The safe was opened finally.
Last week the funeral had been conducted as befitting a much loved father and husband by the grief stricken wife Sheila and twin offspring Yogi and Yamuna, both doctors. The deceased was one of Jaipur’s top industrialists. His name was Yograj Sisodia.
Dr. Yamuna was short and stocky like her dad with gorgeous flowing hair and limpid clear eyes that mesmerized. Her other attractive feature was a tinkling laughter which reminded of soft musical notes. Other than that, she was ordinary in looks department but was a gifted general surgeon.
Dr. Yogi her fraternal twin was classically tall, fair and handsome. He had taken after their mom Sheila who was a known beauty in her heyday. Handsome doctors attract more nurses than their counterparts and Yogi was no exception. A graveyard of broken hearts could be chalked up to his name. He was an incorrigible flirt. His sis warned that one day he was going to fall flat for someone who would not give him the time of day. He merely snorted. The siblings however loved each other very much. Yogi was an interventional cardiologist.
The family was quite well off and hence inheritance was the last thing on their minds. It was more curiosity to know what their beloved (dad/partner) had had to hide from his family. The attorney came over with the key to the safe and they gathered in their father’s study room. It was his private den and only place that was taboo to all, without exception. Their dad even cleaned the place himself. Various properties had already been distributed per deceased’s last will and testament. The only item left was the safe.
Sheila said “I wonder what Yograj hid from us all these years? Yogi, Yamuna, do you guys have any inkling?” Both shook their heads equally mystified. Impatience and curiosity were palpable. Per instructions of the deceased, the attorney opened safe and left them alone. His work done, he quietly saw himself out of the mansion.
With rising excitement Sheila opened the safe door. In it covered by an antique red velvet table cloth, edged by an exquisite gold filigree lace was an antique Chinese box with carved dragons. It was one those trick puzzle boxes and they had a tough time finding the secret drawer as it definitely contained something which rattled when gently shaken.
Yamuna said, “Ma please hand it to me. Let me try“. Skilful surgeon hands gently tapped the mouths of each carved dragon. Finally the left side gave a clicking sound and a drawer sprang open.
Wrapped in a scented embroidered kerchief with royal insignia was a huge blue topaz the size of a small egg. It had to be priceless. Their collective mouths fell open. There was a sepia tinted old newspaper cutting under the stone. It spoke of a daring theft of the legendary Topaz from the royalpalaceofJaipur.
This stone was, per the legend stolen from an ancient temple and whosoever possessed it- misfortune would befall his immediate family. The temple thief had sold the gem to the royal jeweler for a mere pittance and disappeared. He had met with a freak accident and died on the spot. The royal jeweler made a forehead ornament for the royal princess and presented it to his highness the Raja of Jaipur. The jewel had next been stolen by an ancestor of Yograj Sisodia called Pratap Singh as he had easy access, being the chief treasurer of the palace.
“This topaz is driving me crazy. I have to have it or I will go crazy. Please gods either free me from this obsession or help me acquire it by fair means or foul”.
The minute Pratap had laid eyes on the topaz he had been hypnotized by its beauty and was driven to do the unthinkable. He seemed to be possessed by the evil spirit of stone itself.
Once the stone came in his possession, bad luck came along with it. His prize winning horses suddenly broke their limbs and an ancient Peepal tree inexplicably shriveled and died. Pratap Singh realized his error but it was too late.
Repentant and grief stricken, in order to make amends, Pratap Singh performed various rituals and tantric remedies with help of knowledgeable priests to appease the malefic planets and demi gods. Then per the sage’s instructions, he placed the stone in this box along with its history to be passed on to his bloodline. Tide of bad luck had been successfully averted.
Sheila and the twin doctors were shaken, enchanted and fascinated by their discovery. Knowing one another well, they decided to gift the topaz to the national museum where it truly belonged, unanimously.
**Hindus worship Peepal tree like a deity, without having any knowledge about its history & origin. Check out a few interesting legends about it. Peepal Tree- The Sacred Fig (written for a challenge- using “safe” word in a short story 1000 words max)