Joined: 04 January 2012
For those wondering about the title, it is because , like the rooms full of such mirrors in amusement parks, where everyone passing in front of them looks anything but what he/she is, our tale too is increasingly full of people who are nothing like what they appear to be.
Leela is not the abla shoshit naagin that Rudra takes her to be. The Shivanand now onscreen is not quite the tortured erstwhile brains trust that the other garuds take him to be, but something quite different and possibly sinister. MB now seems very different from the firm but benevolent guru she was, and indeed looks very suspicious to Rudra's team, for though we know the truth, the other garuds don't .
And now Professor APG Rao is not the wise guru he has seemed to be all along, dedicated to the protection of the amrit, but that character beloved of crime novelists: the Master Criminal. In short a 21st century James Moriarty (the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes), secretly controlling a far flung empire of crime, like a spider lurking at the centre of its web, complete with an ultra respectable public persona as an esteemed professor. So esteemed that the Banaras Hindu University invites him to address their students. Incidentally, Moriarty too was a university professor, but of higher mathematics.
If it were not for his garud lineage, I am sure Tiwari too would turn out to be a Colonel Sebastian Moran, the right hand man of the Master Criminal Moriarty/Rao. Or perhaps a Raa... bert to Ajit the Loin/Rao?
Mea culpa!: As soon as I saw the Thursday night precap, I rushed off to do two things.
One, I ordered an XXXL size laurel wreath, to be shared by all those who had propounded, and stuck to the Rao the Rogue theory against all odds.
This includes Sandhya, who plumped for Rao because she saw him a la Ajit the Loin, seated at a huge desk, framed in coloured lights and with shoes sizes 8 & 9, presiding over his evil empire with a Mona darling by his side!
NB: I see that already mischievous speculation is rife in my last thread as to who among the present female population of Mahakumbh could be slotted in as Mona darling. With no results thus far, which is not surprising, seeing that the choice would have to be between MB, Thappadiya Mai (the very thought is enough to make the mind boggle!) , and the still recumbent Maya, given that Katharine lacks the pizzaaz needed for a Mona darling, and Leela, a far more suitable sultry siren, seem to be the prime candidate for the naag bali!
Two, I ordered a sack cloth and ashes outfit for myself, for having tried to explain away the suspicious points re: the aforesaid capo di capos (a Mafia term meaning boss of bosses) Rao, on the basis of careful logic. Now logic and the writers of TV serials are natural enemies, and I should have known better than to oppose the "least likely one is guilty" thesis!
Jazzy (Veritaserum) gets a dab of the ashes for her touching but somewhat misplaced faith in my ability to predict future developments in this tale!
A plot twist full of holes: Having thus gracefully conceded defeat, I shall now proceed to point out that this sudden plot twist is almost as full of holes as Swiss cheese. Let me flag some of them for your amusement. And no, it is not sour grapes at all!!
Rao is based in India, and has a solid and genuine academic reputation and position. Granted that he could have fooled Shivanand and Tiwari, both his students, for so long, but to accept that he ran that Secret Society too, with the patrician Cardinal (I refuse to have him summarily demoted to Bishop by Greyerson) as a figurehead, from here demands a considerably greater suspension of disbelief. It is not at all easy for someone who is so high profile that he knows the Home Minister of India, and the Army top brass (who let him have that gizmo for checking out the Saraswati Kund), to lead such a dangerous double life, involving innumerable foreign connections and God knows how many henchmen like Greyerson, for decades without being caught out.
But the real hole in this dramatic twist - and it is a hole big enough to drive a truck thru it! - is that Rao, as the Cardinal's boss, had Shivanand kidnapped, held prisoner and tortured for 24 years to get at the knowledge that he had acquired from the Second Book, as also from his researches into the amrit reappearing at the once in 144 years Mahakumbh .
But why was this necessary at all? Shivanand always had total samarpan towards Prof.Rao, whom he considered his guru, and he would surely have shared all that he knew with him, willingly and even eagerly, in the belief that they were working together to achieve the same goal. That was amply evident from their interactions, right up to the fiasco of the Saraswati Kund experiments with Prof.Rao's gizmo.
The whole thing makes no sense at all, and this is the single biggest, indeed fatal lacuna in this script shocker.
