Hagamuchi and Akimitsu

Barefooted, hungry, thirsty, and armed, Akimitsu, a wandering swordsman, arrived to the seaside village of Hamanaka. He had been riding a horse from the village of Hirafuku which was located about two hundred kilometres away, but his horse died halfway through and the burly man had to trek through a woodland that covered Hamanaka on all three sides. As the early rays of the sun reached the village, Akimitsu began his ascent on a hill, atop which stood Hagamuchi’s cottage. The village itself was nestled at the bottom of this green hill, and 20 years ago, it was this very hill that had saved the lives of the villagers when a tsunami swept through and destroyed every single thing that lay on its path. Some people say that it was the spirit of this holy mountain that beckoned them to their safety, but that wasn’t the truth.  It was Hagamuchi, and the village owed its life to him. As the people were busy celebrating the yearly festival, it was Hagamuchi and his grandson, Miko, who spotted the tsunami from atop the hill. Frantically, they thought of ways to warn the villagers down below. And at last, Hagamuchi burnt his own house to get their attention. The temple priest noted it first, and then the people rushed to his aide as soon as they saw the blaze and then heard the thundering of the ocean as it roared in and swept everything down below. Hagamuchi was a hero. He had sacrificed his own home, the home that he had built with his own hands, for the safety of the people. The grateful people of the village rebuilt his cottage for him even before they started rebuilding their own homes. Hagamuchi was a household name not just in Hamanaka, but also in the neighbouring villages. Now the man was about 80 years old and Akimitsu had come all the way to meet this valiant man whom he had heard so much about.

As the ragged and unkempt Akimitsu reached the top, he came across a young man, about half his age, practising with his sword. A few metres away behind the practising Miko stood Hagamuchi’s cottage.

“You must be Miko,” shouted Akimitsu, as he stepped on level ground from his ascent.

“And you are?” asked Miko.

“I am Akimitsu,” said Akimitsu, and nodded his head. “I am here to meet your grandfather.”

Miko nodded back. “I will let him know,” he said. “Are you related to him?”

“That I am,” said Akimitsu with a thin smile.

Under normal circumstances, Miko would have invited his guest to his house; but something about Akimitsu just didn’t feel right.

“Ojjisan,” Miko called to his grandfather as he entered the house. “There is someone called Akimitsu here to meet you.”

The old man slowly stirred from his chair and got up, trying to remember who this Akimitsu is. Miko read his ojjisan’s furrowed brow and understood that the old man was yet to identify the stranger. He stood by Hagamuchi and slowly walked along with him as he made his way out.

The sun was out fully by now and Akimitsu shielded his eyes as he peered into the dimness of the open doorway of the cottage.  He soon saw the old man standing on the doorway along with Miko.

“Ah, my Chichi!” said Akimitsu. “I thought I would never see you.”

“Chichi?” the old man and his grandson looked at each other dumbfounded.

“Who are you?” said Hagamuchi gruffly.

“I am not one for playing games. I come from a long way off, and I am tired and hungry, ” said Akimitsu. “Let’s get down to business, shall we?”

“I am here ,” the ragged wanderer paused, “to kill you.”

Miko who was still clutching his sword stepped outside. “Get out this instant and there will be no trouble.”

“Little Miko,” said Akimitsu. “My good little man. I hate tragedies, I really do. But it is quite unfortunate and tragic that I have to kill you today. I really feel for you.”

The weight of the situation was still dawning on Miko as he stood there trying to make sense of what was happening.

“You see, Miko, I have no reason to kill you; absolutely not a single reason. But I still have to. You know why? Because you will try to protect your grandfather, the valiant hero of this village, and I have no other choice but to kill you,” Akimitsu said, “quite tragic, isn’t it?”

With a deft movement, the wanderer unsheathed his sword with his right hand and stood still as a rock. The blade glinted under the morning sun.

