Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Across the Borderline!

The artillery fire had started quite early in the day, waking him up from his dreamless sleep earlier than usual. He was lying upside down on the no-mans land, his stomach heaving up and down, and fleas battling out for prized possession of his ears when a distant light shone on his face, alighting his gooey, saliva covered nose with mosaic of colors. Next second, a loud bang woke him from that troublesome reprise, and with a fear ridden, sleep deprived mind, he reacted on stimulus. The enemy would have unkindly called it jackals midnight call, yet it was his way of remarking to the brutality of the enemy. As it is, his cry was overshadowed in the incessant din caused by the continuous shelling.

It was nearing day break and he realized the futility of trying to rest and the day needed big preparations. The enemies were as it is creating environment not so conducive for peace. And preparations for war needed a lot of care to partaken. Sneezing, he braved through the suffocating mist of oncoming smoke to reach his den.

It seemed that the enemies had stocked unquenchable ammunition with them. The gunfire seemed to come from all directions, booming and ricocheting off from everywhere, making him shiver. He as the supreme commander of his forces knew it was practically impossible for his forces to overcome the enemy attack, yet he had to take a formidable stance to boost morale of his men. Yet the rattling of another bout of artillery made him shudder. But he had to fight. The time water reaches above its level, and patience is tested beyond it can be endured, there is no other way but to rebel and throw the brick back at the tyrants. Even if it posed danger to your life…

Through the thoroughly dirty by lanes near his den, strewn with roughly million pieces of blasted off grenades of those weapons of mass desecration, he moved on, lamenting how the once friendly relations with their enemies now had spoiled to become what it had became. Crunching the red and white bits beneath his paws, he moved to make preparations for the general assembly of all his comrades scheduled in the evening, just before the actual attack.

*

Almost everyone was present, fellows from every nook and corner, places as distant as another towns had gathered at the den in evening. Even the bourgeoisie class, those few favored, petted and fretted upon class; on whom the shower of affection was sprinkled by their enemies, managed to attend. Raghu, the supreme commander of the forces eyed them mistrustfully, as they were from the enemy camp, they might even be there as spies. If all he could, he would have debarred them. But Angad, the commander of forces in line desisted. He was of opinion that whoever and from wherever they were, at the end of the day, they were their own brothers. It will be a big blow to the morale of army if they saw their own people assisting enemy crowds. He also hoped some could be converted. But Raghu was not so hopeful. He still viewed them suspiciously. And he had also arranged for two of his men to surreptitiously keep an eye on the entire bourgeoisie attending that meet.

It was almost the time for twilight to mingle darkness with remnant residue of orangish green light of the day. Stars had started to twinkle, but the pale ghost of moon was missing that night. The atmosphere was charged, and apt for the gargantuan step they were about to take.

Scratching and sniffing, the congregation still behaved as rowdy mobs, which the truth be said, were. Rabies infected, rowdy, still they were just pernicious… apparently harmful, but from inside, completely hollow and as scared as wimps. As a matter of fact he could himself trace some groans and whimpers running amongst the crowd, noticeably Dadu, and Lobo, both of whom scared to hilt, two of the most timid of their kind. At every new noise of booming fire around them, they jumped in air, looking everywhere from the corners of their eyes, ready to run at the drop of the hat. It was piteous to see how hideously they behaved.

A rough growl suddenly erupted, drawing attention of Raghu. It was from Lukha, the most ferocious soldier of their army. Raghu relied on him very much to put the plan of action properly. If ever there was a person on whom he could trust his life on, it would have been Lukha. He had big plans in the night for him.

“I am getting impatient for action… I need some fight…” he said, spittle dribbling from the end of his mouth. His chain dangling savagely as he shook his head in anger.
Raghu decided that time was ripe to tell them now

“Friends, brothers and fellow hounds, we have gathered here to decide and execute our attack on the draconian humans, who have now reached the highest level of despondency… though the rules and traditions of the natural order suggest something else, through mutual decision, and after a lot of deliberation, we have decided that time has come to throw the brick back. And for that we have decided a three point short term plan. We also have on our agenda a major upheaval of the system through a systematized revolution which includes use of guerilla warfare, if need arises. As for the three point programme, it includes, as obviously you must know, three points. They are…”

His speech was interrupted suddenly by the accentuated increase in the shelling around. Few dogs jumped in fright, while others pretended grit, while their tails were firmly stuck inside. Raghu scowled. Humans might feel they were just crackers. The torture that they had to go through was inexplicable in words… oops, barks to put.