Then again, his mystery visit to Delhi was obviously not to Delhi at all, but to Poland to force the Cardinal to commit suicide (and thus, after committing this mortal sin, go straight to where he would have gone anyway, hell) and take over the whole operation himself. But why was that necessary? One would have thought that it would have been far easier for Rao to have stayed on board the garud bandwagon till the very last moment, and then arranged to grab the amrit thru some sort of sleight of hand.
Curious acts of omission: Next, he has been operating, thru the Cardinal and Greyerson, with the Veshes and the nagas, ie with Dansh. He thus has both ends covered - the garud end and the naga end - which is what he says in the precap to his subordinates at what looks like their first board meeting. For this to work, both groups have to have the ability to get to the amrit. The nagas have come quite some distance in this respect, but not the garuds, who, right now, seem remarkable only for their utter disorganization and the lack of any viable action plans from their side.
Activation of the garuds' powers: For this garud group to have any chance of success, all their powers need to be activated. Why then does Rao not press, as soon as Rudra arrves with the Two Books and Rao finds that he cannot make any sense of them, for this activation to be done at once by MB? It would have sounded very logical and no one, not even MB, could have objected.
But he does nothing of the kind. So now, thanks to MB's canny move to undercut him by making off with the Two Books and inveigling Dansh into working with her, at least for the present, Rao is left with a bunch of powerless garuds and no Books, plus a non-functional Shivanand. Which means that unless he can somehow manage to activate the powers of the other garuds, Rao's dependence on the nagas to get the amrit will be now almost total.
Perhaps this is the reason for the suggestion that one naga be sacrificed to get one garud's powers activated - though it is not as yet clear who has told Rudra this. Which of course leads to Tiwari pointing to Leela as the candidate of choice. Rudra will of course refuse, leading to deeper daraars among the garuds, who are already at odds with him over his decision to give refuge to Leela.
The Saraswati Kund explorations: Then there is Rao's bizarre failure to resume the explorations in the Saraswati Kund, which had had to be abandoned after Daadi cut up rough. Daadi is no more, thanks to Dansh, and even if Shivanand too is not available, surely Rudra could have stood in for him? All that was needed was to set up the gizmo and collect the samples. Rao & Shivanand were on the point of being able, thru those samples, to ascertain where precisely the vilupt Saraswati would re-emerge at the Triveni Sangam, bringing the amrit kalash in its wake. Why then did Rao not pursue these vital investigations, instead of sitting with a blank face in front of the Two Books?
Sector 53: The last and most ludicrous is his fiat to the Veshes, that Sector 53 should be completely cleared of all the kalpavasis and all the tents etc. now there, with this eviction to be accomplished thru death threats if need be.
But again, why? Rao had already had Sector 53 allotted to him officially by the DM, along with Sectors 17 and 34 (?), ostensibly for his Project Ganga work, but which he actually intends to use for the Mission Amrit. Shivanand and Tiwari both know of this, and both are eager to work on this with their guru. Why then does Rao now want the whole area cleared?
And if he does want it, why does he not get it done officially, citing some reason like an outbreak of a serious infection, thru DM Tiwari? It would be far, far easier for him than for the Veshes, who have no official standing.
Trying to evict everyone from that Sector would attract an enormous amount of adverse media attention these days - it is not 1869, after all - and as soon as one lot are evicted, another lot will stream in and occupy the places vacated in this special area.
Most important of all, how on earth can the Veshes get away with mass killings of the kind Rao apparently contemplates? One Maimuyi being murdered in broad daylight with impunity is one thing, and about 20 people being shot at one night by unknown criminals is another ( though in truth, during the 55 days of Mahakumbh 2013, with over 70 million pilgrims, no crime more serious than theft actually occurred) , but this kind of mass killings would be quite something else ! It would leave Sector 53 teeming with so many policemen that no one else would be able to even get near the Ganga.
Highly implausible: All in all, folks, this latest twist - of Rao doing a Moriarty - seems ill thought out and flippant, something tossed at us for shock value, but hardly credible. Not that we can do anything about it, but my opinion of the Mahakumbh scripting is going downhill. The narabali , or rather naagbali angle is ugly and unnecessary, and that too has been tossed in with a kind insouciance that is as startling as it is unpleasing.
