[When I, Lord Vishnu, took an avatar on earth as Lord Krishna, there was a message I wished to pass on. I knew that the society was fast degrading and something had to be done about it in the most courteous manner. Many of the things that were somewhat strange in my childhood were passed off as a part of Krishna being a brilliant child.]
As I open the door of my hut I shiver with cold, the wind is almost high and icy. The semi-desert is so nearby that all I can taste in my mouth is salty sand and the air is so chilled it hurt to breathe. My father says one day this salty sand will swallow the fertile land and that’s why my teacher forces to grow more and more trees.
I don’t know what had waked me up – probably a nightmare.
I never go out in the night. No one in the wall goes out at night. We believe night is a friend of the fear. We live in world of fear, the days in my world are hot and nights are chill.
Above the moon is morass still bright enough to hurl my shadow on the sand. This is no time to be relying on moonlight but I don’t care. I don’t know why but I can see in darkness as the owls can. Sometimes it makes me imagine I would an own in my past life.
I crouch down near the hut wall, my shadow crouches with me. My eyes scan the surroundings for a while and they find nothing unusual. The only sound comes from the whisper of the sand intermingled in the air, the usual semi-desert sound. I get up and peek at my parents through the window of the hut. They are asleep, my father is snoring. He is a tough man but my mother is kind and sometimes my father says her heart is of gold. She smiles at that.
I take a lung full of salty-sandy air and look at the faint light of a lantern in the hut my parents share and I smile at the memory.
I don’t want to wake them up. I shut the door, without making a slight noise. I walk so slowly that it almost feels like I’m not moving but feeling my way by each step, walking on my very tiptoe.
I pause for a second longer, listening to the sound if there is any in my parent’s hut but there isn’t except my father’s snoring and my heart that is still going stronger and louder due to the nightmare that’d woken me.
The premise is dark but not too dark to stop my shadow walking with me. Every step seems to speak and to scream under my feet for me to be caught. Sand and stone seem to moan but I start bargaining with them not to wake my parents.
“I won’t call you semi-desert.” I whisper to the soil, “I’ll call you dear, just don’t make any noise or don’t make me tumble over.”
I make it to premise gate without waking up my parents.
“I’ll never call you an old piece of bamboo,” I promise as my hands slide inch by inch over the gate and start to open it. My father and I have made the gate last month out of bamboos, illegal – cutting trees from the forest is illegal. As usual, in three minutes, I’m out of the gate, my eyes searching something in the darkness, what I don’t know. It happens with me since when I don’t remember but it happens. Something wakes me up at midnight. I feel there is a raid of Nirbhayas in one of the huts around and I go out to climb on the clock, the tallest structure in the wall to check it over.
Once outside the gate, I swear I’ll never, ever, ever kick the gate as I’ve last time and broke the old one until it won’t make me caught as the old one has done. Maybe the bamboo gate understands me. It doesn’t make noise while I shut it behind me.
I’m in the street. No light anywhere. Not even a single lantern. In the wall, we have no lights anywhere except the station where is banned place to go before you are sixteen. I’m a day smaller than it.
Thank god, the moon isn’t so morass and I’ve owl-vision. I’ll not stumble over a fallen stone in the street.
I walk down the street. Now I do not fear about my foot sound. No one has ever been out this late in the wall but I do. I break rules. But the fear always stays with me until I make it back to my hut.
When I reach the end of my street I break into a run, feeling my heart racing with me. The cold wind hurts my face and it burns my eyes but I ignore it.
Thankfully, each street I turn down is empty. No one is out in street means it’s late night and everyone has turn-off the lanterns. I don’t see a single lantern out on the poles in front of huts.
The Kaal-Stambha is thirty minutes away, even if I’m running. As I get off Hill huts, moving down the hill on which our huts are sitting like feared mouse sitting under the shade of a tree. The huts are smaller now and the area is known as foothill huts. Here the huts are farther apart, not sharing a fence with each other.
I’m running but the cold air wicks my heat away faster than my body produces it. I could turn back of course, but then what if the raid is? What then? I want to check it over.
As I go past the last hut of the foothill, I hear an owl hooting mournfully in the dark - The symbol of the Creator. As I remember my people say the owl is a symbol of the Creator and he has a cruel owl-face on his flag at the PATANAGAR, a shudder of fear hits me like the lightning bolt.
Zoom – fear comes rushing. But I keep running.
