Tuesday, February 05, 2008

As the King of the World

His legs crackled in expected wastage and he wished that he would shed them like hair one day, as the many many minarets of his time toppled to the earth, like fruits rotten while still on the trees. A memory leapt up of when he had once insisted in bathing in gold. Mysterious women had scooped the gold into basins and showered him. The coins hit him like hail and his legs couldn’t budge in the wealth. And the wealth flowed like shower water.
There was a crude man that his son had called to think for him. He had suggested that the thumbs he had severed, be sewn together into a garland of memories and adorned to the king when in exile. The garland lay in a corner, in a macabre smile, creative fingers that seemed to voice a laugh and tell him of how he had so many fingers and nothing to do with them. He tried picking them up, and attempted surrogate creativity, drawing a picture of his view of the tomb, in the sand. And as the thumb wore out and the dead skin peeled, it didn’t hurt anyone but him. He threw the garland away, wishing.
It had been forty days since the single beam of dusty light from a faraway sun stopped bothering or fascinating him; the initial days of hourly different shadows were thrown into the back of his head, like mouse-eaten negatives. He ran his fingers through his beard that he had proudly let grow since his weeks of fasting at God’s mountain. He remembered that a fellow pilgrim had thrown a proverbial black rock at him on the day of the stoning. It had been aimed at the devil. The metaphor of the stoning ceremony struck him now, as he sat alone, brewing images with the static of his beard, as a retired monarch, jailed by blood, with but a view of his lover’s tomb.
He raised his head to the heavens, spread his arms in an eagle Jesuit crucifixion, bore his feet into the soil of his birth and he was India. The cheat and the cheated.

5 comments:

Akshaya said...

Can it get any better than this? Beautiful. Write on!

sap said...

good shite! [:)]

Arun Sethuraman said...

@akshaya and sap: thank you! :D

Vekram said...

Awesome...and very cynical. :) Why is that? We're better off than most other countries right? And the so called developed nations aren't so doing so hot either now. Economy, society, whatever...

Arun Sethuraman said...

@vekram: thanks man! And it's just not the India of today; it's the India under the falling Mughal empire; a time when they took what they could from the country and got cheated in return, what with the coming of the British EIC and all that...:)
Although yes; I did intend to write about the nation around now too; it's better put in an earlier post; check out "Going Back" at http://wordsworthless.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html