Phew! Four quests within a week! It had been really tiring. Finally he could grab some rest now. Greece was a beautiful country with Mediterranean climate, seas and mountains. Add to it the architectural marvels – it was indeed a tourist’s delight. But then Harvi was not too really a touristy kind of person. Not for him all the fancy exotic stuff! All he wanted was a sumptuous meal, a nice movie and a relaxing 11 hour sleep.
How he wished he could have a plate of hot Parathas and a large glass of cool Lassi. He used the restaurant locator function on his mobile phone to locate the nearest eatery. But, alas! Ancient Greece was yet to invent the most amazing invention of all times: washing machines to churn out liters and liters of amazing Lassi. So he had to make do with goat yoghurt. Pita bread was the closest he could get to Parathas. These ancient Greeks really needed a lot of catching up to do in the area of cuisine. With this kind of food, it was not surprising why most of these guys either became philosophers or went and killed themselves fighting wars. If Greeks had discovered Paratha and Lassi, it would have changed the course of European history.
After lunch, it was time for a movie. Again the mobile phone came to his rescue, pointing out to him the nearest theater. Though movies were yet to be discovered, ancient Greeks were great patrons of plays. He bought a ticket and found himself a comfortable seat. Man! These Greek tragedies were so intense! They reached out straight to his heart in spite of the inconvenience of having to use his mobile phone to translate Greek to Punjabi. But after sometime that was also no longer needed. Emotions had no language. He was soon weeping profusely. He was such an emotional and the play just brought forth his entire entire vent up emotions. The handsome boy sitting next to him offered him a handkerchief. He took it gratefully and gave it back to him completely wet, tears dripping all over. The boy gave him a comforting tap on his back. By the end of the movie Harvi had a friend. The boy was called Mynakos.
After the movie, the boy spoke to him, “There is a very nice spa nearby. I am heading there now. You want to come along?”
“Sounds good. Let us go.”
The spa was amazing. The massages were so relaxing and Harvi was completely relieved of all the stress from the quests. One thing he noticed was that his friend kept stealing glances at him now and then. Possibly that is how these Greeks were.
After the spa, Mynakos invited him home for dinner. Greeks were such hospitable folks. Dinner of course turned out to be lousy. What else could one expect from a Greek dinner? But the wine was good. After that Mynakos took him by hand to lead him somewhere. He wondered what the boy was up to. But he had been such a gracious host. He decided to humor him.
It was the sleeping chambers. The boy seated him gently on the bed with a smile and came and sat close to him. He gently ran his hand over him as he spoke. He felt a bit uncomfortable but then he dismissed it in the interest of cross cultural sensitivities. The cultural differences became irreconcilable when a hand snaked out towards the wrong area? There was nothing wrong with the area as such. What was wrong was the gender of the hand's owner. He immediately jumped up from the bed with a start.
The boy seemed dismayed at this sudden aggressive transformation in his friend’s demeanor. He tried to hold on to his hand and calm him.
“Be seated, friend. Don’t leave me. Heaven awaits you. Patience is all I ask.”
That did it. The normally relaxed and non violent Sardar was now a lion, a hydra and a wild boar all combined into one. He came down upon the boy in all his righteous fury and gave him a resounding slap. Before the boy could recover he was out of the house running like a deer.
He had had enough. Ancient Greece clearly was no place for a decent gentleman to have fun. He had to finish the quests as quickly as possible and get back home. He wondered what form the alien would have taken this time. But when he reached the palace, he found that the old Greek king had returned. The mauling at the hands of the Gauls had clearly take away all of the aliens’ appetite for masquerade balls or fancy dress competitions.
“I can see you are as eager to get done with the challenges as quickly as possible as are we. So to save time let us do some parallel processing. Your next two challenges are to clean the Augean stables and drive away the Stymphalian birds.” Though it did sound a innocuous and mundane as ‘shoo the pigeons and clean the shed’, the previous quests had shown him it was not going to be that simple.
He decided to first check out the stables. He soon reached the Augean stables guided by Google maps as usual. As he neared the stable , his nose could catch a whiff of some kind of a foul stench. He was filled with apprehension as he opened the door of the stable. The place was in a terrible mess. The roof was lined with cob webs. Cockroaches were scurrying around and one could catch a glimpse of a rat or two as well. It was difficult to find a single spot on the floor, walls or ceiling free from dirt and muck. However this place gave him a kind of déjà vu feeling. He had seen this place somewhere.
It was going to take ages to clean this place. It would be more efficient time management to go after the birds first. One always finished the tasks with shorter lead times first. As he settled down in a corner of the place to think of the strategy against the Stymphalian birds, he realized why the place felt so familiar. This was exactly how his own hostel room looked! That was another reason to postpone the cleaning. This kind of atmosphere was conducive for creative thinking!
He began to give a thought on the action plan for the birds’ quest. As an angry bird player, he did have experience in dealing with ferocious birds with sharp beaks that could pierce through wood and metal and dropped dung bombs. But the problem was that he was used to doing this the other way round. He always played the attacking birds. Now he had to turn the logic on top of its head and think from the point of view of the pigs that the birds were attacking in the 'Angry Birds' game. Staying in a place that stank like a sty would definitely help him think like a pig. One more reason why he should postpone cleaning this place, eh?
Next Part of the Story : Singer does a Flying Sikh Act
Previous Part of the Story : Singer on a Boaring Quest
First Part of the Story : Singer on the Roof
Picture credit : Dark Dusty Room Picture