The whole drama started to increase from past five years. It was since last five to six years that they had started use of these terrible sky bombs which went up in a small shoot, but blasted at great heights blooming into multi colored flowers in the sky. To him it was as ugly as it could be; the voice and smoke notwithstanding. The terrible bombs which they used to blast on earth, and rails of crackers which they used to alight for obnoxious continuum of time were as it is difficult to handle, what with high number of cases falling casualty to such kind of ‘fun’ annually. But with advent of the era of such sky diving bombs, it had become unbearably intolerable. Frequency in cases of hyper-whimper, excessive stress, stuck tails, injured ears, un-pacifiable barking spree, excessive timidity, loss of barking or biting abilities, physical deformities or malfunctioning’s in newborns greatly increased, leaving apart the actual damage done by stray crackers, hidden for some sadistic enjoyment in nooks and corners, gang chase and attack on singled out dogs, and limps and physical injuries inflicted from actual contact with fire. After seeing this for five years, Raghu, born with a rebellious and self asserting streak, decided he had to do something about it. And his answer was this.

“Comrades, brothers and fellow dogs, don’t be intimidated by the enemy. Today is the day for vengeance and strife for equality and justice, for which we will fight and which we have to gain for our future generation. So please calm down, and listen to my plan, because today is to prove to these merciless pitiless hounds, that they are not alone. Pay attention to my three point plan.”

This seemed to have worked magic. As if infused with some new vigor, everybody brought back their attention, trying to overcome their fear and anxiety. Some actually did, and throwing their nose forward, they flapped their ears eagerly to show they were listening raptly.

This pleased Raghu. The spell was working.
“The first point is- A committee shall go and take care of ground level action. All the plausible and relatively resistible fireworks will be dampened or fused out using their you- know-what. Everybody having an urge to go to a pole, please sign up for this committee.”

“The second point is- Another group of most ferocious barkers will trail every alley and bark loudly each time they see anyone lighting a cracker. Especially a bomb. They will turn tables and frighten our tormentors instead!”

“The third point is especially for bourgeoisie class. They will openly challenge their so called owners, and destroy and rip all the firecrackers in their arsenal much before they are actually brought to battlefield. This can be done only if they are actively contributing to the fight, otherwise the three points will remain two; an unsupported lame struggle!”

He looked at the privileged members. They all had a look of somber anticipation and they wagged their tails ferociously in reply to assert their agreement to the cause.

Satisfied, he took a deep breath and barked, “CHARGE!”

*


In newspapers next day:
Sporadic incidents reported in the city. Disruptions in festivities due to stray dogs. Many injured because of accidents caused by sudden barking of dogs. Many frightened from bursting firecrackers again.

In newspapers after a year:
Steep decline in this year’s sale of firecrackers. Dog menace continues from last year. Very few areas peaceful.

And on muddy pawed headlines on a paper ten years later:
Noisy and polluting crackers BANNED!

*

P.s- I hope this does not happen.

P.p.s- This is not in any way inspired, or influenced or pepped up by the Hindi movie ‘ROADSIDE ROMEO’. I haven’t seen that movie yet.

P.p.p.s- The last part is my Diwali wish this year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Guilt, Shame... and End...

Guilt, shame, resignation, petrol, smoke, blood, tears, freshly wet mud and his own perspiration were the mélange of smells clotting his nostrils. The downpour of incessant shower unleashed from the gray skies cooled down little the conflagrated earth, though it could not douse the raging fires; whether inside his heart, or outside...
But putting out the flames was of least or no concern, at least to him. Because sometimes the burn is enough to deal an everlasting damage... And there is no repair to it thereafter…

He had started off his day amidst a lot of duress, but its end was seemingly unimaginable. Yet that was how it was and that is where it had to be, so he could not think beyond or above what had happened except for accepting that it had happened because it was destined to happen so…

Yet mind plays games with you, and time and again it wishes, it wants and constantly keeps on wanting, craving for an opportunity, a chance to turn around and change, whatsoever and howsoever it cannot change.

