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THE SANDAL MAN
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The Sandal Man.

This story comes from a legend that has made its way into the hearts of millions! Millions of people whose lives have been touched by the Sandal Man. The tale is one of belief, disbelief, logic, reasoning and power. All the contrasting elements in one great experience! The Sandal Man is believed to have appeared just like that! He declared himself as the ‘next responsible’ for those who cared. He was just as enigmatic as the people of the ‘village’. The Sandal Man and the village seemed to have a deep-rooted connection that could not be explained in words. The villagers just accepted him as he accepted them as his own. No questions asked and no limitations.

Going beyond the abstract, The Sandal Man was here there and everywhere in the village. He ate at one place and slept at another. The Sandal Man loved everyone, just as he yelled and screamed if something annoyed him. And the villagers didn’t mind. Well, some did and plotted. The Sandal Man, with his ‘now-aloof and now-social’ behavior was too much to cope with. They let him be. On the cold nights he seemed to feel snug with nothing to cover and on hot and humid nights – he shivered!

There was no telling what to expect of him. He knew no limitations and behaved like the village was his responsibility. Somehow, the presence of The Sandal Man seemed to be soothing and offered a sense of security to the villagers. His huge persona, literally, was enough to scare off the worst thugs and tame wild animals. The Sandal Man had this mild fragrance of a hundred chips of sandal and spread it wherever he went or whomever he touched. The villagers and The Sandal Man co existed in all craziness and love. He was their protection and they were his children.

Then one day, he went missing. The Sandal Man seemed to have had his fill of the village and the villagers. He was indispensable to their very existence and they counted on his presence. He was their identity, their treasure – to keep, to encash, to use and to own. The villagers could not understand this behavior. It was not as if he had not disappeared for days before, but this time he was nowhere to be found and out of sight for longer, forever! The Sandal Man was erratic, but not a deserter. He had never left them for such a long time before. However, even though he was not around and could not be seen, the fragrance – it was there!

It was undeniable, unbelievable, but true. The fragrance was there and everyone inhaled as much as they could. The Sandal Man was a treasure that was now associated with the fragrance. But what about the promise he had made? He had promised villagers that he would disclose the Mystery of the Full Moon with them, on the very next full moon night. He promised that it would be beneficial and profitable for each of them in a special sort of way. The Sandal Man had told them that he would actually be disclosing the presence of a treasure chest within the village that could be unearthed with the power derived from the Mystery of the Full Moon. Had he done this on purpose? Did he plan to keep all the treasure for himself? Who was the man?
With the next full moon approaching, The Sandal Man’s absence was even further regretted by the villagers, but for reasons best known to each. Among the many who felt cheated on an opportunity of promise to scoop out hidden wealth, there were also a few who just missed The Sandal Man. And then, they decided to check on how much they had trusted someone who they didn’t even know well. If he appeared like he had done years back, he would be trusted again they swore. However, if he didn’t, then they had learnt their lesson and would not allow another stranger into the village again. Yes, they would be firm, or so they decided.

On the night of the full moon, they eagerly awaited for the stroke of midnight. Each one wondering who he would reveal the Mystery of the Full Moon to and the connected treasure chest, if he did keep his promise! Each one of the villagers stayed to himself reveling on the times he or she did a good turn to The Sandal Man and hence, reason enough to earn the treasure. With these thoughts the whole village kept awake and not one villager knew that the others were doing exactly as he was.
On the stroke of midnight, The Sandal Man appeared at the door of the merchant with whom he had lived the longest. On seeing him, the merchant was overwhelmed and not wanting to waste any more time, he broached the topic of the long made promise. The Sandal Man smiled and revealed that he was at the merchant’s house for exactly the same reason. The delighted merchant, after offering The Sandal Man some water to drink, sat down in rapt attention. The Sandal Man disclosed that some thugs many years back to hide their loot in the village commons used the Full Moon. The commons, when lit on a full moon night, would also reveal the signs on the barks of trees left behind by the thugs. These led the way to the treasure chest that had all that the thugs had ever laid their hands on. The pointers were clear and could only be seen on a full moon night.

With the connectivity disclosed between the Mystery of the Full Moon and the hidden treasure, the merchant was beyond himself. The commons, the treasure chest, the wealth, his prosperity and recognition were all parts of the whirlpool thoughts that played beyond The Sandal Man’s words thereafter. Content, he extended his hospitality and gratitude that The Sandal Man accepted willingly. The merchant retired after making his guest comfortable, with thoughts of the next lunar phenomenon – the full moon. He needed to plan and chalk out a list of people who he could take into confidence and offer a percentage of the loot…. after all, he couldn’t carry the treasure chest back from the commons all by himself, could he?

Finally, sleep did arrive and as stealthily as The Sandal Man. The merchant was up with the first sound of the birds chirping in the trees and the first hint of light. He was feeling blessed in a way. The God of Good Luck had chosen him. His days of worry and debt were soon to be things of the past. He hoped that The Sandal Man had slept too and would be his source of pride for all the villagers to talk about. As he tiptoed to the room where The Sandal Man had lay down the night before, he was surprised to see that his guest had already done the disappearing act again. Anyway, even if he did disappear for long this time, the information revealed the night before was enough to last a lifetime!

The merchant went about his business contentedly and bumped into quite a few overly excited villagers. Had they seen The Sandal Man at his house? Had they eves dropped on the conversation? Were they planning a ‘take over’ of the treasure? He finally took a contemporary into confidence. On revealing the events of the night before, the flabbergasted friend had the most ashen look on his face. And as the news spread, so did all the other villagers. On coming together and discussing, they realized that The Sandal Man had appeared, eaten and revealed the same story to all of them, before disappearing in the morning! God, this was defying all logic!

The next full moon night, the commons were the targeted grounds. The villagers got together and scrutinized the barks of the trees around that were lit in a special way that night. Yes, the signs were there, stars etched on the barks. They followed the lead and reached a spot where there was a mound. On digging the mound and with equal effort exerted by each one of them, they hit something solid! Night turned to day and their efforts revealed the much sought ‘City of Temples’, right there…for them…not one, but all of them could now capitalize on the find. Was this the treasure? Well, they had to inform the authorities about the city. First things first and the word spread. The village was no more one in good time. It grew into a well-contained township that earned revenue from the tourists who poured in to see the ‘City of Temples’. However, more than the revenue; the new owners of the ‘City of Temples’ were mesmerized by the idol in the ‘Temple of the Sun’ that stood in the center. The idol had a very uncanny resemblance to The Sandal Man!

The Sandal Man mythology.

 The myth of The Sandal Man.

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