Sunday, April 3, 2022

The Untitled Story Part 4

 After reaching the Palala side of the resort and seeing the scene Rusha becomes nervous. Her heart started to pump rapidly, she feel uneasy and ultimately she vomits out the anxiety.

She saw Ganesh lying in a pool of blood. His other co-habitants are in a similar position but in different places scattered around the lawn area of the cottage. The lodgers staying in the neighborhood are all running here and there along with shouting curse words towards their luck, time, and also for the hotel staff. They are panicked, they do not know what to do. They had come for a weekend trip and now they are running for their lives but the irony is they do not know where to go ???

Rusha along with other hotel staff tried to control the situation as much as they could. One of them also telephoned the nearest police station. At that time another roar of the tiger followed by the scream of a hunted deer silenced the noise emitting from the conundrum of the resort.

"There are two points which I can not comprehend sir," said Mr.Supratim Bakshi, a tall well-built gentlemen of 23 years. He had recently joined the Detective Dept of Odissa Police.

"What are those two points, Bakshi ?" questioned his senior, Mr.Raju Patnaik. Patnaik is an Officer on Special Duty. He was deputed for solving the mysterious death of Ganesh and his group in the Lulung Resort. As per the information received from the staff of the hotel, everything was fine until 8pm on the eventful day.

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Professor D Bhattacharjee was working on Rare plant species and their impact on the local climate for the last five years. He was highly interested in the role of Rafflesia in controlling the local climate. His laboratory is in Bhubaneswar and he is assisted by a smart young man named Jayanta Mohanty. He is also a botanist and works with rare plants. As the research interest of both is similar they can be regularly found in Mohanty's laboratory discussing their research and sharing their future goal and path to accomplish their targets. But this Friday their regularity was disturbed by a phone call. The call was from the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The government wants us to look into the imaginary concept of Blue Rafflesia. They are saying that that species was spotted in the A&N Islands. But as per my knowledge, this species does not exist in reality. How can that fellow has found it and has also captured an image of it from our jungles of A&N ? About five years ago a forest dweller from Simlipal had informed me that he has found one of that Blue Rafflesia in the forest. But after investigating the case I found at that time that the species he was talking about is indeed a Rafflesia but it is not that imaginary species. Since then also I have read many news about "Blue Rafflesia spotting" in various international and national news articles and unsurprisingly all of that news was found to be fake.

In my research paper on the rarest species of India, I have clearly concluded that concepts like Blue Rafflesia have no real base and can be treated as a hoax only. But this time this fellow has taken a picture of the flower. And our forensics have confirmed that the photograph is not forged or distorted. So the very concept that I had rejected is now validated to be real. 

I must look into this Jayanta and you must help me in this aspect. I will also take the help of a few more people as this news has spread like a wildfire within our fraternity and as a result, some not-so-good people have certainly received the news also.

Prof.Bhattacharjee paused for a moment to take a breath. 

 "Take your time professor. Don't panic. We are with you." replied Jayant with a consolidatory voice to give the old Professor some mental support. For a Professor, when a concept established by him, is found to be incorrect it hurts a lot. It creates questions about the credibility of his research, his knowledge, and above all, it tarnishes the image which he has created by tremendous hard work for the 30 long years of his working life.

So the Professor was visibly disturbed and he want to clear his name as early as possible. And the government also desires the same. So being an avid follower, admirer, and co-researcher of Prof.Bhattacharjee, Jayanta feels that he has a duty to make his Professor proud again.

That is why, as an obedient student of the Professor, he initiated his work on blue Rafflesia by starting to brush up his knowledge about the species.

After completing his maiden search on Blue Rafflesia Jayanta switched off his computer and start preparing for returning back to his home. Prof.Bhattacharjee was extremely tired and so on request from Jayanta he has retired early today. Jayanta locked the chamber and while he was moving toward his vehicle a shadowy creature started to follow him. When he was about to grab the handle of the car someone grabbed him from behind with a tickling laugh. Jayanta was totally unprepared for this. He can smell the scent of ladies' perfume. He is a brown belt in Karate and has trained himself for self-defense by attending various workshops.

He gives a hard blow to the chest of the prowler with his elbows and tries to disentangle himself from the arms of the intruder. He was successful in releasing himself. But the perpetrator releases him with a moan. The lady angrily retreats and throws some slang word toward Jayanta and remove her cover from her face.

