan.

“He is no more, master. He passed away two years ago.” Vijayan said in a sad tone.

“Is it? I didn't know.” Rama Pisharody looked down at the shells on the table for a moment, remembering the good man, and wondering if he had ever predicted the event. He couldn't remember.

“What is special now?” He asked, waking up from the thought, and resuming his role as the astrologer.

“It is about her brother, master. Need to take a look at his charts.” Vijayan took out a small booklet and gave it to the old man, respectfully, with both hands. He took it, and spread it on the table. He read the chart on the planetary positions, and moved the shells on the chart on the table to the right positions. With the jaws busy chewing the pan, he concentrated on doing some mental calculations.

“This scholar is in police? Just like you?” He asked after a few minutes of thought. Both Vijayan and Saumya looked at each other, confused.

“You made a mistake, master. I am not in police.” Vijayan ventured, feeling a bit awkward in suggesting the old man could go wrong.

“You are not in police? That is odd! I remember you being in police! It is even there in your chart!” He said, a little excited.

“Well, I work at the home department in state govt, so it is related to the police in a way.” Vijayan said.

“Hmm, that might be it, but what about this guy?” He pointed to the open chart on the table.

“He is not related to police in any way. He is a software engineer at Technopark” Vijayan said.

“That doesn't matter”, he waved the argument off. “The document says 'kings limb'. When we see it, we normally say it means police. It could be government service like yours. By the real definition, ministers and officers are his head, police is his arms, military is his weapon, and spys are his eyes. So, it could be one of those too. But the normally seen result is police.”

“As far as I know, he is not related to any of those.” Vijayan said, a bit apologetically.

“Well, we will see that.” Pisharody said absent mindedly. He was looking carefully at the chart again.

“The Saturn is moving soon”, he said, moving a big shell by one cell to the right. “ It is going to end up glancing Venus in his nineth. He is having the dasa of venus, and the apahaara of saturn is starting at the same time.”

Pisharody looked up and sighed.

“What is it master? Is there anything wrong?” Saumya asked in a concerned voice.

“No. Nothing wrong or anything, but his time is not good in the coming months. How is he? Does he believe in gods and temples?”

“Not an unbeliever. That much I can say.” Vijayan said. Saumya glared at him, but didn't speak

“Hmm, let him visit Sastha temples on Saturdays. Do dhaara for Lord Siva on his star sign.” Pisharody said after a brief thought. Vijayan nodded.

“What was it about him you came for?”, he asked again, as he noticed that Saumya was holding back askign something.

“It is about his marriage, master. Nothing is firming up. We thought we will get you look at the chart” Saumya said, not leaving her husband to speak.

“Hmm, he is only twenty-seven now. No need to look for any alliances for another two years. Time is not good.” He said. Saumya's face turned dull. Vijayan looked at her, feeling a pang of pity himself.

“I see that you are eager to get a sister in law.” Rama Pisharody teased the woman, trying to ease her tension a bit.

“Or maybe she is fed up with him around.” Vijayan said with a laugh. “He is living with us, you know?”

Pisharody did not respond. He had once again gone back to some thought and calculations.

“Then Vijayan..” Pisharody finally began, a bit tentatively.

“Yes, master.” Vijayan looked up. Saumya cocked her ears.

“Ask that scholar to be a bit careful. Time is bad. Bad things can happen. Be careful, be it at the workplace, be it at home, or be it at the road.” He said, weighing his words carefully.

Saumya almost sobbed. “Is there anything wrong? Master?”

“Nothing to worry. Leave everything at the feet of Lord Sastha. He is Lord Saturn himself. Does he go to Sabarimala?” He asked.

“Sometimes. It depends upon the work pressure” Vijayan replied.

“Make him go this time. And do a 'navagraha pooja' there.” He said, and glanced at Unni, who had started writing things down on the letterhead of the astrologer.

Pisharody turned again and noticed tears in Saumya's eyes.

“Hey, why do you cry? Nothing to worry. He will be just fine.” He said trying to put some confidence in his voice.

“She is so fond of her brother.” Vijayan said, apologetically.

“Understandable.” Pisharody smiled.

After some more pleasantries, and more consoling Saumya, they took the written prescription, put a Rs 500 note as 'dakshina' on the table and left.

Unni looked at his grandfather, who appeared deep in thought.

“Unni, hadn't I told you that sometimes it is better not to tell the whole truth?” He asked, with a weary smile.

“Yes, grandfather” Unni said, eagerly expecting the pieces of wisdom that often followed such quips by the master astrologer whom he was fortunate to have as his grandfather.

“This guy, is going to get into a lot of trouble. Something like king 'nala' encountered. Saturn can do a lot to you, you see.” He said, with a remarkable aloofness. Unni waited silently.

“It is better left unsaid.” He said, while scribbling something on a paper. Once done, he gave it to Unni.

“Take it as an exercise. Figure what is going to happen to him” The old man smiled at his ward. Unni respectfully took the paper containing some planetary positions, and tried to take it in, trying to make an initial impression.

“Will he be fine ultimately, grandfather?” Unni couldn't resist asking.

“You will see that when you do the math, kid!” The old man said with a sigh.

“Call the next one.” He once again turned to spit.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dilbu » 15 Jul 2010 17:46

Great beginning. Don't make us wait for long for the next dose.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby armenon » 15 Jul 2010 18:26

Excellent!!

