We all stood in the pillared hall of the Hastinapur palace, with nothing but the clothes on our back. The five Pandavas stood before us, calm and steady. Draupadi and Mother Kunti stood behind the Pandavas, shuffling on their feet and wiping their tears with the end of their angavastram. Both of us, my brother and me, we stood further behind the two grieving women. The citizens of Hastinapur has collected to bid us farewell, crowding outside the gates of the palace. The palace guards surrounded us and escorted us through the crowds to the river bank. Beyond the river bank lay the forest where we had to begin our journey of exile. The nine of us sat in the little boat that was going to carry us across the river, leaving behind Hastinapur and it’s weeping citizens. A two hour long journey deposited us on the other side of the river, upon which the boatman began his journey back alone. We waited at the edge of the forest till the shape of the boat and boatman faded into the distance. Bheem the Brave plunged into the forest, making way for us with his huge mace. We walked and walked, our bare feet sore from the walking, until dusk. Bheem has already gained a huge lead before us. The darkness was descending fast, and we needed a place to rest for the night. In desperation to call Bheem back before we lost track of him, the twins Nakula and Sahadev started calling out to them. We reached a clearing in the forest and saw Bheem standing extremely still, with his hands limp to his sides. We leaned to look at what he was looking and came to a stand still.
Looming over us was a huge white marble building, a hotel of some sort. Being from the future, my brother and I recognized the building before us! It was a water park! Right in the middle of a forest in Ancient India! Losing all our sanity, we screamed in excitement and barged into the hotel. The Pandavas, Draupadi and Mother Kunti ran in after us. We had already reached the reception of the place. Turned out, they were a hotel-cum-water park. The manager (in black blazer and what not) said that they were out of season currently, so they could give us all personal rooms for tonight, provided we agreed to use the water park facilities in the morning. We agreed without thought. The twins, Nakula and Sahadev, were all for it though Yudhishthir seemed hesitant. But we convinced them about the fun they would have (and they believed us, since we were from the future. Apparently they had no problem, whatsoever, with us and didn’t find it weird that we were from the future. And of course, we were children amidst these grown ups, so I don’t how they trusted us). Eventually, we were give 8 keys and separate rooms (the twins Nakula and Sahadev would share rooms) on the same floor. We retired to our top class, electronic furnished rooms for the night (despite the fact we were in Ancient India).
We woke to the chirping of birds in the morning and quickly freshened up, excited about our time at the water park. The first thing we did was to wake the adults. My brother proceeded to wake the Pandavas, and I woke Draupadi and Mother Kunti. As they emerged from their rooms, I heard my brother’s muffled scream! We all sprinted towards the end of the hallway where the scream came from- Yudhishthir’s room. I saw my brother scrunched in a corner of the room, his eyes popping out and his fist muffling his scream. I turned to see the horror he beheld. A collective groan rose behind me as the Pandavas registered the sprawled, bloody body of their oldest brother on the bed. Mother Kunti let out a strangled gasp as Draupadi started wailing. We all stood frozen in the moment, trying to register the scene before us. Overcoming their initial shock, the four brothers picked up their brother’s mangled body. My brother and I, we stayed back and started looking for some clues as to what happened. Arjuna, the third brother, soon joined us in our hunt as we upturned bedsheets. We soon found a tiny piece of paper, a note that said-
‘This is the punishment for hiding the Gems from us. To remind you of your mistake, we have left them intact in the drawer below the television’.
We shared an apprehensive look. I inched towards the chest of drawers and opened the first drawer. And there lay a big packet of Cadbury Gems. The note had acknowledged the presence of the television, which the Pandavas did not even realize, so I had realized that the people who left the warning note must also be from the future. With nothing better to do, we just opened the packet of Gems and ate it all up between the three of us. Hey, chocolate does serve as the best comfort food you know! Finally, we rose from the bed and began moving out of the room. Suddenly I heard the tell-tale noise of Arjuna’s bow being nicked with an arrow. I looked up to see what he was aiming at, what was before us.
Two men with black blazers, pants, shoes, ties, shoes and Ray Bans stood before us with their black guns pointed at us. They looked like they had jumped right out of the Men in Black movies, and instinctively, just like we saw in all those CIA/ FBI movies we put our hands up. We were unarmed, except Arjuna who was too close to be able to shoot arrows at the men in black. But like they cared. They shot him in the head, our only adult companion, and pulled us with them. They escorted us right out of the hotel-cum-water park. My brother assisted me in searching the premises for the rest of the Pandavas, but no one was in sight. There was no point in struggling or screaming either! Or they would just shoot us.
We sat in their black limo that was waiting outside. We were flanked by two MIB in front of us and two MIB behind us. We were both bursting with questions but we gulped them all down. Our lives were more important. And suddenly, the car stopped moving in front. We thought we had stopped but one look outside told us that we were now flying in the air. Don’t know how, please don’t ask. But we were suddenly sucked into a UFO hovering above us. More MIB stood around the opening. Almost on the verge of screaming out in terror, we were pulled out of our cars. They crowded around us, lifting us to another place. Suddenly, the crowd parted and Morpheus from The Matrix came walking towards us. He told us that the purpose of human-napping us was that he wanted to conduct some experiment on humans who consume Gems and the effect Gems has on them.
This was the final straw and we screamed on the top of our lungs.
And then I woke up.