On May 31, 2014 by admin


Akhlaq Dorji Chanda


The two of them entered the world of blunt trauma. And a thick vat of pounding love and lust.

In the woods on the southfacing slopes, just beyond the Parthasarathy rocks, they had a rock of their own.  A mini plateau of a rock. The small trail where ghostly humans frequented their ancient trembling urges to the root, led to the top of a landing.  Mice and mosquitoes accompanied the two at every step.  They walked.  Wordless.  The woman followed the pathway made by the man among the brambles and moss. At the far corner of the thicket a dark curl of smoke rose, burning varnish and twigs perhaps for the kabadis and charwahs after the andhi last evening. They ducked—squatted and tried to make sense of such kindred hellbirds ; other unfulfilled sensile bodies. The two looked liked spirits hollowed out of the marsh.

A moonless January evening in Delhi and the dark fell like a thunderclap and twigs and leaves continued to gnash beneath their feet. The two moved on. And a kumthha shrub caught her shawl and millions of thorns held her back.  He turned back and freed her move.

He looked like a raggedy soul, who could frighten the drifting nilgais with his very presence.  And she, something burning within, hardening—eyes now tender, now locked in their corral like hot flex.

He entered the consecrated expanse and looked at the ground. An aluminium bucket and some leftover food in the dirt he quickly noticed.  Ah, other ghosts had been here.  Ghosts seeking their own grave.  She whipped out a bottle—still icy cold, water it was.  And shuffled a torch through the gloom in order to make sense of their bearings.  The woven limbs of the ancient kadamb and dhau trees stood still, motionless  above, guarding the rock. And apparitions.

She placed the rug, their bedroll, beneath. Squatting  tailorwise. He could see her contours—her superb long -lived foreleg, her untousled  hair. Her nose most of all—sharp, hungry, sniffing earth and marsh. The torch glowed sideways.  He shoved aside his dirty boots.

And now he gestured with his elbow.  And fastened their possibles on to the near branch—yesterday’s meat, nuts in a panni and a couple of beer bottles.  The bygone misogyny returned as he looked at her contours again—he remembered his favourite Appalachian lines—‘they is four things that can destroy the earth—women, whiskey, money and niggers.’  Are these fit for Aravalli too? But this woman he loved.  Far beyond his own ways. This creature of a woman. She has been running like a machine for a thousand years. He loved those centuries. They provided habit.

Did God make this world to suit us? She thought, even as she was becoming aware of his gaze—tender and fierce.  She knew exactly what he had in mind.  Lust and harsh dissipation.  And a searing jealousy that was their lot. She can know her heart but she did not want to. It was like swinging against a barrage—again and again. Every time she would deeply feel his non-politics, every time his ways of making love left fresh fleck on her skin, every single time she would be aware of her own different destiny.  Losing grip, shaken like a guilty thing surprised, she would gain love and strength for one more birth.  And grow ancient in some wounded grace. And every single time the beast in her would quiver like a drygulch wraith, booming and banging against her own wish.  Best not to peep in there.  No. Can she tend this meaningless casual darkness of his soul? Can she bear these destructive caustic blood clots in his brain? And her own ghosts—yes, they arrive and keep on swarming, dancing naked all around her pyre of a mind.

Nilgais stamped and snuffled somewhere close in the dark. And he lurched forward to hug her slender buttocks from behind.  Crossbreeds they were at that moment.  Running rough.  Matted and greasy with the gloom.  Her ribs were like fishbones as she turned and swung at his torso.

As she put his weight over her wiry body, she was thinking about the meetings with the minister and marches and slogans and papers and write-ups and petitions and about her kid and distant her mind went, to a world of her own—Hallabol Hallabol! The grass and the stars seemed like a hazy nebula.  A pattern that has followed her life, never to become her own.

She looked up the sky and vultures seemed to be circling above the world.  Their silhouettes across the still, vaulted sky like a pale ghost army. Were they from another order? Now sweat beaded her free nipples and as he went wild he kept on muttering, wheezing at times. And she knew this rhythm; across the milky-way like a great electric kite the Great Bear rose and the two of them wrapped like the last sentinels untouched by a decaying, happy world outside.

That world—shining, value laden India, was not theirs.  Tethered to each other they were tethered to true geology.

Like navigators in a plateau pounding and brawling, sifting obstinate jealous shadows of a lifetime, they battled with each other. Their teeth on edge and sand and grit in every pore and in every bit of the meat and nuts there was dust. That night they rode through a region galvanic; raging shapes lead to soft blue fire and returned back to the great clanging ridges of the folded Aravalli.



The sun rose blearily. And he remembered his interview today. 300 yards from the sun and sand that he found himself in.  The hallowed world of academia shall greet him, if he is able to play his cards craftily. He turned around and she looked like an angel bathed in contentment. At a distance he saw the corrugated form of a jhinjheri tree in full glow. And geometric butterflies abuzz like wood nymphs, circling around ragged kerfs and shrubs. He knew contentment meant nothing.  No bleeding thing.  He rose and spat. Squatting on his heels, a few feet away in the grass, he pissed. He noticed the hoof prints of the nilgais and some other creature—that came down last night perhaps. Hogs? Goats? Harpies?

She turned the other way. In heavy slumber. And her bare back glistened.  Like a stock-thief he got hold of his crinkled shirt. This is a brawl, he reminded himself. We are not born. We are spawned as horses or war.

He got hold of the beer bottle and took a swig.



The room where they ushered him seemed familiar to smell. He had known such rooms. He remembered his dad—a sombre man, in such rooms.

He sat down, cross-legged on the other side of the table. And the cabal greeted him. Mutterings and delirium.  Now they have got him in the dragnet. A slur tilted on his tongue, the great wheels cut loose in his mind.

-Why is it that you have not published in the last two years? Don’t you…

-Who? Me? The Almighty?

Would he ride these paltry creatures, jolly band of wolves?

He turned to his jhola underneath and took out the lone beer bottle, still quite frothy, full.  The wolves followed his movement.  And then, in a swift move, he pointed the bottle at them—to each at a time. Like a Molotov cocktail the bottle raised its hood. Measuring.  No hurry. The wolves, who had  bartered away their sorry lives with footnotes and indents, and  pimped, sucked-up to low-bowed assholes, milching munching  marching up and down for a membership in India International Centre and  for a duplex flat in the campus, sat frozen.  The puny dwarfs thought it was some psychopath. Some old score to be settled perhaps?

The ancient monster arose. From their own backyard hell. From the rocks and mice and fire-woods.

He looked straight. And stood up. Then slowly turned the bottle over his head and thrust it right into his skull. And then thronged the jagged tail ends into his eyes.

As he went down, he could glimpse a thousand year old habit enacted one more time—two superbly chiselled human forms, hurtling through the Milky Way, imagining universes . And hundreds of clones, rising and taking turns to fly with them.  The clones were they. The horses of war.

Unperturbed, she will complete the unfinished task, he knew at that moment. She will join important morchas, meetings.  Those will destroy all the shine and gloss that has befallen this land.  One dark night.  Under the vigil of the dhaus and gulmohars. Other hermits and presences will take their turns.  Pounding out of the smoke.

He turned back and freed her movement.




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