Are there going to be a malayalam version in the blog like the earlier one ?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Raja Bose » 15 Jul 2010 21:59

8) 8) 8)

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2010 02:56

Dileep can you also post the two preview posts here?
Thanks, ramana

RB any words or just smilies?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ManuJ » 16 Jul 2010 04:24

Intriguing start!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Raja Bose » 16 Jul 2010 05:23

ramana wrote:
RB any words or just smilies?


I am speechless with joy..what can I say? :mrgreen:

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby BajKhedawal » 16 Jul 2010 07:11

Dileep,

Very intricate build-up, knowing your work - drama is sure to follow, leading to action.

Scholar has my full sympathies; according to my kundalee I have both Sheeshnag kalasarp yog + the dreaded Sade Satee.

I wish I had some Ettumanoor Rama Pisharody to warn and channel me through this pakistanyat.

Looking forward to chapter 2, 3, 4, ………,



Added later in light of Dileep’s ‘ee vidvaan’ note, did not want to clutter the thread with unnecessary posts, so editing my original post:
In west most pandits while making janmaakshar (kundlee) at birth will refer to the subject as “Jaatak” = one that is born in their janmaakshar
Last edited by BajKhedawal on 16 Jul 2010 07:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 16 Jul 2010 07:15

The second teaser was from the prologue that is posted. Here is the first teaser quoted.

Folks, Spy Story - 4 is coming soon. Inspired by Sanku, I am writing it in a book form, and will be posting chapter wise. Naturally, the frequency will be lower than one per day.

Here is a teaser

Quote:
After the prayer, his mind calm, and steps firm, he walked back, starting a journey that would take him through hitherto unknown territories, and irrevocably change his life.

“Watch over me, lord!” He whispered, looking at the flagpole, and the horse idol at its pinnacle. As an answer to his prayer, the huge bells in the sanctum gateway started tolling.

As he walked past the precarious cliff, over which the trail snaked around, he leaned on the steel barricades that protected the pilgrims and rested for a moment. Briefly looking around to make sure that he is not watched by anyone, he took out his cell phone and threw it away, watching it fly down, hit a tree branch and vanish in the abyss.

The journey had begun!


Expect to begin on 15th July.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 16 Jul 2010 07:21

Baj, I wanted to create an astrologically accurate chart for him, but as I kind of 'lost touch' with the science, I found it to take a lot more time than I thought.

Let me explain the word 'scholar'. Pisharody said was 'ee vidvaan' (ഈ വിദ്വാന്‍), which is a sophisticated way of saying 'this gentleman', but I find that translation not to convey the right spirit, and went for 'scholar' instead.

I am inclined to make the alternate language version available at the blog sometime.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Atri » 16 Jul 2010 13:39

Awesome start, Dileep ji.

@Bajkhedwal ji,

According to many astrologers, Kaal-Sarpa Yoga is a hoax.. Saade-sati can be OTOH quite troublesome.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2010 19:50

I guess Apple and Gibson are going thru right now!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 20 Jul 2010 08:03

Chapter 1

vande vighnEsvaram tham, kamalaja dayithaam..” sang the golden voice embellished with the fingerprint of goddess Sarasvati, engulfing the island of activity in the middle of the jungle in its divine grace. The sun had already set over the tall hill to the west, and the halogen lamps had started to open their eyes, yet leaving the sea of people in semi darkness, which felt as if the jungle beyond the clearing had moved in to claim its rights.

The flow of the crowd was incessant. From a distance, it looked like a beehive, where people, like bees, went on wandering around without any specific destination or purpose. But closer inspection would reveal that there was a method to the madness.

Mostly men, interspersed with children and old women, mainly clad in black, were walking around, forming congregations at various points which were gateways. The concept of queue or even any semblance of order was absent, except right at the gateway, where wary men in uniform let them pass, after a brief pat around the bundles they carried. The steel utensils, mostly full of ghee, but often contained things like jaggery, plantains etc, were only randomly checked. The feeble indication of order seen at the gateway soon disappeared as the crowd again jostled forward, climbing up the steps, often slippery with the drops of ghee from a million trips.

The one thing that Sreejith Raghuram hated was this jostling part. He couldn't ever come to terms with rubbing the bare upper torsos in the crowd. Everyone looked the same here, clad in a black or blue mundu, and sometimes another one on the shoulder. One may be a millionnaire, and another who literally rubs shoulder with him, a poor labourer. Most didn't care, but somehow, Sreejith considered this to be the low point of the whole affair. Just like many things in life, he had learned to take in in the stride, over the many many years that he experienced it.

As the crowd slowly moved into the barricades, which were erected to gain some form of control over the madness, and to prevent the people from injury, as well as the ancient structures and artifacts from certain destruction, the random pushing around has given way to some form of orderly, yet labourious, push forward. With the agility of an acrobat, Sreejith wiggled himself into a position close to the rightmost edge of the flow, close to the barricade. This enabled him to get some fresh air from one side, and also, might offer him a clear view when he reached the destination.

As the human mass neared the raised platform, the barricaded path narrowed further, and the flow got compressed. Almost gasping for breath, Sreejith tried to leverage his hands to push himself away from the steel tubes, trying to avoid getting crushed. The flow started to move in bursts, as the men in uniform tried to push forward those who hovered there for more than a second.

