Blatant, Naked, Basic
I am a forty year old man. I am God’s son. May His reign on this earth prolong until my heart ceases to beat and then beyond.
I speak no lie.
My religion forbids me from lying. It has taught me that God knows everything that there ever has been to know of me. For, as His messengers assure me each passing day, He has resided in every decision I have taken and every deed I have committed, since the beginning. I have nothing to conceal from any living creature as I am answerable to Him and only Him for all. And so I speak now, with neither veil on my thought nor falter in my voice. I speak with you as truthfully as I would have spoken, had I, by my good fortune, been asked by His self to speak.
I have blood on my hands.
I have killed. And for that I am honoured.
The hordes of lines, so coarse yet so innate; running scuttling scurrying across the face of my hand, these Seers of Morrow, as other men I know consider them to be, offer me silence, solemnly definite, disturbingly grim silence when I ask them of the days, years and decades yet to come. They know nothing of the unknown; of the unhappened.
Instead, unlike the ones drawn across other hands, mine speak of the past; of the known; of the truth. They are a mirror, not a projection.
I look down at them, watching them as a whole. And I know for sure that these lines, these Prophets of Destiny as other men call them, cannot hold more than what has already been etched into them in red. They are full.
For I have blood on my hands.
I have killed. And for that I am honoured.
It is here, tonight, now, at this very moment, with this starless sky gazing down on me, observing me so silently, with its one good eye, the pored dense goat milk white moon, that I sit down on my throne of rock, lay down my sword and rifle by my side, and speak with you as truthfully as I would have spoken, had I, by my good fortune, had God as my audience.
I have waged countless wars. I have massacred hundreds and set their vile houses on fire. I have attacked villages and towns alike with a belligerence so strong that they may not be built again for decades to come. I have tortured, shot, beheaded and burnt men; men who praise a God other than mine; men who speak of my God, the one, the only real one, as if he were inanimate; as if he were a non entity; men who mock him and whisper amongst themselves that His life is a fable spawned from nothing but lies and fear; men who speak of peace and love in public and then go on to protest and debate, to challenge and question the idea of His existence; men who term His believers as fools and our beliefs as folly. Death is what they have received in my hands; a reply, as I am taught each day by His messengers, truly befitting the arrogance of the arrogant and the tyranny of the tyrant.
I am God’s proudest son. For I have avenged His name.
And for that I am honoured.
I see my hands now and my palms have turned into clenched fists. My veins throb. My fingers hug each other tight. The surge of rage that swells in me as I lay on my bed is back tonight, just like every other night. . . The cruelty. . . the injustice. . . the. . . suppression. . . the rejection. . . the mockings. . . the killings. . . the tortures. . . the rapes the abuses the murders. . . the rapes the abuses the murders. . .
My fists ache as my fingernails dig deeper into skin.
. . . rapes abuses murders. . . rapes. . . abuses. . . murders. . . my own brothers and fathers. . . my own mothers and sisters. . . my own friends and mates. . . murders rapes and abuses. . . bleeding leg stumps. . . chopped off arms. . . orphans. . . widows. . . body strewn alleys. . . skull bone decked gutters. . . gut filled mudpits. . . wailing women . . . rasping laughing mocking hoods. . . apples and oranges. . . sticks and scythes. . . fluttering hoods . . . the hood. . . the one. . . the hood. . .
Overpowering, overwhelming rage it is. And I feel tiny in it. I feel miniscule. I feel like a pawn with no medal on him, a lascar on deck with no seafaring sense other than of mopping floors and cleaning lavatories.
I feel guilty.
“Hundreds. . . thousands. . . millions of our brothers and sisters. . . our own brothers and sisters. . . His followers. . . rapes abuses murders. . . torture. . . humiliation. . . death. . .” I hear the recordings shout out each day as we are taught by His messengers, taught and trained to answer, to punish evil.
“. . . Disgrace. . .” they reveal to me about the happenings of the world, this pitiless, capitalist, perverted world.
I feel guilty. I feel angry.
I am God’s loyal soldier. For I have fought for the world that He once envisioned of, a world that He once dreamed and wished to build. A world purged of sin and sinners that His messengers speak of each passing day as I do what they have taught me to do so well.
I have killed for His name.
And for that I am honoured.
The surface does not say it all. The facade does not say it all. The veil shows only as much as it wants to and hides the rest.
I open my fists, the fingernail scratches are bleeding crimson. Surfaces hold secrets inside. . . secrets hold surfaces together. . . surface secrets. . . secret surfaces. . .
