The town of Ghoor stared out hungrily at the vast dry land spread before it. It was once a haven for adventurers who tested their endurance against the desert. Their mission was conquered only once they completed the arduous journey and rang the town’s entrance bell.
A grand welcome awaited the adventurers. The people of Ghoor were generous and kind of heart. A feast was spread, entertainment reigned, and the celebrations were alive till the break of dawn.
Shaped in a rounded rectangle, Ghoor was a pretty oasis in the midst of a baked land. Their shrine was a natural well which stood in the town square. Why a well? There’s a story behind it, but of course.
The legend around the origin of the town was that Ira Mud (pronounced moodh) was an outcast from Naafa. What he was outcast for, no one knew for sure. Some said he was a thief, another said he was a murderer, and yet another claimed that he was an illegitimate child.
Alone and directionless too, Ira Mud had bravely put one foot in front of the other as he traversed the scorching desert. His eyes were on fire, but he challenged the elements and looked on unblinkingly at the horizon which always seemed farther away with each step forward.
Without water and food for over three days, he was near to his end. In bitter frustration and rage, he vented out to the silent desert. Burning tears of anger mixed with despair poured down and wet the barren, hard floor on which he rest.
His tears had magic, says one of the town people. Ira Mud’s passionate tears opened up the ground and water gushed a mile high over him. Whatever his past sins were, were cleansed with that pure, divine water from the bowels of Mother Earth.
“Not completely” butts in another town person.
Ira had challenged the desert, the first true adventurer over it, and had won. The desert was livid at this.
“The desert was a sore loser”, piped up a little Ghoor boy.
The elders shushed him.
The desert took its revenge against Ira, they whispered.
“What did it do?” I asked amused.
“When you look at us, you can see the desert’s revenge.”
I looked at them and understood. I understood why I had been feeling unsettled when I had entered the town. I realized why I felt a peculiar oddness when I conversed with the town people. How come I had never noticed it before?
I looked at them, blinking to keep the fierce sun’s light out of my eyes. I looked at them and they stared back at me, unblinking.
“The fault in our stares” said the chief sadly, “has driven people away from us.”
“Our eyes always stare out at the desert, hoping that people will return, and not avoid us.” chirped a tiny girl.
“I’ll come back,” I said, scooping her in my arms, “I promise. The fault is not in your stares, but in the people who do not understand you.”
Her grateful hug was the most valuable reward I have ever received.
When I was back in the city, I had brought along with me a vital piece of information. I found that Ira Mud was driven out because his people believed he was cursed. But no one would say what curse he carried.
P.S: This is not the end. Ira Mud’s story will continue next week.
P.P.S: This is the first time I’m participating in the fortnight long #BarAThon organized by Blog-A-Rhythm. Hoping to get back my blogging mojo with this activity.