Sreejith looked up at the gold encrusted roof, and the row of three golden steeples on top of it. He then focused his attention at the small, gold encrusted doorway, from which emitted the radiance of a hundred lamps, and the grace of a million suns from the deity inside, offering salvation to billions. The pleasant aroma of incense, camphor, and burning ghee filled the air. The chanting of the devotees, who lost themselves in the esteemed presence rose in tempo. As he inched forward, with his chest rubbing painfully against the barricade, the inside of the small room came into view, where the idol, barely a foot high, but radiating an ocean of grace, offering benefaction in the bad age of kali, appeared in the ever ready sitting pose. The priests were offering a stream of flower petals, which showered the devotees hearts with the ethereal nectar of life.

As Sreejith craned his neck to get a proper view, one of the assistant priests moved, and completely blocked the view. Desperate, knowing that the guard is going to push him away in another second, Sreejith pushed himself up over the barricade, trying to get at least a glimpse of the idol.

Something heavy hit the back of his head, which felt like a stone. With a loud tinkle, a cascade of coins rained down over his shoulder, as he was almost knocked down from the barricade. Someone had thrown a bunch of coins tied into a bundle in a piece of cloth, and the lot, weighing at least half a kilo, hit the craning head of poor Sreejith, and almost knocked him out cold. No one seemed to notice his predicament, including the guard who was already grabbing his shoulder to push him away. He managed a glance of the idol before he was violently and unceremoniously pushed away from the front of the sanctum, down the ramp provided for exiting devotees.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Tanaji » 20 Jul 2010 14:07

For those not blessed enough to understand , what is “vande vighnEsvaram tham, kamalaja dayithaam..”?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 20 Jul 2010 14:18

Tanaji wrote:For those not blessed enough to understand , what is “vande vighnEsvaram tham, kamalaja dayithaam..”?

Click the link on those words, listen to the song, and read the info on the page

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Tanaji » 20 Jul 2010 18:09

Er, there is no info on the page.. tried with two browsers... I dont understand Sanskrit nor Malyalam.

Never mind, best not to interrupt your story flow.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby negi » 20 Jul 2010 19:57

The player reads 'Morning prayer to lord 'Ayappa''

Afaik
vande== to bow with respect
vighnesvaram== Vighna + Esvaram i.e. one who can relieve us from our sorrows/pains.
Kamalaja (is it Lotus like ?)

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dilbu » 20 Jul 2010 20:32

Kamalaja (is it Lotus like ?)

Born of a lotus. (I hope)
Dayitha=wife?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Atri » 20 Jul 2010 20:45

Dilbu wrote:
Kamalaja (is it Lotus like ?)

Born of a lotus. (I hope)
Dayitha=wife?


vande vighneshwaram, kamalaja daayitam - I bow to remover and master of all obstacles and giver of wealth (kamalaja - born from lotus - lakshmi - wealth). daayitam is 'giver".

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 20 Jul 2010 21:11

OK, here goes.

This is the beginning of the Ayyappa Suprabhatham, which is played every morning at the Sabarimala temple. It is written in in Sanskrit, and sung by Yesudas.

vande (I salute) vighnesvaram (lord Ganapathi) kamalaja (born in lotus, ie Brahma) dayithaa (wife, ie goddess saraswati).

Every literary work should start by first saluting lord Ganapathi, who is the lord of obstacles, and then goddess Saraswati, who is the goddess of learning. The Ayyappa Suprabhatham is no different. The poet begins by saluting them.

I used the same phrase to begin my work, indirectly invoking the blessings, but linking to the story by making it to play in the public address system at the temple. At the temple, this song is often played, either at the temple PA system, or by the cassette shops.

It is an ethereal experience to hear it, right at the moment the temple opens. The silence is broken by a few blasts of the mortar, then there is the tolling of the bells to wake the lord up. Immediately, the song starts playing. But the storyline is set in the evening, so I just assume it arbitrarily played then on the PA system.

And yes, last time I did get hit by a bunch of coins on the head while having my darshan, but thankfully, it was a small bunch, and I wasn't hurt.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 22 Jul 2010 10:13

Chapter 2

Sreejith sat on the sheet spread on the bare floor. He was still feeling a little bit dizzy, and the events of the past few minutes seemed a bit hazy in his mind. He didn't really remember walking back, around the smaller sanctums and down the stairs to the place where he kept his stuff. Once back to the place, he sat down against the steel pillar of the roof, and took stock of himself.

The back of his head was throbbing real bad. He felt it up with his right hand, and found that a lemon sized bump has formed there. It stung when he touched the top of the lump, and he cringed a bit. He felt the area to be wet and sticky to the touch. Startled, he withdrew the hand and found blood on the fingers. He might probably need to make a visit to the small clinic in the complex and get it attended to.

What kind of people throws coins like that anyway? He thought. Half a kilo worth of metal coins wrapped in a piece of cloth is in fact a lethal weapon. It is understandable that you want to deposit your offerings right into the big receptacle kept in front of the sanctum, but shouldn't you consider the safety of the devotees? He was more annoyed because he lost the chance of having a good darshan. Now, he will have to stand in the queue again for that. But first he need to get his injury attended to. You can't go to the sanctum with blood dripping.

