Prosyletization – 1

One day, the godman went up to a kid and asked him if he would like to learn some meditation. The kid refused politely and went to play football. The godman returned the next day and repeated the request. The kid refused again. This sequence of events continued for several days at the end of which the kid asked- are you fucking deaf? Or are you retarded? I have told you a million times that I don’t want to do your meditation. I want to play football.
To this the godman replied- oh dear child, I am not deaf and I can assure you that I am smart. Mensa offered me to be their member and I refused them thrice. But, you must understand that it hurts me a lot to see your potential getting wasted in such western tropes that completely inhibits the growth of your spiritual part. I am afraid that you will never be able to live happily if you don’t follow my teachings. I feel I must teach you that art. I must also mention that we godmen are allergic to profanity. It pricks the soft tissue of ego that protects us from the rain and sunlight.
The kid- well, we use umbrellas. Why don’t you buy one?
Godman- Oh no. We are forbidden to own any kind of material possessions. You see, the metaphysical and the physical don’t see eye to eye.
Kid- why is that? Is it because of their opposing perspectives?
G- Oh no. It is mostly to do with the fact that the metaphysical has no eyes. Hmm, to be completely honest, it has no ears, nose or brain.It is a very simple organism, pretty much like a virus. We only care about the soul, you know that one part whose existence is circumspect and you can talk any amount of rubbish about it and no one can refute you? You see, the senses blind and deafen us.
K- Why is that?
G- Don’t you see it kid? Look how your brain just made you ask a question. We are not in the business of questions. We give only answers. In fact, we even censure our members who stray away from the path by asking questions. We are very principled on such matters.
K- So you have all the answers?
G- Yes. Except why kattappa killed bahubali.
K- M***u
G- Like I said earlier, go easy on the profanity.
K- Ok. Hmmm.Why did the chicken cross the road?
G- To gain positive energy.
K- What came first? The chicken or the egg?
G- Quantum consciousness.
K- But, that wasn’t even an option.
G- Rule No.1, quantum consciousness trumps all other options. Quantum consciousness will take down any other option in an alley fight any day with both its hands tied behind its back. Quantum..
K- Stop.Alright. I get it
G- Now, if you could step into my BMW, we could start some meditation.
K- I thought you couldn’t own stuff.
G- I don’t own it. That would be hypocritical. I have a lease on it for 10 years.
The kid gets into the car and they meditate for a few minutes.
K- I don’t feel any different.
G- Well. I do.
The godman hands the kid a piece of chocolate.
G- Now, do you feel better?
K- Yes
G- See. It works.
……….

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Mute

There was nothing unique about the room, you could find all the usual ingredients that you would expect in a room. If you still want to know what the room looks like, might I ask how would I know what you would expect in a room. Honestly, I do not want to disappoint you. Unlike the room, they were unique. Unique, like the way Tolstoy describes how families are. He is seated on the chair, his torso bending, bending forward like a flower that seeks its warmth from the sun. His feet are bent inwards, inwards, only his toes touching the ground, unwilling to press the rest of it to the ground, incapable of returning to stability, afraid to burn his soles against the scorching heat of reality. She sat facing him, dressed in white just a few feet away with a book in her hand. Her legs, one placed on the couch she was sitting on and the other thrust towards him. If only he could bring both or at least one of his legs forward, they might have touched, perhaps not a lasting contact of skin, but a brief, fleeting exchange of senses. Like it is with other countless hypothetical constructs, we may never know the outcome of this either, for he never changed his posture. Their eyes moved all around the room, their sights falling on all the insignificant objects lying in the room. Things. Things. Things they never noticed earlier, things they noticed but never cared about earlier, things they cherished earlier but now have become intolerable because of the memories associated with them. The only things their eyes avoided were each others eyes. They danced around like the wind swiftly moving in one direction, then the other, like in a carefully choreographed ballet, never once obstructing each others moves or paths. His eyes fell upon the ocean that was between them. The infinitely vast water mass that lay between them. Again. He remembered trying to swim across it several times. Every time he plunged into it, swimming against the waves with all his strength only to feel his arms and legs tired, his body exhausted and his mind blank. Then, he drowned in it, to reach the ocean floor, only to float up again and sit in the chair. Each time he tried to swim across, he felt the ocean getting bigger. How many number of times he tried, he returned to the chair his head bending forward, his legs bent inwards. He was perspiring heavily. A tiny drop of sweat that traveled almost effortlessly from his forehead to his lips felt so tasty against his tongue. Sweat? Or the remnants of his failed exploits in the water. He looked up at the ceiling, the ceiling decorated by all the words that he and she had thrown around in this very room. He jumped up repeatedly trying to pull at least one of them down, failing every time. The ocean was growing bigger with every passing second. Then, one of the words fell down. He looked at it with excitement. One by one, the words started falling down, landing on the floor one over the other. They were like bricks, from his left to the right, they started forming a transparent wall and when all of them had fallen, this wall stood between him and her, this wall of words. He threw himself against the wall, banging his fists into it incessantly. She got up from the sofa, folded the book and started walking out of the room. His punches fell upon the wall like caresses, the indestructible, impenetrable wall of words. As she exited the room, he stopped hitting the wall, feeling empty, fell into the ocean, starting to drown in it. He, the room, all their words, his pen, the ink that refused to flow out of his pen, the blank papers on his desk. Once again, everything drowned in the ocean. The ocean of silence.

