My mother woke up from a post 16 hour brain surgery induced slumber and the first thought on her mind was- where is her youngest child. The first thought when she stepped out of an airplane into her home country was, when will she reach her cats. Both the times I sat there, exhausted from fighting death and a demon, and I thought ‘this is unfair’.
Unfair to her, unfair to them, unfair to humanity. Unfair that I. with all my grandeur and delusion of grandeur, have not managed to subdue neither of my aforementioned enemies. And as I stand in a dimly lit dhaka footpath, surrounded by people that trusts me, busy with their chatter, I tell to myself again- ‘this is unfair’.
I am a liar. I lie to myself constantly. It’s the reason I am also a writer, because a writer’s greatest gift is their ability to lie, convincingly and pathologically. Lie like it’s as easy as taking a puff of smoke and then exhaling it into someone’s face. Poisoning them, killing them. And that, is unfair. It is unfair that this lives had to meet something like me. All the lives that has given me nothing but love. I stand there, I feel like an outsider, I stand, and I hide. I wish I could participate in this chatter; the chatter that is important to everyone. Unfortunately that chatter doesn’t seem interesting to me. The little trivial problems the chatter is about seems easily solvable, but unfortunately… Nah, that’s another rant. Anyways, I feel like an outsider in the last place that still barely welcomes me and still I think- ‘this is unfair.’
I hang in the balance. Standing up on a tightrope, like a funambulist, trying to decide whether I should lean left or right. Either ways I lean, the results remain the same. Fall. And yet every night I come home to four little feet, pat pat pat pat on their way to me. Greet me, welcome home. Gently-nimbly they dance, run and play around me. I watch them, and I sigh to myself- may be one more day.
But that is unfair. Every day I keep going, Death and the demon wins.
It’s a strange relationship I have with it, death and I. Death comes and takes what it must, and I stare at it. I celebrate the days it can not take something from me and in my celebration allow it to take more. I blame it for what it has taken from me, and death says “but… it’s your fault.” Death seems surprised, like a little child that is being questioned for stealing a loaf of bread. “It wasn’t my fault.” death says. “You and all your lies have perpetuated this. You with your stroking greed, your hunger, and your lies. Was it not you that stood their and promised a dying man that you will not let me win. And then what did you do? You lied to yourself and to everyone else, and you- you let me win.”
“I am inevitable,” death says. “Humanity’s only duty is to continuously struggle to keep me at bay. And what did you do? You screamed into the void and you said “not on my watch.” Yet here I am, still taking lives. What have you done? What can you do, oh self proclaimed thundergod!
And even then, when you promised me that you will submit to me, what did you do? You promised that you will die fighting, what did you do? you hid, you held the hands of the demon and you went to places where it was comfortable. You sat there and you ate the dreams of innocent people. You ate them like they were raw flesh and bones. They looked up to you. They trusted you. You should have died. You are not the frog at the bottom of a well, you are not a soldier. You are a wraith, consumed by the greed for flesh, blood and a story. You promised me your death but not only did you not die, you- you pushed others towards death and living death. You, you who keeps telling yourself that you are an iconoclast. You keep telling yourself to fight the demon, but then you don’t. You submit to it. Like a sycophant. Why? what is the meaning of such pantomime? You know what led to the creation of this demon, you know that you should have exercised it long ago. But you don’t, because you know that all that you are today, your silvertongue, it was all created by this demon. A monstrous demon that brings untold horror.
Submit to me like the worm that you are. Let me take both you and that thing that you hide inside you. Let me take you where you belong, what should be your home. How long will you live in such a diaspora? How long will you deny your decadence? How long will your monument and your wraith stand side by side in such utterly bewildering juxtaposition? You my dear thundergod, are a natural calamity. Come, surrender to me. Like the bronze age, let you be forgotten, forever a mystery as to how you disappeared.” Death screams as saliva bursts out of its mouth.
I should have- on that day. The day I claimed that I have done all that I promised him I would do; I should have done it. I sat there and I couldn’t. Now, every second I keep trying to balance out the good and the bad that I have done. The people I saved vs the people I murdered. But then again it’s also more than those lives. Think about it this way, Noah takes the israelites across the red sea, and when they reach halfway, surrounded by pillars of water from all side- Noah claims “I am a false prophet”. And the sea collapses. Can you imagine the damage that would cause.
“This is why you must,” death says “at least they’ll perish with hope in their hearts”
-Before you go, can you ever forgive yourself?
-Standing in the rain. In the middle of an apocalypse. as water collapses all around me. Pitter-patter, dancing.
-What did you tell yourself?
-That I am no god. I should have never tried to be one. I am a mortal, an infested, peutred, flawed, disgusting mortal. Because gods should have none of that. And I have plenty. And I am not glorifying my imperfection either, imperfections are things one has no control over. I am a horseman, consciously spreading the pestilence I could have chosen to end. A mortal who should have never tried to place himself on a pantheon, certainly not with all the indomitable demon he hides in his left palm. I am rotting flesh and into the ground I belong.
-then why forgive yourself?
-because no one else ever should. The world will not forgive me, atleast I do myself. I forgive that little boy with a book, because he never deserved any of this.
-any last words?
-don’t go there little boy. You will never be able to come back.