He was not planning to make the trip this year. There was lot of work pressure, and keeping himself away for two days seemed unthinkable. But everything fell flat in the face of a resolute woman. His sister wouldn't hear nothing of that sort. If she says he got to make the trip, then there is no appeal. Not even her husband would help. She even forced him to wake up early on Saturday mornings and go to the Sastha temple. That was in fact worse than forcing him to take leave for two days and take the hiking trip to the temple in the hills.

All after coming back from visiting the native place of her husband. They had visited some astrologer there, and all these were his prescription it seems.

He loosened the waist pack that carried the essential stuff and let it fall to the floor. It contained the money, ATM and credit cards, drivers license and his phone. In trips like this, you don't carry much anything else. He grabbed the cell phone and turned it on.

It was a cheap model of Nokia. He normally used his blackberry, but his folks back home insisted he shouldn't take it along. The temple complex attracts all kinds of people, and an expensive looking phone is sure going to attract the attention of some of those. So, instead of the smart phone, he had to carry the old nokia lying around, with the cheap prepaid SIM card. It served the purpose, and didn't matter much even if it gets stolen.

He watched the old green display go through the booting up, while his left hand nursed the bump on his head. Almost all the cell operators offered coverage at the location of the temple, even though it is in the middle of nowhere, deep within the dense tropical jungle. He didn't really expect to use it, but like most of the people, having a phone turned on, and with the signal bars displayed was a psychological need for him as well.

He was surprised to see an SMS message, alerting him that there were several missed calls. The service provider offered that service to alert you if someone happened to call you while your phone is turned off or out of coverage area. The number was not familiar, but the STD code and area code were from the place where he lived. Clouds of concern began to crowd his thoughts. No one would normally call him at the temple, unless it was something really urgent. But the number was unknown, so it should not be from his family.

As he was contemplating what to do, the phone rang. The same number he saw on the SMS appeared on the caller id.

“Swami Saranam”. Sreejith said as greeting. It was a custom when you visit the temple.

“Sree! Where are you?” The familiar sound of Vijay, his brother-in-law came in. The excitement in the voice and the frantic nature of the question didn't go unnoticed to Sreejith.

“I am at the 'nada panthal*'. What is the matter, etta@?”. Sreejith asked, with all kind of bad scenarios playing in his mind.

“There is big problem. You throw that phone away and get out from there immediately.” The voice of Vijay went down into a whisper.

Sreejith froze with terror.

* The huge open shed in front of the temple complex, where devotees take rest, and even spend the night.
@ affectionate address, meaning 'elder brother'

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 26 Jul 2010 10:51

Chapter 3

Getting leave for a couple of days was a big problem in the company. Mr. Tyagi, the CEO, never took vacations, and he always thought his subordinates never needed any. If you had something a bit important, like passing away of a parent, or getting married, he might admit that the absence of a day might not be too much out of order, but visiting a temple, that too for two whole days! That was something Mr Tyagi would never come to terms with.

And that too for Sreejith Raghuram!. His point man who handled some crucial projects. It was an unfailingly regular affaire in the mid year, which spanned more than a week. It would start with Sreejith submitting a written request for leave, for his annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala. The company worked in a bit of a queer way. Most of the HR activities happened electronically, but the old paper forms were still available. This was for the convenience of the non computer enabled staff like drivers and security staff. Net savy higher ups never used the paper system, but for reasons best known to himself, Sreejith preferred to use the age old form to do this particular request. The whole company knows about this event. While some looked forward to the spectacle, others, especially the poor souls who happened to be in the crossfire, dreaded it. However, all of them knew that Sreejith almost always won at the end.

He modestly put it to be the blessing of Lord Ayyappa.

Breeze Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Was a small company dealing with high technology projects. It was originally founded by a group of technocrats, ex DRDO. It was founded on the hope that a private enterprise may offer the much needed dynamism for the projects that they could sub-contract from DRDO. The endeavor was even encouraged by some of the top honchos in DRDO, but soon they realized that running the business is far tougher than running the projects. At least while under DRDO, they got paid on time. Here, they have to run around for each invoice to get paid.

As they almost ran it down to the floor, a conglomerate, already operating in the area of defense contracts, bought them off cheaply, and installed Mr. Shekhar Tyagi, a seasoned technocrat businessman, as the CEO. Three of the original founders left, while the fourth one, the best in technology, and worst in ambition, stuck on as the CTO of the company.

Then Mr. Tyagi did the ultimate sacrilege. He brought in the untouchable civilian business. He divided the company into two divisions. One continued to serve the defense projects, primarily DRDO, but also to the upcoming private sector defense players. The other group was dedicated to non defense projects. The CTO, and the team hailing from the original setup hated the decision, but the business acumen of Mr. Tyagi rode supreme. Of course, he had the backing of the top management. Eventually, Mr. Tyagi was proven right, as the civilian group, which was the unofficial moniker of contempt vested by the defense fans, started bringing in the moolah.