Three

The one on the right and the one on the left looked at the one in the middle at the same time. The one in the middle, equipped with only one pair of eyes and suffering from a lack of affliction of squint eyes proceeded to look to his left and then to the right or was it to the right and then to the left. It was night and I am not sure of the order. What is sure is that their eyes were in agreement. In agreement like any other night. It is only at night they could look at each other. Day was for the other life. The life to please people around them. The life to keep up appearances. They jumped down from the platform and walked towards the city in search of the night’s entertainment. They avoided the roads as they walked. This was secondarily to avoid being detected by anyone who was still awake. Primarily, roads disgusted them. Roads were for cowards. For conformists , the one on the right had always maintained. Roads were for the day, for light, when others could see you. The one in the middle held his ears out for sounds. Not just any sound, but sounds of pain, sounds of suffering. Sounds you shunned away during the day, the ones that gave birth to tears when the sun was up. They mocked at how eyes that have nothing to do with sound acted up when the ears heard something sad. Poser They had called the eyes
The one in the middle stopped on his tracks and looked to the west. He turned to his companions and grinned. Again, they agreed. They ran in the same direction for a while stopping at an abandoned building. Slowly, they made their way up the building to the third floor. They could hear the cries of a woman from there. Cries for help. For mercy. They could also hear the grunts, laughs and abuses of some men. They peeped in to see what was going on. One by one, they excitedly lapped up the monstrosity happening in front of them. The actions they condemn during day. Actions that outrage them under the catalyst of light. The one on the right turned to the others and whispered in excitement-sexy. Again, they agreed. When the men were done, the three of them quietly slipped out from the place and walked back. They were laughing and reliving the images in their mind’s eyes. They mocked the cries of the woman by imitating it. They continued to talk about how arousing the experience had been. Even better than the murder last night. They nodded in agreement for the last time this night. They had reached their home. One by one, they made their way up to the platform. The one on the left slowly brought his hands up and covered his eyes. The one in the middle proceeded to cover his ears and the one on the right placed his hands over his mouth. There they sat. As if they had never moved from there in the first place. After all, who would believe that three concrete monkeys came alive at night and walked the streets. When dawn broke, they presented themselves to daylight, reprising their roles. The guiding lights of our morality sat still. In agreement.

(A numerical sequel to ‘Abattoir’)

Abattoir

The Sample

It must have been the extra flesh stuck to my bones that caused them to include me as a candidate. The perfect reply to all those pricks who had called me ‘fatty’. While they waited outside, here I was being carried into the central chamber. Lying on the pallet as the two masked men pushed it towards my destination, I was singing a song. It was echoing inside the hall. Just me would not penetrate the masks the men wore, but the echoes irritated them and they signalled me to keep quiet. A few minutes later we had arrived at the central chamber. I would love to describe it everyone, but the blinkers fitted on me prevented me from doing so. They were bigger than a normal blinker, for otherwise my curious eyes would walk out of their sockets to the point till my optic nerves were on the verge of breaking , climb over the blinkers and catch the sight around. These people do their research well. These blinkers were large enough to overcome the length of my optic nerves. When the masked men stopped moving, I heard the sound of some one talking.No whispering. I am not sure if it was the sound of a human. Then again, there is not much humanity in the sounds that claim to belong to humans. I heard one of the masked men. His footsteps moved closer to the whispers, as they grew closer the footsteps felt softer than the whispers, as if the footsteps dared not to sound louder than the whispers. Fear. I said to myself. These whispers belonged to Them. They told him something. He walked back towards me, the soft steps turning into thunders as he came closer to me. They pulled off my clothes and examined my body from top to bottom. Finding nothing wrong with it on the outside, they proceeded to the next step. I felt the cold steel pressing against the flesh of my thighs. In three quick strokes, they removed three sections of flesh my thigh. Then again the slowly dissipating footsteps. I knew he had served them my flesh, They were inspecting to for colour, texture and smell. Soon they would taste it. The Elders were going to taste my flesh.

