Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flowers of destruction

2003 Aug 22 :

Kailash picked up the gear from behind the door. His son handed him a bag containing the coiled, hard braided lines, the harpoon and the shaft. Kailash started down the lane, waving to his son at the door. Then looked up at the sky. Nothing stormy (apparently!?!).

Kishore always wondered why his father looked at the sky. Today, he could see some thing. Two clouds swam past each other to leave an agglomerate that looked like a sweet crawling baby. Kailash smiled, eyes misty. There was going to be a baby in their family.

2008 July 6:

Good news on a good day. Kailash was being released from a Pakistani Jail along with some twenty other fishermen caught fishing on restricted waters. People were breathing celebration everywhere in the village of Zazilka as soon as this news hit the media. Soni was very excited. She was going to see her father for the first time. She helped her mother clean the house and decorate their hut's foreyard. It was her birthday the next day.

2008 July 8:

7:10 PM:

Kailash waved bye to the nice chap who dropped him at the market. He went into a shop.

He came out with a parcel rolled in a plastic cover and slid it into his pocket.

He turned around the corner, walked to the fourth house and knocked. He took three paces backwards to appreciate the rangoli on his foreyard. Then looked up at the sky. No storm(!?!) threatened to ruin this intricate design of his life's colours .

9:30 PM:

Soni was running around her father, being chased by Kishore. They were laughing out aloud. Nalini was making their bed.


Kailash woke up, walked to the entrance and looked up at the sky. A set of stars were brighter and formed an eagle when connected. Something was on a wait!

1:00 AM:

River beyond him…River before him…River all around flooding the village.

Water all around,covering land all over.

Wind zooming like an unaimed arrow of a skilful archer.Darkness looming all over. Desperate cries pleading for rescue being paused and played.The sound of something crashing down.Heartbroken mourning..somewhere distantly close.

Kailash was sitting,clutching his daughter tight.Pulled his son towards him by shoulder.Nalini,by his side, holding his hand close.
Five minutes of subtle silence.One more foot to the water level.The tent was tilting dangerously to it’s left.

Kaiash jumped instinctively, carrying his son and daughter with him.

“Come fast!!”.. beckoning his wife at the pitch of his voice.Voice ripped apart in the whizzing storm.The tent, tilting slowly, was being carried away with the flow, carrying lucky Nalini, who didn’t have to see the mishap to follow, with it.

Confusion….Fear…..Grief.Children gripping him even more firmly,crying. “Mummy!!!Mummy!!!”. Waistdeep water…reached his shoulders .They were three now.He wanted to cry.He didn’t have the energy.There was no one to console.

There should be land somewhere.Where!??He didn’t even know if he was treading along in the right direction.

Wave after wave.Thorns piercing into his legs,children on the shoulders.Storm from beyond.Mouthful of salt water everytime a wave threw itself over.



“Hold me tight”..voice drenched in the cacophony of the storm.

They forgot their mother. Fear. Fear all around. Each time a lighting struck, he could see corpses floating scarily all around.Corpses. Of people,of snakes,of cattle. He hated the view. But if it didn’t strike,he was not able to see one foot ahead in this pitch darkness.

His shoulders were unable to bear the pain. More so on the right side, where his son was.He treaded along.

Kailash stopped and jolted his leg. The snake that was around his leg,went with the flow. Wait!He could hear what was coming from beyond. Before he could react,it was all over him. He was suffocated. Salt Water. He held his children firm. Along with the wave,the horn of a floating dead buffalo pierced into his right shoulder. He lost control of his son.

Cruel fate hit him again with a strong wave of water and carried his son along with it.

He really wanted to cry. But, his head was reeling and his body was numb. He couldn't figure out how to cry.

His daughter didn't speak a word. Till then. Now, she looked at his father and said " Papa! I am not as heavy as Bhaiya right?."

5:00 PM:

A nurse was attending to the wounds on Kailash's body. He woke up to the pinching iodine. He looked around for minutes and then silently, tears started rolling down his cheeks.

The nurse said. " I am very sorry for your loss. God is never kind ."

Kailash muttered." It is not about fate or God. I could have saved at least my daughter. Three hours of confused wading through the river drained me of all my energy, when I unfortunately spotted rescue lights far ahead."

Mutters turning into anguished shouting, he continued with a heaving breath "While death was looming all around and laughing at me in that neck deep water, I didn't think. I ... I threw my daughter down and swam to the rescue."

Saying this, he banged his head on the wall, ran to the window at the end of the corridor and jumped out of it. He landed with a thud.

In his left hand was a parcel. A bunch of flowers with a note.

" Happy Birthday Sweetheart! With love, Daddy"

Flowers of destruction.

Flowers that witnessed the destruction.

Flowers that survived the destruction.

PS: This piece is my article for some english creative writing thing for the on-the-spot topic "Flowers of Destruction".