Sreejith Raghuram was hired directly into the civilian group as project leader. He was an expert in security systems, but being a bit of a non conformist, he had made his life a bit too hot at his first place of employment. Of course, he never admitted to that, and put the blame on 'bloody Bangalore traffic' to be the reason for moving. Mr. Tyagi's unfailing eye to spot talent had its share in the decision to hire Sreejith, and place him in the civilian group. It was the defense projects that originally attracted him to Breeze, but when Mr. Tyagi gave him some details on the projects on each side, he decided to take the job as offered. Only that the smart maverick never ventured if the big man had, in fact, been a bit disingenuous in that presentation.

Mr. Tyagi never knew, but the real factor that actually sealed the deal was something he had originally fought tooth and nails, and lost miserably. It was the lunch menu in the cafeteria. Sreejith got bowled over by something he terribly missed at Bangalore.

The beef fry!. In all its glory, adorned by the coconut flakes and crisp curry leaves, supported by the onion slivers fried in oil.

Saumya, his sister, laughed so much when he explained why he is taking the job, that her ageing mother-in-law took the trouble to raise the volume of her chanting as a warning. Parvati Amma, mother of Vijay, and the matriarch of that family, ran a strict regime in that house. Poor Saumya had to run to the kitchen to suppress the laughter. When she could talk again, she seriously advised Sreejith not to mention that again, at least to the old lady. Parvati Amma was really fond of Sreejith and considered him a good boy, and that good image would be shattered if she knew that he ate beef.

And in the evening it left the old lady really perplexed, and a bit annoyed, when he saw that her son too, was laughing rolling on the sofa when he came back from work. She muttered something about the whole world being gone lunatic or something to that effect, and went back to reading narayaneeyam* for the millionth time.

Within a month, Sreejith reluctantly moved in with his sister. He almost had convinced Vijay with some effort, but when it came to the old matriarch Parvati Amma, he was helpless. He held the mother-in-law of his only sister in high esteem, as she kind of filled the void of his own mother being passed away. Soon enough, the old lady started combing her ancient family tree to find a suitable girl for the 'nice boy who is my bandhu'.

Sreejith had no choice there, so he just ignored the minor irritant. He used his wonderful knack of diverting the conversation to something the old lady liked, like the wonders done by Chattambi Swamy@. Once in that groove, the poor lady would forget all about what she wanted to say, and go on with the new thread enthusiastically. He liked his work and workplace, especially the sea breeze from which the name of the company originated. He liked the free food there. He liked living at the ancient, but beautifully restored house.

He would never admit it, but he even started liking his sister's cooking. He hadn't forgotten her attempts of disastrous consequences while they were younger. It should be hereditary, he told himself. There is no other explanation.

Of course, they didn't eat meat or fish at home, but what else are those world famous thattu kadas for?


*See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayaniyam
@See http://chattambiswamikal.org/

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 30 Jul 2010 06:40

Chapter 4

For a moment Sreejith was dumbstruck. He even suspected if he was hallucinating, thanks to the hit he got on the back of the head. He reflexively removed the phone from his ear and looked at the display. The call status told him he is not hallucinating.

“What is it, etta? I didn't get it.” He stammered, as his heart started pumping up as if to compensate for the beats it missed moments ago.

“There is big problem at your company. Mr. Tyagi is arrested. The NIA had come to our house get you” Vijay seems to be a bit hyperventilating.

“Make it clear, etta. What happened at the company? And who came to the house?” Sreejith asked a bit impatiently.

“The NIA, you know? The National Investigation Agency? Those people has come to your company and arrested Mr. Tyagi. They took him to some unknown place. Not even his lawyer knows where he is. They came to our house looking for you.” Vijay seemed to compose himself a bit

“For what, etta? What did I do? I don't understand anything” Sreejith was terrified, as the severity of the situation started to sink in.

“Nothing is clear, but one of the NIA guys mentioned 'spy work'.” Vijay's voice trailed off, as if being unsure of himself.

“You mean to say, they are looking for me for spying?” Sreejith asked incredulously.

“That is why I asked you to move away. Throw away your phone, and leave to someplace else. Let us find out what is going on first. I don't want them to take you into the deep hole.” Vijay's voice seemed uncertain.

“Where can I go, etta?” Sreejith felt his head spinning, and being sucked into a whirlpool.

“I don't know. Figure something. Give me a few days to work things out.” The words did not give any confidence to Sreejith.

“Tell me this, etta. Did the guys create problem at home? How is Saumya doing?” He found it difficult to frame the question.

“Don't ask anything. Just go.” Vijay said a bit curtly. A moment's pause ensued.

“And Sree..” Vijay spoke again.

“Yes, etta.”

“Be careful.” The phone clicked off.

Sreejith Raghuram sat stunned, unaware of himself and environment. The throb in his head started again, and it seemed to drain whatever remaining strength he had.

“What happened swami? Are you OK?” The question brought him back to senses. He realized that he is still holding the phone to his ears. He removed it, and looked at the origin of the question. A man in his fifties, with ample flowing beard, forehead covered in holy ash, and the black attaire of the pilgrims was sitting in front of him, smiling.

“I got hit by a pack of coins at the sannidhi, swami. Sreejith replied. “It hurts real bad now.”

“Let me look” the older man came up to Sreejith and took a look. “Oh, Ayyappa! It has bumped and bleeding. We better go to the clinic and get it dressed” He suggested.

“Let me rest for a moment, swami. I am feeling a bit dizzy” Sreejith said in a feeble voice, and rested his forehead on his open palms. He was devastated by the news he got from his brother-in-law, and needed time to think. The old man, on the other hand, chose to sit near to him, just in case he needs assistance.