The Elders.

Not much is known about the Elders. There were three of them. There were some who said they were criminals. After the second Elder paid them all a visit, no one mentions this. They live within the confines of their palace, but people believe the world around them would collapse if not for the Elders. The first elder is rumoured to have been very fond of eating, so fond of eating that it became the only activity of his life. His other organs felt neglected and started to mimic his stomach. Soon all his organs began to resemble his stomach. Finding them redundant at this point of time, he disposed them. Today he is just a digestive system, starting from the mouth ending at the anus. A large pipe fitted at the end of his anus transports his excretions to all parts of the city. It is the contents of this pipe that feed the people of the city.

The second elder spoke only lies from a very young age. The first words he uttered were, I am silent. As he grew older, so did the intensity of his lies, the vitriolic nature of it increasing day after day. At a particular occasion, the lies he mentioned were so acidic, his words literally turned into vitriol and he burned the person he directed them at. From that day on he used his lies as a weapon targeting all those he disliked. His venomous speech killing or maiming all the enemies of the Elders.

The third one loved to dress up and act as other people. He did this all the time and by his adolescent years he had learned to put on two disguises at the same time appearing as a criminal to the ones on his left and a policeman to the ones on his right. With the passage of time, he perfected his art so well that he could wear countless characters simultaneously. He was everything and nothing. Each person saw in him what he wanted to see. Dreams, aspirations, fantasies, perversions. He was at once the most beautiful whore of the city, all the money in the city bank and the favourite religious deity of the people.

The Abattoir

They were examining my flesh. I waited eagerly for the result. There were two ways out of here, to the darkness of the abattoir or the light of the world outside. The masked man came back and pulled to one side. I noticed the light grow dimmer. The men would not have been able to see the tears of joy in my eyes in the dim light. I was the chosen one. I was purer than the rest of them who were waiting outside. The Elders chose to consume me. Inside the abattoir they placed me on a scaffold tying me to some frame. Then they proceeded to slowly cut me. I realised they were skinning me. It is said when death is near one can see flashes from their past. But what I saw were glimpses of my future. The first elder who would consume my flesh. The second who would rummage across my brain for tiny pieces of hate. The third who would wear my skin adding more character to his collection. The excruciating pain was defeating my sense to stay awake, To stay awake as much as possible during this act, the act where I join the forces that control my world. This act of salvation.

Thief

He entered the alley as night let out a yawn, the city reciprocating it with thousands of its own. There were a few who were not subject to the machinations of heavenly bodies. He belonged to the group, this quality quintessential to his tribe. He surveyed the alley knowing perfectly well that he would not find anyone or anything there. It is rumoured that light often walks into these alleys at night , only to make be scared by the reputation of the place and makes a hasty retreat. Despite this, he continued to look around. Hope triumphs over fear. So does hunger. He had plenty of the latter and some of the former.It had been a week since a hapless victim had walked into one of his traps. Hunger was something that he could survive. Even now, the untouched apple in his pocket can relieve it. To him theft was more than that. When he pressed a knife against their throats, Pleading eyes. Pale faces which were drained out by fear. Normally, people live in a state of suspended animation. It is only when people stare at the face of death that they truly feel alive. In seeing this on their faces, he himself felt alive, his only attachment to humanity. When he left them a few minutes later, their pockets much lighter, he slipped back into his cocoon. Much like the alley, his mind was a void. The void that was his only true possession.

