All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
So here I am, stuck in a tent in the middle of India, writing about how the journey of a lifetime became a trip through h*ll. My crew, Cathy, Mike, and I are trying to find the Kaustubha, an ancient stone. It is said that the Kaustubha was made from churning of the oceans and whoever possesses it can be granted untold powers. At first, my crew was going to retrieve it and sell it for money, but now we have to find it before a crazed Swedish military gets to it and abuses it.
Let’s take this back to two months ago. I was home in Seattle getting my masters in folklore and mythology. I’ve always been into that kind of stuff. From learning about the holy grail, to the Greek gods, to the Tibetan city of Shambahla and the Cintamani stone. It’s always been fascinating.
So after class one day, I got a call from a museum curator to check out their new Hindu artifact exhibit. When they first asked me I right away said yes. I was so excited to see what kind of artifacts they had dug up. One of those artifacts would start my trek of a lifetime. I drove over there in my 1994 Ford Explorer as fast as I could. As I approached the steps to this world renowned museum, I could feel my heart beating faster in excitement. Yeah, you could tell that I’m really interested in this kind of stuff. I entered the door and I was greeted by the museum curator, also a good friend of mine, Florges.
“How are you doing Phil?” Florges asked me. “You have got to check out the things we found on our Indian expedition. Right this way.”
“Oh, man Florges. I was so happy you called me.”
So we entered the exhibit in the left wing of the museum. I was so amazed by all the ancient objects they had discovered. There were ancient Hindu statues, weapons, and an assortment of many other things. One of those artifacts really caught my attention. It was round and looked like it held stuff.
“Hey what’s this?” I asked Florges.
“Oh, well it’s an urn,” Florges. “It’s nothing that great.”
“I know it’s an urn! But what’s inscribed on it?”
“Oh, well, it looks like a map of some sort.”
“Can you take it out of the display case and let me take a look?”
“Phil, you know I can’t do that, I can get in trouble!”
“Come on man, just for tonight. I’ll bring it back tomorrow without a scratch on it!”
“Are you crazy?! I could lose my job!”
“Just do it, you can trust me.”
After a few minutes of silence, Florges sighed and said, “Okay, but if you break the urn, you’re going to pay big time.
“Okay then, deal.”
Florges grabbed his keys from his pocket and opened up the display case. He handed me the urn; it was heavier than it looked. We wrapped it up in saran wrap and loaded it up in my car. I then headed back to my apartment on Fifth Street. I found the location of my apartment very cozy, especially since it’s not that far from the university. I could use their library if I needed to.
At my apartment, I was in my little bubble studying the Hindu urn. It was quite fascinating. There was lots of Hindu text that I needed to get translated, but the real wonder was the map. It seemed like it leaded to some mythic city somewhere in India.
I decided to turn in for the night. I left the urn on my desk. Every day before I go to bed, I always get a glass of water to drink. If I don’t, my mouth is always dry when I wake up. So I went to the fridge, and opened it up to get the pitcher of cold water. Right when I opened it, the carton of milk and various other items fell and pounded the floor. Then I heard a crash from the living room.
“Oh, snap. Better not be what I think it is,” I muttered to myself.
I left the spilt milk on the floor and headed towards the living room, and to my disbelief the urn was in pieces on the floor! I knelt on the floor to pick up the pieces, and under the rubble of a horrific accident, was an amazing discovery. It was a piece of paper, with some Hindu text, and an inscription of a similar map to what I saw. I needed to call my buddy, Mike to take a look at this.
“Hello?” a groggy voice said.
“Mike, it’s Phil, get over here now!”
“Man, you crazy. You know what time it is?”
“Yeah, it’s three a.m., just get over here.”
“Can’t this wait ‘til morning?”
“No, just get here now.”
“Alright man, better be worth my time.”
Mike arrived in nothing but shorts and a white t-shirt. He had bags under his red eyes and looked like he was about to strangle somebody.
“You better have a good reason for waking me up.”
“Yeah, take a look at this.”
I showed him the map. He took his glasses out and studied it thoroughly.
After fifteen minutes of waiting, Mike got up.
“So, what’d you come up with?”
“Well, to my observations, this map is a load of garbage.”
“What’re you talking about?”
“This map leads to nowhere. If you can get the Hindu script translated, maybe it could mean something.”
“Then let’s get it translated.”
“Fool, do we know anybody who speaks Hindi? No, we do not.”
“Don’t worry Mike, I’ll find someone.”
With that, Mike left and I went to sleep. I decided to start a search for a Hindi translator.
In the morning, I got my cup of coffee from Starbucks and started an internet search. I typed in Google.com and searched “Hindu translator in Seattle.” About 200,000 results popped up, but none of them helped. I decided to head to the university to see if anyone there could help. I went to the main office. The receptionist there was really nice.