“Where are you from, swami?” He asked. The question startled Sreejith. “Ettumanoor”. He was surprised on himself about how seamlessly he came up with that falsification. “I am already in hiding” he thought bemusedly.

“You need water or something?” The old man asked.

“No, I feel fine now. Let me go to the clinic now.” Sreejith's face firmed up, as he internally resolve to fight out the situation to the best he could.

“I will come with you.” The man offered, and extended his hand to Sreejith to help him up. Sreejith took the firm grip and pulled himself up. He swooned a little bit, but steadied himself up immediately.

“I didn't get your name, swami” He asked while they gathered their stuff.

“Ayyappan Pillai” the man said with a smile.

Together they walked, keeping out of the way of the oncoming crowd, looking for the small clinic in the temple complex.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Rahul M » 30 Jul 2010 08:54

guruji, excellent ! I read it all at one go today and listened to Yesudas as well, the combination is terrific.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 30 Jul 2010 12:53

I realize that not all of the readers are familiar with the Sabarimala temple, so here is a special chapter on the same.

sahyaadrE dakshiNasyaam diSi karigirir ithyaakhyayaa bhuushitha thal
bhoo hr^dvaryOsthi thunga: sumahitha Sabarii puNya naamnaa prasiddha:
thasmin nirbhaasamaanam kaliyuga varadam sthoumyaham nithyam Enam
swaamin bhO brahmachaarin hariharaja vibhO, jaaythaam suprabhaatham.


To the southern side of the Sahya mountain, beyond the region named 'kari giri', there is the (mountain) famous with the holy name of Sabari, where the lord of 'kali yug' scintilatingly reside forever, the lord who is the batchelor, son of vishnu and Siva, whom I wish 'suprabhaatham'

The western ghats, raising to the height of several thousand feet, separates the relatively flat plateau of the southern peninsula from the narrow sliver of land that is sandwiched between it and the arabian sea. This mountain range offer steep cliffs to the east, where it faces the generally dry and arid plateau, while the western side slants down into the foothills and ultimately to the coast. This side is covered with one of the densest of the tropical jungles.

Amidst this jungle, close to the eastern border, there exists a temple of Lord Ayyappa. The lord is believed to be an incarnation of Dharma Saastha, born to Vishnu and Siva. Lord Ayyapa was born in human form, adopted into the royal family of the region. After extensively traveling in the jungle area, clearing it off the robbers, highwaymen, and some dangerous animals, he ultimately retired to the place where the temple stands today. The king built the temple in his honour, and it is one of the highest visited temple in India. Being situated among dense jungle, it is accessible only by foot, by a trek of 4 kilometres over an altitude of 1800 feet from a base camp currently accessible by road. Before that road was built, a trek of 60 kilometres was needed to reach the place.

The temple opens only seasonally. The main season begins in mid November, and ends in late December. Apart from that it is open for a few days each for certain festivals, and also for the start of every month in the local calender. During the main season millions visit the place from all over the world.

To visit the temple, you are required to take a lent, ideally for 41 days. Women of reproductive age are not allowed beyond the road head. You are expected to wear black or blue, and treat everyone and everything as an incarnation of the lord. The devotees call each other 'swami' in this spirit. You wear a garland made of 'rudraksha', or wood of sandal or tulsi as symbol of your lent. When you start the journey, you make a special bundle of offerings, the central piece of which is a coconut filled with pure ghee. This ghee will be used to shower the diety.

The roadhead is at the bank of river Pamba, and the place is also named Pamba. There is a small temple complex where you do the darshan, and then start the trek. It goes over a narrow trail, which is constantly being worked upon by the authorities to make it wider, and more comfortable for the devotees. The path goes around and over the hill, often very close to deep cliffs.

The path gets to a huge covered shed, where the devotees often spend the night. the path then leads to the outer sanctum, which is built at a height to protect it from the wild animals. There is a steep and narrow flight of 18 steps to reach there. These steps are treated holy, and puja is performed for them. Beyond the steps is the small, but infinitely beautiful gold encrusted shrine, in which the idol is placed. The idol is made of bronze, hardly a foot high. It is in a posture called 'bhaTTa bandham' which is the resting pose of a warrior, ready to spring up in short notice.

There are other smaller shrines in the complex, mostly in memory of the people who lived with the lord in human form.

Development caught up with the temple complex, and right now there are a lot of concrete buildings there. Some house pilgrims. Some for the offices, police etc.

The Google earth pic of the temple complex is here. The small + in the middle is the centre. The big shed is to the right.

Image

The Pamba roadhead is below:

Image

Search for sabarimala on google earth to see for yourself.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Pragadeesh » 30 Jul 2010 16:54

Dileep Ji, it is a wonderful starting. I have completed all your posts in a go. Once this story has reached a volume, I am going to merge all the chapters in a document so that I can read during my travel. :-) I am residing somewhat near to Sabarimala but I have checked out the Google images, Thanks for the additional information.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby jamwal » 30 Jul 2010 21:17

A nice start :)

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby James B » 02 Aug 2010 01:20

Nice start, waiting for more :)

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Klaus » 04 Aug 2010 16:16

Dileep saar, please bring back the "ascetic" from SS1. Also, please do throw in a couple of characters of Deobandi patronage as well.