Exiting the alley, he reached the river front, his eyes examining the area. She was wearing a knee length dress, his eyes noticing the silhouette formed around it. Her legs took short steps, slowly along the river front. Her drooping shoulders reflecting an ennui that he could relate with.There were stories of succubi and witches lurking at night in this area. She must have suspected him to be the wind at first, he was swift and quiet like it. Only when two strong arms grabbed hers and thrust her against the wall would she have realised she was being attacked. The next thing she felt must have been the cold steel of the knife pressed against her throat. He saw the shiver that went down her body as he did this and mistook it for fear. In truth, it was just the sudden feeling of the cold metal that did this. Expecting to see her eyes widen in fear and the body tremble in fear he looked up at her face. What greeted him was not fear but a smile, not the mechanical gesture brought about by the bringing together of lips and bending them upwards a little by applying a violent pressure. He felt as if she was smiling with her entire self. He looked into her eyes to see his face reflecting in them. In both those images, he saw his victims. Trembling in fear, the colour sucked out of their skin. Only they had his face now. He realised he was looking at himself. He was sweating profusely in this cold night. She held him closer to her and kissed him. He kissed her not with her lips but again with her entire self. It was like her body was a single cell and anything she did, she did it as if it was the only thing happening in the world. He felt weak and lost control of his limbs momentarily, his knife falling to the round along with his limp body. She lay next to him and undressed him before undressing herself. The cold damp ground made a bed for them and the moonlight knit a blanket to cover them as they joined in unison.

Minutes later as they separated from each other, he glanced upon the untouched apple that slipped out of his pocket when he took off his clothes. He reached out his hand and took the apple in his hand, he knew he should eat it now and satisfy his hunger. On a closer look, he noticed teeth marks that had passionately bitten into the flesh of the apple and taken out a large chunk. He turned to face her and enquire if she had eaten it. But she was walking down the steps to the river and looking back at him with that smile on her face, she jumped into the river swimming around in it. He went closer to the steps to see her arms caressing the water and every where she touched it he felt the flow stopped, only to continue again after her arm was taken from the place. The river was a canvas that had painted the starry sky above it. Every time she came across a star she would open her mouth and swallow it. Like this she went on to stomach entire galaxies and with every heavenly body she was submerging a little bit more in the water. Finally she swallowed the moon, and with its weight she drowned slowly into the water. Standing on the shore he watched the thief merge with the river. She had stolen the stars and the moon, the entire world around. He was willing to forgive her for this, but she had also stolen from him his one true possession, the void inside him. Painfully, he realised he will never get it back.

 

( For P)

Elevator

It was my friend who took me to the building. Testing the elasticity of the muscles on my neck, irritated at being attached to my head it went high up into the clouds. I could not see it completely, the clouds provided a screen to block out any view of what goes on at the top,like seemingly unwilling conspirators in this plot. My friend was smoking and in between the puffs, he mumbled something. I asked him what it was. A song he said. As I looked around the building I saw thousands of people gathered around it. Why are all these people standing here? I asked him. He was still mumbling. He dropped the cigarette on the ground and crushed it. It was more out of a sense of duty he was doing this, he derived no pleasure from the act of crushing an inanimate object and I think it also hurt him a little to see the fire die out. Then he turned to me and said- Did you know that there were only single storied houses here a long time back? I looked at him with an uninterested look- I was asking about the building. Can you not digress? It makes for shoddy story telling. He smiled- You do realise buildings are built from the bottom up right? Then he proceeded to tell the story.

A long time back there were only single storied houses in this place. Then one day, the Man decided to build one more story in his house. He was looked upon with disdain by all around him. But he proceeded to build it and after completion invited everyone to see it. People who saw the house were impressed it by it. So impressed they also wanted to add one more level to their houses. Most wanted to add two. A minuscule number wanted more than two or were contend with their existing edifices. The interesting thing happened once they had completed this. There was an urge inside everyone to build one more level regardless of how many they had then. The need was not to build a new story but the need to just build more. However, the process of building took up a lot of time and some of them felt it was the entire effort was worth it. It was then the Man came forward and addressed them, he said it was a good thing to build more regardless of whether you need it or not. Everyone aspires to move higher. Then he put forward an idea. An idea that would change this place completely. He said that if we all can work together and build a tower then we can build any number of stories as we want. And we can all move to the highest levels. That is how they proceeded to build this tower. Once the work was finished everyone waited below. The Man came offered to test the only elevator of the building. He entered the elevator and pressed the button to the top most floor. The doors of the elevator closed. That was the last anyone had seen of him. He never came down again. For a long time, people waited patiently for him to return and take them with him. Some decided to climb the stairs. It is only when they did that they realised the stairs led to a dead end. The only way to go up was the elevator, the elevator that never came down.

