“So who’s up for an adventure?!” Grandpa barged in my room, full of excitement and enthusiasm.
“Its 7:30 in the morning grandpa, and that too on a saturday. Please spare me.”, i said with half eyes shut.
“Oh come on dont be a pimp now and pack your gears wear you shoes and show up at the front gate exactly in 20 minutes.” Grandpa instructed me and took off. I was imagining my hostel life while lying on my bed, where there was everything but peace of sleep, and i could almost re-live those days at my house on a summer saturday. Grandpa and i had a pact since the time i was 10,that every summer break we would go to atleast 3 trips packed with chills and adventure, whether it be near or halfway across the world, hardly mattered. Its been 9 years since, and not once we have missed our trip.
I somehow managed to find and pack my gears, brush my teeth and take a quick so called shower, and show up at the front gate before my mom could wake up and shout “you both are leaving this house over my dead body!!” Ofcourse, no mother would want her 19 year old to go backpacking on some mountain that is 15000 ft above sea level with his grandfather who is almost 4 times her son’s age.
At exactly 8:01 am, me and grandpa took off on his first love, the Harley Davidson Roadster. Oh him and his beloved bike, i could write a 500 page novel on them.
“Shoes?” “Check.” “Ropes?” “Check.” “Food?” “Check.” “Med kit?” “Check.” “Whiskey?” “Che-“, i paused as i looked grandpa smiling in the rear view mirror. “You are not allowed even a drop grandpa and you know it.” I said the way my dad use to stop him.
“Yeah yeah yeah i know….you and your old man never let me live.” Grandpa taunted.
“We dont let you live, so you could live.” I saw him in the mirror and winked.
After 5 hours of a long bike ride and talks, we reached our destination. Lush green trees covered the hills around us, and the sky above us was the colour of television. It was a beautiful day for a good and tiring trek to the top of a mountain.
“Ready or not here we go”, said grandpa with sparkles in his eyes, and started to hike after we did the ropes. I followed him. Me and grandpa, whenever on a hiking trip, always have an eye for an eye. There is an informal race between us, who reached the top first. As we hiked and climbed for an hour straight, we reached the middle.
“I think we chose a rather small hill grandpa. We already climbed half and its been just an hour.” “Agreed son. But i dont think we’ll be disappointed”, grandpa said as we reached an open place, which literally had our eyes wide open. We were amazed to see a flatland on a hill with its own little streams of water, hopefully joining a big river we get to see ahead.
“Well i’d take my words back grandpa. It is small but unbelieveably pretty.” I said as i gathered and packed the ropes. “I agree boy. Lets halt here for a while before we go on”, said grandpa and instructed me to find sticks of wood and some steady rocks for a bonfire so that he could roast his marshmellows.
“Its been 40 years and not one person can roast these little babies better than me”, grandpa said proudly and started with his thing.
“Ofcourse there aint.” I smirked. “You carry on grandpa i need to take a leak.” I told grandpa and went behind a big boulder.
As i was attending the call of nature, i heard some rattling, which would be unusual at a rocky place with no dry leaves on the ground. At first i ignored, but could’nt for long as the parchment caught my eye. I zipped up and went towards the brownish-white thing i thought was just a parchment. The moment i picked the paper up grandpa called. “Come here boy. Have a look at these babies.” “Coming”, i said as i looked at the paper and found nothing, and unconciously kept it in my pocket.
Soon we were sitting by the fire and enjoying the lovely marshmellows with the view we were getting. We sat there for a good half an hour.
“I was once featured in our local newspaper for the amazing flavours of marshmellows i use to come up with.” Grandpa said proudly as we packed our stuff to move forward. While packing, it suddenly struck my mind that even i had a piece of paper with me that i had forgotten to see.
“Grandpa take a look will you?” I called grandpa and showed him the parchment. “Do you see something?” I asked. “No i dont. I think someone must’ve thrown it. Chuck it.”,Said grandpa. As i was about to throw it away, a ray of sunlight fell on it and something beyond our belief happened. As the parchment came under the shining light, i saw something drawn on it. At first i was convinced it was nothing but my mind playing games. But as i showed it to grandpa, i was sure it was not a mind game. Me and grandpa were shocked to see something like that.
“What do you think it is grandpa?” I asked enthusiastically. “I have no idea son. But what i know is we are about to discover something beyond anybody’s imagination.” grandpa said.
The parchment was one of its kind. Under sunlight it would show inscriptions, and when its not under light, it appeared to be just a parchment of paper. There was nothing but “N-RAH” written on the paper when light fell upon it. “Lets cancel this trek son. We are about to go on a much bigger adventure i suppose.” Grandpa said,excited.
We started the bike and turned around to our way home. We reached home at night and decided to not discuss it further with my parents and look into it ourselves first. I went back to college and we searched and searched and searched and we kept on searching for 3 and a half months, me on my part and grandpa on his. I came back home for fall breaks.