With a sudden outburst, Miko charged towards Akimitsu, his sword held by both his arms horizontally above his head. Even before he could raise his sword further back to strike a blow, he noticed Akimitsu swinging his sword from behind his right shoulder in an arc towards him. But Akimitsu had begun the swing a bit earlier for the strike to land on Miko and the sword came down cutting through the air downwards one instant, and before Miko could blink, the sword up-heaved outward and slashed through Miko’s chest as he came close enough to land a blow on Akimitsu.

Drenched in sweat and blood, Akimitsu moved forward to the old man who was now on his knees.

“What have you done?” the old man cried. “Miko is such a sweet boy. He never harmed anyone. You are a monster! Why would you do this?”

“I’ve heard that one’s memory deteriorates as one ages, ” said Akimitsu calmly.  “Is this your old age speaking? Or is it pride that is masking your vision of who you really are? ‘The hero of Hamanaka’ — that sounds so good, doesn’t it?”

Hagamuchi peered into his tormentor’s eyes searching for a clue. Those eyes did seem familiar. Where has he seen them before? Glimpses of a past memory came floating back to the old man. “I have seen those eyes,” he said to himself. He remembered looking into those eyes as they shrieked for mercy. He remembered tears rolling from those eyes as he forced himself onto her on a drunken night 45 years ago.


After all these years.

Those eyes don’t want mercy anymore;

They seek something else.

And Hagamuchi was at the receiving end of what they wanted.

“Why now?”

“She is no more.”

Akimitsu’s right hand moved once again, cleaving Hagamuchi’s head clean off of his shoulders as it rolled down the floor.


The priest at the village temple down below stood still for a moment as he noticed smoke bellowing from atop the mountain. “Hagamuchi’s house is on fire!” he screamed as he ran towards the bell tower to raise an alarm. The memory of Hagamuchi burning his own house to warn about an incoming tsunami panicked him even more as he ran.



Hagamuchi and the tidal wave is a story based on a Japanese folktale that I read when I was 8 or 9 years old. The original story was a good little folktale for kids which showcased the heroic and sacrificing deeds of Hagamuchi who destroys his own house to save the people of his village. I am now 31 years old and I have been told by someone close to me that I am still a kid who reads bedtime stories for children. This is simply not true and I do read and write “grownup stories” too. And just like Akimitsu who slayed a monster to uphold his mother’s honour, I decided to uphold my honour (sorry, Hagamuchi) and prove once and for all that I am quite grown up and matured enough.  So this little story, Hagamuchi and Akimitsuis something that I built on top of the original story and I have introduced this character Akimitsu who provides enough ‘R’ rated material to keep things interesting. I hope this concludes the adventures of Akimitsu and that I don’t have reintroduce him into other innocent little stories that I enjoyed as a kid and ruin them as well.


In all seriousness, I did enjoy writing this story. Thank you, Nisha, for constantly pushing me to write. This one is for you 🙂




The Elements of Earth and Wind — Episode 2

The following is a continuation of The Elements of Earth and Wind.

The ground shuddered, causing a flock of startled birds to fly up in random directions — only to be caught up in a passing whirlwind. The air was filled with feathers all around. Panicked animals shot out of their hideouts as fast as they could. There were ripples and small waves all over the lakes and ponds nearby. “It’s the apocalypse!!!” shouted a sloth bear as it ran without a hint of any slothfulness. Is it really the apocalypse? Is this the end of the world? Not really. A closer look (by those special endowed beings and above) revealed something else. Love was in the air… and also in the ground. The Wind and Earth elements had fallen in love — deep love. The Wind element often built itself into whirlwinds and tornadoes to impress Earth. The Earth would respond by blushing, sending tremors around, and when it showcased its love, entire rivers changed courses.

But wait a minute? Didn’t God cast out these spirits previously? He did; only to give them a reprieve. These elements are part of God’s plan for something greater that was to come, and so God brought them back — a decision which he instantly started regretting.

A huge tornado raged across the planet.

“Oh my Divine Earth, look how mighty I am!” beamed Wind.

“Yes, you are so strong, sweety!” replied Earth. “But you are still younger than me, and also dumb.”

“What?” said the Wind, slowly losing its force. “I am younger than you?”

“So you accept that you’re dumb,” teased Earth. “That’s nice of you to accept.”