No. The truth does not end there, here, now.
I have nothing to conceal as I am answerable to Him and only Him for all. I am unveiled to him. Naked.
And so I dig deeper.
“Apples and oranges. . . apples and oranges,” her gentle voice rocking up and down.
Tukk, tukk, tukk. . . Tukk, tukk, tukk. . . her stick hitting the blackboard on each word scribbled across its surface in crude chalk.
“Two apples. . . four oranges. . . how many?”
“Tuuu appppulssss (Tukk Tukk) . . . Foore oorenges (Tukk tukk) . . . “
“Very good,” stick making a circle in the air above us. Biri and I sitting in front. . . looking at each other. . . and then at her. . . stick still circling. . .
“Two apples (tukk tukk) and (tukk) four oranges (tukk tukk) . . . makes?”
“Siiiixsssssssss,” all ten of us answering, in tandem, not one willing to stop with the last syllable. . . “ssssssssssssssssss” . . .
“Ok ok. I got it. Shhhh now,” Her smile on me and Biri.
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” one syllable sacrificed for another sounding merrier.
Tukk tukk tukk tukk tukk tukk. . . the slaps on the board harder than before.
“Badmash bachche sab ke sab” (naughty children, all of you)
All ten of us giggling into our palms, Biri and I, I and Biri, looking at the teacher, her stick resting on the wooden desk now, her hands raised, tying her silken hair behind her oval head, face breaking into smiles now and then looking at each one of us. Biri and I, I and Biri, waiting. . . hearts beating. . . one more question. . . we want another question. . . only the two of us. . . best friends since birth want to answer the next. . .
“Theek hai,” (Ok then) Her eyes narrowing at us, all ten of us, “Lets see how many of you can get this right.”
“ Prize. . . Prize. . . Prize. . . Prize. . .” the others shouting in unison. Biri and I joining them eagerly, “Prize. . . Prize. . .”
Tukk tukk tukk on the board again.
“Yes yes. Ok. QUIET now” Tukk tukk tukk tukk.
“You,” stick pointing at me, “go get my bag from there,” her eye lashes thin at the sides, thick in the middles, falling and lifting casually.
“Jaldi jaldi. . . quick quick,” all nine of the others urging me on as I run to the corner where she keeps her cloth bag and back to the front of the class.
“God bless you,” her fingers warm, ruffling my hair, taking the bag, taking out the square box of chocolates from it.
“Yummmmmm,” all ten of us.
“Not so fast you naughty little brats,” her.
“Ummmmm,” chalk scribbling on the board again.
“Ok, Ten apples aaannnd twelve oranges. . . how many?” Biri and I, I and Biri, hands shooting in the air even before her chalk has stopped scribbling, even before she has finished speaking.
Rest of the ten, quiet.
“Twaaanti Tuuuu” Biri and I, I and Biri in unison, hands still in the air.
Dhukk dhukk dhukk dhukk dhukk. . . stick against the wooden surface. . . not hers, a different one, a bigger one, with bigger hands holding it.
All eleven of us turning to the right. All eleven of them standing at the door, black clothed, eyeing her in the front.
“Chalo bachcho, iskool choot gayi hai” (scram kids, school’s out) the man with the stick shouting at us. The hood. . . the one. . . dhukk dhukk dhukk dhukk again.
Twenty feet rising to the ground, ten half pant clad bottoms dusted, bags packed, chalks pocketed, teacher still sitting on her chair.
“I said beat it. . .“ the hood fluttering angrily, “Quick!”, stick hitting Biri on his back.
Running now. All ten of us.
Outside the room, into the ground. Ten children out, ten hooded men in. The eleventh entering last, door shutting behind him.
Silence, followed by voices.
Noise of sticks hitting wood and glass echoing from inside.
“What do we do?” Biri helpless.
“I don’t know” I even more.
Shouts and noises, noises and shouts. Sticks hitting wood, sticks breaking glass. . . .
Biri and I, I and Biri, hugging each other, weeping.
Her screaming. . . Doors open now. . . Her. . . running towards us. . . hair torn,
“HEELLPPPPP”. . . cheeks bleeding. . .
Biri and I, I and Biri. Rest of the ten gone already.
The hood. . . the one. . . catching up from behind her. The stick, his stick, the sturdy one breaking on her knee cap.
Her on the ground, face first. Tear in her gown.
Biri and I, hugging, shivering, weeping.
