Monday, September 25, 2006


One evening when we sat by the distances, she told me of her wish to burn her body to see her souls catch fire, too. She said she loved the perfume of burnt-out souls. I realized that it was going to be difficult but decided to give her this gift on her nearest birthday, anyways. I asked her which of her souls she would like to burn.

"The wet one", she replied.

It had snowed last night. It had started when we were playing with each other's bodies. Fondling. Jostling. Mingling. In our silent apartment. I was drenched in her presence. I always was. Despite her perfumed hair, her ethereal nudity, the sentiments of her fragrant touch; her body was only an effigy. A mirage. Because she were innumerable women at the same time. In our silent apartment, her converging souls passed in and out of her body all the time. And in every parting moment, she fragmented herself more into the nooks and corners of my room. With every passing instance, my partner in the bed would change. I made love to all of them. It felt like a game of betrayal in which you'd stopped counting. And you had no idea any longer who it was that you were betraying. You betrayed each for all. And none for the other. Living inside a deadly turn-on.

I didn't notice the beginning of the snow until she pushed my body aside and ran outside. Into the snow. Trailing one of her souls with her. I put on some clothes and followed her outside. Snowflakes landed on her naked skin. I found slowly, that her color was changing. She was becoming a deep, deep blue. I asked her to come inside but she refused. I was worried both for her and the soul that she had brought for herself. Gradually, I found that her body had begun to glow so that the space around her seemed to be lighted up in a divine light. The light kept spreading until it went in through the windows of the people who slept. All of them woke up to find their eyes being washed in a light so deeply blue as can only be found in dreams. Thinking of the light as a divine purgation all of them started to pray.

She stood unmoving, in the snow until she fell senseless on the accumulated snow. I went near her and asked if she would like to come inside. But she wouldn't answer. So, I carried her in my arms and took her inside. I put a blanket around her. But before that, I took off her wet soul and put it next to the fire to dry.

It remained wet.

As days passed, we made plans for the burning. Even when we made love we spoke about her burning body and soul. It would turn us on. We started collecting matchsticks of different sizes and shapes. Ignite each of them to examine its flame. Our days passed like dreams.

At last her birthday came. She was apprehensive from the morning about the evening 'cause that's when, we had decided, we would set her on fire. She seemed excited from the morning. I had never seen her so exuberated ever before. By the time evening came, she had tired herself out of excitation. She quickly put on her wet soul. I, on the other hand, lighted a matchstick and set her on fire.

As flames started playing all over her body she started dancing in jubilation. First she set a few of my important papers on fire, then my beautiful Arabian carpet and slowly, my entire apartment was on fire. But we little cared for any of it because nothing was important beyond this moment.

"Come take me in your arms", she said at last, stopping "and see if I've started exuding the fragrance of burnt-out souls."

I went and took her in my arms, but couldn't find the fragrance of her burnt-out souls. I told her this. She seemed surprised. It was not some thing that we had planned for. I looked more closely at her. The flames coming out of her body seemed calm and composed. They were blue….. exactly the color of her snow drenched self.

Snows were nothing but frozen blocks of fires.

I realized that the fragrance that she was looking for would only be possible if she would burn in the snow, like the last time round. I realized, also, that I was on fire. Perhaps, I had caught it when I went and took her in my arms. When we stared outside, we found that the snowfall had started.

I took her hand and ran outside.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Prism: Final


On the day that the soldiers were to leave the carnival town, a few gunshots made its way through the parting air and made a home exactly where their love resided - in their hearts. And thus, the solemn silence of a few love struck, warrior hearts that stopped beating proclaimed the beginnings of a war.

A few numb eyes of girls who had been crying nightlong after their final lovemaking last night, watched their lovers' bodies being carried away and left to the rivers. They had came following the river and let them pass away so. The news of the soldiers' passing away didn't wound their beloveds' heart any more than did the news of their going away. A soldier's leave-taking, after all, was synonymous to his death. There never is a promise of return.

The soldiers, who survived, however, went away with an added hope - They might get to use their guns after all. The soldier, who was our hero, was among this group. He took his farewell roses from the girl and left.

On the very next day that the soldiers left camouflaging themselves with the river, a bunch of well-prepared bombs, verified by the authorities, were dropped into the town busy in cleaning the leftovers of 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. Houses came tumbling down like the tea cup on the table. And there originated from the center of the town a stale air of mutilating flesh. It became a breeze and passed onto other towns. People who had to breathe in that air cried out -

"It's the stench of the massacre. Doom's day has begun."

The carnival town became the dwelling of spirits and new-born orphans.

The troop of soldier fought with a newfound vigor. They used their guns. And contested with each other on the number of targets each of them had hit. But that phase passed away as fast as it had began. Then, came a disillusionment of war. And they found themselves being the target of a new vigorous enemy troop. They started dying and laughing at the foolishness of the new enemy troop. War, after all, was meant to be carried through and not to be lived. "They'll realize this in time", they thought.

Our hero, the soldier saw his comrades dying one by one. He gave to each of them one rose from the bunch that the girl had gifted him on his leave-taking day. Then, slowly his bunch of roses started getting thinner. And one day, he realized that he had no more roses left with him. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him - what flowers would he have after he dies? It suddenly occurred to him that there was exactly the number of roses as were the days he had spent in the carnival town with the girl. And one by one he had given it all away. He had given the girl away to the dead.

That's when he decided to surrender.

The enemies found him much too dead to have been killed. So, they decided to punish him by letting him live. They had found a weapon much severe than the gun: Life.