“No and no! I am not accepting anything,” replied Wind. “How am I younger than you?”

“Basic science, sweetheart,” smiled Earth. “I, Earth, came into existence before you did. There wasn’t even any atmosphere back then. If you had seen me how rough and fiery I was at that time, you wouldn’t even have fallen in love with me.”

“I would have still fallen in love and I know that.”

“There was too much volcanic activity and I was so hot. There wasn’t a hint of all this beauty and cuteness that you talk about right now, baby,” said Earth in a condescending tone just to further irritate Wind.

“I am sure you were so beautiful and cute even at that time,” huffed Wind.

“You think so?”

“I know so.”

Earth let out a rumble of laughter. “You’re so cute.”


Meanwhile, up in the Heavens, an old man with a long silvery beard and a flashing white robe sat deep in thought.

“Lord God, are you seeing what is happening?” came the meek voice of a young slender man called Morgan.

“Yes, Morgan, of course I see what is happening. I am God, remember?” replied an irritated God. “I am omniscient, for Go-my sake!”

Morgan was supposed to be the next Messiah to start a brand new religion over which seven new crusade wars were to be fought. He was Marvin the Messenger’s replacement after his untimely death. God was deeply disappointed that his well thought-out plan to start religious wars with Marvin had flopped big time. It wasn’t just the failure of his plan that disappointed him, it was the way in which Marvin died that infuriated him even more. This had happened a few years ago. Things were going according to plan and Marvin even had a set of his own disciples. He had slowly started converting a group of sun-worshipping villagers to his brand new religion and they were getting ready for his sermon under a banyan tree. This was exactly when the unfortunate incident happened.

God was closely monitoring the event with much interest when he heard something else.

“My Sweetness,” came the voice of Wind. This didn’t get God’s attention much as he did know how crazy wind can get.

“Yes, my baby,” replied Earth, much to God’s surprise. (“Oh my me,” He sat down heavily in disbelief).

“I love you!”

“I love you too,” replied Earth, blushing.

The blush sent a strong tremor towards the village — straight to the banyan tree.

“Do you know why I am here?” Marvin started his sermon.

The tree wobbled unnaturally for a second and came crashing down on Marvin and all his six disciples, effectively ending the religion on that very same day. The stunned villagers decided that he was a cursed man and went back to worshipping their sun god.

Both Morgan and God stared at each other for a few seconds thinking about Marvin’s end.

“It will be different this time,” said God. “This is fate at work and I am not going to meddle with it like last time.”

“How, my Lord God?” asked Morgan.


While God was busy formulating his plan, something else had happened on Earth. The people of all religions, who had seen the harshness of both the climate and the very earth that they live on, decided to move in search of finding a better place. All their attention was on finding new land, a place where there were less tremors and good climate without any cyclones. As a result of this massive search, people learned to live together forgetting their differences. They worked together, looked after each other, made sure that the food that they had was getting distributed evenly, they hunted together, they farmed together in places that they thought could hold them for longer. There weren’t any governments to control them, there wasn’t a need to police them, and there was no time for religious fights. It was during such a time that Morgan was cast into the planet.

“Hear me, great people of Earth!” Morgan declared dramatically as he walked into a group of people.

And this was exactly the moment when God heard something that he didn’t in the least wanted to hear.

A few minutes away from where Morgan was standing, Wind was blowing hard against a hill.

“What are you trying to do?” asked Earth.

“I am going to hug my sweetness,” said Wind.

“You don’t have my permission for this,” said Earth, smiling.

“Oh,” said Wind, it’s force against the hill coming down. “Can I please hug you? Please?”


“Please. I will do anything you say,” Wind pleaded.

“Anything for me?”

“Anything.” (At this point, God becomes quite agitated and turns all his attention towards this conversation from Morgan’s speech.)

“See that big boulder over there,” said Earth, pointing to a huge boulder near the hill. “I’ve never seen that boulder move even an inch in any wind or storm. Do you think you can move it for me?”

