Sehwag Tales - Chapter 9

To start from the first chapter : 

An unsettling quiet hung over Yemangadha's western port. Where a bustling hub of commerce usually thrived, only a handful of foreign ships bobbed listlessly on the still water. The lone watchtower, its height nearly surpassed by the flag bearing Yemangadha's tusked emblem, seemed to stand sentinel over an empty stage. Gone were the merchants, exporters, and shopkeepers who usually animated the scene. Instead, they huddled together at the Banyan corner of the village.

Though a small, tiled roof building now occupied the former site of a majestic banyan tree, the name persisted, a testament to the memory. This phenomenon wasn't unique to the banyan corner - many places in Yemangadha bore names that no longer reflected their current state. Some viewed it as a charming echo of the past, others saw it as a refusal to acknowledge the city's transformation. Yemangadha, it seemed, was a place where both perspectives could coexist.

A murmur of disquiet rippled through the crowd gathered to witness the newly established garrison, commanded by the king's personal commander. Whispers of the previous night's search at Achanandhi's residence flitted from ear to ear. Blind acceptance seemed to be the order of the day, with many willing to overlook government actions as long as their basic needs – rice and liquor – were met. Especially jubilant at the prospect of increased liquor availability were a fringe group of unemployed, uneducated men led by the enigmatic Rajappa. His leadership went unquestioned, despite its seemingly arbitrary nature. Seated apart from the main crowd, Rajappa and his cohorts exchanged hushed words about the recent news concerning Achanandhi.

"A thousand muthirai kaasu for theft? That's exorbitant!" one of Rajappa's men exclaimed, clutching a pot of leftover liquor from the night before. A fishy smell hung in the air, both from the liquor and the situation.

"Something doesn't add up," another man chimed in, his voice laced with suspicion.

Ignoring the reason, the third man focused on immediate needs. "Who cares about the reason? We just need to find Achanandhi - maybe he will add up to some kaasu tonight's drinks."

Rajappa scratched his ear thoughtfully, listening to his men's speculations. However, his gaze remained fixed on the crowd across the way, their murmurs forming a separate current of discussion as they faced the direction of the forest.

News, carried by a passing traveler, had brought the farmers to this anxious wait. Word was, young men had been spotted near the woods with cattle. Hope flickered – perhaps Sehwag and his companions had retrieved the animals from the tribals. But time stretched on, and their return remained frustratingly overdue.

Among the gathered farmers stood a worried Govindai, positioned discreetly behind her father. While a cattle rescue and a potential marriage proposal from Padhumuk were intertwined in her mind, her most immediate concern was his safety. "He better not pull any reckless stunts just to impress me," she thought with a hint of exasperation, her gaze scanning the horizon for any sign of Padhumuk.

A discordant blare pierced the murmur of the crowd gathered at the banyan corner. All heads swivelled towards the harbour, where a lone ship glided into port. Kandhukkadan, a seasoned merchant with a keen eye for maritime schedules, was instantly curious. Unlike the usual bustling arrival of trading vessels, this ship had chosen an unexpected day to dock.

Ignoring the chatter of the crowd largely unfazed by the arrival, Kandhukkadan, along with a handful of others, made their way towards the port. A short walk through the bustling main street, lined with shops, brought them to the harbour.

As Kandhukkadan hurried down the street, a distant glimpse of the ship's mast and sail sent a jolt through him. Recognition dawned instantly - it was the vessel of his friend Seedut, a wholesale trader and explorer presumed lost at sea in a storm months ago. Relief washed over Kandhukkadan, replacing the grief he'd carried for so long.

They had been partners since the reign of King Kachandhan, Kandhukkadan managing the retail market while Seedut handled imports and wholesale distribution. Reaching the port, Kandhukkadan's voice cracked with emotion as he greeted his friend. "Seedut! Where have you been? We all thought you were..." he trailed off, unable to voice the dreaded word.

Seedut chuckled, a hint of his usual humor returning. "Dead, you were going to say? Perhaps you seized the opportunity to expand into imports as well?"

Kandhukkadan shot him a playful but pointed look. "Always the businessman, aren't you? When will you ever think beyond profit?"

The reunion had made a lot of traders happy. While there were other importers in the market, none possessed Seedut's legendary explorer's spirit, and that brought a lot of value to the traders of the town for a long time.

Before they could finish greeting, news of Seedut's return spread like wildfire through the market. One by one, traders thronged the port, eager to witness his return firsthand. The families of Seedut's crewmates, their faces etched with relief and joy, were finally reunited with their loved ones. A bustling scene unfolded as burly porters, muscles straining, unloaded barrels brimming with gold and precious stones - a testament to Seedut's successful voyage.

But, was that all? When has it been? As the treasures were unloaded, a hush fell over the port as a woman of exquisite grace disembarked from the ship. Her beauty was arresting, like that of a celestial apsara. Her attire and the dazzling jewels adorning her person proclaimed her royal lineage. Seedut, spotting her descent, hurried forward to assist her with a flourish.

"Allow me to introduce my adopted daughter, Princess Dutta," Seedut declared to the assembled crowd. "She is the daughter of King Kaluzhvergan of the Vidhyadhara, a lineage known as the Gandharva Dutta."

Dutta, a picture of silent grace, bowed her head in a gesture of respect that left the villagers speechless. No princess in Yemangadha's history had ever shown such deference to commoners. As she straightened, Seedut, with a touch of chivalry, escorted her down the bustling commercial street towards his residence, located near the port.

The crowd, their curiosity momentarily sated, began to disperse, eager to return to their own lives. Seedut, Kandhukkadan, and Dutta entered the house, the weight of unspoken experiences hanging heavy in the air.

"Much should have transpired in my absence, Isn’t it my friend?," Seedut remarked, his voice laced with a hint of weariness.

"The situation here has gone awry in your absence, my friend," Kandhukkadan sighed. "Achanandhi is accused of stealing the palace flag, and a commander with his garrison has been set up near the banyan corner to search for him."

Seedut's brow furrowed. "Achanandhi? Stealing the flag? That's preposterous! But what about Sehwag and Nandhattan? Are they in danger too?"

"Not yet," Kandhukkadan reassured him, lowering his voice. "But the situation is tense.”

“I see. But why would the old man steal the flag? And why the commander for a mere theft? Isn’t it fishy?”

“I don’t know. Everything happened out of nowhere. That be it, you never wanted marriage or kids,” shifting the subject, “What prompted the sudden adoption of Princess Dutta?”

"It's a long story, best saved for a proper meal," Seedut replied with a hint of a smile. "Bring your wife and sons to dinner tomorrow evening. We have much to catch up on. But first, I have a pressing matter to attend to at the palace. I need to request the king for a Swayamwara for Dutta..."

Their conversation was interrupted by the hurried entrance of another villager. "The cattle have arrived, escorted by the commander's forces," he announced. "Sehwag and Nandhattan should be with them."

Kandukkadan, his face etched with concern, excused himself and rushed out to greet his son, leaving Seedut's words hanging in the air.


Next Chapter :

Vigneshwaran, Senior Correspondent of is both a skilled digital content writer and marketer by profession, as well as an avid independent writer driven by his passion. His literary talents extend to crafting beautiful poems and captivating short stories including the Sehwag Tales series. In addition to these creative pursuits, he has also authored a book titled "Halahala," which can be found

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