Five black clothes carrying her back to the classroom. Her. . . unconscious. . . leg crumpled. . . cheeks torn. . . gown ripped. . .
The hood. . . the one. . . “Shhhhhhhhhh” to Biri and I.
“Summer vacations have come early for you, maje lo,” the hood. . . the one, rasping, mocking, laughing. Turning back from Biri and I, walking towards the room, entering, shutting the door.
“Please do something” Biri.
“What do we do?” I.
“There’s a window at the back”
Biri beneath me now. My legs resting on his shoulders, us leaning against the stone wall, me peeping in.
Her. . . sprawled over the table. . . Surrounded. . . held. . . tied. Conscious. . . wailing. . . screeching. . .
The hood. . . the one. . . cloth fluttering again, rasping, mocking, laughing, the bulge beneath his waist-belt visible. Stick resting on the ground, scythe in his hand. . . the hood. . . the one, scythe in his hand moving over her trembling exposed belly.
“Oh,” Biri and I slipping against the moss-laden wall, falling to the ground.
“Who’s there?” the hood. . . the one shouting from within.
Running again, Biri and I, best friends since birth.
Biri to the south.
I to the north.
Here, now, the present once more. My fingers have formed into fists again.
The bleeding, cut skin does not bother me anymore. It soothes my rage instead. Balms it even.
“Apples and oranges”
My sweet gentle teacher; my lone recollection of kind and good. . .
We found her the next day on a dirt road. Sprawled naked, throat slit, blood trickling from a hundred pores on her. My sweet gentle teacher; my only memory of care and love. . . I retched at the sight of her mangled body, I threw up every morsel every drop of liquid that was lodged in my stomach. My eyes my nose my mouth became wrecked floodgates when I saw her that way. . . her. . . my loving, kind teacher. . . For hours I ran in the gullies of my village that day, my mind in frenzy, my eyes in tears, a rusty nail hidden between the webbing of my fingers. . . but found no one to hurt with it.
“Sticks and scythes”
"We are with you", I hear again the voice that made me stop running, my savior, my mentor, "He is with you" the firmness in it making the fumes of wrath inside my belly subside as he fed me with his own hand. The water that I drank from his goblet fed new life into me.
I am God’s proudest son. For He helped me avenge what they did to her.
I trained hard, I searched harder. . .
I learned hard, I hunted harder. . .
I found the hood. . . the one. . . and many more of his kind.
Before my dagger sliced open their wretched organs, I ensured it was not mercy that they begged for. . . before the length of my blade was smeared with their vermin guts, I ensured it was not for pity that they pleaded . . .
‘A quick death please’ they screeched into my ear with toothless mouths and watery eyes. . . every single one of them. . .
But I took my time.
And for that I am honoured.
The red dripping from my palm has become an unbroken stream now. I feel no pain in these holes as my fingernails retract from them and straighten again. The reason is simple. Basic. Not the lying simplicity of the facade, the surface. No, not that.
I have nothing to conceal as I am answerable to Him and only Him for all. My life’s truth is in his viewing and has been that way from the beginning. The truth, blatant truth, lies deeper.
And so I dig.
And so I come to the answer, the truth as I bare myself in all senses to Him and to you.
I feel no pain because I feel nothing now.
The fury in me is a ruse. It is empty. The rage that surges into my veins each night has become a mere ritual now, a habitual doing on my part, albeit a part which cannot be, can never be undone.
The red on my hands is unwashable. The lines across my palm are full, these Seers of Morrow, these Prophets of my Destiny as called by other men whom I know, have become blind and obliging to my habits.
The voices in the tapes that are played by my mentors, His messengers, no longer enrage me. They are within me now. I have become the rage, the fury, the anger and in the most basic sense, a vessel of nothingness.
The deeper I dig, the greater I feel the absence of any true motive inside me. I see no purpose in hunting down hoods any more, I see no end to my quest.
But the fury in me will not subside tonight, I know, as I have known that it will not on every other night. It will not leave me, not now, not ever.
And so I know what lies in waiting for me tomorrow when I wake up from this night, this night just like every other where I am made to feel like I haven’t earned the right to taste sleep yet.
. . . the hood. . . the laughter. . . the bulge beneath. . . my own brothers and fathers. . . my own mothers and sisters. . .
I know what I will do tomorrow and the day after that and the days beyond even as these cluster of lines symbolizing my destiny remain silent.
I will kill. I will spill blood on my hands. I will kill in my God’s name.
And for that I shall be honoured.
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