“Grandpa you are not going to believe what this thing could be!” I told him as we both sat in my room with that parchment and all the information we could get in the last 4 months.
“THE LOST PEARL OF AMUN-RA. I am sure this is it grandpa. I have looked online and even found a book in my college library. Have a look” i told grandpa.
‘The lost pearl of Amun-ra is said to be 25000 years old. This reddish-pink pearl is no ordinary pearl but a 2 kilogram pearl which looks like a big red shining rock. It is of the time when kings ruled the grounds of ancient Egypt. Amun-ra was the chief of the Egyptian gods. He was worshipped as two separate gods. Amun was the god who created the universe. Ra was the god of the sun and light, who traveled across the sky every day in a burning boat. Amun-ra was presented with this pearl by the gods as a gift for the duties he had done all the while. One day when he woke up he found that his son was missing with the pearl gone too. Since the day, neither was the son found nor the pearl. It is said that till date no one is capable of finding the pearl. It is estimated that the pearl, if it is actually there, worths $120 million. The last person to go looking for it was never found with his crew in the Valley of Nubra.’
“Thats it?” asked grandpa. “Well thats that” i said as i closed my laptop. “What say son? Are you up for an adventure?!” Grandpa asked excitedly. “I dont know grandpa, it feels weird. But at the same time even i want to go once to look for it.” “Then lets not waste time son. See you at the front gate sharp at 6 tomorrow morning. Good night”, said grandpa and took off.
The next morning we took off sharply at 6. The Valley of Nubra was 600 km away from us. We had to tow our bike in a truck and we,ourselves,travelled in a bus for 500 kms as the last 100 could not be travelled in the bus. After 6 hours of busride we got off at Khipshi Pass and started on our bike. For 95 kms we rode. The last 5 we had no option but to walk. We walked and waked for another hour and finally reached the Valley of Nubra. It was lush green and nothing but fresh air surrounded the enviornment. But there was one problem. We had no idea where to head next.
“Ughh!! We are stuck grandpa. We dont know where to head next.” I said,irritated. “There is always a way son. Always.” Grandpa said and told me to get that parchment out. I took the paper out and handed it to grandpa. He took the paper and started moving it in a circular motion, like a compass. To my amazement, at a point, the parchment started to get darker and darker, and when it was moved from that direction, it would fade. We took a clue from it and decided to move in that direction. As we went on and on, we reached a cave like place which was covered with rocks and boulders.
“I think this is it.” I said as i catched my breath. “No son. This is too easy. There has to be something else, some other way” Grandpa said. It turned out that he was right. When the parchment was kept in the direction of the cave, it was the darkest. But the problem was we circled the whole cave and there was no way in, yet the paper was dark. “I think we have to move these rocks.” I said and started working. After about 2 hours of hard work we could make way for one person to go in at a time. It was nearly dark so we decided to camp near the cave and go in in the morning.
It was 8 in the morning and to our surprise it started to rain. Without wasting another minute we went inside the cave which was completely dark. The parchement was of no use now as there was no sunlight inside.
“Are you scared boy?” Grandpa asked jokingly. “You bet.” I said sarcastically. The cave appeared not so big from the outside, but inside it felt as if we were walking and walking and walking. All of sudden my eyes caught something shining just some metres away from me. “Yes!! We did it grandpa!!” I screamed and ran towards it to get it. But as soon as i tried to grab it, it went away and was lying at the exact distance it was from me when i saw it. I was astouned. I tried again, and again it went away. It happened 4 times. “You were right grandpa. Its not that easy.” I said and sat down in disappointment. “Its a mirage son”, grandpa said as he observed the jewel from the distance. The jewel was right in front of us, but we had no idea as to how should we get it
We sat and thought for a while. I was strolling right and left and suddenly the paper fell from my hand on the ground, right in front of the pearl. All of a sudden loud thuds started from all around us.
“We are gonna die grandpa!! We are gonna die!” I cried. The thudding went on for a while and stopped suddenly. The next thing we saw was the parchment was now a full piece of paper that appeared as a letter. The letter read:
‘Its here right in front of you
If you ask you’ll never know
If you know you need only ask Amun-ra’
“Its a letter grandpa. But what does it mean??” I asked grandpa. He stood there for some time and suddenly shouted – AMUN-RA!!
I thought grandpa had lost it. Nothing changed nor moved. The jewel was right there. But this time as grandpa moved towards it, it stayed there and in no time it was in his hands! Yes, we could touch it and feel it. We were really happy and forgot that we had to go out too. All of a sudden the place started shaking. Small and big rocks started to rain from the roof. We ran towards the place we entered. Grandad got out first. As i was getting out, a big rock fell on left foot and broke my leg. But we came out alive. With the jewel.
“Are you alright son?” Asked grandpa. “Not really, but its worth the reward.” I said. “But there is one problem. We have to climb down and that too with your broken leg” grandpa said,worried. I got up on one leg with support and said” So who’s up for an adventure?!”