I am a budding writer of sorts, and I am experimenting with different genres. I came across a contest where in one had to write a horror story, and I wanted to undertake experiential writing…I moved to my desk and started writing. Then the world around me darkened all of a sudden.
“The rain is relentless, and I hear it thrumming on the metal roof and running down the broken pipe into the mud, and I moisten my cracked lips with my tongue. I wonder if they’ll bring me food and water. I wonder if they’re coming at all. “
I am not clear who I am, where I am or how I came under this tin covered shed. I feel paralysis in my whole body, and only my brain is functioning, to what extent I don’t know. Somewhere some music comes floating by. I listen to it keenly and could make out it was Hotel California playing over the din of the rain. That gives me some comfort as I feel some memory is still there. I drift further into darkness and can’t hear anything anymore from the outer world.
I am in a courtroom now and charged with sedition under the Terrorist Information Network Act (TINA). I quote a judge and try to argue that protest is not treason but part of a healthy democracy. The magistrate orders imprisonment. I am in a spooky dark cell now. I see a silhouette face of a yogi who appears more like a ghost who is running an encounter Raj. He orders the policeman to beat the hell out of me. I plead with him in my mind. The policeman says “you, asshole of a writer, writing some shitty satires, seditious material and receiving money from ISI, confess to it.” I hear myself say “yes ISI, stands for Indian Statistical Institute and I am doing some work for them, compiling statistics of number of communal riots and lynching that has occurred with the advent of M-era.” I don’t know if they can hear me as I can see him beating me with his baton.
“And then what” thunders the yogi. “I don’t know,” I plead. I have to submit it to Mr Nimran at the ISI, and I get paid. “why don’t you keep two cows and rear it and take the subsidy of my government” suggests yogi in his sugar-coated voice. “You’d be doing a national service” continues the yogi.
Suddenly I hear a crescendo of a chanting. I am amid a sea of sadhus in their saffron robe, some naked smeared only with ashes and the entire setting looks like a horror scene from a Bollywood flick. I listen to them say they needed some human sacrifice to appease the gods. I am sweating and trying to scream, but no sound comes out of my mouth. One of them commented about my calf looking like a runner’s calf, and he would like to bite into it. Are they Agoris who are reputed to be eating dead flesh? Some memory of something I had read comes alive that sadhus are no more spiritual but manipulating the politicians and the masses for wealth and power. Rashtriya secret society members have long penetrated this sect of Sadhus and have manipulated them to do their bidding. I have become powerless like an ordinary citizen of the Bharata. I get the smell of roasted flesh now. I scream and scream, but I can’t hear myself.
I am not sure if I am dead or alive. Maybe, I am not brain dead yet. I get the feeling that my head is floating in formalin solution inside a big cylinder in some lab. I can still see, hear and smell some chemicals. I hear some voices, and I lower my eyes to see a face vaguely familiar to me. It was the horror face of the black devil. Suddenly I am running away from a herd of bloodthirsty beasts. The black devil is shouting seek vengeance for the burning train. I am not one of them I say. This is the land of the Mahatma, known for ahimsa. My pants are ripped open along with my underpants. He is not one of them but ours but why is he sporting a beard asks one of them. I hear myself say that I am going to Sabarimala and growing a beard is part of the ritual. They push me out in disgust and look out for another prey. I am slipping down into a dark hole as if in a tunnel to the center of the earth.
In the verdant green foothills of the Vindhyas, a seer with a flowing robe is giving a gentle talk. I hear him say that this land is ancient and believes in the whole world being one family “Vasudeva kudumbaha” he recites in ancient Sanskrit. What we follow in this ancient land is not a religion instead, it is a way of life. We assimilate things from other cultures and make ourselves better. Our nation is like a forest full of diversity and does not believe in mono-culture. There is a role for every- one be it a tiny ant or the mighty elephant. People nod in comfort hearing all this. Suddenly the monastery is under attack by the scary faced black devil and his beasts. I find myself rolling down. Where to I don’t know?
People are shouting, our names are not there. I hear a mother wailing that her daughter’s name is not there. I am screaming, but don’t have a voice to carry, I am married to a Christian and is that a crime why are our names not there? Shahenshah is giving a speech that we will get rid of all immigrants, and he clarifies that those whose names are not there in the Registry for Nationalizing Citizens (RNC) will become immigrants. A wail of a cry goes up in the crowd. I am numb and unable to express any emotion. Who am I? What have I become?
The board reads Office of the Minority Commission. I knock on their door, and I enter inside. They ask my name and address. Then they commented on what am I doing here since my name sounds as if I am from a majority community. I say yes, but my outlook is not one of the majority. I am agnostic I say and ask if that is a crime. The Rashtriya Agency Wanting Anti-nationals (RAWA) is hounding me. We are helpless; I hear them speak. We are winding up for lack of support. If you are not with them you don’t exist, they tell me. Suddenly I hear a commotion at the door, and I am running out of the back door opening into a drain. I have stopped caring and escape through the drain in the company of sewer rats. I have become one such. I scurry away and fall on a tin roof.
I am beginning to hear the rain again. I hear some voices too. I recognize it as that of my wife talking to perhaps the doctor. The doctor says many patients of late have this stress failure. It is a new phenomenon seen in M-2 era. Let him take rest, and he should be all right within a day or two. Let him not see any horror stories in any television or use social media and even better to avoid the newspaper. It is a new syndrome affecting the minorities and the oppressed.
I am home now and begin to feel my body coming alive slowly. The night I sleep soundly and the horror scenes seems to have ended. Tomorrow is a new dawn for the nation, as the headlines read, according to the soap opera persona, in the smartphone news. I go for my usual jog, and as I return, I find my wife and daughter in a state of panic not finding me at home. I am OK now I tell them. I tell them it was Belladonna extract, which has delusional effect. In my vivid imagination I also don various roles. I tell them that I was thinking as Sherlock who was at home experimenting with 7% cocaine solution. Unlike him I experimented with an extract of Belladonna known for its delusional properties. I took a pinch of the homeopathy drug and snorted it into my nose. I moved to my desk and started writing. Then my world around me darkened all of a sudden. Rest you both know.
I read in the morning newspaper that NIMHANS had put up a makeshift emergency shelter with tin roofing to cope with a deluge of psychologically stressed outpatients. The lot consisted of minorities, immigrants and sympathizers. The experts had observed that it was a phenomenon yet to be decoded by them and quite alarming.
One hundred days of the M-2 era was over, and the leaders were croaking like frogs listing out their achievements along with their millions of minions. They could not care less what happened to the others. The societal fabric gets torn apart. The scale of balance got skewed, and so did the mind of many. One K-land silenced forever and if the spirits were being affected in the rest of the country what could be happening there was anybody’s imagination. As I stepped out of my house, I noticed a herd of cows blocking the traffic. Buses, bikes, and cars were honking in their frustration. I looked up and saw dark clouds looking far too ominous.