“Umm, excuse me, I need help finding something.”
“What would you like to find?” asked the receptionist.
“Is there a Hindu teacher here?”
“Oh yeah, her classroom is next to the library.”
“Oh, okay. Thank you!”
I proceeded to the teacher’s classroom. When I got there, a class had just ended. The teacher there was a woman about in her mid-thirties.
“Oh, hello sir, how may I help you?”
“Hi there, I was hoping you could translate this map for me. My name is Phil, by the way.”
“My name is Cathy. Let me take a look at that map.”
Her eyes lit up in excitement as she studied the map. Professor Cathy told me that it was an ancient Hindu treasure map that actually leads to a treasure of unknown riches, the Kaustubha stone.
My body started to pump up with adrenaline when she said “treasure.” Should I go search for this
“Well, this is an amazing discovery. I must be going now. Thank you for your help.”
“You’re just going to leave? Are you going to search for this stone?”
“I don’t know. Maybe, I’m not sure.”
“Well, if you ask me, I think you should. This is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime chance! Also, you don’t get help translating a map and then end up not using it. That would’ve been a waste of time!”
I was lost in deep-thought for quite a bit. I ended up coming to the conclusion that I would go!
“I think you’re right, professor. I will go after this stone! Thanks for the advice.”
“Glad to help, but I was wondering...Can I come too? I’ve always wanted to see India and its beautiful culture and scenery. That’s why I became a Hindu language teacher! And besides, you might need a translator.”
She had a good point with the translator part.
“Alright then, I guess you could come.”
“Oh thank you. Thank you. Here’s my e-mail. Mail me the itinerary and all that.”
So now I was planning a trip to India. I decided to include my buddy Mike since he could get a hold of equipment we might need on the trip. I called him and he was happy to come on our trip. He sounded like he actually wanted to leave his recent job as a computer programmer.
After I called Mike and made travel arrangements, Florges called. I won’t go into much details but it ended in, “Screw you. You better have a replacement urn when you get back.”
And with that, our journey to began. We left Seattle at three in morning the next day, and flew to Mumbai, India. It was scorching when we got there. The map, according to Cathy, said that we needed to go across the country to a village in northern India. We took a train all the way to the small little town. When we arrived at there we were greeted by a place of rundown, destroyed homes.
“What’s going on here?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“I’ll go ask a villager,” said Cathy.
Cathy approached one of the villagers. The villager seemed scared to talk to Cathy at first. He kept looking left and right like something was coming. When she came back she looked worried.
“The villagers say that they’ve been raided by some Swedish military leader.”
“Did you get his name?” I asked.
“I think the name was Hans Gustavsson.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of this guy before,” Mike said. “He’s real bad news.”
“He was once a renowned Swedish captain. Even the Germans wanted his military strength in their army. One day though, he went on a mission, and his best friend was murdered on that mission by a Soviet agent. Something snapped in him that day and became enraged. He was soon discharged. This made matters worse. I heard he’s been all over the world trying to find anything that’ll make him powerful.”
“Well then if he’s here, then I guess we have to find this stone first, if it really does grant “untold” powers.”
Right when I said that a loud BOOM was heard in the distance. The ground started shaking, birds started fluttering and villagers ran in terror. The only we could do was run and hide in the bushes. We hid in a bush and watched from a distance. We saw men. They looked like they were wearing military uniforms. Behind them was a large tank. Standing on top of the tank, was him. Hans Gustavsson. He was a tall, bald man with scars all over his face. He was yelling something in Swedish.
“Wait for him to pass,” I said to the others.
After a while of waiting, they finally passed.
“Okay guys, we have to find this stone quick, and get the heck out of India,” Mike said.
“I’m with you, what does the map say, Cathy?”
“Umm it says that there should be a giant rock wall nearby, but we need some sort of key to open a cave.”
“Well, we have no time. We’ll just blow the darn thing open.”
“Are you crazy?! They’ll probably if not definitely hear us!”
“She’s right, Mike.”
“I suggest that we just go there and check it out. Lead the way Cathy.”
The rock wall was actually farther than we expected. We probably journeyed six or seven miles in the jungle when we finally reached this rock wall.
“I think this is it.”
We reached a wall about 100 meters wide. And in the middle of the wall there was a hole that looked like a keyhole.
“How are we supposed to unlock it?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know. Cathy does it say anything in the map?”
“Umm, no. It just says that you need a key.”
“No clues about this key?”
“Forget this. You guys can spend your time finding this key. I’m busting my way in.”
Mike pulled out his M1911 and shot at the hole.
“Mike, stop being so reckless!”
But then, the ground started to rumble. We looked at the wall and it started to crumble, and suddenly there was a huge cave where the wall used to be. Somehow, someway, Mike had opened the wall.