I kept silent as he finished the story and started singing again- bury me on the mountain.. hmm… I asked him if he thought the elevator would ever come down and take all the people waiting here and make their dreams true. I also asked how the people were so patient for this long. He lit another cigarette and smirked- Do you know how many people kill each other to reach the highest step they can. I myself dropped two dead bodies in the Pile yesterday also. They fight with each other viciously just to be on a step higher than the next person. I asked- What is the Pile? He let out a sigh- Thousands of people have died in and around the building as they waited for the elevator. Many from hunger and disease.Others killed for reasons unfathomable to the reasonable. We collect their bodies and throw them onto the Pile. Enquiring again- Did they not try to make a new elevator. He said- Yes they tried. It went up for many stairs but was blocked by some kind of ceiling. It looked like it was made of glass as if one could easily see what went on above it and gave the idea that it can be broken easily but stronger than any material we know. What a beautiful flower they will say. He continued to sing.

It was at that moment a crowd armed with weapons stormed out of the building and started attacking people. My friend picked up his dagger. I asked – Who are they? He looked at me- They come in different names and colours. It does not matter what they are called. You can call them the sweetest words or cuss them, they don’t care. They just want to kill someone. And all the people they kill, they give them a common name. Panicked I asked- What is wrong with them? Why do they so much hatred?. He turned to me, smiled – They don’t hate, They are afraid. As he said these words the crowd attacked us and a blow to my head knocked me out. I woke up a few minutes later. There was a woman’s dead body on top of me. I moved it away and got up looking around for my friend. The first thing that I saw was a half burned cigarette held between the fingers of a hand. It had been crushed, not out of a sense of duty but for the sheer pleasure of crushing it. It was my friend’s lifeless body that was holding it. People were gathering the dead bodies scattered there. I carried his body on the back and walked towards the Pile like the others. Reaching the Pile, I dropped his body there and looked at the Pile. All those dead here. They were so high in number that the Pile went for a great height. So high the clouds were blocking me from viewing the top of the Pile. I looked up and wondered knowing well I will not find an answer. I thought- Out of the two towers, which was taller?

Swim. Swimmer. Swimmest

Bodies floating. Live ones. Or were they dead. The difference was immaterial. The functioning of some vital organs was of no use if their combined efforts showed no tangible results. To just float is to die. To just drown is to die. Contradictions. Is this the dead sea? Or the sea of the dead?. Its neither. The guide replied promptly. So where is this? How would he know? He is just a guide. His face looked like a map. Ravines Lakes Forests. All of them were there. So why do the bodies float?Swimming.Not floating. The limbs are not moving. What kind of swimming is that. How would he know. You know why they float? It is the dense water. Not interested. Turns his face away from me and tells the family about other tourist destinations. Perhaps he would answer my questions if I gave him some money, money that I have none of. Would he accept non existent money? Like he accepts the non existent swimming. Like those all over the world who accept a non existent heaven with angels and happiness. Like the people who read this who have also started accepting in their minds the images of this non existent heaven. The child in the family walked up to the guide and looked at his face, pointed to the deep scar on his left cheek. In approval, the mother planted a kiss on the scar running the tip of her tongue along the length of the scar. The father tapped her on the shoulder and smiled. They made their way to the valley.

Tree branch. Lamp post. Chair. Which is the best place for a shirt to rest? I asked it. It shook its hands in the wind. No you cant swim with me. The hands fell quiet. Don’t worry, you can watch. He sat on the tree branch and swayed with the wind in excitement. I waved to it and stepped in to the water. A fish with a black spot on its back came near me and asked me if he could have my lungs. I offered to exchange them for his gills. Do you smoke? I asked him ‘Yes’. ‘I don’t’.He smirked and went away. I decided to float in the water like the others. Raising my arms I laid down on my back. As i did so, I noticed my shirt being worn by somebody. He was stealing it. But then i noticed the sunlight reflecting off of it. It looked happy as the man walked away. I was lying on the water on my back. I felt the water refusing to stay under me and moving away causing me to drown into it slowly. Wait a minute I am supposed to float. Water is rushing into me throw my mouth ears and nose. It is possible I cried in fear. But my eyes alone could not push out all the water my other orifices were pushing into me. I moved deeper and deeper into the water. I knew that I should be dying but i was not. Instead I was breathing. Through my gills. The bastard had replaced my lungs with gills. I was happy to be alive but the fear of getting cancer from his smoker lungs was scaring me. I started to move my hands and started to move up to the surface.