Through the torturing gasps of nauseatic concoction of smells he was inhaling, his mind raced back into last few moments, hoping struggling fighting in vain to change what had happened despite knowing that all his attempts for this cause were futile…

Nevertheless he relived again those heart-stopping moments of pounding incarceration, where each nano-second seemed to be filled with resounding echoes of his heartbeats as it went into frenzy. Each thumping beat was punctuated by the exaggerated silence clashing against his ear drums making him feel as if he had entered an unhinged void of vacuum.

And then the six foot high man in black pathani, with a white skull cap, kohl eyes and two missing teeth turned and grinned at him, and everything seemed to stop instantly, barring the dumbfounding silence. And when he met the latter’s eyes, those ferocious pair of hazel eyes, an unknown understanding passed between them and the grin no longer seemed pronounced, but nothing different than the missing piece of jigsaw puzzle. And then something clicked instantly, like an electric bulb flaring up in darkness and picture became clear to him and he could not, despite himself, despite the anxiety caused by such clarity, do anything more than hang his head down in shame.

Yes he did that, howsoever and howmuchever ashamed and guilty he may feel now, he did nothing, but hang his head down; in shame, in defeat, in resignation, or in surrender, you name it as you wish, but that is all he could manage, in spite of all his idiosyncrasy, in spite of all his modernity and fraternity he couldn’t manage anything except for a head which hung in shame.

But he did manage to do one thing. For all his weakness, for all his timidity of character, he did one (last?) act of defiance, one (final?) act of revolt against something which he had so much antagonized all his life, yet something which was enforced upon him as an ad hoc characteristic of his creed. He stood against it. He refused to run away from the situation, no matter even if it did pose a danger. In one (concluding?) act of insurrection, he made himself a living epithet for difference… between love and hate, between crime and compassion, between truth and apparent, between god and devil, and between good and bad. He stood rooted in his place, not wavering from his position, he sent back his feedback; I am different…

The nasty kohl eyed (brother?) of his caste scowled at his reaction, and moved down the aisle to alight from the bus. And then, feeling relieved like never before in his life, feeling exonerated like he hadn’t experienced ever; he closed his eyes and his composure became suddenly of a man about to achieve peace, about to be liberated from the chains tied on his toes, about to achieve the bliss, the salvation of accomplishment!

And then the heartbeats quickened suddenly, because a sound started to emanate from the bag left behind by the pathani clad fellow, and beep beep beep it started to rise in the crescendo as beep beep beep it began its march in a progression which threatened to reach the penultimate because beep beep beep it leaped the seconds and minutes like a running cheetah and beep beep beep it slowly started to replace his heartbeat… so that the beat started to become beep, and then it was just heart beep… beep… beep… beep… … … beep… … … … … … BEEP!!!

The amplified sound of the last resonance got amalgamated into a fire which usurped everything, and then all was whirling into one as earth air water and fire united to completely seize the world in its grip, and sound sight feel everything got erased into the overlapping whiteness (or darkness?) of light. And then he was in an inferno or a heaven because nothing seemed to exist beyond what was there and nothing seemed to make any sense in a meaningless world of care…

And then he was falling through that whirlpool down down down… straight to the fathomless bottom of the depth and light (or darkness?) and then he landed softly just like a feather on the hard ground of reality as the dream shattered and truth came back and finally, he was lying down on the road beside a burning bus and dead corpses of those many innocent people and darkness fading out the gray skies at the corner of his eyes, and guilt shame and end embracing him in their arms…
And in the end, while he twitched, struggled to get independence from a life so beloved, yet a life ended in such a misery; the pathani clad man entered his vision, all smiles, his arms raised in anticipation of an embrace, and he too raised his arms, yet neither did the man came to him, and neither did the struggle against life stopped… just what remained was pain loss and grief. And then when the movements became less violent, and pupils dilated, and eyes met eyes a smile lit another smile... and the world started to fade in front of his eyes… and all that was left was deafening muteness..