Now for the rest. I plan to concentrate on just 2 major elements: one, MB's plan to inveigle the nagas into cooperating with the garuds for getting the amrit, on a share and share alike basis, and the other, an assessment of where our Garud Pramukh is at present, as regards both his dil and his dimaag. The remaining elements mostly fit into one of the other of these two.
The Great Negotiation: Well, I could hardly have started anywhere else, could I? It was manna from Heaven, that long scene between the saatvin garud and the Naag Pramukh, one worthy of the Mahakumbh record books. Without competing in any way with the emotionalism and the lambent wisdom that made the MB-Rudra scene in Episode 72 so luminous, this one, purely cerebral, was fantastic in an entirely different way. But never fear, I am not going to devote 3 pages+ to this one! Thoda to kam hi hoga!! Like, say, 2 1/2 ?
The first rampart: It was, and this is what appealed to me the most as a professional diplomat, a classic exercise in negotiating successfully with a viscerally hostile and very intelligent opponent.
So first, MB has to impress Dansh with her extraordinary, supernormal powers, to prove to him that she is an interlocutor worthy of his attention. Whence the intimidation of the gun-toting guards, beginning with, not a request, but an announcement: Main andar jaakar Naag Pramukh se miloongi, followed by the almost casual threat to burn down the naaglok if need be to make her way in.Then the slamming down of her dand, making the earth crack and forcing the guards to retreat. And so on to Dansh.
He circles her, hand to his forehead as if to keep his eyes from being dazzled- a quirky gesture that, followed by the wicked remark that to his jawaan aankhein, all old women (poor, still very pretty Ganga, to be so slotted with Daadi and MB!) look exactly the same, is vintage Dansh, half calculated, half nutty.
When she passes his bullet test with flying colours - the shot of a bullet being moulded to fit the contours of her unwavering eye was superb - he is quick to voice his admiration: Guruji se aapke baare mein jo suna tha, kam tha. But he is no pushover, even for a woman who can halt a bullet in its tracks, and so he tries to gain the upper hand by refusing the daya ki bheek that he assumes (or pretends to assume) that she is here to seek. His look at that moment is very interesting, the right hand, still holding the gun, to his cheek, and the eyes as bright and curious as a bird's.
But MB is not about to be tripped up so easily, so she counters him with just 5 words: Sauda to ho payega na?
She follows this up with a smooth putdown, that the nagas do not have the blessing of being able to show daya, something that has been granted to the garuds. She proceeds to brandish her bait: Main bas tumhare ek sauda karne aayi hoon, jo hum donon ke fayde ka hai..
And the fish bites. In a delightful little segment, both Dansh, who bows from the waist in courtly invitation, and MB, who counters with a Lucknawi aap pehle, make their way up the stairs to the naga sanctum sanctorum. She has breached the first rampart.
The opening round: Once inside, MB deploys another time-honoured negotiating tactic, that of putting the interlocutor-antagonist off guard right at the beginning. So, even before Dansh has seated himself, she pops an entirely unexpected question: Surang kahan se khod rahe ho? It was priceless, the frozen, startled look on Dansh's face, as he straightens himself and looks across at this little old lady who does not come even up to his shoulder.
Meanwhile, she has seated herself, a satisfied, smug smile on her face, and she answers his unspoken question: Itna hairaan kyon ho rahe ho? Hum garud hamesha khule aakaash mein udte hain.. tum naag paatal se chup kar vaar karte ho... The important thing to note here is that this is said with a total absence of anger or even rancour, simply as a statement of fact. For anger, however justified, has no place in a negotiation of this kind.
Dansh is by now intrigued, and his dark blue eyes look puzzled as he asks: Hamari neeyat tak pehchaanti hain aap, phir bhi humse sauda karne aayi hain? Note that he is not sneering at her, as he would have done at any of the other garuds. He senses, for he is no fool, that this woman is someone quite out of the ordinary, and he wants to find out where she is coming from and what she really wants.
MB begins on a philosophical note, about the indispensability of both amrit and vish for maintaining the jeevan ka santulan. Ek ke bina doosra naakaam hai. Isiliye, hum chahein na chahein, humein saath milkar chalna hoga.