“Oh baby, and you guys doubted me.”
“Well then, let’s go.”
The huge, dark cave was very ominous. Our flashlights seemed as though they covered a little speck of this massive cave. What we saw was very intriguing though. It was very quiet and calm. We trekked through the cave uninterrupted.
Some fifteen minutes or so walking through the cave, we found the end of it. We were in a grassy meadow with a moat around it. In the middle, there was a temple. One of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. It was a very bright gold color and Hindu statues surrounded it.
Mike went up to the stairs, “Come on! Let’s go!”
The three of us proceeded up the stairs, and at the top was a shrine, with the Kaustubha stone. Mike took the glowing jade stone in his hand and we passed it around.
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” said Cathy.
“How much do you think it’s worth?” asked Mike.
“Priceless,” said a mysterious voice.
There was a click and suddenly a gun was pointed at Mike’s head.
“Let go of me!” Mike said.
“Oh no,” I muttered to myself.
It was a Swedish soldier. Coming up the steps was Hans.
“Well, well, well,” said Hans in one of the deepest accents you’ll ever hear. “Look at what we have here. Thanks for finding the stone for us.”
“Let us go!” Cathy said. “We know who you are and what you’re going to use the stone for!”
“Well then let me show you a demonstration then.”
He grabbed the stone from Cathy and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a chain. He attached the stone to the chain and wrapped it around his neck.
“Oh, yes. I feel the power surging through me!” Hans said. The evil warlord went up to one of troops and gave him a good punch to the face. The next thing we saw was a splash in the moat and a piece of the temple where he was standing gone. This was the power of the Kaustubha stone.
“Now, I’ll give you two choices. Die here, or leave and never tell anyone about this.”
“Let us discuss this,” I said.
“Fine, but do it quick,” Hans replied.
We huddled over in the corner. The troops were taking a break while Hans was admiring the stone. They were pretty scared and nervous. They were holding their guns in an overwrought manner.
“I say we leave,” said Mike.
“But we have to stop him!”
“How can we?! He has max strength and power!”
“Calm down, both of you,” I said. “Now we’re going to leave, and we’re going to stop this guy too.”
“Phil, you’re mad crazy.”
“Maybe, but I have a plan. You still have the C4?”
“Yeah,” said Mike.
“Okay. Now listen here.”
After fifteen minutes of discussing, we told Hans that we were going to leave and we proceeded out of the meadow into the cave. Then I told Mike, “Now.” (Mike pressed the detonator and one side of the temple was obliterated.) We ran to the sides of the cave where we could be concealed by the darkness and waited.
“Stop them!” Hans yelled in fury.
Two troops came into the cave and Mike and I took them out. We took their weapons so we could fight back.
“Okay, you two take care of the troops and distract Hans. I’ll take him out.”
Mike and Cathy drew fire and all the troops came storming into the cave. I made a dash to one of the statues while Gustavsson was admiring the stone. I snuck around the temple and went up the back. One of the troops fell out of the cave and back into the meadow.
“We can’t find them!”
Hans yelled, “Do I have to do everything myself?!”
He pulled out his makarov pistol and marched down the steps. Now was my chance. I jumped on his back and tried to pull the stone off of him, but he was too strong. He pulled me over him and threw me against the wall.
“You really think you can defeat me?” he asked while cocking his gun. “I gave you a chance, and you refused to take it! I guess you wanted the other choice.”
He pointed his gun at me when suddenly a gun was fired at the Swedish madman. It was Mike! He started shooting at Hans, and he looked at me and was mouthing, “Go, go go!” I got the signal and jumped on Hans and yanked that chain off. His powers were gone!
“No!” Hans said. “Give that back! Or be destroyed by me!”
I put on the chain and felt the power.
“Oh man!” I said as I was excited by this immense surge of energy. I then grabbed Hans by the shirt and threw him across the meadow, but not hard enough to kill him.
“Let’s go!” I said to Mike. We ran to the cave and Mike still had C4 with him and he detonated it. The cave came down and Hans was now stuck in that chamber for life.
“Why didn’t you kill him instead of trapping him in there?” Mike asked.
“Because Mike, I’m not that kind of person,” I said. “Where’s Cathy, by the way?”
“Oh, she’s already outside. Let’s go home.”
Back in Seattle, I gave the stone to the museum, and Cathy, Mike, and I were paid a pretty hefty amount. I made sure the chain was destroyed because it seemed like that was the item that could activate the stone’s dangerous powers. I used my share of the money and saved it, Mike opened up a new restaurant and quit his lousy job, and Cathy donated hers to the school fund.
Looking back, it really brings joy to my life to know that I found the stone, and that I survived as well. After finding the map, journeying to India, discovering the stone, and fighting off a Swedish military leader, this was one heck of a journey.