[Continued from Cindered Dreams]
Tread softly O gentle stranger,
The cinders of my dreams
are warm and still alive
from the fires that consumed me.
Tread softly I beg…
Suman’s hands were clammy and she breathed as if she had run a marathon. She shut the diary with a hasty, startled snap.
“Coward”, said Sim-sim meditatively.
“I am NOT..!” Suman defended herself hotly. “I merely think it is bad form to read someone’s diary”, she finished lamely.
“Yeah, yeah”, jeered Sim-sim then kept silent. Her silence pointed like a lancet, causing picturesque lacerations all the way down Suman’s spine.
“I can’t sit here and read anyhow. I have to finish the work, make dinner and sleep early. I have to go to work early tomorrow.”
“Oh yeah..! Your job…! I forgot all about that lovely job of yours.” Sim-sim snickered.
“Now don’t you get started on that again..!” Suman declared exasperated, yet defensive.
“Why NOT…?! You hate that job and you know it. Why are you being such a wimp..? You ought to leave that silly two bit college lecturer-ship and leave the maggots to play their revolting politics with each other. It is criminal for you to waste your life like this..!”
“Leave the job and do what..? Will you tell me that..? Or do you think we have a money tree in the back-yard. What are we going to eat..?”
“Come off it babes..! Just because I don’t have a physical body, you think I am blind..? We have enough money to last us a year. You know that and so do I.”
“And what about after one year…?”
“Oh you’ll find something by then”, Sim-sim declared airily.
“Yeah, I’ll find another job. And then the whole cycle will begin all over again.”
“Actually, you ought to open your own school”, Sim-sim said, striking at the heart of her argument.
“Oh for God’s sake…! We are SO not doing that tonight. I am sickened of your broken-record impersonation. Why on earth don’t you leave practical matters to me..? You know very well you are useless at all that.”
“Excuse me ma’am…! I am NOT useless at all that I’ll have you know. If only you’d listen to me, you’d be enjoying your life a lot more.” Sim-sim never was one to mince words.
“I am not going to listen to you on this one. The sooner you get it through your thick head the better it would be for us. And now, it is better I read this instead of getting into the same argument with you again. I wish I could get rid of you somehow..!” Suman riffled the ash festooned pages in bristling with rabid irritation.
“Yes, it is a good idea to read this”, there was glee in Sim-sim’s voice.
“It’s going to take all night..!” grumbled Suman.
Sim-sim maintained a sardonic silence pointedly noting that barely a third of the slim diary were written in and the rest of it was blank.
“Oh alright dammit..!” Suman slumped down on the floor, amidst the ashes. Sweat broke out on her forehead and a nervous tic jumped like a live thing in her left cheek. She clenched her jaw to still the tic. It didn’t work, as usual. She began to read.
*** *** ***
I have no name and no identity. I have neither age nor sex nor education nor marital status. I am merely a human soul that is adrift like flotsam on this river of life. Flotsam has neither identity nor purpose. It is there, sometimes merely to become the means for saving someone’s life.
I have always wondered. Why do we have this compulsion to quantify people…? Can a human not be a human without these trappings of identity…? Will I cease to be a soul…? Will I cease to BE just because you don’t know the various tag attached to my human-ness..?
Let us assume that we are both pure spirit. See I don’t know anything about you either, do I..? But I am willing to talk to you, soul- to- soul. I neither know nor care to know what color you hair is or what your sexual orientation is- or which form of divinity you worship- if at all. If you look at it really, aren’t these trappings of identity the crux of the reason the world has become such a desperately melancholy place…? Don’t you think these trappings have piled up so high that they’ve stifled the human under them..? Don’t you sometimes feel these trappings are a maze in which your true identity is floundering, sometimes never to be found? Please, will you not set all that aside and listen to me as one soul to another..?
You will want to know about the ashes. I’ll tell you, but let me tell it from the beginning. I need to tell it to someone, if only to a diary. I will place this diary in one of the urns and bury them in a waste tract of land in the outskirts of the city. Perhaps one day it will be read. Somehow, I am sure it will be.
My parents are both ophthalmologists. Their clinic is famous for successful cornea transplants. They have given the gift of sight to countless people over the years. They seem to have their own eye bank, with a seemingly limitless supply of donated eyes. They are hailed as saviors and have attained demi-god status.
Listen, you know what..? I am not going to sugar coat anything and will simply give it to you raw. So raw that it grates on your nerves and makes you want to shoot me. But you can’t do that can you…?
A limitless supply of donated eyes. I was fourteen when the lid blew off that cauldron and my face was thrust into its poisonous fumes. That poison became a part of me that day and dissolved in my blood like a deadly virus.
This was going to be raw I said, didn’t I..? Brace yourself, here goes: They ‘bought’ kids’ eyes from poor parents and ‘harvested’ the cornea. One ‘donated’ cornea would help them repair sometimes up to three damaged corneas.
The world called them messiah; I called them Pishachas*.
To be continued……
Pics from the intenet
* In Hindu mythology, Pishachas are said to be flesh eating demons that live on cremation grounds and hide in dark places. While they have the power to assume different forms or even become invisible, their natural appearance is quite disturbing as they have a dark complexion that shows off their bulging veins supplemented with large, protruding red eyes. Pishachas are also known to spiritually possess humans from time to time. This causes the victim to suffer an assortment of abnormalities or maladies to their physical body. Insanity is usually the most common affliction from these creatures to the human they are possessing.