"Are you an Idiot? Cant, you recognize me ?"

Meanwhile, the shadow of the creature which was following Jayanta change its direction and jumped off towards the boundary wall. After some time the shadow vanishes in the darkness of the night.

This concludes Part 4 of my first attempt to write a story. It is unedited and untitled till now.


Monday, February 28, 2022

The Untitled Story : Part 3

 

Simlipal National Park


Simlipal National Park is situated in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in India. The total area of the park is 2,750 sq km with a core area of 850 km². The area is a plateau with various scenic peaks. Similipal remains open from 1 November to 15 June only.

This is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India. Popular inhabitants of the forest are tigers, antelope, deer, nilgai, leopards, bear, crocodile, and elephants. This park has many waterfalls and a crocodile sanctuary nearby.

One can enter Similipal through Pithabata (22 km from Baripada) or by Joshipur. 

The old guest house is in dilapidated condition as a consequence, a modern resort, Lulung Aranya Nivas has recently been developed in the middle of the park. Odisha Tourism has also prepared a number of Forest rest houses within the forest. Visitors can also stay at Baripada or Jashipur in private hotels.

Lulung Aranya Nivas has three differen rooms. The River Side Cottages are located by the river Palpala and also come with a balcony. The Executive Grand is the suit providing two king-size beds and ample living space. The Meadow Suites are luxury accommodations with a lawn at the front, a courtyard at the back, and an open-to-sky bath. In addition, there are the Wooden Cottages which provide a panoramic view of the resort and the surrounding areas.

On Friday, a group of five people checked in the resort. They have advanced booking. Rusha, the receptionist of the resort, was observing them. The group was led by someone known as Ganesh and he is from Kerala as per the ID submitted by him. The other two members are from Mumbai and the remaining two are from Bhubaneswar. The group is roaming here and there looking at the different facilities of the resort but using none of them. They have booked the Meadow suite in the Eastern fringe of the resort.

Although they are roaming here and there, communication between themselves seems to be minimum. They have booked the suite for five days. Another surprising activity of the group is they are not moving out of the resort nor thy are availing of any safaris or any other sightseeing services.

Above all, they are not at all behaving like a normal tourist. Rusha who was observing them from the entry of the group into the resort has been highly suspicious about the objective of the group for visiting Lulung. As is the customs of the resort, she has informed her manager about the group and their activity. The manager has noted her words but has taken no action in this regard to avoid any conundrums among the other boarders of the resort. This resort has suffered a lot during the Covid times and now that the stream of visitors is attaining the pre-covid level he will seldom do something which will disturb this trend. This hotel is his livelihood. After a long struggle he has finally acquired this job and he does not want to lose it by any means.

As usual, darkness engulfed Simplipar very quickly after the sunset. Boarders have started to take dinners in the lounge area and also in their respective cottages and suits. Ganesh and its group have just finished their daily dose of drinking and ordered chapattis and chicken for their supper.

As the resort is completely isolated from city life there is no noise even talking can be heard. The dinner time of the resort concludes at 10:00pm. After dinner, there is no predefined activity. So all the boarders leave the lounge or restaurant area and move to their respective rooms. So a pin drop silence was existing in the resort. 

Suddenly a large sound of thud was heard and after that tremendous commotion broke out in the hotel which was again engulfed by a gigantic roar from an animal none other than the Royal Bengal Tiger. The sound of Tiger roaring broke the tranquility of the resort. Rusha rushed out of the staff room. She was extremely tired from the day-to-day activities which have increased in the recent months and were taking a rest in her bed. But after coming out of her room and hearing the roar of the Tiger she was shocked to see the wide-scale chaos. 

The boarders were running here and there in their nightgowns. Nationality, Caste, Colour doesn't matter. Everyone is running. running from the beast which no one saw. But the terror of the unknown created a panic which resulted in the commotion in the resort. 

At that moment a large sound of a gunshot was heard and she rushed toward the location of the shot. Rusha is a very level-headed lady. Although she has not got the scope of higher studies. But she is studious, sincere, honest, and above all mature enough to manage any type of uncertainty that may plague the resort. She is a trained MBA and she knows how to manage difficult or chaotic situations. The sound of gunfire has come from the direction where the group led by Ganesh was staying. But the roar of the tiger seems to be coming from outside the resort but very near to the River Palala side.