Dansh has surely never heard this line before, but he is not going to show that he has been taken aback, all the more so as there is now, inside him, the first stirring of real interest in her sauda. So he throws his head back and hisses in his typical style, then smiles half sardonically as he pops his question: Deal kya hai?
But MB is too canny to get to that straightaway: Dansh needs to be softened up a bit first. So she strikes just the right chord with him, by bringing up, with empathy and understanding, the sorest point for him and the other nagas, the injustice that was done to them. She seems shocked as she mentions how, after the samudramanthan when, even after swallowing so much of the halahala vish (and here she seems to go with Dansh's version of this part, that it was only the nagas and the bichchus - not the garuds - that had helped Lord Shiva get rid of the poison by ingesting it), tumhare hisse aadha amrit bhi nahin aaya?
Dansh's face hardens as the bitter memories of the past millennia crowd into his mind. And he quirks his eyebrows in a delightfully skeptical gesture as MB follows this up with an emphatic: Par is baar wo aayega. Jo samudramanthan ke baad devataon aur asuron ke beech nahin hua tha, wo ab hoga. Is Mahakumbh mein, garudon aur naagon ke beech amrit ka bantwaara hoga!
Dansh waves his hand in calculated incredulity: Aur yeh hoga kaise??
The second round: He is secretly impressed with this little old woman, and as she delves into her jhola, his eyes are fixed on her, with the half incredulous, half hopeful look of a child at a magic show.
However, as she extracts the Two Books, places them on the table between them, and pushes them to the middle, the light in Dansh's eyes fades, and he rises and turns his back on her. He seeks to hide his acute disappointment , Abhi to main tumhein thoda seriously lene laga tha.. Par dikha diya na? .. in a sardonic boast, Dansh jahan tak soch sakta hai, wahan tak tum saaton garud milkar bhi nahin soch sakte!
But trust MB to retain the upper hand! Her flat Main kitabein dene nahin aayi hoon, followed up by the candid declaration Inke rahasya to tum kab ke khol chuke hoge, brings Dansh back; he turns around and faces her, and then begins to pace up and down near her like a panther in a cage. He is waiting to see what she comes up with next. And this time, she does not disappoint him.
He has his back to her, and he is holding himself ramrod straight, but he is all ears as she goes on, the very casualness of her tone belying the explosive content of her words. Par Guruji ne yeh bhi bataaya hoga ki ek teesri kitaab bhi hai, jiske bina amrit tak pahunchna asambhav hai? The last word is pronounced like a coda, like a question left hanging in the air. It is the bait to reel in the fish once more, and Dansh, though he does not move, is now unsure and eager to get at the truth of this new revelation.
To make sure that he does not get away, MB now raises the ante. Aisa kaun hai jo us kitaab ka pata jaanta ho? Use paane ka raasta bata sakta ho? The bait is now out in the open, for she clearly means herself as the answer to these rhetorical queries. But the fish is still unsure, wavering: Karoon ki nahin karoon?, and MB can read this in Dansh's back.
So she plays one last card. Rising from her seat, she goes up to Dansh and warns him in a confidential tone. Baki jo ab Rudra karne ki soch raha hai, wo tum saaton naag milkar bhi soch nahin sakte (not that we have ever seen any of the other 6 nagas, unka kuch sochna to door ki baat hai!). Par main jaanti hoon, isiliye bata rahi hoon. Jitni jaldi faisla karoge, utna hi tumhare liye achcha hoga.
She winds up this colossal piece of bluff (for we know that Rudra, far from thinking up a plan that would be far beyond the mental capacities of the sapta nagas, ie of Dansh, is in a total mess, with no early solution in sight) with the perfect move. She returns to her seat, crosses her hands in her lap with no evidence of any extra eagerness or any tension, and awaits his response in a totally placid manner.The precap shows that Dansh has risen to her bait, for he has called in Guru Drish, and is arguing vociferously with him, storming up and down the room, while an unruffled MB looks on.
Bluff or no bluff ? :Now we have no idea if MB has just run
a gigantic bluff about the Third Book, or there is indeed such a guide to the amrit that only she knows about. Either is possible.
It is also clear that she has embarked on this dangerous and uncertain path because she sees no other option and time is running out. She has no hope of curing Shivanand any time soon, given Rudra's opposition to her rough techniques. Thus, there is no chance of moving ahead depending on Shivanand. Plus, she might have some inkling of what Rao is really up to, and so she has removed the Two Books from his reach, and Rudra's, for the present.
