Thursday, September 24, 2009

Strawberry Jelly

The boy was walking in the dark night, afraid and alone. And he had reason to be afraid. Who would not be, after being force to watch his own parents being hacked to death and his sister being subjected to a fate much worse...

But then, he was a criminal. His crime was that he was a Muslim. His second crime was that he was born in India, specifically in Gujrat. And his third crime was that he was living his young life at the time of the Godhra carnage.

Living his nightmare would be more appropriate to say than living his life. Yet noone was willing to rid him of this nightmare by sending him to the wide open arms of death either, because he was just a kid. Maybe people did not want kids' blood on their hands. Maybe the stains of kids' blood are long lasting as compared to those of adults.

The rain was pelting away on him, but he seemed oblivious of the fact. Strangely the only thing h was able to remember apart from his family was strawberry jelly. Red, viscous strawberry jelly. His favourite strawberry jelly. But now that he did not even have an assured bite, why was he thinking of that jelly??

All of a sudden, the dark street was lit up by the powerful headlights of a car. The car crossed him, and stopped. It reversed and came back to him. And stopped again.

A feminine face appeared from behind a rapidly sliding down glass of the rear window. A pretty, motherly feminine face. Her soothing voice asked, "Beta, what are you doing here, all alone in this tempestuous night? Go back home, your mother would be worried to death. Oh! You are soaked. Do come inside, I will drop you to your home. Ramdin, just follow the kid's directions."

He did not know why he followed every word of hers like a divine command, but follow them he did. He guided the driver to the place where his home was. And reaching there, as he got out of the car towards a home that would never be known to him a home anymore, he burst out crying again. The lady, with the intuition that comes all so naturally to the fairer sex, divined it all and held him to her bosom, asking "Beta, what is your name?"

"Karim."The boy replied incoherently between his sobs.

The lady said, "Ramdin, do the needful."

As the car turned back, the lifeless form of Karim lay where his home once used to be, a knife protruding out from his chest like an obtusely crude appendage. His blood was mixing with the rain water and coagulating. Strangely enough, it looked like strawberry jelly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reborn... Looking For The End Again...

It has been approximately a year now, when the beginning of the end started... Give or take a month or two, the way you choose to look at it... But what a year it has been!! Anyways, that I would come back to blogging I never doubted, but that the way I would come back would be thus was never expected.

Anyways here is something that touched a chord deep down somewhere, so let us all see what Saadat Hasan Manto has to say to the Almighty...

Dear God, master of the universe, compassionate and merciful: we who are steeped in sin kneel in supplication before your throne and beseech you to recall from this world Saadat Hasan Manto, son of Ghulam Hasan Manto, who was a man of great piety.
Take him away, Lord, for he runs away from fragrance and chases after filth. He hates the bright sun, preferring dark labyrinths. He has nothing but contempt for modesty but is fascinated by the naked and the shameless. He hates sweetness but will give his life to taste bitter fruit. He will not so much as look at housewives but is in seventh heaven in the company of whores. He will not go near running water but loves to wade through dirt. Where others weep he laughs, and where others laugh he weeps. Faces blackened by evil, he loves to wash with tender care to make visible their real features.
He never thinks about you but follows Satan everywhere, the same fallen angel who once disobeyed you.
Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto. With him lie buried all the arts of short-story writing...Under tonnes of earth he lies, wondering who of the two is the greater short-story writer: God or he.

PS- I was gifted a book of Manto's Collected Works, a book called The Bitter Fruit, by a special friend. This is taken from the rear cover of the book.