Wait for the 4th Part.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Untitled Story : Part 2

Rafflesia sp.
Courtesy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cGRujABwuQ


After searching the internet for long hours about the fictitious as well as suspicious Blue Rafflesia Raj and Rohit found no reliable information regarding the plant. However, there is a lot of information about Rafflesia and its recognized species. In a gist which can be delineated below:

The Rafflesia is a member of the Rafflesiaceae family and is one of the world’s largest flowers.  Rafflesia arnoldi, which is a species of Rafflesia can grow up to 150 cm in diameter which entitles it the largest flower in the world.

Rafflesia arnoldi was first identified in Sumatra by an exploration party led by Sir Stamford Raffles, his wife Lady Sophia Raffles, and his doctor and naturalist Dr. Joseph Arnold. They visited the Pulau Lebar on the Manna River on either 19 or 20 May 1818.

At the time of their visit a local servant first discovered a very large flower and led Dr.Arnold to it. Arnold thus became the first person from the exploration party to see the Rafflesia. The flower was large, measuring a full yard across. Dr. Arnold described seeing “a swarm of flies hovering over” the flower and laying their eggs in it, and it produced “precisely the smell of tainted beef”. He proceeded to remove the flower and sent the specimen back to Manna, but the specimen was later found to have turned brown and infested with maggots. In addition, he also made a coloured drawing of the flower.

The Rafflesia is found in the tropical rainforests of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. It occurs only in certain habitats as a parasite on the Tetrastigma species of woody vines.

It is a very rare flower, difficult to reproduce in laboratories and its dried specimen is difficult to preserve. The Rafflesia can measure between 36 to 42 inches in diameter and weigh between 9 to 12 kg.

Since all the plants of this family are parasitic, they do not have any roots, stems, or leaves and lack chlorophyll. Individual flowers or buds simply sprout on the species of Tetrastigma woody vines. Some flowers are monoecious, with both sexes in the same flower.

Prior to the discovery and introduction of this flower to the western world, the indigenous communities who had known about its presence were using the Rafflesia for medicinal purposes. Rafflesia buds were used by women to stop internal bleeding and shrink the womb after childbirth.

In particular, it was used as a love potion and to hasten childbirth by the Sakai tribes in Malaya, and as an aphrodisiac and astringent by high society women in Java.

 In spite of its various uses, the chemical composition of Rafflesia flowers has not been extensively analysed yet. However, preliminary phytochemical screening has shown no evidence of the flowers’ medicinal properties. On the contrary, the buds and flowers have a high content of tannin and phenols that can be toxic when taken in large quantities.

In Thailand, young buds of the flower are eaten as a delicacy.

The scent of Rafflesia which varies in intensity from one species to another is just like rotten meat and as a result, it attracts carrion flies. The smell is maximum at around noon and on the third or fourth day of the bloom. That is why this plant is also referred to as "corpse lily” and “carrion flower” in English. 

This species is often confused with another species known as Titan arum which is referred to as “corpse flower,” 

Rafflesia has never been cultivated in captivity. Even after 180 years of its discovery lot of features, behaviors, phenology, and genology of the species is unknown. The main reason for this is their rarity. These flowers are only found in remote areas in the forest of South East Asia. As the forest cover is decreasing the occurrence of this species in wild is also decrementing. The buds are harvested and sold for their purported medicinal qualities and as a result, even if the flower is visible in some places it is not guaranteed that they will be available in the same place next year due to lack of protection.

So from the gist, it can be well understood that the Rafflesia itself is very rare. Till now 17 different species of Rafflesia have been discovered all of which are extremely rare and their occurrence in the same location is not assured. Now Blue Rafflesia is never been seen neither in wild nor in captivity. So it is indeed a fictional species as informed by Mr.Gomez.

Raj and Rohit were exhausted after a long day in front of their Laptops. So they were having a cup of tea to re-energize themselves. They were discussing the mysterious images of Blue Rafflesia and the images of the species sent to Mr.Gomez when the phone rang multiple times. Raj picked up the call.
"Images are authentic" yelled Mr.Gomez at the other side of the call. "The emails were sent from someone who had opened his email account from Bhubaneswar. Further investigations are going on. Just now Cybercrime and Forensic dept informed me. I will come in the evening to discuss one more piece of news that I have received from my sources.". With this, Mr.Gomez put down his phone.