She is playing a lone hand because she has been forced to do so, but no one can do that better than she can!
But the thing for now is that she has managed to sow the seeds of discord between the Naga Pramukh and his Guru - for they are, to judge from Dansh's body language in the precap, clearly at odds with each other, and my guess would be that Dansh would want to accept MB's sauda .
She has also
opened up the possibility of the garuds, who have the keys to the sapta dwaar guarding the amrit
in the end phase, and the nagas, who now know how to get to the precise spot where
the amrit kalash will surface, at the apex of the whirlpool
that will arise in the re-emergent Saraswati, to actually work together to fit
the two parts of this cosmic puzzle together, and get to their goal as a team.
Now this may seem like, and might actually be a pipe-dream, given Dansh's proclivity for deviousness. But surely MB knows all this, and any plan she might make for a joint operation would have factored this is. We, the viewers, can only await developments.
Excellent jodi: For now, however, this was a sequence to remember, as MB and Dansh played off each other to perfection. To say that Seema Biswas was superb is merely to state the obvious. The surprise package on Thursday night, however, was Dansh, who was far better enacted than ever before.
been some earlier hints of what he could
do, apart from his standard, sneering, OTT arrogance and bluster. For example, in his scene with Leela when he twists her
wrist, and she almost screams, in acute
pain, Kya kar rahe ho? Dansh opens his eyes wide in mock innocence, nods
his head in mock surprise, and replies Tayyar kar raha hoon! It was a
very brief shot, but it was
Again, earlier, when Leela protests stormily at being told by Dansh that she cannot accompany her father to the Mahakumbh, and Drish backs this decision, the look of sardonic amusement in Dansh's eyes was reminiscent of Rhett Butler looking at Scarlett O'Hara after one of their spats in Gone with the Wind.
In this longish segment with MB, Rahil built on all this and carried it much further. After his deliberately exaggerated gestures and remarks in the opening sequence before he leads her in, in the actual session in the inside chamber, his Dansh was pitch perfect, matching MB step for step. One rarely gets to see such an excellent pas de deux between two such unlikely partners, which, along with the chiselled lines and the flawless direction, left me at least exclaiming Yeh dil maange more!
Rudra: struggling to stay afloat: After watching all the 4 episodes at one go once again, my heart went out to poor, bewildered Rudra, harassed and beset as never before, and yet determined not to give way to weakness, but to soldier on in the conviction that in the end, victory would be theirs. This is the stuff of which a leader is made, no matter how incapable and inadequate his followers are.
It was admirable, the gentle, anxious persistence with which he tries to get Shivanand back to some semblance of normalcy, so that he can play his allotted part and, by awakening the powers of the other garuds, take them that crucial distance towards their goal. Gautam was excellent here, the sharp watchfulness in his eyes, as he gauges his father's reactions, alternating with the melting tenderness with which he coaxes and cajoles him. As Rudra says in an earlier episode this week, looking at the photo of the two of them when Rudra was 4, Koyi bhi naya rishta hamare rishte ko chota nahin kar sakta, Baba.
I devoutly hope Rudra's efforts with his Baba pay off, and that he can then breathe easy for a bit.
Earlier, after he comes back from locating the missing MB thru the Garuda Position Detector in the library , Rudra makes one capital mistake. When he first spots MB in the astral display in the library, he exclaims to himself Maimuyi naagon ke pas hai! which is accurate, for though it is dismaying enough, it contains no hint of her having joined the nagas. But when, back in the Brahma Nishta Panth, he is confronted by Thappadiya Mai, he blurts out something that is not only factually incorrect but which unthinkingly condemns MB as a traitor to the garud cause. He says: Maimuyi naagon ke saath hai.
No wonder that he is , immediately, deafened by the loud, clueless and, in Rao's case, motivated maligning of his Maimuyi as a traitor who had gone over to the nagas and, what was worse, had taken their talisman, the Two Books, with her, so that the other garuds could not have their special powers activated, something that , they insist, she had deliberately avoided doing while she had been with them.
