The Damned And The Damnable – By S. Wahid

Overdrive. That’s how my brain works these days. A bloody overdrive. Things keep sashaying past the weakened defenses of my head, cramming themselves into the vacuous corners of my gray cells. My head throbs with pain, bursting at the seams, threatening to explode just like an overripe tomato that meets an eventful end as it splatters onto the ground. I want to write, I really do. But words keep spilling out without any real meaning or consequence. Without any real direction or purpose. But perhaps there wasn’t any purpose in the first place.

“Have some tea” he advises. “Kashmiri chai, it’ll help you focus. I hate tea. But then I also hate the human maggots that inhabit this country, leaving behind a trail of vermin as they consume and destroy everything that comes across their way. Everything that matters. Or at least it did once upon a time. Still, I continue to live with them, breathing the same air contaminated by their mere presence. So bring on the tea let hypocrisy live on. Insulted? Well then the insulted be damned. Just the way the whole country is. Damned for their decadence, rotting in the corruption of their own deeds. We, the damned ones. The damnable ones.

“Tsk! Tsk! Look at this” she exclaims, showing me a newspaper picture of car smashed into an electric pole. It looks new, you know the unregistered, zero meter sort of some hot model. It looks new even when it’s a total wreck and suddenly I find myself saying: “I hope it was some big shot that died in that thing. I hope to God it is. She is startled just like me. Startled by the subdued bitterness and resentment in my voice. Startled by surge of anger that is flashing in my eyes. She tells me that it’s not a big shot. They were people just like me who belong to a religious minority. I bite my lip, so hard that I finally draw blood. I regret saying what I just did because I cursed a bunch of nameless, faceless people who were probably victims themselves. I regret it because I badly wanted it to be a big shot. I want someone to pay. I want someone to become an unsuspecting prey to an unpredictable predator. I want them to lie degraded and defiled in the squalor of anonymous brutality that spews consistently.

I was robbed. Looted in my own house in broad daylight sometime back. Three gun toting men that forced their way into my house, pressing the smooth, cold barrel against my temple as if checking for some soft spot on my skull in which they could create a bullet-sized hole. As if considering the odds of splitting my head into two equal halves, just the way Robin Hood divided apples with his trusty arrow. The barrel changed temples, moving from that of my ashen faced mother to those of my helpless siblings. Casual threats were given. Threats to blow my brother’s brains out if he made a move. Threats to rape us if we protested. Without any scruples, without any guilt.

Such accuracy. The accuracy of organized crime. A simple plan really. Scare, collect, threaten and leave. Absolute perfection from those men in starched kameezes and polished shoes. The mechanical precision of it all turns paranoia into a relative term. It just exists now, unmoving and unchangeable like a stubborn man that refuses to adapt. The paranoia resurfaces every now and then when the doorbell rings or when someone taps on my shoulder to borrow a pen. Or when I watch my back every second to avoid unseen stalkers for I know that they are watching me. Watching and waiting

And then came the skeptics. The believers and pacifists. Those who told me to have a little faith in the system. Those who told me to stop being ungrateful. Faith in what I wonder? The emergency phone line of a certain government official who promised that they would call us back but never did? Or the policemen who discouraged us from lodging a complaint because it wouldn’t make any difference? Or maybe the nine others who beat up a friend beyond recognition and raped his girlfriend for holding hands? So the skeptics shrugged a little, obviously uneasy about the futility of their meaningless reassurances. They left because they were out of the ‘right things to say.’ Because they found themselves swaying uncontrollably under the weight of the unnamed truth. Because I had hit close to home. Real close.

But faith I must have in the chaos that reigns supreme. I must believe in the madness that sprouts endlessly, its roots embedded somewhere in the depravity of the system. Or the skeptics will damn me. The skeptics and the pacifists who’ll condemn me and so I now dance a little dance to the music of this insanity. Perhaps till I’m entirely spent or perhaps till the day I become insanity itself.


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