Darkness

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Sometimes, Somedays

I wonder

If the darkness

would be kinder

than the raw callousness

of illumination

Would it be more forgiving

than the sanctimonious light?

More tolerant ?

Would it conceal my flaws

with a cloak

of anonymity

ensuring that whatever

breaks through

the seemingly impenetrable

impious blackness

always seems heartbreakingly

beautiful

and paradoxically

Godlike.

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They are on the road again

I was 15.

It was early evening.

Maybe 5 – maybe 6.

That time of day when you don’t really know if the sun is rising or setting

Unless you look at your wristwatch.

 

I was on my TVS scooty on my way to Biology tuitions.

Where we studied life and such.

I was about to experience it firsthand.

An unsolicited practical.

 

I took a turn into a lane.

There was a mob of men.

Young. Old.

And that funny age when you don’t know if you are young or old.

 

They spread out across the road like a giant organism

I stopped. I had to.

They came forward.

As one

They pulled me off my vehicle.

They looked menacing.

They had something in their hands.

They rubbed something on my face.

They were screaming something.

They were reeking of something.

They touched me.

Not one

Not once.

Maybe five men

Maybe ten men

Or did I imagine it all?

In the middle of the street.

 

I remember my eyes burning.

I remember crying.

I remember touching my face and thinking I am bleeding.

And yet I saw everyone was smiling.

Even passers-by.

Some even laughed.

 

Then they left.

Just like they arrived.

As one.

 

Was it 10 min ?

Was it 1 hour ?

I don’t remember.

 

I remember running.

I remember howling.

I remember a palatial house

I remember barging in

I remember curling up on a stranger’s sofa and crying like a baby.

No not a baby.

A baby has no real sense of loss.

I cried like someone who has had something precious – something irreplaceable snatched from them.

I remember a kind faced lady

I remember a glass of water

I remember a soothing voice.

 

Then I left.

Was it 10 min?

Was it 1 hour?

I don’t remember.

 

That lane was not lonely. It was a busy road beside a very prominent college.

It wasn’t late at night. It was evening. Before dark.

I wasn’t wearing a mini skirt. I was in full length baggy jeans and an oversized t-shirt.

I wasn’t a sexy looking woman. I was a skinny gangly teenager.

Those men were not menacing. They were celebrating.

That was not blood on my face. It was my tears mixed with the crimson powder they had rubbed into my eyes.

 

They weren’t screaming in rage.

They were screaming Ganpati Bappa Morya

 

 

It is that time of the year again.

It is 2 decades later.

The beasts are on the road again.

They have forgotten me.

 

 

A 15 year old remembers.

I remember.