Now the area beyond the foothill and each house has Kadamb tree in front of them. The area is known as Kadamb-van due to a high number of Kadamb trees.
After I cross that Kadamb-van, it’s just field after field and farm after farm as the water channel is near. Mostly the farms are looming with wheat. Though the crop isn’t useful for us mostly my people are just workers. Most of the farms are owned by the Traders and they come as soon as the reaping time comes.
I’ve always liked the farms and crops inside it. I never feel empty here. Small insects and tiny birds singing and the most important you can get some rabbit if you have hunting bow and you are ready to risk illegal hunting in trader’s farm. Of course, the punishment is death.
After farms, right next to the black market is the farmer’s market. I prefer farmer’s market than the black market as I know the black market would neither be empty nor be silent. It’s known as black but never blank even in the black of the night. There are always some shadows in black cloaks, doing black business as the name of the market.
Farmer’s market is a place where you find crowd at daytime but it’s been abandoned for every night. I pass it running, a cat jumps from the roof of a wood shop, blinking and meowing at me it disappears in the darkness behind the shop.
I hear meowing for a long minute after it disappears and then I’m hearing only my heart, which has started pounding again. I reach in the Kaalyantramarket.
Now I’m feared. I want to go back but I can do nothing as though my body isn’t mine. I’m not me now. I feel something into the centre of my body, into the centre of my thoughts. I’m vulnerable against it.
My body isn’t mine but it is of the conversant inside me and all I can think is – Samrat you have to check it over. I know it’s not my thought. I’m a Sunya and I can’t dare it but the conversant inside me doesn’t feel fear.
I know what I’m doing can kill me as the Kaalyantrabuilding has a board that reads PROPERTY OF THE CREATOR, NO TRESPASSING. But my mind can think nothing except what if there was a raid, if there is, I’m going to climb the tower and check it over. I need to climb.
Soon, I find myself climbing the wooden structure of the Kaal-Stambha, ignoring the NO TRESPASSING sign. I’ve got the habit of ignoring it as I’ve come here more than a hundred times after the raid at Ratan uncle’s hut.
I climb – up and up till I reach the top of the tower. From this height, I can see all huts, drown in the darkness. A few have burning lanterns outside on the poles means some families are awake. I know why – someone from these families has grown sixteen today, like me and they know soon the train is coming for them, to take them beyond the wall and they are unable to sleep.
My eyes search for fire – if there is raid there is fire- they burn the hut after the raid. Rule number one – if you see fire stay away, don’t try to help, the fire in the wall isn’t an accident. The fire means the raid and you should stay away if you want to be alive. My father says but I don’t know why I don’t believe in such rules.
He would often say: this is Kaliyuga, in this age of darkness you can’t trust anyone, means you can’t trust NO ONE.
I am born after 500 years of Pralaya. My mother says here it was reaping time when I born. The farms were looming with crops and tiny birds were chattering everywhere. The most beautiful and intelligent bird Parrot (my father says that bird wasn’t a parrot while my mother says it was a parrot and had come from the heaven) had sat on the window of our hut and mimicked my first cry. It’s believed as a good omen in the wall. My mother says I’m born to save my people from slavery. The Sukah was a sign of my incarnation.
I have the faint memory of seeing that strange green bird. I don’t know it’s a memory or my imagination but I can remember a bird singing and dancing around me when my mother isn’t around my cradle. The bird was tiny, all green but having a red strap at his neck. But I think I’ve imagined it as I’ve heard its description from my father.
How can I see a parrot when they’ve disappeared in some years after Pralaya?
People say parrots (Shukas) have disappeared in after effect of Pralaya. There isn’t any intelligent mimic bird on the earth. They only live in heaven now. They say there were many birds before Pralaya and most beautiful bird among them was the peacock.
I’ve seen my neighboring ladies painting peacocks on their hut wall on festivals. It’s a huge bird in painting and it has many beautiful feathers, longer than its body dotted with hundreds of eyes. People make paintings of parrots and peacocks even at the wedding of their sons or daughters.
My teacher says old book says the boy on whose birth a mimic bird will cry will be the avatar of the Kalki. I don’t believe in this stuff. I can’t be in prophecy. People in the prophecy don’t live in a hut and starve for food. People in prophecy don’t wear dress code and the most important they never do labour in free of cost.
Prophecy – Zip it.
To be continue.....
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