The burning sun smiling at me. I was out of the water. I swam to the shore. Reaching there I took a deep breath of relief. I could not believe it. I could breath. I turned around and saw my shirt on the tree welcoming me with open arms. I took it from there and asked it where it had been. The wind threw it open and I noticed a large black spot on it. At the same time I felt a thousand eyes showering attention at me. There were hundreds of people looking at me. I did not know why.Out of the group , a man came forward hesitantly. Is everything alright? I asked him. He fell down unconscious as I uttered these words. I turned around to face the sea. There was a body floating there. Was it alive? Was it dead? Planning to dismiss it I moved my head when out of the corner of my eye, I saw in horror that it was me who was floating. I shouted No. It can’t be. To which a frail voice in the crowd replied with the same horror in it Fuckkk. A talking fish.

റബ്ബർ ദൈവം

ആ ഗ്രാമത്തിൽ നിറയെ റബ്ബർ തോട്ടങ്ങലായിരുന്നു. റബ്ബർ മാത്രമല്ല. പക്ഷെ പ്രധാനമായും റബ്ബറാണ് കണ്ടു വന്നത്. റബ്ബർ തിന്നു റബ്ബർ റബ്ബർ കുടിക്കു റബ്ബർ ജീവിക്കു. ഇതായിരുന്നു അവരുടെ സിദ്ധാന്തം . അവിടത്തെ പേര് കേട്ട റബ്ബർ കർഷകനായിരുന്നു സച്ചിദാനന്ദൻ ചേട്ടൻ . എല്ലാവരുടെയും പ്രിയങ്കരനായ സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ . ഗംഗൻ ചേട്ടനും ഡേവിഡ്‌ മുതലാളിയും ഒക്കെ ഉണ്ടെങ്കിലും സച്ചിയേട്ടന്റെ റബ്ബറാണ് എല്ലാവര്ക്കും പ്രിയം. കൃഷി ചെയ്യാൻ ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടായ കുരുമുളക്, ഏലം മുതലായവ നോക്കി നടത്തിയുരുന്ന ആര്ക്കും ആ നാട്ടുകാര്  യാതൊരു ബഹുമാനവും കൊടുത്തിരുന്നില്ല. നന്നേ ചെറുപ്പത്തിൽ റബ്ബർ കൃഷിയിൽ എർപെട്ട സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ ഏകദേശം നൂറോളം മരങ്ങൾ ഒറ്റയ്ക്ക് നട്ടിട്ടുണ്ട് എന്ന് പറയപ്പെടുന്നു.  ചുരുക്കത്തിൽ സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ ആ നാട്ടുകാരുടെ ദൈവമായിരുന്നു.

അങ്ങനെ ഇരിക്കെ ഒരു നാൾ എന്തോ അസുഖം ബാധിച്ച സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ തലസ്ഥാനത്തേക്ക് ചികിത്സ തേടി പോയി . കാര്യമായ അസുഖമൊന്നുമില്ല എന്ന് ബന്ധുക്കൾ പറഞ്ഞെങ്കിലും അവിടുത്തെ നാട്ടുകാര് ദുഖത്തിൻ റബ്ബർ സാഗരത്തിൽ മുങ്ങി. പിറ്റേന്ന് രാവിലെയാണ് ഷറഫുദ്ദീൻ ആ ഗ്രാമത്തിൽ എത്തുന്നത്‌ . കിഴങ്ങ് കർഷകനായ ഷറഫ് കർണ്ണാടക കാരനായിരുന്നു.  മലയാളം ഒട്ടും അറിയില്ല .ഒരു പിടി ഇംഗ്ലീഷുമായ് അയാൾ അവിടെ നടന്നു കിഴങ്ങ് കൃഷി ചെയ്യാൻ പറ്റിയ സ്ഥലം അന്വേഷിച്ചു . റബ്ബർ അല്ലാത്ത കൊണ്ട് അയാളെ ആരും വിലകൊണ്ടില്ല.  എതോ ഒരു സന്മനസ്സുള്ളവൻ പറഞ്ഞു – ഇവിടെ കിഴങ്ങ് പറ്റില്ല. ഒണ്‍ലി റബ്ബർ.  സച്ചിയേട്ടന്റെ നാടാണ് . നിഷ്കളങ്കതെയോടെ ഷറഫ് ചോദിച്ചു – ആരാണീ സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ ?

