Running Out Of Time
[This destruction will start with an underwater explosion that will take place somewhere in the southern ocean. It will be preceded by a hundred year drought during, which the people who are not robust will perish. The seas, the rivers, the mountain streams, and the underground streams will be drained. Twelve suns will cause the seas to evaporate. Fed by this water, seven suns will form which will reduce the three worlds to ashes; the earth will become hard like a turtle's shell.]
- Vishnu Purana 1.8.18-31
When I wake up, it is late morning but nothing satisfying like a morning. As my father says nature isn’t at its best now and the glory of it has vanished since Pralaya. The harsh rays of the sun trespassing in the hut - window, perhaps they have woken me up.
I hope out the cot and peek out the window. The cruel sun is like a malevolent eye, never blinking and the sky is as always – co-conspirator with the sun, not allowing even a wisp of cloud to soften the harsh rays.
I’m not one who admires the morning, at least not nowadays morning. If morning is like old time (I have heard about it, never seen.) I would appreciate it.
“Samrat, you are late,” I hear my mother’s voice, coming from her hut, “go to bath.”
“Today isn’t a day of bathing,” I say.
“The train is coming today.” she is fumbling in old wooden case, for what I don’t know.
“Today?” I ask.
Instead of answering, she says, “don’t you sleep at night?”
“I do.” I lie.
“Then why didn’t you wake up in the morning when messenger boy was shouting in the streets about the arrival of the train?”
“Sorry Ma,” I say and go backyard where we have a water tank. My father has made it from terracotta.
I feel terracotta tub waiting for me. I scrub off sand and dirt from my hair and wash sweat of semi-desert night away.
Back in my hut, my mother surprises me by searching a good shirt and trousers for me. Of course, they are as our dress code but almost new, not half-torn like I always wear.
“Why do our people go beyond the wall?” I jump in trouser and ask, putting my shirt on.
She sits on the cot and says, “I don’t know,” her voice is angry but she's fighting a smile, and her eyes are a pinwheel of color--blue, green, gold-- flashing like they always do when she's worried about something or angry on someone.
“Don’t you make my hairs?” I reach near her and sit down beside her feet, “Come on Ma, I’m going beyond the wall.” I say.
She kisses my cheek, “That is what I’m worried for.” she says and I feel her fingers in my hair. I’ve shoulder length hairs like my father.
I ask to tease my mother, “why the Ganga is still alive?”
“Because it’s Holy River,” she answers.
“And why it’s holy?” When I ask she scolds me, saying – never questions about the holiness of holy things.
I ask, curiously, “why?”
“People have done this before. They lost their faith in holy things and that’s why Pralaya came.”
I take a deep breath; force myself to nod and smile, “I believe you Ma,” I say, “then why this holy river doesn’t come in the wall?”
“Because it’s holy and we aren’t,” she says, insisting.
Don’t question about it, or don’t think about it. That’s what my mother always says, about the Creator, about my people, about the Ganga, about Pralaya, and about everything. The Greatest advice each mother wants to give her child in the wall as well as beyond the wall.
“Why we aren’t holly?” I ask, “Aren’t we human?”
“We’re the Sunyas.” She says, “We aren’t human.” and then adds, lowering her voice, “there isn’t any human anyway, we’ve just traders, Nirbhaya, Devatas, folk, and we – Sunyas.”
“And the Crea…”
“Shhh…” she cuts me off, “don’t speak that name.”
“We aren’t meant to speak it.”
“Why?” I have always ‘why?’ for everything, which we shouldn’t. A Sunya has no right of questioning. He shouldn’t possess curiosity. My mother says curiosity overweighs fear and leads to destruction.
My mother runs her fingers through my shoulder length hair and says, “We aren’t enough holy to speak the name.” she pauses, now her hand on my cheek and says, “my son, don’t ask any question when you go beyond the wall.”
I again want to ask why but I don’t, knowing that my mother would be angry. I love her. I never want to make her angry. I know asking questions or criticizing the Creator is the worst offense in the world.
“Samrat,” she knots my hair in a manly bun at the nape of my neck, “Make me a promise, my son,” she says in the bright, loving voice that all mothers seem to share like it’s a part of their motherhood.
“What Ma?” I look up at her.
“You won’t do question when you go beyond the wall,” she whispers, and her voice is hoarse, as though she's just been crying.
“Promise Ma,” I say.
“Remember,” she is saying for the thousandth time, “no one should know about your real identity. This is Kaliyuga and in this age, you can’t trust a man standing in front of is a man but you can trust the knife at your waistband is a knife.” She takes a knife out from a pillow, “keep this.”
“What Ma?” I say but she is half listening to me.
“This is the knife they have left behind after the raid at Ratan’s house,” I see tears in her eyes, “haven’t you seen what did they do that night?”
“I’ve,” I say. I feel the heat in my eyes as I remember that night when I’ve witnessed five people being killed mercilessly. It was terrible. I wanted to help them but I was eleven, unable to fight against Nirbhaya Soldiers.
It’s always hot, too hot in the world, and sweat is prickling up already on my lower back and in my armpits, even though I bathed on this morning, or maybe my body is heating as I remember that night.
“If anyone would ask you about anything don’t answer until it’s necessary,” she says, “Samrat, are you even listening to me?” she puts her hand on my shoulder.
“I’m hearing this for the umpteenth time, Ma.” I say, “I’m not a kid now.”
“This is important, Samrat. You are going beyond the wall and all these things are possibly the most important things to survive there.”
