How He Wrote Us into Existence – A Fiction 19

A bad movie, seen because it has been too harsh outside and your resources of entertainment have been thinning out, burrows you more; ah, you have watched it with pauses, reluctantly, shaking up a cocktail with your own reflections.

Present time seems that abomination of the cinematic experience. I sweat an answer to my wife’s how you can desire violence in the same house with your family, “Violence is innate, the signature that provokes a beast to claw through any situation that imperils his sanctum.”

I read Joke by Kundera. ‘Man is one and indivisible and that only the petty bourgeois divides him hypocritically into public self and private self.’ said Helena. The trouble with quoting some character out of context is that it means you are at a war, and at a war, truth is that first casualty all writes in the great logbook, but no one from the future remembers it. I wonder, if Helena herself believes it. In the period of pestilence we live now, the line between the public self and the private is attenuated at best.

We are well into the summer; the humid calidity that embraces our town every year always seems severe when it first arrives and we behave the way children do in the presence of a stranger; we shy away from it, and yet desire to impress it; we talk in a negative intonation about the good things and positively, about the affliction. Sleep eludes us, and verity seems a hazy version of itself.

By the time our quivers full of throbbing nerves empty its jolts evening has cooled down our floor. I envy the poet who seems to have a leeway from everything too heated to handle in his basement, in the id of our house.

Our lamp lights up the maze of one ever zealous spider. Light, that molten metal, streams from the outer rim to the centre where the creator awaits for its prey; this is the time of vesper; God devours Prisha’s prayers and belches.

How far, I wonder, this prayer’s phrasing and diction have wandered askew from the origin –what she must have heard in her mother’s susurration. 

There comes a moment when we finally break into laughter over the last night’s incident. The burglar, although a dire reality of present days, tickles us. It is a joke. Better laugh than feel sad.

I and my wife go into Elora’s room to see the right-winged birds. Today the cat and the kittens have disappeared like the coins in some magician’s hands.

The right-winged birds seem confused, some child’s toys wounded by innocence. Elora reads an article titled ‘How to Feed Fledglings’ on her device. “Step One – Forge a nest for the newborn birds in a plastic container with twigs, cotton, dried and pressed leaves, and place the same on top of one heating mat. Do not touch the fledglings unnecessarily. Step Two – Moistened or soggy dog food, hard-boiled eggs or cat kibble are better for those tiny birds, and feed them with utmost care…” I sigh that we have no pet feed neither any cat/dog food, and I am sure they might cost us dear, but we can provide eggs. Let’s make a mash bill from hardboiled eggs. I sound enthusiastic in my ears. The irony casts the curlicues of shadows in my mind – the eggs as the birds feed; I bleed on the edge of uncertain deeper meaning; the seed of cosmos nourishes the universe, and so it shall flourish. Elora began a video showing a robust man feeding some neonate birds. I leave my mind there, as I gently close the door, climb onto our roof and watch the lights of the stars above and the civilization below.

A large fragment of the town nurses darkness. Perhaps the number of death is higher than what they claim in the news. After a few desperate attempts my mind absconds into some pleasant memories –

in sincere silence one star rises; I and my wife are visiting a beach town; a waiter wearing chlorine pool places Malibu on a blue plastic table; we cheer to the health of the star, bairn, every night it is so, naked, Venus, a nursling and at the height of its glorious youth at the same moment.

The other lives we live in one life occur to shelter us living the life of the present period, even if for one breath.

An owl hoots through the stalemate air, and a sensation that its claws have touched my hair lingers as I scurry toward the stairs. My hands tingle to hold the knife once more. Shut up. I must have yelled, because Prisha raises her voice to ask, “Did you say anything? What’s happening up there?” I mumble, this time in a pitch never meant for any human being, “One person can house an abuse, domestic violence, even a vehement relationship fist-fighting – all within his meat-suit.”





Kushal Poddar
Illustration Nick Victor




Kushal Poddar lives in Kolkata, India
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