I have read a few stories in which the protagonist has a mark/wart/mole/scar/pigmentation pattern on his/her body which flames up or diminishes as the story takes its twists and turns. The mark/wart/mole/scar/pigmentation could be a source of inspiration or could remind the protagonist of a former incident which has imparted valuable lessons. This role could also be played by an object (a dagger, locket, medallion etc) always on the protagonist's person or belongings. I wish that Sreejith Raghuram always keeps the "Rudrakshamaalai" (or another object of the lord Ayyappa) on his person. JMH request onlee.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 05 Aug 2010 20:15

Chapter 5

Sreejith sat, resting against the railing that served as a barricade for the devotees during the day. The floor was cold concrete, and what protected him from that is one layer of thick blanket. But that is the standard camping norm for the temple. You spread the blanket on the floor, and that is where you rest for the night. The roof above gave protection against rains, but the chill night air from the jungle sent shivers up the body. The temple complex, which saw a lot of hectic activity during the day had quietened now. The sanctum is closed, and the the only thing broke the quiet of the night was the odd devotional song played at the cassette shops. The injury on his head was feeling much better now. It didn't need any stitches. The clinic did a good job of dealing with it. They cleaned and patched up with some antibiotic powder, and gave a good tight bandage. It was still throbbing a bit, but that was just an inconvenience for now.

Ayyappan Pillai, the good samaritan who helped him to the clinic, was already asleep on his own sheet. He had assumed the guardianship of Sreejith, mentioning that he is just old enough to be his son. The man made sure that they occupy adjacent slots to spread the blanket, and even compelled him to take some food. He had, very kindly, offered to do all the rituals for him, asking him to take rest. It was good in a way. He did need the rest, and the time to gather his thoughts. His mind wandered to the recent past, before the world turned over itself for him.

Saumya's astrologer was probably right. In her relentless quest to get him hitched up, she had got an astrologer review his horoscope chart. It was done primarily to see if there is anything blocking the proposals. The astrologer, on the other hand, gave a horror story. He had mentioned that the Saturn had moved into the new house, and it is now 'glancing' 'venus', who is the lord of his 'dasa'. This 'glance' apparently affects very badly to venus, resulting in all kinds of bad things. Sreejith had obviously laughed it off, making sure that the old lady was out of earshot. But Saumya was adamant, even to the extent to spend the hard earned money of her husband on offerings to temples.

Sreejith's yearly trip to Sabarimala thus acquired a new importance. Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity there, is thought to be an incarnation of Saturn, and his blessing is believed to absolve the ill effects of Saturn in ones horoscope. Saumya had adamantly insisted that he conduct special pooja at the temple, which he had conducted, purely out of respect to her love. He couldn't help feeling amused to think that it didn't take hardly an hour for the pooja to give its effect. Only that it was in a negative way. He got his head injured, and he was thrown into exile and uncertain future.

Nothing could be worse. He seems to have been implicated in a crime that he has no knowledge of. It should be pretty serious for the NIA to get involved, and to actually try to raid someone's home to make an arrest. He couldn't put a hand to what could be the heinous crime he was accused of. His brother-in-law did mention spy case. Does it mean that he did espionage? That is ludicrous! He wasn't even involved in the defense contracts that his company did, and even if he did, a hard core nationalist like him would never do anything that hurts his country.

His first impression was to disregard the advice of his brother-in-law and go back. But Vijay would not advice anything without due consideration. He worked at the home ministry, and he did have some connections with the police and government circles. If the issue was small, he would not have panicked like that. As he is more knowledgeable, it seemed better to listen to him. But it was still not clear what to do. He is scheduled to start his return journey early in the morning. Only that he had no idea where to go!

He opened his waist pack and took inventory. He had cash worth of over two thousand rupees, and his ATM card. His bank account should have enough money to get him survive for a week, by which time things are likely to get resolved. Maybe he could take that vacation in the hills that he never could. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. He felt a bit relieved by that thought.

But what is it about the phone? Vijay had specifically asked to throw it away. That request didn't make any sense at all. Why should he throw away the phone? What is in a phone anyway?

A cold sweat broke out on his forehead, and a chill rose from his toes up. His heart skipped a beat, and resumed pounding, as he realized the reason.

He is being manhunted by the NIA!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby armenon » 05 Aug 2010 21:10

Good going saar. Wish you'd update more often.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Chinmayanand » 06 Aug 2010 00:58

Very interesting !!! Read all posts in one go. Keep it coming , Dileep saar.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dilbu » 08 Aug 2010 12:33

SS4 was the final omen. I am going to Sabarimala for the first time this season. Swami Saranam.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 11 Aug 2010 17:20

Chapter 6

The temple complex, which is far away out in the hills, is served by the early editions of the newspapers specifically run for those areas. Those are dispatched from the city office by 11 pm, and after taking various means of transport, including on the back of a donkey, would reach the temple premises by 7 in the morning. The pain from the injury, and the loss of sleep because of the mental turmoil had left Sreejith sleeping into the daybreak. When he finally woke up, it was all bright around. Ayyappan Pillai had gone to do the ghee offering which would take hours of queue, leaving Sreejith alone to get some rest. He cursed himself for being late, and went quickly through the morning necessities. The injury on the head was still paining, so he skipped taking a bath. That would mean he won't be able to enter the inner complex for another darshan, but he couldn't help it.