I sigh. The anxiety in her voice makes my heart skip.
“Samrat,” my mother prompts me, “tell me you will remember my advice.” her voice is back to normal. I wish every mother in the world would have calmness in her voice and it would be if they don’t need to send their children beyond the wall. But when – I don’t know.
I take a deep breath and say, “I’ll, and Ma, we’ve gone over this, I’ve promised you this for innumerable times.”
“Okay.” she nods, satisfied, and adjusts my grey shirt over my shoulder, “your father is waiting for you.” Then she grins a fabricated one. I know she isn’t able to grin. No mother can grin while his child is going beyond the wall- the most dangerous place if you do the smallest mistake.
“Hum.” I take the knife, hide it at my waistband and leave the hut. We live in huts made of woods, there are plenty of dead trees all around, we can easily get wood to make one.
Huts in the wall are constructed of various local materials. We use easily available materials such as wood, grass, branches to make roof and the hut walls are made of terracotta and plastered with mud. Our every house has more than one hut, sharing a wall with each other. My house is of three huts, my parents’ hut, my hut and the last one is storage.
But we aren’t allowed to cut a green tree. We haven’t much as we have no water. We have a small forest where the channel of the Ganga ends and water flows free to give life to numbers of trees.
The creator has constructed a channel and through it, they send water of the Ganga in the wall. We all get water through that channel. And we are told to grow and maintain a tree in front of each hut. Every hut should have a tree. They say it’s necessary. If there would be plenty of trees Pralaya would never come again, it fears of trees.
We’ve more than two thousand trees in the wall as we have the same numbers of huts in the wall. People believe the creator is kind that’s why he allows holy water of the Ganga to unholy creatures like us.
Only some like me know the truth – the creator allows us the water so we don’t die and their work of constructions never stops. My father believes they want to build cities. I don’t know what a city is.
In another word we are forced to free labour in their construction work, nevertheless, they don’t think our labour as our volunteer work. They say they give us life (water) and in exchange, we give them some days of our life.
Not a bad deal till you thinks the water is theirs.
But how can a person own a river – a holy river like the Ganga?
They call her mother and how can a person be the owner of a mother?
I think something is wrong but others don’t think like me. I feel there is something secret that they don’t want us to know and that’s why we aren’t allowed the books of knowledge.
They’ve Gurus. We call them givers. They give knowledge, they teach the art of war, they teach philosophy of life, they teach everything a person should learn but we aren’t counted as the person we’re just the Sunyas. They symbolize us as a big circle, not a complete circle but like – zero (0).
This is our symbol we need to have this symbol somewhere over our body. That’s compulsory. There are also symbols in beyond the wall.
The Nirbhayas have symbols of a lion, mostly tattooed on their chest. Traders have tattoos of Tula (weighing scale) mostly over their hands, showing only they have the right to do the trade. Devatas have a symbol of long green threads on their bodies, some says green veins web their whole body and red veins crisscross their eyes, I don’t know what’s right and what a rumor is.
I think numbers of cords or veins over their body indicate their knowledge. They also wear Rudraksha framed in silver as a symbol of holiness. They have no hair over their body.
I’ve heard all this but today I am going to see all, and know how much of I’ve heard is right and how much of it was just tittle-tattle.
The rest of beyond the wall is abandoned cities ruined by Pralaya. The area nearest to the wall is a dry wasteland. We call it the desert. It’s a huge, white, blinding, waterless, and covered with sand. The only alive thing is Rakshasha - Grass which gives you a nightmare and no one dares to touch it.
In-wall we have markets but the shop owners aren’t real owners. Traders don’t stay in the wall all the year so they have their servants from the Sunyas and these servants do trade on the Kaalyantra market for the year and gather things for the trader’s fair. We call them agents. Agents are cunning but of course, they are my people and never cheat us. My teacher says they are with us because they don’t like to be agents they want to be traders.
Agents are the people who say our gold, silver, and coal are more precious than the coins traders give us in exchange. My people don’t know what is precious and what is worthless. Agents say the coin traders give us are of copper that is not precious metal but most of my people don’t care about it. They say we can’t eat silver, gold or coal, we need something to eat and only their coins can give us the food so these coins are precious for my people. Each family has to earn 100 coins and pay to collectors every year or they are banned to use water. Collectors are also from the traders. They come during the Traders- Fair to collect coins.
I’ve been to Kaalyantra market many times, mostly at night. This is an old market built of wooden shops and in the centre of the market is a structure made of stone which is the tallest structure in the wall. This structure has a round Kaalyantra on the top of it. That’s why the market is known as Kaalyantra market. No one knows when this structure has been built but we know why they have built it.
The creator wants us to know that we are running out of the time. The ocean of the south wants to swallow our land as it has swallowed Sri-Lanka, and the Kaalyantra reminds us we should go beyond the wall and work in construction, never deny it. That’s why we know Numbers. My people are allowed numeric knowledge so they can understand the time and that knowledge says what’s meaning of our symbol -0 – it means no value. We are in the Kaalyantra but not as ourselves. The Kaalyantra also uses us as the creator does. The zero is used in Kaalyantra only to make meaning of other Number – 10. We are not visible as ourselves, not even in the clock.
The creator would allow us to live beyond the wall once the cities are repaired. My people say but I don’t believe this. If so then why he doesn’t allow us to live in the cities which we already have repaired?
We belong to in the wall and one day ocean would eat it – I know this.
To be continue.....
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