ഇത് കേട്ട ആ പാവം നാട്ടുകാരന്റെ ഹൃദയം തകർന്നു – അഹങ്കാരി നിനക്ക് സച്ചിയേട്ടനെ അറിഞ്ഞു കൂടെ?  തന്നെ തല്ലാൻ വന്ന കൈയിൽ നിന്നും ഒഴിഞ്ഞു മാറി ഷറഫ് തന്റെ വീട്ടിലേക്കു ഓടി. പിറ്റേന്ന് രാവിലെ എഴുനേറ്റ ഷറഫ് തന്റെ വീടിന്റെ മതിലിൽ എന്തൊക്കെയോ എഴുതി വച്ചിരുക്കുന്നത് കണ്ടു. മലയാളം അറിയാത്തത് കൊണ്ട് തന്റെ പിതൃക്കളെ വാഴ്ത്തുന്ന വരികളെ നോക്കി അയാൾ പറഞ്ഞു -what is this on my wall? . അപ്പോൾ തന്നെ കൃഷ്ണേട്ടൻ ബംഗ്ലൂരിൽ ജോലിചെയ്യുന്ന മകൻ രാമുവിനെ വിളിച്ചു തെറിയെല്ലാം കന്നടതിലേക്ക്  പരിഭാഷ പെടുത്തി.  അവർ വീണ്ടും മതിലിൽ എഴുതി, കന്നടയിൽ. ഇത്തവണ സംഗതി മനസ്സിലായ ഷറഫ്  ഉടനടി നാട് വിട്ടു.  ഇതിന്റെ ആഘോഷം നടക്കവേ തലസ്ഥാനത്ത് നിന്നും സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ മടങ്ങിയെത്തി . നാട്ടുകാർ കവലയില്വച്ചു സച്ചിയേട്ടനെ വളഞ്ഞു.  അതിലൊരു സനമനസ്സുള്ളവൻ – സച്ചിയേട്ട, ചേട്ടനെ അറിയില്ലെന്ന് പറഞ്ഞ ഒരുത്തനെ ഞങ്ങൾ നാടുകടത്തി സച്ചിയേട്ടാ. സച്ചിദാനന്ദൻ അവനെ നോക്കി,  എന്നിട്ട്  അലറിക് – പട്ടി കഴു*** മോനേ, ആരാടാ നിന്റെ സച്ചിയേട്ടൻ? ഇത് കേട്ട നാട്ടുകാർ നിശബ്ദരായി നിന്നു. സച്ചിയേട്ടന്റെ കൂടെ വന്ന ഒരാള് മുന്നിലേക്ക്‌ വന്നു പറഞ്ഞു – അസുഖം അത്ര നിസ്സാരമല്ല. Alzheimers ആണ്.  താനാരാണ് എന്ന് പോലും സച്ചിയെട്ടന് ഇപ്പോൾ അറിയില്ല.

Story

The writer sat in front of his computer and wondered what he should write about. He knew that trysts with the metaphysical were not very popular. He had received many recommendations to tone down his symbolism and surreal elements. So he looked to other successful models for inspiration. The particular one he landed on was very interesting. This one had at its core the idea of a strong emotional element. Building on that core, one will create the perfect story, a tragedy.

The father woke up the daughter and said to her, get up. Its time. We need to get to the school. She got up from bed and placed her legs on the cemented floor of her house.

The relation between a parent and a child was particularly high on emotional quotient. The writer knew this. Of course, making them poor would increase the reader’s empathy for the characters.

They got ready and walked to the school with the girl carrying her bag. There were other kids on the way, the girl talked and played with them as they continued walking. On reaching the compound, her father motioned her to follow him. As the other students made their way to the school she stood outside watching her father open her bag and took out the posters. Then he put paste on them and stuck them on the wall of the school compound.

The writer knew that illiteracy among children was a thing all short story writers had done to death. However he knew this would increase the tragedy quotient of the story. But this was not enough. Now every time a group of kids go to school in a story immediately readers start wondering if one of them will go to a stall adjacent to the school and work instead of learning. Some of the hope one will. Otherwise where is the ‘realism’? They ask.

The father coughed hard, seeing this the girl went behind him and rubbed his back. She could see he was weak. Also his eyesight was not very good. She used to help him fix the posters on the wall and check if the alignment of the poster was right. Neither of them could read what was written on it. But this job was the one thing keeping their family afloat after her mother had died. When they returned home the father would carry the daughter on his shoulders.

The writer was playing god here. It excited him. He could create a world he wanted. There would be living characters in that world. He could do whatever he wanted with them. He thought if the world he lived in was also a figment of imagination of someone. No metaphysics for today. He said to himself. Now to up the ante.