My first tryst in storytelling. If possible give some feedback, please.

Reference

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Untitled Story : Part 1

"Do you know about Rafflesia ?" Ask Mr.Gomez, a tall man with average health. He is a spectacled guy working in the Detective Department for the last 10 years.

"Yes, it is a plant having the largest flowers in the world.", Raj stops to take a breath and then continues "it attracts flies and other insects with its enormous flowers, which pollinate the plant so it can continue the reproductive process. It has dimethyl disulfide, which contains sulfur that creates a rotten smell. The flower of one of its species that has the world's largest bloom is the Rafflesia arnoldii. "

"This rare flower is found in the rainforests of Indonesia. It can grow up to 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! Thriving in rainforests, Rafflesia is in danger of extinction due to habitat loss as well as poaching — its buds are harvested and sold for medicinal properties. The plant cannot grow in captivity, and, as most occurrences of Rafflesia contain only male or female flowers, pollinations are rare. There are 28 known species of Rafflesia and 10 species are listed in the largest flower category in the world."

"Oh, you know a lot about Raflasia it seems." Mr.Gomez interrupted Raj .

" But my problem is not about the Rafflesia but a modified genus of it which are unpopularly known as Blue Rafflesia. It is a very big flower at least ten times larger than the biggest species of Rafflesia and has a smell which can be sniffed within a one-kilometer radius."

"The alarming point is this Blue Rafflesia is an imaginary concept to me until yesterday. But today at around three am, I received an email containing the pictures and claiming that the sender of the email has found real evidence of Blue Rafflesia in the Island of Andaman & Nicobar."

Andaman Nicobar Islands is famous for its absolutely stunning beaches, rich biodiversity, beautiful marine ecosystem, and tropical evergreen forests teeming with wildlife. Andamans serve as a maritime boundary between the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Andaman Sea to the east. The Andaman and Nicobar Island are a Union Territory of India however the Coco Islands and Preparis Island are part of the Yangon Region of Myanmar.

The Andaman Islands are home to the Andamanese, a group of indigenous people that includes a number of tribes, including the Jarawa and Sentinelese tribes. While some of the islands can be visited with permits, entry to others, including North Sentinel Island, is banned by law. The Sentinelese are generally hostile to visitors and have had little contact with any other people. The government protects their right to privacy.

Raj Roy is a handsome-looking boy of 38 years with a bright complexion. He is not very tall as Mr.Gomez but not short either, he stands at a height of 5ft9inch. Raj works freelance and has a keen interest in "not real but possible"  objects. He is junior to Mr.Gomez but a very good friend of the detective. Raj's best friend of equal age is Rohit. Rohit is little fatty but is extremely fit. He is an athlete but has a common interest as Raj that is in "not real but possible" objects. Raj and Rohit, both of the same age, we're the best friends from their school days. During college, they move towards different paths. Where Raj becomes an Engineer, Rohit pursued life science and now works as a scientist in a national level institute.

All three were discussing the pictures of Blue Rafflesia that was sent to Mr.Gomez in Raj's drawing-room.

This room is well lit with all types of sophisticated furniture. Raj and Rohit were sitting on the sofa whereas Mr.Gomez was sitting in the wooden chair as he has a problem of Back Ache.

"The biologists of our Dept, Ms.Runu Kar have said that this is a fraud and someone is joking with me. However, the type, texture, and floral pattern of the flower in the image indicate that this flower is indeed Blue Rafflesia. If the images are real then these pictures are the first image of Blue Raflesia".Mr.Gomez concluded with a hoarse voice. "But we all know that this flower does not exist in real life," Raj replied excitably.

"Have you verified the authenticity of the images? Whether or not they have been photoshopped or superimposed on some other images?"..Raj queried Mr.Gomez. The officer was looking at the sweets and coffee placed on the table for him and was about to grab one of the sweets. He nodded his head on both sides while giving a bite on his favorite food and said "No". 

"Yesterday night I received the email. Till now I have forwarded the email to Ms.Runu only and then in the morning I rushed to your house. Now I will send the images to the forensic and the email to the cyber security cell for verification of the images and to identify the sender respectively. I will inform you regarding their response." Mr.Gomez left the drawing-room for his office.

Raj looks after Rohit and starts to search the internet for more information regarding Blue Rafflesia.

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My first tryst in storytelling. If possible give some feedback, please.