Our hero, the soldier, wandered through many lands and then arrived to a town that recalled no visitors. There he built a house for himself. Strangely, it became the house of three corners. It took the shape of the prism.

Then, as years passed and he became madder, he wondered why in all these years he hadn’t heard the voice of the girl in her head, as was promised by the game of the prism.

One day, when he could no longer take the void that had been created above his head; he went out searching for a mirror. That day, a breeze named agony, took him in and landed him on one side of a table on the other side of which he found the girl and on the center of which a tea cup had tumbled down.

He didn't realize that the desert was the exact place where the carnival town had been once..... that time had taken away its belongings...… that time would once again, recreate itself. He didn't realize that time had returned. The process had began. That time itself had become a maddened soul searching for answers.

He didn't recognize the table in which he had poisoned the man who had initiated the magic that was lost forever.

But he recognized the girl. He did.

She didn't.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Prism: Third

A Loner's Tale

My death had come like slumber - vanquishing between imagination and reality until none of it was left, anymore. I slipped into the realm of a mindful of voices.... Trying to adjust their tones. And their hearts.

They would make excellent characters for my story. Unlike all my other stories, this one shall have no ending. With quite a few beginnings. Like my vagabond life.

Life. Perhaps, lives. I had left behind in places I didn't know.

I had started my journey on a day when I had realized that I've quite a few words but not a carnival of faces to assign them to. So, I traveled into unregistered towns. And found a herd of people, everywhere, clinging to each other, frightened of their impending doom. Living their lives into a prophecy of massacre. I lived with them. Taught them dancing steps in which you could raise yourself above the ground and dance into the floating air .... Thinking that they might discover a relief in their new-found lightness..... Thinking that I might be able to reconstruct a civilization - abandoning itself. But I was too small a unit for this. There were no societies anymore. The heart had been abandoned. When I had turned back for the last time, before living a town, trying to wave a goodbye to them, found them staring at me like awestruck children who could understand nothing no more. They had forgotten to greet visitors or wish them luck for their journeys. They believed they had none left with themselves. Even after I left, I felt I could see them dancing their lives into a sundry prophecy of massacre.

Even then, there were places where the disillusionment couldn’t spread their blinding white sheet. Like in the land of the prostitutes. Yes, it was a dark valley. And most of the times it rained all over again on the drying streets, drying leave, drying apartments. And whenever I would pass a somber woman, she would spread out her hand towards me and cry out –

"Look, I'm drowning. Won't you save me?"

"I think I've lost that power in all these years."

"Then come, drown with me", she would say laughing out at me.

I would go and hit her on the face, again and again. And again.

"Do not laugh, ever again. It doesn't look natural on your face."

"Face? What face are you talking about, monsieur? We don't wear a same face twice."

"You have a way with your words, you little thing."

"What else do you think we sell? Do you think people need to come to a whore for a body? They could find it anywhere and they won’t have to pay for it."

"But aren't people too afraid these days to be visiting these streets?"

"Oh! Those poor trembling souls. I can't help feeling pity for them. If only my words would have caused not a single stir in their heart, they wouldn't have returned to these dark, dark alleys."

"Ain't you afraid yourself?"

"I'm immortal. I've already drowned so many times in these rains...… Look, I'm drowning. Won't you save me?"

In the land of the prostitutes, I learnt to make love to life. And write stories.

I fell in love for the first time in the last town I had visited while I was alive. It was the only place where I found people celebrating. It was 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. A carnival in tribute to the passing soldiers. Love was sprinkled all 'round. In the mornings, a beautiful girl passing by the streets would turn to look at me. And there was something written all over her face, that I couldn't forget.

But then, gradually, I came to realize that she forgot my face everyday. And took my face for someone else's that she was in love with. Naturally, due to her amnesia she couldn't remember his face as well. He was a soldier and every morning I became the same.

For her it was an illusion. For me, a chance I couldn’t let go. I posed for her beloved every morning and tried to live in her lovely eyes.

Then, came the night to play 'The Prism of Extinction'. The soldier took her hand and came forward to play the game, looking for a third fellow to complete the magic. That's when a miracle took me in. She chose me as the unknown man to be taking part in the game. I agreed on a condition that they would give me food and shelter for the night.

After the game was over, I came to the girl's home along with her and the soldier. I was told to sit by the dining table till they would bring me food. So, they went away in some other room. Then, slowly the magic of the prism began to work. I could hear in my head voices of both the girl and the soldier.

"I have a plan for him", said the soldier.

"Yes. I know what you have been thinking. But don't you think it's a bit harsh on the poor fellow."

"But it's our life and it's our duty to secure it. We can't let him in all the time."

"But that is not the way to deal with someone"

"Look, my dear girl, we're soldiers and that's how we are told to treat our enemies. It's our profession. It’s no big deal."

I wasn't mentioned for a single time in that conversation and yet, since I could hear all of it, I knew it was me that they were talking about.

And then, they came in with the tea-cup. The storm in a tea-cup. Somehow, the perfume of death seemed to be attracting me. So, knowing all of it I drank the tea.

My death as, I told earlier, came like slumber. And I kept hearing their voices inside my head -

"At last..."

"I hope you'll forgive me'

"We'll be free now"

"I didn't want to do this but..."

"Happy dying, fiend."

"You see, there was no other way."

Slowly, it felt as if their words were all jumbling up. And I couldn't figure out what they were telling. But this lasted only till I died. Then, once again their voices were all clear inside my head. I had decided right then, that I'd write their story.

"The tea cup tumbled on the table for the first time, that night."