As he walked back to his blanket, he noticed that shopkeeper hanging up the days paper for sale. Suddenly a thought came to his mind and he casually walked up and bought one copy.

It was not top headline news, which were reserved for the hot scoops about infighting in the ruling party those days, but it sure was on the front page, with due prominence of a four column head. “Big Busting of Spy Racket!!” It screamed, with the name of Breeze Technologies, and Shekhar Tyagi mentioned under. A photograph of the front facade of the company was given, along with a mugshot of Tyagi. Sreejith's name also was mentioned in the body of the story, claiming that he has 'escaped' arrest. No mention was made about either the raid at his home, or about his trip to Sabarimala. The allegation was that the company was involved in espionage on the defense projects they were involved in. Thankfully, no mention was present about what were the projects themselves.

Sreejith eagerly followed the “more news on page 11” pointer and found what he dreaded. There it was, his three year old photograph from the company records. The clean shaven young face smiled at him, clad in stripes and a tie. The story there detailed how the company was started, and how it grew to be an important player in the defense projects. It also had some speculation about the projects that were involved. The reporter had in fact gone a bit overboard by calling the nuclear arsenal of the country being compromised.

“At least there is no look out notice on me!” Sreejith thought to himself. His month old stubble as part of the preparation for the visit, and the black attire of the pilgrim would conceal his identity to some extent anyway, and he felt not in any immediate danger. But it would be a different case if someone actually came looking for him.

That realization made him freeze. In all the likelihood, the NIA guys must have already known that he is at Sabarimala. Despite the crowd there, it would not be too difficult to track someone there if sufficient motivation and resources are employed. He must keep a low profile, and get out of the place as soon as possible. He should move to a place that is open.

Slowly, he gathered up his blanket and stuffed it into the bundle. Ayyappan Pillai had done the various offerings in the previous evening and kept his share of all the prasads there. There was cans of the famous 'aravana', packets of 'appam' and the mixture of rice flakes, rice puffs and jaggery. Among those, there was a small bundle made of the wild leaf used at the sanctum to deliver prasads. Curious, he unwrapped it.

There was ring made of brass, with a flat face as big as a 50ps coin. He found something engraved on the face in almost microscopic size. He took the ring out to light, and peered at it carefully.

The engraving was the Ayyappa Chakram, the tantric symbol of the lord.

He was surprised to no extent. The Ayyappa Chakram was normally engraved on a copper plate, at least 10 cm square. He was not sure how the complex figure was engraved on the metal, but there was no doubt in his mind what it is.

He moved all the prasad bundles close to Ayyappan Pillai's belongings. He will not need them. He wrapped the ring back in the leaf and put that too back among them. Then he paused.

He thought for a moment, and took the bundle back. Unwrapping the leaf, he took the ring out from among the holy ash and flowers that covered it.. He then said a silent thanks to the kind man, and apologized for leaving abruptly. He took out the small towel and wrapped it around his chin and top of the head, simultaneously providing protection to his bandage, and shading his face from prying eyes. He then grabbed the bundle and walked up to the front of the outer sanctum, and prayed. He kept the ring cupped in his hands, thanking the lord for the kind gesture. He then wore the ring on his right ring finger. His body shuddered in a sudden burst of chilled breeze.

After the prayer, his mind calm, and steps firm, he walked back, starting a journey that would take him through hitherto unknown territories, and irrevocably change his life.

“Watch over me, lord!” He whispered, looking at the flagpole, and the horse idol at its pinnacle. As an answer to his prayer, the huge bells in the sanctum gateway started tolling.

As he walked past the precarious cliff, over which the trail snaked around, he leaned on the steel barricades that protected the pilgrims and rested for a moment. Briefly looking around to make sure that he is not watched by anyone, he took out his cell phone and threw it away, watching it fly down, hit a branch and vanish in the abyss.

The journey had begun!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby BajKhedawal » 12 Aug 2010 09:09

Very nice! It’s good that you have incorporated aerial map, and url to media. How about some line art drawings (like R.K.Laxman cartoons, or Malgudi days) of the scene you are describing for example: Sreejith being hit by the bundle of coins, line art of Ayyappa Chakram, flagpole with horse idol, etc. If you are busy maybe you could involve your son in the project. Once compiled it would make an impressive book.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ramana » 12 Aug 2010 09:27

Did he get rid of the SIM card and erase the call registers, the IMEI number?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby niran » 12 Aug 2010 09:41

Dileep wrote:Chapter 6

The injury on the head was still paining,

small correction Saar, it should be "aching"

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 12 Aug 2010 09:55

I am not finding enough time to write itself. So, can't really do the line art. Half of the project works of the little guy is done by his mom, so where is the help there? If someone here can help, we can consider that.

Ramana, he just threw it away. He did not even remove the SIM. There was no need.

Niran, thanx. Will update the source document.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 12 Aug 2010 10:21

Image of Ayyappa Chakram, commercial version.
Image

Flagpole, with the horse idol on top:

Image

This is the angle he saw:

Image

People amassing forward between the barricades:

Image

Scene of the accident. See the guy at the extreme left. Sreejith was standing a bit further left, where the barricade was.

Image


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