Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Karif held her baby in her arms, pressing the child against her swollen breasts. She looked across the river and far off in the distance like a tiny clay toy, she saw her village. A village she was forced to flee, she and the rest of her community. “Amma, amma” her son called out to her, tugging her hand. He was pulling her hand, trying to pull her with the rest of the trail. She looked up, a trail of thousand walked through the road. The road... created by her ancestors of old, and maintained by them now. Maybe if they had not built these roads, the white devils, the invaders would not have come. But then neither would they have prosperity.

Her son was pulling her hand with all his might, trying to make her move. Her husband, his father had given the family responsibility to him, and he was trying to live up to it. The child did not truly understand what was happening, yet he sensed it, the great evil that had befallen on them.

A trail of thousand mothers, children, grandparents, all fleeing their village. Some had donkeys on which they mounted a  few of their belongings, while the rest carried a few pots, or some food in their arms. A special cart carried their seals carved with their sacred cows, goats and their animals, maybe they could barter it, use it to build another village. Their God, Shiva Pashupati, his eternal statue was on that cart. Maybe he would protect them.  She had only her children.  “Karif, come on. We have to leave; it won’t be long before they catch up with their brown and black horses.” She looked up, it was her father-in-law. Old age had made his skin seem as dry as the leaves, she had tried to fatten him up, but his body seemed to be of skin and bones.

She took a step forward, allowing her son to drag her forward, with his little strength. “Maybe they will be stopped” she muttered trying to sound confident. “Stopped?” retorted the old man, “You have heard as well as I have. These white devils have swords that cut through our axes like butter. And when on horses, they are immortals that charge through everything. No... Karif, it would be cruel to give you false hope. My son... your husband, everyone’s sons and husbands, they are all doomed. They will only buy us a few minutes, before they are all cut down.”

She wanted to cry, she felt her eyes water, she felt the despair. They all felt the despair. She wanted to rub her eyes, clear them of the water filling up, but with both her arms she held her child, and like a dam that overflows, the tears trickled down her cheek.

The road, a simple path cut through a deep and thick forest. In the night, they would have to make camp, they would have to light fires to keep the animals away, but that would just attract the white devils. A trail filled with children, mothers and old persons... they would tire by night, and even if they did not make a camp and continued forward, the fearsome animals of the forest would attack them. They say the white devils fear no one, they do not need rest in the night and they easily cut down any animal of the forest. She looked at the dark-skinned hands, only they all looked the same except for their skin colour, she wondered is this what offended them, their skin-colour... is that why they killed them.

They were doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed, she reaffirmed to herself. Yet through all this, her baby in her arms, slept softly, her warm breath blowing on her breast, oblivious to the world.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ice Cream

Soft teeth bit into the cone, a tongue dipped inside and swirled licking the ice cream. The little girl savoured the vanilla cream in her mouth. It was cold and sweet. She sat on the scooter, her small legs not even close to touching the ground. Her back rested against her daddy’s back, while he too was busy enjoying his own ice-cream cone. Her father sat in the front, while she sat at the back. She enjoyed eating ice-cream, but her mummy would not allow her to eat more often. She said she would become sick. The little girl did not understand how something so yummy could make anyone sick.

She tried to take a bigger bite like how her daddy did, but her jaw would not open more. Her daddy seemed to finish the ice-cream in a few bites. His big jaw opened up and closed, chomping down at least half of the ice-cream. She opened her mouth too as wide as possible and took a bite. She looked at her bite, it looked like a nibble compared to her daddy’s bite. She wondered why mummy didn't come with them, it would be nice for all of them to eat ice-cream, yummy ice-cream. Daddy said she did not like ice-cream, the little girl refused to believe that, who did not like soft, sweet, creamy and yummy ice-cream? Maybe her mummy took some silly religious vow to God not to eat ice-cream.

The cone had become as small as her little finger. Her tongue scooped out all the ice-cream. Now all that remained was the tiny brown tapering wafer. She gobbled it up, lifted her leg up and spun herself around, holding the scooter from below for support. “We’ll go?” her daddy asked.


Her daddy pushed the scooter back with his feet. He kicked some metal stick and with a grunt it came to life. The scooter ran on the road headed home. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dark Murky Water

Dark murky waters, that was what he starred at - and maybe it was even muddy. He saw his reflection staring back at him, shaded in the darkness of the water. His knees were crunched on the dry leaves and his faded jeans got brown stains from the earth underneath the leaves.
All around him trees had shed their leaves. No wind blew, no rustling of leaves, complete silence reigned. For him this was his safe place away from the world. A life he rather not remember, a life he tried to forget whenever he dropped by here. His face was bruised, his left eye was swollen up in a colour variation between black and purple, a cut lip with blood trickling down and a reddened right jaw. Drops of red blood dotted his blue t-shirt which probably had come from his split lip.

He stared at his image in the dark murky waters.

He opened his mouth and felt pangs of pain run through his face. The image too opened its face, though he doubted it felt pain.

He placed his palm above the water and he wanted to dip his hand in it, but he did not want to disturb the dark murky, calm water. His knuckles were raw, battered and bloodied. He was used to that.
He stared at the dark murky water and his image stared back at him. He wanted a permanent solution. Everyday out there in the world was becoming unbearable. He lowered his face, bringing it to the surface of the dark murky water. He could see his image up close. That disgusting black eye, the split lip and bruised jaw. He stared at this image, no, not image, he stared at his battered face through the dark murky water and then he pushed his head forward.
His head plunged inside the cool dark murky water. He could not see the bottom or maybe he saw it, brown particles floated all around him. This would be his solution he thought to himself, his permanent solution.

Ten seconds...

Fifteen seconds...

Twenty seconds...

He could hold his breath no more. Open your mouth, let the water come in... take the permanent solution he told himself. He opened his mouth, felt the air exhale from his lungs, he felt the water flood into his
mouth.... and then he pulled his head out.

He huffed and puffed gaining back his breath. His head was drenched in water, and his t-shirt began getting with wet due to the dripping water.

He could not do it, he was a coward, he could not take his own permanent solution that would cure him
of so much of pain. He was a coward.

He pulled himself up. It was time to leave. He would come back when he could again. Maybe then he would have the courage to try again.