From then on, his follow up statements: Unhon ne kaha tha ki kitabein yahan surakshit nahin hain..Pata nahin kyon, par Baba ke saamne kitaabon ke baare mein baat hi nahin karne deti thin..Shaayad isiliye un donon kitaabon ko lekar chali gayi hon.. fall, predictably, on deaf ears. He tries countering the accusation that she had deliberately not activated the powers of the other garuds by pointing to his own case, but that too is promptly negated by Katharine. It is not so easy to defend even the truth in front of shrill, sustained calumny, especially when the object of such calumny has left Rudra with very little ammunition with which to defend her.
So, I was very proud of Rudra when he persisted in his innate belief in his Maimuyi's integrity: Mujh par to bharosa hai na aap sab ko? Dekhiye, mujhe to lag raha hai ki jo dikh raha hai waise hai nahin.. Bhale hi Maimuyi kitabein le gayi hon, bhale hi wo naagon ke saath hon (again that dratted saath!), par humein lagta hai ki yeh dhoka nahin, unki koyi neeti hai..
I was almost
clapping at this point - for was it not
Rudra's dil, but his dimaag which had reached this very wise
conclusion.And Gautam brought this out perfectly.
But as if on
cue, Shivanand, till then fast asleep, suddenly started howling Mujhe mat maro, mujhe mat maro!! (a suspicious bit of timing, but of that more
later), and the tentative half-belief that Rudra's assertion was beginning to
produce was shattered in an instant. Predictably, Rao pitches in with his insidious poison, calling on Rudra to manao his heart that was unwilling to accept the truth about
Nonetheless, Rudra will not cede ground re: his Maimuyi, nor has his faith in her vanished despite all these concerted efforts to destroy it. For as he is speaking to himself, he says: Yeh hamari ladayi ki nayi neeti (?) hai ya dhokha, nahin jaante Maimuyi, par is baar hum kamzor nahin padenge. And I was exclaiming Atta boy, Rudra!
and his guru: Need for faith: This was a
great improvement on his predictable, knee-jerk reaction to MB's admittedly shocking method
for detoxifying Shivanand and getting him back on his feet.
I had set out my views on Rudra's in my mini-post (yes,
really mini!) on that episode 78 ,
Mahakumbh 78: A contrary view
I do not
propose to repeat any of that here, but the crux of my argument was this.
Given that MB is
wise and all knowing - something that she has proved repeatedly in the recent
past - and that but for her presence and her powers, the garuds would
be nowhere, should not Rudra have had more faith in her? If she is thrashing
his Baba with what looks like unacceptable harshness, should he not have tried
to find out why she is doing this?
I too found it bizarre that one can leach poison out of a person by beating him, and the brutality of it was not something a son could be expected to swallow even from his guru. But it is not a question of good and bad. It is a question of unavoidable harshness. Rudra should know that MB would never be needlessly cruel, that she is not the kind to enjoy inflicting pain. So if she, who is totally dedicated to the Mission Amrit, does this kind of thing, it is because it is necessary. She is not thrashing Shivanand, but the naagon ki taraf se hamare liye bheji huyo dar ki bimaari lurking inside him, and this only because there is no other way, and she says so. Avoiding this beating is a luxury she cannot afford.
Rudra, who owes his punarjanma to MB, should have thought of all this, and he should have never assumed so easily that his Maimuyi is doing wrong. On the contrary, he should have taken it for granted that there had to be a valid reason for what she was doing and he should have asked her what it was. But he does nothing of the kind, and literally drives her away with a Garud Pramukh ka aadesh.
MB's failing: Subsequently, he has, as noted above, corrected course to some extent. And I for one would not blame him for a lingering vestige of a doubt. For if MB had spoken aloud to Rudra and the other garuds what she says to herself after issung a ban on their meeting Shivanand till he is cured: Shivanand naagon se apne andar vish lekar aaya hai.. Agar wo jald se jald theek nahin hua, to naagon ka yeh vish garudon mein bhi phail jayega.. there would not have been so much, or indeed any suspicion of her intent.
Her point about Shivanand's dangerous infection spreading was spot on. It was in fact confirmed when Dansh tells Leela, in casual triumph, about Shivanand's total collapse, and adds: Aur yeh aaise phailnewali bimari hai ki hum tak pahunchne se pehle, aapas mein hi ladkar khatam ho jayenge satoon ke saat garud.
