the remains of nalanda

Looking at where it all started, I was wondering how it would have been if Nalanda had to never succumb to its untimely demise. It has been more than 30 years now and even today the ruins of Nalanda amazed me with its glorious charm. No wonder I was captivated to take a walk beside its decapitated pillars and tried to recall my bitter-sweet memories of the old university days. As I walked past beside the three sky-rocketing charred buildings which once used to be the three wings of the mammoth library, I was reminded of Sanchi and her sarcastic remarks about me spending more time dazing in the zen gardens amidst birds and beasts than the books delegated to study. My brother, who was denied entry at the gate itself was asked to leave as he couldn’t answer the questions of the gatekeepers. Little did we know that they had the authority to pass the judgment on the intellect and the capability of the students. I still remember my brother’s eyes filled with remorse and envy but indeed he was very lucky to not go through what I had to witness. I lamented during my entire stay at Nalanda that he was miles apart studying in a different kingdom near the sea, Kalinga, seldom having any time and incentive to meet up with me. But in my mind, I had decided that once we were back home, we would share all our experiences and fill the void created by these circumstances.
“Mother!” I heard my son’s voice from the distance. “It will be getting dark soon, you must be hungry and weary from the journey, might I suggest you should retire to the camp,” he continued.
“No, dear Bali, I will like to take a stroll, the sun does set early here but the warmth in the air assures that it will take some more time and no I’m not famished yet,” I answered.
He trusted my judgment and left me there and I immersed myself back into my nostalgic thoughts. It had taken us almost 35 days to reach to the erstwhile Magadh. A kingdom that was once equally rich and prosperous in its wealth as in its heritage. A place which was way progressive than its counterparts open to all sorts of opinions and expressions from all genders and religions.
As I heard Bali’s footsteps fading away, I remembered how Sanchi was approaching my bed with her loud, shudder steps on my last day at Nalanda.
“Wake up, Maya! There is an emergency,” she shouted in her high-pitched voice.
She was one of my closest friends except for the rest of them who were like me not from the peninsula from far off foreign lands.
“What is it? Is there a lecture that I missed?” I knew it was quite early for the students to assemble even for the meditation.
“No, something even worse,” she whispered in my ear. “Please, wake up!”
“It should better be an earth-quake then,” I was furious in my mind.

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