Sep 21, 2011 – Today G and I walk to another village where it’s probable no Westerner ever came before. There’s no temple or historical site in this area, just very poor villages an hour-long slog through the “jungle”.
We stop at a tea shop where locals gather. The proprietor is excited to find an American in his shop. “America is the richest country in the world” he tells G then proposes to sell me a jewel he took from a snake deity, a naga that lives in rivers. Nagas produce one jewel from their body during their entire incalculably long life. It casts intense light 21 feet in every direction. They need it to hunt for food at night. If you can take such a jewel when the naga is not looking you can keep it, but if the naga sees you it will bite you and you will die, not after one minute or one second but instantaneously. That’s why such jewels are so rare.
The man says I can see the jewel if I’m interested but to buy it will cost eighty thousand million rupees. That’s a little over one billion dollars. G admits I do not have so much money in my pocket today. The man says he is sorry, in that case he cannot show us the jewel. G says he has read about such jewels but never imagined he might meet someone who possessed one.
The man’s wife prepares tea for us. It is exceptionally tasty but appears to lack magical properties.