Doubts about Shivanand: I would also call to your attention the para in that mini-post Sinister hint about Shivanand. The line I have taken there is that Dansh's poison is slowly eviscerating the garud in Shivanand and replacing with a sinister substitute, a naga mole. I have not seen the latest promo, but I am told it hints at something like this.
This theory would fit in both with MB's warning to Rudra not to discuss the Two Books in front of Shivanand, and with the fleeting instants when Shivanand, in the midst of his frenzied screaming and wailing at the Saraswati Kund, suddenly looks lucid, sharp and sly, especially when he sees MB and Rudra falling out over him. The way in which he suddenly awakens from his stupor and starts yelling Mujhe mat maro! , just when Rudra is trying to defend MB's visiting the nagas, is also distinctly odd.
Even otherwise, Shivanand's weeping and moaning and yelling seem greatly overdone. He has after all sustained far worse beatings, for full 24 years while he was in prison in Poland, without even crying out, such was his inner strength. And even after ingesting all the poison that Dansh has pumped into him, Shiva was hallucinating and thus aggressive in the defence of Rudra, both when he was driving the shav vahan and later near the Saraswati Kund. He was not whimpering and moaning and screaming like he does now. It is hard to believe that so tough a man could be so thoroughly shattered, mentally and physically, just because of a series hard blows with MB's staff.
Moreover, how else is one to
make sense of what Dansh tells Drish about the role he has planned for Leela: Leela hi hamari sab se badi strategy hai,
Guruji. Garudon ka dimaag to hum
trace kar lenge, lekin unke dil mein kya chal raha hai, yeh sirf Leela
trace kar sakti hai..
How can Dansh find out what is going on in the minds of the garuds unless he has a mole in place who can transmit all the details of their confidential conversations to him (whereas they would never discuss anything secret in front of Leela), unless he has somehow converted Shivanand into a receptor-cun-transmitter?
If this is true, the blowback for Rudra and the rest of the garudsl will be terrible, for they will face an enemy in their own camp, their fellow garud and former brains trust, Shivanand. It might then be almost too late. But only almost , as this is a fairy story, not real life!
The other mole: The gentle thumping sound you hear is me patting myself on the back for having, for once, guessed correctly that Dansh would smuggle her into the garud camp, after slapping her hard enough to draw blood and make it convincing for her to pose as a shoshit abla naari, no, shoshit abla naagin. He actually used the word abla! The scene between Dansh and Leela that preceded this move was good fun, and a nice change from the disorganised garuds and from the usual Dansh as well. This was of course before his scene with MB!
who would be vazirs: The Veshes look and behave more and more like jackals
kowtowing to a lion, or now to two contending lions, than like independent villains. The delighted greed that lit up their eyes of
the 50 crores (drug money, one presumes,
for no other criminal endeavor yields such huge profits for such small volumes
transacted) must have been almost extinguished when they learn that it was
intended for bribing the kalpavaasis in Sector 53 to vacate the whole area at the very earliest.
This is a ludicrous, and totally unnecessary demand - as I have discussed at the beginning - but that does not make life any easier for the Veshes, now caught in a cleft stick between the conflicting demands of the Mahaguru of their race, Drish, and of this terrible new boss of Greyerson's. I guess that for two pins, they would be ready to throw in the towel and simply bolt!
NB: The path to the underground library seems to have fast become a thoroughfare, with all the garuds and Rao strolling in and out as they please. How come the Veshes' or Dansh's spies have not yet discovered it?
Secondly, the way in which Tiwari, Katharine and Charles react when they see MB taking the books is odd, seeing that they are addressing Rudra's guru. It is in fact downright disrespectful. Would they behave the same way if Rao had been taking the Two Books? No. That, and the way Katharine argues with MB, fully warrant the thrashing they all get. Which, in any case, reminded me of nothing so much as similar scenes in the 1960s mythologicals, which invariably had the kids in whoops!
I cannot wait to see their collective faces when Rao's true character is revealed.
I only wish MB had let Tiwari fire his gun at her, and had then done what she did with Dansh later. Now that would have been some show! The fact is that even after Rudra has had all his chakras opened, his special powers, so far as we have seen, are nowhere near MB's. What we need, at the earliest, is MB's full backstory.
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