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Showing posts from May, 2012

The pyre (re-revised)

He peeked through the bushes. They are bringing the body of a woman. It’s hard to guess her age though from this far. She is wearing a red saree, which means her husband is still alive. She is blessed, destined for the heaven. All women who die before their husbands are blessed, they say. What is heaven? He doesn't know. Does it exist? He doesn’t care. 
But he has a clear idea about hell. Nobody wants to come to a crematorium alive unless he has to. The mention of a crematorium is even forbidden in a conversation. This place must be hell. If so, it is beautiful. He has been in this hell for many winters, never left the perimeter of this place, never cared to venture out. He likes to sit behind bushes and watch them getting reduced to ashes – the powerful, the weak, holy, scoundrels, young, old … men, women ... When they are gone he comes out of his hiding place and moves through the shadows to eat the offerings they leave behind for him, and for the dead.
Earlier they used to shoo…