“Ha! That’s nothing! I can move it for you,” boasted Wind in his attempt to impress Earth. “I am not just going to move this boulder, I will be throwing it away for you!”

“My hero!” said Earth in her sweetest voice.

Wind immediately started blowing with all his might against the heavy boulder. As Earth had said, the boulder was really strong and heavy and had never moved from its position in the last two thousand years. The Wind huffed and puffed and threw all its might. It formed into a mighty whirlwind and pushed as much as it could. The boulder slowly started to budge.

“I can see where this is going,” said God and he prepared himself for what was about to happen. “Morgan, my child, I’ll save you.”

With one mighty push, the Wind managed to dislodge the boulder and threw it up in the air. The boulder arced a few miles above and it started its descent down — straight to where Morgan was standing.

Having accomplished his task, Wind enveloped the hill from all sides and caressed the hill gently. Earth hummed in delight.

As the projectile hurtled downwards, God snapped his fingers, and the ancient boulder blew into a million pieces as a lightning hit it out of nowhere. God smiled and looked at where Morgan was supposed to be speaking. But something had seriously gone wrong.

“He’s trying to divide us in the name of religion!” shouted a man in the crowd. “Kill him!”

“That is not what I am trying to do, my son,” said a nervous Morgan in the best saintly voice that he could muster under the circumstance.

Stones were thrown from all directions. Morgan the Messiah was now no more.

“My love,” said Wind. “Today was such a beautiful day. Don’t you think so?”

“Yes, my baby,” replied Earth. “You were fantastic!”

“No, it was really you.”

“No, baby.”

“Yes, sweetness.”

A dejected God sat heavily in his throne, as both Marvin the Messenger and Morgan and Messiah drank wine at a nearby pub called “The One and Only Heaven.”

The Elements of Earth and Wind

The Wind element came out of nowhere. It had been in existence for as long as it could remember. But that’s true for any element that’s out there. Sometimes the Wind wondered what it was even doing, but it continued its existence as it couldn’t think of an alternative. The Wind blew hard, the Wind blew low, the Wind went cold, the Wind went hot, and sometimes the Wind just wasn’t there even though it was. What is it that the Wind is doing? It was tired, and it wanted to rest. But rest, it didn’t get. Why? Because it’s the Wind, silly. But the Wind is tired. Yes, but it is also the Wind. Sometimes, the Wind would look up at the Sky and marvel at its vastness and beauty. “Why can’t I be the Sky?” The Wind would ask often. “At least, why can’t I fly up to the Sky?” The Wind persisted. “I feel trapped.”
Sometimes the Wind would look at the Fire element, “He’s hot!” The Wind would say. Yes, but there’s Fire in the Wind as well. The Wind didn’t disagree. “I am just not feeling it right now,” he would say sometimes. “All I want to do is go down somewhere nice and easy and rest.” But didn’t the Wind want to rise up and touch the Sky? Or be the Sky? “Yeah,” replied the Wind, “But I also want to rest.” You can’t have both. “Yes, I can.” The Sky is up and you want to go down, where’s the logic in that? “I don’t need logic,” said the Wind mindlessly. “I can do both.” Oh, you silly element, I now feel sad for you.

And then one day, as the Sun was rising in the East, the Wind came across a beautiful hill. Wind always loved hills and so it climbed itself up and rode down the hill as fast as it could. The other side was a flat plain and Wind continued its march through the plains. It felt good. There was something about those plains and the hill that caught the Wind’s attention. “What is it that I am sensing?” Wind wondered, but it just wasn’t sure what it was sensing. The Wind turned around and blew hard over the hill and the plains. It felt good again. But element Earth just didn’t care. It just stayed there — rock-solid — as it has always been and minded its own business. Wind sensed something in Earth that it had never sensed before. There was an aura of enigma all over those plains and hill. Mother Earth looked tough, and kind; she could punish, but also love; she was young, but possessed the power of a guardian angel of yore. “How could she be all this at the same time?” the Wind asked out loud. Rooted in reality, capable of absorbing and enveloping turmoils and havocs, even those caused by Fire, Earth looked calm and composed. Wind couldn’t contain itself and did what it knows best to do — it blew hard and strong. But this is Earth we are talking about — not the clouds in the Sky, trees on a hill, or boats on the sea. Earth took its own time, for it had all the time in the World, and looked at the Wind nonchalantly. But that one look was enough to make the Wind move hard with excitement.