One day while they went to paste posters, the girl complained that her legs were feeling weak. Initially the father ignored it and continued their daily routine. But as days progressed her legs continued to grow weaker. Seeing this her father carried her on his shoulders and took her to the doctor. The doctor asked ‘have you not vaccinated her for polio?’ The father did not know what he was being asked about. In the next ten minutes the doctor explained to him. The father looked up and started screaming. The staff at the hospital had to drag him out.

So far so good. Now for the final act.

Three months had passed from that day. When dawn broke, people on the streets could still see the father and daughter walking around town. These days he carried her not just when they returned home, but all the time. They reached the market and stuck the posters. He asked her if the alignment was right to which she nodded. Then both of them looked at the poster. If they could read, it would have said Polio vaccination on the 14th. Please bring your children.

It was done. But he felt something was missing. An autobiographical element.

(In memory of a person and his daughter who lived in my village 20 years back)

The writer looked at his creation. Proud at what he had accomplished he lit a cigarette and rested on his chair smoking. He turned his head towards the computer. He noticed something strange. Words were being typed.

The father placed the girl on the floor. Both of them looked at the sky with anger boiling in their eyes. The man grabbed an axe and pulled up his hands. His hands stretched long. Very long. Till it hit the sky. Then he tore the sky apart and..

.. a hand emerged from the computer. Soon it was followed by another hand. The shocked writer fell on to the floor and paralysed by fear, he was unable to move. The father emerged into the room from the screen and walked towards the writer. He lifted his axe and swung it at the writer’s left leg. Screams of pain filled the room. The wound was not deep. If the father in the story had been stronger he would have finished this much faster. But the weak man that he was, he swung the axe again and again. Owing to his poor eyesight, the blows landed not on the existing wound but in other areas. It took seventeen swings before the father had cut off the writer’s left leg completely. Twenty minutes later, the writer was lying in a pool of blood, his legs separated from the rest of his body. He was bleeding profusely. The father looked at him and with a grin on his face said- Now this is a tragedy.

Moment

They lay close to each other. Closer than ever before. But not as close as they would get in the future. At that moment when the wave was just about to crash against the shore they were close. I want to touch the sun She said. He smiled at her as she got up and walked towards the sea. Reaching there she looked at the setting sun and the reflection of it on the water extending all the way to the shore. She kneeled down, bending down to let her lips touch the reflection of the sun on the water. Walking back to him she sat closer to him. Running her fingers through his hair she said remember this moment, the one where the wave is just about to break on the shore. Turning her head she placed her lips on his. Her lips felt hot, like a furnace run by a thousand suns. He knew that it was burning him up, though it left no marks on his body or it caused him no pain but only bliss was its outcome. Yards away from them along the shore a wave was just about to break on the shore.

The stereo in the car broke out with Morrison reciting his exploits as a spy in the house of love. Outside, the falling rain was singing a song of its own. The sound of music enveloped the intertwined bodies on the front seats of the car. The light inside the car shone in the night like a second moon.Fingers and lips, eager tourists following their guide light, exploring unknown territories. He held her in his arms and they looked at each other, the light so intense it passed through everything in its path. It revealed to them each other’s nakedness, not just of the body but something else as well, something inexplicable yet recognisable. The something that makes us who we are, but has no existence outside of us. Not even as a word. Look at this moment he said the moment just after the switch is turned and just before the light actually goes off. Remember this moment.. when we saw each other for the first time. A switch was turned off and light crawled back into the cave from where it had come, the lullaby of the rain sending it to sleep.

There was darkness. It was not the absence of light, but the absence of everything. There was no he or she, for they were so close one could not say were he ended and she began. There was an energy struggling to break free and in nothingness it felt strangled and tried to move. To and fro. To and fro. With every passing moment it moved faster and faster. The friction causing it to move faster, till a point where it was no longer possible to contain it. Bang It exploded unleashing itself. The climax. No the beginning. The beginning of everything. Of heat. Of light. The liberated energy ran in different directions at the fastest speed it could, covering as much as distance as possible. Along the way the heat slowly dissipated forming clouds, then stars and planets. On planets life began as the heat continuously reduced. They moved from the oceans to the land building hamlets, towns and then cities. Cities that became metropolises. Metropolises housing millions of houses and in one of those abodes he and she lay close to each other, locked in embrace. There they remembered those moments, the one where she burned him with a thousand suns, when they saw that inexplicable thing in each other and finally the moment when they became one. That moment, the one just before the beginning of time.