“You rock!” cried out the Wind down to Earth.

“Yeah, some people think that I am one big piece of rock,” Earth retorted.

“No, no, that is not what I meant,” shouted back the Wind. Earth perfectly understood what Wind had meant, but she liked having things her way.

“Can we be friends?” asked the Wind with a big, wide, stupid grin.


“Cool!” the Wind beamed all over and began to move hard. “You know, Earth, we can fly up, up, and above and touch the Sky!”

“You and me?” asked Earth, unimpressed.

“Yeah!” came down an enthusiastic reply.

“Are you serious?” asked Earth. “You do know that we just can’t climb up together, right? I mean I am Earth and you are Wind and there’s that Sky above. How is this even possible?”

“Belief is the foundation of every single endeavour!”

“Mmmmmmmm that sounds grand,” said Earth casually. “But those are just words.”

“We can do this!”

“Why don’t you come down and take a closer look?” said Earth beginning to doubt the sanity of Wind.

Wind flew down gleefully and began to float as close to Earth as possible.

“So what are you doing right now?” asked Earth.

“We are moving together!” said Wind. “I felt such a great pull as I came down and I am raring to fly up again with you.”

“Sweety, that pull is called gravity and no, we’re not moving together,” said Earth.

“But why?” asked Wind slowing down now.

“Because I am supposed to stay here, silly,” said Earth impatiently.

“But I like you,” came a dejected voice.


“We can fly high in the Sky.”

“You need to understand that those are not the type of games that we should be playing. You do what you do and I’ll do what I do,” said Earth.

“But that could be boring,” said Wind. “I’ve been doing this all my life.”

“Look at the reality!” shouted Earth impatiently.

And in this way, both Wind and Earth started conversing — a conversation that lasted more than a 100 years.


Meanwhile, up in the Heavens, an old man with a long silvery beard and a flashing white robe sat deep in thought.

“Lord God, Creator of Heaven, Hell, Earth, and the Universe, I bow dow-”

“Stop with the formalities and get to the point, Marvin” thundered God.

Marvin, a middle-aged little man, looked up at God nervously. He was supposed to be the next great Messenger to preach a brand new religion over which at lease five crusade wars were to take place.

“Lord God, I hear that this argument between Earth and Wind is still ongoing?”

“I know.”

“Yes All-Knowing Father, but at what point is this going to end?” asked Marvin the Messenger helplessly. “The elements can’t have talk of such nature. All of Creation has come to a stand-still, my Lord.”

“I have run out of patience. This Earth and this Wind — I have to do something about them,” said God highly irritated. “When I gave them a bit of free will, I didn’t expect them to use it all in this silly conversation! All they do is talk and talk and talk and talk!”

“Please do something, Lord God.”

A sudden explosion of light occurs as God snaps his fingers.

The spirit that was Wind is cast away and another spirit takes his place, the spirit that was Earth is replaced by another. These cast-away mighty spirits move through and all around the planet in three great circles and finally take human forms.


A tall, bespectacled boy looked at his companion who was sitting across him at a table in their office cafeteria.

“Did you watch the latest Element Wars Episode 12 The Earth Awakens movie?” asked the boy.

“Yeah, I actually watched it because you kept yammering about how awesome it is,” said the girl.

“You must have enjoyed it,” said the boy smiling.

“It was boring as hell,” said the girl looking at him straight in the eye. “I hated it.”

“What? How could you?” asked the boy shocked and dismayed. “That’s like the best movie ever made in the history of movies.”

“If that’s what you think, then I think you need to watch better movies,” she said getting ready for a challenge.

“Oh yeah?”



High up above in the heavens, God sat gritting his teeth, as the two of his people, who were supposed to help Marvin the Messenger spread his new religion, got ready for a brand new argument.